DATE: Tuesday, January 22, 2013
TIME: 10:00 a.m
PLACE: Studio, Lambert Road campus
CANDIDATE: Robin Celkupa
DISSERTATION TITLE: "A Full Moon: Menopause as an Alchemical Process"
PROGRAM-TRACK/YEAR: PhD-T; 2005
CHAIR: Dr. Mike Denney
READER: Dr. Elizabeth Perluss
EXTERNAL READER: Dr. Ricki Pollycove
Celkupa, R.(2012). A Full Moon: Menopause as an Alchemical Process (Doctoral dissertation, Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2012)
This dissertation explores shifting the Western culture’s paradigm of menopause from a time of loss into an alchemical process focused upon a time of flourishing identity and creative expression. For many women, menopause all too often results in a backward glance centered on numerous losses accompanied by depression, hot flashes, mood fluctuations, the introduction of secondary sexual characteristics, and the death of one’s hold upon youth. Is this why the post-menopausal woman is often depicted as an old, crazy witch or a rage-filled Medusa? From another vantage point, inherent in this transition, a woman has access to the Divine Feminine, Sophia, through the re-circulation of her creative energy coupled with the necessary maturation to make use of this bountiful power. The woman becomes an alchemical vessel, heating and cooling, ultimately transforming matter (a base metal into gold) – a metaphor for the depth psychological process of individuation where the goal of reconciling opposites is in the service of God-Source.
Through eight meditations employing a heuristic, archival and alchemical approach to research the inhabitants of the mundus imaginalis were consulted on the relationship between the wounded feminine and menopause. In this study, the researcher served as the interviewer, the interpreter, as well as the alchemical vessel. Utilizing a depth psychological lens, the meditations were explicated and the images amplified. The data was coded working from Edinger’s (1994) elemental template connecting depth psychology to alchemy. The alchemical operations were defined by despair = calcinatio, separation/isolation = coagulatio, unity = solutio, and hope = sublimatio. The non-linear stages followed as the nigredo, the albedo, and the rubedo.
In applying alchemy to menopause, a shift in the patriarchy’s paradigm of a transition fraught with loss to a transformation was illustrated via the symbolism of the characters and scene selection from the Wizard of Oz mirroring Campbell’s (2008) stages of the Hero’s Journey. Applying Campbell’s model to the alchemical operations and stages, a pattern appeared allowing for the reinterpretation of a woman’s pilgrimage through menopause as a time of plentiful growth and healing. Please note: All oral defense attendees must shuttle from the Best Western Hotel in Carpinteria.