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Dissertation Title:

Embracing the Dark: Awakening to the Sacred Feminine in the Alchemical Vessel of the Intentional Community of Amalurra


Irene Goikolea Uriarte

Date, Time & Place:

June 9, 2015 at 12:00 pm
Studio, Lambert Road Campus


This dissertation explores the impact of awakening to the sacred feminine both in the researcher and in the members of Amalurra, an intentional community in the Basque Country of Spain. The intention of awakening to the sacred feminine triggered a process of descent into the depths of the participants’ personal unconscious through which they made contact with the cultural unconscious of the Basque people.

After a traumatic split in the community, followed by a defamation campaign that sought to destroy both the public image of the researcher and that of the community, the members of Amalurra engaged in a process of shadow work. As a result, 14 women in the community began to resonate with the traumatic witch-hunt that occurred in the 17th century in the Basque Country. Opening the door to the collective memory stimulated memories related to another traumatic episode, the bombing of the Basque town of Gernika in 1937, during the Spanish Civil War. Both events represented an attack on the feminine principle.

This study, which engages on many levels with the alchemical process, has been approached from an imaginalperspective. It uses heuristics as the basic methodology supplemented with some case studies. Two of the most relevant findings include: (1) the archetype of the shadow works in conjunction with the feminine principle to promote the evolutionary process of humankind, and (2) awakening to the sacred feminine implies embracing our more excluded shadow, which leads us to restore the sacred bond in the mother-child relationship.

The main implication for depth psychology is how the process of individuation takes place in a collective setting. This process has ultimately deposited in the collective unconscious, full with pain and trauma, another energy of the same intensity full of compassion, thus contributing to modifying the substance of the collective unconscious.


All oral defense attendees must shuttle to the Lambert Road Campus from the Best Western Hotel in Carpinteria. Parking on campus is not available.

  • Program/Track/Year: Depth Psychology, Track K, 2009
  • Chair: Dr. Tom Elsner
  • Reader: Dr. Jennifer Sasser
  • External Reader: Dr. Loren Pedersen
  • Keywords: Intentional Community, Sacred Feminine, Shadow Work, Trans-generational Memories, Shadow Archetype