Aesthesis: The Heart’s Response to Beauty, an Interview with Rebecca Sabine Ramsey

Rebecca Sabine Ramsey is a first-year student in the M.A. Depth Psychology and Creativity with Emphasis in the Arts and Humanities Program. She is also an acclaimed violinist. I’m delighted to speak with her about her work.

Angela Borda: You’ve had a prominent career as a violinist, playing with people like Celine Dion, Frank Sinatra, Natalie Cole, and even Luciano Pavarotti. What is it like performing with such luminaries and what does music mean to you?

Rebecca Sabine Ramsey: Thank you for inviting me for this interview! As a violinist, when I play, the music flows from my mind and heart and into my arms and hands. I have played music all of my life since I was 10 years old. The violin is a part of my body. Music is my voice and it is my home.

Yes, I have played in Las Vegas on stage with these great artists for many decades. My roots are in Las Vegas. I began playing my violin here in 1974 when I was only 20 and I was hired as a member the orchestra at Caesar’s Palace. Fifty-one years later, I am still performing there!

Angela: After a long and successful career in music, you’ve chosen to enter Pacifica’s M.A. Depth Psychology and Creativity with Emphasis in the Arts and Humanities Program. Surely there is a story here! Many professionals enter this program looking for a change in career or a renaissance or deepening of their chosen artform. What led you to Pacifica and to this program in particular?

Rebecca: I am a life-long learner. Higher education through online study has become a way of life for me! When I had the zoom interview with Professor Mary Wood, the department chair, I felt that in being accepted into the program, I had found a new home. She was so kind and welcoming. I intuitively knew that Pacifica would be a nurturing environment where my creativity could blossom.

To use the metaphor of the stage, at this time in my life, I am moving into a new stage, as Hillman would say, of soul-making. I am still performing on stage with the great entertainers at Caesar’s Palace, but, at age 71, I am semi-retired now. It is important to me to devote my time more and more to a life of service, meeting people where they are, beyond the stage. As artists, we need to reach out, providing the support in whatever way we are gifted. It is so necessary help others develop the resilience to face our global ecological challenges in this ever-changing world.

After attaining my Masters, I would love to be an artist-in-residence at a university, do guest lecturing, and perhaps a musical invocation and meditation at symposiums.

Angela: What have you most appreciated about Pacifica so far? And how do you find the Arts and Humanities Program to be?

Rebecca: Pacifica encourages me to creatively infuse my lifelong experience in music with the journey of my soul. I love the hybrid program. Not just studying at home but getting to meet with my cohort four times a year at the residencies. Comfortably working with the professors in person, making friends, and sharing with kindred souls of all walks of life. The campus is so beautiful, surrounded by the mountains and the ocean. And the food is wonderful!

Angela: You are the owner of the Violin Sound Sanctuary®, which involves you playing violin and doing guided meditations. Tell us how this came to be and what effect it is having on people who experience your work?

Rebecca: Once a person is relaxed through a Violin Sound Sanctuary guided meditation, very often they find that the music brings tears to their eyes. Many times, people experience a deep emotional release and are moved to tell me about it after the class. These are not tears of sadness, however. I have learned at Pacifica that this is aesthesis. A movement of the heart’s response to beauty. I am always amazed at the healing power of the synergy of live music and meditation.

Angela: Will the Violin Sound Sanctuary play into your thesis at Pacifica or are you still in the discovery phase of taking classes and deciding your direction?

Rebecca: I have already begun writing papers about my life on stage with the great entertainers of our age through the lens of depth psychology. My idea for a presentation at the upcoming residential this month will focus on the image and the symbolic implications of the iconic Sands hotel implosion, the home of the very stage where Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis performed in the 1960’s.  In the 70’s I performed on that stage with the likes of Anthony Newley and Mel Tormé. All of these great singers are gone now, and sadly, so is the physical building.

I am excited to see what will come through as an inspiration for my final project.

Angela: Can we look forward to any new albums or projects from you in the near future?

Rebecca: In a recent dream, I was visited by the Sarasvati archetype (the Hindu goddess of the arts with four arms). I always feel like I have at least that many creative projects that I want to do! Answering the thought-provoking posts based on the readings each week in the online Pacifica classes curriculum has encouraged me to start a new blog, The Sarasvati dream. I also write several meditation scripts each month. Just before I began my studies at Pacifica last year, I had one of them published for the online Journal for Performance and Mindfulness.  I will be performing “Violin Sound Sanctuary: A Temenos of Music, Meditation and Sound Ecology Listening” at two conferences this year, one in Albuquerque New Mexico, in June and Oxford, UK, in September.

Angela: I’ve really enjoyed hearing about your life experiences, and I look forward to seeing what form your studies at Pacifica take!

Rebecca Sabine Ramsey is a first year student in the M.A. Depth Psychology and Creativity with Emphasis in the Arts and Humanities program at Pacifica Graduate Institute. She is an IMTA certified meditation teacher, concert violinist, composer, reiki master, and founder of Violin Sound Sanctuary® LLC. Rebecca performed with Celine Dion’s orchestra for 8 years and for many other superstars including Lady Gaga, Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and Pavarotti in Las Vegas through the years.  Rebecca presents guided musical meditations for spiritual and wellness centers, cancer support groups, and online on her Violin Sound Sanctuary YouTube channel. Her meditation music albums, composed and produced by Aaron Ramsey, are featured on Insight Timer with over 48,000 listens. She is a member of the Las Vegas Philharmonic and is on faculty at the Nevada School of the Arts.


Angela Borda is a writer for Pacifica Graduate Institute, as well as the editor of the Santa Barbara Literary Journal. Her work has been published in Food & Home, Peregrine, Hurricanes & Swan Songs, Delirium Corridor, Still Arts Quarterly, Danse Macabre, and is forthcoming in The Tertiary Lodger and Running Wild Anthology of Stories, Vol. 5.