Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Remembered Earth: Mythopoetics from the American Southwest of the spirit of place and the re-enchantment of humanity
by Cunningham, Corrine Lara, Ph.D., Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2008, 306; 3447657
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation offers the notion of the Remembered Earth as an interplay between the anima mundi and humanity, which creates a resonance within the heart and imagination that inspires, heals, and rejuvenates. When nurtured, this interplay creates experiences that carry the potential for a re-visioning of the way people relate to the natural world and to their individual selves and society, thus restoring the waste land of a disenchanted modernity and enabling humans to know once again the inner meaning behind a sudden gust of wind and a yellow bear laughing in their dreams. I call this re-visioning "the re-enchantment of humanity."

With a profound simplicity, author and artist N. Scott Momaday (Kiowa) encourages us to remember the earth by giving ourselves over with our minds and hearts to a particular landscape—the spirit that lives and moves in a particular place. Inspired by C. G. Jung's notion that a place can function as an archetype of transformation for re-visioning an individual, I explore the notion of the spirit of place of the American Southwest. By going "west" in place, time, and thinking through a variety of mythopoetic expressions of the three primary cultural influences of the region—Native American, Mexican American and Anglo American, the theoretical portion of this dissertation explores the theme of re-enchantment through the perspectives of mythology, depth psychology, Native American Culture, ecopsychology and aesthetics. The production component illustrates the depth experience of the re-visioning of my personal myth through memoir and creative expression.

As a metaphor for renewal, the American Southwest stirs the imagination towards the possibility of leading a more authentic life. The power of the spirit of place in bringing an individual into a deeper communication within oneself and with the earth shows the ever-guiding presence of the anima mundi. It is my hope that the notion of a Remembered Earth carries the revitalizing courage and intentionality for humanity to create a unified world where all life is protected and held precious in our hearts.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Mahaffey, Patrick, Terzian, Elizabeth
School: Pacifica Graduate Institute
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 72/05, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Geography, Hispanic American studies, Native American studies
Keywords: American, Anima mundi, Mythology, Mythopoetics, Reenchantment of humanity, Remembered Earth, Southwest, Spirit of place
Publication Number: 3447657
ISBN: 978-1-124-52011-7
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