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Myth Salon: History and Phenomenology of Labyrinths with Dennis Hall

Updated: Feb 27

Our first Myth Salon of the new year is on The Myth Salon on labyrinths! I had the immense pleasure of serving on the dissertation committee for Dennis Hall. After experiencing his brilliant oral defense with myths, archetypes, and immensely visual screen sharing, I arranged for him to do a Myth Salon in October. However, the scholars from UCSC and their Monsters entered my world, which was too well-timed with Halloween to resist. So, we moved Dr. Dennis Hall and The History and Phenomenology of Labyrinths to Thursday, January 18 at 5PM Pacific. Live from Oregon, come with us to meander among the meanings of labyrinths with Dr. Dennis Hall, along with a strong supportive panel – Phil Cousineau, Dr. John Bucher, Dr. Dennis Slattery, and others.

Event Description: The labyrinth is an ancient form that has captured human imagination for millennia. Meditative labyrinth-walking is a widespread and growing phenomenon. In this presentation we will explore contemporary meditative labyrinth-walking practices as derivatives of Christian mythology and as activity of mindfulness meditation before looking past the contemporary paradigm to explore an earlier mythological exemplar for meditative labyrinth-walking—the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur. The exploration requires examining the history of the labyrinth as well as the historical events that frame the myth. The presentation culminates in a discussion of a theoretical labyrinth meditation based on Theseus’s labyrinth experience.

Dennis Hall, PhD, has been a storyteller for as long as he can remember. His love for story and memory led him to earn a graduate degree in Mythological Studies with an emphasis in Depth Psychology. He is a scholar, researcher, and editor who lives in Portland, Oregon, where he is also a Veriditas certified labyrinth facilitator.


Reverend Dr. Lauren Artress is the Founder of Veriditas. She is the author of: Walking a Sacred Path: Rediscovering the Labyrinth as a Spiritual Tool, The Sand Labyrinth Kit, and The Sacred Path Companion: A Guide to Walking the Labyrinth to Heal and Transform. Dr. Artress is a priest of the Episcopal Church, and her home parish is Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. She is credited with introducing the walking meditation back into the Christian tradition and the labyrinth back into Western culture. In 1991, she replicated the Medieval Chartres Cathedral Eleven Circuit Labyrinth at Grace Cathedral first in canvas, then In 2007, creating the campaign for Grace Cathedral to install a permanent limestone labyrinth to replace the tapestry labyrinth.

John Bucher, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Joseph Campbell Foundation, is a writer, story consultant, and the author of five books including Master of the Cinematic Universe: The Secret Code to Writing in the New World of Media and the best-selling, Storytelling for Virtual Reality. Disruptor named him one of the top 20 VR influencers to follow in 2018. He is a regular contributor to MovieMaker Magazine, Creative Screenwriting, and LA Screenwriter. His interests and work center on the intersection of art, technology, and myth. He has consulted and worked with companies including HBO, DC Comics, The History Channel, and A24 Films. He has served as a story consultant and writer for numerous film, television, and Virtual Reality projects. John has spoken on 5 continents about how individuals, companies, cultures, and nations can tell a better story. He will receive his PhD in Mythology and Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute in 2019.

Phil Cousineau is an award-winning writer and filmmaker, story consultant and editor, travel leader and inspirational speaker on myth in the modern world. His fascination with the art, literature, and history of culture has taken him from Michigan to Marrakesh, Iceland to the Amazon, in a worldwide search for what the ancients called the “soul of the world.” With more than 40 books and 30 scriptwriting credits to his name, the “omnipresent influence of myth in modern life” is a thread that runs through all of his work. His books include Stoking the Creative Fires, Once and Future Myths, The Art of Pilgrimage, The Hero's Journey, Wordcatcher, The Painted Word, The Oldest Story in the World, The Book of Roads, The Accidental Aphorist and The Lost Notebooks of Sisyphus.

Dawn Matheny is a seasoned administrator who has worked for over 30 years, running programs in local government and non-profits. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from University of California in Santa Cruz, a Masters Degree in Counseling from Sonoma State University, and a Doctorate in East West Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies.  Dawn started her work life in the non-profit sector, working in a children's residential treatment program and a volunteer bureau and then as an executive director of a shelter program for women and children who had been victims of domestic violence where she supervised 11 staff and 40 volunteers. She worked with the board to raise funds for both operational and capitol budgets. In 1984, she was hired by the County of Sonoma to create a volunteer program that would serve County departments. That program grew to over 2,000 volunteers who do a wide variety of tasks from tutoring kids in juvenile hall, walking trails in parks, to cat cuddling in the animal shelter. Dawn's job expanded over the years and involved many projects and assignments including producing on large scale recognition events, editing a 12 page monthly newsletter, and culminating in the coordination of two public sector commissions, the Commission on the Status of Women and the Commission on Human Rights. She ended her career in county government to accept the position with Veriditas.  Dawn's doctoral dissertation was titled" Dreaming: the Relationship to Self", in which she explored the various ways that people have of relating to their dreams. Dawn is a member of the Association of the Study of Dreams and has made numerous presentations in classes and at conferences on dream related topics. After getting her Ph.D., Dawn taught Qualitative Research and Research Methods as adjunct faculty at John F. Kennedy University and the Institute of Integral Studies.  Dawn got involved with the labyrinth by attending and then assisting with Women's Dream Quests. With strong administrative, organizational and people skills, Dawn is delighted to be building Veriditas to spread the work of  Lauren Artress in promoting the labyrinth as a psychospiritual tool.

Sheila Spremulli - Applying her early work as a Labor and Delivery Room Nurse and DONA Birth Doula, Sheila completed a self-designed BA in 2010 that blended her interests in Prenatal Science and the wayfinding behaviors of human embryogenesis and birth. Her embodied knowledge of Biodynamic Craniosacral Theory and certifications in Perinatal Psychology and Health Education, Veriditas Labyrinth Facilitation, and Ecospiritual Direction inspired her to create laser-cut Birth Psychology-informed labyrinths and artwork.

 Her Mythologium 2023, Prenatal Theseus and theTRANSITus LAByrinth™ – an ecospiritual interpretation of womblife, and her TRANSITus LABwork™ poster nests our biomythic beginnings in the Deeptime Story of Cosmogenesis and aligns the transformative stages of reconceiving ourselves as a species with the Powers of the Universe. Her work can be found at

Dennis Patrick Slattery, Ph.D. is a Distinguished Emeritus Professor in the Mythological Studies Program At Pacifica Graduate Institute. He has authored, coauthored, edited or coedited 33 volumes of poetry, non fiction and fiction. His most recent titles include The Way of Myth: Stories' Subtle Wisdom and The Fiction in Our Convictions. His web site, contains a series of blogs, paintings, adventure invitations and online courses.


Dana White, Ph.D. a contributing faculty member to Pacifica's myth degrees and author of numerous volumes on mythology. Over the course of his career, Dana has worked in radio and industrial television, as a vice president of marketing for Merrill Lynch, and as an academic department chair at an art college. He edits and designs books, produces films and motion media for universities, corporations and non-profits, and is a professional photographer with more than 40 books to his credit.He currently produces and hosts the Myth Salon, a venture he co-founded in 2016 with Dr. Will Linn,


Will Linn, PhD, Will is a Creative Mythologist. For three seasons and thirty episodes, he anchored the Sky, ZDF and History Channel TV show, Myths: The Greatest Mysteries of Humanity as one of the two recurring “meta experts.” He is the founder of and Head Mythologist for Fascinated by Everything—a visionary experience company that creates narrative art in next-generation mediums. Will served as a leader for the Joseph Campbell Foundation over an eight year period and was the founding chair of an innovative film and performing arts college called Relativity School in Los Angeles Center Studios. From 2015-2023, he taught myth, anthropology, writing, story and philosophy at the college while leading high school, graduate and professional coursework in the United States and Europe. His media and conference appearances, publications and roundtables have been focused on the poesis of nature and technology, meta-narratives of transformation, historical arcs in the mythic imagination and the archetypal revolution of meteor-steel.


The Myth Salon is all about cultivating community – bringing people and ideas into a delicious convergence every month to explore ideas of substance. Dr. Will Linn and Dr. Dana C White, the indefatigable moderators of our Myth Salon, congregate the mythological community to explore upon this rich and fertile path, and increase the amperage of myth and substance wherever we are. When we nurture and sustain our community relations and involvement, we all benefit! The full playlist of Myth Salons since the Spring of 2020 can be found Here.

MYTHOUSE INVITATIONS - Mythic Calendar: The Mythic Calendar integrates the world’s major holidays into a single calendar of media and information rich portals that explore the mythic dimensions of each holiday, sign of the zodiac, flower of the month, birth stone and celestial event. Check in with the mythic calendar each month and with every holiday to stay engaged with mythic time.

Mythology Channel: Explore ten years of mythic radio series, round tables, myth salons and special events in the Mythology Channel’s content library.


Dennis Hall

Reverend Dr. Lauren Artress

Phil Cousineau

John Bucher

Dennis Slattery’s Invitations:

Dana White’s Invitations:

Sheila Spremulli

Will Linn’s Invititations:

  • - Mythic Calendar: The Mythic Calendar integrates the world’s major holidays into a single calendar of media and information rich portals that explore the mythic dimensions of each holiday, sign of the zodiac, flower of the month, birth stone and celestial event. Check in with the mythic calendar each month and with every holiday to stay engaged with mythic time. For this Myth Salon, it might be especially interesting to point out Taurus.

  • Mythology Channel: Explore ten years of mythic radio series, round tables, myth salons and special events in the Mythology Channel’s content library.

  • Climate BootCamp: The Climate Bootcamp was designed for the Harvard Alumni Society Committee for the Climate and Climate Reality with the help of Mythouse to serve as a virtual course to support those ready to bring change within an organization.

Special Thanks to the continued support of the Pacifica Graduate Institute Alumni Association.


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