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Myth Salon: Martin Luther King, Jr.- The Man, the Myth, the Legend with Dr. Jennifer Leigh Selig

It seems wonderfully appropriate that on the day after our Coming Home reunion at Pacifica this weekend, on the day when America honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I am able to announce that on Wednesday, February 19, the Myth Salon will feature Dr. Jennifer Leigh Selig, who will bring us an evening about Martin Luther King, Jr.: The Man, the Myth, the Legend.

In this special presentation, Jennifer will begin by sharing with us some of the research in her book Integration: The Psychology and Mythology of Martin Luther King, Jr. and His (Unfinished) Therapy With the Soul of America. She’ll begin by exploring King’s relationship to mythology in general, particularly as it pertains to Christianity and the Bible. She’ll follow that by sharing the mythological parallels from the Bible that Dr. King courted in his life – specifically to the archetypal Deliverer, Moses; to the archetypal Prophets, Amos and Jeremiah; and to the archetypal Martyr/Savior, Jesus. But, there’s more. She will raise the questions, Was Dr. King so possessed by these archetypes that his death became psychologically inevitable? Did he draw those projections to himself, making his death some sort of synchronistic fulfillment of his own prophecies? After exploring those questions, she’ll then turn to events that happened in the summer of 2019, when Civil Rights Movement and King biographer David Garrow wrote a damning piece in Standpoint about his discovery of FBI surveillance documents that suggest that King was a serial philanderer, a participant in orgies, and a man who paid prostitutes for sex. Jennifer will confront the veracity of these claims, and then raise these questions for us to discuss: How might the country react to any proof of the shadow Lover archetype in King? Does anyone care? Should anyone care? Will King have his ‘me too’ moment? How could this affect his legend and his legacy? We can broaden these questions out beyond King, and look at the shadow of any of our historical figures—how much should we care? How much should we revise our views of our legends and hold them in a different light when more of their shadow becomes known?

Jennifer Leigh Selig, PhD, is a lifelong educator of over 4000 students with 30+ years of classroom experience. Her last academic position was at Pacifica Graduate Institute, where she taught depth psychology and humanities for 13 years. She continues to offer courses through Pacifica’s Public Programs in memoir writing and deep vocation. She is the frequent author of newspaper articles, book reviews, journal articles, screenplays, and either the author, editor, contributor, or publisher of over 18 books, including her most recent Deep Creativity: Seven Ways to Spark Your Creative Spirit (co-authored with Dennis Slattery and Deborah Quibell).


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