Mythopoetics and Esoterics


I find myself relating to the Greek myth of the spring-water of Castalia. The Encyclopedia of Britannica defines "Castalia" as

"a source of poetic inspiration. Castalia was the name of a nymph who threw herself into or was transformed into a spring to evade the pursuit of Apollo. The spring was then named after her, and it was a source of inspiration for Apollo and the Muses The Muses were sometimes called Castalides because of their association with the spring." ("Castalia", in [emboldened emphasis mine]

I live near a city named Castalia, in Ohio. When I was young, my father used to take our family to what was called the Blue Hole. The Blue Hole was a natural pool of a spring that rose from an underground river about 70 miles down. Rumors that attracted tourists and locals were spread that it was a bottomless pool. It did have a bottomless appearance and it had a beautiful blue hue. It was considered a natural wonder and still is, but the original Blue Hole is closed now to the public. Such a wonder was sprung in my child's mind that felt as fathomless as the Blue Hole itself. Ever since, I have wondered about the sources of things under appearances and the inner workings of our earth.

We as children inhabited the lake and wetland areas around Lake Erie, and we lived there as if part of the spirit of the lake, rivers, springs, streams, and creeks as if part of the wonder of the beautiful natural magic of it all. As for nymphs and water nymphs, The Encyclopedia of Britannica defines nymphs as,

"In Greek mythology, any of a large class of inferior female divinities. The nymphs were usually associated with fertile, growing things, such as trees, or with water. They were not immortal but were extremely long-lived and were on the whole kindly disposed toward men. They were distinguished according to the sphere of nature with which they were connected. The Oceanids, for example, were sea nymphs; the Nereids inhabited both saltwater and freshwater; the Naiads presided over springs, rivers, and lakes. The Oreads (oros, “mountain”) were nymphs of mountains and grottoes; the Napaeae (nape,“dell”) and the Alseids (also, “grove”). ("Nymphs," in [emboldened emphasis mine]

Then, there was all that the nature around us inspired. As children, my cousins and I wondered what would happen and where we would end up if we dove into the Blue Hole, and if we would surface on the other side of the earth, much like children are told they could dig a hole to China. My dad also would proudly announce how clean the water from the spring was as he warned us not to get too too close to it. This only added to the mystique and the delight we could take in its pristine pure nature. It was the same at Kelley's Island when we were told that the water there was still 97% pure. We felt surrounded by natural wonders. The Blue Hole was quiet, with soft bird sounds coming from the grove of trees surrounding it. A rushing stream sounded a different song. Shallow pools in areas of the lake, when we waded and looked down, were full of silver shining minnows swimming at our feet, and this too was another type of music, the tiny trickles of little musical notes playing through the water and up into the sun as sparkling happiness embodied. Of course there was for those visually artistically inclined the visual inspiration of it all to go home and draw and paint. So we can see how the Castalia spring was associated with the Greek Muses, too. The Encyclopedia Britannica defines the Greek Muses as follows:

"Muse, Greek Mousa or Moisa, Latin Musa, in Greco-Roman religion and mythology, any of a group of sister goddesses of obscure but ancient origin, the chief centre of whose cult was Mount Helicon in Boeotia, Greece. They were born in Pieria, at the foot of Mount Olympus. Very little is known of their cult, but they had a festival every four years at Thespiae, near Helicon, and a contest (Museia), presumably—or at least at first—in singing and playing. They probably were originally the patron goddesses of poets (who in early times were also musicians, providing their own accompaniments), although later their range was extended to include all liberal arts and sciences—hence, their connection with such institutions as the Museum (Mouseion, seat of the Muses) at Alexandria, Egypt. There were nine Muses as early as Homer’s Odyssey, and Homer invokes either a Muse or the Muses collectively from time to time. Probably, to begin with, the Muses were one of those vague collections of deities, undifferentiated within the group, which are characteristic of certain, probably early, strata of Greek religion" ("Muse," in

There is much to muse upon here, just as when we look upon the surface of the water it makes us muse, and when we look upon the surface of a pond, our first human mirrors, we ponder many things, including ourselves.

Nota Bene: This is in part an excerpt of a paper written earlier that I was invited to present at the JSSS Conference in 2015; however, I could not attend that year. This paper is now being edited to be submitted for publication soon. I will soon post the paper proposal that got the paper accepted here in my website under Features. It was a paper on Lake Erie and "The Lady of the Lake."

I offer consultations in creativity in the arts, mythopoetic analysis within the arts and humanities, and inspirational collector's and gift items.

Mythopoetically Yours,'

Mary Ann Bencivengo, MA, MFA
Creative Arts Consultant & Mythopoeticist

Offering Inspiration for Psyche and Soul

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Mythopoetic Analysis

Depth Psychological consultations with the Arts & Humanities in the spirit of inspiration of the Muse. Psyche and symbol; archetypal awareness of soul-making, in and through the arts; enchanting one's life through soulful insight and meaning.

Dream Analysis and Dream-working

Asleep Dreams, Waking Dreams, and Daydreams

Music Appreciation, Education, and as Therapeutic

Music appreciation and education through mythopoetics, theory, history, and more. Classes/events or individual sessions for either/both children or adults.

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Creative Writing Workshops (Private or Group)

Workshops in Poetry, Fiction, and Memoir writing and other types of Creative Non-Fiction. Private or group, in-person or online.

Varieties of Writing Instruction/Tutoring (Adults)

Instructional/tutoring assistance with writing projects of all kinds.

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Language Arts Instruction/Tutoring (Children/Teens)

Pre-K/tweens/teens. Individual/1-1 consultations.




Jungian Society for Scholarly Studies (JSSS) Conference in Santa Fe 2016

Jungian Society for Scholarly Studies (JSSS) Conference in Santa Fe 2016

Jungian Society for Scholarly Studies Santa Fe Conference On Earth/Psyche: Foregrounding the Earth’s Relation to Psyche June 26-June 29, 2016 My presentation title: "A Jungian Study of the Estuary: As Active Alchemical Earth, Psychoid Phenomena, and in Conjunction with Human Psyche"

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A Child’s Edenic Dream: “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” in The Nutcracker Ballet by Mary Ann Bencivengo

A Child’s Edenic Dream: “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” in The Nutcracker Ballet by Mary Ann Bencivengo

"A Child’s Edenic Dream: 'Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy' in The Nutcracker Ballet." published in Depth Insights magazine, a depth psychological and mythopoetic analysis. In Issue 10, Fall, 2017. The paper contains links to view parts of the dance I discuss in the paper.

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  • 07/09/2019 10:23 PM

First written a year ago in Summer 2018.

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  • 06/27/2019 03:11 PM

Some perspectives on the problem of having problems!

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  • 05/19/2019 11:46 AM

First Written and copyrighted June 17, 2014. Scheherazade and storytelling as a vocation-- in more ways than one.

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  • 05/08/2019 08:57 PM

This is a short piece of writing I did, which I also presented in class, for the Mythopoetics class I was in with professor Jonathon Young in 2016.

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  • 05/07/2019 06:40 PM

An outpouring of e-motion while listening to 'the windmills of the mind' and music as transcendence

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Have questions that need answering?

This FAQ section provides clients with information about my business, my past experience, and credentials, such as vitae. For your particular questions, you can email me on this site or else at You can also call me at 419-271-1919.

Hours available for consultations

I do not have "regular" hours. All consultations other than public events are by appointment only. I am available mostly in the evenings.

Where to meet for private consultations

For private consultations, we can set up a meeting place if you are in my local business area; if you are not local, then we can meet online in Skype, Facebook Chat, and also I have a Facebook Workroom where we can meet and chat. If you would rather, we can also talk by phone. You can email me on this site on the Contact page, or you can email me at  or you can text 419-271-1919 to set up a phone call appointment or any other appointment.

Where you can read about my experience

If you scroll down this F.A.Q. page, you will find FAQs about my past experience and vitae, my credentials.

Where to meet for public events

For a list of upcoming events, see my Events section. Each event description will state where the event will be taking place.

What is meant by "psyche," "soul," and "spirit?"

What I mean by using the terms "psyche" and "soul" are words used in depth psychology (Jungian and Archetypal) to mean the mind of a person's conscious and unconscious thoughts (psyche) and also our emotional being (soul). These are best described in the words of depth psychologist C.G. Jung, as explained by analyst Daryl Sharp, in her work titled Jungian Lexicon, which I include here copied and pasted below:

Psyche   The totality of all psychological processes, both conscious          and unconscious.  
'The psyche is far from being a homogenous unit--on the contrary, it is a boiling cauldron of contradictory impulses, inhibitions, and affects, and for many people the conflict between them is so insupportable that they even wish for the deliverance preached by theologians.' ["Psychological Aspects of the Mother Archetype," CW 9i, par. 190.]

The way in which the psyche manifests is a complicated interplay of many factors, including an individual's age, sex, hereditary, disposition, psychological type and attitude, and degree of conscious control over the instincts.

 'Psychic processes . . . behave like a scale along which consciousness "slides." At one moment it finds itself in the vicinity of instinct, and falls under its influence; at another, it slides along to the other end where spirit predominates and even assimilates the instinctual processes most opposed to it.' ["On the Nature of the Psyche," CW 8, par. 408.]

The tremendous complexity of psychic phenomena led Jung to the belief that attempts to formulate a comprehensive theory of the psyche were doomed to failure.

'The premises are always far too simple. The psyche is the starting-point of all human experience, and all the knowledge we have gained eventually leads back to it. The psyche is the beginning and end of all cognition. It is not only the object of its science, but the subject also. This gives psychology a unique place among all the other sciences: on the one hand there is a constant doubt as to the possibility of its being a science at all, while on the other hand psychology acquires the right to state  a theoretical problem the solution of which will be one of the most difficult  tasks for a future philosophy. [Psychological Factors in Human Behaviour," ibid., par. 261.]

Soul. A functional complex in the psyche. (See also Eros, Logos and soul-image.) While Jung often used the word soul in its traditional theological sense, he strictly limited its psychological meaning.       

'I have been compelled, in my investigations into the structure of the unconscious, to make a conceptual distinction between soul and psyche. By psyche I understand the totality of all psychic         processes, conscious as well as unconscious. By soul, on the other hand, I understand a clearly demarcated functional complex that can best be described as a "personality." [Definitions, CW 6, par. 797]

With this understanding, Jung outlined partial manifestations of the soul in terms of anima/animus and persona. In his later writing on the transference, informed by his study of the alchemical opus-which Jung understood as psychologically analogous to the individuation process--he was more specific. 
'The "soul" which accrues to ego-consciousness during the opus         has a feminine character in the man and a masculine character in a woman. His anima wants to reconcile and unite; her animus tries to discern and discriminate. [The Psychology of the Transference," CW 16, par. 522.]

Spirit   An archetype and a functional complex, often personified         and experienced as enlivening, analogous to what the archaic mind         felt to be an invisible, breathlike "presence." 
'Spirit, like God, denotes an object of psychic experience which         cannot be proved to exist in the external world and cannot be understood rationally. This is its meaning if we use the word "spirit" in its best sense.' [Spirit and Life," CW 8, par. 626.]         

'The archetype of spirit in the shape of a man, hobgoblin, or animal        always appears in a situation where insight, understanding, good advice, determination, planning, etc., are needed but cannot be mustered on one's own resources. The archetype compensates this state of spiritual deficiency by contents designed to fill the gap. ["The Phenomenology of the Spirit in Fairytales," CW 9i, par. 398.] 
Jung was careful to distinguish between spirit as a psychological concept       and its traditional use in religion.       From the psychological point of view, the phenomenon of spirit,         like every autonomous complex, appears as an intention of the unconscious         superior to, or at least on a par with, intentions of the ego.

'If we are to do justice to the essence of the thing we call spirit, we should really speak of a "higher" consciousness rather than of the unconscious.' ["Spirit and Life," CW 8, par. 643.]         

'The common modern idea of spirit ill accords with the Christian view, which regards it as the summum bonum, as God himself. To be sure,   there is also the idea of an evil spirit. But the modern idea cannot         be equated with that either, since for us spirit is not necessarily           evil; we would have to call it morally indifferent or neutral.' ["The           Phenomenology of the Spirit in Fairytales," CW 9i, par. 394.]  


I will add, simply, that 'spirit' is that type of human spirit that is uplifted, when we are in "good spirit."  And that soul is that which is moved in us, as if the 'breath/breadth' of the spirit moves the emotions of the 'soul.'  


My brief music vitae

                                          Mary Ann Bencivengo
                                   Music/Piano Curriculum Vitae

Early Years of Lessons and Music/Piano Activities:

♪ Piano lessons at Lombardy Music, Sandusky, OH w/ teacher Mary Ashton, age 6-12.

♪ Piano lessons at Patterson Music, Sandusky, OH w/ teacher Mary Patterson, age 13-16.

♪ Ballet lessons, age 4-16, w/ much music learning. Was en pointe. Also, 2 years tap lessons.

♪ Piano accompanist for school choir in Huron City Schools, grades 5-12.

♪ Piano accompanist for voice soloists and ensembles for Huron City Schools at Ohio Music Competitions, grades 8-12.

♪ Piano accompanist for Special Choir and Madrigal Choir, Huron City Schools, grades 8-12.

♪ Piano soloist for Huron City Schools at Ohio Music Competitions, grades 9-10.

Later Years of Music/Piano Experience:

♪ Played piano for weddings.

♪ Pianist at BGSU Firelands Spring Banquet; played background music for diners; wrote brochure for the “Musical Menu” with descriptions of each musical piece I played.

♪ Composed music on piano. I dream music in my sleep.

♪ Music and piano as daily part of life for enjoyment and enrichment.

Music Employment

♪ Music and Movement teacher for Montessori preschoolers; incorporated piano and Dance/movement into lesson plans, as well as other corresponding activities in the arts such as storytelling, visual art, and music education with video/film. Designed/created original

♪ Choir teacher/director for Montessori preschoolers. Designed/created original curriculum for winter holiday concert and spring concert.

♪ Freelanced cultural creative arts programs including music at various preschools and also did these programs where I worked in an after-school program

Furthered Education: 
♪ MA Depth Psychology in Jungian and Archetypal Studies, Pacifica Graduate Institute, Carpinteria, CA 2018. Focused on psychological analysis of the arts/mythopoetics. Also focused on eco-psychology, the mental health benefits of people and children engaging with nature and how this is reflected within the arts and mythopoetics, such as in poetry, story, ancient myths, and music and dance.

♪ MFA Creative Writing/Poetry, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH. Writing has rhythm/poetry, poetry is musical.

Recent Professional Activities:

♪ Have written papers and given presentations on music psychology including at international Jungian conferences such as Jungian Society of Scholarly Studies (JSSS).and at Pacifica Graduate Institute in my program.

♪ Have published one professional paper on music in depth psychology in the magazine Depth Insights; my paper entitled, “A Child’s Edenic Dream: Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker Ballet.”

Organization Affiliations: 

♪ The Joseph Campbell Foundation, dedicated to mythology and the arts. I am also a Roundtable leader for our local chapter of JCF’s International Mythological Roundtable Program. 2014-Present.

Jungian Society for Scholarly Studies (JSSS).

My Writing Vitae

My writing vitae is coming soon, listing my writing credentials and teaching credentials as well as my publications and awards in journalism, poetry, and fiction. For now I will include that I have a MFA (Master Fine Arts) and BFA (Bachelor in Fine Arts), both in Creative Writing, and my minor field was Applied Communications which included journalism. I did teach college English Composition as well as Pre-K-12, and also taught college Arts and Humanities, namely Children's Literature and Folklore classes.


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