In Faculty Voices

banner | Reflections from the ChancellorDr. Stephen Aizenstat serves as Chancellor of  Pacifica Graduate Institute, which he served as Founding President. Reflections from the Chancellor collects Steve’s posts to Pacifica’s growing family of alums.


V. Walter Odajnyk, with us always

originally posted on 24 May 2013
Dear Colleagues, Students and Alums,
I’m writing to tell you that yesterday, very peacefully, Walter Odajnyk died. Walter touched many with his warmth, his deep care, and his soul-centered presence. His intellectual force was rooted in his spiritual depth.

We will miss Walter. His contributions to our community live on through his work, mentorship, and love. Today the Pacifica community is sad with tears in our eyes, grief in the belly.

In particular, the Mythological Studies Program, her faculty, students, and alums feel a sense of loss, a hole in the foundation of their temenos. To each of you, please know that we hold you in our prayers and in our heart.

Walter’s family, who were with him at the time of transition, shared that, “a calm showed in his face and body after death.”

We will honor Walter at the Mythological Studies graduation on Sunday and, too, a larger community tribute, a ritual of gratitude, will follow in the time ahead.

Walter, we miss you, we feel sad, we send you and your family love in this time of sadness and loss.

Walter we also, this day, are touched by your smile, experience your compassion, and feel your support. Your teachings continue to enrich us now and for the rest of our days.

On behalf of a place that Walter deeply cared about, on behalf of the Pacifica soul,


Memorial 26 July 2013
Please join staff, faculty, Mythological Studies students, and alumni to celebrate the life and work of V. Walter Odajnyk, a very beloved member of our community
Friday, 26 July 2013, 
2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Reception to follow.
Barrett Center
  | Pacifica Graduate Institute  |  
Ladera Lane Campus  |  
801 Ladera Lane
  |  Santa Barbara, CA 93108
Please R.S.V.P. no later than 12 July 2013 by calling or e-mailing Meghan Saxton Sandoval @ 805.679.6125 or

•|  COMMENTS  |•
Collected here, with posting dates, are observations made in the “Comments” section included with the original appearance of this article at the initial website of Pacifica Graduate Institute Alumni Association.  Please feel welcome to offer additional notes in the current “Comments” function.

Christine Karatnytsky  |  5 Aug 2013
As an immigrant youth left essentially orphaned in the tumult of World War II, Walter was adopted in New York by my aunt and uncle, Lydia and Leonty Krushelnytsky. Thus, we were not related by blood but Walter was an important link in my family history, especially to memories of my late father, which he generously shared. 

Despite a separation of time and miles, I always considered Walter a close relation. So, it was deeply meaningful for me to reunite with him a few years ago during a visit to California and to receive his personal tour of the Pacifica campus, including his office and the beautiful spaces where he taught and walked. When we parted, I remember hoping there would be more meetings, but this was not to be. 

Walter and I exchanged e-mail messages from time to time, including recent communication about his illness. I last heard from him in early May and wondered what the silence portended. I’m very sad today to have learned of his death but grateful and happy that he was so well loved by all of you at Pacifica. 

In thanks to you, I share the Zen teaching I sent to Walter in late April, which called to mind his book, Gathering the Light:

 “Hence, you should stop searching for phrases and chasing after words. Take the backward step and turn the light inward. Your body-mind of itself will drop off and your original face will appear. If you want to attain just this, immediately practice just this} (Dogen Kigen 1227). 

Thank you, one and all.

website visitor  |  20 July 2013
Walter was a sacred gift. As a dissertation chair he offered generous guidance and perspective in the form of inspiring questions, encouraging challenges, and enthusiastic editing requiring one to move deeper and deeper into the material with every turn. Working with Walter was a numinous journey that I will treasure in my heart for eternity. 

Thank you Walter!

website visitor  |  26 June 2013
I’m sorry to hear of Walter Odajnyk’s passing. I had the great honor of having him as a therapist in New York. My experience with him was life changing. He was a beautiful man, brilliant and committed. Thank you Walter, my life is better for having known you.

website visitor  |  13 June 2013
For students in Pacifica’s Myth program, Walter served as a powerful guide, whether into dream-time and our subconscious, the landscape of fairytales or through the night hours of the Egyptian Amduat. I treasure our journeys together and although he has passed over, I find comfort knowing Walter adventures on.

website visitor  |  30 May 2013
Walter was extraordinary. He seemed to be a magically perfect fit for every environment and for every occasion, as though he was the indispensable missing piece. And he embraced us all, one at a time, in his comfortable, unassuming “Walter” way. Was he real, or did I dream him?
 Steve W

website visitor  |  29 May 2013
Steve! Walter, you remain in our hearts always. 
Annika G

website visitor  |  29 May 2013
May Walter’s Memory be eternal.

Charell W. Charlie  |  26 May 2013
Walter gave a wonderful presentation at The C.G. Jung Club of Orange County last February.

 We were very honored to host him at our club and we are very sad to hear of his passing. 

Charell W. Charlie, webmaster

Marshall Chrostowski  |  25 May 2013
Steve! I too will miss Walter and his wit and humanity, his love of the gardens and our shared age and ethnicity. I am sorry not to have had one more chat and a chance to tell him how much I shall miss those chance encounters.


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