Sunday, February 24, 2008

Elyn Aviva

OK, CV fans, you've asked about Elyn, so here's her bio:

Elyn Aviva earned a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology at Princeton University (1985); her dissertation topic was the modern-day pilgrimage on the 500-mile-long Camino de Santiago in Spain. It was the first anthropological dissertation on the Camino, and Following the Milky Way, her travel narrative based on her experiences and her research, was the first contemporary American account of the pilgrimage. Elyn has traveled the Camino a number of times, including three times on foot (1982, 1997, and 2000). In 2002-2004 she and her husband, Gary White walked one of the French Chemins de St. Jacques (Roads of St. James), the route that begins in Le Puy en Velay.

Elyn earned a Master of Divinity degree from Iliff School of Theology (Denver, Colorado) in 1997. While completing the degree, she spent a summer training to be a hospital chaplain, and she served First Universalist Church of Denver as an intern minister for over a year, during which she gave various sermons that drew on her background in comparative religion.

In addition, Elyn has worked as a tribal planner for the Kickapoo Tribe of Kansas, as a health planner for the State of Kansas, and as a science writer for the Department of Energy. She established and ran the Department of Energy's High-Temperature Superconductivity Information Center at the Ames Laboratory at Iowa State University. She has also taught Introduction to Religious Studies and led various adult religious-education courses.

When not traveling or living in Europe, Elyn lives in Santa Fe, NM, with her husband, Gary White. They trained at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco to be labyrinth facilitators, and they lead labyrinth-walking workshops (complete with slide shows).

Elyn continues to travel to sacred places, but she finds creating sacred art a deeply fulfilling spiritual journey. (see She is also willing to discuss creating fiber art on commission.

Selected recent publications:

  • When Aloha Means Goodbye: A Noa Webster Mystery , Pilgrims Process, Inc., 2006.
  • The Journey: A Novel of Pilgrimage and Spiritual Quest, Pilgrims Process, Inc., 2004.
  • Dead End on the Camino, Pilgrims Process, Inc., 2001.
  • Following the Milky Way: A Pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago, 2nd edition, Pilgrims Process, Inc., 2001. (First edition, Following the Milky Way: A Pilgrimage across Spain, published by Iowa State University Press, 1989.)
  • Music in Our World: An Active Listening Approach, co-authored with Gary White and David Stuart (McGraw-Hill, 2001).
  • "Life Ever Difficult: Paradoxes of the Venetian Ghetto," The World & I, Sept. 2001.
  • "Music: North Africa and Middle East," Vol. 3, Routledge International Encyclopedia of Women, 2001, pp. 1402-1404.
  • "Music: Sub-Saharan and Southern Africa," Vol. 3, Routledge International Encyclopedia of Women, 2001, pp. 1413-1415.
  • "Tourism," Vol. 4, Routledge International Encyclopedia of Women, 2001, pp. 1947-1951.
  • "A Living Fossil? In Search of Celtic Heritage in Galicia, Spain," The World & I, April 1999.
  • "Mysterious Megaliths: The Standing Stones of Carnac, Brittany," The World & I, October 1998.
  • "Touring with the Sun," The World & I, October 1998.
  • "Introduction to Sacred Geometry," The New Age Retailer (sometime in 1998).
  • "The Labyrinth: Walking a Sacred Path," The Quest, Summer 1998.
  • "Buen Camino: A forty-day walk across northern Spain's ancient pilgrimage route produces transient friendships but lasting memories," The World & I, June 1998.
  • "Walking the Labyrinth: The Wisdom of the Sacred Path," New Age Retailer, May/June 1998.
  • "The Amazing Labyrinth," The World & I, September 1997.
  • "A Journey without End: Reflections on a Pilgrim's Progress," The Quest, Summer 1996.

(While an undergraduate, Elyn published poetry in several college literary magazines at Stanford and at Iowa State University, where she graduated in 1969 with Distinctions and Honors, with a major in English.)


Phil Foust said...

Well, Gary, it would appear that Elyn is one special person. It is not difficult to grasp the reasons that you be enamored of Ms. Aviva.

wayne woodruff said...

I am flabbergasted that such a brilliant, religious lady would deign to marry Gary White, the boy who flunked-out of the CV Methodist church.

Gary White said...

And a "beaten down" 70-year-old to boot!

wayne woodruff said...

Gary, my friend, why are you always wearing that same "dorky" hat in all your pictures.? You have such a beautiful head of hair and you cover it with THAT hat. Men like me, and maybe Roy, would love to share some of your hair, although Roy is not as sparse as I.

wayne woodruff said...

This comment should have gone under Phil Foust's article on True Confessions, but I am not too smart sometimes. I was in love with our third grade teacher, Ms. Smith, as were several other boys in the class. She was beautiful and sweet and the ideal of all young males. One day we were going to have our pictures taken for the class picture and she was busy getting every student to look their best for the class photo. She spent some quality time (for me at least ) trying to tame the nasty cowlick in the front of my hair (that was when I had hair). After she finished, she moved on to someone else. About then, someone in the class, probably Dick Williams, walked by and mussed my hair. When Ms. Smith walked back and saw the hair that she had worked so hard on, she gave me a royal chewing-out in front of the whole class. That was the end of my love affair with Ms. Smith.

Gary White said...

Wayne, I think your latest comment goes right along with the previous one--both about hair. I wear a hat here in Santa Fe because of the sun, but also, I just like wearing it! Having a full head of hair doesn't mean that I have to flaunt it! And just think, when I remove my hat the full head of hair is just that much more dramatic!!

Jay (J.D.) Mills, HP3AK said...

Gary, you lucky devil...;-() It's great that you found someone (above your station) to share your life with! I wish you both many more years of happiness.