About Becca

I am a scholar, artist, and counseling astrologer, and I am an editor of Archai: The Journal of Archetypal CosmologyI received my PhD in Philosophy and Religion at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. My dissertation is titled The Back of Beyond: The Red Books of C.G. Jung and J.R.R. Tolkien

Becca 14
Photo by In Her Image Photography

My first home was in Big Sur, California, which has always been the greatest inspiration for my deep love of the natural world. I was educated at the San Francisco Waldorf School for thirteen years before pursuing Environmental Studies and Theater Arts at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. I returned to the Bay Area to get my master’s degree in Philosophy, Cosmology and Consciousness at CIIS, where I co-facilitated the PCC Forum transdisciplinary lecture series with my husband Matthew Tarnas Segall from 2011-2015. We recently moved to Nevada City in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California so that we might be closer to the natural world. My research interests include depth psychology, literature, philosophy, and the ecological imagination.

This website houses a selection of my essays, lecturespaintingspoems, stories, plays, and travels for the enjoyment and hopefully inspiration of others. Thank you for visiting!

18 Replies to “About Becca”

  1. A friend directed me to your site. We share a LOVE of Richard Tarnas’ work participating on an online monthly group. I am in my 10th year teaching middle school in the public school system in a very poor neighborhood. Briefly reading your bio connects me to thoughts about education. Clearly you are applying your creativity, discovering your point of view, and openly yearning to help humanity. We all are here to evolve. Thank you for heading into life with your heart open!!!

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed your presentation on Tolkien and Jung…you are a creative inspiration for young women (and men) alike! Thank you for reminding us that there is still such mystery, magic, and beauty in the world, yet to be uncovered…

  3. without words…..your words show that you are a special soul
    “I am deeply passionate about caring for the Earth, and finding ways through art and storytelling to help humanity continue to fall in love with our exquisite planet.”

  4. Becca… so many wonder-filled words. A world I ‘know’ is fast becoming only images. Esse in Anima. Have you yet ‘touched’ Jung and the anima. THE anima… SHE ?? This is a ‘man’s world’ ruled by ‘the feminine’. Only when Man understands this simple psychic ‘fact’ do we have any chance of Love — Love ‘of the world’, of each ‘other’, but most profoundly, of ourSelf.
    Spin your chrysalis carefully…for this is where Psyche ‘grows’ her wings.

  5. You are a remarkable person. Thank you for sharing your insights on Tolkien. And I agree that melding his images with Jung is a keen stratagem. I sincerely hope it proves fruitful for you. I am an old man now so seeing the heights that Tolkien has ascended (‘author of the century’ etc.) always strikes me a bit queer and marvelous. My own labor has to been to demonstrate a valid and useful ‘evolution of the imagination’ or arguing the ontological status of the imaginal realm (i.e., Faerie) that would not smack of overt credulity: Jung and Corbin have their uses certainly. Have you ever delved into Jung’s work with W. Pauli (e.g., on ‘psychoids’)? Another interesting and powerful mythopoeia to explore is William Blake’s prophecies. I found both N. Frye and K. Raine’s scholarship to be quite inspiring perhaps you might as well.
    Astrology, huh? Hmmm, I have always had trouble with it–don’t know why really. Can you perhaps recommend a good source for the skeptics?
    Godspeed and bona fortuna on your dissertation defense.

    1. Thank you Andrew for your kind and moving words. I am really touched. Your own work around understanding an evolution of the imagination sounds fascinating. While I am familiar with the names of those you recommend I have not looked deeply into the work of any of them, and haven’t yet looked into Jung’s work on psychoids. Thank you for the recommendations.

      As for your skepticism around astrology, I can completely understand. Recognizing that it works and is empirically valid is certainly not a matter of faith for me—it is a perspective I have come to over time. For skeptics I would recommend first and foremost the introduction to the book Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View. It was written by someone who came to the discipline as a skeptic and was convinced by the evidence. And if that appeals to you I would also recommend getting a reading of your natal chart by a good archetypal astrologer. I would be happy to continue the dialogue as well!

    2. Hello Andrew,
      I’ve been aware of the fact that Jung has been in contact with Wolfgang Pauli for some years, yet I never looked into it. I think remembering seeing a book listed with the title “The Jung-Pauli letters”.
      What you wrote about these two remarkable (and on first thought so vastly different) minds again sparks my interest. I’m going to look for it; I’m hugely curious.

  6. I remember perusing that book, C&P when it first came out. I’ll check it out again. Prof. R. Tarnas is your father, yes? And I am trying to wrap my mind around the conjunction of archetypes and astrology. I have bought into the atomic nature of consciousness to such a degree that it is difficult to see it as a public domain; and yet of course it is. How could we even think without culture after all? The unconscious is then alloyed within a nested system of ‘morphic biocultural’ fields–easy peasy. The tricky bit comes when you insist upon synchronistic correlations physically manifesting: golden scarabs, detonating bookcases, & U.F.O.s as “catalytic exteriorization phenomena” as exhibiting the archetypes psychoid nature as “transgressive” (i.e., not confined to the psyche). Still it does jibe with Whitehead’s notion of a “dipolar” conceptualization of actual entities.
    I was reading your essay on Teilhard in Archai and it got me thinking: if celestial planar patterns reliably align with human historical events, could they also correlate with non-human historical events? Again, Sheldrake’s ideas make this approach a natural extension. In other words, Becca, can you read the natal chart of a species (e.g., H.sapiens)? Also, the so-called Cambrian Explosion can be confined to a fairly narrow time span: Would that correlate with the archetypal planets in a discernible way?
    If it did I think that would be very exciting for it would be an example of a kind of conceptual trilocation: evolutionary-archetypal-astrology. Booya.
    Your houseplants know more about archetypal astrology than I do; but, since H.sapiens is the only species in our planet’s history to evolve symbolic communication…Could you not predict seeing something meaningfully significant going on with Mercury alongside the speciation of human beings–between 100 – 50kya with a peak around 75kya?
    Would do you think…honestly?

    1. As far as I am aware, because the solar system is in fact a chaotic system, we cannot predict where the planets will be with any accuracy more than a few million years out. So, similarly, we could not extrapolate planetary positions backwards to the Cambrian explosion with any confidence.

    2. Andrew, I can appreciate your difficulty with seeing the correlation between archetypes and astrology: one can think of the movement of the planets as like the hands of a clock, which do not cause it to be a particular time but rather correlate to that time. In a much more complex and nuanced way, it is the same with the movements and relationships between the planets, that they indicate the archetypal energies that are manifesting in events unfolding on Earth, in world events as well as in individuals’ personal experiences, without physically causing them to be so. This is where the concept of synchronicity comes in, when an external event meaningfully correlates to one’s internal experience and state of consciousness. Have you ever had one of those moments when you’re going through a particularly poignant experience or deeply emotional situation and a coincidence occurs outside of your control that exactly mirrors your internal state? Sometimes they are very simple, such as thinking of someone or having a dream about them, and then they call that day, or being given a book by someone when you were just thinking you need to learn more about a certain subject. The correlation of the movement of the planets with their archetypal manifestations can be seen as a continuously ongoing synchronicity between human events and the positions of the planets.

      As for your question about looking at the birth chart of the species, part of the difficulty is in the timescales. Not only what Matt said about not being able to predict the exact positions of the planets millions of years out but also that biological evolution takes place on time scales that are far larger than those that align with the positions of the planets. Most outer planets transits last about a decade or so, such as the alignment of Uranus and Pluto that took place in the 1960s and again right now from 2008-2020, that each correlate to widespread revolution, innovation, and titanic cultural shifts, or the Uranus-Neptune alignment of the 1990s that correlated with a seeming golden age of awakening and new consciousness, new hopes for a synthesis of science and spirituality, innovation in pervasive technologies such as the internet, New Age spirituality, re-enchantment in literature and film-making, and so forth. These time scales are significant in human history but are too narrow from what we understand of biological evolution. The longest transit of any two outer planets are when Neptune and Pluto align for a hundred years—the last trine (or 120° angle) between these two planets correlated exactly with the flourishing of the Romantic period in Europe. There are of course very significant moments of human evolution that correlate with longer alignments of the outer planets: the most prominent perhaps being the Axial Age as described by Karl Jaspers where all the world’s major religions find their source. To quote Jaspers:

      “Confucius and Lao-Tse were living in China, all the schools of Chinese philosophy came into being, including those of Mo Ti, Chuang Tse, Lieh Tzu and a host of others; India produced the Upanishads and Buddha and like China ran the whole gamut of philosophical possibilities down to materialism, skepticism and nihilism; in Iran Zarathustra taught a challenging view of the world as a struggle between good and evil; in Palestine the prophets made their appearance from Elijah by way of Isaiah and Jeremiah to Deutero-Isaiah; Greece witnessed the appearance of Homer, of the philosophers—Parmenides, Heraclitus and Plato,—of the tragedians, of Thucydides and Archimedes. Everything implied by these names developed during these few centuries almost simultaneously in China, India and the West.”
      — Karl Jaspers, Origin and Goal of History, p. 2

      It so happens that the Axial Period was also the only time in recorded human history that the three outer planets, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, were aligned in a triple conjunction, meaning they were located next to each other in the sky.

      I could go on, but if you’re interested I would suggest you read Cosmos and Psyche. And yes, you guessed correctly that Richard Tarnas is my father. I came to studying archetypal astrology and this work by my own long and winding path, but have found the world view to be absolutely resonant with my experience and direction.

  7. Hey Matthew.
    Thanks for the interest. I appreciate it considering the oddball nature of the idea. You guys are awesome. Full transparency, Whitehead is a tough read for me as his prose makes my head hurt but I much enjoyed the works of David Ray Griffin. I am wondering which of your several books I could actually read and understand. Is ‘World-Soul’ available on Kindle?Akin to seeing the ascent of Tolkien in the literary world, witnessing the increasing credibility of panenpsychism in consciousness studies as a viable alternative to eliminativism is kind of freaky for me. Back in the mid 90s I seriously considered applying to CIIS (under the sway of Wilber’s SES) but I chickened out. In a real sense Matthew, you and Becca and all the students engaged with the PCC program of study are truly heroic(no lie, no irony) in my eyes. When you witness people actually doing what you desire to do but are unable, for lack of heart or mind or spirit…it is an interesting feeling my friend. I just wish there was some way I could pitch in and help, seriously.

    I looked up ‘stability of the solar system’ in Wikipedia right after I sent in my comment yesterday, doh. I concede defeat. Damn you Chaos! Or at least I concede on the Cambrian Era. But truth be told I am more interested in the origin of anatomical / cognitive modern humans. The available evidence thus far gives every indication of a ‘punk eek’ emergence after basically a million years of the same old. Graphic artistic expression is dated at less than 75kya as essentially no one disputes something like Lascaux is indicative of the truly human i.e. logico-symbolic imagination.

    Therefore I am throwing down the gauntlet my brother…Surely the chaotic perturbations of the celestial spheres can hold steady long enough to allow H.sapiens ‘natal’ charts of a mere 100k to 50k bce, right? Wikipedia says the window of stability is on the order of a few tens of millions of years; so you know, it should be all good to crunch the vectors. My falsifiable hypothesis then is: Since the only organism to EVER develop Whitehead’s highest grade of feeling as symbolic reference (do I have that right?), would you not expect to see something pretty funky going on with Mercury 75k bce, seriously? A derivative corollary hypothesis would be a significant interaction between Mercury and Venus as I for one believe symbolic reference evolved by means of orthodox-Darwinian sexual selection; with the slight possibility of a Mars influence as their has been a significant re-emergence of group selection theory (due to presumed long species history of intergroup, internecine warfare).

    Honestly, I was just trying to think of an interesting and relatively easy paper you guys could do. Imagine. Just for a minute, imagine you actually got something…if not Mercury then something meaningful. On the holy crap scale how awesome would that be? And this is just a software program right…punch in the values and voila, get your correlations, right. Think what a sublime victory that would be for the predictive power of archetypal astrological theory. Evidence that the morphic field for our species is entangled with the material bodies of our cosmos. There’s a huge upside here for relatively little work; on par with SETI getting a nonrandom signal from a neighboring galaxy.

    I am trying to get you guys pumped….are you buying into this on any level at all? What’s the worst that can happen…wasting some time…isn’t that what research assistants are for?

    Shabbat Shalom from Texas y’all.

    1. “The Two Million-Year-Old Self” by Anthony Stevens.I like perspectives that don’t throw out the body with the bathwater. I was lured in by Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid. Hofstadter enchants logical philosophical speculation … Is there a ghost in the machine? 🙂

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