Archetypal Astrology: A Glimpse of 2022

To welcome in the New Year, I will be offering a presentation for the Institute of Psychedelic Therapy, the same organization involved in publishing the book Psychedelics and Psychotherapy: The Healing Potential of Expanded States, to which I contributed a chapter last year.

The presentation is titled Archetypal Astrology: A Glimpse of 2022, and will provide an overview of the planetary transits for the coming year. I would be delighted to see many of you there!

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Archetypal astrology is the practice of studying correlations between the movements of the planets and the unfolding of human events on Earth, a celestial synchronization that intimates the deeply ensouled nature of the cosmos. This keynote presentation will explore the foundational principles of archetypal astrology, before taking a look ahead at the transits for 2022 to get a picture of what archetypal potentials may transpire. Such knowledge can help one navigate the collective zeitgeist with grace, integrating the challenges that may arise, the opportunities that may unfold, and the areas for growth that may be awakened.

This spectacular image of the Orion Nebula star-formation region was obtained from multiple exposures using the HAWK-I infrared camera on ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile. This is the deepest view ever of this region and reveals more very faint planetary-mass objects than expected.

Imagination as Birthright

Originally published in Imaginezine on October 9, 2021.

Close your eyes and turn your gaze inward. At first the image is dark, a soft warm glow behind the eyelids. But before long, a vision begins to take form.

The light increases and colors begin to differentiate: greens and yellows, deep browns and a hint of pale blue. The interplay of dappled light and shadow dances before your gaze. The edges clarify, crisp lines and measured dimensions extending in all directions around you. You look down and notice your feet nestled in cool grass. A meandering pathway stretches before you, winding around the roots of majestic trees, towering above you and filling the sky with their leafy branches. You take a step forward and hear water falling to your right. A short distance into these woods, a small stream begins to flow parallel to the grassy path you tread. It gathers in lilting pools, and the slim beams of sunlight that escape between the tree branches send dazzling sparkles across the surface of the swirling waters. As your focus on these glimmers of sun softens and blurs, the vision fades, and before you could mark the transition you find yourself seated back at your desk, physical eyes open, wondering where you just went.

This is the power of the imagination. The faculty of imagination has the ability to take our consciousness anywhere: to any time or place, from every region of the Earth to the farthest reaches of the evolving cosmos. We can visit the birth of time when the universe flared forth into being. We can enter into a yet unlived future, imagining a dystopian urban wasteland or an ecologically balanced utopia. We can cross the threshold into other worlds, whether Middle-earth, Narnia, Earthsea, or Wakanda.

In the modern era, the philosophical and scientific perspectives on imagination defined the products of this faculty as something unreal—simply made up, a mere fantasy. When speaking about imagination, the modern mind needs to use disparaging words to make clear that such expressions have no validity: it was “just your imagination,” “merely a fantasy,” “only a dream.” Such words rob the imagination of its power, or at least attempt to do so.

For without the imagination there would be no innovation, no scientific or technological breakthroughs, no great works of art, literature, and architecture. Civilization itself is built upon foundations of imagination, dreamed into being and imagined into reality.

The time has come to reclaim the imagination, to nurture its innate abilities in children and teach once again the techniques of its cultivation to adults. Imagination is inherent to humanity, and perhaps even to every species of the Earth community, a hidden property of the cosmos itself. Just as we need disciplines to hone our crafts and spiritual practices—from writing and painting, dance and carpentry, to meditation and prayer, yoga asanas and qi gong—so too we need disciplines to hone our ability to imagine: active imagination, lucid dreaming, visualization, intuitive art-making, and automatic writing.

So close your eyes and see where your inner vision and senses take you. The journey into the imaginal realm is your cosmic birthright.

Encountering the Archetypes in Astrology

This upcoming Saturday, October 30 I will be offering a presentation for Acyuta-bhava Das’s Nightlight Astrology School entitled “Encountering the Archetypes in Astrology“! The talk introduces the concept of archetypes from a philosophical, psychological, and spiritual perspective, demonstrating how a perception of archetypal principles can be applied to one’s astrological practice. The presentation will be hosted online, at 9:00–11:30 am Pacific time, 12:00–2:30 pm Eastern. Please visit the Events page of the Nightlight Astrology School for details on how to register for the event!

About the Workshop

What is an archetype, and how does it relate to astrology? This presentation will introduce the theory of archetypes from a philosophical and psychological perspective, exploring a lineage that extends from Plato in ancient Greece through C.G. Jung in 20th century Switzerland, to the contemporary disciplines of transpersonal psychology, participatory spirituality, and archetypal astrology. Learning to perceive the archetypal principles in the particulars of everyday life can deepen any astrological practice, and be applied methodologically to any branch of astrology.

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Return to Middle-Earth: Reading J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings

When dark times are upon us, we need support to sustain us through the long night. The myths and great legends of our cultural heritages provide tales of courage and heroism, beauty and sacrifice, and offer an archetypal pattern to follow in our own lives. Far from escapism, the literary imagination can carry us towards wise ways of taking on seemingly unsurmountable challenges, rebirthing ancient knowledge into new times and situations.

As the weight of the world seems only to grow heavier, I invite you to join me on a journey to an imaginal time that resembles our own more and more by the day. After a hiatus last year, it is my honor to offer for the third time my Nura Learning course Journey to the Imaginal Realm: Reading J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Whether you are new to Middle-earth or are familiar with its well-trod paths, we welcome you to join our literary fellowship, traveling through Tolkien’s chapters in good company. We depart on our journey on the autumn equinox, Wednesday, September 22—a day affectionately known as Hobbit Day.

What does it mean to be a Ring-bearer in such times? What humble heroic role do we each have to play in our own fellowship? I am sure many of us are asking the same questions as Frodo, wishing such events need not have happened in our time. But we can remember, as the wise Gandalf himself says: “…so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

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Course Description

The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien has been a beloved story to several generations since its publication in the mid-1950s. The story has a timeless quality to it, and engages with a complex struggle between good and evil, death and immortality, power and freedom. The Lord of the Rings blends otherworldly romance with the high rhetoric of epic mythology, at times interwoven with the internal depths of the nineteenth century novel and the political climate of the twentieth century. As Tolkien’s close friend and colleague C. S. Lewis once said: “Nothing quite like it has been done before. This book is like lightning from a clear sky . . . here are beauties which pierce like swords and burn like cold iron.”

The Lord of the Rings is a text treated by many as a sacred text, one to be returned to year after year, or read aloud with loved ones. The Lord of the Rings has become a myth for our time. This course, now in its second year running, offers a journey through Tolkien’s magnum opus in a community of learning, guided by a scholar who has spent more than two decades engaging Tolkien’s writings and artwork. This course is designed both for newcomers to Tolkien’s narrative, and for veteran travelers through Middle-earth’s many realms. Together we will explore the grand themes and hidden nuances of Tolkien’s epic story, connecting The Lord of the Rings to the larger mythology of Middle-earth, and situating Tolkien’s process of writing within his own powerful experiences of the imaginal realm.

To learn more and register, please visit: Nura Learning: Journey to the Imaginal Realm 

Astro Magia

A Symposium of Art, Academy, Philosophy, & Practice

September 17 – 19, 2021

It is my joy and honor to be offering a keynote presentation at the conference Astro Magia: A Symposium of Art, Academy, Philosophy, & Practice. This online symposium draws together an inspiring pantheon of voices on the subject of astrological magic, exploring the praxis of participatory engagement with a living, symbolic sky.

My keynote will take place on Saturday, September 18 at 4:00–5:30 pm Pacific time. The presentation is titled “The Sacral Hour: Archetypes, Synchronicity, and Magic,” and offers a contemporary philosophical and psychological perspective on astrological magic.

The Sacral Hour: Archetypes, Synchronicity, and Magic

Synchronicity is the meaningful coincidence of an inner experience with an outer event, in which there is no direct causal connection and yet there is a core archetypal symbolism informing the interconnected events. Astrology is the ancient practice of reading the archetypal story playing out across the heavens night after night. While by definition synchronicities are rare events, astrology can be understood as a continuously ongoing, collectively verifiable synchronicity: the meaningful coincidence of the positions of the planets relative to the archetypal unfolding of human events on Earth.

In the modern world view, synchronicities are seen as mere anomalies, chance events despite their extreme improbability. But synchronicity points towards a deeper meaning, one inherently familiar to ancient, medieval, and traditional paradigms: the cosmos is saturated with purpose, meaning, consciousness, and intelligence, an archetypally patterned web eternally woven by the co-arising divine soul of the world. To align ourselves with these archetypal threads is to participate in a magic that is thrumming every moment from the hidden heart of the cosmos.

While astrological magic has ancient roots, practicing it in the contemporary world requires a synthesis and integration with modern philosophy, psychology, religion, and spirituality in order to bring forward language and concepts that can speak to our place in an evolving cosmos. Archetypal theory, synchronicity, and participatory spirituality are all foundational concepts that can support the praxis of astrological magic in a paradigm reawakening to cosmic enchantment.

Learn More & Register for the Symposium!

Jung’s Red Book and Active Imagination

This Wednesday, June 9 at 7:30–9:30 pm Pacific time I will be offering an online presentation for the C.G. Jung Society of Vancouver entitled “Jung’s Red Book and Active Imagination.” The presentation is based on the chapter I wrote for the fourth volume of Jung’s Red Book for Our Time: Searching for Soul Under Postmodern Conditions, edited by Murray Stein and Thomas Arzt.

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In this talk I will speak about Jung’s Red Book, and how the active imagination fantasies Jung experienced can be understood as a co-creation of the human faculty of imagination in participatory relationship with the archetypes of the collective unconscious. After the presentation we will have time for questions and dialogue!

Jung’s Relationship to Astrology

This Saturday, May 29 at noon Pacific time I will be offering a presentation for the Jung Archademy on “Jung’s Relationship to Astrology.”

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In recent years, new scholarship has been emerging demonstrating the essential role the discipline of astrology played in the development and practice of C. G. Jung’s analytical psychology. In 1911, Jung wrote a letter to Freud in which he said that his nights were occupied with the study of astrology, to which Freud responded that Jung would be “accused of mysticism.” Jung kept his practice of astrology relatively concealed, but based upon evidence in his own writings, as well as statements he made late in his life, Jung was drawing on astrological wisdom regularly for both personal use and with his patients.

Drawing on the research of Liz Greene, Keiron Le Grice, and Safron Rossi, this presentation will demonstrate the role astrology played in Jung’s analytic practice, as well as the significant ways in which he drew on astrological symbolism in the transformative process of creating The Red Book. By understanding how astrology influenced the development of Jungian psychology—and how depth psychology has subsequently shaped modern astrology—we can see how the astrological discipline can complement, enhance, and deepen the psychotherapy practiced today.

Awakening to Archetypal Astrology Course

This year has already been full of several major projects for me, and one that I am especially eager to share with you has just been launched: my first online introductory course to the practice of archetypal astrology. The course is offered through the Academy of Oracle Arts, a Nevada City-based center for higher and deeper learning. In many ways this course is a culmination of more than a decade of astrological learning and practice, and it is my joy and honor to be able to present it to you.

As I was writing the lectures, I came to recognize how much the course itself is an homage to my father Richard Tarnas, who has been my greatest teacher in this work. I chose to build the course around his foundational text Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View, giving a new generation of students the opportunity to explore deeply the book that was being written throughout my entire childhood.

The course launches on May 1, and each of the six modules of the course will be released weekly over the next month and a half, and will be available in perpetuity. This is an evergreen course, meaning it will be available for students to enroll in at any time, and to study the material at one’s own pace. You will be able to return to the lectures again and again so they can support you in developing your own engaged astrological practice.

Register for Awakening to Archetypal Astrology!

Course Description
Archetypal astrology is a discipline that emerges from the interweaving of the astrological tradition with depth psychology and transpersonal spirituality. This introductory course lays the foundations for an astrological practice, beginning with an examination of world views and the history of the archetypal perspective, followed by a study of the basic principles and techniques of archetypal astrology: the meanings of the planets, aspects, and zodiacal signs, how to read a natal chart and explore the world transits, and how to calculate personal transits and keep a transit journal. Participants in the course will be given the tools for their own ethical astrological practice, cultivating the capacity for deep inner reflection, relational understanding and growth, and an archetypal perception of the cosmos in which we are all embedded.

Course Outline

Class 1 – Introduction to course material
• A brief history of astrology in the West
• World views and synchronicity

Class 2 – Planets and aspects
• Archetypes in philosophy, psychology, and astrology
• Saturn and Uranus cycles

Class 3 – Signs of the zodiac
• World transits
• Uranus-Pluto cycles

Class 4 – Natal charts
• House systems and angles
• Saturn-Pluto cycles

Class 5 – Personal transits
• Reading an ephemeris and using software
• Jupiter-Uranus cycles

Class 6 – Ethics of astrology
• Uranus-Neptune cycles
• Living in an astrological world view

Register for the course Awakening to Archetypal Astrology:

The Astrology of Awakening II: Renewal of Hope

A Free 4-Day Online Astrology Summit

April 15 – 18, 2021

I am deeply honored to be offering my first ever keynote presentation at a conference, The Astrology of Awakening II: Renewal of Hope. This online astrology summit is a celebration of women astrologers who are bringing forward new perspectives of hope by drawing on the ancient wisdom of the astrological tradition.

My keynote presentation will take place on Thursday, April 15 at 10:00–11:30 pm Pacific time. The presentation is titled “Awakening to Responsibility” and will focus on the current Saturn-Uranus square alignment that is illuminating the skies through 2023:

At the U.S. Inauguration, Senator Amy Klobuchar stated that the January 6 insurrection “awakened us to our responsibility as Americans.” This statement reflects the archetypal principles of our current Saturn-Uranus square, in alignment from 2020 through 2023. Saturn is the principle of responsibility, commitment, discipline and order, but also of restriction, imprisonment, and authority; Uranus symbolizes freedom, rebellion, and liberation, as well as awakening and revelation. History demonstrates that these two contradictory archetypal principles create a zeitgeist in which sudden and unexpected crises can initiate the breakdown of traditional or oppressive structures, with the potential to bring revolutionary change into concrete structural form.

Learn More & Register for the Summit!

Practical Jung

For those who might be interested in joining a live interview I am doing tomorrow, I will be speaking with Aiden Moore of the Practical Jung series about Jung’s and Tolkien’s Red Books!

The event will take place on Sunday, January 31 at 11:30 am–1:30 pm Pacific time, and will include the interview, a question and answer segment, small group discussions, and a closing dialogue. I would be delighted to see you there!

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About the Practical Jung Series
Practical Jung is a regular series spearheaded by Aiden Moore within the 52 Living Ideas community. We meet for two hours every other Sun at 2:30 Eastern time to explore how we can practically apply the wisdom of Carl Jung to our everyday lives. Jung’s ideas are often cloaked in abstract language that is hard to digest. Given that fact, I wanted to create a conversation and community around Jungian psychology that is for the rest of us! A conversation that works to demystifying some of his ideas and make them applicable to our daily living—regardless of our previous experience with Jungian psychology.

Each session will include an interview with an expert in the field of Jungian psychology and the conversation will revolve around a specific topic (like romantic relationships, anxiety, projection, shadow, etc.). These sessions are for people of all levels – newly curious about Jung to established Jungian analysts – so whatever your previous experience in the field you are sure to walk away with something practical to apply to your own life!”

1) Interview
2) Q&A
3) Break-out room discussion
4) Takeaways

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