Jung’s Participatory Imagination

This Sunday, August 30 I will be offering an online presentation for the Carl Jung Depth Psychology Reading Group. The presentation is titled “The Participatory Imagination,” and is based upon 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.

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. These are ideas that arose while I was writing my dissertation, and while they have implicitly informed many of my presentations and classes, this is the first time I am giving a lecture entirely devoted to this topic! After the presentation we will have time for questions and dialogue.

For those unable to attend the live event, the recording is now available:

Returning to the InnerVerse Podcast

I was kindly invited by Chance Garton to return to his InnerVerse Podcast, to continue our conversation on numerous facets of J.R.R. Tolkien’s stories of Middle-earth and the Land of Faërie, and to explore what it means to recover and integrate mythic consciousness into our awareness.

The first hour of our conversation is available publicly, and can be accessed through the InnerVerse website or listened to directly below. In the first hour, we discussed the esoteric wisdom of Tolkien’s works and how in the Perilous Realm, one will find mystical enchantment and mortal danger in equal measure. We spoke about legends of the huldufólk, Iceland’s hidden people, the mythic consciousness of our ancestors, and how the love of language, the magic spelling of words, and the archetype of the inner child can help one recover the beauty and wonder of life.

In the second hour, which is available to Patreon supporters of InnerVerse, Chance and I explored the misenchantment (a term coined by Matt Segall) of culture through media and materialistic belief systems, Tolkien’s final tale Smith of Wootton Major, the Queen of Faërie at the heart of the imaginal realm, and the Elvish mediators between spirit and matter. The second hour is well worth the listen, and Chance’s podcast is most definitely worth supporting as well through Patreon!

To listen to the first hour: Re-Enchanting the World and Tales from the Perilous Realm

To listen to the second hour: InnerVerse on Patreon

 

Coronation: Seeking Symbolic Meaning in a Time of Uncertainty

This Saturday, April 11 at 11:00 am Pacific time, I will be participating in a dialogue with David Pressault and Gary S. Bobroff on the theme of Coronation: Seeking Symbolic Meaning in a Time of Uncertainty.

As we find ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic, we can look at the larger cosmological and archetypal patterns as well as our dreams to find meaning. What archetypal energies are seeking expression now? What are our dreams saying? What is changing within us?

At this time, the outer planets Saturn and Pluto are in alignment with each other, a transit that began in 2018, reached exactitude on January 12, 2020, and will continue to be in orb through 2021. Historically, Saturn-Pluto alignments have correlated with time periods of major crisis, conflict, division, challenge, and the moral call to face the shadow within oneself and in the collective, whether that is in times of war, economic collapse, or viral epidemics.

In this online panel Gary, David, and I will explore dreams, archetypes and the history of Saturn-Pluto world transits, as a means to seek meaning in our current challenges. We’ll offer perspectives on how best to participate in the archetypal dynamics as they continue to unfold.

To register for this event please visit: Jung Archademy

Coronation

Re-Enchantment and Its Shadows

My friend and colleague Tom Purton and I will be presenting for the PCC Forum on the subject of “Re-Enchantment and Its Shadows,” next Thursday, April 2 at 7:00 pm Pacific time. The idea for this talk was conceived at Esalen, and it has taken on new significance in the shadow of our current global pandemic. The talk will take place on Zoom, and anyone who is interested is most welcome to join: https://ciis.zoom.us/j/478093649. To join, please message me for the passcode.

Event Description
In the account of human history provided by Robert Bellah, the mythic mind—the place of narrative, sentient nature, and enchantment—progressively yields to the theoretic mind, the place of science, rationality, and skepticism. Myth became fairy-story, fairy-story became fantasy, and the embedded quality of myth in our everyday lives was cut adrift. Can this seemingly inexorable process be stopped, or can it perhaps be alchemized into something new, something reborn? And if the mythic mind is the mind of enchantment, what might be its own shadows?

Becca Tarnas and Tom Purton will explore these questions using excerpts from The Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, Apocalypse Now, and other films and stories, and will look at the attempts made by Tolkien, Heidegger, Aurobindo, and others to find enchantment’s remaining havens.

About the Speakers
Tom Purton, PhD, holds a MA in Psychoanalysis and a phD in Philosophy, Cosmology and Consciousness from CIIS, writing his dissertation on the connections between Stanislav Grof’s work and Hindu thought. He is presently completing a diploma in Sanskrit and post-graduate study at CIIS. His research interests include Kleinian and Lacanian psychoanalysis, transpersonal psychology, Indology, literature, and philosophy.

Becca Tarnas, PhD, is a scholar, artist, and editor of Archai: The Journal of Archetypal Cosmology. She received her doctorate in Philosophy and Religion from CIIS, with her dissertation titled The Back of Beyond: The Red Books of C. G. Jung and J. R. R. Tolkien. Her research interests include depth psychology, literature, philosophy, and the ecological imagination. She teaches in the Jungian Psychology and Archetypal Studies program at Pacifica Graduate Institute, and is author of the book Journey to the Imaginal Realm: A Reader’s Guide to J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.

Nazgûl

InnerVerse Podcast

Chance Garton, the wonderful host of the InnerVerse Podcast, kindly invited me to participate in a truly rich and deep conversation on The Lord of the Rings. We began by discussing my book Journal to the Imaginal Realm, and soon expanded into innumerable Tolkienian subjects, delving into the First Age of Arda, the cosmogonic music of the Ainulindalë, Tolkien’s notion of sub-creation and how it relates to Coleridge’s ideas of the Primary and Secondary Imagination, and many other such enticing subjects.

The first hour of our conversation is available publicly, and can be accessed through the InnerVerse website or listened to directly below. In the first hour, we discussed the source of the human imagination, the Atlantis myth as told in Middle-earth, the parallels between the Red Books of C.G. Jung and J.R.R. Tolkien, and the means by which great stories are able to immerse us in an enchanted otherworld.

The second hour is available to Patreon supporters of InnerVerse, and I must say it is well worth subscribing to hear the places our conversation took us (as well as to have access to all the other wonderful episodes in the InnerVerse archive!) In the second hour, Chance and I explored Tolkien’s use of Venusian symbolism, the archetype of the syzygy of Solar and Lunar, Tolkien’s critique of industrialization, the enigmatic character of Tom Bombadil, as well as wading into the difference between polarity and binary, Solar feminine and Lunar masculine, and of course the essential topic of ecological crisis and our relationship to the Earth.

To listen to the first hour: Journey to the Imaginal Realm: Archetypes in The Lord of the Rings

To listen to the second hour: InnerVerse on Patreon

As Chance said: “Get ready for an unexpected journey!” 

 

Publication of Issue 7, “Archai: The Journal of Archetypal Cosmology”

It is with deep joy that I announce the publication of Issue 7 of Archai: The Journal of Archetypal Cosmology, titled Historical Roots and Current Flowerings. The issue is now available in paperback, and will soon be released as a Kindle ebook as well!

To read two preview articles written by Laura Michetti and Daniel Joseph Polikoff, please visit our page Current Issue page.

The seventh issue of the Archai journal has been long in the gestation process, and seemed to be awaiting the exact conjunction of Saturn and Pluto before coming to birth. The issue was completed during the New Moon in Aquarius, on January 24, 2020, just twelve days after Saturn and Pluto made their exact alignment in Capricorn. It has been an honor and a privilege to work with each author for this issue, and I am immensely proud of the result and so grateful for all that the authors have contributed.

The issue is dedicated to the late Gerry Goddard, in honor of his significant contributions to the intersections of archetypal cosmology and transpersonal psychology. We had the privilege of including in the volume one of his pieces of writing, titled “Toward an Astrological Model of Consciousness.”

Archai 7 Front CoverAbout the Issue:

The historical roots of archetypal cosmology extend across the globe and deep into the reaches of time. This issue draws together several such lineages, while also turning toward further flowerings of archetypal cosmology in the contemporary world, such as the theoretical connections between astrological archetypes and psychological types. The contributing authors—including Laura Michetti, Petr Lisý, Daniel Polikoff, and Gerry Goddard—offer articles on such historical subjects as the Persian origins of the Saturn return, the importance of Prague in the development of transpersonal psychology and archetypal cosmology, and the Romantic and poetic lineages of those same disciplines. Richard Tarnas explores the role astrology can play in our current time of crisis. The issue closes with three book reviews on the subject of C. G. Jung’s relationship to astrology, and the significant collaborative role Toni Wolff held in the development of analytical psychology.

Table of Contents:

• Laura Michetti – “Persian Conjunctions and the Origins of the Saturn Return
• Petr Lisý – “The Archetypal Tradition of Prague”
• Daniel Joseph Polikoff – “Rowing Back: The Romantic Origins of Transpersonal Psychology
• Michael Kiyoshi Salvatore – “Astrology and Psychological Types”
• Richard Tarnas – “The Role of Astrology in a Civilization in Crisis”
• Gerry Goddard – “Toward an Astrological Model of Consciousness”
• Gustavo Beck – “C. G. Jung’s Textual Firmament: A Review of Safron Rossi’s and Keiron Le Grice’s Jung on Astrology”
• Safron Rossi – “A Review of Jung’s Studies in Astrology: Prophecy, Magic, and the Qualities of Time and The Astrological World of Jung’s Liber Novus: Daimons, Gods, and the Planetary Journey by Liz Greene”
• Becca Tarnas – “An Astrological Review of Toni Wolff & C. G. Jung: A Collaboration by Nan Savage Healy”

To order a copy of the issue, please visit: Historical Roots and Current Flowerings

Two Nightlight Astrology School Presentations

Over the last couple years I have kindly been invited by Acyuta-bhava Dasa to present for the Nightlight Astrology School on topics dear to my heart: “The Astrology of J.R.R. Tolkien” and “The Astrology of Jung’s Red Book.” I am now sharing the videos of each of these presentations, which were recorded about a year apart. Thank you to all those who expressed interest in seeing these presentations and who have waited patiently for the recording!

While my dissertation research focused on the parallels between the Red Books of C.G. Jung and J.R.R. Tolkien, these two presentations treat their works separately, viewing them each through an astrological lens. If the presentations are viewed in conjunction, you will certainly see the overlaps and parallels, in the timing of events and the correlated astrological transits, and in the symbolic content of each.

The Astrology of J.R.R. Tolkien

J.R.R. Tolkien is best known as the author of the fantasy epic The Lord of the Rings, first published in the mid-1950s and now translated into almost 40 languages. Tolkien first began writing about the world of Middle-earth during World War I, and continued doing so almost until the end of his life in 1973. Although he is best known as a writer, Tolkien was also a visual artist and an extraordinary linguist, holding a position as a professor of philology at Oxford University in England. As his close friend and colleague C.S. Lewis once said: “He had been inside language.” Drawing on an archetypal astrological perspective, this presentation will explore the natal chart of J.R.R. Tolkien, as well as his transits during the creation of some of his major works of art and writing.

The Astrology of Jung’s Red Book

Recently, new scholarship has been emerging demonstrating the essential role astrology played in the development of C.G. Jung’s analytical psychology. Although Jung kept his practice of astrology relatively concealed, he was using it regularly with his patients. With particular focus on Jung’s remarkable manuscript Liber Novus, better known as The Red Book, this presentation looks at the role astrology played in shaping Jung’s psychology and world view, drawing significantly on Liz Greene’s work to explore the astrological symbolism throughout The Red Book, as well as the transits Jung was experiencing at the time of his self-described “confrontation with the unconscious.”

Songs of the Spheres: Exploring Music Through Astrology

Songs of the Spheres.jpg

During the final month of winter, I will be collaborating with Lydia Violet Harutoonian’s Music as Medicine Project to offer the online course Songs of the Spheres: Exploring Music Through Astrology. This course will offer a basic foundation in archetypal astrology, using music as a means to illustrate the planetary archetypes and using astrology to illuminate some of the deeper symbolic dimensions of music and musicians. Each week of the course is oriented around a particular archetypal theme, focusing on the natal charts of specific musicians to see how their astrological signatures have manifested through their music.

Learn More and Register

Course Description

Music calls to the soul. Music speaks a language more accessible to the emotions and the imagination than the intellect. Music can awaken, heal, and bring catharsis. Why is that? Music is more than simply a human artifact—it is a channel for the sacred powers of this world, the archetypes that stand behind the cosmos. The ancients could hear the music of the spheres. Today, one way we can rediscover those songs is through astrological practice.

Using the discipline of astrology, this course will explore a variety of musicians and genres through an archetypal lens. The course will open with an introduction to archetypal astrology, unpacking the meanings of the planets and the aspects, before turning this knowledge toward analyzing the natal charts of different musicians to see how the configurations of the planets have manifested in their musical creations. Music and astrology naturally illuminate one another, and not only will this course offer a basic foundation in archetypal astrology, it will deepen one’s awareness of the archetypes at play in the music created by the human family.

To learn more and register, please visit: Music As Medicine: Songs of the Spheres

Talking Creation, Faërie, and Facing 2020 on Rune Soup

It’s a potent week for podcasts! Gordon White and I had our third and perhaps most compelling and exploratory conversation yet on his podcast Rune Soup. We discussed J.R.R. Tolkien’s notion of Faërie, fantasy, and imagination, connecting the principles outlined in his groundbreaking essay “On Fairy-Stories” with his creation myth the Ainulindalë: theory and practice of the sub-creative imagination. In our discussion of my new book, Journey to the Imaginal Realm, we also spoke of how The Lord of the Rings provides a powerful mythos for facing the great challenges in our current era, which are reaching a new peak in 2020. The podcast is available for download or can be listened to directly below.

Aeon Byte Gnostic Radio: Jung, Tolkien & the Imaginal

When I first started researching the parallels between Jung’s Red Book and Tolkien’s Red Book of Westmarch, I came across a wonderful 2011 interview with the Gnostic scholar Lance S. Owens, conducted by Miguel Conner of Aeon Byte Gnostic Radio and titled “Gnostic Themes in Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.” The ideas set forth both affirmed and furthered my thinking on the two Red Books, and Owens became an essential source in my research.

Now, seven years after I first heard that interview, I had the great honor of being invited myself onto that same podcast to discuss my new book, Journey to the Imaginal Realm, with Miguel Conner. To listen, here is the interview: “Jung, Tolkien, and the Imaginal.”

Jung Tolkien and the Imaginal with Becca Tarnas

We intimately understand the events and processes that allowed C.G. Jung and J.R.R. Tolkien to enter the Imaginal. Can we access those creative energies and charged symbols from the realm of archetypes to alchemically transform ourselves and the surrounding culture for the better? Our quest into the minds of these magicians of the imagination leads us as well to discover the deeper meanings in such hallowed works as The Lord of the Rings and The Red Book.