Psychedelics Today: Jung, Tolkien, and Human Imagination

In anticipation of the International Transpersonal Conference, which will take place from September 28 to October 1 in Prague, I had the honor of joining Joe Moore in dialogue on his podcast Psychedelics Today. We spoke about C.G. Jung’s Red Book and J.R.R. Tolkien’s stories of Middle-earth and his Red Book of Westmarch, as well as exploring facets of transpersonal psychology, archetypal cosmology and astrology, and the participatory relationship of the imagination to the collective unconscious.

The podcast is available here: Jung, Tolkien, and Human Imagination

Psychedelics Today

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Solar and Lunar, Feminine and Masculine

Along with millions of others across the United States, I had the great privilege of viewing the total Solar eclipse on August 21. I had traveled up to the Oregon Eclipse Symbiosis Gathering with family and friends, to witness the exact conjunction of the Moon with the Sun, a perfect alignment of two spheres in the morning sky. It would not be too much to say that the total eclipse was the most beautiful phenomenon I have ever seen, and one of the most numinous experiences I have had  this lifetime.

Our viewing conditions were excellent, with only wisps of subtle cloud across the sky. As the Moon slowly but inevitably covered the face of the Sun, the surrounding light became an iridescent silver-gold—I have called the kind of eclipse luminescence “elf-light” in the past. The colors of the natural world appeared to be separating out from one another as the sunlight continued to dim. At the moment of totality, the whole sky became a deep violet twilight. White sparkling stars emerged suddenly across the darkened sky. Venus, in all its glory, burst forth like a beacon from the sky, shining near the midheaven. The coniunctio of the eclipse itself was like a black and silver rainbow flower, the Sun’s corona flaring forth in arcs of energy around the dark face of the Moon.

I felt as though I was witnessing a cosmic, tantric marriage, that something so much greater than any of us human beings could conceive of was taking place before us. It felt as though the symbolic, archetypal, spiritual realm had merged fully with the physical realm, and we were living in both conjoined worlds for the two minutes of totality. I pray that I may see a total eclipse again, and will likely become an eclipse chaser to continue bearing witness to such a profound sight. Nothing I have encountered is comparable to it.


The day before the eclipse my father, Rick Tarnas, and I gave a dialogue on the Solar and Lunar archetypes, and their complex relationship to each other and to the feminine and masculine polarity and spectrum. In conversation together, we explored the ways in which we each embody these archetypes, individually and collectively, in communion with each other and in relation to the world and Earth community. Chad Harris made an audio recording of the talk, and Matt Segall kindly edited it together with photographs from the dialogue and of the eclipse itself. Many thanks to both of them for their help with this, as well as to the many PCC students and alumni who were at Symbiosis who attended the presentation!

 

Solar and Lunar, Feminine and Masculine 
A total Solar eclipse, the exact alignment of the Sun and Moon, has often been described as a cosmic enactment of the sacred marriage, king and queen, ruler of the day and ruler of the night. Many cultures have considered the Solar as symbolizing the masculine, and the Lunar as the feminine. But can we speak of “the feminine” in ways that don’t fall into the trap of a cultural stereotype, and same with “the masculine”? How can we liberate these categories in a way that would do justice to the diverse ways we have of being male and female, and of being human? Perhaps the ancient archetypal symbols of the Sun and Moon can help open up our understanding of the deep mysteries of the feminine and masculine so we can better articulate the great social and psychological transformation of gender roles and identities in our time.

Future Fossils: Living Through a Revolutionary Age

This past April, while attending the Psychedelic Science 2017 conference—hosted by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS)—I joined Michael Garfield in conversation on his podcast Future Fossils. Amidst the bustling crowds at the Oakland conference, which had a record-breaking 2,800 attendees, we discussed our current moment from an archetypal perspective. We looked at the connections between the current alignment of Jupiter, Uranus, and Pluto and the configuration of those same planets in the late 1960s, and how they relate to the psychedelic renaissance we are currently witnessing unfold in the larger culture. We also looked forward to the upcoming Saturn-Pluto conjunction that will be in the sky from 2018 through 2021, as well as touching on a range of other related topics.

The podcast is available here: Future Fossils: Living Through a Revolutionary Age

Future Fossils

Huldufólk: The Inhabitants of Iceland’s Faërian Realm

 

In the North Atlantic there is an island, and it is said that upon this island live two nations: the human nation of Iceland, and a second nation, one that is mysterious and veiled. This is the realm of the Huldufólk, Iceland’s “hidden people.”

This presentation, given at Esalen Institute in the autumn of 2016, offers a glimpse into the world of the Huldufólk and the dynamic landscape in which they live.

 

Turning of the Wheel

I joined Chris Flisher on his podcast Turning of the Wheel to discuss the current alignment of Saturn and Neptune, and how the archetypal qualities associated with these two planets are correlating with the unfolding 2016 U.S. election. Our conversation also touched on how the Saturn-Neptune archetypal complex is interacting with the expressions of the longer Uranus-Pluto square, and the many ways in which our contemporary moment is reflecting these dynamic energies.

The podcast is available for download or can be listened to here: Duty or Delusion? Saturn-Neptune and 2016 Election.

Turning of the Wheel

Archai Journal Panel: Issue 5

At the panel event celebrating the publication of Issue 5 of the Archai journal, each of the issue’s contributing authors spoke, introducing their articles and discussing the discipline of archetypal cosmology.

 

Issue 5, Saturn and the Theoretical Foundations of an Emerging Discipline can be ordered in paperback here, and as a Kindle edition here.

Conversations with Wild Women

I had the pleasure of joining Rachael Alaia in dialogue on her podcast Feral Intercourse: Conversations with Wild Women. We explored such topics as ecopsychology, mythology, archetypal astrology, and the creative power of the imagination, and we also spoke to the importance of acknowledging one’s pain and grief for the world as part of answering the call to action with compassion. The podcast is available on Soundcloud or iTunes.

Conversation with Wild Women

Exploring Jung: Astrology Podcast

I participated in a wonderful conversation on the podcast Exploring Astrology with Adam Sommer, where we spoke about C.G. Jung’s natal chart, his transits during his Red Book period, and several other astrological topics.

The podcast is available for download or can be listened here: Exploring Jung with Becca Tarnas.

Jung Mandala

Talking Tolkien and Jung on Rune Soup

I had the great pleasure of being interviewed by Gordon White, host of the London-based podcast Rune Soup. We discussed the synchronicity of the “Red Books” of Jung and Tolkien, as well as the role of the imaginal and the mythic in ecology. The podcast is available for download or can be listened to directly below.

“The Biology of Story” Now Live!

The interactive web documentary, The Biology of Story, created by Amnon Buchbinder, is now available online! The full website is fascinating to explore and has interviews with over one hundred individuals who speak about the many facets of story and the narrative tradition.

Becca Tarnas IndexMy own clips for the documentary are now accessible as well, exploring topics ranging from the imagination and ecology, to archetypal astrology, and my dissertation work on The Red Books of C.G. Jung and J.R.R. Tolkien. The full playlist of my videos is available here.

I encourage you to take the time to explore the many amazing offerings by the vast range of individuals the film makers have brought together!