A year ago I was interviewed by Cintia Detre for her project Warriors of the Shadow: A Bold Request for Worldwide Emotional Intimacy. She describes the conception of this project as follows:
The Warriors of the Shadow project was born out of my desire to embody the alchemical procedure of solve et coagula on multiple octaves—separation and conjunction, the blade of Mars and the chalice of Venus, to confront all our fears that stand in the way of love. It touches many orders of relationships, the one with ourselves, with other humans, humanity’s relationship with nature and with the imaginal realms. As such, the project itself took on a peculiar journey, changing our relationship with space and time as we know it.
Listening back to this interview a year later, I find it prescient to hear the themes we were exploring, and how much more concrete they feel in the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic. Together we discussed the archetypal qualities of the Saturn-Pluto, conjunction which reached exact alignment this year, exploring the role of shadow-work, birth pain and the multiple meanings of contraction, and the importance of community while taking on our own small but essential tasks amidst the monumental work ahead.
It was an honor to participate in this conversation, and I am grateful to Cintia for the opportunity to speak about these ideas and images.
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!”
By the way, if anyone feels compelled after listening to this episode to join my course Songs of the Spheres that is being offered through the Music As Medicine Project, please do get in touch. Although the course has already started, we have been recording the classes and new students are welcome to catch up and join our wonderful cohort!
This short clip filmed by Susan Hess Logeais for her film on Stanislav Grof, The Way of the Psychonaut, is my attempt to define what an archetype is and how it relates to astrology, in the context of the philosophical and psychological lineages informing the archetypal perspective.
I recently had a wonderful and engaging conversation with Scarlet and Dan of the Cosmic Keys Podcast, in which we discussed spirituality and astrology, the metaphysics of archetypal dynamics, ecology and climate change, and of course, the connections between the Red Books of C.G. Jung and J.R.R. Tolkien. We also discussed my upcoming course Songs of the Spheres, which begins February 17 (for those still interested in registering!) The episode begins with Scarlet and Dan giving a tarot and astrology forecast for the week of January 27–February 2, 2020.
The episode can be listened to through the Cosmic Keys website, or directly below.
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.”
I once again had the privilege of joining the evolutionary astrologer Sabrina Monarch on her podcast Magic of the Spheres. The last time we conversed we discussed the planetary combinations of Venus, so for this episode we mused over the planetary combinations of Mercury, looking at how the archetype of the intellect, the mind, communication, speaking, writing, and learning is inflected when in aspect to the other planets of the solar system.
As before, our conversation was released in two episodes: in the first episode we discussed Mercury in combination with the Sun, Moon, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn—perhaps fittingly spending the most time with the Mercury-Saturn archetypal complex, discussing “dead languages” and how words are fossils of culture and history. We explored Mercury as it expresses in people’s communication styles but also some of the esoteric qualities of Mercury such as spell-casting and the power of etymology. In the second episode we discussed Mercury in combination with Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, seeing how the transpersonal archetypes come through in our modes of communication.
Entering into dialogue with Sabrina is an act of spell-casting itself, and as we both felt when recording the previous episode, it seemed we had entered into a mythic chamber of symbols, dropping once more into a timeless realm.
Part I: Planetary Combinations of Mercury – Venus and the Chaldeans
Part II: Planetary Combinations of Mercury – Venus and the Transpersonal Planets
Adam Sommer and I seem to have a penchant for holding podcast conversations close to eclipses, and entering into imaginal worlds of word and whimsy together. Some of our themes for my third visit to his podcast Holes to Heavens were plants, planets, and dreams, with discussions of the current Saturn-Pluto conjunction, the mysteries of Eleusis, pipeweed in Middle-earth, and the risk of reductionism in astrology, psychology, and literature.
The podcast is available for download, or can be listened to here: Imaginal Realms with Becca Tarnas.
The archetypal qualities of the Saturn-Pluto conjunction dominating our heavens is correlating in ever-more critical ways with events unfolding on our planet, especially this week as the alignment approaches exact conjunction, perfecting for the first time on January 12. How do we navigate this time? In what ways can we find ground, strength, and stability when weathering the storm and facing the shadow?
I am truly honored to be participating on a panel of astrologers hosted by the Nightlight Astrology School to discuss this intensely potent alignment. The Saturn-Pluto Astrological Panel will feature Samuel Reynolds, Jason Holley, Gray Crawford, Rebecca Gordon, Patrick Watson, Leisa Schaim, and our host, Acyuta-bhava (Adam Elenbaas).
Description from the Nightlight Astrology School
Join us for a star-studded astrology panel discussion on the meaning of the upcoming conjunction of Saturn and Pluto in the sign of Capricorn, this January 12th. For many who study astrology, this relatively rare transit (occurring once every 33–38 years) has a reputation for being ominous and anxiety-provoking, and for some very good reasons. However, the focus of our panel discussion will be to present the deeper symbolic meaning of Saturn and Pluto’s conjunction alongside a variety of constructive suggestions for how to make this encounter a more soulful experience. We will also be taking live questions and answers from the audience and hope to generate a meaningful discussion in the midst of what for many are challenging times!
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.