Magic of the Spheres with Sabrina Monarch

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

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Imaginal Realms with Adam Sommer

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.

Imaginal Realms

Saturn-Pluto: An Astrological Panel Talk

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! 

 

Transits for the Capricorn Lunation

The new decade is upon us, the Earth having completed another journey around the Sun. My transit updates are a little late this lunation, due to the fullness of the holiday season and all this time of year demands of us and delights us with.

I feel a clarity and sense of balance between time and timelessness in these opening days of 2020. A great deal weighs upon one side of the scale, with a full sign of Capricorn, hosting the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto duration this lunation. Yet the other side of the scale is not empty, as it is what we do and how we participate that will determine the balance.

I hope you enjoy the guidance these short transit updates can provide you throughout the lunation. I recommend printing out a copy and affixing it near your calendar, your desk, your bed, or your altar, so you can check in each morning and evening to see what the day and night hold in store.

Lunar Eclipse

Transits of the
Capricorn Lunation

The date and time indicate when the transit is in exact alignment. For transits of the Moon these will last for several hours, whereas inner planet transits may last for several days, or even longer. All times are given in Pacific time.

* December 25 @ 9:13 pm PT * Solar Eclipse at 4° Capricorn, a Mercury-Sun-Moon-Jupiter stellium. New successful ideas can be incarnated and manifested. Plant the seed, that it may flower in the next Moon’s turn into a new light in the world. An eclipse opens the portal between realms.

* December 27 @ 10:25 am PT * The Sun conjoins Jupiter in Capricorn, as the Moon conjoins Saturn and Pluto. This heavily packed sign of Capricorn may correlate with emotional weight and perhaps even grief, although the Sun-Jupiter may cast an aura of some celebratory energy through the chill air.

* December 28 @ 8:55 pm PT * Mercury enters Capricorn, adding yet another planet to an overly full sign. Your mental capacity may become more clear and rarified, offering the opportunity to proceed towards tasks in an orderly and organized manner between now and January 16.

* December 31 @ 4:15 pm PT * The Sun in Capricorn sextiles the Pisces Moon conjunct Neptune. This final day of the decade may feel like a soft inward glow, bringing a dreamy, intoxicating, and emotionally permeable feeling to the day.

• January 2 @ 8:45 pm PT * Mercury conjoins Jupiter in Capricorn as the Aries Moon makes the waxing square to the Sun. Take action on behalf of the inner sphere of the home, hearth, and psyche, laying the groundwork for an open and expansive mind to call in abundant possibilities.

* January 3 @ 1:37 am PT * Mars moves into Sagittarius, igniting the archer’s arrow and kindling the call to action. Strive towards your broadening horizons, directing your energy to serve your greater goals. Tend the burning embers of your will between now and February 16.

* January 5 @ 1:37 pm PT * Sun-Mercury in Capricorn makes a trine to the exalted Gibbous Moon in Taurus. Check the seeds you planted at the Solar Eclipse. Are there leaves growing? Reflect on what nourishment and material support you need to see your intentions through to their flowering.

* January 6 @ 10:21 pm PT * The Sun sextiles Neptune in Pisces, directing soft focus onto themes of dream, vision, imagination, fantasy, and magic. See through the illusions and beyond the mirage to the truth of the image.

* January 8 @ 5:03 am PT * Neptune in Pisces receives both a square from the Gemini Quarter Moon and a sextile from Capricorn Mercury. The dreamy, sensitive, imagistic atmosphere continues, saturating body and mind. Bathe in the waters of subtle inspiration.

* January 9 @ 4:00 pm PT * The Moon slides into Cancer before coming into opposition with Jupiter in Capricorn. While this may bring in some much needed feelings of joy, it can also lead to emotional and relational overextension and potential overwhelm.

* January 10 @ 11:21 am PT * The Sun conjoins Mercury in Capricorn before crossing into the Lunar Eclipse at 20° Cancer. The Moon will make oppositions to Mercury, Saturn, and Pluto in short succession, reflecting a potentially powerful contraction and perhaps deep inner catharsis. Stay within, stay with it, see it through, think it through, be with thyself.

* January 12 @ 8:59 am PT * The day of long-awaiting arrives: Saturn conjoins Pluto at 21° Capricorn, perfecting a world transit that came into orb in early 2018. The experience of contraction, crisis, division, othering, intense negation, deplorable heaviness, consequential judgement, and irrevocable destruction reaches a peak. The ripples of this transit will continue through 2021. Do the deep work, face the shadow within and without, forge your moral ground.

* January 13 @ 5:20 am PT * The Sun conjoins Saturn and Pluto, focusing intense concentration upon the dominating Saturn-Pluto zeitgeist. A light in the darkness, or a glaring illumination of shadow, showing the underbelly of the dragon in stark and shattering relief.

* January 14 @ 10:41 pm PT * The Capricorn Sun trines the Disseminating Moon in Virgo. Find acceptance and resource yourself through clear, organizational channels. Perhaps record your thoughts on the archetypal qualities of the current moment and the potent days just passed.

* January 15 @ 3:18 pm PT * Exalted Venus in Pisces makes a sextile to Uranus in Taurus, enhancing the potential for sparkling social connections that may have an awakening flutter of dreamy joy to them. Dress with flair, expressing your unique beauties.

* January 17 @ 4:58 am PT * The Moon in Libra makes its waning square to the Sun, before the Moon soon submerges into Scorpio. Reevaluate how you expend your energy when engaging with others. Assess your needs, and whether they really are needs—or are they wants?

* January 18 @ 12:32 am PT * Mercury in early Aquarius squares Uranus in Taurus. The hummingbird mind awakens, fluttering from idea to idea like a hummingbird darts from flower to flower. Follow the book fairy, playing with bibliomancy to pluck the right idea from the synchronicitous page. Leave books open everywhere.

* January 19 @ 1:21 pm PT * The Balsamic Moon in Scorpio sextiles the Sun, just before the Moon leaps into Sagittarius. The candle burns low in the wax, but still flickers and illuminates nonetheless. Take time to gather this harvest of this lunation, as the darkness of the New Moon begins to approach.

* January 20 @ 6:55 am PT * The Sun ingresses into Aquarius as the Moon conjoins Mars in Sagittarius. Direct any irritable, frustrated, rash energy towards expressive action, finding innovative solutions to the apparent aggravations in your path.

* January 22 @ 10:54 pm PT * The Moon in Capricorn conjoins Jupiter, just as the Sun squares Uranus. Watch for the spark of sudden insight, the unexpected disruption, the expansive joy that can come with opening up to a new realm of possibility.

* January 24 @ 1:42 pm PT * The Moon sidles into Aquarius in time for the New Moon. We are in the dry, airy midwinter season where seeds planted must stay in the cold hard Earth and await germination patiently. The seed that is slow to sprout may outlast the winter storms. Set intentions that will endure beyond just this next lunation cycle.

Songs of the Spheres: Exploring Music Through Astrology

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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.

Astrology Hub Podcast with Amanda Pua Walsh

In preparation for being a lunar guide in the Astrology Hub’s Inner Circle Membership program for this upcoming Sagittarius lunation, I joined Amanda Pua Walsh in conversation on the Astrology Hub’s podcast to discuss the archetypal perspective in astrology, the connections between ecology and an astrological world view, and the significance of some of the upcoming transits in 2020. As always, it is such a pleasure to speak with Amanda, and I deeply enjoyed our rich and evocative conversation. To listen, here is the episode: “The Link Between Archetypal Astrology, Healing Our Ecological Crisis, and Embodying Your Chart.”

Astrologer Spotlight
Portrait by In Her Image Photography

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.

Cosmogonies of Imagination: Hildegard of Bingen and J.R.R. Tolkien

A dream came true for me recently, when I had the opportunity to co-present with my dissertation chair, Jacob Sherman, at the PCC retreat at Esalen Institute in late October. We spoke about the creation myths articulated by the 12th century Christian mystic Hildegard von Bingen and the 20th century fantasy author J.R.R. Tolkien, demonstrating some of the extraordinary parallels between their cosmogonies. Jake presents on Hildegard in the first half of the talk, while in the second half I retell Tolkien’s Ainulindalë, the creation myth he called The Music of the Ainur, before we open into a brief dialogue together.

We spoke in the darkness of Esalen’s dance dome, illuminated by medieval illustrations of Hildegard’s visions and contemporary paintings of Tolkien’s Ainulindalë created by the artist Anna Kulisz, as well as one painting done by Tolkien himself. Between our presentations we played one of Hildegard’s remarkable musical compositions, “Quia ergo femina,” performed by the Bay Area women’s choral group Vajra Voices (with whom I had the privilege to play the harp several years ago, when I was part of Cheryl Ann Fulton‘s medieval harp choir, Angelorum). This presentation was such a delight to give, not only because I was able to present with one of my teachers who has been such an inspiration to me, but also because I felt I was able to sink into a mode of storytelling which I greatly value and enjoy.

Cosmogonies of Imagination: Hildegard of Bingen and J.R.R. Tolkien

From the time we arrive on the scene, human beings have sought to understand our existence and the existence of all things through myth, symbol, ritual, and story. But where do our creation stories come from and how do they change? Are they the product of inspired individuals, the creation of entire communities, or something else? In order to try to get some traction on these questions, Jake and Becca will consider two extraordinary creation myths, one given by the 12th century visionary, prophetess, and mystic, Hildegard of Bingen, the other by the 20th century philologist and fantasy author, J.R.R. Tolkien. Despite being separated by roughly eight centuries, both Hildegard and Tolkien produced creative cosmogonies that resonate remarkably with one another and remain peculiarly powerful today.

Many thanks to Chad Harris for filming, editing, and posting this recording.

The Two Red Books in Orange County

For those who are in the area, I will be bringing my lecture The Synchronicity of the Two Red Books: Jung, Tolkien, and the Imaginal Realm to the C.G. Jung Club of Orange County! I will be presenting on Sunday, November 10 at 4:00–6:00 pm at St. Wilfrid of York Episcopal Church in Huntington Beach.

For more information, please visit the website of the Orange County Jung Club.

Jung & Tolkien

The Synchronicity of the Two Red Books

Beginning in the years leading up to the Great War, both C.G. Jung and J.R.R. Tolkien independently began to undergo profound imaginal experiences. They had each stepped across a threshold and entered into another world, the realm of imagination, the world of fantasy. Jung recorded these initially spontaneous visionary experiences, which he further developed using the practice of active imagination, in a large red manuscript that he named Liber Novus, although usually it is referred to simply as The Red Book. The experiences narrated in The Red Book became the seeds from which nearly all of Jung’s subsequent work flowered. For Tolkien, this imaginal journey revealed to him the world of Middle-earth, whose stories and myths eventually led to the writing of The Lord of the Rings, a book he named within its own imaginal history The Red Book of Westmarch. There are many synchronistic parallels between Jung’s and Tolkien’s Red Books: the style and content of their works of art, the narrative descriptions and scenes in their texts, the nature of their visions and dreams, and an underlying similarity in world view that emerged from their experiences. The two men seem to have been simultaneously treading parallel paths through the imaginal realm.

The revelations of this research hold deep consequences for modernity’s assumptions of a disenchanted world and bring to the surface implications concerning the nature of imagination and its participatory relationship to the collective unconscious. This presentation will point to the possibility that Tolkien and Jung are preliminary guides on a journey to the depths of an ensouled cosmos in which imagination saturates the very foundations of reality.

Course objectives:
• Explore the nature of imagination and its participatory relationship to the collective unconscious.
• Understand the relevance of Jung’s and Tolkien’s Red Books to modernity’s assumptions of a disenchanted world.