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.
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.