For Immediate Release
Contact: Edward Snow
More Flower Children in Our Future?
Universe May Be Poised To Revisit Rebellious Decade of the 1960s,
Astrologer, Author and Cultural Historian Richard Tarnas Predicts
If you missed out on all the excitement of the 1960s when heightened impulses for radical social change and cultural creativity produced flared trousers, bushy sideburns, flower children and anarchy on college campuses everywhere, you may be intrigued by what author, philosopher, astrologer and world class social historian Richard Tarnas says lies ahead.
Tarnas is author of The Passion of the Western Mind, a narrative of Western thought that became a best seller and is currently used as a text book by more than 100 universities around the world. He studied intellectual and cultural history and depth psychology at Harvard, earned a Ph.D. in philosophy from the Saybrook Institute in San Francisco, and worked and lived for more than 10 years at Esalen Institute in Big Sur, Calif., studying with Joseph Campbell, Huston Smith, Gregory Bateson and Stanislav Graf and later serving as the institute’s director of programs and education.
Currently, he is founding director of the graduate program in Philosophy, Cosmology and Consciousness at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, is on the faculty of the Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, Calif., and lectures at workshops in the U.S. and abroad.
At Esalen, Tarnas and Graf, one of the founders of transpersonal psychology, were studying the timing and character of transformational experiences when someone suggested they check out astrology. “The notion seemed ridiculous at first, yet we found ourselves astonished at how the planetary alignments consistently and precisely correlated with human experience,” he recalls.
What came next was a qualitative study that examined hundreds and eventually thousands of individual astrological charts. Tarnas says the “archetypal principals” associated with the planets and the correlations uncovered were “undeniable and uncanny in their subtlety and specificity.”
Surprisingly, the researchers discovered that that astrology illuminated key moments in the lives of pivotal historical figures in the West, such as when they fell in love, went into a depression or experienced an epiphany. Patterns began to appear.
For example, when Galileo wrote the Starry Messenger, a defining moment in the birth of the modern era, the transiting planet Uranus, which is associated with revolutionary breakthroughs and awakenings, was forming a particularly powerful one-time configuration in his birth chart. The same type of configuration or aspect was influencing the birth chart of Rene Descartes in 1637 when he published his epoch-defining Discourse on Methods, and was prominent in the birth chart of Isaac Newton in 1687 when he published the Principia, which is widely regarded as the foundational work of modern science.
“Amazingly, Frued’s psychoanalytic theory, Einstein’s theory of relativity and Darwin’s theory of natural selection also emerged in coincidence with the same planetary cycle,” Tarnas observes.
Results of the study begun at Esalen in the 1970s were published 30 years later in Professor Tarnas’ second book, Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View, which is the recent winner of the UK’s prestigious Scientific and Medical Network’s Book of the Year award. In it the author produces data supporting what he calls “the dynamic interplay of the timeless universal principles that occur in coincidence with geometrical alignments between the planets and earth.” And he shows how these patterns have permeated and shaped history over time.
He also provides a heads-up on the approaching alignment of the slow-moving planets Uranus and Pluto, which will soon be forming a stressful (90 degree) astrological aspect in the heavens that will last through the year 2020.
Tarnas points out that archetypal Uranus represents the principle of change, freedom, rebellion and revolution and is associated with unexpected phenomena of all kinds. Pluto, recently reduced by astronomers to dwarf planet status, is in fact a celestial heavyweight as the archetype for power itself.
“Pluto is the archetype of primordial energy and the universal life force that impels all evolution and transformation. It compels, empowers, overwhelms, transforms, destroys and resurrects. And, at its deepest level, it involves the mystery of death and rebirth,” he said.
What we can expect when these cosmic behemoths square off is the possibility of a rerun of the cultural impulses and archetypal dynamics that emerged during the 1960s, which is the last time these planetary energies were together making a significant cosmological statement in the heavens.
In Cosmos and Psyche , Tarnas points out that characteristic themes observed for this cycle in past centuries include heightened impulses for radical social change and cultural creativity, accelerated technological and scientific advancement, the empowerment of progressive and reformist political movements, intensified feminist, civil rights and countercultural activity, increased drive for freedom and autonomy at both the individual and collective level, and a pressure towards radicalization in many spheres of action and ideas. Also identified with the cycle is intensified ecological activism, large demographic shifts and the activation of mass energies and mass movements of various kinds.
“Generally speaking, Uranus-Pluto eras have tended to bring forth the catalyzing of powerful forces in many forms, the awakening of a will to power that can be both creative and destructive, and a tangible intensification and acceleration of human experience,” he noted.
Although all of these specific themes have been strongly in evidence during past Uranus-Pluto alignments, precisely what will happen during the next 15-year cycle can’t be known. But Tarnas believes it is likely that another period of both the spontaneous empowerment of women and an intensified striving for equality and self-sovereignty could be on the immediate horizon.
“From Mary Wollstonecraft and the women of the French revolution through the Seneca Falls women’s rights convention in 1848 and the suffragettes of the early 1900s to the women’s liberation awakening of the 1960s, the Uranus-Pluto cycle has been highly consistent in its correlations,” he points out.
“In the approaching alignment of the planets the potential for stress and struggle is high. Considering the clear sequence of past correlations, it seems to me altogether likely that another feminist propulsion will infuse itself into the culture and that women will emerge from the next decade and a half with considerably more political and economic power than now.
“Yet one can never be certain how these archetypal forces will become concretely embodied, only that they will tend to do so in a way that is consistent with their character and grounded in the developing cultural context,” he said.
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