further reading

Prometheus the Awakener

An early essay by California professor Richard Tarnas on the hidden archetypal meaning of the planet Uranus. A longer work here on Tarnas and his opus: Cosmos & Psyche is forthcoming. In a letter to the journal “The Mountain Astrologer” Tarnas writes of the early days of Prometheus the Awakener, working alongside the transpersonal psychologist Stanislav Grof and researching correlations between individual psychological transformations and planetary transits to their natal charts.

“Suddenly,” Tarnas writes, “from this most improbable and scorned source, we had a method of illuminating both the archetypal character and the timing of individual experiences, including non-ordinary states of consciousness such as those mediated by powerful psychoactive plants and compounds – something Grof and his colleagues at his psychiatric research clinics in Prague and later in Maryland had searched for fruitlessly for many years. To be able to better understand the sudden onset of a psychological crisis or a spiritual breakthrough… to gain insight into certain cyclical activations of particular complexes in an individual’s inner world and outer life circumstances… astrology seemed to represent a kind of ‘Rosetta stone’ for understanding the human psyche.”

Tarnas looks at these astrological correlations as never concretely predictive, rather archetypally so, the actions and dramas of our human lives arising and existing within the synchronistic, non-causal and participatory archetypal language of the planets.

“Although the evidence for planetary correlations sharply contradicted the mainstream Newtonian-Cartesian scientific paradigm,” writes Tarnas,”we noticed many parallels with the concepts coming from new-paradigm sciences – quantum physics, systems theory, morphogenetic fields, the implicate order, the holonomic universe… All these provided a fertile matrix shaping the ideas and research that were developing into an archetypal cosmology.