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The Gods at Play: Archetypal Powers and Patterns in the Arts

October 14, 2016 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

Friday Talk:

As ancient poets and modern depth psychologists have long recognized, the arts represent an especially vivid expression of the archetypes that inform and inspire the human psyche. The aim of this weekend’s program is to provide a rewarding interplay of instruction and entertainment, each enhancing and illuminating the other.

The capacity to discern archetypes – the cultivation of what James Hillman called an “archetypal eye” – requires not only our thinking but our emotions, imagination, aesthetic and moral intuition, our bodies: our whole being. Because the arts engage all these dimensions of the human sensibility, these presentations will use representative works of art as windows into the archetypal character of different eras and individuals, and into the archetypes themselves.

We’ll focus especially on major examples from music and comedy. Music provides perhaps the most profound and direct expression of the archetypal psyche, reaching back to the earliest origins of human culture, capable of touching the depths of our souls. Comedy is ancient as well: the Trickster, whether in the individual psyche, in a tribe or a royal court, or commenting on a presidential campaign, is crucial to the self-regulating and regenerative play of the whole. It is the agent of the unconscious, rebelling against the conventional rulers, speaking the truth from below.

Our approach will be facilitated by the combined lenses of depth psychology and archetypal astrology, which permit an extraordinarily precise focus on the specific archetypal complexes most prominently at work in a given individual, work of art, or cultural era.

Related Workshop: The Gods at Play: Archetypal Powers and Patterns in the Arts

Richard Tarnas, Ph.D., is a professor of psychology and cultural history at the California Institute of Integral Studies, where he founded the graduate program in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness. He is the author of The Passion of the Western Mind, a history of the Western world view from the ancient Greek to the postmodern widely used in universities. His second book, Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View, received the Book of the Year Prize from the Scientific and Medical Network, and is the basis for the upcoming documentary film Changing of the Gods.

Purchase Workshops


October 14, 2016
7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
We offer Continuing Education Credit through NASW. The fee for CEU credit is $5 for the lecture, $10 for the workshop, or $10 for both the lecture and workshop. To obtain credits, please sign up before each lecture or workshop at the CEU table in the lobby.


Unity Church of Portland
4525 SE Stark
Portland, OR 97202 United States
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Ample free parking.

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