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The Synchronicity of the Two Red Books: Jung, Tolkien, and the Imaginal Realm

November 11, 2022 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm PST

J.R.R. Tolkien illustration from his Book of Ishness.
J.R.R. Tolkien illustration from his Book of Ishness.

PLEASE NOTE: This event will be held live in-person at Unity of Portland (4525 SE Stark). The only way to attend the program live is to attend in person. A video recording of the event will be created and sent out after the event to all members and to all who purchase single tickets, to accommodate those not able or not comfortable to attend in person. There will be no Zoom for this program.

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. Jung recorded these fantasies in a large red manuscript that he named Liber Novus, referred to simply as The Red Book. 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. This lecture explores the 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. Note: image is an illustration by J.R.R. Tolkien from his Book of Ishness.

Related Workshop: Jung’s Red Book and Active Imagination

Becca Tarnas, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness program at the California Institute of Integral Studies. She received her doctorate 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, archetypal studies, literature, philosophy, and the ecological imagination. Becca is an editor of Archai: The Journal of Archetypal Cosmology and author of the book Journey to the Imaginal Realm: A Reader’s Guide to J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. She is currently researching and writing a biography of Stanislav Grof, the co-founder of transpersonal psychology.

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November 11, 2022
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm PST
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Unity of Portland
4525 SE Stark
Portland, OR 97202 United States
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We offer Continuing Education Credit through NASW. The fee for lecture CEU credit is $5 for 2 hours. To obtain CEU credit, add the CEU to your shopping cart when registering.
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