“Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven? Canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth?” (Job 38:33)
I enjoy reading books whose authors agree with my way of thinking and resonate with my depth of knowing. Don’t we all? COSMOS AND PSYCHE, authored by Richard Tarnas, is such a book whose author I’ve come to know and regard as a soul brother and kindred spirit. Although he uses large words and long sentences at times, his spirit flows through the lines and between the pages with unfettered authenticity. He is a joy to read, and I am happy to share that joy here,
AN ENCHANTED UNIVERSE
There was a time when the cosmos was an enchanted world of mythological characters and soulful presence with which human beings enjoyed an intimate relationship and worshipful communion. The “primal mind” this author ascribes to the Greeks, for instance, knew the cosmos as having a soul. That all shifted with the emergence of the “modern mind” which stripped the cosmos of soul and created a cosmology of a “disenchanted” universe of lifeless matter, as though Earth were the only planet capable of supporting life. What ignorance and darkened understanding to limit the vital creative energy of Life to organic matter. Life is everywhere and in all things, organic and inorganic!
Here’s an excerpt from the summary chapter of Tanas’s “epoch making” book that speaks to this evolution of our world view. In this summation, he addresses the issue of coincidences within the context of accumulated data on the compelling evidence of synchronous events in the heavens with unfolding life experiences on earth, along with his own conviction of a “cosmic ordering principle” governed by a “complex creative intelligence.”
Sources of the World Order
In every field of inquiry, an adequate paradigm reveals patterns of coherent relations in what are otherwise inexplicable random coincidences. A good theory makes observed patterns intelligible. As the physicist and philosopher of science P. W. Bridgman famously observed, “coincidences” are what are left over after one has applied a bad theory. In the course of the three decades during which I have examined correlations between planetary movements and the patterns of human affairs, I found there were simply too many such “coincidences” evident in the data, which were too consistently coherent with the corresponding archetypal principles, and too strongly suggestive of the workings of some form of complex creative intelligence, to assume that they were all meaningless chance anomalies. Plato’s words from his final dialogue, the Laws, when he criticized the disenchanted mechanistic cosmology of the physicists and Sophist philosophers of the preceding century, now seemed to me uncannily prophetic.
The truth is just the opposite of the opinion which once prevailed among men, that the sun and stars are without soul. . . . For in that shortsighted view, the entire moving contents of the heavens seemed to them only stones, earth, and other soulless bodies, though these furnish the sources of the world order.
Yet the data that has now emerged suggests that what Plato called the “world order” is of a special kind. The evidence points to a cosmic ordering principle whose combination of participatory co-creativity, multivalent complexity, and dynamic indeterminacy was not entirely comprehensible to the ancient vision, even a vision as intricate and penetrating as Plato’s. The relationship between the unfolding realities of human life and a dynamic archetypal order reflected in the planetary movements appears to be more fluid and complex, more creatively unpredictable, and more responsive to human intention and quality of consciousness or unconsciousness than was articulated in the classical tradition.
One important task before us, therefore, is to understand the long development that separates Plato’s vision of an archetypal participatory cosmos from our own. Another is to grasp how the nearly pervasive astrological cosmology of classical antiquity, after deeply influencing the medieval and Renaissance imagination, gradually receded in cultural significance and intellectual legitimacy until it came to appear utterly untenable to the modern mind. Yet another task is to seek insight into why it has reemerged in our own time, radically transfigured. Running through all these questions, I believe, is the great mystery of the unfolding Copernican revolution, which seems to have played the role of cosmological vessel and mediator of a vast initiatory process in the evolution of the modern self.
It was Copernicus in 1543 who proposed a heliocentric model of the solar system, positioning the sun near the center of the then known Universe, motionless, with Earth and the other planets orbiting around it in circular paths. It’s an indictment on the human mind’s myopic and self-centered view of the Universe that less than 500 years ago, a cosmic fraction of a second, we thought the sun and all the planets orbited around us here on Earth.
I would say the human race has emerged from Plato’s “cave” and into the light of day. Since discovering the vastness of the macrocosm, and the bottomless microcosm, we have ventured inward to explore the realm of spirit and consciousness, only to realize there’s an invisible One around which the Cosmos and all of Creation orbits—and the “ordinances of heaven” are being set in the earth by this One without our help or interference.
Tarnas concludes his findings:
The current body of accumulated data makes it difficult to sustain the modern assumption that the universe as a whole is best understood as a blind, mechanistic phenomenon of ultimately random processes with which human consciousness is fundamentally incoherent, and in which the Earth and human beings are ultimately peripheral and insignificant. The evidence suggests rather that the cosmos is intrinsically meaningful to and coherent with human consciousness; that the Earth is a significant focal point of this meaning, a moving center of cosmic meaning in an evolving universe, as is each individual human being; that time is not only quantitative but qualitative in character, and that different periods of time are informed by tangibly different archetypal dynamics; and, finally, that the cosmos as a living whole appears to be informed by some kind of pervasive creative intelligence—an intelligence, judging by the data, of scarcely conceivable power, complexity, and aesthetic subtlety, yet one with which human intelligence is intimately connected, and in which it can consciously participate. I believe that a widespread understanding of the potent but usually unconscious archetypal dynamics that coincide with planetary cycles and alignments, both in individual lives and in the historical process, can play a crucial role in the positive unfolding of our collective future….
….I have found the archetypal astrological perspective, properly understood, to be uniquely capable of illuminating the inner dynamics of both cultural history and personal biography. It provides extraordinary insight into the deeper shifting patterns of the human psyche, both individual and collective, and into the complexly participatory nature of human reality. It places the modern mind and the modern self in an altogether new light, radically recontextualizing the modern project. Perhaps most important, it promises to contribute to the emergence of a new, genuinely integral world view, one that, while sustaining the irreplaceable insights and achievements of the modern and postmodern development, can reunite the human and the cosmic, and restore transcendent meaning to both.
The oneness of Heaven and Earth is pretty much a given in today’s modern mind that has been awakened to the reality of a multi-dimensional world. Why should we not also be conscious of a dynamic state of oneness between the human psyche and the cosmos?
Since Richard Tarnas published his research in 2007, there’s been a radical shift in our understanding and experience of the oneness of the New Heaven and the emerging New Earth. We have experienced an exponential ascension of human consciousness in the last decade. And now, with five planets aligning with the earth this month and through February 20, further transformation and awareness are being given an energetic launch into the new decade.
Will we see a Golden Age dawn in the twenty-first century? Not unless and until we include the natural world in it; a world both above us in the heavens and below us in the earth from which we have divorced ourselves.
“THE WORLD WE STILL HAVE”
I would like to share an excerpt from the SUN of December, 2019, which features a candid and insightful interview by Fred Bahnson with Oregonian “nature writer” Barry Lopez. The title of the article speaks for the essence of the interview: “THE WORLD WE STILL HAVE — Barry Lopez on restoring our lost intimacy with Nature.” His compassion and empathy are inspiring.
Bahnson: What is it that is looking back at us through the eyes of a wolf, or from a particular landscape? Some would name that God, or some other word for the Divine. How would you name that?
Lopez: I would say it’s an encounter between the two sides of a lopsided divorce. It’s a breach, you know. The agricultural revolution was a breach, a divorce. The industrial revolution was a worse breach. The surrounding material world was relegated, in both these instances, to the position of an employee, even a slave; a source of entertainment; a storehouse for natural resources. When wild animals look back at you, I can imagine what they might be thinking if your defense for the massive changes you’ve engineered in their world, and are responsible for, is “But look at this beautiful world we’ve built.” Many divorces are characterized by incredibly lopsided thinking and misapprehension. I believe one of the reasons our lives are so difficult today is because of the separation from the rest of the natural world that we’ve insisted on having, our insistence on the primacy of human life. Human history, you know, is but one dimension of natural history. It’s not the other way around.
If you can imagine a divorce in which only one member of the dyad — modern humanity — made the decision to create a breach, and then enforced it, you can begin to understand what the growing malaise in human culture is about. It occurs to humanity that it has lost its spouse. That’s metaphorical, of course. But if you imagine what happens when divorce is forced on just one person, then you can begin to understand why traditional people are reluctant to make that same adjustment. They don’t want the breach. They see the destructive injustice. Why accept a separation from all the rest of creation? Everybody I spoke with in villages across the Arctic in the seventies and eighties, when I asked them to offer me adjectives for people in my culture, the one word I heard repeatedly was lonely. They see us as deeply lonely people — and one of the reasons we’re lonely, if you agree with that, is that we’ve cut ourselves off from the nonhuman world, and have called this “progress.”
Bahnson: So perhaps those moments of numinous encounter are really moments of regrounding ourselves in reality?
Lopez: Yeah, reconnection. It’s reconnection. And this brings us around to the issue of memory. I recall every day the moments of primal contact I’ve experienced with the nonhuman world — with pronghorn antelope and wild salmon and scarlet tanagers — and with the nonhuman world’s most intimate and knowledgeable interpreters: indigenous people. The memories regenerate me; they
boost my desire to try to work in my writing as a mediator of some sort between the dehumanized natural world and my own acquisitive culture.
Bahnson: What, specifically, are those moments of primal contact?
Lopez: They’re private moments of animated contact with the world outside the human. Watching animals, just sitting with a friend and watching animals for a long time, not saying much. I think of those moments at Lake Clifton in Australia that I describe in Horizon: standing out there on the boardwalk with two friends, drinking it in. Or in Antarctica, at Cape Crozier, watching the emperor penguins. It’s not about interpreting or “figuring out” what these wild animals are doing. You just give in to the spectacle. You become a participant.
Can we save the world we still have? Watching Saturday morning “Nature” programs almost every weekend on PBS, I see many incidences of intimate human contact with the wild kingdoms. It’s encouraging, to say the least, and very heart warming. It causes me to believe that we can do this. We must do it.
Until my next post,
Be love. Be loved,