Archetypal Ecology

Archetypal Ecology and The Magnification
Copyright 2018 by F. Christopher Reynolds, M.Ed.

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I am indebted to Becca Tarnas who first coined the term, archetypal ecology, in her 2015 paper, Archetypal Ecology: Drought in a Rhythmic Cosmos Though she considered drought on Earth through the discipline of archetypal cosmology, she opened a bridge.

Archetypal psychology, archetypal astrology and archetypal cosmology, in particular the cultural work through the journal, Archai, represent an important effort to restore soul to Western culture.

Becca Tarnas’s naming of archetypal ecology is a next stage in a 4 centuries old unfolding process. That stage is to recognize Earth as a planetary archetype – the most immanent and most eminent of the heavenly bodies. In fact, all the thematic powers claimed the Gods and Goddesses, the first-persons of archetypal thought, belong to Earth.

The Courage of Mars, the Generosity of Jupiter, the Discipline of Saturn, the Beauty of Venus, the Messenger-mind of Mercury, the Intelligence of the Sun, the Death-Rebirth of the Moon, the chain-shattering heroism of Uranus, the Oceanic Spiritual Depths of Neptune, the Underworld Instinctual Force of Pluto, Chiron’s Healing, Ceres’ Creativity, Eris’ Strife – all those powers belong first to Earth, though their further elucidation and expanded psychological value remain one of the great gifts for the emphasis on individuality in Western ways.

I offer this first draft of growing and further articulating the roots in the ground planted by Becca Tarnas.

Archetypal ecology:

Archetypal ecology is the uniting of the written and oral traditions found in Jungian psychology, transpersonal psychology, archetypal psychology, archetypal astrology, archetypal cosmology, spiritual psychology, eco-psychology, creativity-studies, evolutionary astrology, Hermeticism, Kabbalah, the 12 Traditions of the 12 Step Movement, family stories and Indigenous ways of wisdom lost to us over generations of warfare and plague.

Western persons can recover their own languages and national written traditions lost after centuries of colonization. This recovery includes entering into a literary study of the unconscious in search of the collective psychological wisdom of Hermeticism, alchemy, Kabbalah and astrology left behind during our own historical development as well as lost family stories/traditions, Indigenous ways, traditional language and knowledge (TK), all traditions called, heresy and paganism that were buried beneath the power-grids of God-kings, monarchies, republics, empires, nation-states and multinational corporations.

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As for the recovery of the oral traditions, what I mean first is that there is wisdom to be found in our own family stories and traditions. Especially, the stories that are leads as found in the 12-Step Recovery Movement. These are stories of suffering and finding healing from addiction, co-dependency, incarceration, institutionalization, mental, emotional, physical, spiritual illnesses, near-death experiences. Those stories are not just the suffering of poverty and ignorance of soul, but are, too, tales that touch into the deep well-springs of journeys expected and un-expected, dreams, visions, direct connection the sacredness of the land, ancestors, cosmos — all the experiences of awe that make life worthwhile.

Second, by the recovery of the oral traditions, I mean that there is fundamental information in the Western development of psychologies that honor the unconscious to be found in the stories and locations in which all the publications, classes, workshops and public events are embedded. Our soul tradition cannot be learned from books alone. We require community that is rooted in the history and “place-worlds” (Brooks, 2018) of psychological experiences.

Regarding the unconscious, for example, what is arguably one of the most influential books of 20th century depth psychology, C. G. Jung’s Red Book, was published only in 2009. The Red Book’s publication made clear how much Jungian psychology, as it is currently practiced, is a derivative of the primary material from which it was drawn. There are many primary stories and locations to be found in the oral tradition of those close to Jung in and around Lake Zurich, Switzerland.

The writings of one of my mentors, Eugene Monick, expressed only part of his soul-knowledge. Central to his experience were a number of visionary moments in nature near Dalton, Pennsylvania and under the ground in a Cro-Magnon cave in Les-Eyzies, France. You will find no mention of embedded experiences in his books though there are hints of them throughout.

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Archetypal ecology affirms our current cosmology as the proper mirror to psychic reality. The proof for the mirroring of cosmos and psyche can be found in current accounts of Near-death Experiencers. Twenty-first century cosmology is based on quantum physics within which human consciousness participates in what it observes – the observer effect.

In our cosmos, as our popular films suggest, there are many planets. Among those many planets, called exoplanets, there are potentially innumerable exo-planets and thousands of Earth-likes that Earthlings have been aware of since 1992.


by Tom Hands

We are able to identify other Earths because we use Earth as the universal pattern that allows to see the rest – Earth has already been the archetype, the original form, for astronomers to look into our cosmos for 26 years now.

As a source for all life, Earth is a proper mirror of soul and is, therefore, a Ground of all the universal Virtues that were projected outward to the ‘heavens’ by our ancestors. We do this by acknowledging the life-giving presence of our own atmosphere that literally holds space for all that lives.

Earthly wholeness is a guiding pattern. Ours is a somatic and collective daily, monthly, yearly, seasonal, bi-polar rhythmic order that is in balance. We are made in Earth’s image. We are best mirrored by the resilient symbiotic source for all the life that we know. Thus, we return to the primal world view as living ecosystems.

Bi-polar order, in the above definition, refers to the reality of the two poles of our planet’s axis mundi and the rotational energy or angular kinetic energy due to our turning Earth. Our Common Home spins at an angular velocity of 7.29×10−5 rad/s – about 1040 miles per hour at the equator, around 750 miles per hour near the Great Lakes.

rotation speed

Beneath the stars at night, when we are under the world in the sense of on the side of the globe facing the stars, the experience of dreaming, where we find our living myths, is that the dream has us. When we awaken into daylight, we say, I had a dream. Ours is two-fold consciousness where we affirm a wisdom of the day (exteriority/objectivity) and a wisdom of the night (interiority/subjectivity). We do well when we participate consciously in the life of dreaming and the dreaming of life.

Collective seasonal order means that we are collectively impacted by the Earth’s revolutions around the sun. We are moving at the speed of 67,000 miles per hour – 19 miles per second – in an orbit that brings the seasons of the year.

The seasons also serve as the metaphor for to how our lives move through childhood, adulthood, elderhood and death – the seasons of a life. We do well when we manage to unite the life of dreaming and the dreaming of life with the wisdom of the season as well as the season of life.

Personally, all my most transformational experiences have occurred during the months of July, August and September. A list of years when this occurred is, 1980, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1992, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010. From July 2010 to the present, I have been literally participating in a Lakota Sun Dance.

It seems as if I have been participating in the collective emotional seasonal pattern of the Sun Dance each summer – whether at a Sun Dance or not.

By necessity of lived experience archetypal ecology requires inclusion of the wisdom of what Richard Tarnas called “the primal world view”, in his Comsos and Psyche in 2006.

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The text reads:

In the primal world view, intelligence and soul pervade all of nature and the cosmos, and a permeable human self directly participates in that larger matrix within which it is fully embedded.

The primal world view is Indigenous wisdom. Indigenous wisdom is ecological wisdom. It is the wisdom learned through the sacredness of the Earth – and right relationship with its ways and seasons.

Archetypal ecology, then, identifies itself as Western culture’s contribution to what Wade Davis named, the “ethnosphere”.

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In his book, The Wayfinders, he wrote:

There is a fire burning over the earth, taking with it plants and animals, ancient skills and visionary wisdom. At risk is a vast archive of knowledge and expertise, a catalogue of the imagination, an oral and written language composed of the memories of countless elders and healers, warriors, farmers, fishermen, midwives, poets, and saints — in short, the artistic, intellectual and spiritual expression of the full complexity and diversity of the human experience.

Quelling this flame, this spreading inferno, and rediscovering a new appreciation for the diversity of the human spirit as expressed by culture, is among the central challenges of our times. (p. 34)

Enthnosphere, to paraphrase the above, means:

the living diversity of human wisdom, a vast archive of knowledge and expertise, a catalogue of the imagination, an oral and written language composed of the memories of countless elders and healers, warriors, farmers, fishermen, midwives, poets, and saints — in short, the artistic, intellectual and spiritual expression of the full complexity and diversity of the human experience.

With the enthosphere mind, a working definition of archetypal ecology is completed by the following:

Archetypal ecology is Western culture’s decolonization and participation as one among many ways found in the ethnosphere. The gift of its mythology is an ennobled individuality or sovereignty that opens a way for human flourishing. Roots in ennobled individuality or sovereignty inoculate us against the risk of monumentalism. Monumentalism is a danger because of the psychic epidemic states brought on by the Messiah Complex and its chronic apocalyptic expectation.

Monumentalism refers to what Joseph Campbell called, (after Frobenius) humanity’s Monumental Stage. Monumentalism is known by coercive government, literacy, numeracy, cattle-breeding, agriculture, enslavement, patriarchal hierarchy bestowed by all-powerful sovereign on high who gives immortality to a chosen few. It has been the way of all the great civilizations.

It began in Sumer 5000 years ago. Monumentalism’s ideas of the immortality of the souls of the chosen was and remains based on the geocentric image of the universe with the fallen Earth below and raised up Eternity above.

I personally visited an example of monumentalism at Khor Rori and Al-Baleed with my son in Oman, February, 2017. It was life-changing, especially when we visited his friend, Moamar, in Salalah, Oman. Salalah, in the Dhofari region of Oman, is still the center of the world for the ancient frankincense trade. Today, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Location.

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Boswellia Tree – Source of Luban (Frankincense)

Frankincense was once as lucrative as petroleum is now. The principle ports for the old spice trade were Khor Rori and Al Baleed. They both were ports connected to the kingdom of a people called Hadhramaut, which in arabic means, death has come. Current thinking is that the Hadhramaut were fierce warriors who left many dead whenever they invaded. They colonized, enslaved and brought death with great prejudice to other peoples with an assumption that their sky power was superior to all other powers.

The carrot that used in tandem with the stick of coercive government has been immortality. Since its beginnings, monunemtalsim has featured a leader who prepares a place in Eternity for the others. Joseph Campbell noted how in the Chaldean city of Ur the subjects were buried alive with their king after he died. The dead king along with his entire court were found centuries later still buried underground.

Sumh00Archaeological site of Sumhuram, near Salalah, Dhofar region (OmKhor Rori or Sumhuram, Oman

At the gate of Khor Rori, there are inscriptions to the king and inside, there remains a temple dedicated to the male God of the Moon, Anzu - (Sky-Knower)

Here’s from wiki:

He is commonly designated as En-zu, which means “lord of wisdom”. During the period (c.2600-2400 BC) that Ur exercised a large measure of supremacy over the Euphrates valley, En zu (Sin) was naturally regarded as the head of the pantheon. It is to this period that we must trace such designations…as “father of the gods”, “chief of the gods”, “creator of all things”, and the like. The “wisdom” personified by the moon-god is likewise an expression of the science of astronomy or the practice of astrology, in which the observation of the moon’s phases is an important factor.

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The West has been wrestling with a 5000 year old human pattern of consciousness, an archetype that is a patriarchal, colonizing, sky God-King of war derived from Ptolemy’s geocentric cosmos.

Slowly, Western individuals have been learning to notice monumentalism in any religious talk about a Highest God who is the Lord of Wisdom, King of kings, and Controller or when institutions, monarchies, nation-states, and multinational corporations self-righteously lord over others.

By psychic epidemic states, I am referring to C. G. Jung’s warning in Modern Man in Search of a Soul:

–and these epidemics are infinitely more devastating than the worst catastrophes of Nature! The supreme danger which menaces both the individual and the populace as a whole is psychic danger. With regard to this, our understanding proves to be quite powerless, which is explained by the fact that rational arguments act on the conscious — but on the conscious alone — without having the least effect on the unconscious. Consequently, a major danger for man emanates from the mass, i.e. the crowd, at whose core the working of the unconscious accumulates — first muzzling, then stifling the pleas for reason on the part of the conscious. Every organization of a crowd constitutes a latent danger, like that of piling up dynamite. Because it produces effects that no one wanted and that no one is able to hold in check.

For this reason, one must ardently hope that psychology — knowledge of psychology and achievements in the domain of psychology — will spread on such a scale that human beings will finally understand the source of supreme danger hanging over their heads. It is not be arming themselves to the teeth, every country of itself, that nations will be able, in the long run, to preserve themselves from the terrible catastrophes occasioned by modern war. Accumulated weapons demand war! On the contrary, would it not be preferable, in future, to guard against and to avoid the conditions delineated at present — in which the unconscious breaks down the dams of the conscious and dispossesses the later, making the world run the risk of inestimable devastation? [pp. 404-403 in L’homme a la decouvert de son ame, 1944]

The Messiah Complex and its chronic apocalyptic expectation, refer to the ironic and tragic fact that the greatest amount of collective violence that humans have done and still enact on other humans is due to the belief that good is being done in the name of radical improvements. We mistakenly have done the worst in the name of good.

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Depart des Poilus by Herter in Gare de l’Est, Paris

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ARCHETYPAL ECOLOGY – NEW WORKING DEFINITION

Archetypal ecology is the uniting of the written and oral traditions found in Jungian psychology, transpersonal psychology, archetypal psychology, archetypal astrology, archetypal cosmology, spiritual psychology, eco-psychology, creativity-studies, evolutionary astrology, Hermeticism, Kabbalah, the 12 Traditions of the 12 Step Movement, family stories and Indigenous ways of wisdom lost to us over generations of warfare and plague.

Archetypal ecology affirms our current cosmology as the proper mirror to psychic reality. The proof for the mirroring of cosmos and psyche can be found in current accounts of Near-death Experiencers. Twenty-first century cosmology is based on quantum physics within which human consciousness participates in what it observes – the observer effect.

Earthly wholeness is a guiding pattern. Ours is a somatic and collective daily, monthly, yearly, seasonal, bi-polar rhythmic order that is in balance. We are made in Earth’s image. We are best mirrored by the resilient symbiotic source for all the life that we know. Thus, we return to the primal world view as living ecosystems.

Archetypal ecology is Western culture’s decolonization and participation as one among many ways found in the ethnosphere. The gift of its mythology is an ennobled individuality or sovereignty that opens a way for human flourishing. Rooted individuality inoculates us against of humanity’s risk of the monumentalism of psychic epidemic states because of the Messiah Complex and its chronic apocalyptic expectation.

SKIN IN THE GAME

I openly admit how my own reasons for including the archetype of the Earth to current depth psychology are to create a depth psychology through which I can understand myself.

However, what motives me most is witnessing the chronic degradation of persons, the water, land and biological life that has been caused by our cultural neglect of soul.

In the extreme, persons I care about are dead now, gone too soon. By persons, I mean in the Indigenous sense — all beings. We have had no psychology to fully contain our souls, no science to fully understand them, nor any religious way expansive enough to hold the wholeness of human being living in right relationship with our planet.

All of my mentors, all of my family members, my father, my mother, aunts, uncles, brother, sister, my cousins, grandmothers, grandfathers, the majority of my students during 30 years of teaching high school, undergraduate, post-graduate, all of my closest friends, colleagues, conference attendees, teachers, veterans, doctors, lawyers, musicians, psychologists, philosophers that I know – and I mean All, have suffered because of sacred experiences and psychological symptoms mis-understood, distorted and mis-valued, mis-diagnosed.

All of our cultural institutions I have experienced in my lifetime — perpetuate that missing the point. The major institutions of my time have all featured Jung’s description - the crowd, at whose core the working of the unconscious accumulates

Regarding the persons of water, land, and and my bioregion, here are the liner notes from my 1999 CD, Unio Mentalis: The Mind of the Land:

10

A Witness – F. Christopher Reynolds
(from Unio Mentalis: The Mind of the Land – 1999)

I dreamed of seeing again a small pond south of Norwalk, Ohio, that I knew as a child. The forest around it had been bulldozed for a housing development. The life of the pond was dried and dead. I began to weep because the grief I felt was so deep. My cry was unexpectedly taken over by another voice from inside my body. The best way to describe it was that it felt like a sickly infant was crying me — a neglected, orphaned child. Since then, I have met many whose souls were crying like that. It is lamentation. The lament is about some personal nature lost, not belonging anywhere, not being good enough to keep, having an orphan soul. Where I currently live, a small forest disappeared from the Hickox land in a single day.

The Comstock farm, the land along West Street, Bagley Road, Route 71 as it heads south, have all been cleared for subdivisions or commercial spaces. In the face of the de-naturing of Earth, I believe that lamentation becomes a revolutionary act . It is a move that gives way to the restoration of the dignity of the non-human world. May the voices of Dreams, Hawk, Cardinal, Bluejay, Robin, Dog, Deep Space, Amphibian, Crow, Ritual, Symptom, Great Lakes, Ancestors, Telecommunications, All my Relations and Local Divinities become angelic, message-bearing, and echoed in this music. May we relieve the burden of Jerusalem by restoring the sacred tissue in our own land. In strength, may we establish a culture of wholeness right here — Harmonize the Mind of Place.

I am no longer silent about how so many persons who would bring us the Light and Love of the Mystery are suffering and as a rule want to get the hell out of here. The old name for this is despair.

What I describe is similar to PTSD, but the triggering ‘trauma’ is being pierced by a direct experience of awe. It’s PAED – Post-Awe Erosion Disorder:

Post-aesthetic arrest, Post-near-death-experience, Post-artistic visualization, Post-creative insight, Post-non-local healing, Post-after-death communication, Post-personal past life recollection, Post-dream, Post-vision, Post-ritual, Post-falling-in-love, Post-co-creativity Erosion Disorder.

It would be in the summer of 1986 that my life experience definitively forced me to seek new ways of psychological understanding. Direct experience of art and Earth beyond all that was available in the schools, libraries, family, culture, nation, forced the necessity for an archetypal ecology upon me.


Archetypal Ecology, Chapter 2 – IN THE END IS THE BEGINNING