Plants As Persons: A Philosophical Botany by Matthew Hall and Harold Coward (SUNY Series on Religion and the Environment: State University of New York, SUNY) Plants are people too? Not exactly, but in this work of philosophical botany Matthew Hall challenges readers to reconsider the moral standing of plants, arguing that they are other-than-human persons. Plants constitute the bulk of our visible biomass, underpin all natural ecosystems, and make life on Earth possible. Yet plants are considered passive and insensitive beings rightly placed outside moral consideration. As the human assault on nature continues, more ethical behavior toward plants is needed. Hall surveys Western, Eastern, Pagan, and Indigenous thought, as well as modern science and botanical history, for attitudes toward plants, noting the particular resources for plant personhood and those modes of thought which most exclude plants. The most hierarchical systems typically put plants at the bottom, but Hall finds much to support a more positive view of plants. Indeed, some Indigenous animisms actually recognize plants as relational, intelligent beings who are the appropriate recipients of care and respect. New scientific findings encourage this perspective, revealing that plants possess many of the capacities of sentience and mentality traditionally denied them. More
Archetypal Cosmos: Rediscovering the Gods in Myth, Science, and Astrology by Keiron Le Grice (Floris Books) The modern world is passing through a period of critical change on many levels: cultural, political, ecological and spiritual. We are witnessing the decline and dissolution of the old order, the tumult and uncertainty of a new birth. Against this background, Keiron Le Grice argues that the developing insights of a new cosmology could provide a coherent framework of meaning to lead us beyond the growing fragmentation of culture, belief and personal identity.
In a compelling synthesis of the ideas of seminal thinkers from depth psychology and new paradigm science, Le Grice positions the new discipline of archetypal astrology at the centre of an emerging world view that reunifies psyche and cosmos, spirituality and science, mythology and metaphysics, enabling us to see mythic gods, heroes and themes in a fresh light.
Heralding a 'rediscovery of the gods' and the passage into a new spiritual era, The Archetypal Cosmos presents a new understanding of the role of myth and archetypal principles in our lives, one that could give a cosmic perspective and deeper meaning to our personal experience.
Keiron Le Grice, Ph.D., is founder and co-editor of Archai: The Journal of Archetypal Cosmology. He is adjunct faculty in the Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness programme at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco.
Excerpt: Staring into the vastness of space we behold a great and fathomless mystery. The night sky evokes a sense of immeasurable depth and inconceivable expanse, of timelessness and the infinite, of the terror of the dark unknown and the enticing lure of the still-to-be-experienced. Simultaneously, it impresses upon us the enigma of our ultimate origins and the promise of our distant future. The universe, we sense, is both our source and our goal, our beginning and our end. The evolving context of life itself, it is the originating ground of all things.
Throughout history the vision of the starry firmament has captivated the mythic imagination, inspiring feelings of awe and wonder in all those who gaze with open hearts and minds to the vast darkness whence all life came. The night sky has stimulated our deepest spiritual yearnings and, in the great civilizations past, it was revered as the sacred kingdom of the gods, the heavenly domain in which the souls of the dead found their divine resting place. The encompassing background to the unfolding human drama, the sky has ever been a symbol of the transcendent spiritual power that lies above and beyond the personal sphere of human existence.
Thousands of years ago it was, no doubt, a similar experience of the night sky that compelled our ancestors to envisage the universe as the all-embracing womb of the Great Mother goddess within which all life springs forth and to which all individual forms will, finally, return. Even today, for all the ingenious technological developments and great cultural achievements of modern civilization, we retain a sense of this primordial intuition of our deep mystical identity and mythic relationship with the universe. If we can set aside our more limiting rational preconceptions, we can recognize in the mystery of space something of the mystery of our own deepest being.
From the very beginnings of civilization in the third or fourth millennium BCE, the heavens were the great focal point of mathematics and mythology, of philosophy and the arts, and of science and religion. With the development of celestial mathematics, early astronomy and astrology — then a single discipline — became the catalyzing force behind the birth of human civilization itself in the ancient city states of Mesopotamia, where religion, science, and writing first emerged. Since that time, the celestial realm has been studied and explicated by the scientific mind, its planetary movements tracked and modelled mathematically, its laws of force and motion observed, measured, calculated, and abstracted.
In recent decades, the dawn of the Space Age, heralded by those first astonishing rocket flights out of the Earth's atmosphere into the darkness beyond, stirred the collective imagination, revitalizing humanity's enduring fascination with the heavens. Telescopic space exploration has since bestowed upon us stupendous images of the far reaches of our solar system, of the birth and death of stars, of black holes, and of spiral galaxies — of a universe of inconceivable magnitude, complexity and mystery, that has forced upon us a radical revision of all our previous cosmological assumptions. Closer to home, space exploration has also afforded us a dazzling new vantage point of the Earth, bringing images of a seamless unitary sphere, a luminous living planet glowing in the darkness of boundless space.
This global vision, made possible by the rapid technological advances of our time, is in some sense representative of our new expanded global perspective of life in all its forms on our planet. With access to information about all parts of the world and all times of history, we have at our fingertips a wealth of knowledge far surpassing that of any other period. Surveying the great chronicles of history, we can see our own era, our moment in time, in its rightful perspective as a culmination of all that has gone before, rather than a negation of the past, and a coming together of all cultures, all forms of knowledge and art, all religions, myths, and philosophies. Our vantage point gives us a sweeping view of our evolutionary past. We can see all streams of history flowing together. We can appreciate how every event and every life has contributed in some small way to where we now stand. For all the problems confronting us in the world today, we find ourselves in a uniquely privileged position. Yet with this privilege comes responsibility and challenge, for our time also seems to be one of critical, even epochal, transition heralded by many factors and indicators: ecological, economic, political, technological, psychological, cultural, and spiritual. We are living with the decline and dissolution of the old order, with the tumult and uncertainty of a new birth. The need for an orienting context to guide us through these many changes has become urgent.
As our vision has expanded outwards into the dark infinity of space, so too modern physics has probed deep within the microscopic world of the atom, to the quantum realm, that mysterious underlying reality in which many of our ordinary concepts and categories, such as space and time, cause and effect, subject and object, utterly break down. And at the same time the modern mind has also turned its gaze upon itself in the continuing endeavour to comprehend the inner dimension of human experience. Whether through the trance of the shaman, the spiritual quest and illumination of the mystic, the vision of the philosopher-poet, and, more recently, through the new disciplines of depth and transpersonal psychology, human beings have sought to make sense of the workings of the human soul or psyche. Here we have discovered a world that is just as mysterious as space itself and that displays similarly its own characteristic order. Our advancing steps into these strange new lands have been tentative, our forays brief, accompanied always by trepidation and exhilaration in equal measure.
And while we commonly suppose that these expeditions are in no way related, perhaps the paths of cosmological and psychological exploration might in fact reveal a deeper symbolic unity. In the interdependent and interconnected universe disclosed to us by modern science, might it be that these three areas of exploration — the inner world of the psyche, the quantum realm, and the realm of outer space — are more deeply connected than we have been led to believe, or than we had ever imagined? Could it be that in their deepest strata psyche and cosmos are so closely related as to be, in some sense, identical?
Of course, this supposition is not entirely without precedent. The intuition of a connection between the celestial macrocosm and the human microcosm has long been upheld in oriental and premodern world views, in mystical philosophies, in esoteric lore, and most especially in the ancient discipline of astrology — the study of the correspondence between human experience and the positions and movements of the Sun, the Moon, and the planetary bodies of the solar system. While many people in modern Western society would be quick to reject outright the truth claims of astrology, a startling new body of evidence of striking correlations between planetary cycles and patterns of world history recently presented by philosopher and cultural historian Richard Tarnas has given to astrology a new, unexpected credibility and provided the most compelling evidence yet that this ancient symbolic system, following decades of reformulation through its encounter with depth, humanistic, and transpersonal psychology, is once again worthy of serious consideration.'
Supported by this data, a new form of astrology — archetypal astrology — has now emerged, drawing on the astrological tradition yet informed by the insights of depth psychology and supported, increasingly, by the theoretical conceptions of some of our finest scientific minds. As the new sciences begin to reveal an unexpected relationship between the inner realm of the psyche and the outer realm of the cosmos, perhaps we might now once again look to the deeper meaning of the planetary patterns of the solar system for orientation and guidance in the next phase of our evolutionary journey. For, we will find, not only can archetypal astrology help us to render intelligible the patterns of our historical and recent evolutionary past, and to illuminate the challenges of the present, but this new form of astrology can also, I believe, provide us with a mythic perspective that might serve humanity in our unfolding future. Such a perspective would befit our newly attained cosmological vision and global planetary awareness while including within its scope the mythological and spiritual wisdom of the ages. Seen through new eyes in this new millennium, archetypal astrology might enable us to discover the underlying unity of the psyche and the cosmos and, beyond this, to point to the deeper order and containing ground that supports both realms.
Could it be, then, that our continuing endeavours to push back the frontiers of both the cosmos and the psyche betray a single, deeper motive? Perhaps our quest within, to explore the human psyche, and our quest without, to explore the universe, are but different expressions of the ubiquitous spiritual quest, as old as humanity itself, to discover our ultimate origins, to come into conscious relationship with the source and ground of all being. If so, then archetypal patterns, reflected in the structural order of the cosmos and manifest simultaneously in the depths of the human unconscious, might serve to illuminate our way on this heroic journey.
This book presents the outlines of a new mythic world view through an exploration of the theoretical basis of archetypal astrology and its application to mythology, psychology, and contemporary spirituality. In particular, the vision of reality that I present in these pages draws upon the work of Carl Gustav Jung and Joseph Campbell in the fields of depth psychology and comparative mythology, respectively. Both have been extremely influential not only within their own areas of expertise, but also across many other areas of Western popular culture and, most especially, on contemporary forms of spirituality and psychological self-exploration. Both have also contributed in important ways to the assimilation of esoteric symbolism and Eastern religious wisdom into the Western cultural and intellectual vision. And both have been instrumental in identifying the universal themes of the world's myths and religions, and the underlying psychic structures from which these originate.
I also draw on the ideas of several different theorists within the various fields of new paradigm thought — including David Bohm, Fritjof Capra, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Erich Jantsch, Stanislav Grof, Rupert Sheldrake, and Brian Swimme — whose work has done much to enhance our understanding of the nature of the universe and to present an alternative vision of reality to that offered by the orthodox scientific community. What all these thinkers have in common is that they challenge the dichotomies — between subject and object, mind and matter, and nature and spirit, for example — that have come to define the modern Western understanding of reality. Many of these theorists have also made bold moves to bridge these dichotomies, to reach out across the subject-object divide, by developing more holistic, complex, and unified world views that recognize the fundamental interconnectedness of all phenomena.
By synthesizing the insights of depth psychology and the new paradigm sciences, the aim of this book is to present a new vision of the relationship between the cosmos and the psyche, and between the planetary cycles and the dynamics and patterns of human experience. It is my hope that this endeavour might contribute to an enlarged understanding of human nature and our place in the cosmos, and that it might help to evoke, in the modern mind, an appreciation of the complex interconnection between the structural order of the solar system and the archetypal patterns of mythology.
The book is divided into three parts. Part 1 examines the place of myth in the modern world, the main functions served by mythology, and the requirements of a new mythology for our time. It presents the argument that archetypal astrology, combined with Joseph Campbell's model of the mythic hero's journey, could serve as a basis for a truly individualized form of mythology, one that could help to illuminate the patterns and themes of the individual's life. In order to understand the reasons archetypal astrology could be used in this way, Part 2 then explores the theoretical basis of astrology in modern science and depth psychology, as it develops foundations of a new archetypal cosmology. Finally, Part 3 considers the relevance of astrology for the larger evolutionary transformation of our time, and proposes a new understanding of the place of archetypal principles and the 'gods' in human experience. In an age when, for many, the traditional religions no longer provide the spiritual sustenance they once did, archetypal astrology, I argue here, could provide us with a new mythic framework to serve humanity in this new millennium, bringing us into a meaningful conscious relationship with a deeper cosmic order shaping our lives.
There are few events etched into the collective memory as deeply as the Apollo 11 Moon landing of July 1969. For those who were around to witness the dramatic unfolding of that voyage, it was an unforgettable moment when Neil Armstrong's foot first touched down onto the Moon's surface and humankind had, astonishingly, made its way onto a planetary body outside our home planet Earth. For those born after the event, as I was, looking back four decades later this still seems like an epochal landmark in human history, an achievement without precedent and without equal, the supreme testimony to humanity's technological mastery and spirit of adventure.
However, perhaps the full significance of this event is yet to be grasped. Given the parallels we have discussed in this book between outer space and the 'inner space' of the psyche, we might also consider the possible psychospiritual significance of the Moon landing. By taking into account the astrological and archetypal qualities associated with the Moon, we might attempt to discern the symbolic relevance of this event for understanding the evolutionary transformation of our time.
The synchronistic significance of the Moon landing
Reflecting on the Apollo 11 mission of 1969, it occurred to Joseph Campbell that in some sense the voyage outwards to the Moon was also a voyage inwards:
[The] Moon flight as an outward journey was outwards into ourselves. And I do not mean this poetically, but factually, historically. I mean that the actual fact of the making and the visual broadcasting of that trip has transformed, deepened, and extended human consciousness to a degree and in a manner that amount to the opening of a new spiritual era.'
Campbell realized that the flight to the Moon was an event with a far-reaching psychological significance. Now, through the perceptual shift afforded from space, the human species had attained a new vantage point from which to reflect on its own existence. Now, for the first time, the Earth was actually seen as a unitary entity, as a living planet of pristine beauty. Now, through the transmitted television images, the peoples of the Earth were able to see their shared home as a planet without national or political boundaries and thus attain a vastly expanded planetary consciousness. The formerly unknowable and unattainable heavens were now open to human exploration, not just visually but physically. The Moon was, potentially, a portal to the exploration of the vast cosmos beyond.
The unprecedented advance in space exploration has occurred alongside an equally remarkable expansion in our knowledge of the psyche. Together these advances have yielded a profound transformation in human consciousness. 'We are at this moment,' Campbell declared, `participating in one of the very greatest leaps of the human spirit to a knowledge not only of outside nature but also of our own deep inward mystery that has ever been taken, or that ever will or ever can be taken.' And, in support of Campbell's claim, if one surveys events over a period of decades around that time — if one views the events of the late 1960s in broad historical perspective, within the overall sweep of the larger pattern of development of Western culture — one can identity a series of developments that have indeed made possible, at least potentially, a startling leap forward in human psychological and spiritual evolution.
First, in the 1940s, the Gnostic Nag Hammadi Lost Gospels and the Dead Sea Scrolls were unearthed, having been lost for centuries, buried in the desert sands of the Middle East. These ancient scrolls, which have only been published since the 1970s, give radical new perspectives on early Christianity, Gnosticism, and on the life and teachings of Jesus, and they contain a wealth of insights into human psychospiritual transformation equalling Hinduism and Buddhism in their profoundity. Shortly afterwards, in 1950, the new dogma of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in Catholicism was sanctioned by Papal decree in Rome — a development to which Jung attributed great significance in his Answer to Job because it signalled, he thought, a belated recognition within the Christian Church of the spiritual importance of the feminine principle alongside the classic Christian Trinity of Father, , Son, and Holy Ghost. Meanwhile, Albert Hoffman had accidentally discovered the psychoactive properties of LSD in the 1940s, which opened up a whole new field of psychedelic exploration of the human unconscious in the decades to follow. And no less significant in this regard was Jung's explication of the psychological significance of alchemy in hole 1940s and 1950s, or the influx of Eastern religions and philosophies t the West around that time, which later contributed to the emergence of the new field of transpersonal psychology. The 1960s then saw the rise of the counterculture inspired in part by psychedelic exploration and spiritual seeking, together with the rise of ecological awareness on the with Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, the `Earthrise' photograph taken Apollo 8 mission of 1968 (catalyzing the subsequent emergensis of the environmental movement), and then later the Gaia hypothesis came in the same century that had given us relativity theory and quantum theory, providing a radical new understanding of the nature of reality, one that is, even now, still to be comprehended and adequately assimilated into the cultural world view of our time.
Within a culture that has placed an exaggerated emphasis on extraversion, material progress, development, outer achievement, and so forth, in different ways these events suggest a turn to the interior dimension of life or some kind of fundamental reorientation of human consciousness. Out of this reorientation, we appear to be witnessing the stirrings of a new attitude towards the Earth, a new mode of participation with nature, and, for a growing minority, a greater conscious involvement in the psychological transformation of individuation. In certain respects, it is almost as if, in some great turning point or enantiodromia, the Moon landing — the apex of human extraverted accomplishment — heralded and reflected the emergence of its complementary polar opposite, at least in potentia.
Our own moment in history is regarded by many as a pivotal turning point: as we have seen it was heralded by Gebser as the time of a major mutation of consciousness; by Campbell as a major shift in mythology — the era of individual, creative mythology; by Hanegraaf and other cultural historians as a time of spiritual revolution; by Jung as the Kairos, bringing a metamorphosis of the gods; by Capra as a major cultural and paradigmatic turning point; by historian Oswald Spengler as the 'decline of the West' — a period in which we are witnessing the death throes of modern Western industrial civilization. Perhaps most significant, our time has been described by philosopher Ewert Cousins as the Second Axial Age — a period, he suggests, that is equal in its spiritual significance to the first Axial Age of the sixth century BCE when many of the major world religions had sprung forth or gone through critical developments in response to the major transformation occurring in the human psyche at that time.'
A world transit analysis of these two periods supports this comparison. The Axial Age, as Richard Tarnas observes, was the only period in recorded history when there occurred a conjunction of all three outer planets — Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the three outer planets were again in major alignment, with the planet Uranus in opposition to a Neptune-Pluto conjunction (see figure Chart of the Neptune-Pluto Conjunction, circa 1880-1905. The chart shows the positions of the three outer planets on January 1, 1900. Neptune and Pluto, positioned at the bottom left of the chart, were in a conjunction alignment beginning in the late 1870s and lasting over thirty years. During that time, Uranus moved into an opposition, first with Pluto and then with Neptune. In the above chart, Uranus, in the top right, is positioned at 10 degrees Sagittarius in opposition to Pluto, at 15 degrees Gemini, and just entering an opposition with Neptune, at 25 degrees Gemini. Among other things, the Neptune-Pluto archetypal combination is associated with the death and destruction of longstanding spiritual ideals and metaphysical systems, and with periods of spiritual rebirth and renewal, reflecting transformations taking place in the depths of the unconscious psyche.) — an alignment second only to the triple conjunction of the Axial Age in its archetypal power and significance. This period brought forth the epochal proclamations of Nietzsche, the evolutionary-oriented spiritual masterworks of Sri Aurobindo, Teilhard de Chardin, and Rudolf Steiner, the birth of depth psychology with Freud and Jung, the influential impressionist and post-impressionist movements in painting, and the birth of modern post-Newtonian physics. Developments originating at this time, as Tarnas has stressed, continued to unfold through the ensuing decades of the twentieth century, with the subsequent conjunctions of Uranus and Pluto in the 1960s and Uranus and Neptune in the late 1980s and 1990s. And in many ways, it was only after Neptune and Pluto moved into a subsequent sextile alignment from the 1940s to our own time that the developments from the turn of the twentieth century really began to come to fruition and be better understood.
Could it be, then, that the Moon landing was in some way connected to these developments? As a voyage 'outwards into ourselves', perhaps the Moon landing can be seen as a momentous collective synchronicity, as a great symbol of this psychospiritual transformation unfolding in our time. Perhaps, if Campbell is right, the Apollo landing was not just a direct cause of the 'leap of the human spirit' but — if we keep in mind the parallel or underlying identity between the inner and outer realms described in this book — it was also a synchronistic reflection of it.
The archetypal meaning of the Moon
The possible psychospiritual significance of the Moon landing becomes more apparent if we consider this event symbolically, from the perspective of mythical consciousness, and keep in mind the range of meanings associated with the planetary archetype of the Moon and their relationship to the archetypal meanings associated with the Sun.
In symbolic terms, as noted earlier, the 'light' of ego-consciousness is often represented in myth, in astrology, and in esoteric lore by the Sun. Solar metaphors are often used to signify the birth and ascent of consciousness — and not only in myth but in historical and cultural narratives too. Both Lewis Mumford and Richard Tarnas, for example, have specifically connected the trajectory of the modern self — its emergence and meteoric rise — with the rise of the heliocentric cosmology through the work of Copernicus, Galileo, and Kepler. More generally, the Enlightenment (the term itself connoting the light of reason and consciousness) emerged out of the dominance of 'solar' consciousness after the Scientific Revolution. In many ways, then, the Moon landing was achieved by the full development and accentuation of the solar form of consciousness: it was the height of technological brilliance, the apex of the trajectory of the Promethean spirit of audacious conquest and exploration, the triumph of human scientific and technological endeavour, the culmination of humanity's quest to harness the powers of nature for cultural ends, the pinnacle of the long journey from dark ignorance of primal unconsciousness to intellectual illumination, as the human species literally burst free from its earthly home.
However, as surely as night follows day, the ascent of solar ego-consciousness has to be followed by a descent into the darkness of the unconscious. It was Friedrich Nietzsche, more than anyone, who both prophesied and experienced in his own life the 'Great Noontide', as he called it — a point of pivotal turning around in the course of human cultural and evolutionary development. It was with Nietzsche that human ego-consciousness, like the Sun on its daily passage across the sky, began its necessary descent into the underworld, into the depths of the psyche. Whereas the primary concern of the Western mind since the time of the Greeks was on the 'daylight', foreground aspects of existence, Nietzsche's 'down-going' signalled a compensatory focus on the 'darkness' of the background. He announced the beginning of a period of human culture that Heidegger later called the 'the night of the world', a period in which God and spirit have withdrawn from our conscious awareness.' Nietzsche has Zarathustra say to the Sun: 'I must descend into the depths: as you do at evening, when you go behind the sea and bring light to the underworld too, superabundant star! Like you, I must go down.' And as the Sun descends below the horizon, so the Moon takes centre stage.
Just as in our lived experience of the sky, in archetypal terms the Sun is intimately connected with the Moon, as Jung explained:
Just as the day-star rises out of the nocturnal sea, so, ontogenetically and phylogenetically, consciousness is born of unconsciousness and sinks back every night to this primal condition. The duality of our psychic life is the prototype and archetype of the Sol-Luna symbolism.'
Sol and Luna, Sun and Moon, represent different dimensions of the human psyche: consciousness and the unconscious. They also broadly correspond to the distinction in the Western philosophical tradition between spirit and soul, respectively, and to the different modes of being suggested by the Chinese Taoist principles of yang (active, creative, assertive, 'masculine') and yin (passive, receiving, yielding, `feminine'). In astrology, accordingly, the planetary archetype corresponding to the Moon is associated with soul and with the yin qualities of receptivity, care, and relationality. It is associated with the feminine principle, the matrix of being, motherhood, the womb, the home, the past, and the anima archetype — itself relating to the emotions and the inner image of the female in the male psyche. As the Moon is the dominant nocturnal light, ruling the night sky, so the archetypal Moon governs the darkness of the unconscious, dreams, and the private, inner life of the emotions and feelings.
In view of the range of symbolic meanings associated with the Moon, we can see more clearly the possible relevance of many of the synchronistic correlations with the Moon landing cited above, particularly the focus on interiority, the exploration of the unconscious psyche, the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, the renewed focus on `Mother Earth' and 'Mother Nature', the new, direct awareness of the Earth as our planetary home. These correspondences reinforce the sense that archetypal qualities associated with the Moon were being unconsciously activated in broad coincidence with the Apollo mission, and that these qualities were therefore in evidence synchronistically in the wider culture in the decades around that time. More specifically, I believe the Moon landing can be connected to several closely related psychospiritual developments that each reflects something of the essential meaning of the lunar archetype.
First, the manned landing on the Moon might be symbolically indicative of the emergence of a new vantage point within the psyche, one lying outside of ego-consciousness. As the Sun represents the light of consciousness and the ego-complex as the centre of awareness and volition, the Moon, we have said, symbolizes the light within the darkness of the unconscious psyche. It is a compensatory light to that of the Sun, symbolizing another position within the psyche, another existential centre of gravity, another mode of consciousness. If the Moon landing was indeed a journey 'outwards into ourselves', as Campbell thought, in attaining a new perspective on Earth from outer space we might simultaneously have been in the process of bringing forth a new psychological position, now emerging out of the unconscious, from which to move beyond a limited rational egocentricity such that ego-consciousness is no longer the autocratic master of its own house, no longer the central, dictatorial locus of will and intention. Solar consciousness, the dominant principle of the modern era, which has been in the ascendancy for millennia, might now be counterbalanced by the compensatory development and differentiation of lunar consciousness.
Second, the Moon's association with the anima is also significant here. For as the Moon is the 'gateway' to outer space, the closest celestial body to us here on Earth, so in Jungian psychology the anima serves as the 'gateway' to the collective unconscious — it is that psychological function, that archetype, which mediates the relationship between the conscious ego and the unconscious. It was thus described by Jung as a mediatrix, a psychopomp, the guide of souls through the underworld — as suggested, for instance, by the role of Ariadne in Greek myth or Beatrice in Dante's Divine Comedy. I believe that the landing on the Moon might therefore be symbolic of the need for a reconnection and re-centring of humanity in the unconscious by cultivating the feminine principle, by the differentiation of the anima. Indeed, such a shift towards the 'feminine' has been heralded by a number of spiritually perceptive commentators on the human condition in recent times. This is a central theme in Jung's work; it is implied in Joseph Campbell's writing; and Richard Tarnas, in his epilogue to The Passion of the Western Mind, depicts the entire evolutionary trajectory of Western cultural and intellectual history in terms of a dialectic between `masculine' and 'feminine' principles.
Third, if the Moon landing does synchronistically point to the re-emergence of qualities and modes of being associated with the planetary archetype of the Moon, it might also indicate an impending shift in the fundamental orientation of human culture from the masculine-yang-animus qualities of the solar world, to the feminineyin-anima qualities of the lunar world. Such a shift was heralded by Dane Rudhyar in his finest work, The Astrology of Transformation. `The Yin type of response to what life brings,' Rudhyar explains:
is essentially receptive and adaptive. It is archetypally associated with the feminine attitude and character. In a culture that upholds the Yin ideal, philosophers and wise men tend to consider the universe as an immense network of relationships linking and integrating a multitude of centers of consciousness and activity into a dynamic fullness (or pleroma) of being reflecting a transcendent and ineffable `Unity' that can only be symbolized by inadequate names or concepts such as the Absolute, Space, an infinite Ocean of potentiality, or in religious terms, by God or the Godhead. While the Yang type of philosophy leads to a pluralistic, personalistic, and atomistic image of the universe, the Yin type is essentially holistic, seeing component parts of a cosmic Whole in every manifestation of a universal 'ocean' of life.'
`A Yin type of person,' Rudhyar adds, 'is essentially characterized by its acceptance of what "is", and by a willingness to experience every aspect of the ever-unfolding process of change. Such a person is thus free to meet whatever this process brings, and adapt to every new situation:9 Rather than impose one's will on the environment to attempt to avoid painful experiences and attain pleasurable ones — the normal yang style strategy — the yin type response is willing to accept all life conditions and experiences in so far as they are necessary to live in accordance with the promptings of the Self. To be open to the biddings of the Self, one has to recognize a greater power and authority in one's life beyond the dictates of personal desire and rationality. On the journey of individuation, cultivating this yin style of being is therefore essential for establishing a vital relationship between consciousness and the unconscious, between ego and Self. Through cultivating ayin approach to life, the ego realizes its function, not as self-willing creator, but as a kind of reflex function of the Self. 'It is not I who create myself,' Jung famously declared, 'rather I happen to myself:1° In the final analysis, we are not the origin of acts of will and volition, or of desires and impulses, but the recipients of these. Ultimately, we are the emissaries of the universe's purposes, intentions, and telos.
Fourth, as we have seen, the Moon also symbolizes the mother, the womb, the home, the matrix; it represents the maternal ground of being — the container, as it were, of all forms, the nurturing vessel of life itself. Accordingly, the Moon planetary archetype is directly associated with the archetypal matrix, the dynamic ground underlying psyche and cosmos. Now, if outer space is the symbolic physical derivative form of the ground, as we have said, then humanity's exploration of outer space and our entrance into the Space Age takes on a startling meaning. For just as we have physically entered the realm of outer space, so, synchronistically, perhaps at this time we are now becoming consciously aware of the psychospiritual matrix in which we have our being. Perhaps, through our exterior and interior explorations, we are now penetrating the veil of the archetypal matrix, to access the very ground from which all our myths and religions arise.
The unio mystica and the birth of the Self
Those individuals who embody in their lives and deeds the lunar pole of being are now standing in compensatory relationship to the dominant solar principle — to patriarchy, to heroic ascent, to 'masculine' individualism, and extraversion. Yet the challenge before us, as I see it, is not to revert uncritically to a more lunar style of consciousness and way of being. Rather, it is to bring together on our own heroic journeys both poles and principles, the solar and the lunar. We must strive through our own individuation to preserve the light of conscious selfhood, to preserve the hard-earned cultural achievements and rational illumination achieved by humanity's long spiritual ascent, while simultaneously submitting to the descent into the unconscious so that we might bring to conscious awareness the dark 'slumbering' spirit in nature.
All those who enter upon the way of individuation must cultivate a yea-saying affirmative response not only to the 'good' and the positive aspects of life, but also to the 'evil' and the painful, shadow dimension of human experience. Through the affirmation of both these poles of existence, one can come to terms with the warring opposites inherent within nature, holding within one's self in creative tension both spirit and nature, good and evil, fear and desire. In this way, individuation, following a path similar to that of the mystic hero, might ultimately lead, as Jung suggests, to the great unio mystica of spirit and matter, uniting the transcendent and immanent divine in the embrace of the hieros gamos, the sacred marriage of the divine masculine and feminine.
Released just a year before the Moon landing, the closing sequence of Kubrick's 2001, depicting the enigmatic image of a baby in its womb-like cosmic bubble, seems to point to the mysterious evolutionary transformation we are all now, consciously or unconsciously, participating in. For it is out of the hieros gamos of Sol and Luna that ultimately a new form of being might emerge. The Ubermensch, the spiritualized human, the ultra-human, the Self: these terms all point to the birth of something new in and through the human — some greater, more complete, more universal being. It is a birth that is to be mediated by the lunar principle, symbolizing both mother and child. The Self, as Jung observed, is the child of the 'pregnant anima'." Emerging out of the unconscious, the Self — the individual embodiment of the cosmic anthropos — is struggling to be born in human experience through the anima.
Finally, it is through the birth of the Self that we might ultimately recover the 'lost' unity between the human being and the cosmos and thus fulfil the requisite condition proclaimed by Jesus in The Gospel of Thomas for the realization of the Kingdom of Heaven:
When you make the two one, when you make the inner as the outer, and the outer as the inner, and the above as the below, so that you make the male as the female into single one ... then you shall enter the Kingdom.'
With the recovery of the identity of inner and outer, the originating ground — the archetypal matrix — becomes transparent to conscious awareness. The primordial darkness of the ground of being appears in the light of consciousness. In that interior clearing, the cosmos in all its depth and mystery is illuminated. And it is this luminous transparency, as we have seen, that is one of the fundamental characteristics of the integral structure of consciousness, the evolutionary mutation that is now upon us.
over Matter: Conversations with the Cosmos by K. C. Cole
(Harcourt) K. C. Cole, a science writer and columnist, has a fresh take on
cutting-edge scientific discoveries, which she makes both understandable and
very human. Reporting on physics, cosmology, mathematics, astronomy, and more,
Cole's essays, culled from her popular Mind over Matter columns, reveal the
universe as simple, constant, and complex – and wholly relevant to politics,
art, and every dimension of human life.
Cole gathers 92 short essays that first appeared primarily
in her column. The book's four sections are loosely ordered around the
subjectivity of inquiry, the physical world, science in practice and the
politics of science. Cole's technique is to set her stage with a scientific news
tidbit and then ruminate on the unexpected insights, inversions or ironies she
Her themes include uncertainty, the limitations of measure,
fragility, illusion, humility before nature, complacency. A solar eclipse
"exposes our fragility" and dispels illusion "like turning up the houselights
during a movie." The millennium, indeed the notion of time itself, is an
artificial concept, and "it's a fine line . . . between discovering something
and making it up." Engaging in what might be called navel gazing, Cole seeks the
wondrous in the stuff we mistake for just ordinary. Her piece on clouds ("wind
made visible") segues to dying stars ("a cosmic-scale cloudburst") and atoms (a
nucleus "engulfed by a cloud of electrons"); her piece on wind leads her to the
hurricanes on Jupiter and the complicated weather of galaxies.
over Matter, science amazingly also becomes a foil for political
commentary on such topics as Enron and the Kansas Board of
Education's vote on Darwin and the American justice system, to name
a couple. These essays, which have charmed her
Introduction to Cosmology by Barbara Sue Ryden (Addison-Wesley) is an
excellent introduction to all facets of cosmology for anyone from advanced
undergraduates on. It includes a slow immersion in the key physical concepts of
current cosmology theory, and broadly covers all relevant topics, as listed in
the chapter headings. However, the greatest strength of this book is in the
decision to forgo detailed General Relativity derivations. Instead of pages of
numbing treatment of tensor math and metrics, Ryden summarizes the results of GR
that are relevant to current cosmology, presenting the Friedmann equation and
the Robertson-Walker metric. While this approach might infuriate purists, it
allows the student to understand cosmology from a conceptual standpoint, while
providing the mathematical tools necessary for analysis, and is a sufficient
general introduction for any physics or astronomy student. It also provides a
strong base of knowledge for those who do wish to proceed further into the
details of GR. Furthermore, the conversational style of the text makes it much
easier to read than any other physics textbook I have encountered. I would
recommend any student (or professional) who slogged through their cosmology
studies with no sense of the overall state of the field to use this book for
both brushing up on the basics and as a quick reference.
Modern Cosmology by Scott Dodelson (Academic Press) begins with an
introduction to the smooth, homogeneous universe described by a
Friedman-Robertson-Walker metric, including careful treatments of dark energy,
big bang nucleosynthesis, recombination, and dark matter. From this starting
point, the reader is introduced to perturbations about an FRW universe: their
evolution with the Einstein-Boltzmann equations, their generation by primordial
inflation, and their observational consequences. These consequences include the
anisotropy spectrum of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) featuring acoustic
peaks and polarization, the matter power spectrum with baryonic wiggles, and
their detection via photometric galaxy surveys, redshift distortions, cluster
abundances, and weak lensing.
Modern Cosmology concludes
with a long chapter on data analysis.
Modern Cosmology is the
first book to explain in detail the structure of the acoustic peaks in the CMB;
the E/B decomposition in polarization which may allow for detection of
primordial gravity waves; and the modern analysis techniques used on
increasingly large cosmological data sets. Readers will gain the tools needed to
work in cosmology and will learn how modern observations are rapidly
revolutionizing our picture of the universe.
The Accelerating Universe: Infinite Expansion, the Cosmological Constant, and the Beauty of the Cosmos by Mario Livio (John Wiley) In one of the most startling discoveries in cosmology in the century, astronomers last year determined that the universe is flying apart at an ever faster rate. This "acceleration" has smashed the popular idea of a perfectly balanced "beautiful" universe and kicked off what Scientific American has proclaimed as a new revolution in cosmology. In elegant and wonderfully lucid prose, Hubble Space Telescope scientist Mario Livio introduces the new findings and explores their astonishing implications. More
Cosmology: The Origin and Evolution of Cosmic Structure, Second Edition by Peter Coles, Francesco Lucchin (Wiley) Cosmology is concerned with the history and evolution of the universe. The subject content concentrates primarily on theory, but relates theory to observation where appropriate. A modern introduction to this fascinating and fast developing subject. Provides a unique bridge between introductory and advanced material, starting with the elementary foundations of basic cosmological theory. More
God and the Universe by Arthur Gibson (Routledge) combines incisive interpretations of the latest scientific theories of the origins of the universe with an unparalleled understanding of their religious and philosophical implications. In tackling head-on the highly charged issue of God's relevance to contemporary cosmology, the breadth of Gibson's perspective on his subject matter is amazing: from virtual reality to the meaning of life and from Aristotle to Stephen Hawking. Books like this do not come along very often. I suggest one take a couple of mornings off and read through it. God and the Universe will provide some important novel perspectives about how things can mean from the smallest to the largest and how perhaps best to go about learning more. More
Astronomy: Journey to the Cosmic Frontier with Essential Study Partner CD-ROM
by John D. Fix (McGraw-Hill) is a text for an introductory astronomy course. One
of the main goals is to provide a broad enough and deep enough background in
astronomy so the student will be able to follow current developments in
astronomy years after they complete the course.
Astronomy: Journey to the Cosmic Frontier with Essential Study Partner CD-ROM
presumes that most of its readers are not science majors and that they probably
have not had a college-level science or mathematics course.
Astronomy: Journey to the Cosmic Frontier with Essential Study Partner CD-ROM
provides a complete description of current astronomical knowledge, neither at an
extreme technical level nor at a level that fails to communicate the
quantitative nature of physical science. Finally, the historical development of
astronomy is emphasized to show that astronomy, like other sciences, advances
through the efforts of many scientists, and to show how present ideas have been
Space Sciences 4 volume set edited by Pat Dasch
(Macmillan Science Library: Thomson/Gale) Space Sciences Vol 1 Space Business
edited by Pat Dasch (Macmillan Science Library: Thomson/Gale) Space Sciences Vol
2 Plantary Science and Astromony edited by Pat Dasch (Macmillan Science Library:
Thomson/Gale) Space Sciences Vol 3 Humans in Space edited by Pat Dasch
(Macmillan Science Library: Thomson/Gale) Space Sciences Vol 4 Our Future in
Space edited by Pat Dasch (Macmillan Science Library: Thomson/Gale)
Intended for high school students and above, this four-volume set contains 341 signed articles presenting introductory information on the space sciences including concepts in astronomy, the history of space discovery, applications of space technology, biographies of contributors to the discipline, and careers. Arranged topically by volume and alphabetically within each volume, entries range from 500 to 4,500 words in length. The pages also contain columns with defined terms, formulas, sidebars, and illustrations. Chapters end with bibliographic data and internet resources, when applicable. Each volume begins with quick reference charts of measurements and symbols; a timeline of business and space milestones and human achievements in space; a list of contributors; and an outline of all contents. Illustrated with 400 color and b&w photographs. More
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