He adds:. It seemed to me that considerable waste, misdirection, and even harm occurred as a result of many astrological teachings and consultations. Nevertheless, a certain core of the astrological tradition -- above all, the planetary correspondences with specific archetypal principles, and the importance of major geometrical alignments between the planets -- appeared to have a substantial empirical basis.
The coincidence between planetary positions and appropriate biographical and psychological phenomena was in general so precise and consistent as to make it altogether impossible for me to regard the intricate patterning as merely the product of chance. Like Jung, Tarnas gives no probability calculations to support his views.
Nor does he consider other ways by which apparent coincidences can arise such as biassed inference, neglect of hidden persuaders, nonfalsifiability, and retro-fitting after the event. More later on the consequences of this. Only as I more fully appreciated the multidimensional and multivalent nature of archetypes -- their formal coherence and consistency that could give rise to a plurality of meaning and possible manifestation -- did I begin to discern the precise nature of astrological correlations.
Compared with, for example, the aims and modus operandi of various forms of intuitive divination and clairvoyance, with which astrology in earlier eras was often systematically conjoined, the essential structure of this emerging astrological paradigm appeared to be focused not on the prediction of specific concrete outcomes but rather on the precise discernment of archetypal dynamics and their complex unfolding in time.
Instead he favours the idea of as above so below where the universe is: "a fundamentally and irreducibly interconnected whole, informed by creative intelligence and pervaded by patterns of meaning and order that extend through every level, and that are expressed through a constant correspondence between astronomical events and human events. In such a view the planets do not cause anything, they merely indicate, just as a clock indicates time but does not cause it: "It seems that a fundamental new kind of causality must be posited to account for the observed phenomena.
The result was his firm belief that astrology promises "the emergence of a new, genuinely integral world view," one that "can reunite the human and the cosmic, and restore transcendent meaning to both" p. Archetypes The archetypes that Tarnas claims to have validated are essentially the principles behind each planetary god as given with minor variations in astrology textbooks, for example Jupiter expansion , Saturn limitation , Uranus change , Neptune intangibles , Pluto intensity.
Unfortunately Tarnas fails to point out some of the problems inherent in the idea of archetypes:. One problem with an archetype is that it cannot be examined directly, only its image, which varies between cultures and between people in the same culture, even though the underlying archetype remains the same. This looseness makes it possible to fit any archetype to almost any image, which is seen by proponents as a strength. For example Marie-Louise von Franz, one of Jung's co-workers, says "If one knows enough mythology one can make a completely consistent web from every great archetype to every other great archetype" On Divination and Synchonicity , Inner City Books, Toronto , p.
But this is precisely the problem, for if every archetype somehow merges with every other archetype even opposites such as Jupiter and Saturn merge by virtue of being meaningless without each other, just as day is meaningless unless there is also night , then almost anything can be proven, making the doctrine impossible to falsify. Another problem is Jung's justification for archetypes in the first place. He writes of patients who, with no obvious knowledge of other cultures, nevertheless had dreams showing striking parallels with myths from other cultures.
He concludes that the dreams arose from sources outside of their personal experience, hence the need for archetypes and a collective unconscious. But people may disown their inner happenings eg "I don't have the brains for that idea" because the happenings can arrive subconsciously and therefore seem incorrectly to have an independent existence. So archetypes are not needed to explain the dreams of Jung's patients. Nor are they needed to explain similarities between myths.
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All cultures face the same basic problems of finding food and shelter, avoiding enemies, raising children, and so on, which means that similarities in their myths are inescapable. Especially when loose imagery is part of the deal. The practical outcome of these problems will be familiar to any reader of astrology books, and of Cosmos and Psyche : Being an archetype requires that its meaning be blurred to cover all possible outcomes until it reads like a entry in Roget's thesaurus.
Take Jupiter expansion for example. Here is Tarnas's "brief summary" of the Jupiter archetype:. Ironically his brief summary for Saturn limitation is more than twice as long. Indeed, when pairs or triplets of planets are involved, the resulting collective archetype requires many pages to even briefly describe the possible outcomes. The way in which these archetypes work is illustrated by a massively erudite array of examples that with notes occupy more than pages. In each case Tarnas explains what the particular archetype means, and then shows how it can be discerned in the events or births that are coincident with it.
Archetypes in historical events As an example: In Uranus-Pluto cycles the archetype is Pluto intensity intensifying Uranus change , or alternatively Uranus change liberating Pluto intensity , indicating radical social change and rebellion against authority. Like any other planetary pair it manifests when the planets are in major aspect to each other, especially the conjunction, square, and opposition. Conjunctions occurred in upheavals throughout Europe, women's suffrage, radical socialism, travel breakthroughs eg railroads , and women's lib, black civil rights, Mao's Little Red Book, space exploration.
Oppositions occurred in French Revolution, abolition of slavery, start of feminist movement, continuation of Industrial Revolution , and upheavals in America, Boxer rebellion in China, suffragettes in England. It was the close fit and precise timing of these astrological events that seemed to require "a fresh assessment of the ancient astrological vision of the universe, far beyond what conventional modern explanations could provide" p.
Similarly for Saturn-Pluto, where the archetype is Pluto intensity intensifying Saturn limitation , or alternatively Saturn limitation restricting Pluto intensity , indicating widespread conservatism and repression. It can manifest as "genocide, ethnocide, and mass killings" p. Next come Jupiter-Uranus radical change and creativity , Uranus-Neptune spiritual change as in when Steiner founded anthroposophy , and Saturn-Neptune materialistic Saturn conflicts with spiritual Neptune indicating either the enlightening of materialism or the dimming of spirituality, so again you can have it both ways.
A Saturn-Neptune conjunction occurred in Asian tsunami, New Orleans flooding , or given the traditional connection of Neptune with the sea, "death caused by water" p. Archetypes in birth charts Everyone has transitting Uranus opposition their natal Uranus around ages , indicating sudden changes or bursts of creativity, for example Descartes published his Discourse on Method , Newton published his Principia , and Freud began writing his The Interpretation of Dreams p. Similarly everyone has transitting Saturn conjunct their natal Saturn around ages , indicating a more practical turn of events such as a major career appointment Kepler appointed Imperial Mathematician , a first major achievement Marie Curie discovers radium , entering one's mature calling Mark Twain publishes his first work , meeting a mentor Jung begins correspondence with Freud , or simply moving house Leonardo moves to Milan pp.
Tarnas considers the possibility that such events might be expected anyway at such ages. But the exactness of the timing, and the correspondence with the planet transitted thus Uranus transitting natal Venus differs from Uranus transitting natal Mars , leads him to discount that possibility p.
He adds "I have seldom researched a biography for which I had sufficiently detailed records of the major inner and outer events in a person's life where I did not find the above patterning readily visible" p. Which seems unremarkable given the diversity of archetypes and of admissable events. Archetypes are also shown by aspects between planets in the birth chart.
Richard Tarnas' COSMOS & PSYCHE
People with Sun conjunct Uranus eg the freedom-loving poet Shelley tended to show archetypal Uranus traits and those with Sun conjunct Saturn eg the pessimistic philosopher Schopenhauer tended to show archetypal Saturn traits. However, Tarnas stresses that "any given archetypal complex Not every person with a Sun-Uranus conjunction precisely resembles Shelley, nor are all those born with Sun-Saturn conjunctions just like Schopenhauer" p. Nevertheless, despite this diversity, Tarnas could always recognise the underlying archetype. For example a Sun-Uranus aspect might describe a "leading feminist pioneer or a free-wandering irresponsible missing parent, a major scientific innovator or a harmless eccentric, a celebrated cultural liberator or a lifelong juvenile delinquent" p.
Astrology showed the archetypes but not the specific way they would manifest. Therefore "the expression of a specific archetypal complex in a virtually limitless variety of forms is, I believe, not only characteristic of all astrological correspondence but essential to it" p. In other words it is like being sure of seeing faces in clouds, but never which face nor which cloud.
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In case you wondered, the closest aspect in Tarnas's own chart is Sun trine Uranus. Salvation by astrology Tarnas is confident that his findings are valid, and that astrology provides "a comprehensive conceptual structure that makes intelligible the complexities of human experience in a manner unmatched by any other approach I have encountered" p. Astrology "can play a crucial role in the positive unfolding of our collective future" p.
It saves us from disenchantment and promises "the emergence of a new, genuinely integral world view", one that "can reunite the human and the cosmic, and restore transcendent meaning to both" p. Tarnas dismisses skeptical views. For example he notes that astrology's bad press is due to numerous factors including newspaper horoscopes, fatalistic implications, and skeptics "who do not deeply examine what they zealously reject" p.
Astrology's acceptance requires "a flexible combination of critical questioning, freedom from a predisposition of closed skepticism, and patience" p. He is dismayed that skeptics "assume the entire universe is ultimately a soulless void" p. Two comments here. First, by definition no true skeptic assumes anything in advance. If they do view the universe as a soulless void, it is the consequence of empirical tests subject to disconfirmation by further tests or by critical philosophical review.
Second, the implication that an open mind and proper investigation will automatically support Tarnas's views is demonstrably wrong. Proper investigation In it was precisely with this attitude that Arthur Mather and I, with the help of over fifty relevant experts, began a critical review of the astrological and related literature. Like Tarnas we had observed striking correspondences with birth charts and were convinced that it deserved scientific investigation.
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Eventually we managed to summarise material from astrology books out of over consulted , astrology journal articles, and scientific works. The result was Recent Advances in Natal Astrology: A Critical Review , a book of pages and references published in and now long out of print and just as well because it dated very quickly, see Origins under the Historical section on this website.
We concluded: "The picture emerging suggests that astrology works, but seldom in the way or to the extent that it is said to work" p. We uncovered many reasons such as the Barnum effect for thinking we might be fooling ourselves into seeing validity where none existed. Even events which are about as straighforward as you can get because they either happen or don't happen proved problematic.
For example Chester Kemp, an astrologer renowned for precise working, compared the chart of a fictitious person CS Forester's Horatio Hornblower with more than 30 fictitious major events, all of which fitted with precision and striking symbolism. Nevertheless we noted that "charts are often so exactly right in such unlikely ways that coincidence or gullibility would seem to be ruled out" p. There were also a number of seemingly positive findings such as those of Vernon Clark matching tests , John Nelson radio quality , John Addey harmonics , and Michel Gauquelin planetary effects that warranted further investigation.
Much was uncertain but the door on astrology was far from being closed. Thus far our views were essentially the same as Tarnas's. But they changed once we and others looked more closely at the ways we might be fooling ourselves. We also checked the seemingly positive findings using computers and meta-analytic techniques, none of which were available in the s.
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This subsequent work occupied us for nearly 30 years. In effect we applied the procedures and precautions that have long been accepted in experimental psychology and which Tarnas has so far failed to apply. Today the uncertainties about astrology have mostly disappeared and the door is much closer to being closed. The new procedures and precautions uncovered only artifacts non-astrological effects that we and others had mistakenly seen as astrological effects.
Hundreds of rigorous tests found not a single effect size commensurate with astrological claims. As a result we had to change our previous positive view. As Rudolf Smit shows in his autobiographical Astrology my passion on this website under Applied Astrology, a change of view can be traumatic for believers in astrology. But the chips fall where they may.
It is now easy to see huge flaws in Tarnas's book. Huge flaws Tarnas's thirty-year labour and familiarity with diverse sources is impressive, and his aims are clearly noble. But others in the field with equally noble aims have laboured just as long and have produced just as impressive a volume of findings Witte, Ebertin, Barbault, Carter, Addey, Harvey, Lewis, Church of Light, to name just a few , using the same looking-at-charts approach but with conclusions that often conflict with Tarnas's.
For example Charles Carter, the leading British astrologer of his time, did not agree that astrology can give only archetypal results, just as his successor John Addey did not agree that astrology is untestable by science. His mother, Mary Louise, was a teacher and homemaker. In Tarnas entered Harvard , graduating with an A. He received his Ph. He also served as Esalen's director of programs and education. Understanding the Ideas That Have Shaped Our World View , a narrative history of Western thought which became a bestseller and remained in use in universities as of [update].
Tarnas' second book, Prometheus the Awakener , published in , focuses on the astrological properties of the planet Uranus , describing "the uncanny way astrological patterns appear to coincide with events or destiny patterns in the lives of both individuals and societies". In , Tarnas published his third book, Cosmos and Psyche: It claims that the major events of Western cultural history correlate consistently and meaningfully with the observed angular positions of the planets.
Tarnas featured in the film Entheogen: Awakening the Divine Within , a documentary about rediscovering an enchanted cosmos in the modern world.
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In a group of fifty scholars and researchers in the San Francisco Bay Area formed the Archetypal Research Collective for pursuing research in archetypal cosmology. An online journal, Archai: In Tarnas was invited to address members of the Dutch Parliament about creating a sustainable society. Archetypal astrology tarnas. Recent Posts.
So here's my variation on the idea: Any good intimate relationship generates an "angel" -- a spirit that the two partners create together. This is an excellent time for you to try out this hypothesis, Aquarius. As you interact with your closest ally, imagine that a third party is with you: your mutual angel. Rather, they are symbols of the unfolding evolutionary pattern. Just as clocks tell time but don't create it, the heavenly bodies show us the big picture but don't cause it.
Quoting Greek philosopher Plotinus, Tarnas writes, "The stars are like letters that inscribe themselves at every moment in the sky. Everything in the world is full of signs.