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Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View


From a philosopher whose magisterial history of Western thought was praised by Joseph Campbell and Huston Smith comes a brilliant new book that traces the connection between cosmic cycles and archetypal patterns of human experience. Drawing on years of research and on thinkers from Plato to Jung, Richard Tarnas explores the planetary correlations of epochal events like the French Revolution, the two world wars, and September 11. Whether read as astrology updated for the quantum age or as a contemporary classic of...

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Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View

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From a philosopher whose magisterial history of Western thought was praised by Joseph Campbell and Huston Smith comes a brilliant new book that traces the connection between cosmic cycles and archetypal patterns of human experience. Drawing on years of research and on thinkers from Plato to Jung, Richard Tarnas explores the planetary correlations of epochal events like the French Revolution, the two world wars, and September 11. Whether read as astrology updated for the quantum age or as a contemporary classic of spirituality, Cosmos and Psyche is a work of immense sophistication, deep learning, and lasting importance.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Thirty years in the making, Richard Tarnas's Cosmos and Psyche defies easy categorization. In this major work, Tarnas, a Harvard-educated historian and professor of philosophy and psychology, proposes a consistent correspondence between planetary cycles and the unfolding of history. With fascinating evidence that would brighten the day of any cosmologist, he argues that our present era is most comparable to the tumultuous, creative epoch of the High Renaissance.
Publishers Weekly
According to Tarnas, acclaimed author of The Passion of the Western Mind, history is on the verge of a major shift, comparable to the one wrought by Copernicus and Galileo, but a seemingly antiscientific one: an astrological turn that can only be understood thorough chronicling planetary alignments as they correlate to the rise of the modern mind over the last 500 years. Understanding planetary alignments, for Tarnas, is crucial to the world's future and requires "a genuine dialogue" with the cosmos, by "opening ourselves more fully" to "the other," to ancient and indigenous epistemologies, even "to other forms of life, other modes of the universe's self-disclosure." Filled with philosophical, religious, literary and scientific thinking ranging from Luther and Kepler through Hemingway and even Hitchcock and Dylan, Tarnas's book is not only sweeping in subject but dense and sometimes painfully slow going. It requires at once a strong background in the history of modern thought, an advanced knowledge of astrology, a willingness to withhold skepticism about the role of planetary alignments of the past in understanding life today and the avoidance of imminent world catastrophe. Tarnas's call to redefine what we consider as "legitimate knowledge" will resonate in some sectors, but it will be a tough sell with the more scientifically hardheaded. (Jan. 23) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In this sequel to The Passion of the Western Mind, Tarnas (philosophy, cosmology, & consciousness, California Inst. of Integral Studies) opens with an overview of the "modern self," paying special attention to the impact of the Copernican revolution. He then begins a discussion of the psychological aspects of this modern self, building up to Carl Jung's analysis of the phenomenon of synchronicity. This discussion serves as the springboard for the rest of the book: cosmological archetypes and the principles of astrology. Tarnas cites an abundance of examples drawn from historical individuals, cultural eras, political events and revolutions, scientific discoveries, literary developments, and artistic innovations that correspond to various planetary alignments. He persuasively argues that a logical shift on the order of the Copernican revolution is necessary in order for modern individuals to analyze better the past and present (and to some extent the future). At times, however, the material seems to do little more than summarize planetary alignments and corresponding events. If nothing else, Tarnas succeeds in pointing out overwhelming coincidences that will undoubtedly be difficult for readers to disregard. Recommended for medium and large collections.-Jason Moore, Madison Cty. Lib. Syst., MS Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780452288591
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/24/2007
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 592
  • Sales rank: 254,642
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.35 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Tarnas is a Harvard-educated historian and professor of philosophy and psychology, and the author of The Passion of the Western Mind. He is the founding director of the Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness graduate studies program at the California Institute of Integral Studies, and also teaches on the faculty of Pacifica Graduate Institute.

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Table of Contents

Preface     xiii
The Transformation of the Cosmos     1
The Birth of the Modern Self     3
The Dawn of a New Universe     5
Two Paradigms of History     11
Forging the Self, Disenchanting the World     16
The Cosmological Situation Today     26
In Search of a Deeper Order     37
Two Suitors: A Parable     39
The Interior Quest     43
Synchronicity and Its Implications     50
The Archetypal Cosmos     61
Through the Archetypal Telescope     71
The Evolving Tradition     73
Archetypal Principles     80
The Planets     88
Forms of Correspondence     102
Personal Transit Cycles     109
Archetypal Coherence and Concrete Diversity     126
Assessing Patterns of Correlation     135
Epochs of Revolution     139
From the French Revolution to the 1960s     141
Synchronic and Diachronic Patterns in History     149
Scientific and Technological Revolutions     159
Awakenings of the Dionysian     166
The Liberation of Nature     172
Religious Rebellion and Erotic Emancipation     183
Filling in the Cyclical Sequence     188
The Individual and the Collective     194
A Larger View of the Sixties     202
Cycles of Crisis and Contraction     207
World Wars, Cold War, and September 11     209
Historical Contrasts and Tensions     219
Conservative Empowerment     226
Splitting, Evil, and Terror     234
Moby Dick and Nature's Depths     239
Historical Determinism, Realpolitik, and Apocalypse     242
Moral Courage, Facing the Shadow, and the Tension of Opposites     257
Paradigmatic Works of Art     268
Forging Deep Structures     285
Cycles of Creativity and Expansion     289
Opening New Horizons     291
Convergences of Scientific Breakthroughs     296
Social and Political Rebellions and Awakenings     300
Quantum Leaps and Peak Experiences     307
From Copernicus to Darwin     312
Music and Literature     317
Iconic Moments and Cultural Milestones     326
Great Heights and Shadows     335
Hidden Births     349
Awakenings of Spirit and Soul     353
Epochal Shifts of Cultural Vision      355
Spiritual Epiphanies and the Emergence of New Religions     366
Utopian Social Visions     375
Romanticism, Imaginative Genius, and Cosmic Epiphany     380
Revelations of the Numinous     401
The Great Awakening of the Axial Age     409
The Late Twentieth Century and the Turn of the Millennium     419
Towards a New Heaven and a New Earth     453
Understanding the Past, Creating the Future     455
Observations on Future Planetary Alignments     465
Opening to the Cosmos     484
Sources of the World Order     488
Epilogue     491
Notes     494
Sources     535
Acknowledgments     545
Index     549
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 10 of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2006

    A Revolutionary Perspective

    If an eminent scholar and acclaimed cultural historian were to publish a major study of human history insightfully analyzing and interpreting various notable epochs and their formative figures, then the intellectual community would be entirely open to, and interested in, what this person had to say. If this person were at the same time to present a variety of parallel phenomena -- geographic, political, biological etc. -- demonstrating correlations between these two lines of phenomena, then the intellectual community would be moved to seriously consider and engage this new knowledge. But what if, most boldly, the phenomena being demonstrated as parallel with the mozaic of cultural history were to be the major alignments of the outermost planets -- what then? Richard Tarnas, author of the acclaimed cultural history, 'Passion of the Western Mind', has presented us with just such a paradigmatically challenging and mind-expanding account of a human-cosmic connection. With 'Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View', he has produced a penetrating analysis of the complex thematic character of a number of generally recognized significant historical moments and epochs, revealing how the peaks and valleys of the earthly course of human unfolding demonstrate a rhythmic concordance with the peaks and valleys of the outer-planetary dance. As the church fathers were invited to look through Galileo's telescope we are invited to examine certain newly discovered phenomena. Are we to cling to our old dogma and refuse to look, or are we to open our minds -- indeed without putting aside our critical faculties -- to see what this obviously credible historian and new paradigmatic thinker has to say? By revealing the very architecture of the evolving collective psyche in resonance with a 're-enchanted' cosmos, Cosmos and Psyche points us toward a greater coherence beyond postmodern fragmentation. Rather than our universe being solely dead matter and rocks banging around according to the laws of physics, as Tarnas explains, it is the confirmation of the cosmological dimension as meaningful that provides the missing dimension of all new paradigm strategies which, especially after Jung, deal very well with psyche but leave cosmos out of the picture. Tarnas's opus does not require a previous knowledge of astrology or even a general prior acceptance of it. The astrological configurations that Tarnas engages in his account are necessarily basic both in order to be accessible for the non-astrological public and also to provide clear and verifiable evidence rather than esoteric complexification. In full accordance with astrological consensus, the author provides a lucid yet profound introduction to the archetypal meanings of the relevant astrological principles. In order to attempt in good faith to refute this book, one would need the scholarship necessary to argue extensively against the characterization of the essentials of a certain period or event, against the interpretations of various works of art, or against the significance of numerous discoveries. One would have to be able to demonstrate convincingly -- with many counter examples -- either how there are in fact no real historical peaks, or that the peaks which Tarnas identifies are questionably chosen simply to fit the theory, or that in each specified period in which relevant works and events are cited that there are just as many events and works of the same essential quality that can be found equally distributed across other times bearing no astro-archetypal resonance to them. A rejection based on anything less than such a meticulous scholarly counter-argument would be cavalier and intellectually disingenuous. But intellectually honest critique and interpretative differences promoting constructive dialogue in the field are entirely appropriate and even required by a work of this magnitude.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2006

    And Thence We Came Forth to See Again the Stars

    With its open-minded spirit of hypothesis, empirical observation, and ongoing theoretical refinement, this book is a scientific triumph, scientific in the highest sense of the word: Here is the evidence, and here is a possible theory to explain the evidence. Most importantly, the correlations in Tarnas' methodology are replicable. Anyone with a knowledge of the basic tools of this method of analysis, which he carefully introduces, can investigate the patterning of archetypal principles in his or her own life. To preemptively criticize this body of research without actually investigating it, to refuse to look through the telescope for oneself, might, I believe, be symptomatic of a vested emotional position rather than a genuinely scientific attitude toward the evolution of knowledge. Tarnas recognizes and even celebrates the virtue of skepticism, as Santayana did when he referred to skepticism as 'the chastity of the intellect.' Yet Tarnas goes further, reminding us that while 'the mind that seeks the deepest intellectual fulfillment does not give itself up to every passing idea,' what is sometimes forgotten is that the purpose of skepticism is not to be an end in itself but to prepare us to be ready when a new and deeper truth finally arrives.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2012

    Highly recommended.

    Highly recommended. Very interesting. Well written.Plan to buy his earlier book today.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2011

    Cosmos & Psyche: A Review by M.A.Carrano

    Composed in a lithe, ethereal pen that is as effortlessly read as it is elegantly written, Cosmos and Psyche presents nothing less than the strongest statistical corroboration of the astrological hypothesis ever written. The sheer volume of coincidences between planetary alignments and historical events is breathtaking. That the coincidences do, in fact, exist is beyond the contumely of l'sceptique. Yet I do have my reservations, foremost of which arise from Tarnas' gaunt display of counterfactual data, or of a means to falsify the paradigm he proposes to account for the coincidences with, albeit broad or precise. It was only in light of this that, after experiencing Cosmos & Psyche, I was left with the profoundest sense of the question: Ceteris Paribus, is this evidence of a cosmic conspiracy of worlds - or simply one man manipulating his conclusions to comform with his premises?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2006

    Check out Passion of the Western Mind first

    Buoyed up by the very positive reviews given to this book, I was very looking forward to what I had been told was a great book. In many ways it is a great book, but astrologers might find it to be a case of `been there ¿ done that¿. I would recommend it, and Tarnas has a great way of expressing himself, but there is a lot of data to be ploughed through and some parts of this book made for heavy reading. At the end I¿m not sure how enlightened I felt as a result.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2006

    Cosmos and Psyche deserves a constellation of stars

    This is the most important book about astrology in decades (maybe centuries). It's no exaggeration to describe this as a breakthrough that will surely heighten awareness of humanity's connection with the cosmos. Richard Tarnas' protean intellect and lucid prose rewards the reader on every page. This is a shot across the bow of academics who have failed to include astrology in their understanding of our culture.

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    Posted July 14, 2010

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    Posted December 26, 2009

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    Posted May 8, 2011

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    Posted December 18, 2009

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