Ensoulment and Synchronicity: Concepts from Cosmos and Psyche by Richard Tarnas

In his 2006 book Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View, Rick Tarnas suggests that the western mind has catapulted us away from a fundamental cosmos where everything was ensouled, alive, and animated by meaning and archetype. Our modern mindset is, instead, to attempt to control and manipulate our environment, making us the active subject in any interaction, and the things we see around us the passive object. Tarnas suggests “disenchantment” refers to the way the world is objectified, thereby denying subjectivity. “Objectification,” he contends, “denies to the world a subject’s capacity to intend, to signify intelligently, to express it's meaning, to embody and communicate humanly relevant purposes and values” (p. 21). By objectifying the world around us, we enable ourselves to believe that we can manipulate and determine our own existence, giving us greater freedom and autonomy.

Seeing oneself as the only source of life and intelligence in a universe that is increasingly dead and soulless leaves us in a vacuum where we are increasingly aware. (I’m also inclined to believe it makes many of us feel more alone, alienated, and disconnected from a sense of belonging and community, contributing to a culture where the sharper and sharper contrast of me versus them causes more people to act out via shooting rampages, suicides, or violence.)

Tarnas suggests that some of this objectification stems from the first moment mankind used a tool, making him the subject and the thing he was acting upon an object. Rather than being on equal terms, then, with (Click to continue reading...)

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Tags: animism, connectedness, cosmos and psyche, ensoulment, objectification, rick tarnas


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Comment by Gray Crawford on March 6, 2013 at 11:37pm

Hi Bonnie, I just added these comments to a post that I now realize was actually in reference to this more in depth blog post that you made. So I will repeat myself here, to share this with you:

I saw Richard Tarnas give a speech in Seattle a couple years ago at the Washington State Astrological Association entitled "Astrology, Synchronicity, and Romantic Love."  The link is that romantic love brings an archetypal, synchronistic field to our perception, where in contrast synchronicity and astrology are normally off the radar of mainstream, objective-based culture. Thus romantic love takes on extraordinary importance, carrying the entire magical anima mundi meaning in a worldview sensing no meaning outside the human ego perspective. He said astrology, synchronicity, and romantic love all (1) have great potential for profound significance, are (2) extremely susceptible to negation and a skeptical negating, and  are (3) susceptible to projection and illusion.  He also brought up the connection you are referencing between synchronicity and individuation. He said the individuating process is painful because its about becoming not what the ego wants us to become but what the universe wants through us.  Astrologically, we have to navigate between the mirages of a negative Neptune archetype and the negations of a negative Saturn archetype.  He said a lot depends upon self-discernment: becoming aware of shadows, complexes, and neurotic needs.  He said the more you are aware of depth psychology, the more you can be in romantic love and see the other as they truly are.  He also said that synchronicities show nature itself as the sacred circle, the universe allowing us into its mystery.


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