Last week I journeyed from my home in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul Area to Joshua Tree, CA to seek insight into the synchronicities that permeate my personal and professional life.
By profession I am an urban and regional planner; increasingly I find value in discerning the "spirit of place" as a window into the community where I work. That has led me into the emerging field of terrapsychology, especially as articulated by Craig Chalquist.
Although the Joshua Tree synchronicity symposium did not address terrapsychological issues directly, I was attracted to it particularly because of the opportunity to learn from Rupert Sheldrake and Richard Tarnas, two brilliant thinkers who in my opinion lay an important foundation for terrapsychology or any other depth psychological work these days. Their teachings at Joshua Tree more than met my hopes for the event.
I had not previously studied with Rupert Sheldrake, although I had read his "Science Set Free" book and watched several YouTube videos of his talks. His Joshua Tree material did sound some familiar themes, but I was especially grateful for his attention to the latest developments in consciousness studies and his highlighting of the apparent breakdown of the materialist perspective even among its advocates (example of Sam Harris' book "Waking Up" just now published). I also valued the opportunity to dialogue with him and came to appreciate better his unique views on both organized and unorganized religion. His own articulated perspective of Psychedelic Anglicanism Married to a Practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism certainly gives credence to the late Robin Williams' statement regarding Episcopalianism (the US equivalent of Anglicanism) - that "no matter what you believe there is at least one other Episcopalian who believes the same thing."
Joshua Tree was my fourth time hearing Richard Tarnas - he's frequently appeared in the Twin Cities and I make a point of taking part in his events close to home when I can. I'm finding especially valuable in Tarnas his articulation of the varieties of synchronistic experiences and his point that some are messages from the cosmos via inanimate or barely-animate means (e.g., the golden scarab in the dream of Jung's patient) while others are best seen as extensions of innate capabilities that we all possess in some measure (e.g., telepathic communications). His emphases on the trickster dimension to most synchronistic experiences and the corollary need to avoid ego inflation were especially welcome to me.
Keeping this post to a manageable length, I'll simply note one pleasant synchronicity that occurred at the symposium. As previously mentioned I have been attracted to Craig Chalquist's work. I've not met him in person but have engaged in several conversations with him via email and phone. Several months ago I asked if he would be at the Joshua Tree symposium and he said probably not - and indeed he was not there. But serendipitously, Bonnie Bright, a former Chalquist student, had a prominent role in the symposium and was offering a free copy of the Chalquist "Rebearths" book to anyone who would agree to post impressions of the symposium on the Depth Psychology Alliance website. So that's the genesis of this blogpost. Thank you Bonnie and Cosmos!
How this all fits into my work as a city and regional planner may be the subject of another post at another time.