For the fourth episode of MUTATIONS, I am very honored to bring you a conversation with Dr Becca S Tarnas. Becca and I have had the chance to work together to offer an online course at Nura Learning last fall, “Journey to the Imaginal Realm: Reading J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings,” which is now also becoming a book through Revelore Press (in the Nuralogical series), and coming up next Monday, Nura is launching her next online seminar: “Sub-Creating Middle-Earth: Reading J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion.” You are most definitely invited to join the class and participate in the fascinating Q&A sessions.
Becca is a scholar, artist, counseling astrologer, and editor of Archai: The Journal of Archetypal Cosmology. Her dissertation, which is the subject of our podcast this episode, is titled “The Back of Beyond: The Red Books of C.G. Jung and J.R.R. Tolkien.”
In this episode, we explore:
The surprising intersections of two of the twentieth century’s most fascinating writers: C.G. Jung and J.R.R. Tolkien
The two Red Books, C.G. Jung’s Liber Novus and Tolkien’s Red Book of Westmarch
The nature of imagination as a participatory faculty of knowing the world
The gnostic influences, convergences, and divergences of Jung and Tolkien
Comparing the Atlantis “Complex” of Tolkien and C.G. Jung’s vision of a flood
“World building” versus “World discovering.” (Tolkien: ““I always had the sense of recording what was already there somewhere.”)
Fantasy as escapism vs. fantasy as “sub-creation.” The connections this has with philosopher Jean Gebser’s concept of Ursprung (origin) and the spiritually creative cosmos.
Imagination and myth as a means of self-knowledge: how we come to know what is true, and how The Lord of the Rings reflects truths about our own moment in history
How Tolkien’s historical moment — WWI, WWII — echoes and reflects itself in The Lord of the Rings without needing to become allegory
What Sam coming home and regrowing the Shire has to teach us about our own efforts in an age of planetary ecological crisis
The Silmarillion course — what to expect, what we’ll be focusing on, and how to sign up!
FLORILEGIUM / / EPISODE LINKS
Register for Becca’s course: Sub-Creating Middle-Earth: Reading J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion
Featured artwork by Archan Nair
Featured music by Lightbath
Intro/outro, “Planars of Existence”
Intermezzo, “Cathedral Rock”
Lightbath offers bonuses like patch notes, album downloads, livestreams, and one-on-one lessons at patreon.com/lightbath.
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