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What Are Archetypes, and How Has Our Understanding of Them Evolved?

  • Friday, September 22, 2023
  • 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM
  • Zoom


  • Members who are full time students


This program WILL BE recorded. Read below for instructions regarding the recording for this program.

Registration closes at 12:00pm EST the day before the program begins. 

Zoom Links will be in your confirmation email.

Archetypes represent a deep mystery. They are powerful primordial forms and forces that have been experienced and understood in a great diversity of ways, depending on the culture and epoch in question. Within the Western intellectual and spiritual tradition, a great cosmological transformation took place during the two-and-a-half millennia that unfolded between the classical Greek philosophy of Plato and Aristotle and the modern depth psychology of Jung, von Franz, Hillman, and Grof. Yet the idea of archetypal principles or essences that structure our world is common to both. 

For Jung, the archetypes represented the fundamental psychological principles and powers informing and impelling human consciousness, rooted in the depths of the unconscious and of nature, whereas for Plato they represented the fundamental transcendent principles ordering cosmic reality itself, as apprehended by the enlightened philosopher. Therein lies a tale with enormous implications for our understanding of ourselves as well as of the universe.  

Join me this evening for a survey of our evolving understanding of the archetypal mysteriumand the overarching evolution of our world view in which that understanding has been transformed, right up to the present.

Richard Tarnas is professor emeritus of cultural history and psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies, where he founded the graduate program in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness. He has taught courses in the history of ideas, archetypal studies, depth psychology, and religious evolution. He has also frequently lectured on archetypal studies and depth psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute and was formerly the director of programs and education at Esalen Institute. He is the author of The Passion of the Western Mind, a history of the Western world view from the ancient Greek to the postmodern widely used in universities. His second book, Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View, received the Book of the Year Prize from the Scientific and Medical Network and is the basis for the just released 10-episode documentary series The Changing of the Gods. He is a past president of the International Transpersonal Association and long served on the Board of Governors for the C. G. Jung Institute of San Francisco.

RECORDINGS:  The recording will be sent out 24-48 hours after each session has concluded. You will have 10 days to watch each of the recordings.  

ZOOM LINK: The Zoom link can be found in your registration confirmation email. They will also be shared about 24 hours before the program start time. Registration closes before Zoom links are shared. If you do not receive your link 24 hours in advance, please reach out asap directly to

CANCELLATION: You may cancel your registration up to 1 week prior to the program.

By agreeing to enroll in an online program offered by the Jung Society of Washington, you are also agreeing to comply with our terms. This means that you cannot record (through internal or external devices) the audio, visuals (photos), or  any videos of the program. The intellectual property belongs to the presenter, and we ask you not to violate this policy. Also, we highly value the anonymity of the content of the program, of the presenters, and of individuals present in the program, and hope that everyone can contribute to a respectful and trust-building online environment. Thank you!


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The Jung Society of Washington is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, a nonprofit educational institution. Our IRS form 990 is available upon request. Although many of the Jung Society's programs involve analytical psychology and allied subjects, these offerings are intended, and should be viewed, as a source of information and education, and not as therapy. The Jung Society does not offer psychoanalytical or other mental health services.
Images of mandalas throughout this site were created by Carl Jung's patients between the years 1926 and 1945.
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