Psycho-Spiritual Links


Resources related to Positive Disintegration, The Dark Side,

and Psycho-Spiritual Evolution





On Evolution


On Meditation


Integrating the Dark Side


Evolving Collective Intelligence


Signs of Awakening




Princess Mononoke



On Evolution


Is humanity inherently unsustainable?  by Alex Smith 4/15/10 - A milestone lecture by Dr. Bill Rees about our three brains: the reactive reptile stem, mammalian emotions, and the late-coming attempt at rationality. Which wins? After explaining years of research showing humanity has passed a biological condition known as "overshoot" - Rees is examining an evolutionary weakness in the human brain, which may explain our failure to react to dangerous threats to our own survival. Full transcript or audio.


Six Degrees of Separation from Reality  by Tom Atlee  9/30/09  - Evolution demands that we be aligned with reality as it really is.  When any organism gets out of alignment -- when it doesn't fit, when its ways don't work any more -- reality steps in to correct the dissonance.  Organisms, ideas, governments, businesses and technologies die or go extinct while new ones arise that are more in alignment with What Is. There are many ways to view civilization in this dynamic.  One of them is that civilization is an exercise in making us invulnerable to the efforts of reality to limit or correct our behaviors, ideas, and systems. Whenever nature intervenes and says to us "Don't Do That!", we take that as a problem to be solved -- and measure our cleverness by our ability to keep doing that thing that got us in trouble. We are geniuses at impacting the world while preventing impact on ourselves.  As we solve our lives into greater and greater separation from the built-in learning mechanisms of evolution, nature has to stretch further and further to heal itself, to get us to pay attention, to stop treating feedback as a problem and see it as an increasingly urgent invitation -- indeed a demand -- to change.


Charles Darwin and the tree of life - part 1/7David Attenborough narrates the evolution of Darwin’s theories and of life on Earth, including the considerable resistance (by religious and scientific paradigm police) to Darwin’s theories of evolution, and how science has vindicated Darwin.  Video with illustrations and musical accompaniment.  Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7. 


History, Meaning, and Choice  by John Michael Greer  12/31/08  - Like biological evolution, the cultural evolution I am proposing is in no way inevitable. The crises that surround the decline and fall of civilizations very often become massive choke points at which many valuable things are lost. One reasoned response to the approach of such a choke point in our own time thus might well be a deliberate effort to help the legacy of the present reach the waiting hands of the future. The same logic that leads the ecologically literate to do what they can to keep threatened species alive through the twilight of the industrial age, so that biological evolution has as wide a palette of raw materials as possible in the age that follows, applies just as well to cultural evolution.


History's Arrow  by John Michael Greer  12/24/08  - Historicism is the belief that history as a whole moves inevitably in a single direction that can be known in advance by human beings, and attempts are always being made to stuff evolution into a historicist straitjacket.  Some insist that evolution progresses in the direction of increased complexity over time.  However, although some evolutionary lineages have moved from more simple to more complex forms over time, others have gone in the other direction.  The vast majority of living things on Earth today belong to phyla that have not added any noticeable complexity since the Paleozoic.  The facts on the ground simply don’t support any claim that evolution moves toward greater complexity. No other version of historicism fares any better when applied to evolution, either.  It’s crucial to realize just how deeply historicism has become entrenched in all modern thinking: history’s arrow points in the direction of progress, and so whatever happens, the result will be more progress.  But historicism has a dismally bad track record as a basis for prophecy.  If we are to have any useful sense of the future ahead of us, historicist belief systems are among the worst sources of guidance available to us.


Why Dissensus Matters  by John Michael Greer  12/17/08  - We have no idea what kind of society is best suited to a world after industrialism. It’s far more likely than not that such a society will have little in common with the notions that middle-class intellectuals in the industrial world today might have of it. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try to imagine such a society; it does mean that attempts to push diverse visions into a single consensus are as unproductive as they are futile.  All any of us can do is pursue the work that calls to us individually, cooperate with others who share the same commitment, take the measures to weather the crisis that seem to make sense from where we are, and remember that those who disagree with us most heartily may be assembling their own piece of a puzzle that is, ultimately, bigger than any of us.


Dissensus and Organic Process  by John Michael Greer  12/10/08  - Dissensus is the opposite of consensus, and it comes into play when consensus, for one reason or another, is either impossible or a bad idea.  Where dissensus is encouraged, and individuals pursue their own visions rather than submitting to a socially based consensus, the results can include dazzling creativity.  The greatest master of dissensus is arguably Nature itself.  Evolution is dissensus in action, the outward pressure of genetic diversification running up against the limits of environment and, now and then, pushing through to some new adaptation: the wings of bats, the opposable thumbs of primates, the cultural evolution of human beings. As we enter a future of new limits and unpredictable opportunities, this is arguably the kind of organic process we need most.


Taking Evolution Seriously  by John Michael Greer  12/3/08  - Much on my mind of late is the way the theory of evolution has been manhandled into a surrogate mythology: the possibility that the approaching crisis is part of our transition to a new evolutionary level. This sort of question is almost always rooted in the notion that evolution is a linear movement that leads onward and upward through a series of distinct stages or levels – and this notion is a pretty fair misstatement of the way evolution takes place in nature. Like populations of other living things, human communities face pressures from their environments, and adapt or perish in response.  The evolutionary process moves outward in all directions rather than ascending an imaginary hierarchy of levels.


Evolve or Perish  by Michael Dowd  11/08  - We are at a turning point in human history. The quality of this century and beyond will be determined largely by how quickly we are able to come into integrity -- that is, how well we learn from and align with Life's One Great Law: evolve or perish. It's no coincidence that we are facing what many commentators suggest is a Perfect Storm of crises: the global economy, climate change, terrorism, health care, the collapse of biodiversity and fisheries around the world, and a host of other educational, social, political, environmental, moral, and ethical challenges. Simply put, we are confronted by Reality. The future of civilization depends on if, and how quickly, our personal worldviews and the structure of our institutions come into alignment with this Reality. Integrity (coming into right relationship with Reality at all nested levels – what religious people call 'getting right with God') truly is everything. It's the only thing that ultimately matters.


Learning from Our Evolutionary Past Into Our Evolutionary Future  by Tom Atlee  - The universe, life, and human history have been unfolding in a rough-and-tumble, more or less unconscious fashion for quite a while. Today we have a chance to change that. If we can learn what evolution has been doing and do it more consciously -- with more wisdom, compassion, and choice -- we may be able to avoid fatal disasters like collapse and extinction.  After all, one of the main reasons evolution developed consciousness in the first place was to enable organisms like us (and bacteria, fish, and foxes) to anticipate dangers and opportunities and take timely and useful action on our own behalf. Evolution responds to challenges with creative leaps -- which usually wipe out something that seemed pretty solid before -- and then provides ways to sustain its novel creations until they get challenged by some new circumstance. Consciousness, too, goes through this same process. It is called "learning."


Teaching Business Sustainability  by Molly Brown and Joanna Macy  2004 - Teaching sustainability to business people, or anyone else for that matter, requires more than additional data, more than a list of rules. It requires a fundamental shift in attitude, in the way people think and feel. We must address the root causes of our unsustainable practices, which lie deeply in our assumptions about the relationship of humans to the natural world, and in our relative ignorance of the functioning of living systems, including human systems.


How Life Organizes  by Joanna Macy and Molly Brown - Instead of looking for basic building blocks, life scientists took a new tack: they began to look at wholes instead of parts, at processes instead of substances. They discovered that these wholes--be they cells, bodies, ecosystems, or even the planet itself--are not just a heap of disjunct parts, but are dynamically organized and intricately balanced "systems," interdependent in every movement, every function, every exchange of energy and information. They saw that each element is part of a vaster pattern, a pattern that connects and evolves by discernible principles. The discernment of these principles gave rise to general living systems theory.


A Walk through Time: From Stardust to US - The Walk Through Time unfolds a scientific understanding of the five-billion year evolution of life on Earth. The Walk progresses from the formation of the solar system to the present. The Walk offers a rich context for exploring fundamental issues regarding humanity and the future of all life on Earth.


Awakening the Impulse to Evolve: The Birth of Evolutionary Spirituality  - Interviews with 20± ‘evolutionaries’ – spokespeople for an evolutionary worldview.  I recommend Brian Swimme for the most cosmic ecocentric view.  Also worth hearing: Michael Dowd, Connie Barlow, Duane Elgin, Jean Houston, Elisabet Sahtouris and Tom Atlee.



On Meditation


Why Meditate?, How to Meditate and On Meditation by Chögyam Trungpa


Mindfulness Meditation Instructions  by Michael Carroll


Mindful Leadership: Meditation Instruction for Maintaining Sanity in the Business World 10/17/08 - Michael Carroll, corporate executive, Buddhist teacher and author of The Mindful Leader, gives mindfulness meditation instruction and discusses how such mind training can cultivate natural leadership talents like courage, confidence and poise.  He discusses how mindfulness helps us learn to adopt a realistic and inspiring approach toward workplace leadership.  (1-hr. video)


Meditation - The Shambhala Sun's 30th anniversary celebration culminates with this twelve-part feature on meditation. 11/09



Integrating the Dark Side


Is humanity inherently unsustainable?  by Alex Smith  4/15/10 - A milestone lecture by Dr. Bill Rees about our three brains: the reactive reptile stem, mammalian emotions, and the late-coming attempt at rationality. Which wins? After explaining years of research showing humanity has passed a biological condition known as "overshoot" - Rees is examining an evolutionary weakness in the human brain, which may explain our failure to react to dangerous threats to our own survival. Transcript or MP3.


Into The Abyss  by David Edwards  3/10/10 – About the fear of looking into our own minds and hearts, and learning to sit and observe our own emotions through contemplative practice. The claim of mystics ancient and modern is that there is a treasure. But where is it? It is hidden precisely within the “dirt” of sadness, boredom, fear, emptiness, the feeling that our heart is an abyss.


Depression's Upside  by Johan Lehrer  2/28/10  - As a society we've come to see depression as something that must be avoided or medicated away. We've been so eager to remove the stigma from depression that we've ended up stigmatizing sadness. The high relapse rate suggests that the drugs aren't really solving anything.  In fact, they seem to be interfering with the solution, by distracting or discouraging patients from dealing with their problems. We end up having to keep people on the drugs forever. It’s as if these people have a bodily infection, and modern psychiatry is just treating their fever. The new research on negative moods, however, suggests that sadness comes with its own set of benefits and that even our most unpleasant feelings serve an important purpose.  Sadness makes people more aware and attentive.  Melancholy’s enhancement of mental skills might also explain the striking correlation between creative expression and depressive disorders.


The Dark Side of the Bright Side: an interview with Barbara Ehrenreich  by Anis Shivani  11/4/09  - In her new book Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America, Barbara Ehrenreich traces the origins of contemporary optimism from nineteenth-century healers to twentieth-century pushers of consumerism. She explores how that culture of optimism prevents us from holding to account both corporate heads and elected officials. This mania for looking on the bright side has given us the present financial collapse; optimistic business leaders—assisted by rosy-eyed policymakers—made very bad decisions.


Humanity's Rite Of Passage: A World Tended By Adults  by Carolyn Baker  10/12/09  - So-called "civilized" humanity has been exiled from its rootedness in nature and the organic process of human development so conscientiously observed and nurtured by indigenous peoples. Consequently, the culture of modernity is not only disconnected from the earth, but in a large sense "developmentally disabled". An integral aspect of the disability is modern humanity's disavowal of the initiatory process in the care and training of children. Carl Jung asserted that initiation is an archetype or fundamental motif inherent in the human psyche. That is to say that something in us wants and expects engagement in the initiatory process, not only at the age of puberty, but throughout our human experience.  If the reality of initiation is deeply embedded in our humanity, it is likely that survival and navigation of the collapse of civilization will be enhanced by our perception and response to collapse as an initiatory process.


Sacred Demise: Walking the Spiritual Path of Industrial Civilization's Collapse  by Carolyn Baker  2009  - The collapse of industrial civilization is rapidly unfolding and offers us an opportunity far beyond mere survival, even as it renders absurd any attempts to "fix" or prevent the end of the world as we have known it. Sacred Demise is about the transformation of human consciousness and the emergence of a new paradigm as a result of discovering our purpose in the collapse process, thereby coming home to our ultimate place in the universe. Our willingness to consciously embark on the journey with openness and uncertainty may be advantageous for engendering a quantum evolutionary leap for our species and for the earth community.


Sacred Activism  by Andrew Harvey  - I believe we are heading into the eye of a perfect storm, which threatens the human race and a great deal of nature. I think it is extremely important that we all stop denying just how dangerous, insane and savage this perfect storm of crises is, and just what it means for all of us and the world. I believe this storm of crises is an evolutionary possibility of unprecendented intensity. It gives us the opportunity to gaze into the mirror of our destiny, and to see very clearly, that unless you and I evolve to the next level of putting our deepest principles and holiest compassion and greatest passion for life into direct, clear, radical action on every level, we will simply not survive. This great death we are living, that we are manifesting out of addiction, greed, extraordinary apathy and fantastic lack of concern for life is also potentially the birth canal of an unprecedented birth. A chastened, humbled humanity, opened at last by tragedy, awakened by the knowledge of the shadow, may really claim our innate, sacred consciousness, start acting from our heart and turn apocalypse into grace, nightmare into opportunity, redeem terrible tragedy by gathering together on a massive scale to transform the world.


Clarissa Pinkola Estés: Diamonds in the Dark  - Interview by Tami Simon  9/8/09  (Unedited Transcript) - There are a lot of people in our world who have injured instinct, injured intuition, because our culture, in particular, is highly competitive and very interested in making people into competitors.  The soul is torn or hurt when the ego demands too much: going toward self-importance, self-aggrandization, caring too much about what others think.  This is the symptom of broken intuition, of this fabulous gift that is given whole at birth, into every soul, into every being on earth.  The soul withdraws, usually, because the culture has cut it out, or broken it or shamed it or said that it is absurd and not substantive enough. ‘Seeing in the dark’ means that you would always see that the roots of anything worth doing - the roots of anything worth protesting, resisting, creating, making, forging - the roots are always in the waters of the soul. Always. The minute that they are only in the layer of the ego, people are incredibly unoriginal, uncreative, and in many ways turn into automatons striving only to look like something rather than actually to be something in depth.


Clarissa Pinkola Estés: Diamonds in the Dark  - Interview by Tami Simon  9/8/09  Podcast (56 min.)


Are We Possessed?  by Paul Levy  9/09  - This is a long, very thorough description of the process, characteristics and symptoms of archetypal possession and inflation in individuals and in groups and masses of people.  Liberally supported by quotes from C. G. Jung, Levy shows how, through consciousness, individuals can access the creative genius of an archetype and thus avoid its diabolical and destructive manifestations.


Glossary of Archetypal Terms  by Paul Levy


Glossary of Archetypal Terms  - Archai: The Journal of Archetypal Cosmology - Archetypal cosmology draws upon certain interpretive principles, methods, and terms employed in the conventional forms of Western astrology. This glossary provides brief definitions of these concepts and other terms specific to archetypal cosmology. Also included here are paragraphs outlining the meaning of the ten major planetary archetypes recognized in the astrological tradition.


Confronting the Terrorist Within  by Chris Hedges  12/1/08  - The fantasy of an enlightened West that spreads civilization to a savage world of religious fanatics is not supported by history. The worst genocides and slaughters of the last century were perpetrated by highly industrialized nations.  Those who externalize evil and seek to eradicate that evil through violence lose touch with their own humanity and the humanity of others. They cannot make moral distinctions. They are blind to their own moral corruption. In the name of civilization and high ideals, in the name of reason and science, they become monsters. We will never free ourselves from the self-delusion of the "war on terror" until we first vanquish the terrorist within.


Abdicating The "A" Word, Frantically Fighting For The Familiar  by Carolyn Baker  11/16/08  - If we can allow it, collapse may take us into mythic territory – to the place within us that civilization was designed to destroy but hasn't and cannot, to the unveiling of a "new" paradigm that isn't "new" at all because something in us remembers that it is how we were meant to live with ourselves and the earth community.  [A = apocalypse]


America the Illiterate  by Chris Hedges  11/10/08  - We live in two Americas. One America, now the minority, functions in a print-based, literate world. It can cope with complexity and has the intellectual tools to separate illusion from truth. The other America, which constitutes the majority, exists in a non-reality-based belief system. This America, dependent on skillfully manipulated images for information, has severed itself from the literate, print-based culture. It cannot differentiate between lies and truth. It is informed by simplistic, childish narratives and clichés. Nearly a third of the nation’s population is illiterate or barely literate. And their numbers are growing by an estimated 2 million a year.


America's Crisis of Maturity  by Jessica Murray  10/08 - Spiritual maturity would mean refusing to be infantilized by morally bankrupt leaders. We must try, like big girls and boys, to rein in our fear and reactivity, and opt instead to follow a planetary vision bolstered by a genuine curiosity about what is going on outside our country's borders. Such maturity would mean rousing ourselves out of denial and credulity, and taking stock of what our government is doing in our name. It would mean using our thinking minds independently, grounding ourselves in the facts while centering ourselves in the heart.


In Times Like These  by Carolyn Myss  9/24/08 - Divine chaos is a course corrector, a way of bringing down the systems that distraction built in order that they can be replaced with systems or structures designed with conscious thought. Divine chaos is a course corrector, a force that demands truth be returned to the system where it has grown dim. And truth has grown dim in America.


The Greatest Danger: Trying To Escape Despair   by Joanna Macy

5/31/08  - Acknowledging despair involves nothing more mysterious than telling the truth about what we see and know and feel is happening to our world. When we open our eyes to what is happening, even when it breaks our hearts, we discover our true size; for our heart, when it breaks open, can hold the whole universe. We discover how speaking the truth of our anguish for the world brings down the walls between us, drawing us into deep solidarity.  Truth-telling is like oxygen. It enlivens and returns us to health and vigor.


Triggered by Evil by Paul Levy  2007  - Could it be that our unconscious re-action against even the mere mention of the word “evil” is touching a deeper, hidden part of ourselves so as to reveal it to us?  Is our being triggered the very portal through which we can potentially learn how to effectively deal with evil? Is evil reflecting itself back to us through our reactions to it so as to transform itself, and us, in the process?  Is the emergence of evil in our world the revelation of the very part of ourselves which we need to know in order to awaken?  The answer to these questions is to be found by turning the lion’s gaze of awareness towards the darkness which is being triggered within us.


The Biospheric Dreambody  by Paul Levy  2007  - The extent of our collective madness has become hard to recognize because it is so pervasive, it has thereby become normalized. Our collective psychosis is an expression of the global dreambody amplifying itself to a “tipping point” where we will necessarily have to go through a “phase-shift,” that is, an expansion of consciousness, in order to survive as a species. The dreambody itself is showing us that the solution to our world crisis can only come through an expansion of consciousness. The biospheric dreambody’s symptoms/messages are arising in a symbolic script written across our current world crisis. We need to become fluent in the symbolic language of the dreambody, developing eyes to see and ears to hear what is uttered forth by its living unified and unifying field. 


Meeting The Other Within  by Paul Levy  2006  - What is happening within us, the microcosm, is a reflection of the same process that is happening collectively, in the macrocosm. Just like the dark other within ourselves is the very figure that can awaken us to a greater and more comprehensive state of being, the darkness that is playing out on the world stage can potentially activate the light of consciousness in our species, thus serving as a catalyst for collective evolution. Becoming intimately acquainted with the dark other within us empowers us to relate with and effectively deal with the darkness in the outer world.


Demons in Our Midst: Facing the Tyrant Inside and Out  by Suzanne Duarte  5/08  - It cannot be an accident, or mere "coincidence," that the movie trilogy of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings became box office hits during the George W. Bush’s first four years as the U.S. president. We needed those images of leathery-winged monsters with huge teeth and claws, of the pathetic Gollum with the vicious shadow, of the goodness of fellowship and the evil of greed for absolute power over the world. Why did we need them? I think we needed those visual images to remind us of the nature of evil and the existence of demons because, in our secularlized, mechanistic world, we had forgotten about them. We thought we were safe.


The Wisdom in the Dark Emotions  - by Miriam Greenspan  1/03  - The alchemy of the dark emotions – such as grief, fear and despair – is a process that cannot be forced, but it can be encouraged by cultivating certain basic emotional skills. The three basic skills are attending to, befriending and surrendering to emotions that make us uncomfortable. Attending to our dark emotions is not just noticing a feeling and then distancing ourselves from it. It’s about being mindful of emotions as bodily sensations and experiencing them fully. Befriending emotion is how we extend our emotional attention spans.  This is a body-friendly process—getting into the body, not away from it into our thoughts. At the least, it’s a process of becoming aware of how our thoughts both trigger emotions and take us away from them. Similarly, surrender is not about letting go but about letting be. When you are open to your heart’s pain and to your body’s experience of it, emotions flow in the direction of greater healing, balance and harmony.

Andrew Harvey's Dark Night of the SoulInterview by Colleen O'Connor 12/19/02  - The entire world is now going through a massive crucifixion on all levels. It's going through an environmental crucifixion, a personal crucifixion, and a crucifixion of all the patriarchal systems.  All of the systems are being exposed as illusory and as fantasy ridden -- as deeply corrupt and exploitative.  Everybody is totally bewildered. They know that the world is potentially on the brink of total apocalypse. It's quite clear that humanity is now terminally ill, and can only be transfigured by a totally shocking revelation of its shadow side. And this is what we're living through, these shadow sides exploding in every direction because we have done nothing but betray the sacred in us. It's extremely important that people really come to understand the feminine and turn towards it, because it's our betrayal of the feminine in ourselves and in the divine that has led to this crisis.


Individuation, Seeing-through, and Liberation:  Depth Psychology and Colonialism  by Helene Shulman Lorenz, Ph. D. 
and Mary Watkins, Ph.D.  2002 - Our psyches and societies have been forged on the anvil of colonialism. As depth psychology was being born a hundred years ago, colonialism was stretching to its fullest reach.  Depth psychology's development coincides with the rise of national liberation movements and the ending of the colonial era. To the degree that depth psychology is a social critique of the narrowed vision of the dominant aspects of Euro-American culture, it has considered problematic many of the same dichotomizing and hierarchizing structures that are critiqued in postcolonial theory. We would not see this as accidental if we understood that the psychic structures and contents that depth psychologists have described reflect the psychic corollaries of colonialism - despite the fact that the context of colonialism is hardly ever named.


Silenced Knowings, Forgotten Springs:  Paths to Healing in the Wake of Colonialism, Part 1  by Helene Shulman Lorenz, Ph.D. and Mary Watkins, Ph.D. 2002  - We have each been educated in a system that grew out of, and reflects, 500 years of colonialism, and  are struggling for awareness in a new era of globalization that leaves increasing numbers of people hungry and disenfranchised. Our cultural legacy is profoundly imprinted by the often silenced after-effects of the genocidal war against Native Americans, the dislocation and forced slavery of Africans in America, and the oppressive labor conditions of the poor.  What kinds of suffering have we learned to avoid knowing in ourselves and others because they are so widespread we have learned to accept them as normal and natural? How have we learned to silence not only many of our own feelings and insights, but also the wellsprings of imagination that have the potential to create alternative visions?  In this paper we hope to clarify what some of the psychic corollaries of colonialism are and what some of the psychological methods are that can address the suffering that issues from them. 


Silenced Knowings, Forgotten Springs:  Paths to Healing in the Wake of Colonialism, Part 2  by Helene Shulman Lorenz, Ph.D. and Mary Watkins, Ph.D.  2002 - We are convinced that from the psyches of its members, communities of all kinds could have access to crucial knowings that have long been silenced; knowings that if listened to could restore a sense of wholeness to what is now fractured, denied, and dismissed. It is itself a moral choice to open our hearts and minds to hear the pieces of story that have been depotentiated by their dissociation. From the liberation of these silenced knowings a deepened sense of ethics can emerge; individual development and ecological survival can coincide. No truly sustainable development can develop out of the repression of silenced knowings. Through small group exercises we hope to quicken an experiential sense of how our silenced knowings are linked to dynamics of oppression; how what we experience as most personal and intimate reflect culture and connect us to work in the world where individual development and cultural liberation coincide.


Is the Modern Psyche Undergoing a Rite of Passage?  By Richard Tarnas  - We have sought ever deeper insight into our individual biographies, seeking to recover the often hidden sources of our present condition, to render conscious those unconscious forces and complexes that shape our lives. Many now recognize that same task as critical for our entire civilization. What individuals and psychologists have long been doing has now become the collective responsibility of our culture: to make the unconscious conscious.


Understanding Our Moment in History:  An Interview with Richard Tarnas  by Scott London
  - In order to understand our moment in history and where we can go in the future, we have to know what brought us here. In order to be strategically intelligent, we need to be able to comprehend the sources of our world. Our world is shaped by our worldview. How we approach reality is defined by the kinds of assumptions we have about that reality, and that, in turn, shapes reality and feeds it back to us. The subject and the object are deeply implicated in each other.


Archetypal Astrology Pt. 1/11 Audio interview with Richard Tarnas on his magisterial books The Passion of the Western Mind and Cosmos and Psyche.  He begins by answering questions about consciousness, animals, and how the mechanistic worldview is an aberration in human history and experience.  With part 2 he begins addressing questions about astrology.  2007


Archai: The Journal of Archetypal Cosmology Archetypal cosmology includes the study of the correlations between cyclical alignments of the planets and archetypal patterns in human experience (archetypal astrology), but goes beyond this to address the theoretical basis of these correlations and their implications for the wider world view. Consequently, archetypal cosmology is a multidisciplinary subject drawing on scholarship from many other areas such as depth psychology, history, philosophy, cosmology, religious studies, cultural studies, the arts, and the sciences.  Archai is dedicated to furthering the research orientation and methodology established by Richard Tarnas in Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View.


Archetypal Principles  by Richard Tarnas  2009  - In an extract from his award-winning Cosmos and Psyche, the major text in the field of Archetypal Cosmology, Tarnas introduces the fundamental concept of archetypal principles, describing their origins in ancient Greek thought, some of their key attributes, and the many forms through which they have evolved in the course of Western intellectual history. The earliest form of the archetypal perspective, and in certain respects its deepest ground, is the primordial experience of the great gods and goddesses of the ancient mythic imagination. In this once universal mode of consciousness, memorably embodied at the dawn of Western culture in the Homeric epics and later in classical Greek drama, reality is understood to be pervaded and structured by powerful numinous forces and presences that are rendered to the human imagination as the divinized figures and narratives of ancient myth, often closely associated with the celestial bodies. See Archai: The Journal of Archetypal Cosmology Volume 1, Number 1 (Summer 2009)


The Nature of Our Power  by Joanna Macy and Molly Brown  - As our pain for the world arises from our systemic interexistence, so does our power. Yet the generative creativity operating in and through open systems is very different from our customary notions of power.


Positive Disintegration  by Joanna Macy and Molly Brown - In periods of major cultural transition, the experience of positive disintegration is widespread. Such is the case now for us in this time of Great Turning.  Every-where anomalies appear: developments that don't fit our expectations, or in systems terms, that don't match previously programmed codes and constructs. Bereft of self-confidence and old coping strategies, we may feel that we and our world are falling apart. It helps to recall that in the course of our planetary journey we have gone through positive disintegration countless times. The life living through us repeatedly died to old forms and old ways. To let ourselves feel anguish and disorientation as we open our awareness to global suffering is a part of our spiritual ripening. Mystics speak of the "dark night of the soul."


To Know Yourself is to Forget Yourself  by Pema Chödrön  9/98  - According to the teachings of vajrayana, or tantric, Buddhism, our wisdom and our confusion are so interwoven that it doesn't work to just throw things out.  By trying to get rid of "negativity," by trying to eradicate it, by putting it into a column labeled "bad," we are throwing away our wisdom as well, because everything in us is creative energy—particularly our strong emotions. They are filled with life-force.


Dr. James Hillman Live at Mythic Journeys Part 1 of 3 - Archetypal psychologist James Hillman examines whether the gods have really fled and who is served by convincing people that they have.  He discusses the confluence of mythology and pathology through repression, and of myth and psychology in politics.


Feeding Your Demons: Ancient Wisdom for Resolving Inner Conflict  by Tsultrim Allione 2008  - Allione brings an eleventh-century Tibetan woman's practice to the West for the first time with Feeding Your Demons, an accessible and effective approach for dealing with negative emotions, fears, illness, and self-defeating patterns. She translates this ancient Eastern practice into a workable form for today's Western psyche, explaining that if we fight our demons, they only grow stronger. But if we feed and nurture them, we can free ourselves from the battle. She also applies these lessons to collective demons in the outer world.


Soul-Sick Nation: An Astrologer's View of America  by Jessica Murray 2008 - For anyone dismayed by the current state of the world, Soul-Sick Nation provides a visionary perspective as extraordinary as the times we are living in. Using the principles of ancient wisdom to make sense of the current global situation, this book invites us to look at the USA from the biggest possible picture: that of cosmic meaning. With a rare blend of compassion, humor and fearless taboo-busting, Soul-Sick Nation reveals America's noble potential without sentiment and diagnoses its neuroses without delusion, shedding new light on troubling issues that the pundits and culture wars inflame but leave painfully unresolved: the WTC bombings, the war in Iraq, Islamic jihad, media propaganda, consumerism and the American Dream. This keenly intelligent book elucidates the meaning of an epoch in distress, and proposes a path towards healing – of the country and of its individual citizens. This book will leave you shorn of illusions and full of hope.


Dark Nights of the Soul: A Guide to Finding Your Way through Life’s Ordeals  by Thomas Moore  2005 - When it comes to spiritual growth, we humans are solar-seeking beings; eager for the bright lights of clarity and the bliss of illumination. Paradoxically, we all need to walk through the shadow of the dark night in order to discover a life worth living. Unlike depression, which is more of an emotional state, the dark night is a slow transformation process, marked by profound doubt, disorientation and questioning. Loss, pain, conflict, confusion, anger, excess, deviance and other disturbing feelings and behaviors are not devils to be exorcised but angelic opportunities for deepening and altering the self through spiritual cultivation. Ultimately, a journey into the dark night will reshape the meaning of your life.



Evolving Collective Intelligence


Links for dialogue, circle and council practices


Turning to One Another


PeerSpirit Circle Guidelines


Conversation Cafe


The World Cafe


Berkana Institute


The Art of Hosting  


Evolving Collective Intelligence  


Dialogue Guidelines



Dissensus I: Dissensus and Organic Process  by John Michael Greer  12/10/08  - Dissensus is the opposite of consensus, and it comes into play when consensus, for one reason or another, is either impossible or a bad idea.  Where dissensus is encouraged, and individuals pursue their own visions rather than submitting to a socially based consensus, the results can include dazzling creativity.  The greatest master of dissensus is arguably Nature itself.  Evolution is dissensus in action, the outward pressure of genetic diversification running up against the limits of environment and, now and then, pushing through to some new adaptation: the wings of bats, the opposable thumbs of primates, the cultural evolution of human beings. As we enter a future of new limits and unpredictable opportunities, this is arguably the kind of organic process we need most.


Dissensus II: Why Dissensus Matters  by John Michael Greer  12/17/08  - We have no idea what kind of society is best suited to a world after industrialism. It’s far more likely than not that such a society will have little in common with the notions that middle-class intellectuals in the industrial world today might have of it. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try to imagine such a society; it does mean that attempts to push diverse visions into a single consensus are as unproductive as they are futile.  All any of us can do is pursue the work that calls to us individually, cooperate with others who share the same commitment, take the measures to weather the crisis that seem to make sense from where we are, and remember that those who disagree with us most heartily may be assembling their own piece of a puzzle that is, ultimately, bigger than any of us.


We Can Survive But Can We Communicate?  by Carolyn Baker and Sally Erickson  5/1/08  - We define community, in this context, to be a congregation of people who have, by the commitment and skills they possess, learned to establish relationships characterized by trust, understanding, mutual respect, and bonding that transcends personality and allows and even embraces differences of background or ideology. They can do this because they trust each other enough to question and suspend the assumptions and core beliefs that limit their insights as individuals.  Such a group does not come together for the purpose of healing per se. The purpose of the kind of community we are speaking of is to come together to glean wisdom from listening and speaking with one another and to offer connection, support, comfort, and mutual respect. Such a group of people learns together to find better solutions, wiser actions and more joy together than is possible for them to do as isolated individuals, couples or families. What follows are some "Principles Of Dialogue" that Sally Erickson has synthesized from group development theory, Scott Peck's model of community building and David Bohm's explorations of formal dialogue practice.   


The Holonic Shift and How to Take Part in It  by Joanna Macy and Molly Brown  1994 - All living systems – be they organic like a cell or human body, or supra-organic like a society or ecosystem – are holons. That means they have a dual nature:  As both systems and subsystems, they are wholes in themselves and, simultaneously, integral parts of larger wholes. In this step-wise organization of living systems, emergence is a universal and striking feature. At each holonic level new properties and new possibilities emerge, which could not have been predicted.  Yet, the self-reflexive consciousness of human individuals does not characterize the next holonic level, the level of social systems. Might not survival pressures engender a collective level of self-interest in choice-making – in other words self-reflexivity on the next holonic level?  How can we as individuals promote a holonic shift and take part in it?


Awaken In the Dream  by Paul Levy  - This universe is a mass shared dream that all six-and-a-half billion of us are collaboratively dreaming up into materialization. When we realize this, we can put our lucidity together so that we can co-creatively dream a much more grace-filled universe into incarnation. This is nothing other than an evolutionary quantum leap in human consciousness, unimaginable until now.


The Art of Hosting - The challenges of these times call for collective intelligence gained through collaborative learning. We must co-create the solutions we seek.  The Art of Hosting pattern and practice is based on our assumption that it is common sense to bring stakeholders together in conversation when you seek new solutions for the common good.  We believe that when human beings are invited to work together on what truly matters to them, they will take ownership and responsibility for moving their issues and ideas into wiser actions that last.


Nonviolent Communication Part 1 Marshall Rosenberg - Rosenberg explains the origin and mentality of ‘predator culture,’ beginning about 8,000 years ago, as a system of domination and hierarchy in which the few dominate the many through violent coercion and the language of violence.  He contrasts this with the hunter-gatherer lifestyle in which violence was much rarer, and says he developed nonviolent communication to help people to get back to a more natural, empathetic way of communicating, 


Center for Nonviolent Communication - CNVC is a global network of people and communities committed to living and teaching NVC to resolve conflict and meet the needs of all people.


Beyond our Differences - A documentary film conceived and directed by Peter Bisanz that explores the positive role of faith in the world today and the fundamental unity of the world’s religions. To disseminate this message of unity and hope, the method was to interview high profile people of faith, whose words are interspersed with the extraordinary experiences of lay people to illuminate the rich variety of religious experience in the world.  This site also includes educational materials for encouraging dialogue.


Joanna Macy: The Work That Reconnects  - Double DVD 2007: 

Group work, the Great Turning, Deep Ecology, Living Systems View, Deep Time Work


Mapping Dialogue: Essential Tools for Social Change (2008)  by Marianne 'Mille" Bojer, Heiko Roehl, Marianne Knuth, Colleen Magner  - In a world of increasing complexity, answers have a short lifespan and people have a growing desire to solve their own problems. Sustainable social change is increasingly depending on successful dialogue. This book provides a closer look at transformative dialogue tools and processes for social change. It profiles ten dialogue methods in depth, and another fifteen more briefly.


No Contest: The Case Against Competition  by Alfie Kohn  -

Contending that competition in all areas - school, family, sports and business - is destructive, and that success so achieved is at the expense of another's failure - Kohn, a correspondent for USA Today, advocates a restructuring of our institutions to replace competition with cooperation. He persuasively demonstrates how the ingrained American myth that competition is the only normal and desirable way of life - from Little Leagues to the presidency - is counterproductive, personally and for the national economy, and how psychologically it poisons relationships, fosters anxiety and takes the fun out of work and play. He charges that competition is a learned phenomenon and denies that it builds character and self-esteem. Kohn's measures to encourage cooperation in lieu of competition include promoting noncompetitive games, eliminating scholastic grades and substitution of mutual security for national security.



Signs of Awakening


An Essay on BLIND SPOT  by Kemp Scales  10/29/08  - Blind Spot is a subtle and beautifully crafted documentary about a dense and devastating subject – the profound changes coming in our lifetime as we enter a world of ever increasing population combined with a shrinking supply of oil, the life blood of our industrial civilization.  It’s about the polluted, impoverished, and diminished world we will be leaving our children if we don’t get our act together – or perhaps even if we do. It challenges fundamental assumptions on which our corporate economy and our consumer culture is based – in particular, the unquestioned assumption that growth is good, that “expansion is tantamount to progress.”  See excerpts from the documentary here.


Ecospheric EthicsWebsite of the authors of “A Manifesto for Earth,” Stan Rowe and Ted Mosquin, with many articles on ecocentrism.


Global Mindshift


Alliance for Wild Ethics (AWE) - David Abram’s website containing many of his essays and some videos – a beautiful and profound site.


Future Primitive.orgA site dedicated to paradigm change that has many interviews and links to other agents of change.


We Are the World - Interview with Christian de Quincy on paradigm change, sentience throughout matter, being present to the nonhuman world, and the four gifts of knowing: sensation, reason, feeling, and transcendental intuition.  We need to cultivate and integrate all the gifts.   10/10/06  (40 min.)


Date a Brain Humor with a point!


The 2007 Shift Report: Evidence of a World Transforming, attempts to chart the transition we believe is underway from a rigid, mechanistic, and materialistic worldview to one that is built on a foundation of interconnectedness, cooperation, and the intersection of science and spirituality. This 80-page document, highlighted with sidebars, charts, and quotations, is organized into four major sections.


The 2008 Shift Report: Changing the Story of Our Future - Over the past several decades, new scientific discoveries along with a surge in grassroots initiatives addressing social and economic injustices have begun calling into question the view of the universe—and essentially of ourselves—as ultimately cold and mechanistic. Revealing both the mysterious directionality of the evolving cosmos and the irrepressible humanity within our own natures, new evidence is emerging that we are innately capable of far more than we realize. Yes, the evidence is compelling that the arc of the human species is on a self-destructive decline. And yet once the pieces are put together, there is no denying that another reality is fighting through the cracks of the dominant narrative. We are just beginning to tap into our potential as human beings despite, or perhaps because of, the multiple crises that we are facing. 82 pages.






Reclaiming The Soul In A Soul-Murdering Culture  by Carla Royal  12/12/08  - I want to tell people that we CAN reclaim our souls; we can creep into the pale mist.  We can make a conscious and intentional decision to reclaim our souls despite the insidiousness of this culture.


The Dissolution of the Old World and the Birthing of the New  by Tom Kenyon  9/22/08
 - If you learn to live in appreciation, you will enter a domain, a vibration that will carry you through the chaos of these times. You will find a type of solace and comfort, and the vibrational rate of your energy body will increase. At some point you will reach what we call escape velocity. You will easily step out of the illusions and the lies of the old world. You will see them for what they are, and you will become a joyous co-creator of a new world that is being birthed even as the old world passes away right before your eyes.


Psycho-spiritual Detoxification: Thoughts and Observations  by Tom Kenyon  - Over the course of nearly thirty years as a Psychological Counselor and Psychotherapist I have observed many forms of mental and emotional toxicity in both my clients and myself.  I have also observed how the body and mind deal with these types of toxins, how they show up and present themselves, and how they are transformed or neutralized during the transformational process. The concept here is that there is a territory where the psychological and the spiritual meet. And it is in this territory of the mind and emotions that psychological material affects spiritual experience. And it is also here that the spiritual dimensions of the individual can, and often do, affect the psychological.


Catching The Bug Of Synchronicity  by Paul Levy  9/08 - Synchronicities are those moments of “meaningful coincidence” when the boundary dissolves between the inner and the outer. Synchronicities are expressions of the dreamlike nature of reality, as they are moments in time when the timeless, dreamlike nature of the universe shines forth its radiance and openly reveals itself to us, offering us an open doorway to lucidity. Jung’s synchronistic universe was a new worldview that embraced linear causality while simultaneously transcending it. A synchronistic universe balances and complements the mechanistic world of linear causality with a realm that is outside of space, time and causality.


Illusions of inclusivity in the culture of "whatever"  by Carolyn Baker  8/26/08  - A seasoned elder understands, as she takes in hand the youth of her tribe, that they must be guided, taught, reasoned with, and invited into conscious dialog so that ultimately that young person can mature into elderhood and carry on the wisdom tradition of the tribe. He or she is instructed in the art of setting limits for him/herself and for the community and is schooled in the fundamental realities of human existence, not by avoiding, but by taking on the messiness of conflict. Above all, the elder emphasizes that the young person's life journey is not about being happy, but about becoming conscious.


Fluid Intelligence and Transparency - Fluid intelligence is the ability to step outside of our beliefs and consider information which does not fit into our previously accepted view of reality. The more transparent we are to ourselves and to the world around us, the more consciously we can make choices. And the more fluid we are in expanding our intelligence and beliefs, the more powerfully we can adapt to and make good use of the changes that occur in our lives and world. It is our emotional attachment to certain beliefs
 that limits us and keeps us from seeing greater realities.


The Insight Course:  Be the Change You Want To See in the World


Taming Patriarchy: The Emergence of the Black Goddess - An interview with Marion Woodman  1999  - The principle of the feminine is openness to life, death, rebirth and the unity of all things within that cycle. It's the world of nature, you see. And that's the world that's striving so hard now to be recognized.


Jill Bolte Taylor: My stroke of insight - Neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor had an opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: One morning, she realized she was having a massive stroke. As it happened -- as she felt her brain functions slip away one by one, speech, movement, understanding -- she studied and remembered every moment. This is a powerful story about how our brains define us and connect us to the world and to one another, but also about learning to value our right brain.


Dying Consciously: the Greatest Journey - The Greatest Journey is a free service dedicated to helping people die consciously.  This means that we seek to maintain consciousness intact through the journey of death and beyond. It is designed for all persons involved in the dying process: the individual, family members, and friends.  It offers a message of hope that it is possible to bring dignity and peace back to the dying process and teaches us how with easy to follow steps.


Reconnecting with LifeA web-based course that maps ways into the vitality and determination that enable us to take part in the healing of our world. Developed by many people over the past thirty years, this body of work has helped hundreds of thousands of people find solidarity and the courage to act, despite rapidly worsening social and ecological conditions.


Institute for Sacred Activism  by Andrew Harvey – There is in our contemporary world an arising of different groups of concerned people anxious for change.  If we point individuals to an inner compass that renews their passion, there is hope for real solutions and inspired creativity.  All that we need is already here, in the currency of people, and it only needs to be tapped into.  Sacred Activism provides people with a system of thought and traditional wisdom practices to help support the kind of transformative change that is necessary for the world to be preserved.


Feeding Your Demons: Ancient Wisdom for Resolving Inner Conflict  by Tsultrim Allione 2008  - Allione brings an eleventh-century Tibetan woman's practice to the West for the first time with Feeding Your Demons, an accessible and effective approach for dealing with negative emotions, fears, illness, and self-defeating patterns. She translates this ancient Eastern practice into a workable form for today's Western psyche, explaining that if we fight our demons, they only grow stronger. But if we feed and nurture them, we can free ourselves from the battle. She also applies these lessons to collective demons in the outer world.


Toward Psychologies Of Liberation  by Mary Watkins & Helene Shulman  2008  - Psychologies of liberation are emerging on every continent in response to the collective traumas inflicted by colonialism and globalization. The authors present the theoretical foundation and participatory methodologies that unite these radical interdisciplinary approaches to creating individual and community well-being. They move from a description of the psychological and community wounds that are common to unjust and violent contexts to engaging examples of innovative community projects from around the world that seek to heal these wounds. Drawing on psychoanalysis, trauma studies, liberation arts, participatory research, and contemporary cultural work, this book nourishes our understanding of and imagination about the kinds of healing that are necessary to the creation of more just and peaceful communities.


The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire: Harnessing the Infinite Power of Coincidence  by Deepak Chopra  - The visible, rational world most of us are familiar with is only a small part of life. Beyond that visible world is a sea of possibility that connects us to every other living thing and, thus, to a pool of intelligence that can help us move far beyond anything we could strive for individually in the material world. The paradox is that only surrendering the egoistic self to this broader intelligence gives us the freedom to create our individual destiny. Chopra unfolds his ideas with poetic conciseness and such thematic coherence that paying attention is effortless. Using the ideas will be more difficult, as he says with Dr. Phil clarity, in that only you can pay attention to the signals and create the intention that manifesting your possibilities requires. Unabridged Audio CD


Courageous Dreaming: How Shamans Dream the World into Being by Alberto Villoldo - The ancient shamans of the Americas understood that we‚re not only creating our experience of the world, but are dreaming up the very nature of reality itself. When you don‚t dream your life, you have to settle for the nightmare being dreamed by others.


Making Magic with Gaia: Practices to Heal Ourselves and Our Planetby Francesca Ciancimino Howell 
 2002  - We must always remember how even small steps lead us closer to the divine in Nature and to the deep interconnectedness that is magical Deep Ecology.



Princess Mononoke


Wikipedia on Princess Mononoke


Wikipedia on the Emishi


Cranky Critic review and interview with Neil Gaiman, English scriptwriter


Nausicaa: The Hayao Miazaki Web


About the title Princess Mononoke (Mononoke Hime in Japanese)


Illustrated Synopsis of Princess Mononoke in English


Story, Cast, and Song










The books and workshops of Michael Meade


"The world cannot end unless it runs out of stories; for more than a literal planet, the world is an eternal drama, a story told from beginning to end, and end to beginning, again and again.


"When 'The End' seems near, it's the mythic sense, the eternal roots, and creative imagination that are missing. Behind the 'ecological crisis' and the 'war of terror,' there lies a crisis of meaning and a loss of the sense of the sacred in the immediate pulse of the world. The blind exploitation of the earth follows upon lost connections to the realm of nature, as if humanity has broken a secret bond with Great Nature and become estranged from 'inner nature' as well.


"The problem isn't that the world might end completely; rather, the issue is how to act when it seems that way. What's missing is the imagination necessary to hold end and beginning together.


"In critical times, how people imagine the world becomes more important; how people imagine humanity becomes of the utmost importance. Increasingly the issue becomes living an authentic life and lending one's true nature to the drama of existence -- to become a wick burning with the flame of one's life-long story."




Only a naive and unhistorical mind can think that facts are more powerful than myths.  All radical changes in human history are the results of the spread of a myth that, in a totally convincing manner, answers a crucially experienced need at a period of crisis.  — Dane Rudhyar, Culture, Crisis, and Creativity





© 2010 Suzanne Duarte