The Gods at Play
Archetypal Powers and Patterns in the Arts
with Richard Tarnas

There is no place without Gods and no activity that does not enact them. —James Hillman

As ancient poets and modern depth psychologists have long recognized, the arts represent an especially vivid expression of the archetypal principles that inform and inspire the human psyche. The aim of this weekend’s program is to provide a rich interplay of entertainment and instruction, each enhancing and illuminating the other.

The capacity to discern archetypes—the cultivation of what James Hillman called an “archetypal eye”—requires not only thinking but feeling in all ways, through the emotions, the imagination, the aesthetic intuition, the moral sensibility, the relational capacity, the body: one’s whole being. Because the arts engage all these dimensions of the human sensibility, the lectures this weekend will use representative works of art, great and small, as windows into the archetypal character of different eras and individuals and into the archetypes themselves.

We’ll focus especially on major examples from music and comedy. Music provides perhaps the most profound and direct expression of the archetypal psyche, reaching back to the earliest origins of human culture, capable of touching the depths of our souls. Comedy is ancient as well: the Trickster, whether in the individual psyche, in a tribe or a royal court, or commenting on a presidential campaign, is crucial to the self-regulating and regenerative play of the whole. It is the agent of the unconscious, rebelling against the conventional rulers, speaking the truth from below.

Our approach will be facilitated by the combined lenses of depth psychology and archetypal astrology, which permit an extraordinarily precise focus on the specific archetypal complexes most prominently at work in a given individual, work of art, or cultural era. In the area of music, we will range from Bach and Beethoven, Chopin and Wagner, Puccini and Stravinsky to the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and Janis Joplin, Bruce Springsteen and Chrissie Hynde, Talking Heads, Pearl Jam, Alanis Morisette, and Nora Jones. And in comedy, from Chaplin and the Marx Brothers, Nichols and May, Peter Sellers, and Monty Python to Lily Tomlin, Woody Allen, Robin Williams, and Stephen Colbert. Video and audio clips of brilliant performances will be played as a basis for our analyses throughout the weekend.

Richard TarnasRichard Tarnas, Ph.D., is a professor of philosophy and cultural history at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, where he founded the graduate program in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness. He also teaches archetypal studies and depth psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara. A graduate of Harvard and Saybrook, 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 that became both a best seller and a required text in many universities. His most recent book, Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View, received the Book of the Year Prize from the Scientific and Medical Network in the UK. He frequently lectures abroad as well as at various Jung institutes and societies throughout the U.S., and is on the Board of Governors of the C. G. Jung Institute of San Francisco.

General Information

Location : The seminar will be held at Pacifica Graduate Institute’s Ladera Lane Campus at 801 Ladera Lane, Santa Barbara, CA 93108. Located on 35 acres in the foothills of the Santa Ynez Mountains overlooking the Pacific Ocean, this residential retreat center provides a unique and peaceful environment for these events. This campus has lodging, dining facilities, and parking onsite.

Accommodations: A limited number of rooms are available for participants at Pacifica’s Ladera Lane Campus.

$82.50 per night single occupancy (one twin or standard full size bed)
$115 per night couple occupancy (one standard full size bed; not a queen)
$125 per night double occupancy (two twin beds)
plus 10% occupancy tax

Accommodations are simple, dormitory-style rooms with shared bath and shower. Reservations for rooms must be made through Pacifica’s Public Programs Department.

Meals: Meals are provided to encourage ongoing dialogue and community exchange throughout the weekend. Included in your registration fee are Friday dinner; Saturday breakfast, lunch, and dinner; and Sunday breakfast and lunch. No other meals will be available. Pacifica’s caterers make every attempt to provide healthful meals for our guests. Please indicate on the registration form if you need a special vegan, vegetarian, or gluten free meal or if you have other medical dietary restrictions.

Travel: Major airlines provide service into the Los Angeles International Airport located 90 miles south of Santa Barbara and into the Santa Barbara Municipal Airport, approximately 18 miles from the Campus. Information on ground transportation to and from Santa Barbara will be included with your confirmation letter.

Registration: Space is limited. Register early!
To register, complete the form on this webpage or call the Public Programs Department at 805.969.3626, ext. 103. Full payment is required with your registration. An email confirmation letter will be sent within 5 days of receipt of your registration.

Cancellation: To obtain a refund on your registration fee, send a written cancellation request postmarked no later than thirty days before the event. Tuition less a $50 processing fee will be refunded. No refunds on your registration fee will be made after that time. In the event that the program is sold out with a waitlist, if you return your seat to our office, and if we are able to transfer your registration to someone on the waitlist, we will issue you a refund less the processing fee. Any registration transfers that do not go through our office will be assessed the processing fee onsite. For refund on accommodations at the Ladera Lane Campus, cancellation with full refund will be accepted up to 5 days before the event. Cancellations made 1-4 days before the event will receive a 50% refund. There will be no refund for cancellation on the day of the event.

Scholarships: A limited number of partial scholarships are available to those who find it prohibitive to pay the full cost of the program. To apply, send a letter of request with your registration and payment. Please be specific regarding your financial circumstances. If accepted, you will be contacted to approve processing payment.

Continuing Education Credit: 12 hours of continuing education credit are available for RNs through the California Board of Registered Nurses (provider #CEP 7177) and for MFTs and LCSWs (provider #PCE 2278) through the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. A $15 processing fee will be charged for each certificate requested.

Disability Services on Campus: It is the policy of Pacifica’s Public Programs Department to accommodate attendees with disabilities in compliance with state and federal laws and regulations. Please let us know in advance if you have special needs or require assistance due to a disabling condition while you are attending a public program. If you are accompanied by a service dog, please contact disability services directly (805.679.6124), as all animals visiting campus must have pre-approval. For additional information regarding Pacifica’s policies, visit