Dissertation Title:

The Rebirth of Tragedy: Archetypal Factors in the Myth of the 27 Club


Zachary Kampf

Date, Time & Place:

July 26, 2022 at 10:00 am


The 27 Club is a cultural meme, encompassing the collective fascination with and mythologization of famous musicians who died at age 27. To investigate its underlying archetypal factors, this hermeneutical study analyzes the textual material of four of its six most prominent artists (Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, and Amy Winehouse), utilizing the interpretive lenses of archetypal astrology, Jungian psychology, and archetypal psychology. The analysis reveals the multifaceted nature of the meme—which is rooted in a romanticization of Dionysian, Promethean, and heroic archetypal principles—and proposes its fundamental theme to be a reintegration of the tragic aspects of the heroic pattern of individuation. Already living closely with the archetypes, as great artists do, 27 Club members were consumed during a pivotal developmental threshold by the psychospiritual transformation process, immortalized by the archetypal figure of the puer. Each of these components corresponds in complex and multidimensional ways with the archetypal complexes signified in the astrological birth charts of the artists, as well as complexes corresponding with significant transits of the planets, contributing to the growing body of research supporting archetypal astrology as an effective modality of depth psychology. In concluding, this study hypothesizes an intersection between the fragmented state of the artists and the fragmentation of the culture wars that gave rise to the meme, which serves as a symbolic analogue for the psychospiritual challenges of the current evolutionary moment—namely, the integration of Dionysian sentiments and emotions excluded by Christianity.


  • Program/Track/Year: Depth Psychology Jungian Archetypal Studies, N, 2015
  • Chair: Dr. Keiron Le Grice
  • Reader: Dr. Becca Tarnas
  • External Reader: Jay Dufrechou
  • Keywords: Archetype, Astrology, Synchronicity, Dionysus, 27 Club