The Astrology Podcast
Transcript of Episode 152, titled:
With Chris Brennan and guests Laura London and Jenn Zahrt
Episode originally released on April 19, 2018
Note: This is a transcript of an audio podcast. We strongly encourage you to listen to the audio version, which includes inflections that may not translate well when written out. Transcripts are created by using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and the text probably contains some errors and differences from the audio version. Please submit any corrections to Chris Brennan by email at email@example.com.
Transcribed by Mary Sharon
Transcription released June 15, 2021
Copyright © 2021 TheAstrologyPodcast.com
CHRIS BRENNAN: Hi my name is Chris Brennan, and you’re listening to The Astrology Podcast. This episode is recorded on Tuesday April 17th, 2018 starting at 1:31 p.m. in Denver, Colorado. And this is the 152nd episode of the show. For more information about how to subscribe to the podcast and help support the production of future episodes by becoming a patron, please visit theastrologypodcast.com/subscribe. In this episode I’m gonna be talking with Laura London and Jenn Zahrt, and we’re gonna be reviewing Liz Greene’s new book titled Jung’s Studies in Astrology: Prophecy, Magic, and the Qualities of Time. Hey Laura and Jen, welcome to the show.
LAURA LONDON: Hi Chris.
JENN ZAHRT: Hi Chris.
CB: Hey. All right. I’m both excited and nervous about this discussion because this is an important book. My previous plan is like I had hoped to interview Liz Greene about it to talk to her about it directly and ask some questions, but she actually got a lot of interview inquiries and as a result of that there were so many inquiries that she just decided to be fair not to do any of them which I completely respect. But I still wanted to have a discussion about this book cuz it seems like a really important landmark piece of astrological scholarship, and I wanted to talk to the two of you because I think both of you and all three of us as a team have really interesting and unique backgrounds that bring something useful to this discussion. So first, I wanna start with you, Laura. You are the host of a podcast that you’ve been doing for a few years now titled Speaking of Jung, which is actually a podcast that focuses on Jung’s life and work, right?
LL: Yes. Yes, it’s interviews with Jungian analysts. The focus of it is Jungian analysts, people who are certified. Not psychologists who’ve dabbled in Jung but people who have diplomas in analytical psychology which is the technical name of Jung’s school of psychology. Actually, I have to say that your podcast was a huge inspiration for me, The Astrology Podcast. I listen to it, and I love it. And you were very helpful also in helping me set up my podcast cuz I had a lot of questions, and I’m always gonna be grateful to you for that. You always were right there answering my emails, and so thank you for that.
CB: Awesome. Yeah, I remember when you were getting started and just like answering a few questions about what Michael was using and stuff. And then I’ve always been really excited to see your progress with your podcast over the past few years since then and how much it’s grown and become popular. So the URL where people can access it is- what is it again?
LL: It’s Speaking of Jung, and that’s jung.com.
CB: Okay, got it. So people can find that on iTunes or at that URL or other podcasting sites.
CB: And we’ll talk more about that again later. So Laura has the background in Jung and in modern psychology and in the specific school of psychology that Jung founded. And then, Jenn, your background we talked in December when you were on the podcast for the first time. And we talked about your work on basically astrology in Germany in the early 20th century, and you have a really strong background in the history of early modern astrology or early 20th century astrology. But you’ve also in the past through your work at the Sophia Centre in the UK you’ve actually had some interactions with Liz Greene, right?
JZ: Yep, I have worked with her on publishing her doctoral thesis as her book Magi and Maggidim and also the two anthologies Sky and Symbol and Astrologies.
CB: Okay, brilliant. So it’s like you bring a really unique and useful perspective to this as well since the episode that we did where we were talking about Elsbeth Ebertin in December. We’re talking about essentially the same period or there’s a large period of overlap in terms of her, the period where she was alive and doing astrology and the cultural context of astrology in Germany during that time period in the early 20th century and the period that that Jung was alive and doing his work basically, right?
JZ: Yeah, I spent a lot of time researching this time period and also Jung’s collected works. I found out there’s a digital version now which would have made my work a lot easier back then, but I got them all out and had them splayed out on my living room floor for months trying to find a lot of what we end up finding in this book in certain respects at the beginning. So, reading this was a sort of nice flashback to my early graduate days. And I in the end chose not to talk about Jung in my doctoral thesis because I wanted to foreground other characters that were using astrology at that time.
CB: Sure. Part of your program was partially to highlight some astrologers that were notable and important at the time but weren’t necessarily as well known later in the century or in current times contemporary times as they might otherwise be.
JZ: Yeah, yeah. There is a way of trying to go back and gives them cultural context to people who had been overlooked because they weren’t a part of scholarly narratives that have taken place for other purposes like the Jung narrative or the Nazi narrative. There were just many interesting people doing things, so I wanted to shed light on those lesser known figures.
CB: Sure. Definitely. All right. So over the past week basically all three of us have read the book. I actually was reading it all the way up until the last minute until this coffee shop I was reading at was like 10 minutes from closed last night, and I read the last sentence of the book. And I did whatever the book equivalent is of like spiking a football once I had finished actually reading it successfully.[Laura and Jenn laugh]
CB: Cuz I didn’t know if I was gonna make it in time. Did you guys make it through the entire book?
JZ: It’s been a slog. Yeah. The font size, just to put a note on that, was I think I need to get a massage after reading this book.
LL: Yeah, I did notice that it’s very very small Bembo font. I was wondering why there was only about 188 pages in it and then there’s this huge bibliography in the back. It’s like 30 pages, just the bibliography. But the font is tiny. And–
JZ: Well, there’s a story about that actually in terms of production history. When I was working with Liz in 2012 getting her doctoral thesis into print and I first laid it out, it’s about the Kabbalah and sort of the Jewish Kabbalah in British occultism. And it came to 555 pages, and then for the next six years I’ve seen that number everywhere. I keep seeing it on receipts–
JZ: –license plates, you name it. And then it has an 85 plus page bibliography which then eventually pushed it up to like with the index i think 574 pages. So when I saw this size font, I was like, “The publisher is probably doing this cuz they don’t necessarily want to print a 400-page book.” But this is basically a 400-page book.
CB: Right. So this is not a typical astrology book. I guess I should say that from the outset since our audience is typically or primarily contemporary astrologers and practitioners of astrology for The Astrology Podcast. So this is a piece of astrological scholarship. I was trying to summarize this book in my mind and in my notes the other day. And the premise of the book is basically that one of the most prominent astrologers of the late 20th and early 21st century Liz Greene, she went back to school and became an academic or took her background in astrology but moved into academia and learned all of the necessary skills in order to do hardcore academic scholarship and historical research. She became good enough, and the quality of her work was good enough. And her background credentials were good enough that she was eventually given access to Jung’s personal archives by his family and wrote basically one of the first complete or sizeable treatments of Jung’s actual views on astrology and not in his sources and basically where his views on astrology came from and the extent to which they influenced his work in one of the most sort of notable and one of the first presentations of that sort of topic in modern times. So, the book is really notable from that standpoint. There’s like a few different angles that you could approach it from in terms of why it’s notable. Maybe one of the starting points or one of the things we should start with is just explaining who Liz Greene is or why I would say that she’s one of the most notable astrologers in the late 20th and early 21st century. Does either of you feel competent tackling that or how do you approach that?
LL: Well, I’ve never met her. So I would defer to Jenn. I just would like to say that there was always this air of mystique around her because back when I started my study of Jung when I was in analysis and I started studying astrology soon after, Liz Greene was what was then everybody would say she’s the only astrologer out there who’s also a Jungian analyst. And I don’t know if that was true at the time back in the ’90s. Maybe it was, but I know that I’ve already interviewed three of the Jungian analysts on my podcasts who are also practicing astrologers, Christina Becker, Frith Luton, and Monika Wikman. So, there are Jungian analysts out there who are also astrologers. But for such a long time, she was the only one. And so I did some background. I just know some basic facts about her. Like I said, I’ve never met her. But she’s American. She was born in New Jersey, and then she relocated to the UK. And then she lived for a time in Zurich, and what I thought was interesting I was talking to a Jungian analyst that I know in Toronto. She’s also an astrologer, and she learned astrology directly from Liz Greene in Zurich. But she trained to become a Jungian analyst at the Jung Institute in Zurich, and she said that Liz Greene was living in Küsnacht which is the kind of suburb of Zurich where Jung’s family home is and where the Jung Institute relocated to. Cuz the Jung Institute used to be in downtown Zurich, and now it’s in Küsnacht on the lake. So I guess she’s back living in the UK now, and she’s in her early 70s. And she got her diploma way back in 1980, her diploma in analytical psychology which is the degree of Jungian analyst. And I guess she has two PhDs, and she’s written like 30 books. And it’s just–
CB: Right. That’s actually an important point.
LL: –very impressive. Mhm.
CB: Cuz that’s what most astrologers know her from is her books because she’s been a prolific writer. And I think you actually put in our notes like a collection of titles and it’s just like this really long–
CB: –list of books that she’s either written herself or co-wrote especially in sort of prior to her diving into academia over the past decade or decade and a half. She had already had this like long career as an astrologer and written dozens of books at that point in the astrological community.
LL: Yeah, and what I thought was interesting about her is that she was given access to Jung’s personal archives. That is what blew me away when I found out about this book. And another interesting thing, and I don’t know if you mentioned that this is a two-volume set. We’re just gonna be–
CB: No, that’s a good point.
LL: Yeah, we’re just gonna be talking about the first volume today and Jung studies in astrology. And what was I saying? That in the beginning in the acknowledgments she really only acknowledges two people. One is Sonu Shamdasani who I have a lot to say about, and the other is Jung’s grandson Andreas Jung and his wife Vreni who live in that house the Jung family home in Küsnacht where Jung’s library is, his personal collection of books. They built that house in I think 1906. They moved into that house or maybe it was before I have that here. So, he lived there for a long time. He raised all his children there, and then his grandchildren live there. And the fact that Liz Greene was allowed access and thanks Jung’s grandson and his wife for not only allowing her access to his personal archive in his home library but also she said in the support of the writing of this book. And I just was blown away by that because they are such a private family. It took 95 years after the writing of The Red Book for that to get published, and Sonu Shamdasani is the editor of The Red Book. And I know I’m jumping ahead here. So, what was your question? [laughs]
CB: Sure. I think one of the points you made there is really important. So, this is what just came out over the past month or so. It’s actually two books. So the first book is volume one. It’s titled Jung’s Studies in Astrology: Prophecy, Magic, and the Qualities of Time. And that’s basically volume one, and that’s what we’re gonna be talking about today because we realized that trying to deal with both volumes was gonna be too much. And they’re pretty radically different in their focus. So volume one is largely focused on Jung, what his background in astrology is, and especially the astrological and philosophical and sometimes esoteric currents that influenced Jung. And she basically tries to trace the influence of these different threads from books that Jung was reading, and one of the ways she does that is that she had access to his private library and his private nodes. So she tries to use that in order to draw conclusions about which authors were influencing Jung and which authors Jung was reading and either incorporating into his thought or using to sometimes contrast with things that he didn’t agree with. So that’s volume one, and that’s what we’re gonna be talking about today.
Volume two of these two books is titled The Astrological World of Jung’s ‘Liber Novus’: Daimons, Gods, and the Planetary Journey. And this book is primarily a treatment of the ways in which astrology relates to or influenced the writing of his book known as The Red Book or the Liber Novus. And that’s something that we can talk about a little bit later, but that seemed like we needed to do this episode on volume one first and have this discussion. And then at some later date I’m hoping to do a sort of separate episode on The Red Book and volume two of Liz’s work here. Let’s put that discussion of the Red Book off a little bit just cuz that’s a whole other thing that we will have to touch on at some point, but I don’t wanna go too far into it too early.
CB: So Go ahead.
JZ: You had also said for most of her career as an astrologer Liz has contributed so much to integrating Jung’s work into a type of astrology. And in this transition into becoming a scholar, she’s become the perfect person in the world to have access to Jung’s archives and to be able to write this book. And I think that’s an amazing thing to take that step and to actually produce these two volumes together. It’s quite a tour de force and a model to follow I think as well when we think about our legacy, our heritage, our lineage of various kinds of astrology and going into archives and producing this kind of excellence.
CB: Right. There’s something incredibly inspiring and interesting about this because she, like you said, she became one of the most prominent astrologers in late 20th century because she was like the one of, if not the leading, psychological astrologer and one of the leading proponents for not reinterpreting but interpreting astrology through the lens of psychology and especially through the lens of Jungian psychology. And although other Western astrologers had been incorporating elements of Jung into their astrology or like using and appropriating pieces of Jung as early as like 1936 with Rudhyar’s work The Astrology of Personality, it’s only really in the 1960s and ’70s and ’80s when you get this other generation of astrologers that came in around that time that the full birth of like a purely psychological astrology took place. And Liz Greene is certainly one of the primary proponents of that. And her output during that time period in the 1960s and ’70s and the ’80s was really staggering in terms of the books that she published and the extent to which she was successful in influencing the astrological community in that way.
So, some of the titles she published were like Saturn: A New Look at an Old Devil her huge book on Neptune. The Astrology of Fate was another major one that was pretty influential. She also wrote books with other authors like Stephen Arroyo. Not contributions but her working with Howard Sasportas produced some amazing volumes on The Luminaries, the Dynamics of the Unconscious and other topics. And she also did some work on the tarot, so she wrote that book with Juliet Sharman-Burke titled The Mythic Journey or The Mythic Tarot I think was the title of that. I actually got that deck, it was one of my earliest ones.
LL: Oh, wow.
JZ: So do I.[Laura laughs]
CB: You have that one, too? Yeah, like–
JZ: Yeah, I do. And I got the workbook with it.
LL: Oh, nice.
CB: –which is just like amazingly illustrated. But the point is or part of the narrative I’m trying to create is Liz Greene was the preeminent psychological astrologer for the last few decades of the 20th century, but then what’s interesting about her and about this story and what this book represents is that she was part of like a movement in astrology that started happening in the late 20th century and early 21st century like the 1990s and 2000s where some of the leading astrologers in the astrological community wanted to start making inroads in academia and started getting the idea that it was important for astrologers to be and for astrology to be more well represented in academic discussions of different fields because they were currently underrepresented. And they basically realized that the academics themselves were not necessarily gonna learn astrology or in some instances when they did, they still did not treat the subject even in a historical context, they would not necessarily always treat the subject with the necessary care and diligence that it deserved.
And so instead it would be best if astrologers would go back to school and sometimes learn the necessary tools and sort of tricks of the trade and necessary skills in order to be able to talk about astrology in an academic context whether that’s in a historical context or a sociological context or even a potentially a psychological context, but that astrologers needed to go back to school and get those degrees. And then they could have discussions about astrology in that area. And there were a number of astrologers that actually did this, so like Rob Hand went back to school to get a PhD. And his PhD thesis was on Guido Bonatti and like 12th or 13th century medieval astrology. Demetra George went back to school for classics and got a master’s degree. Nick Campion went back and finished his PhD in the early to mid 2000s. Dorian Greenbaum went back and got her PhD and did a dissertation on the daimon or the guardian spirit in Hellenistic astrology. There was just a ton of astrologer not a ton, I don’t wanna overplay that. But it was definitely part of a broader movement that it seems like a lot of prominent astrologers got into in the late 20th and early 21st century.
And Liz Greene’s an interesting figure cuz from the perspective of the astrological community, it’s almost like she had this huge output for a few decades of astrology books. But then you haven’t heard as much about her over the past decade or so, and that’s because she’s also one of those people that went back to school. And she’s been focusing on doing academic research and scholarship over the course of the past decade. And–
JZ: But she’s still been prolific. There’s a lot of articles in culture and cosmos and contributions to chapters and edited volumes through Sophia Centre Press.
CB: Sure. Yeah. And I didn’t mean to say that she’s not, it’s just that she’s doing it in a different area that most normal astrologers it’s like she’s not writing relationships and how to survive them, now she’s writing what was the title of her dissertation? It was like The Kabbalah in–
JZ: British Occultism, yeah.
CB: –British Occultism from 1860 to 1940.
CB: It’s like she’s writing hardcore academic scholarship at this point, and she’s taking her background in astrology and her familiarity with astrological sources and symbolism and everything else. And she’s bringing that to bear on basically reconstructing things about the history of astrology and the history of Western thought where astrology is relevant and doing really important and really interesting historical scholarship in that context at this point. One of the things I would say is that this publication actually marks probably the culmination of that in some sense. I would think for her at least from an external standpoint. I don’t know if she feels that way, but this seems like an incredibly important piece of scholarship where basically one of the things she points out in the book is that Jung had a deep lifelong fascination and interest in practice of astrology. But in a lot of the biographies on Jung, this is not dealt with very well. In a lot of his collected works, it’s not represented very well like how much of that was an important piece of his life. And so part of what she tried to do in these volumes is rectify that by taking a not just a magnifying glass but I don’t know what the better analogy is, like a loudspeaker or something in order to really magnify and show just to what extent Jung was both influenced by astrology in his thinking and then to some extent how Jung influenced other people with his astrological thinking.
JZ: And I think one reason why it’s successful is that you do need to steep yourself in his body of work which is so rich because he was into everything. He had so many strands of ancient culture that he brought together. It’s almost like I wanna call her Dr. Greene and not just Liz cuz she does have that. But–
JZ: –looking at what she’s been making happen through the Sophia Centre at the Sky and Symbol conference in 2011, she gave a paper on the astrology of Liber Novus that was published as in the same volume of the same name. And it’s a 40-page article that I think was the seed in 2011 already that then finally emerged as the second volume that we’re not gonna discuss here, and yet that essay experiencing her read that was an amazing transformation of like how to understand Jung’s astrology, how to understand Jung, how to understand astrology. And I don’t think that we could see it without her having spent decades doing the work, being an analyst, being an astrologer and then turning into getting the tools of academia to help flesh that out with history, with philosophy, with different approaches. It’s a book that does need for decades to write because there’s no way to do it quickly. There’s no way to just read Jung. We could even probably spend a whole seminar talking about this book and not just one podcast, so there’s so much in there. And I think it’s definitely that culmination point of so many things. What I’m trying to say is you have to have that embodied experience of being an analyst, the embodied experience of being an astrologer, and the embodied experience of being an academic. All three have to combine to create this.
LL: Yeah, good point.
JZ: And she’s done it. So that’s–
CB: Yeah. And because of her unique background, nobody could have pulled this book off as well as she did having just finished it and merging those basically three separate areas of like one, being an astrologer and background in astrology two, background in Jung and Jungian psychology, and then three finally, background in the history of astrology and academic sort of scholarship. And not just the history of astrology but the history of Western culture and religion and esoteric trends basically. Or that–
JZ: Right. Yeah.
CB: That’s three things.
JZ: Cuz you’ve got so many this book goes through so many different chapter by chapter you’ve got Iamblichus, Plotinus, and all of these different traditions that come together. And to understand even just the distinctions like what is Iamblichus actually saying, you could spend weeks just thinking about that alone. And that’s not even Jung. And so this is years and years of work behind this.
LL: Yeah, I would love to know how long she’s been working on this two-volume set. Like when exactly was she given access to Jung’s archive? So I’d love to know that. Does anybody have any idea?
CB: I don’t know, but one of you in her notes posted a picture of Liz and her and Jung’s daughter. Gret? Is that–
LL: Yes. Yes, I found that on astro.com. That was taken in 1985.
CB: Yeah, so it’s like that was 1985. So she’s had some relationship with the family at least since back then. But it seems like the publication, and maybe this is the time to finally talk about it, of The Red Book in 2009 was some kind of like watershed moment where other areas of Jung’s thought that might not have been as politically correct I don’t know if that’s the right word, but where there’s like different parts of Jung’s thought that were suddenly exposed and came out. And you kind of realized or people realized that Jung was into some weird studies and into the study of esoteric thought a bit deeper than perhaps anyone previously realized that maybe that opened some things as well. So, let’s touch on that point. And, Laura, you did a great job constructing sort of a history and timeline of Jung’s life when we were preparing for this episode. So maybe you could help me with that a little bit, and let’s give some biographical detail on Jung. I’m trying to think of how to do that concisely. Maybe we could do it concisely, if I asked you some rapid fire questions just to give the audience background without us getting too bogged down. What do you think?
LL: Sure. I do wanna add something though to what you two were talking about, about kind of the genesis of this book. What Sonu Shamdasani says in the foreword is about, in Liz Greene writing these books, is that it’s something that I need to give some background on him. He’s a Jungian scholar in London. He’s a professor of the history of medicine, and he is the one that got close to Jung’s family. So Jung’s heirs have a foundation, and he is the liaison of that family to the outside world. And it is solely I think because of him that The Red Book was published. But what he says in the foreword to, let’s call her Dr. Greene, Dr. Greene’s book is that it’s something that he’s been searching for he said in vain for several decades. Yet paradoxically, it could only have been written now.
And something Chris, I heard you interviewed Keiron Le Grice about the book that he co-edited with Safron Rossi called Jung on Astrology which is a collection of Jung’s writings, right? So it’s very different from what Liz Greene did. But he pointed out when you were having a discussion with him that there are three volumes of Jung’s collected works that are devoted to alchemy but none devoted to astrology. And, yes, astrology is mentioned in the collected works. And, Jenn, I wanna tell you that I do have the digital version of the collected works. It’s convenient, but it is extremely difficult to use because you can’t know where you are.
LL: Yeah. It does have paragraph numbers, but it doesn’t tell you which volume you’re in. It has hundreds of thousands of pages, and it’ll say you’re on page 188,719.
LL: But it won’t tell you what volume you’re in. Very frustrating to use. But it is a lot less expensive to purchase the whole entire digital version. I think Amazon has it for about $290. So, Sonu Shamdasani points out that there is no work like this work that Dr Greene just put out. And he said that the reason why it could not have been written until now, two reasons. And one is the publication of The Red Book which he said revealed how Jung’s readings influenced him cuz that Red Book is his dreams and his visions and his fantasies, and I think it is very misunderstood. And that’s why it took so long for it to become to be published is because there was a lot of fear and anxiety around that, and it showed us how Jung used those things to construct his own work because all of Jung’s theories all of them are contained in that Red Book.
And that’s not just my opinion, I’ve heard numerous analysts say that. And the other reason Shamdasani points out is a writer, specifically Liz Greene, appeared who had the necessary background like you were saying Jenn in the relevant fields to find the place of astrology in Jung’s work and Jung’s work within the history of astrology. So those two things he said that they came about at the right time, and that’s why this work was able to get done now. So, as far as background on Jung, where should we start?
CB: Sure. So I just wanted to explain cuz my audience I have to admit that myself my background is in the history of astrology and especially ancient astrology, and I spent 10 years working on my own book on Hellenistic astrology that was practiced from like the 1st century BCE until the 7th century CE and trying to write a book about the history and philosophy and techniques of that. And so, coming into this, I’m only now in retrospect coming back to Jung I was really interested in his work on synchronicity. And I devoured a lot of that while I was in college at Kepler, but I haven’t read a lot of his other stuff. So I didn’t know who Dasani was. I haven’t read The Red Book. And a lot of this is new to me, and that’s part of the reason we’re putting off the full discussion of that. So providing some context even for our listeners who may have no idea what it is is important. So Jung basically he was born in 1875. He was practicing as like a psychiatrist by the time he was what? Like 25 or so around or he got his degree around the time. It was the turn of the century around like 1900, right?
LL: Mhm. Right.
CB: He eventually met Freud, and he was really impressed with Freud’s work. And they became colleagues and had almost like a mentorship relationship except it became tense after a few years. And eventually they had a falling out in like 1911, right?
LL: It was a little before that. What happened was after Jung finished medical school and he got a job at the Burgholzli mental hospital, he read Freud’s book The Interpretation of Dreams which was published in 1900. And he used it to treat his first patient Sabina Spielrein, and that whole drama is depicted in the Cronenberg film A Dangerous Method. So it was a success, and Jung’s wife Emma suggested that he write to Freud. And he did, and they eventually met. And Jung was so impressed with Freud and said nobody else could compare, he’s intelligent. And Freud loved Jung and wanted him to be his successor cuz Jung’s considerably younger than Freud. And Jung didn’t like that. He said it was embarrassing to be called Freud’s successor. He didn’t like that, so actually it was Emma who put a stop to that. But like I wrote in that outline and when I was doing research, it said that from the beginning in their first meeting which was in February of 1907, it said Jung had hesitations and doubts about Freud.
And so they came to the United States a couple years later, and I think that that was really the start of the breakdown of their relationship because there was just so many differences there. They had differences of opinion, and there was tensions in their personal relationship. Because even though they were both kind of born into poverty, Jung married into the second wealthiest family in Switzerland. So his wife had a lot of money. And when she booked the trip on the ship that brought them both to the United States when they were invited by Clark University, Jung stayed in first class on the ship. And Freud had to stay down below kind of like coach class, and he was resentful of that. So they–
CB: Sure. But there was more. They had much bigger sort of philosophical and other differences in terms of that sort of contributed to their falling out eventually especially From my perspective, it seems like Jung’s tendency towards esotericism–
CB: –would have been like a major issue that Freud had. And Jung–
LL: It was.
CB: –was getting into astrology at this point while he was in the middle of his relationship with Freud. And–
LL: Yeah, that’s true.
CB: And in one of the letters you can see Jung like almost trying to talk Freud into paying attention or looking into this astrology thing and trying to couch it in like Freudian terms using the words like libido and stuff like that. So Freud was probably viewing Jung as like a potential heir and hoping that he would take up the mantle of his approach to psychology, but Jung had his own ideas and was headed in his own direction. And I misspoke earlier cuz it seems like it was actually a few years later. It was 1913 when they finally had their falling out and then never really spoke again.
LL: Right. Right. It was the beginning of 1913, and Jung started on The Red Book in 1913. And there’s some dates that say that he wrote it from 1913 to 1930, but it was actually just about was just under a year. He did attempt to add to it at some point because it’s actually an unfinished book. So just a little bit about how that started. So Jung and Freud were very close. The three of them along with Alfred Adler became kind of world-known because they were being invited to speak, and they were traveling and speaking and writing and becoming really well-known. And Jung became more famous than Freud, and of course that was another resentment that he had. So, when they went their separate ways, Jung sunk into a deep depression. And I was talking to an analyst about this, and I said, “Would that have happened to Jung had he not had that rift or that separation, that break in the relationship from Freud?” And he said, “Well, yeah, probably he would have anyway.” So, I think that there are a lot of things happening all at the same time.
It’s kind of difficult for me to see how this is characterized by the general public because I’ve seen it described as a nervous breakdown, as a psychotic episode, as deep depression. And I don’t think any of those are true. I think that you’re gonna hear different stories from different people, but that’s why I like to go to Jungian analysts because I like to go to the people who train with I’d like to go straight to the source. So Jung’s that period of time for him was called his or described as his confrontation with the unconscious. So it was kind of his first step toward his own individuation and his rediscovery of his soul, and it was this time of transition. And some people would call it a midlife crisis, he was in his mid to late 30s when it happened. But midlife is not so much chronological as it is psychological. He was mourning his loss of the relationship, and he also was sensing this change in the air. And it turned out it was on the brink of World War One. So, there was actually nothing morbid or life threatening about the transition that he made or whatever you wannna call it. Cuz he was still able to work.
LL: He was still able to see patients. Yeah, and still able to be a husband and a father. And I had asked my friend who’s an analyst in the UK. I said, “Well, how did he get over it?” And he said, “He didn’t get over it, he went through it.”
CB: Yeah. So yeah. So he had the break with Freud. It was a difficult but also a very important sort of period and maybe transformation psychologically, and he wrote some journals about this period and about what he was going through and some of his meditations and some of his insights and dreams and other things at the time. And those were like in I guess little private journals, and then at some point he decided to put them into a larger book that he worked on over the course of like 20 or 30 years or something that was like a big red leather book that he wrote in but also did these beautiful paintings and as well at the same time. Eventually he died in the 1960s, and that book was never published.
CB: And I’m a little unclear on whether he intended to publish it and didn’t–
CB: –or what. Because it seems like one of the things that comes up in Liz’s book about his astrology in Dr. Greene’s book about his astrology is that he seems to have held back and that he did not for example quote contemporary or slightly contemporary astrologers in his collected works. But instead he would sometimes quote like ancient astrologers to put it in the context of like the history of thought or something like that. But that he may have actually been, and based on his statements to some other people, like reticent about admitting the extent of his interest in astrology. And for similar reasons perhaps The Red Book, this book that he worked on for a few decades in his life, was never published in his lifetime. It was something that was known about by a few people who were very high up and like the Jungian hierarchy of either analysts or scholars, but it wasn’t until this other scholar came along in the 1990s who convinced the family that it should be published and that this needed to be published. And he started working on it, and I think they said he worked on it for 13 years or something.
LL: Yeah, in secret.
CB: It was published in 2009, right?
LL: Mhm. Yeah, he worked on it in secret. He was one of three translators. So–
CB: Okay. So and they published this beautiful and huge book in 2009 with a translation of the text and all of the illustrations, and he’s also the head of basically the foundation that is tasked with publishing all of the remaining unpublished writings of Jung, right?
LL: Yeah, he’s the co-founder of the Philemon Foundation that is dedicated to publishing all of Jung’s unpublished works. And from what I understand, most of what Jung has written has not even been published yet. So the–
CB: Okay. So–
LL: Yeah. If you look at the enormity of what he has written, not only his collected works but his lectures and seminars and his letters, I think it’s a life’s work to get through all of it and to study all of it. But there’s more to come.
CB: Sure. So, and this is the scholar that you mentioned who wrote the foreword to Liz Greene’s new book Sonu Shamdasani. He was the guy that published The Red Book in 2009 and finally led to that coming out. So the fact that he wrote the introduction to this book is really striking because it shows that Liz Greene has attained this sort of level in terms of academic scholarship on Jung or she’s up there with some of the other leading scholars, and she’s being sort of recognized for that contribution or at least they recognize what a significant contribution this book in terms of in terms of understanding Jung’s background and thought is. So–
LL: Yeah, and I just would like to add one more thing that I neglected to say earlier is that these books were published by Routledge which is academic really. And I don’t think any of her other books have been published by a company like that.
LL: So I really noticed that because they also publish other books I have that were written by Jungian analysts, but this is the first of hers that I think Routledge has published. So, I was very impressed by that as well.
CB: Yeah, it’s a major academic publisher. So, the basic premise of this book is a question that I actually had a few months ago when I did the previous two episodes on Jung when that book Jung on Astrology came out by Keiron Le Grice and Safron Rossi which is they gathered together for the first time all of his statements about astrology from his published works and from some of his letters. And it really demonstrated that astrology was a major component in his thought and in his philosophy and that he had a lifelong fascination with and focus on the subject. But one of the lingering questions then that I had after reading that book was, where did he get his astrology from or what sources influenced him in terms of his study of astrology? Like where did he learn astrology from? And so that’s one of the things that Liz Greene set out to do with this book. It’s really not the entire book. The discussion is actually mostly focused on chapter two, and I was almost a little surprised that chapter two was It’s not like the only treatment of that, but it’s the main treatment of that in the book. Was that your impression as well, Jenn?
JZ: Yeah, and I was surprised at how short it was. I was hoping, given that she had access to more private materials, that maybe he had written stuff that we hadn’t seen yet. And I wanted more. [laughs] But, yeah.
CB: Sure. But at least in terms of what she did end up focusing on, it’s like the main emphasis of that chapter seem to be that his two primary influences were the works of Alan Leo especially and then secondarily Max Heindel and the Rosicrucian sort of astrologers that were associated with that group basically, right?
JZ: Yeah, and it’s also interesting because German astrologers at that time were developing a lot of different approaches. And they weren’t necessarily interfacing with Jung, but he wasn’t interfacing with them either. And so in this chapter what we see is that Jung was talking to Dutch astrologers, British astrologers, Scottish astrologers. But he wasn’t really talking to German astrologers until after he had already formulated his variety of astrology.
CB: Right. And that was kind of interesting because it seemed like part of the way that I think she took it is that he was interested in a certain type or a certain approach to astrology and that already very early on because of his psychological background in his developing of concepts like the collective unconscious and the archetypes that he was more interested in a psychological or like mythopoetic sort of approach to astrology and therefore gravitated towards astrologers who were headed in that direction even if they weren’t already there like Alan Leo and his focus his saying character is destiny and therefore his tendency to push astrology more in the direction of character analysis. Greene seemed to argue that some of Max Heindel’s use of mythology as an interpretive principle in astrology seemed to really mirror or act as a precursor in some sense of something that became a major component in Jung’s work in terms of using mythology as a major access point for understanding astrological symbolism and meaning basically, right?
JZ: Yeah, that seems to be a really interesting payoff. The reluctance of anyone at that time to talk about astrology in terms of prediction has a history not only in the legal persecution taking place in England of it but also in German-speaking lands. I’m not sure for Switzerland, but in Germany prophecy was outlawed. And so astrologers reacted to that by approaching astrology from a diagnostic perspective. And I think the insertion of mythology here allows that instead of just being a mere flat sketch of personality, you get this dimensionality that he was so focused on. And you get the idea of not just limiting itself to sort of, “Well, you have this aspect to your chart. So you’re like this.” It’s more like what can you do with that at the next level? But I’ll admit that allowed him to have a deeper engagement.
CB: Sure. Yeah. Definitely.
JZ: It was neat to see how that also tracked with the Swiss Excuse me, the Scottish astrologer who dealt with the epic charts that you get into a little later in that chapter. So you see it’s not just Heindel but it’s also this Trying to recall his name. It’s new to me cuz I don’t do Scottish astrology, but it’s John Thorburn. So having him also kind of bring in this facet to Jung’s astrology was really neat to see that. I have to say I did–
JZ: –miss all my German friends though. They kind of get taken care of with a few paragraphs. So–
CB: In terms of the influence of contemporary German astrologers on Jung?
JZ: Yeah, it seems like to a large extent Jung did not engage with the living community. He was very interested in the ancient sources, and so there were astrologers who aren’t mentioned in this book who were inspired by Jung to incorporate his ideas into their psychological astrology. And, yeah, I think that that’s an interesting thing to think about in terms of his influence. He wasn’t engaged in the astrological community. There were attempts. There was a group in Darmstadt. This is also not discussed here but in her book which I missed that discussion. So she does talk about an astrologer named Oscar Schmitz. Oscar Schmitz was trying to get Jung to engage more with a group in Darmstadt and be more out as an astrologer, and Jung kept resisting. And at one point he did give in and gave a lecture on the Earth boundedness of the soul, and a woman from there named Olga von Ungern-Sternberg Baroness Olga von Ungern-Sternberg It’s quite a mouthful, we can put it in the notes to the podcast episode. She ended up writing an article in 1925 about psychology and astrology and then again a book in 1928, and she practiced from a Jungian perspective at that point. And that doesn’t appear anywhere here, so it’s kind of an interesting omission I think in terms of like who is he influencing. Maybe he wasn’t influenced by these people, but he was definitely influencing others at that time.
CB: Right. Yeah, it seemed like he did have some connections like the astrologer you mentioned Thorburn as a result of people that were connected with the psychological work that he was doing. He was meeting other people through Freud or through his own psychological school and sometimes patients, and then occasionally it was those people that had that sort of psychological background already and then had some interest in astrology that he was then interfacing with and getting readings from. That’s one of the most interesting things about this chapter about chapter two of the book is different astrologer. Like Jung was actively going around at certain points getting interpretations of his chart from different astrologers and sometimes either looking at his own timing of like transits and progressions or he was having other people calculate his transits and progressions for different important periods in his life like that period in the 19 teens where he was going through such an important and somewhat difficult transformative phase and sort of trying to perhaps figure out what was going on.
JZ: Yeah, I’d be curious to read if there are any notes that he wrote to himself and a diary or something about those readings and what he thought of them. That would be sort of an interesting perspective to I’m not sure that’s even possible to do, but seeing these various beautiful replications of these charts that were drawn makes me wonder, “Well, how did he take the feedback he was being given? What did he do with it? What did he apply from it? Did it affect him in terms of how he shifted his astrology in any way?” This one experiment with the epoch Greene points out that was kind of a blip on the radar, but I’m glad that it’s included because it gives us a sense of the sort of shopping around that he was doing. And it’s like, “Well, he dabbled in that. He got exposed to it. He got something from it and then moved on and kept going.” But it wasn’t like he wasn’t interested in figuring out different aspects, right? Cuz this person that comes in with this, it’s a long concept, right? The epoch chart goes back for quite a ways and gets reinvigorated in the early 20th century, but it was actually developed before that. And so I think he was sort of saying, “Oh, someone’s bringing this back. Let’s see what it’s like. Let’s take a taste.”
CB: Yeah, one of the major things that I took from the book especially after chapter two because like chapter two she deals with what were his contemporary sources that he was drawing on that were astrologers in the early 20th century whose works Jung was reading and then developing a system for astrology based on. And the conclusion is primarily Alan Leo and Max Heindel. But then it seems like after that one of the conclusions that I drew, and I’m not sure if this is the same conclusion that she drew, is that Jung had such an interest in Western thought, and he was really focused on going back and studying the history of Western thought and philosophy and esotericism that it seemed like his studies tended to trend towards older authors and material. And it was almost curious not seeing more like contemporary astrological works in his library evidently where she said like he picked up at one point Rudhyar’s first book The Astrology of Personality.
He was one of the first major authors who started incorporating Jung into his work, but then she said he didn’t have any other works of Rudhyar in his library supposedly in terms of what she had access to now after his death and therefore drew the conclusion that Rudhyar wasn’t somebody that drew his interest. And it seemed similar with other contemporary astrologers, and it seemed like part of the reason for that is that he tended to go back and focus on older works. And he did cite like Renaissance authors like Jerome Cardan or Johannes Kepler. He did cite, he went back and read medieval works. So he read the works of Abu Ma’shar on Monday in astrology. Then he went back and he read other ancient works like Hellenistic authors like Ptolemy, and apparently he had access to Valens to Vettius Valens. And he read some parts of Valens at least. And then in terms of his philosophy, a large part of what she ends up focusing on for most of the rest of the book after chapter two was how much Jung was influenced by ancient often esoteric philosophies like Hermeticism and Gnosticism and Neoplatonism. And a lot of basically like most of the second half of the book is almost not even about Jung’s studies of astrology. It’s about how Jung’s study of ancient medieval and Renaissance and classical, philosophical, and occult works that were all influenced by astrology ended up influencing Jung’s own philosophy.
CB: And so, for example, she suggests that Plotinus’s essay on whether the stars are causes where Plotinus makes this impassioned case that astrology doesn’t work through the planets influencing life on Earth but instead works through cosmic sympathy and the planets acting as symbols or signs of what’s happening on Earth. She ends up arguing that that had a major impact on Jung’s later attempt to formulate a modern version of the concept of cosmic sympathy through his concept of or theory of synchronicity.
JZ: Well, there’s two points. We started with books in his library, and then we landed in ancient philosophy. So we kind of wanna maybe go back to library just for a quick second or minute back on to–
CB: Sure. Sure.
JZ: My favorite part of the book is a footnote on page 68 hidden in the depths of this because I also would wanna know what was in Jung’s library. And Liz says, “Books as I was assured by Andreas Jung tend to ‘walk’ from private libraries after the death of their owner.” Due to the claims of family members and friends many of Jung’s astrological texts found their way into the library of his daughter Gret who is herself a practicing astrologer. As Jung did not usually write his name in his books, it’s impossible to ascertain which works in Gret’s astrological library might have initially belonged to him. And at one point I was able to actually see a photocopy of a list of books that he had in his library that was back in 2011, and I was surprised at that time in the thick of my own PhD research that a lot of the names that I was seeing weren’t in there. But reading this footnote actually helps me a little bit because it could be that he did have them, and they just didn’t stick around. Or he had them at one point, and eventually maybe at some point in 1937 he decided to sell them all. Who knows? There’s just a really open question of like how do we know what’s in someone’s library? At what point do we actually get to like sort of lock that in and then make assumptions about what they knew or didn’t know who they were reading and weren’t reading whether he cited them or not? The fact that a lot of things are not cited is an indicator of something, but it doesn’t mean he wasn’t being exposed. And I think it’s an interesting thing to bring up. And that like–
CB: Right. I think I was really glad that you mentioned that in our notes when we were preparing for that cuz I had overlooked the footnote partially cuz I know just from a layout standpoint that endnotes are so much easier to do just typographically or whatever instead of footnotes at the bottom of a page, but it’s so much easier to read the academic scholarship and the footnotes are at the bottom of the page rather than the end. Anyways, that being said, yeah. I was glad you pointed that out because that really raises a question. It’s one of the criticisms that potentially one could make of the book, and I’m not sure how far to take it or how serious of a criticism it is which is that a large part of chapter two and a decent portion of the book is based on the premise partially that she can reconstruct part of his thinking and the influences on his astrology based on the books that were in his library.
Because he otherwise avoided citing contemporary astrologers in his collected works potentially deliberately because he didn’t wanna undermine his psychological work by making himself look like an astrologer. So the premise part or the premise of the book is that because she had access to his library she could see what books he was drawing on, she could look at for example she attempts to date when he would have had access to those books based on the publication date of the books themselves. And so she can figure out the earliest date that he could have read that book. Then she draws conclusions about how early he got ahold of certain copies of Alan Leo’s works and other things like that or when the republication date was and other things like that and attempts to construct a sort of historical narrative about Jung’s studies of astrology based on the works that were in his library and the dates that were all in those books.
But then the problem that you’re bringing up which this footnote sort of acknowledges is that the library may not be complete and it may actually be missing some books. That becomes a major issue like when you’re talking about Rudhyar because she doesn’t make a huge deal about this, but she did I think attempt to draw a conclusion about the fact that Jung had Rudhyar’s first book The Astrology of Personality that was published in 1936 and that Jung had some other concert or like piece of music that Rudhyar wrote because he was also a musician but that he didn’t have any other books on Rudhyar in his library. And then I think she has some speculation about why that may have been. But, if it’s true that his daughter who was a practicing astrologer walked off with a bunch of his books or incorporated those in his library which would make perfect sense, perhaps then that doesn’t mean anything. Maybe she wanted to read the rest of the Rudhyar books which did become very popular later in the 20th century, and maybe she just left behind the Alan Leo books which were not as popular by the later part of the 20th century.
JZ: Right. And also Jung’s relationship with Oscar Schmitz that letter exchange started 1921 to 23, Oscar Schmitz’s massive book came out The Spirit of Astrology in 1922. And Jung must have known about it, and he was exchanging letters with the man. I can’t imagine he wouldn’t have read the book at some capacity, but there’s no evidence that he had a copy of it. And so I find that surprising. We’ll never know. There’s just no way to know that, but you’d think that somebody who’s exchanging letters with someone about astrology who’s And Oscar Schmitz himself was not actually a very good astrologer. He was more of a middle class poet who trafficked in bourgeois circles, and he was sort of a popularizer of astrology. His book went into four printings. It sold thousands and thousands of copies over the course of that next decade. So he was kind of a popular figure but not necessarily a good technical figure. Yeah, it’s–
CB: Sure. Sure, and it’s like we don’t know what the answer is because I could see it going either way. It’s like I could see like his daughter, for example, taking some of his astrological works. And therefore the current library holding is not being fully representative. But then I could also see it’s like astrologers figure out especially within like the first decade or two of their studies if they’ve been doing it for like a decade or two like they get into a system and they figure out what approach works for them. And then they tend to focus down on that system rather than continuing to like read widely about other approaches that they don’t necessarily agree on. Like if somebody does like Western astrology, then they don’t necessarily have a bunch of books on like Indian astrology or Chinese astrology in their library as well. And I could see him focusing in on or even becoming increasingly focused on older works on astrology which he did seem to collect in sight.
So, it’s like who knows? I could see it going either way. It’s just a potential issue with that part of the book in terms of drawing conclusions that might be overly strong or overly strict like saying if we were to try to draw the conclusion that Jung didn’t care for Rudhyar or something like that, it’s possible because he seems to have had some issues with Theosophy and therefore may have rejected some of Rudhyar’s works on the basis of the extent to which Rudhyar was incorporating all sorts of Theosophy into what was otherwise a more psychological approach to astrology. But then on the other hand, maybe he did have some of Rudhyar’s later books. And we just don’t know them.
JZ: On that note, there were more astrologers in the German-speaking world than not who had something against the Theosophical approach to astrology. I would say 80% of the astrologers practicing during that time were not happy with the influence Theosophy had on astrology.
JZ: So that’s a really important point I think that needs to be emphasized, and I’m glad that she emphasizes that here. Because I think that sometimes because the Theosophical publishing house was the vector of transmission from Britain to the German-speaking world in the early 1907 1911, we get this impression that everybody was a Theosophical astrologer. But it very very quickly changed into, “Let’s look back at older sources. Let’s look to Kepler. Let’s see what our heritage is. Let’s get past this smooshing, the slumping.” So, yeah.
JZ: That’s just for a wider historical lens. Jung wasn’t the only one who was actually It was a common view to have that deposition.
CB: I think that was actually partially my conclusion that I was drawing. I forgot she drew some other conclusion about why he might not have been interested in Rudhyar, and I forget what she said. But that was actually my impression that because of the previous statements about his lack of affinity for Theosophy or his like antipathy towards it in some ways that Rudhyar’s integration of Theosophical ideas might have been what would have been problematic to him about it. But who knows? That’s one thing I actually meant to mention at the start of this episode is that I almost felt like we needed to say from the start that in the absence of being able to ask Dr. Greene questions directly herself, we pretty much have to guarantee that we may misinterpret or misconstrue some of her conclusions or state our own conclusions based on what she presented that she may actually not agree with herself. So I hope we’re not doing that too much–
CB: –or going too far afield here. But I meant to preface this discussion with that earlier.
LL: Yeah. Could I make a point? So Jung’s daughter Gret, she practiced astrology. And she lived until 1995. Jung died in 1961, so that’s over 30 years that she could have ransacked the library and taken whatever she wanted out of there. Because–
CB: If my dad was like a prominent astrologer who had an awesome library, I would totally take books from there.
LL: Yeah. Well, here’s another thing about Gret is that she taught astrology courses at the C. G. Jung Institute in Zurich. I’d love to know what she taught. What kind of astrology did she teach?
CB: Sure. And that was actually something you noted that you were surprised about is that because Gret–
CB: –his daughter was an astrologer, you were surprised that she didn’t feature more prominently in this book or that there wasn’t more discussion about–
CB: –that fact because it seemed like a important piece of context for the broader case that this book ends up building which is basically that Jung was It goes back to an argument that I made a few episodes ago which is that depending on how you define the word astrologer, I think Jung fits the definition that Jung was arguably an astrologer. And if he was an astrologer, then he would have consequently been one of if not the most influential astrologers of the 20th century to the extent of how his work and his research ended up influencing the astrological tradition in the shape of modern astrology. But anyways one of the points that you made was that you were surprised then that in building that case that there wasn’t a little bit more discussion about his daughter as an astrologer, right?
LL: Yeah, definitely. And a couple other things came to mind when you were talking is that Jung was very concerned about his scientific reputation.
LL: So when you were talking about how he didn’t cite contemporary astrologers but did reference the ancient ones, it just made me think of– I had read an interview in the book C.G. Jung Speaking and he was asked; had you not pursued psychiatry and psychology, what profession would you have entered? And he said that he would have been an archaeologist. And he was fascinated with ancient Egypt. And so, it made sense to me that he looked to those astrologers. I don’t know, it just fit for me that that’s who he looked to. But as far as not being involved with contemporary astrologers, that too makes a lot of sense to me that he was being really careful because he was an empiricist and he wanted to be taken seriously in astrology. I don’t know. It just wasn’t there at that time.
JZ: And he was also introverted.
LL: That too, yeah.
CB: Well, that’s his not embarrassment, but his trepidation surrounding being very overt or being very open about his belief in his practice in astrology is really relatable to me because I think anybody who is even vaguely aware of how astrology is largely viewed in mainstream academia, or in scientific circles, or other things like that understands that it’s not viewed positively and that if you say that you’re a practicing astrologer, people are going to have a negative response and might think less of you. As a result of that, they might assume that you’re into something that’s really crazy.
JZ: Right. What’s interesting though is the Strauss family, Strauss Chlobo and these other figures, the German figures that do appear in chapter two, were involved with the movement at that time of people who had PhDs who were doing astrology. So, this trend that you pointed out at the beginning of episode happened in Germany in 1923, ’24, ‘25. And you ended up having a whole entire group of people who were required to have PhDs that could not be a part of that astrological organization unless they were a doctorate as well. And so, there was something burgeoning there, not to say that Jung’s off in Switzerland, not to say he had to go and hop the border and be a part of that, but there’s definitely a massive movement towards trying to integrate astrology back into the academy back then.
CB: Right. But ultimately, it wasn’t successful or failed to the extent that it didn’t have a lasting impact in making astrology academically or scientifically acceptable in terms of mainstream academia or scientific trends.
JZ: It doesn’t help if you have 12 years of dictatorship.
CB: Right. Well, yeah, but Jung probably would have been met with a similar thing which is like, “Hey, I can draw on all of these ancient philosophical and esoteric and other mythological trends and I can create an amazing working model of contemporary psychology that draws on that stuff, but does not openly, at least completely disclose what it is that that’s motivating part of this, and it can actually grow and flourish and be successful in modern times. Or I can attempt to force some of those views into the mainstream somehow and potentially have my work in psychology not be accepted as a result of it.” And it seems like he ended up choosing the former and decided to attempt to make his work look as acceptable as it could by not overly emphasizing some of the esoteric currents like astrology that were influencing it.
LL: This is just a thought I had. I also wonder about time, how much time that this man has. He was seeing patience and he had five children, and a wife, and a mistress who some people call a second wife, and he was doing research and he was traveling. So, he went to Africa, and he went to India, and he came to the United States a number of times. And so, I just wonder how much time he had to devote to subjects that weren’t necessarily his main focus, which was his patience.
JZ: And also, the push for looking to more ancient sources would have been the mode of academic acceptance at that time. There is a The Return to Philology there was this trying to plumb the depths of human legacy. And so, if you think about what that would be like today, it’s like, yeah, look to these sources. And you wouldn’t necessarily read the person next door to you who just finished writing something. You would be reading into tablets and you’d be looking at Paris, and you’d be looking at all these ancient sources to see the trajectory and the philological background of how these concepts move through time and land on us.
CB: Right. Well, that’s the single most fascinating thing about this book. And about what Liz Greene did here is basically she demonstrated that everything all those astrologers, modern Western astrologers started saying in the 1990s when there was the project hindsight and the back to classical traditional astrology movement, and we need to go back and study the origins of the tradition because there’s stuff that we lost that we can recover and can be integrated and synthesized with modern astrology to improve it. Jung basically already did all of that. In the early 20th century, he had training in Latin and Greek. He had training as an academic scholar and he went back and did all of those studies in at least large portions of traditional astrology and ancient philosophical and esoteric thought. And that basically becomes part of the motivation or the undercurrent, which eventually led to the creation of not just his psychology, but also his broader philosophy and cosmology and his approach to astrology. And that’s basically the most fascinating thing about this book. To me, it’s just how steeped Jung was in older traditional astrological and philosophical thought and how that ended up influencing his views on astrology.
LL: Yeah, I agree.
CB: So, and that really takes up a large part of pretty much after chapter two once she deals with his contemporary sources, most of the rest of the book is just discussing and providing context for the different esoteric and ancient philosophical schools that he was drawing on.
JZ: To one extent, these last chapters are almost like getting a master’s degree from the Sofia center because you’re going through his texts as if you were in the seminars. This is what we were reading. I had flashbacks reading this going like, “Oh, man, I feel like I’m back in class. This is great.” [Jenn laughs]
CB: Right. Well, yeah. And for me, reading about all of this, this is what I spent the past 10 years doing in researching my book and trying to write a book about ancient astrology was I had to go back and study Hermeticism, and I had to study Gnosticism, and Neoplatonism, and everything else. And that’s basically every chapter of this book, she’s focusing on recounting and talking about the philosophical assumptions underlying some of those ancient schools, and then showing how that influenced the Jung’s thought. So, one of the chapters she talks a lot about the concept of fate, and the planetary spheres in ancient cosmology, and how fate was associated with the planets. And that there was this belief in some philosophical and esoteric schools that when the soul descends into incarnation before birth that it passes through the planetary spheres and it takes on the qualities of each of the planets in the process. And then that when we die, the soul ascends back through the planetary spheres and it gives back to each of the planets the qualities that it had taken from them when it was born. So, she talks about that, she spends a lot of time talking about that and how ancient views on fate and ensoulment influenced Jung’s own views. She has a whole chapter talking about some of the discussions in the Neoplatonists like Iamblichus Porphyry about the concept of the Master of the Nativity, which is the overall ruler of the chart, which Iamblichus and Porphyry says that some astrologers in their time period used in order to find the guardian diamond or the guardian spirit, which influences the native’s personality as well as their life direction or their destiny. So, the fact that she has a whole discussion about the philosophical backdrop behind that as well as some of the technical backdrop in terms of how astrologers sometimes calculated the Master of the Nativity, which is really funny to me because that’s actually the talk I’m giving next month at UAC is one of my talks is the Master of the Nativity in ancient astrology and how to calculate it. And so, it was really-
JZ: Oh, nice. You might have to add some new slides after reading this book.
CB: Yeah. Well, [Jenn laughs] you give me an interesting example actually because Jung, what she ends up focusing on is that Jung had Aquarius rising with Saturn in Aquarius in the first house, basically, in a day chart. And so, one of the candidates for the Master of the Nativity or at least the Co- Master of the Nativity is the domicile Lord of the hour marker or the ruler of the ascendant, basically, especially if it’s well placed, and it is in the Jung’s chart so that Saturn as the traditional ruler of Aquarius would have potentially been considered the Master of the Nativity or the overall ruler of his chart. Jung may have done those calculations and realized that, and that may have had a profound impact on Jung and his perception of himself and his personality and his work and what he was here to do in his life. And there was also this whole discussion about the role of theology and the attempt to use some magical practices in order to invoke or in order to identify one’s guardian spirit. And that was actually one of the most surprising things to me is that in one of the chapters, she has this whole discussion about Jung’s interest in some magical and occult texts. And that part of what he may have been going through in the 20 teens or in the 19 teens that he may have actually been involved in some magical rituals that were meant to do things like that to invoke one’s guardian spirit. And that was a whole fascinating discussion in and of itself that I had no idea about and I was really curious how other Jungians scholars or people that are interested in Jung, what they will think about in terms of that and how it relates to things like the Red Book. How did you take that chapter, Laura? Is that stuff that’s out there already, especially in terms of discussions about the Red Book or was that surprising reading some of that in those chapters?
LL: No, it wasn’t surprising to me. What I worry about is when the general public gets just a whiff of things like that, they take it and run with it. So, Jung doesn’t have a great reputation. And I don’t think the problem is putting information like that out there. I think the problem is the associations we have with things like that. And also, I think that something that we need to consider and I even find this in Jungian community, when I hear some criticisms of Jung is that he wrote… Look, that was the language of the time, right? So, people who criticize the language that he uses about women, about primitives, they’re not accepting that he wrote in the time that he lived. And so, for instance, when he was in medical school, he was attending seances with his mom. Can you imagine telling going to the coffee shop tomorrow morning and saying, “You were at a seance last night?” I think maybe in some circles, it is more acceptable. But for a psychiatrist to say I was at a seance last night, that’s not okay.
So, when information like that is published about Jung, I get a little worried because of how it’s going to be taken. But in my analysis and the reason why I chose Jungian analysis is because all of those experiences are very accepted because of Jung and that’s the thing that I love about Jung and what drew me to Jung is because I’m interested in all of these things. Jung was about the totality of the psyche. And for me, isn’t that what the horoscope symbolizes? It’s a circle. And we all have it all. We all have those planets in our horoscope. And so, these experiences that we have, visions, and dreams, and fantasies, and creativity bubbling up, and out of body experiences, and communications and all of that, Jung dealt with and experienced and so this Philemon was based on a dream he had very early on in 1913. And so, do I think that Jung conjured it up and used magic? I don’t know, but it wouldn’t surprise me. And another thing that I love about Jung is I feel like he did all the research and we’re benefiting from it. Yeah, he didn’t just do it intellectually, he experienced it. He had these experiences and he then delved into it, and he wasn’t afraid. He had such a great support system around him and he went in there and he let himself go, and so yeah.
JZ: And he recorded it. I think the Liber Novus is the locus of everything you just said in terms of that experience. Chris, to just circle back to your original question, it was about how the theological come across in two facets. One is his experience of Liber Novus in creating that was theurgy. It was simply exactly that the idea of the ascent, the decent, recording it, the art practice that leads to all of these fruits that is his entire career and the circle shape. We haven’t read volume two. There’s so much more to unpack. But this is just the foretaste. I think that the publisher probably had to say, “This is so much material. Let’s get people into the foundation with volume one, give them the philosophical background so that by the time you get volume two,” I bet we’re getting ready to have almost a theological experience just reading it.
LL: Good point.
JZ: And at that time too in Germany, just to again widen that scope a little bit, experience was a massive topic of conversation, not only the experience of living through World War One. And granted I know that he wasn’t in Germany during that time, but this was something that did rock Europe. But having experiences of things and incorporating that gnostic individual knowledge that Iamblichus does talk about, was a really big part of recovering from that conflict in Europe and people trying to figure out what can we know, and what is shattered now, and what can we rebuild, and how can we engage this world? Freud ended up going on to call it shell shock. And you have all these responses to the experience of that war, that first mechanized war. And I don’t think that we can neglect that and talking about the development of these types of experiential ways of knowing and going back to ancient experiential ways of knowing that pre-seed scientism and pre-seed the enlightenment and that fracturing of our consciousness into spirit and body.
CB: Right. And that’s what is interesting. And I guess that’s what she’s trying to do for the most part with this book is just, and that was my takeaway from it, is just that Jung’s approach was influenced by all of these ancient philosophical and esoteric trends. But then, the people that have adopted his approach are not necessarily aware of or intimately familiar with these trends or at least, it does not appear to be evident in terms of the practice of Jungian psychology for the most part, which is its own modern thing. And while it does create a template that is much more open to those types of, let’s say, religious or philosophical or esoteric trends than other philosophical schools that might immediately write them off as insanity or something like that, it’s still not necessarily. Some of the things that Jung was into and Jung was doing evidently are still not necessarily present in just the contemporary practice of Jungian psychology. And Jenn, you actually made an interesting comment about that where that sometimes happens with other figures as well, right?
JZ: Yeah, it seems, for example, you can say someone who hangs from Nietzsche’s every word and they’ve never read a word of Latin or Greek. And the thing that makes Nietzsche awesome is how he was a complete and thorough classicist. He had all of the training possible so that by the time he got to making the statements that we think are audacious, he gets to because he’s got the foundation and the background to own it. But if you start with his endpoint, you don’t have that foundation or background, and then you lead to getting this off-kilter reputation or this ability too. You actually don’t have solid ground underneath you. You’re only imitating Nietzsche at that point. And I think, Laura, to speak back to what you were saying, I wonder if this book actually will be amazing at restoring Jung’s reputation because of the way that it methodically lays out these more ancient sources in the context of a more robust academic understanding of astrology so that people who might say, “Well, people who do Jungian analysis, they just make stuff up or they’re just taking things too far.” It’s like, let’s circle back and look at what Jung was really doing with the fuller picture at our disposal of, what did Platonists really mean? What was Iamblichus really about? Because you can’t take those figures outside of astrology either. But if you don’t know anything about astrology, you can read Iamblichus and think, “Oh, this is just that. When he says astral, that’s what he means.” No, actually, there’s a whole entire other body of human knowledge that he’s drawing on that if you don’t know what you’re looking at, it’s easy to neglect it. But once you know, you can’t unknow it.
LL: Yeah. And I think that, Chris, I want to thank you for doing this episode and hopefully, the second part because these books can’t just sit on someone’s shelf or have somebody buy them from Amazon and start to go through it and say, “This is too hard. I don’t understand this.” These books need to be looked at and talked about and discussed. And this is just the beginning because they just came out. So, I really hope that they take on a life of their own and are out there and I’ll do everything I can to tell people about them and put it out there that they exist, and it’s going to take us a long time to fully get through them and understand them.
CB: Sure. Yeah, I think it’ll act as an entry point or a doorway for a lot of people to why it’s interesting and useful to study older thought and how that can sometimes influence modern thought in interesting and unique ways that you don’t even realize. It’s like so many people may not realize how Jung was influenced by these things. But at this point, after this book and then the publication of the other book by Keiron Le Grice and Safron Rossi, this is a turning point. Interestingly, they’re both just published this year in the past few months, but this is a turning point in terms of Jungian studies where it’s no longer arguable that Jung was influenced by astrology and it played a major role in his thought, and then the resulting psychology or approach to psychology that he developed. This lays the foundation for that. And she touches upon some other ways in which it had a more tangible, direct impact on certain things like his system of his typologies. And I know that’s something that we touched on a little bit in preparing for this where it’s like, that’s a whole show in and of itself because he developed this complex approach to typology. And she tries to argue in the book in one of the early chapters in a roundabout way that some of that would have been influenced by his understanding of astrology even if there’s not a paper sitting around that directly correlates exactly what astrological things he thought correlated with certain type in his psychology basically, right?
JZ: Yeah, and I think that’s why you need someone who spent so many years steeped in it to see what isn’t explicit, to make the implicit explicit.
CB: Sure, right,
LL: I just would like to make an appoint that I’ve been wanting to say is that or maybe I already said this in the beginning, but it doesn’t seem like a lot of people in the Jungian community knew that these books were coming. And I had reached out to an analyst that I know, an older gentleman, and I wanted a little bit of background. And he wrote me back because I had asked him if I could call him, he wrote me back and said, “I don’t know anything about astrology. So, I don’t have anything to add.” And this is someone who trained in Zurich, had an analysis with somebody who was very close to Jung. And I was very surprised to hear that. So, I don’t know. I don’t know why it just was, well, I guess we do know why it was kept under wraps, but also maybe some people, even if they are trained as Jungian analysts and those who are had to have undergone their own analysis. I guess maybe it doesn’t always come up. Astrology did come up for me. My analyst wasn’t trained in astrology, didn’t use astrology, but she was aware of the fact that Jung did and it is honestly why I decided to study astrology. It was soon after I started analysis that I wanted to learn about astrology and I always say thank God I did because I think I would have lost my mind had I not learned astrology and understood astrology because it helped me understand myself and the people around me, I’d say more than anything I’ve learned.
CB: But yeah, with Psychological Types, I just want to say really briefly, what Jung came to realize and it was because of his differences with Freud and with Adler and some people think that Jung came up with his model of typology because he felt that he was a different type than them and that’s not the case. It was more that he wanted to understand why his outlook differed from Freud’s and Adler’s not his type, but his outlook. And just briefly on type, he saw that not everybody uses their mind in the same way. And that made me think of the planet Mercury, how we all have Mercury in a certain sign, in a certain house making certain aspects to other planets. And the way we use our mind, to me is symbolized by the planet Mercury in our chart. So that’s how I tie that in.
CB: Sure. Yeah, one of the things that was funny in some of the later chapters, she has a whole discussion about his search for the dates on the starting dates of the Age of Aquarius and other stuff like that. One of the things that was funny is that how much Jung was almost a typical astrologer or he did some things that were almost cliche or typical of astrologers that they would do like trying to find the dates of the Age of Aquarius starting or trying to find a plausible birth chart for the birth of Jesus, for example, which has been a traditional thing that many astrologers take part in who come at astrology from a Christian background. It’s one of the interesting things that once you learn astrology, you’re like, well, what did the chart of Jesus look like, for example, or you start thinking about what if you could find the chart of certain prominent people and then understand their background better based on that chart. So, in many ways, he was pretty much a standard astrologer. He was just highly educated and also, was not a slouch. He was pretty focused. And whatever he tried to apply himself or study, he did so in a on a very high level.
JZ: Actually, so he did the study of marriages, right? And he said, “Okay, I’ve collected data about these people.” But he doesn’t show the data. He just says, “Here’s my list of Sun combinations.” But we don’t see the charts. We don’t get to do any peer review with that. And I always thought that was a really weird thing.
LL: You know what? I did see something about that when I was doing some research on background information. And I put that in the notes that he actually recruited four women to collect the data for that study and that’s not covered in his book, is it? And so, they went out there and they were the ones that collected the data from these people and then just gave it to Jung. And that’s why earlier I had mentioned, what about time? How much time did he really have to devote to I’m sure a lot of the things that he wanted to? So, his daughter was one of the four people that collected the data for that study.
JZ: But I think that in a scientific publishing environment especially when peer review is already pretty much set-in stone as a method, you would say, “Here’s my findings, and then in the appendix, you can find all of the charts I looked at.” [crosstalk]
CB: Well, I think he ignored that because what we end up hearing from that is in the context of his essay, and one of his essays on Synchronicity just reports the results, but he ended up reporting the results just because he ended up feeling it wasn’t scientific and that ultimately, he thought he was influencing the outcomes. So, he probably never presented any of that because he decided that it was pointless to attempt to apply statistics to something like astrology if it’s just a form of divination, and then went in a completely different direction in terms of his conceptualization of astrology after that point.
JZ: Wait, are you saying that he preceded Geoffrey Cornelius by 40 years?
CB: Yes. [Chris laughs] Yeah, he’s basically [Jenn laughs]
JZ: The moment of astrology happened with Jung. [Jenn laughs]
CB: Right. Well, it did. That was the critical turning point because that was one of the things that you wrote in your notes is that you were surprised if I can say this in terms of like the development of his thought. Or maybe you want to make that point?
JZ: Oh, sure. So, in the first chapter at the very beginning of the book actually, just to go back to the very beginning, we’re going to do an uroboros now. We went from the end and now we’re going back. [Jenn and Laura laugh]
CB: Okay, the discussion will eat itself. [Jenn laughs]
JZ: The discussion will eat itself. So, one thing I love is, and this was where Liz influenced me as an astrologer is that astrology is not a monolithic entity that was invented at one point and then has wandered the Earth slightly transforming. The idea is that every human culture has astrology. And so, in the Western tradition, yes, there is a tradition in the lineage we can track, but that’s not to say that Micronesia doesn’t have their own tradition that’s completely disconnected from us. And so, I appreciate that she also opens this book with that foregrounding to let us know there are multiple varieties of astrology and now we’re going to look at one of them. But just know that there are pluralities here. And so, that’s a really great thing. And then we get into the first chapter. And I kept going back to the endnotes trying to figure out, here you have Jung’s understanding of astrology being presented. And it was, again, for me flashbacks to when I had the Collected Works open and I was trying to find every single time he mentions it and collecting them and trying to make sense of it for myself. But there’s no timeline here. It’s almost as if Jung encountered astrology something crystallized and then for the next 44 plus years, he actually didn’t really change his ideas. And it was difficult to discern from the footnotes when certain quotes were made and when certain things were published and it’s a four-decade span of time. And I have a problem with that just thinking, yeah, you can encounter astrology when you’re in the early 19 aughts, 1911, but you’ve got to imagine by 1952, something’s changed in your thought. And so, to track a little bit more closely, was there a transformation in his thought over that time? I didn’t sense it in that first chapter at all. It just seemed, well, this was Jung’s astrology and there’s that. And it’s like, but that’s four decades? I know for myself, I’m 20 years in and I’ve changed a lot, even in the last five years. So, I just found that a little bit awkward.
CB: Sure. And part of that’s because one of the only things that she had at her disposal was just like, here’s his library, these are the books that he had. So, we know that he read those books and therefore was influenced by them. And then she could occasionally look up the publication date of the book and then try to approximate when he may have picked up the book or at least the earliest date he could pick up the book based on that. And so that’s almost one of the few things that then you can reconstruct the development of his thinking of astrology on in addition to some of those other published statements and works, but that it just would have been very hard to do that with that because it’s such a broad approximation to just attempt to do a chronology about that. But yeah, the book is not necessarily outlined. It doesn’t outline the development of Jung’s thought on astrology in a linear fashion. But instead, even though the book is ostensibly about Jung, it’s almost more like background information that’s useful for understanding Jung and the various philosophies that influenced his thought like Hermeticism, and Gnosticism, and Platonism and stuff like that rather than just a straightforward like these are all of the sources and a list and the dates and these are the times when he started doing different things astrologically.
JZ: Right. And I think that’s an excellent way of putting it is when he started doing different things astrologically. If he was getting people even in 1952 to collect data for him, was he technically doing the astrology? Maybe he was so shy about writing about it, we don’t have sources for that. But I was missing that. I was hoping that maybe having a family give her access to these materials, we would find something that would flesh that out a little more clearly of his private thoughts about what he was looking at, or a new development. If we were to write the history of Chris Brennan’s astrology that we would see a trajectory of shifts of things you’ve incorporated, things you’ve dropped. I was missing that in the four decades that Jung was doing it.
CB: Sure. Yeah. And I think one of the things is that this book as well as the other book, Jung on Astrology, I think lay a broad foundation where now I could see somebody attempting to do some of those more specific and focused in on certain aspects now of Jung’s thoughts and perhaps, the studies of astrology now that this foundation has been laid because up to this point, a book like this literally didn’t exist. This is pretty much the first book of its kind. And in the conclusion or towards the end of the book, she actually talks about how a decent portion of the modern biographies of Jung don’t even mention his interest in astrology or just don’t even talk about that as an influence on his thought, and that part of the context of writing this book was this very broad overview and demonstration of the extent to which astrology did in fact influence his thought at least to the extent that that’s the focus. I think she makes the case pretty persuasively. But at least it opens the door for other studies perhaps if other people want to take up that work and attempt to go into more detail or look at it with a fine-tooth comb.
LL: Yeah. And I just want to say I also wonder now about his daughter, Gret and she had five sons. I would guess that they’re still around. Where are they? And what are they doing? And do they have her notes and her books? And maybe there’s some of his Jung stuff in there? That wasn’t mentioned by Dr. Greene and now I’m curious about that.
CB: Yeah. I’m curious if there were any interviews with Gret and to explore more about her work and her life and some of the things that she ended up doing.
LL: Yeah, maybe there’s some more insight into Jung through Gret.
CB: Right. Yeah, definitely. Because she would have been then one of the first generations of Jungian astrologers then theoretically. That’s actually interesting to think about the fact that Liz Greene really popularized Jung and integrated Jung into astrology in the late 20th century. But then, he had a daughter who literally was practicing astrology a few decades before that already and what her approach looked like. So, one of the last things I just wanted to discuss briefly as we get towards wrapping this up is, towards the end, I thought it was interesting. There was this tension where she tries to rebuff one scholar’s characterization of Jung as “a modern esotericist” in the conclusion. But honestly, from a lot of the stuff that she demonstrated and talked about Jung being involved in, it was almost hard or it almost didn’t necessarily seem like they were necessarily wrong. And there’s an interesting tension in the book therefore, in on the one hand, demonstrating the extent to which Jung was interested in and incorporated esoteric and magical and astrological trends into his thinking and into his life and into his thought. But then, on the other hand, still wanting to see him as a modern psychologist who made important contributions to astrology and to psychology and shouldn’t just be written off as an esotericist. And I’m curious, I feel like people are going to take an interpret this in different directions and might use it in order to justify more of a case in some instances that he was more of an esotericist than, I don’t know, an empiricist or whether than a modern scientific thinker or something like that. What did you guys end up feeling about that? Or Laura, how did you feel in terms of did this book change your understanding of Jung to any major extent, or did it make you think differently about him, or what impression were you left with?
LL: No, I didn’t think any differently of him. I thought it was very eye opening and I appreciated that, but Jung has long been accused of being a mystic. And I remember the first time I heard that, I thought, “Is that supposed to be a bad thing or something?” Because I consider myself a mystic. My background, I did attend university. I was trained as a scientist and so, I’m both. Do we have to be one or the other? And also, I am not into labels. I don’t know. Jung, I didn’t think was into labels. And in my analysis, it was all about not identifying with labels or being put in a box. And that’s why we don’t talk about typology in analysis usually, and we didn’t. So yeah, I just don’t see it that way, I guess.
CB: Sure. Sure. I guess I was just thinking in terms of different people who might approach this book with different agendas. There’s going to be people that are already into Jung’s thought and are on board with not just Jungian analysis. Well, that a group of people that are purely on board with Jungian analysis and are not necessarily interested in astrology or esotericism or other things like that, and how they feel about that aspect of Jung’s thought. And then there’s, let’s say modern psychologists or academics or historians that already adopt dismissive or skeptical or antagonistic approach towards Jung and Jungian psychology which Greene cites several biographers, which she says are hostile. Right.
JZ: Jung bashing is like a career thing.
CB: Right. So, those people probably are going to look at something like this and this is just going to confirm or maybe reconfirm their opinion about him and give them even further justification to write him off. But then there’s probably other people, obviously there’s astrologers like the three of us who see this positively because astrologers often have a long history of trying to point back to important and influential thinkers that have been acknowledged as making important contributions to Western thought or towards history or psychology or science or something and in those instances in which they were sympathetic to astrology using that as evidence that we’re not all crazy or that sometimes, perfectly intelligent people who make important contributions to society can think that astrology is a legitimate phenomenon. And so, on the one hand, there’s people like us who would use this book as further justification for some argument like that.
JZ: Yeah, I think what’s so bad about being called an esotericist? Let’s break down those labels and fight scientism [Jenn laughs] on its own turf. At that time that Jung was so shy about outing himself as an astrologer in the astrological community itself, this is also going in hand with their allergy to Theosophy, they were vehemently opposed to calling themselves a cult. Astrology was not a cult. Astrology was something that was an experiential science and empirical science that relied on having personal experience with its precepts and rules. And once you have that, you could not go back. And it’s actually funny because I feel like in my experience, anyone who has astrological experience to this day cannot unknow what they’ve experienced and they become astrologers. So, they’re not wrong. I think the issue is these definitions that get bantered about. And if anything, this book is now a tool that we can use saying, Jung was plugged into some of the most ancient thought about astral significance in our entire culture and he happened to take it in Nietzsche’s directions. And this is all of the footnotes you need and here’s where you can read more and there’s a massive [Jenn laughs] bibliography that you can look up.
And, so I think it’s a beautiful fruit of what we need in terms of not being the underdog anymore and don’t let those people that are going to bash you or bash us for being astrologers have that final say. This is a book that actually says, “No, you need to do your homework. You need to actually read this and then come back at me.”
CB: Right. Because previously, maybe somebody could have downplayed it or said, “Oh, Jung only looked at astrology within the context of the development of Western thought. And it wasn’t really a major influence on his thinking or maybe it was a minor influence, but it really didn’t play a major role in his life or something like that.” And with books like this and Jung on Astrology, you basically cannot make that argument anymore. They’ve firmly rejected that argument now by presenting very well documented cases that show the evidence.
JZ: Right. And I can only estimate because I haven’t read volume two, but I did read the 40-page article in Sky and Symbol that was published in 2011-2012. That completely was enough evidence for me. And I’m so excited to read volume two now because I feel that will be not only just reading a book and getting lots of footnotes, but it will actually be an experience. We will be led through the Red Book in a way that will change forever how we think of Jung’s philosophy and in a sense or an anti-psychology in his contribution. And in volume one, it’s almost getting your palate wet, it’s giving you all the background you need so that when that experience happens, you’re locked and loaded. Yeah, I’m really excited to see what the next episode of this discussion will be.
CB: Yeah, I’m excited as well to dive into it and to dive into the Red Book and some of the scholarship surrounding it at the same time because this is the third trilogy of episodes on Jung. The first one was a Safron Rossi talking about the book Jung on Astrology, which is their collection of excerpts from Jung’s surviving writings on astrology. The second one was with Keiron Le Grice about Jung’s views on the mechanism underlying astrology and the development of this theory of synchronicity. And then, this was the final one which is talking about Jung’s sources that he drew on in his influences from the astrological tradition which had turned out were partially modern, but also ancient. Because like any good academic, Jung basically did a literature review and studied the entirety of everything he could get his hands on in terms of their earlier astrological and philosophical and esoteric traditions, and then created a synthesis of all of that in his personal philosophy and his psychology. So, to me, I’m excited about all of this because it basically shows that somebody in the early 20th century had already linked the ancient and the modern astrological traditions. And it partially demonstrates that the development of modern psychological astrology did not in fact, occur completely in isolation of the earlier astrological traditions, but in fact, one of its founders was deeply engaged in the study of those early traditions from the start. And although some of the later astrologers that adopted Jung’s work have not been familiar with those trends, curiously in this weird fashion, one of the leading astrologers who was and did successfully incorporate Jung’s work, his psychological work into the modern astrological tradition, Liz Greene, completed the thread by eventually writing this book and showing how Jung was influenced by the contemporary and ancient astrological traditions. So, there’s this weird piece of closure that this book brings to all of that historical story over the past century of the history of astrology.
JZ: It’s a very important thing.
CB: Definitely. All right. Well, thank you both. I really appreciate you both doing this discussion with me and reading this book over the course of the past week. I really appreciate. It was an intimidating episode to prepare for and to try to discuss, but I’m happy with how much ground we were able to cover. And I’m hoping that over the course of the next few months or whatever, I’d like to have a group of all of us get together and have a book club to read Volume Two of Liz Greene’s work titled The Astrological World of Jung’s Liber Novus: Daimons, Gods, and the Planetary Journey and read that together with the Red Book, yeah, and to recognize and view it as an important turning point in terms of the history of astrology and in terms of scholarship on the history of astrology, in terms of the foundations of modern astrology and what Jung ended up contributing to the development of astrology over the past century and whatever role the Red Book played in that. So yeah, maybe we can all read it together and then discuss it or do a follow-up episode at some point.
JZ: That’d be great.
LL: Yeah, I would love that.
CB: All right. Awesome. All right. So, where can people find out more information? So, I just wanted to reiterate. So, what’s the URL for your podcast, Laura?
LL: It is speakingofjung.com Jung. And I’m actually going to be doing an episode about the Red Book with Tom and Mary Ellen Lavin who were at the book party launch in New York City in 2009 for it and I attended their workshop. They did a two-night workshop on the Red Book. They did it right after so in the beginning of 2010. I haven’t actually read the Red Book since then, so I would love to reread it along with Dr. Greene’s Volume Two and share thoughts and notes with you about it and do another episode.
CB: Yeah, that’s brilliant. I look forward to hearing that episode. And yeah, because the point I was making earlier is just Jung is a good dual example for both sides of the tradition. He’s a good example. And Liz Greene has demonstrated in this book the reason why modern astrologers should study older forms of astrology and the reason why traditional astrologers should study modern forms of astrology because Jung becomes a doorway to both sides basically in this really interesting way. And speaking of that, so that’s the work that you’re engaged in right now as well, right, Jen? And you’ve been ramping up efforts. I think you’re doing a poll right now to see what the next work is that you translate, right?
JZ: Yes, I’ve been translating Elsbeth Ebertin. But earlier in our conversation today, the astrologer Oscar Schmitz came up and his book, The Spirit of Astrology, was published first in 1922 and became one of the main vectors for the popularization of astrology during the Weimar Republic mostly because from the very beginning of it, he says, “This isn’t a textbook. It’s a travelogue.” And I really love how he frames that because he has that debutante feeling about him like, “I’m just going to take you on a bit of a tour of astrology land and show you this, show you that.” So, I’ve been working with Elsbeth now for a year and a half and I’m looking forward [Jenn laughs] to my patrons hopefully, choosing Oscar just so that I can get a bit of a different flavor in the mix for a minute and then return back to Elsbeth after that. So yeah, there’s that. And Oscar’s work second half of that book, he talks about astrological psychology. So, that’s another neat thing to maybe add to the current conversation if we were able to read what Oscar had to say.
CB: Yeah, definitely, in terms of understanding the origins and the development of modern astrology over the course of the past century and the integration of psychology as a pretty new discipline into astrology during that time.
JZ: Yeah, yeah.
CB: Definitely. All right. And people can find out information about that primarily, probably on your website, right?
JZ: Yeah. So, no one can ever spell my last name right, so I actually have a new URL, celestialspark.com or jennzahrt.com.
CB: Okay, awesome, celestialspark.com. That’s a great domain.
CB: All right. All right. Well, thank you again both for joining me today. Thanks. And just really mad props and credit to Liz Greene for pulling this off. This is a really important piece of scholarship. It’s an important point in the history of astrology. It’s important from the perspective of the thing we started this discussion with about astrologers going into academia and why that’s important and demonstrating that they can do not just good scholarship, but they can bring a unique and valuable perspective that is missing in academia currently by making that effort, and that very important things can come out of it. I think this book demonstrates that more than any other astrologer who’s made that transition so far. I feel like this book demonstrates that. I don’t know if that’s going too far, Jenn? [Chris laughs]
JZ: No. This throws down the gauntlet for sure. We all have to rise to a new level. This sets a new level for sure.
CB: Okay, awesome. Well, I think that’s a great point to end on then. So, thanks both of you for joining me.
JZ: Thank you, Chris.
LL: Thanks, Chris.
CB: All right. And thank you all for listening, and we’ll see you next time.