597. Richard Tarnas

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

Website: cosmosandpsyche.com

Interview recorded April 25, 2021.

Video and audio below. Audio also available as a Podcast.

490. Prasannan

PrasannanPrasannan had a fascination for Astronomy from an early age, having built his own telescope, and spent his teenage years studying the stars and planets. He was the president of the Astronomy, and Photography Clubs in high school. He always understood that what we see is only a tiny portion of the totality.

At Easter, in 1987, he attended a retreat which resulted in a spiritual awakening, leading him to conclude that he had always been on a spiritual path. As a result, he adopted a celibate (brahmacharya) lifestyle.

Having studied the teachings of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Ramana Maharshi, and Swami Sivananda, he heard about Mata Amritanandamayi (Amma), and met her during her 1990 North American tour. At the time, he held a senior management position in corporate finance.

He had a natural motivation towards engaging in serving selflessly (Seva). The Sanskrit word “Seva” means helping others out of compassion, without a conscious thought of receiving personal benefit.

Prasannan moved to Amritapuri, India in 1992; on arriving he was placed in charge of the computer room, and developed a new accounting system, training the brahmacharins (monks) in its use; at the same time a Jyotish software program was acquired, which Prasannan became responsible for. At the direction of Amma, he began his practice of Jyotish, which continues to this day.

He travelled around the world with Amma, providing Jyotish interpretations during her programs. At other times he conducted sessions in India, raising funds for Amma charities.

After 19 years in India, he returned to Canada and established his independent Jyotish practice. After more than 2 decades of brahmacharya, he married Maya, the love of his life!

Prasannan has consulted with more than 60,000 clients throughout the world. He answers questions about all areas of life, material, familial, health, and well-being, as well as spiritual.

Website: prasannanjyotish.com

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.

Interview recorded February 9, 2019.

Video and audio below. Audio also available as a Podcast.

484. Ishtar (Thomas Howell)

Ishtar (Thomas Howell)

Ishtar (Thomas Howell) is a meditation teacher, Ishaya monk, gardener, writer, and intuitive astrologer. A sense of himself as Presence was a pronounced feature of his life until about age 7. At age 13, he was in a car accident that took his mother’s life, and initiated an NDE that brought about a profound experience of Samadhi that in the subsequent months he experienced right along with an intense process of grieving. After the Presence faded, he longed to return, resulting in an energetic spiritual search. At 17 he began a regimen of meditation practices and ascetic disciplines that included waking to cold showers at 3 AM, fasting, and 6 hours of daily meditation practice. Longing to find his path, he encountered a practice known as the Ishayas’ Ascension, an effortless and deeply pleasurable form of meditation, which he quickly recognized as the path for which he’d been searching. Several months after learning Ascension, he found himself living on the Oregon coast in a monastic environment dedicated to the practice.

The ashram life brought about a rapid acceleration of growth, leading to ever more consistent experiences of Silence, in closed eyed meditation practice, while cooking in the community’s café, doing service work, and planting gardens. After going through a 6-month intensive Teacher Training program, that involved 12-16 hours of closed eyed meditation a day, he began teaching classes around the world, and living in various regional meditation centers around the world. Seeming, miracles, wild manifestations, witness consciousness, and celestial perception were frequent occurrences, as Awareness slowly but surely saturated more and more of life.

In 2008, he left his monastic organization and then took an extended break from meditation teaching. The years lived outside the semi cloistered environment of the ashram were often challenging, but ultimately led to a more deeply anchored Presence. Subtle barriers fell, opening to the experience of the world as the Self. This process continues to unfold and expand.

Since 2014, he has again been teaching Ascension and working as a spiritual guide, giving people a reliable practice with which to cultivate Awareness and assisting people in relaxing into Presence as a constantly lived experience. Since 2015 he has also been working as an intuitive Astrologer, with a primary focus on helping people align more completely with their soul’s purpose. More information can be found at these websites: ascension-meditation.com and awakenedlightastrology.com.

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.

Interview recorded October 30, 2018, in Sedona, Arizona

Video and audio below. Audio also available as a Podcast.

https://youtu.be/1XZSmB1–2k