Messiaen’s Music, the Psyche, and Climate Change
What do an esoteric symphonic piece composed by French composer Olivier Messiaen and the gathering this week in Paris of our earth’s most distinguished climate change scientists and international heads of state (United Nations Climate Change Conference 2015) have in common?
As it turns out, quite a lot! (We Jungians love synchronicity!) Inscape and Landscape: From the Canyons to the Stars, sponsored by The C. G. Jung Institute of San Francisco and Friends of the Institute, is smack in the middle of the two weeks of the Paris climate talks. The event celebrates the upcoming January 31, 2016, multimedia performance of Messiaen’s twelve movement Des Canyons aux Ėtoiles on the Berkeley campus in Zellerbach auditorium. The piece was inspired by the raw beauty of Bryce Canyon and Zion Canyon National Parks, areas now profoundly impacted by climate change. David Robertson will be conducting the St. Louis Symphony, accompanied by a new visual performance piece by Northern California photographic artist Deborah O’Grady.
“O’Grady’s work, in deep accord with Messiaen’s, evokes the spiritual depths that reside for contemporary souls to rediscover in the sacred canyon lands of Utah.” I will be honest, I struggled with Messiaen’s work until I heard it paired with Deborah’s multimedia presentation: then time became non-existent and the heart opened. I was mesmerized.
On Saturday, Deborah will give us a preview. Several of us will talk on various aspects of landscape, music, and psyche. My talk, “The Alchemy of Catastrophe: Climate Change, Spirit, and Matter”, will address the challenge climate change brings to the psyche. Other speakers include analyst and musician Karlyn Ward, esoteric musicologist Jocelyn Godwin, Cassidy Anne Medicine Horse, and geohumanist historian Jared Farmer.
Please join us for a day of beauty and companioned thought on this most important topic of our relationship to the earth and inner and outer landscapes.