Richard Roberts

We are continuing our series of conversations with an author, a poet, a Tarot scholar and a mythologist Richard Roberts.

In the 1960s, Alan Watts presented Roberts with a letter of introduction to Joseph Campbell, which led to a 20-year mentorship with the famed scholar of mythology – a partnership which included collaborating in seminars and writing books, and which lasted through the remainder of Campbell’s life.

In his college days, Roberts had vowed never to write a novel until he had an idea no writer before him ever had. In a vision, he conceived of a book in which his characters would “go into” other literary classics and interact with the characters, all the while writing in the style of the original authors of those classics. Roberts regards the resulting book, The Wind & The Wizard, as his life’s masterwork.

In this episode, Richard Roberts describes his meeting with Colin Wilson and his wife, talks about James Joyce’s Finnigan’s Wake, Sam Keen’s encounter sessions at Esalen, and his work on Tarot with Joseph Campbell.

  • Meeting Colin Wilson and corroborating Joe’s Writings
    • In 1967 Colin came to San Francisco on a lecture tour. Richard mentioned that “Outsider” caused him to give up teaching and become an outsider.
    • Richard then took Colin to a pub to discuss this – and had an instant rapport, just like with Joe before
    • Colin invited Richard to visit him in England
    • Colin’s two books from 70s on paranormal are probably best representations of the subject
    • Colin’s wife was interested in archaeology and mythology, she took Richard to the site of King Mark’s Castle, and other places
    • Richard took photos of these sites, and later showed them to Joe, who was overjoyed because he saw historical corroboration of the myths
  • Finnegan’s Wake as Death & Resurrection
    • Irish musical song on which Finnegan’s Wake is based
    • James Joyce’s version of the story – a dream of one man in one night, encapsulating the dreams of all men
    • Joe’s wife decided to do a dance version of Finnigan’s wake
  • Esalen Encounter Sessions with Sam Keen
  • Poem for Joe As Parsifal
    • Poem called “Chapel Perilous”
  • Tarot Revelations with Joseph & Richard
    • Arrangement of Major Archana
    • The 22 cards can be interpreted as Western Book of the Dead
    • Jung’s work on alchemy
  • Tarot Rebellion
    • Tarot and You (book)
    • Many people in tarot community charge money by simply referring to the books of interpretation
    • Richard had a “free association” method that conflicted with the traditional way
    • Film on Tarot interpretations

[techtags: Richard Roberts, Joseph Campbell, Hero with a 1000 Faces, Colin Wilson, Finnegan’s Wake, Tarot]