About Me

My writing and teaching look at cultural and political events from the perspectives of mythology, archetypal psychology and indigenous wisdom traditions. I offer big, provocative ideas written in plain English. My intention is to inspire you to think beyond conventional political, economic, historical, religious and even psychological analysis. I want you to think mythologically. 

What does this mean? It means to constantly interrogate our assumptions about self and society by looking at the narratives — the mythologies — that we take for granted. Sometimes we find that those narratives point us toward deeper, archetypal themes that we need to pursue in order to know ourselves. Other times we will discover that the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves — or about others — no longer serve us and simply reinforce our sense of innocence.

My business is to invite readers to get comfortable inhabiting the space between the polar opposites.  One is the possibility of who we might become as we tell the new stories struggling to be born. The other is who we are now as a culture, and the leaders who embody our old, toxic stories. But to open ourselves to the former, we simply must drop our default mode of naiveté, idealization and innocence and unblinkingly acknowledge the depths of the latter.

I have taught in the Depth Psychology Master’s program at Sonoma State University and served as a guest lecturer at Meridian University, Sophia University and the California Institute of Integral Studies. I’ve taught Osher Lifelong Learning Institute courses at U.C. Davis, U.C. Berkeley and California State University (East Bay) and have given some three dozen book talks and radio interviews.

Online you can read my essays on my blog page, at the Depth Psychology Alliance, on Facebook, or at Academia.edu. I have also been published online at The Black Agenda Report.

In print I have published three articles in Jung Journal: Culture and Psyche.

I have participated in the mythopoetic men’s movement since the 1980s. I’ve been involved with several men’s groups and attended the Mendocino Men’s Conference regularly for twenty years. Currently I’m on the planning committee of the Redwood Men’s Center and help lead their annual men’s conference.  Image5It was in the context of these conferences (originally led by Robert Bly, James Hillman, Michael Meade, Malidoma Some’, Luis Rodriguez, Jack Kornfield, Robert Johnson and others) that I found my enduring passions for Greek mythology, storytelling, spoken poetry and ritual (and in this death-denying culture – the need for rituals of public grieving). Each year around November first you can usually find me at San Francisco’s Spiral Dance and Dia de los Muertes processions.

The revival of the Oral Tradition is of central importance in helping inspire the imagination that we need to create a sustainable world. My wife Maya and I present poetry salons in Oakland and perform regularly as part of Rumi’s Caravan.

1800185_514512391992858_1528349446_n  14886_514512075326223_1210463820_n  web-6  images10170794_664050490372380_4099267020724560466_n

We have been leading grief rituals in the tradition of Malidoma and Sobonfu Somé since the mid-1990s. We facilitate an annual Day of the Dead ritual in November.

Our website is: www.barryandmayaspector.com.  spect91-R1-041-19

I was born in Boston, 1949 — Education: B.A., Harvard, 1971

Address: 685 ½ Fairmount Ave. Oakland, CA 94611

Phone: 650-327-5493 — Email: barry@madnessatthegates.com

Please let me know if you’d like to hear of future events I’m involved with.