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Ancient Tower Press

Celebrating the Sacred Mystery

I live my life in growing orbits
which move out over the things of the world.
Perhaps I can never achieve the last,
but that will be my attempt.
I am circling around God, around the ancient tower,
and I have been circling for a thousand years,
and I still don’t know if I am a falcon, or a storm
or a great song.

Circling the Ancient Tower

Ancient Tower Press publishes books that address the fundamental human desire to know:

 

'Who am I?' through all the dimensions within which that question can possibly resonate,


'What is my place within the larger scheme of things?', and

'How can I live a life of meaning and purpose that evolves from the very core of my being?'

 

These books are based on the assumption that there are no definitive or final answers to these questions, though the art of circling the ancient tower while listening for the cosmic echo can provide rewards beyond imagining.

 

The name 'Ancient Tower Press' is derived from the poem above by the German poet, Rainer Maria Rilke

My Vision

To me, the poem by Rilke that inspired the name Ancient Tower Press suggests an attitude of celebration toward the sacred riddle posed by human existence. Though science has dedicated itself to solving this riddle, and purging it of mystery, Rilke suggests (and I agree) that it is a more provocative choice to accept the riddle as an ongoing invitation to exploration and self-discovery, not knowing in advance where the journey will take us, nor what we will learn about ourselves along the way.

Living a Reflective Life

There is more to life than the mapping of DNA, and the meaning and purpose of each individual life will reveal itself through the art of reflective living. Ancient Tower Press is dedicated first and foremost to the publication of books that can facilitate this art.


In addition to Rilke's poem, the ancient tower is also meant to evoke the stone tower constructed by psychologist Carl Jung during an intense mid-life phase of self-discovery. As Jung writes about this tower in his autobiography, Memories, Dreams, Reflection:
 

Gradually through my scientific work, I was able to put my fantasies and the contents of the unconscious on a solid footing. Words and paper, however, did not seem real enough to me; something more was needed. I had to achieve a kind of representation in stone of my innermost thoughts and of the knowledge I had acquired. Or, to put it another way, I had to make a confession of faith in stone. That was the beginning of the 'Tower', the house which I built for myself at Bollingen.


While many brave pioneers from Augustine to Zimmerman (better known as Dylan) have contributed tools and perspectives relevant to the self-reflective life, none has mapped the pathway into the heart of the Unknown with more clarity or dedication than Jung.

Jung demonstrated, not just in words, but also through the example of his own inner journey, just what it meant to form a relationship to the Great Mystery around which a life of meaning and purpose might revolve.

 

When I was in college, Jung was the first great thinker to light the torch of recognition within me, and it is in memory of his spirit and his contribution that I would like to pass the torch through the publications of Ancient Tower Press.

Like Jung’s tower, Ancient Tower Press is my 'confession in stone' of all that I have learned and am learning through my own journey, as well as a monument to all those in whose footsteps I follow.

Following in the Footsteps of the Sages

Lastly, Ancient Tower Press is meant to honor the timeless practice of philosophers, sages, and astrologers of all ages, who built both literal and figurative towers to the stars in order to catch a glimpse of the cosmic order underlying the intelligent design of this manifest universe.

Having studied astrology for nearly 50 years, I hold a special appreciation for its value as a reflective language of soul. My understanding of astrology differs in significant ways from that commonly practiced.

But the essence of the astrological premise – namely that there is a correlation between the cosmic order mirrored by the heavens and what happens on earth – lies very much at the heart of the self-reflective journey.

 

It is this premise, articulated within the larger context of a spiritual quest for meaning and purpose that the publications of Ancient Tower Press explore.

Slipping Between the Cracks of Language

The astrology that I weave into the pages of Ancient Tower Press books is not that found in horoscope columns in your daily newspaper or in the many astrological cookbooks readily available at your local metaphysical bookstore.  It is rather a poetic way of observing the world and our place within it that provides an experiential basis for a satisfying relationship to soul and a soulful life – a way of relating to the world I call astropoetics

Astropoetics takes its sense of soul from many sources – the night sky, the rich smorgasbord of world mythology, fairy tales, dreams, art, literature, music and film, as well as the poetry of everyday life.  But perhaps nowhere is this sense summed up more succinctly than by Thomas Moore, who in his landmark book, Care of the Soul: A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacrednesss in Everyday Life, says this:
 

It is impossible to define precisely what the soul is.  Definition is an intellectual enterprise anyway; the soul prefers to imagine.  We know intuitively when we say certain music has soul or a remarkable person is soulful.  When you look at the image of soulfulness, you see that it is tied to all its particulars – good food, satisfying conversation, genuine friends, and experiences that stay in the memory and touch the heart.  Soul is revealed in attachment, love, and community, as well as in retreat on behalf of inner communing and intimacy.

Turning a Kaleidoscope of Soul

The books of Ancient Tower Press are being written to help facilitate a more satisfying and more conscious relationship to soul.  In addition to their roots in Jungian psychology and astropoetics, our books weave together a collage of ideas drawn from many additional sources – Native American and other earth-based spiritual practices, yogic philosophy, the perennial wisdom teachings of all traditions, literature, music, film, the serendipity of everyday life, the flow of history around and through us, and of course, poetry which abounds everywhere for those with eyes to see.  Beyond the collage of words, it will be our intent to induce an actual experience of soul.

From the introduction to The Seven Gates of Soul:

 

How we talk about soul matters.  For the soul can be trapped by words as easily as it can be set free.  The words we choose must have the transparency to reveal multiple dimensions.  They must invoke the creative imagination to see beyond the words themselves into the essence of soul-full experiences that cannot be captured by them.  No language in existence does this better than poetry, and any language – astrological or otherwise – that intends to speak to the soul, must necessarily be poetic.  The poetic art lies in using words to slip between the cracks of language, into the depths of meaning and mystery.  And for all our fishtailing around in the realm of words, it is ultimately into this wordless place that we are going.  Words that have solidified into precise associations cannot take us there, but words shaped poetically can at least bring the ancient tower into kaleidoscopic view.

It is in the gradual turning of this kaleidoscope of soul, as we circle the ancient tower that the vision of Ancient Tower Press will be revealed over the years and decades to come. 

 

I invite you – my reader – to join me on this endlessly fascinating journey of soulful self-discovery, and look forward to cultivating a soulful relationship with you that will ripen further with each additional book.

Where to Go From Here

To read about the Fair Trade Publishing practices that guide Ancient Tower Press, go here.

 

To see what our readers have said about Ancient Tower Press books, go here.

 

To browse our current Book Catalog, go here.

To set up a business relationship with Ancient Tower Press:

Wholesalers can go here.

Retailers can go here.

Librarians can go here.

To request a review copy of one of Ancient Tower Press' books, go here.

Copyright 2020 - Joe Landwehr