Posts Tagged scapegoat
Wounded Healers, Heroes, and the Group Mind: The Universe Bears Up and Rewards with Renewed Life Those who Voluntarily Sacrifice Themselves for All
Why We Scapegoat … Why We Insist on Saviors and The Community’s Inner Dragon: Of Shared Experience, Sacrifices, Morphic Resonances, and COEX Systems
Apocalypse–No! Afterword: Centaurs, Shamans, Sacrificial Lambs, and Scapegoats: : Reflections on a Collective Shadow and Experience as Primary
I Am You, and You Are Me, and We Are We, and We Are All Together.
DESCRIPTION: The essence of Christianity is the idea that a person — Jesus Christ, of course, in Christianity – can suffer and die for the “sins” of others, so that those persons won’t have to bear the burden of their sins. This article addresses that theme in a larger, multicultural, multi-ethnic, multi-religious context: Are there people who take on the “sins” — or “Pain” — of others, who take on the karma— in an Eastern sense — or the mistakes and evil of others who are not able to handle the consequences of their actions? Is the Divinity inherent in the Cosmos compassionately concerned enough to manifest or call forth individuals to take on the same kind of task that Christ, in a most extreme brutal form, demonstrated? This afterword is not about Christ but about that theme of extraordinary individuals with a divinely-inspired mission of suffering for the sake of others who cannot “help” themselves in raising themselves above the consequences of their ill deeds. For are not people of all times and cultures children of the same Divinity, some would say “sparks” of that same Divinity, which others, including myself, have theorized is commensurate, that is, equal, to all of Nature, including humanity — each and every one of us? Assuming this, in this part I discuss this phenomenon of people taking on, willingly and unwillingly, the pain and sins of their society — from the small tribe to that of all of humanity. And I put forth the proposition that there is a collective “pool of pain.” In that ultimately the distinctions between people are illusory, that we are all One, all interconnected, then both the evil, as well as the good, of each of us is both the result of the collective actions of us all as well as being a part of the consciousness that we all share —more correctly the One Consciousness that each of us is.
Why We Scapegoat … Why We Insist on Saviors: Reflections on a Collective Shadow and Of Sacrifices—Human, Animal, and Cucumber
The Group Mind and The Community’s Inner Dragon: Heroes, Shamans, and Gurus … Ah, But Scapegoats As Well
The Community’s Inner Dragon
She’d experienced being raped was what she’d told us. This veteran consciousness explorer and trained facilitator had also done a lot of regression work on herself. Yet she related how, in one of her breathwork sessions, she’d definitely had those feelings of rape . . . despite the fact that she’d not been sexually abused in this life. And this last part she knew. It was not denial or repression.
The conference attendees were shaken. It did not coincide with any common psychological, or even transpersonal, models concerning healing or experience they’d ever heard of. But in her response, the panelist offered the idea that there is a kind of storehouse of experience of collective pain that anyone can tap-in to, if one is sufficiently open . . . and ready.
Since this type of thing has come up, as well, in my own inner journeying, I would like to suggest that what we’re dealing with is a possibility, based on the evidence, of a sort of collective shadow unconscious, a collective pool of pain, if you will, which has been built up currently and in the past of distress that needs to be released.
I remember a Santa Barbara-based spiritual teacher expressed a similar idea. As she put it, after you clear out your own stuff, then you do it for the rest of the species, then for all living beings in this world, then for living things in other worlds, then for all entities, and then so on, and on, and . . .
Shamans, Sages, Tribal Kings, and Prophets
Similarly, from history, the spiritual literature, and anthropology we hear of certain people—shamans, tribal kings, prophets, saviors, sages, gurus—who, after dealing with their own inner dragons, can tap-in to this collective pool and thereby help other people. In resolving the negative material, releasing it and integrating it, they can have a positive effect on their community, and even the Universe as a whole.
I am reminded of how certain African tribal “kings” (chieftains would be a better word), tribal leaders, and “clan kings” would be sacrificed for their tribes to the point of and including actual physical death. Similarly, shamans would take on psychic tasks that they would consider to be too dangerous or difficult for members of their tribe to do. In this way of looking at things, it is as if there is a group mind, and that the shaman’s duty is to resolve the collective issues, to work through the unfelt feelings, so that the rest of the tribe can function better.
It is as if everyone in a community does not have to, or is not able to, “work” all of their own stuff, but that a certain person can volunteer to face some of those inner demons for the entire group, or at least for those having difficulty.
Ah, But Scapegoats As Well
In this respect I believe it is possible to make a fascinating, albeit disturbing, connection between this idea and scapegoats. In the case of scapegoating, particular individuals are selected to be this kind of lightning rod for the group’s pain and psychic distress.
So there seems to be both this tendency for people to adopt this role for themselves and for societies to put people in these roles whether they want it or not. This indicates some kind of social, human need, or at least a fundamental human expediency, that is to say, ego defense.
It would seem, in any case, that there is a right way and wrong way to do this. And we can deduce that these attempts can have either beneficial or negative transpersonal and psychological effects depending on which way it’s done. Obviously there’s a huge difference between a guru or a savior taking the “sins” of their group upon themselves to release their people in that manner, versus a scapegoat being chosen to dump all the group’s unwanted feelings and shadow material on.
Sacrifices — Animal and Cucumber
Other fascinating perspectives on this arise from study of one of its variations: This is the widespread phenomenon of sacrifice, and in particular, animal sacrifice. The Nuer of Africa, for example, as well as the neighboring Dinka, created rituals for many of life’s events around the killing of sacrificial oxen. If no oxen were available, a cucumber was often used; in other cultures, lambs or other animals may be used. At any rate, when the ox was slain, the carcass was then split, with one half being consumed and the other half thrown away from them into the bush . . . reputedly taking with it the sins, indiscretions, and wayward elements of all those assembled. Higher forces were then called forth and entreated to remove the carcass/transgressions; indeed, at times they were directly invoked, then subsequently admonished to “go away” and “be gone!”
Since the group or individual is said to be identified with the animal, it is interesting to consider the possible message here that one takes into oneself and incorporates (integrates) only half of that which is of oneself; but one seeks the Universe’s help in disposing of the other half, relegating it to “the bush.” It is fascinating to think of the common use of prayer in this respect, that is, prayer where one invokes the Divine to take away or to “handle” those things in life, or the parts of those things, that one is incapable of handling oneself. Apparently it is the rare individual who completely integrates her or his Shadow.
Experience Is Primary
It is important to keep in mind that all of this idea of a group psyche is built upon a perspective, a paradigm, in which subjectivity is primary: Experience or Mind being the only reality. Such speculation as engaged in here is not even conceivable within the dominant materialistic paradigm. Nevertheless, these possibilities have long . . . far longer than this upstart of “objective materialism” has been around . . . have long been the common currency of our species, and have been so in the vast majority of human cultures that ever existed.
Centaurs, Shamans, Sacrificial Lambs, and Scapegoats: Shared Experience, the Earth Hologram, Volcano-Jumping, and UFOs … Is That Gaia Calling?
Shared Experience: Morphic Resonances and COEX Systems
But, getting back to the subject, people having rape fantasies, both men and women, where apparently there has been no sexual abuse, is becoming ever more common. Is it that in some way when we are violated as children, psychologically and emotionally, that it’s part of a gestalt or resonance—Stanislav Grof would say a COEX system; Rupert Sheldrake would say a morphogenetic field or morphic resonance—that includes actual physical violations from a collective pool of pain?
Also we should consider all the current stories of people being sexually abused; there seems to be an epidemic of people claiming to have been sexually molested as infants by their parents. No doubt much of this is true. The evidence is there to confirm it. But is it also possible that people in processing their stuff, or coming close to their repressed feelings, are at times tapping into transpersonal resonances that are only similar in quality to the corresponding real-life trauma? This is a possibility we should consider; for I know it to be the only plausible one in my own case, in the case of the panelist mentioned at the outset , and in the cases of several others whom I know personally or whose cases have appeared in print.
UFOs: Is That Gaia Calling?
Another item related to this pattern is the current UFO abduction experiences—the incidence of which is also increasing. One interesting explanation for such experiences of being abducted and then examined, probed, and sampled—which corresponds to this collective pool of pain theory—is derived from the idea that in fact the Earth herself (Gaia) has consciousness and is therefore part of a collective consciousness to which we also belong. This idea of an earth hologram is propounded by Goddess theorists and by others as well. Joseph Chilton Pearce claims we have primary access to such an Earth hologram as children and lose it later through our normative indoctrination into society.
The brain as a hologram is representative of the Earth. So long as this is undifferentiated, the personality, or consciousness within that brain, receiving its perceptions from that brain, is literally an undifferentiated part of the hologram effect. It is part and parcel of the world system, which, because it radiates out from the child, places him at the center of thought, with the world a body extending from him. The clarification of the hologram (to use that model) is a period of breathless wonder and excitement for the child because he is discovering his larger self. . . . 
The primary process is the function through which we are conscious of the Earth as a thinking globe, the flow of life, the general field of awareness, and almost surely, even larger ecologies of thought. The primary process is also past, current, and potential possibility and experience. Other cultures have maintained a much greater openness to the primary process than Western culture has. . . . 
Nevertheless, the potential for access to this “primary process” always exists, since it is repressed but continues to exist in the unconscious.
With these things in mind, is it possible that UFO abductees may be inadvertently stumbling into primary Earth process and picking up on the feelings of Earth herself as she is being poked, violated, measured, and having things inserted into her in this modern, high-tech, resource-exploiting era.
If so, one has to wonder whether some of the feelings of the Earth herself might not be being expressed or be trying to be integrated by her through these people. Is it possible that these people have become unwitting channels for Mother Earth’s pain—to help to express and integrate it—as she is systematically being defoliated, polluted, violated, and destroyed?
This may sound farfetched, but then, considering our actions in the face of global disaster . . . well, so are the times! Furthermore, I helped facilitate at least one inner journeyer whose experience was exactly this. Her interpretation of the powerful experience my wife and I both witnessed was that she was feeling and releasing pain and distress of all women throughout history and then Mother Earth herself. What gave extra credibility to her experience for me was that I observed what looked like her experiencing the pain of women in birth. Yet, like the rape reliving that was not of this life, this woman had never given birth herself … not in this life, anyway.
Volcano-Jumping for Bliss and Profit
Anyway, I offer these speculations in the hope of stimulating renewed appreciation of the roles as journeyers and shamans — as they have reemerged in their modern form in the deep experiential growth modalities such as Holotropic Breathwork and Primal Therapy, both of which I have substantial experience with. It may just be that what we do on our “inner” forays into consciousness has significance in the “outer” world — in these incredibly delicate and precipitous times—far beyond what we normally think. Indeed we may be volunteering for an ancient role, and in these days, perhaps, a very much needed one. Like Joe in the Tom Hanks movie, “Joe Versus the Volcano,” we may find ourselves “jumping into the volcano to save the community.” But also like Joe, and my experience attests to this, I believe we will find that the Universe provides, not death, but rather bears up and rewards with renewed life those who voluntarily sacrifice themselves this way.
Continue with Wounded Deer and Centaurs – Book 5
Related Book: Go to Primal Renaissance: The Emerging Millennial Return by Michael D. Adzema.
Related Article: Go to “Nature As Alive: Morphic Resonance and Collective Memory“ by Rupert Sheldrake, Ph.d.
Related Article: Go to “Sathya Sai Baba, Avatar“ by Mary Lynn Adzema.
Related Article: Go to “The UFO Abduction Phenomenon’s Challenge to Consensus Reality” by John E. Mack, M.D.
Continue with Wounded Deer and Centaurs – Book 5
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Everything You “Know” About Life You Learned as a Fetus: Foundations of Myth and Mind and my Personal Involvement with This Research into Our Actual “Human Nature”
Your Map of Reality Was Written in the Womb: Falls from Grace, Chapter One — Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and the Phenomenon of Re-Experience
Pre- and Perinatal Psychology and the Phenomenon of Re-Experience
Prenatal and perinatal psychology is the field that deals with the effects of events occurring prior to (prenatal) and surrounding (perinatal) the time of birth upon later life and personality. An ever increasing amount though certainly not all of the information we have about these periods of our lives and their effects is derived through the later and vivid remembering of these events in a phenomenon known as re-experience. Correspondingly, the two most frequently asked questions about this relatively new field, put by those initially encountering it, are those concerning the specific meanings of the terms perinatal and re-experience.
At the outset, I wish to present an explanation of these two terms and of my unique personal relation to this topic as well as some of my background in exploring it. I will follow this with an historical overview of the field of prenatal and perinatal psychology, which will reveal the key concepts and understandings employed throughout this book.
Re-Experience and Reliving
For over forty years, beginning in 1972 when I was a senior undergraduate in college, I have been involved both personally and professionally in a comprehensive investigation into the phenomenon of re-experience. Also called reliving, this phenomenon is reported to consist of a full somato-cognitive remembering of previous events in a person’s life. Reliving involves experiential but also observable and measurable components, such as brain wave changes, characteristic physiological and neurological changes, and typical observable body movements.
This phenomenon can occur, to varying degrees, in many consciousness-altering modalities—including hypnosis, LSD psychotherapy, primal therapy, rebirthing, and holotropic breathwork; to a considerable degree in re-evaluation co-counseling and treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder; and, occasionally and spontaneously, even in mainstream forms of psychotherapy, counseling, and “growth seminars.”
Re-experience is a more vivid and more completely somatic catharsis than what has been described in psychotherapy in terms of abreaction. It is in such contrast to normal abreaction that when these seemingly bizarre yet healing events have spontaneously erupted in traditional or mainstream Western contexts they have usually been mistakenly labeled psychotic, been intervened upon, and then aborted—via drugs and other highly coercive measures—by the attending therapeutic authorities.
However, with an increasing appreciation for their therapeutic value, these events are gradually becoming understood and accepted in therapeutic contexts and thus allowed to complete themselves and to instruct the participants and observers in their meanings. Therefore, they appear to represent something new in our culture in terms of both a way of approaching knowledge and in terms of the kinds of information that are discovered (Grof 1976, 1985; Hannig 1982; Janov 1971; Lake 1966/1986; Noble, 1993; Stettbacher, 1992).
My Relationship to the Phenomenon of Re-Experience
My interest in the phenomenon of reliving began forty-four years ago at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. As an undergraduate there I was most inspired by a course in religious studies titled “Religious and Psychological Approaches To Self-Understanding.” I was so inspired by the course that I constructed my major around its topic and initially even used the same title for my program’s name. This major in “self-understanding” would lead me, in a few years, to a profound interest in and exploration of primal therapy, as presented by Arthur Janov (1970) in his much-publicized book, The Primal Scream: Primal Therapy: The Cure for Neurosis.
By 1972, I had completed all but the one final semester for a B.A. That semester was to include the cumulative project—required of such a Special Studies (individually structured) major. However, since my project would focus on primal therapy and one of primal therapy’s basic premises is that knowledge cannot really be known except through experience, I could not in good conscience turn in a project describing primal therapy without first experiencing it. Consequently I withdrew from college, for what was supposed to be only a semester, with the intention of “going through” primal therapy and then returning to school to write my cumulative project on it. In those days, the entire process of primal therapy was reputed to take only three to six months.
But a lot was unknown about that modality in those early days. As it turned out, I would not return to school to complete that final project until 1978—at which point I had five years’ experience of primal therapy behind me and was living in Denver, Colorado.
In addition to these experiences, I have amassed a broad array of other experience and training over the years that have contributed to my understanding of re-experience and of this field in general. Besides my two decades and more of primal therapy … both formally and in “the buddy system” … I have received training as a primal therapist. I am also a trained rebirther, having explored that modality since 1986. I have been experientially exploring the modality of holotropic breathwork since 1987 and did training with Stanislav and Christina Grof in that technique.
Finally, I have been facilitating people in their journeys into deep inner primal and holotropic states since 1975. I’ve given individual sessions in all three modalities of primal therapy, rebirthing, and holotropic breathwork. And with my wife, Mary Lynn Adzema, I conducted three day workshops in something we called primal breathwork. I’ve conducted two-day group workshops in this modality at conferences, which were attended by as many as sixty experiencers at a time.
Thus, I have experience in my own process in these modalities; but in addition I have facilitated for others on many occasions, and at times, it was my main profession—though most of my life I have spent in writing, teaching, and research.
Pre- and Perinatal Re-Experience
Re-experience of birth and of the events immediately prior to and after birth are termed perinatal—from the Greek, literally “surrounding birth.” It has been widely described at this point by a number of authors but is most closely associated with the work of Stanislav Grof, Arthur Janov, and Frank Lake.
However, one significant and as yet little explored or understood phenomenon, arising also from the modalities mentioned, is that of prenatal re-experience. In this case, the experiencer reports … and observationally appears to be … experiencing events that happened en utero, sometimes going back as far as sperm, egg, and zygote states (Buchheimer 1987; Farrant 1987; Grof 1976, 1985; Hannig 1982; Janov 1983; Lake 1981, 1982; Larimore 1990a, 1990b; Larimore & Farrant, 1995).
These reports of remembering experiences that occurred before birth are at such variance with Western professional and popular paradigms that they are met with near-universal incredulity and, too often, premature dismissal. Yet the evidence from the mounting numbers of experiential reports and empirical studies attests that something which is at least unique and interesting is going on here.
Nevertheless, much of this prenatal information is thus far unformulated, untheorized, and unintegrated into a coherent structure for making sense of these experiences. This book will go a long way toward doing just that—making sense of prenatal experiences and exploring the implications and prospects of the knowledge gleaned from this fascinating new area of research and which arises from the vision that an exposure to this material induces.
The present work represents an attempt to bring this new information concerning our origins and our earliest experiences into such a coherent structure. After the initial overview of the field to be presented in this chapter, I deepen that review of the current understanding and findings in this area in making a case, in Chapter Two, for the legitimacy of prenatal spirituality.
First, let us take a closer look at what we know about the time before and around birth and what it means for us throughout our lives.
Overview of the Pre- and Perinatal Psychology Field—Early Theorists: Psychoanalysis and Birth
Sigmund Freud — Birth as Prototype for All Anxiety
While Freud (1927) disregarded major effects of birth on personality, he still saw the birth experience as the prototype of all later anxiety. His overall disregard of birth, however, was largely influenced by the belief—although discredited (see Chamberlain, 1988), still common in mainstream psychology and medicine today—that a newborn does not possess the neurological capacity for consciousness at birth.
Otto Rank — Psychoanalysis, Birth Trauma, Foundations of Personality and Some Myth, Separation Anxiety
Other early psychoanalysts disagreed with Freud on this. Otto Rank is the most notable of these. Following Freud’s basic psychoanalytic reasoning for personality patterns in early infancy, he asserted basic patterns of experience and ideas that are rooted in even earlier experience. Rank (1929) claimed the deepest, most fundamental patterns of these personality constructs originated at the time of birth, which Freud thought was not possible. Based upon the dream, fantasy, and other patterns of associations arising in his patients in psychoanalysis, Rank postulated a birth trauma, which he saw as a critical event in laying down in each of us particular patterns of thinking, motivation, and emotion for the rest of our lives. Notable among these prototypes was a feeling of a paradise once known but somehow lost, a separation anxiety caused by the separation at birth, and a resulting futile and lifelong struggle to re-unite with that golden age and that early beloved because of a desire to return to the womb.
Nandor Fodor — Dreamwork, Birth and Prenatal Processing and Relivings, Prenatal Origins of Consciousness and Trauma
Also a psychoanalyst, Nandor Fodor (1949) focused on the reflections of birth and prenatal material in dreams. He also designed interventions in therapy to release the negative effects of birth and to process prenatal memories. He was the first to mention actual relivings of birth, in which veridical memories were recovered. He agreed with Rank on many points, but he stressed the origins of consciousness and of trauma being in the prenatal period.
Donald W. Winnicott — First Primal Therapist? Birth Relivings, Importance of Birth—Negative Imprints but Positive Effects, Too
Another psychoanalyst, and pediatrician as well, Winnicott (1958) also held that birth is remembered and is important. He insisted that the birth trauma is real, but he disagreed with Rank and Fodor that it is always traumatic. He suggested that a normal, nontraumatic, birth has many positive benefits, particularly for ego development. Still, he contended that traumatic birth is permanently etched in memory and leaves a lifetime psychological scar. Winnicott (1958) also suggested the possibility of prenatal trauma.
He has been called the first primal therapist in that he described the first birth primals—actual observable relivings of birth—spontaneously occurring by some of his patients during their sessions with him. Thus he was beginning the trend beyond mere talking association or dream analysis as ways of accessing and integrating this material.
Overview of the Pre- and Perinatal Psychology Field — Later Research and Theorists: Hypnosis, Primal Therapy, and Birth
David Cheek and Leslie LeCron — Hypnosis, Birth Memories and Imprints on Personality and Relation to Psychiatric Disorders
Cheek and LeCron (1968) used hypnosis to retrieve early memories in their patients. They discovered that memories earlier than what they expected, going back to birth, were possible. Importantly, a relief of symptoms seemed to follow from the re-experience of these birth memories. They came to the conclusion that a birth imprint occurs, which is induced by the extreme stress of that time and is resistant to fading from later experience. Further they asserted that this imprint could be the cause of a wide spectrum of psychiatric and psychosomatic disorders.
Leslie Feher — Psychoanalysis, Birth, Cutting of Umbilical Cord, Separation Trauma
Leslie Feher (1980) sought to extend the Freudian tradition farther back into areas that, she asserts, were until only recently unknowable. Thus, she describes a natal theory and therapy that includes experiences of cutting the umbilical cord, birth, and even prebirth. In fact, she considers the cutting of the umbilical cord to be central in her theory of trauma, calling it the “crisis umbilicus,” and echoes Fodor in claiming that it is the true origin of the castration fears made so much of in psychoanalysis. This is so because, according to Feher, the cord and placenta is an object of security and is considered by the fetus to be part of him- or herself. Thus, this cutting represents a supreme threat in being a separation from a total life support system, a major organ, a part of oneself. In these ways, she also brings forward for renewed appreciation Rank’s speculations on the element of separation trauma as a crucial element of the birth trauma.
Arthur Janov — Primal Therapy, Traumas of Birth and Early Life and Healing Them, Empirical Foundations and Neurophysiology of Early Events and Healing
Perhaps the major theorist and popularizer of the phenomenon of re-experience (which he termed primaling), Janov was reluctant to acknowledge the pervasiveness of pre- and perinatal re-experience and trauma. Yet when he did, it was in a major work on birth trauma, which remains as a touchstone in the field in its depth and detail. Imprints: The Lifelong Effects of the Birth Experience, published in 1983, among other things places birth as the determining factor in creating basic personality constructs, called sympathetic and parasympathetic, which roughly coincide with the more common terms introversion and extroversion.
This work is more empirical and neurophysiologically rooted than most in the field. While the book is recognized in the field, Janov and his work have not gotten anywhere near the respect and attention that they deserve. He remains the unfortunate kicking-boy of a movement that is itself scapegoated by the academy and the larger scientific community.
Thomas Verny — Primal Therapy, Birth, Especially Womb Life and Relation to Personality … Prenatal Mother-Infant Bonding
The actual stimulus for a new field of pre- and perinatal psychology and the Association for Pre- and Perinatal Psychology and Health—APPPAH was Thomas Verny’s (1981) The Secret Life of the Unborn Child. His work brought together a good deal of the new empirical research that had opened the doors to us on the events in the womb. While himself a practitioner of “holistic primal therapy,” he integrated the accumulating data from the phenomenon of re-experience with the new information from the more traditional, “objective,” scientific research into the prenatal—made possible by the latest advances in technology.
One of his conclusions from this combination of lines of inquiry was that “birth and prenatal experiences form the foundations of human personality” (1981, p. 118). His other conclusions center around the importance of intrauterine bonding in that his research strongly suggests that the prenate, via pathways hormonal and unknown, picks up on the thoughts, feelings, and attitudes of the mother. More importantly, he asserted, the imprint of these factors on the fetus predetermines the later mother-child relationship. He emphasized that positive thoughts and feelings toward the fetus—”maternal love”—acts to cushion the new individual against the normal stresses and unavoidable harshness inherent in birth and early infancy. Yet all of this cannot be completely avoided. “Birth is like death to the newborn,” writes Verny (1984, p. 48).
David Chamberlain — Hypnosis, Confirmed Validity of Birth Memories
David Chamberlain (1988), for many years the president of APPPAH (the Association for Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health), has further substantiated the claim of consciousness at birth and the accuracy of pre- and perinatal memory in the phenomenon of re-experience. He reported one study he did in which he compared hypnotically retrieved memories of birth from mother and child and found an astonishing degree of conformity in their responses. Of note was the degree of inner consistency and originality in these memories as reported by the former neonate. They often contained technical details of the delivery and labor unlike what would be expected of the medically unsophisticated, a perceptive critique of the way the birth was handled, and other details of the event that could not have been known through normal conscious channels.
Overview of the Pre- and Perinatal Psychology Field — Later Theorists: Societal Implications, Psychohistory, Birth and Prenatal
Lloyd deMause — Psychohistory, Prenatal and Poisonous Placenta, Sociohistorical Implications of Gestational and Birth Events
Lloyd deMause (1982, 1987) was instrumental in establishing the new interdisciplinary field of psychohistory. In his study of historical happenings he discovered that stages in the progression of events related to stages in the progression of gestation and birth … which stages happened to correspond, by the way, remarkably well with Stanislav Grof‘s four stages of birth, his Basic Perinatal Matrices.
He found that natal imagery especially predominates in societies during times of crisis and war, when national purpose and state of affairs are construed as a need to escape or break free from an enclosing and constricting force. He also noted the suffering fetus and the poisonous placenta as sources of these later metaphors and imagery. In fact, in studying the imagery in the national media of various countries he has been able to predict political, social, and economic events such as wars and invasions, recessions, and political downfalls.
His work begins to look at the prenatal influences and imprints and how they related to macrocosmic issues of politics, history, social movements, and issues of war and peace.
Later Theorists — Dream Analysis
Francis Mott — Conception and Gestational Basis of Myth, Archetype, all Patterns of Macrocosmic and Microcosmic Realities and the Nature of Reality, Devolutional Model of Development
Francis Mott’s work is less well known even by this field’s standards, yet it is undeniably impressive. Mott’s (1960, 1964) major contribution lies in his focusing on basic patterns of mind and cosmos that correlate with prenatal feelings and states. He traced consciousness back to events around conception and saw these events as instituting patterns affecting all later experience and conceptual constructions. Through dream analysis he elicited these “configurations,” and he demonstrated their manifestation as seemingly universal archetypes in myths and universal human assumptions about the nature of reality.
In fact, through his study of womb and conception patterns he claimed to have discovered patterns that underlie and unite all of reality at all levels of manifestation—astronomical, social, personal, cellular, and even nuclear. While this may seem rather grandiose, his work was highly regarded and admired by Carl Jung.
Mott also carried forward the intimations of earlier prenatal theoreticians, notably Rank and Fodor, on the gestational basis of archetypes. While he does not address or seek to discredit the range of, supposedly genetic, archetypes postulated by Jung, his work is highly suggestive of an experiential, specifically, pre- and perinatal, as opposed to genetic basis for many of these.
Denial and Incest Taboo
Mott (1960) also helped us to understand why if these prenatal memories are possible they are not more prevalent by suggesting denial is necessary in order to protect against incestuous feelings that might arise around feelings remembered from being inside one’s mother.
Devolutional Model of Consciousness Development
Finally, he made the postulation—hugely relevant to the theme of this work—that our original expanded capacity to feel is diminished, as he says, “divided,” by experience not increased by it. The idea is that there is a reduction in awareness as a result of early traumatic events, beginning around conception and then on, and not the buildup of consciousness and feeling that we assume from the mechanistic paradigm that sees consciousness as a byproduct of increasing physical, specifically brain, activity during our early years. (See, for example, The Doors of Perception: Each of Us Is Potentially Mind At Large… When Perception Is Cleansed, All Kinds of Nonordinary Things Happen and Occupy Science … A Call for a Scientific Awakening: In Tossing Away Our Species Blinders, We Approach a Truth Far Beyond Science.)
Later Theorists — Breathwork
Stanislav Grof — Breathwork, LSD, Birth and Prenatal, Myth and Archetype, Spiritual and Consciousness
A pioneer in this prenatal area is Stanislav Grof (1976, 1980, 1985, 1990, to name a few). His many works, providing a framework for conceptualizing perinatal and transpersonal experiences, are a profound and useful starting point for an investigation into this area.
In his use of LSD beginning in 1956 for psychotherapy, called psycholytic therapy, he discovered four levels of experience of the unconscious: the sensory, the biographical, the perinatal, and the transpersonal. He noted a tendency for growth and healing to occur in a progressive way through these levels. The sensory band is the level of expanded sensory awareness and is usually initially encountered by participants. The biographical band is the realm of the personal unconscious wherein unintegrated and traumatic memories and material from childhood and one’s personal history are retrieved, often relived, and integrated. The perinatal level of experience usually follows after dealing with the biographical material and involves the remembering, re-experiencing, and integrating of material that is related to the time prior to and surrounding birth. The transpersonal band, the level of spiritual experience, is usually reached after dealing with the other three levels.
Four Modes of Experiencing—the Basic Perinatal Matrices
Grof has also delineated four matrices of experience, four general experiential constructs, which he called basic perinatal matrices (BPMs). He discovered that experiences at all levels of the unconscious often group themselves in four general ways that are roughly related to the four stages of birth. Thus, Basic Perinatal Matrix I (BPM I) is related to the generally blissful or “oceanic” feelings that often characterize the fetus’s state in the womb in early and middle pregnancy. BPM II is characterized by “no exit,” hellish feelings that are related to the situation of the fetus in late pregnancy when the confines of the womb become ever more apparent but there is as yet no indication of any possibility of relief. BPM III relates to the birth process itself, the birth struggle, which is still characterized by feelings of compression and suffering but in which there is movement and change and thus hope of relief through struggle. If BPM II can be compared to hell, where there is no hope, BPM III is more like purgatory. Finally, BPM IV relates to the actual entry into the world, the termination of the birthing process, and is characterized by feelings of triumph, relief, and high, even manic, elation.
In his descriptions of the levels of experience and the matrices of perinatal experience, Grof has provided useful maps of the unconscious and experience in nonordinary states, which have incredible heuristic value in our understanding of cross-cultural religious and spiritual experience, psychopathology, personal growth, and consciousness and personality in general. And they have been utilized successfully in providing a context and guide for many tens of thousands of participants in his psycholytic and holotropic therapies.
However, while Grof is exhaustive in his descriptions of fetal and perinatal experience, he says less about the earlier experiences in the womb—the first trimester—and even less about conception and the experiences of sperm and egg—what is known as cellular consciousness. Still, this area is beginning to be discussed among his followers. And through his current nondrug modality, called holotropic breathwork, people are accessing these areas and beginning to give word to them (e.g., Carter, 1993).
Frank Lake—Breathwork, First Trimester, Early Experience as Foundation for Myths
Frank Lake, though less well-known again, has probably been the premier theoretician on the topic of prenatal events during the first three months of gestation. Just prior to his death in the early eighties, he wrote a culmination of his thirty-year investigation into pre- and perinatal influence in two works titled Tight Corners in Pastoral Counselling and The First Trimester. In these works he goes beyond his other works (for example, 1966) in placing the roots of all later experience, and in particular, distress, at the first three months of physical existence.
Lake began his investigation of re-experience in 1954. Like Stanislav Grof, he did this using LSD, initially, in the psycholytic therapy that was being developed at that time to facilitate therapeutic abreaction. Later he, again like Grof, developed a nondrug modality to accomplish the same thing. His method of “primal therapy” employed a type of fast breathing—again, like Grof’s later technique—to access theta-wave brain levels, which are levels of consciousness that he saw as crucial to accessing and integrating these memories.
His thirty-year research led him to the realization of the importance of ever earlier experience. Thus his earlier stress on the importance of birth gave way to his later emphasis on the first trimester in 1981 (Tight Corners in Pastoral Counselling) and in 1982 (The First Trimester).
His one other major disagreement with Grof was his belief that the mythological and symbolical elements described by Grof were a product of LSD and that the first trimester events were the actual roots of much of such symbolism and supposed transpersonal/mythological scenarios (1981, p. 35).
Later Theorists — Myth and Sacred Text/Mysticism
S. Giora Shoham — Devolutional Model of Development, Falls from Grace
While not strictly a pre- and perinatal psychologist, I include this too little-known theoretician and criminologist because of the close relationship and influence his work has had upon my own work regarding these Falls from Grace. Falls from Grace and other devolutional models of consciousness postulate that during life and over time, beginning at conception, we actually are reduced in consciousness and awareness, not increased in it, and it corresponds to a “brain as reducing valve” theory of consciousness. (Again, See The Doors of Perception and Occupy Science.)
While I initially constructed and wrote down my devolutional theory of consciousness—Falls from Grace—without the benefit of Shoham’s work, upon discovering it I could not help but be both confirmed and reinspired by the astounding resonance his understanding has with my own.
Shoham (1979, 1990) starts his devolutional model in the womb and carries it through birth, weaning, and the oedipal periods of development. Though, as I delineate in Part Two, I disagree with his model by beginning mine at the creation of sperm and egg—as does other devolutional theorists like Francis Mott and David Wasdell—in virtually all other major instances his model corresponds to my own if one simply … in keeping with a normal trend in child development in general as it begins to integrate the new pre- and perinatal evidence … places everything back a little farther in time—in this case, specifically, one stage back.
Later Prenatal Psychology Theorists — Cellular Memory and Conception, Foundations of Myth and Personality, Spirituality and Soul
Lietaert Peerbolte — Conception and Cellular Memory, Soul, Spirituality
Peerbolte (1954) was one of the earliest theorists to relate spirituality to conception and sperm/egg dynamics. In addition to claiming that a regression to conception is the inevitable result of all prenatal states, he traced the sense of “I” — the “I-function” — back to the egg, existing even in the mother’s ovaries. He further postulated that the spiritual self was invisibly present within the field of attraction between the egg and the sperm. Correspondingly, he was the first to point out that the existence of conception, preconception, and even ovulation symbolism in dreams indicates the existence of a soul. For, he asked, what mind records these events otherwise?
I wrote the article, “A Primal Perspective on Spirituality,” which later became the next chapter in this book before I knew about Peerbolte’s work. Yet, once again the conclusions I came to, especially about the existence of soul being established by the fact of these memories and especially those at the cellular levels of sperm and egg existence, are very much in line with his.
Michael C. Irving — Primal Therapy, Birth, Sperm, Egg, Myth, Dragon Symbolism, Prehistoric Cult and Ritual
Michael C. Irving is a primal therapist whose contributions include his relation of these earliest events from sperm and egg through the birth experience to fundamental mythological motifs and images across cultures. The originator of a way of interpretation that he calls natalism, he has brought together a host of artistic and artifactual images from a wide range of time periods and cultures which relate, with an astonishing degree of accuracy, to actual pre- and perinatal events.
In particular, he has traced the universal serpent/dragon motifs and mythology to birth and sperm experience, noting, among other things, that the serpent/dragon shape represents the birth canal or tunnel, that the fire-spewing characteristics of dragons relate to consuming pain, and that the constricting characteristics of snakes correspond to the constriction of the birth canal. Of great interest is his deduction that the widely prevalent snake and dragon cults, which were especially popular in prehistory, indicate an attempt to deal with such unfinished birth trauma material as we are only now, in modern times, rediscovering the importance of doing.
Graham Farrant — Primal Therapy; Sperm, Egg, Cellular Consciousness; Soul and Spirituality
Graham Farrant (1987; Buchheimer 1987), a psychiatrist and primal therapist from Australia, is probably the most influential and well-known of those discussing the phenomena that occur at the earliest times of our lives. In addition to echoing Frank Lake in describing fetal, implantation, and blastocyst feelings, he has been able to elicit and describe sperm and egg imprints. He has found trauma from these earliest events to influence lifelong patterns of personality and behavior. He produced a notable video in which segments from the widely acclaimed movie “The Miracle of Life,” which shows actual footage of gamete and zygote events, are juxtaposed via a split-screen with actual footage of a person reliving the exact same events in primal therapy, which occurred before such cellular events were ever able to be seen and recorded. The effect is astounding in the detail in which the relivings replicate the actual cellular happenings.
In addition to his emphasis on cellular consciousness, Farrant has stressed the spiritual aspects of these earliest events. He relates incidents of spiritual trauma at the cellular level in which the individual splits off from Divinity—thus setting up a lifelong feeling of loss and yearning and a desire to return to Unity and the Divine.
Paul Brenner — Sperm, Egg, Cellular Consciousness and Biological Foundations of Myths
Paul Brenner (1991), a biologist and obstetrician, has been presenting at conferences and in workshops on the idea of the biological foundations of myth. For example, he relates basic biological, cellular events to biblical events described in Genesis.
He also relates male and female adult behavior to basic patterns of sperm and egg behavior and to events prior to and surrounding conception. He has said that male and female behavior are just sperm and egg activity grown up!
Elizabeth Noble — Cellular Consciousness and Spirituality, Empirical Underpinnings
Elizabeth Noble (1993) is an educator in the field of pregnancy and childbirth and is a student of Farrant’s. She published a comprehensive overview of this new field, titled Primal Connections, in which she doesn’t hesitate to stress the issues of cellular consciousness and the spirituality that appears to coincide with the re-experience of these earliest events. She provides empirical and theoretical avenues for understanding how memory can occur at such early times. Some of these are consistent with mainstream physicalist science while others coincide with the cutting-edge, new-paradigm discoveries in fields such as biology, physics, and neuroscience.
David Wasdell — Sperm/Egg and First Trimester Imprints, Devolutional Model of Development, Social and Historical Implications
One of the more recent theoreticians in this area is David Wasdell. Wasdell’s (1979, 1985a, 1985b, 1990) major contribution lies in his relating these earliest events to social and cultural patterns. He describes a process of devolution of consciousness beginning at around conception and proceeding through other reductions caused by traumas at implantation, in the womb, and at birth.
Most importantly, he delineates how the result of this diminution of potentiality is projected outwards into the problems and crises of violence, wars, and the mediocrity of modern personality on the scale of the masses and the macrocosms of the group, society, and global events.
In describing the problems of “normality” as rooted in a deprivational and deformational series of traumas from our earliest biological history, Wasdell emphasizes that this gives us the possibility to change that tragic social and personality outcome by focusing on the prevention and healing of such traumas. Thus, he holds out the vision of a new person and new society as an outcome of the efforts directed at the earliest laying down of human experience.
The Importance of the Intrauterine for Understanding Our Times and the Goal of This Book
Despite this long legacy of work and thought in this pre- and perinatal area, much of it, especially the prenatal, remains ignored by mainstream psychology and is largely unavailable to the public. Within the field itself, in addition, the prenatal information, in relation to the more widely accepted and circulated perinatal evidence, seems to be analogous to Otto Rank’s (1929) ideas of birth trauma were to Sigmund Freud’s concerning early infancy in that they are cast under an extra cloud of suspicion and disbelief and disregarded accordingly. Yet, like Rank’s findings also, their main problem may lie with unfamiliarity and prejudice rather than validity or scientific viability; and these findings, like his were, may end up harkening the outlines of future endeavors and being confirmed by subsequent research.
Thus, I believe that this prenatal area in particular is ripe for reaping what it can teach us about what is human, about “human nature.”
Therefore, this book will put forth the possible relationship between our earliest ontogenetic experiences as humans and the structure of human consciousness and stages of human “development.”
I build a model that seeks an initial formulation of this information, teasing out its implications, and integrating it with relevant thinking and theoretical perspectives in anthropology, philosophy, psychology, and others.
However, before proceeding, it seems important to establish this pursuit within the logical-empirical framework that validates it. To do this, let us now turn to the re-experience movement I am most familiar with and feel to be the most important, primal therapy, and discuss its relation to the phenomenon of prenatal re-experience and spirituality.
Continue with How Valid Are Spiritual Experiences? Psychedelic Research and Deep Experiential Psychotherapy Have Intensified the Exploration of Spiritual Aspects of the Unconscious
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Prenatal Revulsion and Loss of the “Golden Age”: Creeped Out in the Womb, The Itches We Cannot Scratch, and the Deepest Roots of OCD, Bigotry, and Holocaust
Why We Tattoo, Sun-Bathe, Hate Hippies and Immigrants and Jews, and Obsessively Clean Our Homes: The Roots of the Tea Party and Nazi Narratives of Loss of a Golden Age in Prenatal Irritation-Revulsion
Wounded Deer and Centaurs, Chapter Ten: Prenatal Irrituation-Revulsion … Creeped Out in the Womb
Ewww! Prenatal Irritation, Revulsion … Toxic Environment, Touch, Sex, Preadolescent “Creepiness” and Early Roots of Rape and Sexual Abuse
Creeped Out in the Womb and Toxic Environment … Prenatal Irritation/Revulsion and Connections to Touch, Sexual Abuse, and Boys’ “Creepy” Behavior
The fourth part of late gestation formative experiences and the third part of fetal malnutrition is what I’m calling Irritation…Revulsion. It is about a toxic environment in the womb. To review, back then inside our mothers,
Four, Prenatal Irritation, Toxic Environment
Now in this fourth part, we feel the environment around us is toxic. It is about ickiness, irritation, disgust, feeling dirty, burning, uncleanness, yuckiness, filthiness…as teens like to say, “creepy,” and “ewww!” It is all about the surface of the body in this complex, not about what we are taking inside us (bad blood, disgust) or not getting to take inside (deprivation).
And it is not about being pressed in from the outside…crowdedness…but about irritation and burning on the surface of the skin.
Returning to ancient mythology, we have a pretty good description of it in a Norse myth—the one about Loki—which is said to be one parallel to the Prometheus myth discussed at length earlier. In this one,
The god Loki (often associated with fire) was bound to a rock. Above him is a large serpent which drips toxic venom upon him. His wife collects the poison in a bowl, but must empty it every time it gets full. As she is in the process of doing this, the snake proceeds to cover Loki in poison. Just as Prometheus gets his liver eaten only to have it grow back again, Loki is temporarily saved from venom only to have it drip on him once more.
So in this aspect of late gestation experience, what you perceive around you is a poisonous environment that you feel wants to diminish your purity of self, your integrity, and ultimately would lead to your death. This threatening environment has a characteristic of filling up increasingly with toxins, bad blood. As in the Loki myth, the wife (the mother, placenta) collects the poison (waste matter not efficiently removed) in a bowl (womb, placental surround), but must empty it every time it gets full (waste material removed). We have around us something that is building up which is polluting (sinful) and will drag us down (put us in hell), take away our “morality,” our “purity,” our “innocence.”
The reason this happens is that the reduced blood flow in the womb means there is a buildup—slight, but noticeable to a fetus—of toxins. They are not taken away as efficiently through the veins. There is also the factor of an aging placenta. There is a feeling of skin irritation and/or slight burning. There is a sense, for the fetus, of its world not being as vibrant and alive as earlier. Systems are no longer accelerating or peaking, as was the case for the entirety of one’s life previous to that—earlier womb life—but are leveling off. And if one is a delayed birth, as I was, one can sense a breaking down of the systems…an entropy that is frightening.
Skin Deprivation, Skin Irritation
This sort of early experience focused on the skin surface should be compared with that which Ashley Montagu has written about in great detail. He would no doubt argue that skin trauma is related to a deprivation of contact after birth. He has shown how we have as much need for contact and touch as we do for any of our other biological needs, and it is certainly more fundamental than sex. However, I would argue that the trauma I am talking about is very similar, but it is an earlier fractal. And just as before we saw how there is trauma from not getting enough resources (oxygen deprivation, emotional deprivation) but also from getting plenty but of the wrong kind (bad blood, child abuse), so also the skin trauma Montagu is mostly talking about is deprivation of contact, whereas what I’m referring to is about trauma from stimulation of the skin in an unpleasant way.
Sugar and Spice … Snips and Snails
A later fractal of it would be the skin being touched, but in an unpleasant or revolting way…as they say, “Ewww … Don’t touch me with that … That’s gross! That’s creepy.” Pre-adolescent boys get a lot of amusement out of provoking and playing with these feelings in young girls…as at the same time they are working out their own similar feelings but in a counterphobic way. This common, perhaps universal, behavior is a way that societies have evolved of dealing with these feelings so as to be able to propagate the species. For, obviously, if we acted out of these feelings as adults, no one would want to have sex or pretty much have anything but ungloved contact with the physicality or biology of others…we would have no doctors or biologists!
Rape, Sexual Abuse
When this fractal goes beyond unpleasant—creepy—contact to touch that is administered in an aggressive or assaultive way, we have rape and sexual abuse. These kinds of assaults and abuse have roots in this early experience of the prenate; they can occur out of the fact that an individual’s experience of this aspect of gestation was traumatic…along with other contributing factors, of course.
Creeped Out in the Womb … Prenatal Revulsion and Loss of the “Golden Age”
Granted that this feeling constellation is not just about the surface of the skin. Irritation can be focused just there, but revulsion is more than that. It is just that the surface of the skin is the primary sense being stimulated to set off the entire feeling complex of being creeped out in the womb, revolted. In saying that, I don’t want to discount the sense of dis-ease or sickness the fetus experiences in general, for there is the feeling awareness that this situation is different from, is a deterioration of, the “golden age” of well-being and exquisite functioning of systems that was experienced earlier in (womb) life.
Next—The Itches We Cannot Scratch
So we know what it is … this irritation, revulsion complex. Now let us look at the ways we act out these traumas and the kinds of thoughts and behaviors arising from these imprints in the womb. In the next sections, we look at some uniquely human cultural behaviors—tattooing, body piercing and adornments, and sun bathing. Following that we unravel how we act out these imprints in dire and major ways in our political and environmental attitudes and actions.
The Itch We Cannot Scratch … Imprinted to Tattoo, Body Pierce, and Sun-Bathe in Prenatal Irritation/Revulsion
Why Humans Are the Only Species That Burns, Inks, and Mortifies Their Skin … Prenatal Imprints for Tattooing, Sun Bathing, and Body Adornment
How We Act Out Prenatal Irritation-Revulsion in Cultural Behaviors
More common ways we behave out of these early imprints from prenatal irritation and revulsion have to do with obsessions for sun-bathing and tattooing. Body ornamentation, in particular, is one of the cultural universals of humans, which is lacking in our planetmate societies. We’ll get to the other, more important, cultural manifestations of this early experience shortly, when we discuss intolerance, obsessive-compulsiveness, and scapegoating and persecution of minorities in societies and the horrid ways we act them out.
Tattoos and Body Adornments
This complex of feelings includes irritation. Think of it as like an itch that one can’t scratch. Pretty unnerving, right? We are focused on our skin in this way, though we are not aware of these feelings in a conscious way after a while. Imagine an itch that is there all the time, like from a mosquito bite. As they say, if you don’t scratch it it goes away. Well it is not that the feeling isn’t there, it is that virtually all feelings fade with time…one gets distracted from them…as it was said of Prometheus’s pain, everyone involved “wearies” of it.
But that doesn’t mean it is not influencing our actions on a subconscious level. So, we get tattoos and do all kinds of strange things to the surface of our skins and to the outsides of our bodies which only make sense if you look at such people as acting out an ongoing itch that can’t be scratched. These rituals, though unknown in other species, are one of our unique human characteristics.
Gen X and Millennial Generation
When you have sudden eruptions of this kind of behavior in a society, it would be illuminating to look at what changed in that culture’s practices around pregnancy and prenatal care when those adults were in their mothers’ wombs.
A prominent example of this is the fascination and addictiveness that Gen X and the Millennial Generation have with tattooing. This is a distinct contrast with the previous generation, the Boomers, and with generations prior to that. I don’t think it is coincidence that these generations spent their womb-time during a period of a Western avalanche of prescription drug use of all types that was for a long time—and to some extent still is—thought to be inconsequential to the fetus.
Fetal Drug Irritation…That Itch That Won’t Go Away
When the medical establishment did discuss pharmaceutical use and the fetus, it was talked about in terms of whether the particular compound passed through the “placental barrier.” Unfortunately, the “placental barrier” turned out to not be the major protection to fetuses that Western society wanted it to be in order to continue with this explosive intake of all kinds of medications. [Footnote 1]
And all of this intake is quite a bit different than the moderate and minimal medication usage by mothers in all previous generations. These drugs simply did not exist in any earlier time in the abundance they do now.
Extreme examples of this—pathologies rooted in such late gestation trauma—can manifest as a desire to cut oneself. People who are compulsive cutters say they are trying to feel something, that they feel dead or numb. Well, yes, this is how it feels when one scratches an itch…one has the sense that one doesn’t really feel it until one scratches it…and until then, like bug bites, one does a psychological numbing of the area until one can get to it.
Another way this is felt is as a kind of a burning on the surface of the skin, what we might feel being immersed in mildly acidic water. As always, we re-create these discomforts in an unconscious way of trying to resolve them. So we have this curious ritual in some cultures of lying out in the open on sunny days and allowing our skin to be heated and burned. We think this is all about cosmetics, personal appearance, or health, but it is not. Those ideas are rationalizations after the fact. For we even allow the feeling of sunburn, a painful experience, as if it is some kind of fortifying experience. Medically, we now know, these rituals are not healthy at all…contributing to skin cancers and such. A sidenote: One needs to ask if the skin trauma in the womb causes the skin cancer and the sun-bathing is just another act out, but not causative of skin cancer.
And you think this a minor thing? Well for many, yes. Remember, though, that many people revolve their lives around these experiences…George Hamilton comes to mind. They might build their lives around surfing…or being “beach bums.” I know of one person who has made the major decisions of his life around such rituals and behaviors. He kept finding ways to live near the beach, the ocean, so he could sun-bathe…”take in the rays.” He had his marriage ceremony on the beach; though he was not a beach bum. I also know this person has major skin trauma in his life: He had chicken pox as a baby and it was so itchy and he so wanted to scratch himself they actually tied him down so he could not. It makes perfect sense that such preeminent skin trauma has the kinds of deep roots I am talking about here. So this is how such early trauma can be no small matter.
Having looked briefly at the human cultural behaviors that arise from these early perceptions and feelings, let us now delve into some of the bigger and more dire act outs—ones that this book in particular is detailing. Let us see how we act these things out in society in our group behaviors — culture wars — and how we act them out in our interactions with the world of Nature and our environment.
We now turn to the issues of scapegoating, immigration, intolerance, racism, culture wars, abortion and contraception, overpopulation, slavery and fascism and genocide; after which we will look at environmental contamination and the depletion of the ozone layer.
“Don’t Bug Me!” … Culture Wars, Hating Hippies, and Having Obsessively Clean Homes, But Tolerating Pollution – Prenatal Irritation/Revulsion
Prenatal Irritation/Revulsion Imprints Us for Intolerance of Others, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders, and Super-Tidy Homes … “Don’t Bug Me!”
How We Act This Out — Politically and Environmentally
To review, in the womb (1) we are surrounded by toxins—they threaten us…our lives, our “purity”..they irritate us. (2) We can’t get rid of poisons that build up in the environment around us…like a prenatal environmental pollution…we can’t eliminate wastes as efficiently.
The first aspect of this — surrounding and threatening — relates to how we act this out in our homes, communities, and social environments — that is, with other people; it has to do with intolerance. The second—buildup of waste—concerns how we act this out with our general, our planetary environment, with environmental pollution. Let us take them in turn.
We Are at War With Our Personal Environment
First, (1) we are surrounded by toxins—they threaten us in our homes and communities.
Obsessive-Compulsive Cleanliness…Severe Tidiness
The environment around us is always felt to be unclean, polluted. We can’t seem to ever get it clean enough. Any dirt or untidiness reminiscent of our time of built up toxins in the womb sends us into a flurry of activity to fight it off, lest we ever feel that way again.
We use chemical cleaners and anti-bacterial agents to fight off imaginary threats, which we call viral and bacterial, but in doing so insure we will actually live in a toxic chemical environment.
We will tolerate pollutants in the air we breathe and the water we drink—after all that merely re-creates the “bad blood” we once experienced—but we will not abide litter or dirty streets. In fact, we see these pollutants projected on the people in our cities, and so we want to “clean up the streets.”
“Don’t Bug Me, Man.”
We felt “bugged” in the womb, for we were irritated. We cannot abide any creepy crawly bug-like things around us for they remind us of those “itches we cannot scratch”—that prenatal skin irritation. We over-eliminate spiders and insects from our environments in a way so far beyond what is necessary. We are blind to how they are part of our essential ecosystem.
I don’t like mosquitoes any more than the next person, but I can see that alongside an all-out war on all creepy crawlies we have seen a disappearance of bees, essential for our food production…maybe related, probably not. (For a related perspective, See “Expect Less … and More … from Your Wasps.”)
We Will Not Be “Bugged”
My point is that the vast majority of insects are harmless to us and not even bothersome. Yet, let some tiny insect into a suburban home, and you would think that it had been invaded by a SWAT team. This is hilarious from the perspective of someone who has done some primal work and so is not so “bugged” by the appearance of an insect, or of being a part of its roadway to wherever, or by noticing how some have used our bar-b-que items for temporary landing places or short-lived insect airports. Notice the reaction of some people when an ant or some other insect is observed kiting across a picnic table if you think I’m exaggerating.
We are at war with anything that reminds us of those irritating times; we do not want to be “bugged.” And if we are, it can send some of us into a fury…or a terror. I have one friend who was once invaded by fleas. She is now terrified of them. I’ve had similar experiences with fleas—don’t get me wrong, I do bomb them, when they get to a certain point where they might get out of control. But I’ve been in the same environments with this person, as has my wife, and this person’s terror is extraordinary for the situation.
I believe these kinds of phobias—and there are many examples of this fear of insects that could be used—are rooted in this trauma of being irritated in the womb. For it is an uncomfortable situation that went on for an incredibly long time for an extremely young human (a fetus) who had little, if any, sense of time and so of the possible ending of discomfort.
We Are at Culture War With Elements in Society That Remind Us of This Time
To continue, (1) We are surrounded by toxins. They threaten us…our lives, our “purity”..they irritate us.
“Dirty” Hippies and Other “Irritating People”
But it is not just bugs that bug us. We project this primal irritation on others. They bug us, are irritating. Sometimes they are; but sometimes simply the sight of them stimulates our unconscious irritations. We see them sometimes as “unwashed” and thus irritating. Some folks say other folks are “scum” or “vermin”; or they use similar terms indicating a revolting dirtiness—vile, immoral.
We hate anyone and anything that seems to be on the other side of this war against ickiness. We create culture wars and put those other people on the other side—they are hippies, immigrants, minorities—always they are described as “filthy” and “dirty,” which indicates we are seeing them through a veil of perinatal revulsion.
Politically – These Poisons Surround Us
There are these poisonous elements — immigrants, communists, socialists, Hollywood ideas, teachers, educators, union organizers, activists, “hippies,” beatniks, unemployed, riff raff — who are destroying our “pure” way of life (way of life = blood stream with lots of bright oxygenated blood), and “these influences” are all about us and surrounding us. And we fight back against this toxic encroachment like little supermen fighting for some version of the pristine past…for “truth, justice…and the American way!”
But There Was a “Golden Age” Before Them
Politically, we scapegoat minorities, gays, immigrants, Jews, Hispanics, hippies, gypsies, witches, as being pollutants to our purity of race, blood. We look out at others as being those “unwashed masses.” This implies we have a time of purity from the past (the Fifties in America, for example), when only our pure blood existed and life was easy. And we want to get back to it. In late gestation discomfort, most of us as prenates actually do have a memory of an earlier time of pristine perfection, harmony, and bliss—BPM I—early womb life.
But, now, these impure things insert themselves into our lives and disgust us…bad blood. But they also surround us…with their filth. In actuality, however, we are merely acting out a time of increasing carbon dioxide, chemical, and waste matter buildup in the late stages of gestation. It is this incursion we are endlessly and futilely fighting off.
“Get Away From Me, Bum!” … Replaying a Prenatal Narrative, We Create “Filthy” Others and Blame Them for Loss of Our “Golden Age.”
Prenatal Irritation/Revulsion Has Us Invent Scapegoats for Loss of “Golden Age” … Racism, Bigotry, Anti-Semitism, Anti-Immigration
“Get Away from Me, Bum!” … Riff-Raff … Hippie … Scum
Immigration – They Are Dirty, Polluted and Keep Filling Up the Space Around Us
So, because of these prenatal formative experiences, we place some folks “outside our circle” and see them as irritating, even revolting. They are “disgusting” (poisonous) abominations of bloodlines …abominations … whether they’re Jews (not like the pure Aryans) or blacks (filthy, lazy, dirty, immoral), who want our fresh pure blood (blood libel), our resources.
By contrast, we’re the “real” Americans. They, on the other hand, want to take all that is good (about America, for example) and destroy it; they’re dragging us down. And they keep coming across our “borders” (placental barrier) and “overrunning” the country.
They are everywhere! We can’t get away from them. They surround us! And they are taking over. They are “poisoning” our way of life. So this is how these early imprints have us seeing others and our society in ways conducive to horrible intolerances and anti-immigration sentiments.
But We Keep Re-Creating This Situation in Our Actions/Decisions Insuring That We Will Continue to Feel This Way
These feelings are irrational and not based in fact, of course. We show this in that at the same time as we hate and fight off this incursion into our surroundings, we create overpopulation and a buildup of people who can’t be cared for…who will therefore be the “unwashed,” surrounding us. We fight abortion policies and contraception and so create overpopulation and thus increasing toxicity in our environment.
While we expend our energy fighting reflections of our pain, in the form of other people we create to hate, we create the conditions that will keep us feeling the way we do. We create pollution in our environment. We even wish to keep our scapegoats downtrodden and filthy, even though around us and “polluting” us. Our desire is to keep them “dirty,” to keep them as “slaves” and riff-raff. We act to keep them poor, to drive them into the “dirt,” and to keep them from being able to rise above the “squalor.”
We Create This Situation and Then Engage in the Drama of Acting Out Against Them By Wanting to Punish Them With How They Are Making Us Feel
The Nazi mind was riddled with this prenatal trauma. They rounded up Jews, ethnic others, and the “undesirables” of their society They stuffed them (crowded womb) into cattle cars where many were forced to stand uncomfortably, and where they could only defecate on themselves and wallow in their own waste matter (buildup of waste matter in the womb).
I recently saw the movie—Sarah’s Key, based on an actual event during World War II—where 13,152 Parisian Jews were rounded up and placed in the Vélodrome d’hiver, a sports stadium, for eight days without sanitary facilities until they were processed into even more dire “facilities” at Auschwitz … and murdered.
About the conditions at the stadium, it is written,
The dark glass roof, combined with windows screwed shut for security, raised the temperature inside the structure. The 13,152 people held there  had no lavatories; of the 10 available, five were sealed because their windows offered a way out, and the others were blocked. The arrested Jews were kept there for eight days with only water and food brought by Quakers, the Red Cross and the few doctors and nurses allowed to enter.
They had no recourse but to fill their own surroundings with waste matter; it was said the stench outside in the surrounding neighborhood was unbearable, quite foul. We see manifest here a pathological imposition of prenatal pushes about being crowded, given very little in the way of resources (oxygen deprivation), in a hot environment (prenatal stuffiness and irritation/burning), and forced to wallow in waste matter (toxic womb).
I’ve already mentioned how many Jews were eventually shunted into gas chambers where they were forced to inhale poisonous fumes as a re-creation of prenatal poisoning trauma. (See also bad blood.)
Ultimately, We Want to Eliminate Them, Seeing Them as the Obstacles to Returning to That “Golden Age
At any rate, we feel we need to eliminate them for they want our resources (oxygen). We feel they will use up everything and leave us wanting (deprivation), and left with nothing (oxygen starvation, death). Never mind that in going after them we are looking away from those in society who are actually causing us to struggle for the necessities and to feel deprived. But this has nothing to do with rationality.
This prenatal mind has us seeing everything through the fetal narrative: Once upon a time, there was harmony, bliss, perfection. Everyone was happy; we were strong (BPM I). But then came change in our lives. Our surroundings became increasingly filled with strange and alien others at the same time as we felt less free and more unhappy (BPM II crowdedness), our strength waning, and that times had gotten tough: There was less money and we felt unfairly deprived (BPM II oxygen deprivation).
We felt that these alien others were infecting our purity of life by imposing upon and inserting themselves into our lives (BPM II bad blood). Everything around us seemed dirtier and more foul and they were around us in increasing numbers (amounts), so it was their fault; and their continued presence would eventually kill us (BPM II poisonous placenta/ prenatal irritation, revulsion). It was they who were responsible for the loss of our pristine way of life. So to do anything about it, it was thought necessary to fight back against this incursion, defend our way of life, family, and the innocents from this “filth,” and shore up the goodness (good blood) and resources (oxygen) we still had.
In America this narrative is played out by the right wing and Tea Party folks: Essentially they see the world as having gone downhill since a 1950s-style “golden age” when everyone was serene, happy, and prosperous. Never mind that the wealthy at that time paid their fair share of taxes to contribute to a general prosperity, and these conservatives seek to return to it by having the wealthy pay little to no taxes now. Never mind either that it never really existed the way they think they remember it and that what they want to reinstate is a pasted together collage of childhood hurts and hopes, bad TV and movies, even worse advertisements and commercials conveying an image of the way Americans really had it (but did not), prenatal imprints, and wudda cudda shudda beens. They see liberals, bleeding hearts, hippies, immigrants, and minorities as responsible for preventing a return to that truly mythical golden age. So, these elements are scapegoated for the crimes of the 1%.
In Germany, the same narrative was played out, but their golden age was before World War I. Hitler got power by promising a return to that time of prosperity, and he scapegoated Jews and other minorities for their “fall from grace” by pointing to them as blocking a return to national strength and purity.
So sometimes how humans dealt with these threatening incursions of “poisonous” others was with all-out attack…and destruction. Those others were seen to be in the way, so it followed they would need to be eliminated. But in the process those “filthy” others would be made to feel the kinds of feelings that their presence was stimulating in the pure ones—the real Germans…nowadays the real Americans.
Remember, these others irritate us and just “burn” us (prenatal irritation/burning). Some say, “It just burns me to look at them!” And folks will act out horribly by killing these others by fire: by burning witches, Jews, enemies in general.
It continues to this day. In a previous section I mentioned the Baptist preacher—the one who got “pukin’ sick” at the thought of gays and lesbians—who wanted to surround them with an electrified fence! Not exactly like burning witches, but close enough.