Blog Archives

the roots of evil and fear and their transcendence … the necessary hero and the crisis of our times: Humor and the Divine Feminine

listener on youtube: “The world needs to hear this!! His words are like music to my ears...”

This is the latest interview with me. I talk a lot about my newly released book, Funny God: The Tao of Funny God and the Mind’s True Liberation as well as my soon to be released work, “Wounded Deer and Centaurs: The Necessary Hero and and the Prenatal Matrix of Human Events.” The transcendent approach to activism; the necessary hero and her/his qualities; the relation of activism to true spirituality; the oppression of women, feeling, and Nature, and its roots in civilization and patriarchal cultures; our inner Divinity; life; existence; and the roots of evil and fear and their transcendence are among the many topics covered.

What was said about it:

Kristina Asinus: “Our new episode with our dear friend Michael Adzema!!

“We discussed the divine dual polarities, sacred energy manifestations, the comedy and humor of life and much much more!”

Michael Adzema: “I just finished listening to it and i am delighted with how it came out… You guys managed to get the best and realest me to come out in it…. Yours and Stefan’s responses, comments, and questions were spot on as well…. I truly believe folks will get a lot out of listening to it, their spirits will be lifted, and they might feel an easing of the fear they carry around…

“as you know, that is why i do what i do…. to comfort and lighten up where i can… thank you to both of you for doing what you do….”

Maxine Downs: “I planned to listen for a half hr and the rest tomorrow but was enjoying it too much to stop!

“Great interview, Michael. your laugh is so infectious … how great is that….

“I love how you tell it how it is with your authentic self. fucking amazing.”

listener on youtube: “The world needs to hear this!! His words are like music to my ears...”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbLHY66LlXU&feature=youtu.be

Funny God: The Tao of Funny God and the Mind’s True Liberation is available at Amazon in print and e-book formats

http://www.amazon.com/Funny-God-Minds-Liberation-Return/dp/1499504845/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=1-1&qid=1436465784

Funny_God_Cover_for_Kindle

Other Books by Michael Adzema available at Amazon

final cover, CultureWar,ClassWar ApocEmergFinalCover4Kindle Final Cover Apoc No 4 Kindle Cover 2 Planetmates cover, final, 620 pt Final Exp Div Falls from Grace front cover

http://www.amazon.com/Michael-Adzema/e/B00J7F0URC/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1436465766&sr=1-2-ent

Juicy quotes from the book, Planetmates – The Great Reveal, by Michael Adzema (2014)

What the Planetmates say … for example….

“They say that an inter-being consciousness is possible that is almost like a coming together of heaven and Earth, and this being so, “something wonderful is going to happen.”“

“we get exactly why you have become the savage species you are. Indeed, we have a feeling in looking upon you very much the same as the way you view some of the most unfortunate of your own: “There but for the grace of God, go I.” “

“Planetmates here reveal the nature of Reality itself, describing it as Being-Awareness-Bliss, and they tell how humans separated from it.”

“They say we scorned “Eden,” rather than were ejected from it. Amazingly, they say that they are the helping, comforting beings we seek in the heavens, calling themselves our “angels in Nature.”“

“the Lucifer or Satan that we mythologize about is, in actuality, ourselves. It is humans who have defied the Divine and the natural order, in the throes of a most unnatural hubris, thinking ourselves equal to the Divine and above all else in Creation.”

“This is the sign on the road telling you that just before you lies the return home to the noble core within you.”

“The Planetmates ask if, with the apocalypse now looming as a result of our “evolution,” we might finally be able to see the lie of our illusions.”

planetmates come to warn, crppd 620pt

“the more twisted humans — those especially who were Controllers and Conformers — beat out more Authentic humans — which for reasons of women being closer to Nature included many of them.”

“in becoming increasingly dominating, sycophantic, and emotionless, we created an emptiness within and outside of us in our social environment a maze-like, fantastical panorama — likened most recently to a matrix. “

“This increasing depravity and separation from Nature is what accounts for human’s being capable of the current environmental crisis and with creating the possibility of planet death — as the result of human endeavor and “ingenuity” — at any moment.”

“The Controller/Conformer alliance dominated in the struggle humans created; it won out easily over the more Authentic humans. “

“With the beginnings of the concept of possession — of little importance prior to sedentary lifeways — Eden became owned….”

“With the focus on individual ownership, we began ourselves being enslaved by what we possessed.”

“Saying, “We watch as humans raise their dependent half-borns, very often using torture, violence, and all kinds of things that the other Earth Citizens would never imagine doing,” Planetmates tell us it is we who are the “animals” in Nature.”

“Consumed with baseless terrors and drowning in relentless mental machinations meant that humans would be less than ideal care-givers and would be neglectful of their children. We are “babies having babies,” they say.”

“they ask if now we possibly can see that this Ego, far from being the “evolution” we claim it to be, is actually arrayed against the survival or ourselves, both individually and as a species.”

“with sedentary ways, humans began wrestling their “angels”: Like Jacob wrestling the unrecognized divinity in the biblical account, in our switch to sedentary life we began confusing Divine Assistance with evil.”

“We forgot the beatific face of difficulties and struggles, and we saw the deprivations and pain of life as things to be avoided at all cost instead of as the blessings and guidance and instructions of Divinity.”

“this “domestication” of ourselves and Nature — this living in one place or sedentary living — has led to and is the root cause of the apocalyptic situation we are in at this very moment.”

“Planetmates say the “agrarian revolution” was the direst development and took the magic out of living. Cast out of the Now, we began living in Time, not Experience, and the richness of life faded. “

“Early humans were foragers and were still in harmony with Nature, but this tranquil time was destined to end.”

“Humans would stand out in Nature as suffering ape — the planetmate least able to partake of life’s enjoyment.”

“We became “human” and separate from all other Earth life at the point in our evolution when we had narrower pelvises, nine-month gestations, birth pain for mothers and newborns, and dependency on caregivers for survival for the first few years of life.”

“They delineate how bipedalism caused birth pain and how that is the beginning of our becoming so different from all of Nature … and so tragic, as they put it.”

“our minds are suffused and distracted with word symbols, which imprison and isolate us in a world of bookmarks of Reality, not Reality itself.”

“They say these dim reflections of What Is are often nonsensical and keep us blind to a wondrous Reality, which they and other beings do apprehend.”

“We, planetmates, are acting our role in this drama in coming to warn you. It is our part to reawaken your memory of your noble heritage.”

Planetmates fr cover, final, 620 pt

“magnifying life’s pain is what humans do that makes us unique in Nature. Yet that mistake, Planetmates say, is what holds the key to our survival … our redemption.”

“if you choose to be noble planetmates again and join with Nature in its defense, we will continue on in greater alliance together.”

“do you not see the Divine Providence you have turned your back on, resisted, even defied appearing here and now to welcome you home?”

“It is simple: You need to give the Universe a chance. Have faith that you can “stand” it, that the Universe does not contain things you cannot “stand,” things that would somehow “destroy” you or make you deranged.”

“Since Consciousness can never really “die” or be destroyed, there is nothing dire about the ending of a life; it is seen as simply another game beginning.”

“they embrace life or death as a gift, feeling that their most perfect joy is determined through either outcome and by a benevolence more knowledgeable than them as to which that would be.”

“The Planetmates say we did just as much “family farming” between the walls of our homes as we did in our fields … that our obsession to control had us raising our children in the same ignoble way we did crops and livestock.”

“They do not wish death, they say, but they risk it often in their immersion in a life experienced as fantastic and enjoyable”

“Planetmates explain that child abuse has been, until only recently, the norm for parenting of our young.”

“We say, “A man’s home is his castle.” In this we express how we would replace God Herself in the creation of our own personal Edens — in which everything has its reason for existing as being us.”

“The expulsion from Paradise that came with sedentary ways demanded increasingly complex, however vapid, entrancements — ritual and mores — of culture as compensation, however empty, for the loss. “

“According to our nonhuman brothers and sisters, humans secretly think, “There’s nothing really alive but me.”“

“the root of all our problems is our obsession to control and its resulting domination of everything around us.”

“We left behind the community and tribe life of our nomadic forebears for economic reasons that grew out of our sedentary-hierarchical societies.”

“We erected shrines to family equal to our terror of the uncontrolled.”

“what we place on high, use to boost our estimation of ourselves over all other living beings, and attribute to divine origins even is most often just a swirl of ritualistic craving and trickling satisfaction set in motion by keenly felt but supremely denied hurt.”

“Society and culture took the place of our missing connection with Nature; people became more “socialized” and “social” to make up for the sense of real belongingness and connection with Divinity they lost in the course of evolution. “

“Regarding evolution, they reiterate the way, with each dubious evolutionary “advance,” we enlarged our capacity for and appetite to control everything around us.”

“Humans are seen as sad, often laughable in the exactitude of their opposite- (of the Truth in every way imaginable) headedness, or, “wrong-gettedness.”“

“The Planetmates detail the characteristics of our perfectly unnatural Ego and show how our twin aberrations of controlling and conforming mark an ultimate break with the Divine and an ultimate opposite construct of being and consciousness. “

“It is nothing less than astonishing to see the outlines of current events in the patterns of social and economic interaction that began in prehistory, after the adoption of farming and the end of the nomadic lifestyle.”

“Storage of owned things created more greed — “unplanetmate-like greed” — along with an “unplanetmate-like” desire for more control, extending now beyond the planetmates of Nature to even those of our own species.”

“accumulating things led to controlling others”

“they have served us that way over the millennia in their roles as pets and “domesticated animals” — lives which they say they chose in their compassion, and pity, of the darkened lives we humans had created for ourselves”

“Planetmates were plucked from Nature’s perfect blueprint, set to our ends, driven by our brains crazed from early trauma. “

“when we were insensitive enough to begin killing fellow planetmates, it was only a matter of time before we were able to kill each other.”

“our end of innocence was brought about by ourselves; humans ejected themselves from “Eden.”“

Planetmates cover, final, 620 pt

[Planetmates: The Great Reveal, in print and e-book formats, is now available on Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/Planetmates-Great-Reveal-Return-Volume/dp/1496083326/ref=cm_rdp_product

To purchase any of Michael Adzema’s books, available in print and e-book formats, go to Michael Adzema’s books at Amazon. 

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=michael+adzema&rh=n%3A283155%2Ck%3Amichael+adzema ]

 

Like reading a letter from a wise, old friend….

By M.E.W. on February 5, 2014

I’ve recently finished reading Experience Is Divinity, by Michael Adzema.

If you ever have one of those days (weeks, months?) where it just doesn’t want to fit together, you really can use this.

Find a quiet space, fix a nice big mug of tea, and grab “Experience Is Divinity”.

You almost don’t need to use your brain. You just sort of let it absorb. Every once in a while, you find yourself thinking, ” Why wasn’t that simple thing already in my brain?”

None of Adzema books will lecture you; no heavy handed persuasion. You simply get a sense of his quiet confidence that he has something meaningful and he wants to share it with you. You won’t find psychobabble or cult like preaching; just a sort of, “This is what I think makes a lot of sense”, attitude.

The books sort of distill the most profound realities. You lay the book down, having a sense of simplicity and clarity and the chaos just sort of begins to fit. Nothing is different; it’s more that it’s OK that things are as they are.

More info and to orderExperience Is Divinity: Matter As Metaphor. Return to Grace, Volume 8

http://www.amazon.com/dp/1492932213/ref=dra_a_rv_ff_fx_it_P2000_1000?tag=dradisplay-20

Final Exp Div

To purchase any of Michael Adzema’s books, available in print and e-book formats, go to Michael Adzema’s books at Amazon.

Invite you to join me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/sillymickel

friend me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sillymickel

Apocalypse NO released. 2nd Book by Michael Adzema now available. Order Information

Apocalypse NO released. Book by Michael Adzema now available – Apocalypse NO, Apocalypse or Earth Rebirth and the Emerging Perinatal Unconscious. Order Information.

Apocalypse NO, the second book – of the four being published in the next four weeks – is now completed also.

This book can be ordered now and will be available, is available ….

Amazon: Immediately
Expanded Distribution channels: 6-8 Weeks
in Kindle it has been available already….

More information coming, as I have it.

Click below to order.

http://www.amazon.com/Apocalypse-NO-Emerging-Perinatal-Unconscious/dp/1492347213/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1381843954&sr=1-1&keywords=michael+adzema

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=michael+adzema&rh=n%3A283155%2Ck%3Amichael+adzema

Final Cover Apoc No 4 Kindle

These are the strangest of days. We live in a time in which ending our species in our lifetime, even eliminating all life on this planet, are very real possibilities. The awareness of this acceleration toward an “end of days”—while so horrifying we hardly speak it—hangs over us and affects us in ways singular and fantastic.

Apocalypse NO, Apocalypse or Earth Rebirth and the Emerging Perinatal Unconscious awakens us to the unconscious influences erupting into our world which are changing the Earth and us in radical ways. Herein is revealed the underbelly of our modern life and the impetus behind our self-destruction. We see primal forces arising and exposed. Finally, we can direct our attention to the roots of our drive to apocalypse and reverse it.

More than that, this awakening provides a way of transformation. For in the heart of this darkness lies the most incredible opportunity for taking a leap beyond what we think of as human nature. This time calls for a new hero’s cycle—one that leaves behind the thuggishness of the old one. We are lifted beyond ourselves in a higher calling and a transcendent yet deeply rooted spirituality.

We realize that the necessary answer to the dilemma of apocalypse or Earth rebirth lies, not only in the resurrection of a new Earth, but in the dawning of a new self as well.

About the Author

Michael Adzema is a writer, activist, teacher, and psychotherapist. He was the editor of a professional journal of primal psychology and was the first person in the United States to teach prenatal and perinatal psychology at the university level. In the early Eighties, working as an anti-nuke activist, he was one those whose actions led to ending nuclear plant construction in the United States. In addition to Apocalypse NO, he has authored the books, Falls from Grace, which is a reference on prenatal and perinatal psychology; Primal Renaissance; Experience Is Divinity: Culture War, Class War; and the companion volume to this one, Apocalypse Emergency—Love’s Wake-Up Call.

Final Cover Apoc No

Apocalypse Emergency: Love’s Wake-Up Call. Book by Michael Adzema released. Order Information.

Well, I “pulled the trigger” on the first one. 3 more books coming in short order.

This book can be ordered now and will be available, is available ….

CreateSpace eStore: Immediately
Amazon.com: 5-7 Business Days
Amazon Europe: 5-7 Business Days
Expanded Distribution channels: 6-8 Weeks
in Kindle it has been available already….

More information coming, as I have it.

Click below to order.

https://www.createspace.com/4455846?ref=1147694&utm_id=6026

ApocEmergFinalCover4Kindle

Apocalypse Emergency—Love’s Wake-Up Call is about a frightening global predicament that everyone seems to be aware of but which few people are giving the attention and seriousness it deserves. Why people would do that and why the media would be inclined to shy away is understandable.

We simply have no way of comprehending the magnitude of what is happening—the end of life on Earth—nor how fast it is occurring—likely in our lifetime—since no living thing on this planet in its multibillion year history has had to face what we are.

The environmental collapse now occurring can be compared to a trillion-alarm fire with everyone looking the other way. We need to respond to it with the urgency of being in a world war, marshaling all available national and world resources and not with the complacency of a boy-scout litter pick-up campaign.

“Love’s Wake-Up Call” goes back and forth between the horrors that are possible and this unique situation with the potential so strong to bring humans to raise themselves up and be led by their better angels more than any other time. At no other time in the history of the world was the truth of the saying “we’re all in this together” more patently true.

About the Author

Michael Adzema is a writer, activist, teacher, and psychotherapist. In the early Eighties, working as an anti-nuke activist, he was one those whose actions led to ending nuclear plant construction in the United States. He was the editor of a professional journal of primal psychology and was the first person in the United States to teach prenatal and perinatal psychology at the university level. In addition to Apocalypse NO, he has authored the books, Falls from Grace, which is a reference on prenatal and perinatal psychology; Primal Renaissance; Experience Is Divinity: Culture War, Class War; and the companion volume to this one, Apocalypse NO—Apocalypse or Earth Rebirth and the Emerging Perinatal Unconscious.

Feedback wanted: Apocalypse – No! Apocalypse or Earth Rebirth and the Emerging Perinatal Unconscious. cover and description. Comments?

Apocalypse – No! Apocalypse or Earth Rebirth and the Emerging Perinatal Unconscious … book soon to be released. Feedback?

Apocalypse No cover

It has been so helpful to me to get people’s feedback on the cover design and back cover text of the second book coming out (Apocalypse Emergency) that I thought I would do the same with the first book as well (Apocalypse – No!). Thanks to all who contributed, by the way.

This first book will be available in print about a week after I give the final go-ahead, which could be any time now, and I can make last-minute changes, still, if needed. (It is already available on Kindle at the link below.)

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?rh=n%3A133140011%2Ck%3Amichael+adzema&keywords=michael+adzema&ie=UTF8

So before i give the final ok, what do you think of the cover and/or text? Feedback? Comments? Here is the back cover text I have for it:

******************

These are the strangest of days. We live in a time in which ending our species in our lifetime, even eliminating all life on this planet, are very real possibilities. The awareness of this acceleration toward an “end of days” — while so horrifying that we are in denial of it and hardly speak it — hangs over us and affects us in ways singular and fantastic.

This book — Apocalypse No, Apocalypse or Earth Rebirth and the Emerging Perinatal Unconscious — awakens us to the unique character of our times. There are powerful factors and unconscious influences erupting into our world now which are changing the Earth and us in radical ways … for good and ill. This unprecedented era in history is rife with the perinatal, that is, with repressed memories locked into us arising from our experiences of birth. We see that our impending apocalypse has to do with birth feelings, birth trauma — an emerging perinatal unconscious.

Herein is revealed the underbelly of our modern world and life and the impetus behind our self-destruction. We see primal forces arising and exposed. We begin to understand how and why this is happening now. Knowing this gives us the power to do something about our dire situation. Finally, we can direct our attention to the roots of our drive to apocalypse and reverse it.

More than that, this awakening provides a way of transformation for ourselves. For we see that in the heart of this darkness we are bringing down upon us lies the most incredible opportunity for taking a leap beyond what we think of as human nature. This time calls for a new hero’s cycle — one that leaves behind the thuggishness of the old one. We are lifted beyond ourselves in a higher calling and a transcendent yet deeply rooted spirituality.

We realize that the necessary answer to the dilemma of apocalypse or Earth rebirth lies, not only in the resurrection of a new Earth, but in the dawning of a new self as well.

******

By the way. This book is available right now on Kindle at the link above. The way it works is this: If you wait the week or two for the print edition, which is priced at 14.95, you will get the e-book free along with it. The Kindle e-book is 9.99 purchased on its own.

For those who don’t have or don’t want to spend the money for their own copy, this book can be read for free, on-line, by going to any of my blogs. My intent is not to make money on this, it is to be part of the solution in a time that needs all the help it can get.

I look forward to your comments, my friends.

Apocalypse Emergency: Love’s Wake-Up Call – book soon to be released. Feedback?

Apocalypse Emergency: Love’s Wake-Up Call – book soon to be released. Feedback?

cover

I am now working on the second book to come out in October. Here is what I have so far for back cover text and cover design. Any thoughts, feedback, suggestions?

“Apocalypse Emergency—Love’s Wake-Up Call is about a frightening global predicament that everyone seems to be aware of but which few people are giving the attention and seriousness it deserves. Why people would do that and why the media would be inclined to shy away is understandable.

We simply have no way of comprehending the magnitude of what is happening, nor how fast, since no living thing on this planet in its multibillion year history has had to face what we are.

The environmental collapse occurring can be compared to a trillion-alarm fire with everyone looking the other way. We need to respond to it with the urgency of being in a world war, marshaling all available national and world resources and not with the complacency of a boy-scout litter pick-up campaign.

“Love’s Wake-Up Call” goes back and forth between the horrors that are possible and this unique situation with the potential so strong to bring humans to raise themselves up and be led by their better angels more than any other time.

As the author, in jumping into these waters, I expected to be emotionally beat up. Instead I came to many understandings and saw the positions of many who aren’t helping right now somewhat through their eyes and found compassion, not blame.

Being a depth psychotherapist and a student of other cultures across all time periods informed my conclusions, shaped them, and took me to visions of possible futures that I did not expect. For all we have done it seems we have called down upon ourselves to be tested and to be found either worthy or else deserving of the grave we are digging.

However, facing dire challenges — and this being the most dire of all — brings out the best in humans. What it will mean could be exciting and triumphant beyond belief as humans come out of their puerile adolescent phase and become united and shaped for millennia by this great struggle. We could also die trying our mightiest, which has a nobility to it.

It will be scary and interesting, and you will be helped if you have a strong faith. Beyond that, it will be the biggest adventure that the entire globe ever faced together, and the outcome could be just about anything.

I finished this book feeling so much love and unity with all humans and living things. For I knew that at no other time in the history of the world was the truth of the saying “we’re all in this together” more patently true.”

Apocalypse No, Apocalypse or Earth Rebirth and the Emerging Perinatal Unconscious finally released!

The electronic version of my first book will be available beginning tomorrow. “Apocalypse No, Apocalyse or Earth Rebirth and the Emerging Perinatal Unconscious” is being listed on Kindle at that time.

The paperback version will be out in about three weeks.Thanks to everyone for their help in giving me feedback and support while it was in process.

much love, Michael Adzema

Your Map of Reality Was Written in the Womb: Falls from Grace, Chapter One — Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and the Phenomenon of Re-Experience

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”

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 GrofBreathwork, 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).

He stressed the maternal-fetal distress syndrome, beginning at around implantation, as a major time of trauma. He also described a blastocystic stage of relative bliss just prior to that.

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).

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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

Return to Falls from Grace, Introduction — The Radical Rational View of Us and It: “Normal” Truth Is Convenient Truth … and Is Anything But True

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The Vision of Ourselves Arising from This New Research Is the Most Important One for Understanding Our Humanicidal, Ecocidal Plunge and for Doing Something to Reverse It

We Are a Fever, Part One: Perinatal Psychology, the Phenomenon of Re-Experience, and my Personal Involvement with This Research into Our Actual “Human Nature”

How do we go about changing the patterns of millennia? How do we change, and change radically … and soon? How do we bring about the consciousness transformation that will allow us to avert the humanicidal, indeed ecocidal, scenario we are currently bringing about at breakneck speed.

Well, it is pretty clear that it is ignorance pushing these trends, along with unconscionable doses of denial and ignore-ance. So, reversing this means learning why it is humans can be so self-destructive. Ignorance must be replaced with awareness and understanding. Looking at our problems must be happening more than our current denial is. And we must trace our current ecocidal tendencies to their roots, and we must do something about them there.

This is something I have been doing for over forty years. I sought the answers to our most important questions. I did not know that someday these questions would be as pressing as they are currently. I thought we would have turned the corner on these problems a long time ago, as indeed we should have done if we were to give ourselves any real chance.

Be that as it may, I have researched and studied in this area. I have undergone many years of deep experiential psychotherapy to trace the roots of these human tendencies within my own mind and psyche. (See, for example, Wounded Deer and Centaurs, Prologue: Sure It’s Hard).

And I have studied humanity—it’s mind and it’s culture—in depth.

What I have discovered is that our current humanicidal tendencies are rooted in a particular birth that characterizes humans. Elsewhere  I have delineated how we humans, among all species, have come to be unique in this manner. In another book, I have laid out how and why these unconscious traumas from our birth—our perinatal unconscious—are rising more than ever before, whether to our detriment or in some uncanny method of healing.

In this book, Wounded Deer and Centaurs: The Perinatal Zeitgeist of Postmodern Times and the Necessary Hero, we look deeper. We trace those tendencies further, to even deeper roots. We find patterns even more profound; we see possibilities even more promising.

But before going deeper even than birth, in teasing out our patterns and predilections, we need understand birth. We must review the perinatal imprints on our personality and remember how we are affected, indeed, pushed and pulled by forces those early events have set in motion.

Pre- and Perinatal Psychology and the Phenomenon of Re-Experience

Pre- and perinatal psychology is the field that deals with the effects of events occurring prior to (prenatal) and surrounding the time of birth (perinatal) 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-three 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 60 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 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.

Indeed, the earliest indications are that the implications from including the prenatal and primal perspective are vast—one might even say revolutionary, in the true sense of the word. For indeed this new perspective, this new information seems to call for an overthrow, or at least a reversal, of many of the aspects of the dominant paradigms in child-caring, child development, psychotherapy, and spiritual growth. Not the least important, these findings and insights have direct bearing on our current ecocidal and humanicidal plunge to oblivion. So, the vision is the most important one for understanding why we are doing what we are doing and then how we might do something to actually reverse our course.

To begin, then, let us review what has so far been conceived in relation to our life and our worldview in the arena of pre- and perinatal psychology.

Continue with We Are a Fever, Part Two — The Evidence That Life’s Blueprint Is Written at Birth: Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology Overview — Early Theorists, Psychoanalysis, and Birth

Return to The Sins of the Fathers: I have This Sense of Brother/ Sisterhood — That We Are Engaged in an Immense Undertaking … Necessary for the Survival of This Planet.

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