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Positive thinking is way too negative for me: “Struggling with one’s thoughts is like struggling to get all the chairs in line on the decks of the Titanic”

What you think, you become.

What you feel, you think.

The cumulative result of all that you’ve experienced in your life, you feel now.

That is heavily weighted toward those events that were powerful and traumatic and remain unfelt and repressed …. still. (this is why folks end up doing primal therapy; the other stuff doesn’t work)

So, go on thinking that you can change your life by thinking differently…. changing your thoughts, doing affirmations….

But when you fail, know that there is still hope.

Struggling with one’s thoughts is like struggling to get all the chairs in line on the decks of the Titanic. 

if one can’t do primal, best one should devote oneself to service of others, a higher cause, along with keeping one’s minds fixed on the Divine, however one conceives that.

beating oneself up for negative thoughts is just taking on the oppressors role, bringing it inside … it keeps one removed from Divinity ….

for Divinity is never judging, not even of oneself, one should notice negative thoughts … they, too, are messages from the Divine….

that doesn’t mean one should act (out) on them. but trying to change them is like trying to answer only the “good” phone calls from God … and that is hardly surrender.

negative actions come back on one. 

negative thoughts? 

meh

even meditators say one should not judge oneself for negative thoughts, but should allow them to arise in consciousness, become full, and then burst and dissipate … in the meditative process

what I’m adding is that one can and should … for the ones not so easily gotten rid of … allow them to arise in consciousness and allow oneself to even be beaten up by and to struggle with them (this is Jacob wrestling with the angel, as an example). One simply has to expend all possible energy in not acting them out … not giving them energy by doing something about them … like taking revenge, et cetera….

For the bottom line is one cannot know if a negative thought is or is not an angel in disguise. As I have phrased it, borrowing from Jung, one sees an angel as a devil until one is wholly enough to accept her….

– from “The Teachings of SillyGod” in
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“You ‘grow’ your children like house plants, you pet them when they are young like kittens; you have them ‘fetch’ the way you would dogs”

“Raising” children and planetmates … “growing” plants and families … incest taboo, much more from the Planetmates

“At any rate, without peeling apart your human truth productions one by one and dissecting them, we can generalize by saying that — as seen in the light of Earth Citizen consciousness — they are overly complicated and in their confusion are wrong-getted of just about everything; they are a reverse, bizarro perspective in many ways.

“Indeed so much is this true that there did not exist a concept such as “stupid” before your kind came along. This is not meant to be insulting to say that. Think of it. Consider us in Nature and what we are doing in going about our lives, and tell us how we are wrong in going about it. You cannot. For you see the perfection, the intricate interconnection, of everything that exists in Nature. Indeed, that is what makes you feel inferior. And feeling inferior, it is what pushes you to come up with rationalizations to explain your errant ways, such as that we have merely “instinct” while you … oh, glorious you … have “free will”!

“Your thinking is a form of dementia to be sure. But it is humorous, too, and is a source of amusement for us. If only you could see yourselves, puffing and preening, playing ever like you are before some kind of camera and are the only one on the stage.

“But far worse than that is the ignoble quality of your views. For the result of all this wrong-gettedness is more than just unfortunate and laughable, it is tragic and often ghastly. For we see the way these odd, demented views have directed your behavior in disastrous ways toward all else but you.

“In particular, we observe your behavior toward your own offspring and see how it mirrors your treatment of us planetmates.

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“Reflecting your manner of engagement with flora planetmates, you “raise” you children like you do vegetables. For many of you, over the course of your post-agrarian existence, conceiving children is akin to planting crops. You went about it in the same methodical way — without pleasure and with your mind focused on what you could eventually reap, of your actions, and how you would use and manage that “product.” Even the idea of a family — having a “brood” of children, as you put it — brings to mind a field of uniform and faceless — personality-less — items … a “product” of your labors. It is no coincidence that you call what mothers go through in giving birth to a child, labor. The child is seen as a product of your effort, a concrete achievement that can be used, like a tool, to achieve ends beyond it, and stood upon, like an accomplishment, in your relentless struggle for power and control.

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“As for fauna planetmates, you kidnap and capture your fellow Earth Citizens, us, and in your ignoble and unfeeling “management” you would have us not walk alongside you but be as mere clay for you to mold whatever you desire with. You control where we go, what we eat, what we do, virtually all of the time, and who we will mate with, and when, and how. You pluck our offspring from us, like an apple from a tree, for any use of yours at all, including consumption. You force us into excruciating labor — the likes of which you would not do — and you “train” us to do tricks for you and amuse you. You see our lives to be yours, and you look into what can come of such a life as ours and seek to appropriate, for your own use and pleasure, what you see. We are little different, for you, from machines, which you can beat and pound to keep running and push to the maximum of their capacity.

“Reflecting this perverted relationship, which you eventually developed, and have now, with the fauna consciousness, you “raise” your children. They also are your belongings. Like horses being raised for carriage, your young ones are raised and trained to carry your “baggage” — physical but also emotional. Like oxen being trained for the plow, your children are raised and trained to pull your enterprises forward. Like dogs they are trained to guard and protect your possessions. Your children you teach to perform for you and to entertain you, as they were seals. You do not manage all the details of the actual fornication of your children, as you do planetmates. But you, very often, determine who will be mated with who; and through cultural and personal persuasion, you extend the size of your families through them and such sexual activities of theirs. You “grow” your children like house plants, you pet them when they are young like kittens; you have them “fetch” the way you would dogs. They are yours to be used for anything you want, like machines. The way children are treated just like things and are shaped and fashioned through brutal surgeries like circumcision and clitorectomy will be dealt with in more detail in the next prasad where we shed light on your use of children as tools.

“Even your vaunted incest taboo — another self-congratulation, this one a favorite of your intellectuals — is a lie. How ironic that the one — the only one — thing that you would claim as an instinct for you would in actuality not be, and would be another one of the many things you concoct to hide the truth of you. Indeed, it seems clear that your cultural proscriptions against incest are in place, not as an expression of universal instinct … for if it was truly instinctual, why would it need to be culturally prohibited … but out of the fact that you need to be kept from doing that which too many of you would otherwise do. More than ironic, how much of a howler it is that this one claim of yours of instinct — a nod to your delusion of superior morality — would actually be instinctual for your nearest planetmate relatives — chimpanzees and other primates — in their relation between parent and child.

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“You would think you would have gotten the clue that incest is in you in the many mythological stories you have involving it. You have fathers and daughters cavorting and making offspring, mothers and sons, even siblings. There is good reason it would come out in your mythologies, for they are where you project and express the things about yourself you cannot think, or say aloud. Your unconscious — all those things you hide from yourself, and incest more than qualifies — is the raw material from which you concoct your mythologies.

“Thus, unlike your cousin chimpanzees — in this light seen to be more “moral” than thou — quite to the contrary, in more cultures than you want to acknowledge and in all cultures more than you will let yourself see, children have been your sexual playthings, your sexual toys — both inside as well as outside the family. Ancient Greece, pedagogical institutions of all times and cultures, and clergy — in particular, Catholic — are examples of these. It is not uncommon for cultures to have institutionalized rape of young girls; some of your “initiations” involve the participants’ coercion into the performance of sexual services — in this case, by boys — for the pleasure of the ritual conductors and attendants. Your “civilized” abhorrence of such activities, with its accompanying denial, covers the multitude of perverted inclinations existing in many of you….”

[Pt 1 of 28th Prasad — Family. More coming…  
 
To see the entire book, to which this will be added eventually (book is two-thirds updated), go to  http://mladzema.wordpress.com/the-great-reveal-book-6/ …
 

Planetmates: The Great Reveal – Michael’s latest book — is now available in print   at https://www.createspace.com/4691119

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Children a Burden … Unfit Parents: Children Became the Ultimate Repository for the Suffering Resulting from Social Conformity and Its Humiliation, Say Planetmates in the 21st Prasad (updated)

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“You are Babies Raising Babies”: Consumed with Baseless Terrors and Caught up in Relentless Mental Machinations, Humans Are Hardly Fit Care-Givers, According to the Planetmates 

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The Great Reveal from the Planetmates, the Twenty-First Prasad: Children a Burden … Unfit Parents

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Planetmates Release The Twenty-First Prasad

Fully Growns Hardly Fit Care Givers for Newborns

clip_image002Tree Frog is First Consciousness at The Twenty-First Prasad. Alongside the increasing time of helplessness and dependence of newborns was the increasing reluctance of fully growns to jeopardize their survival for their own newborns.

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The Twenty-First Prasad – Children a Burden

clip_image003imagfdhjkfgesBut the fully growns are at the same time consumed by the controlling, conforming, backwards thinking, and the alien and crazed overstimulation of consciousness that we’ve been describing.user1863_1164423895 In this state they are hardly fit to be good care givers to newborns. Remember that fear for your survival—of deprivation and uncertainty—drives your obsessive controlling and conforming. So there was an increasing tendency, elephantfamily.animal,portraits,animals,life,wild,animal,photos,of,the,year-a6d4a06eb2c7aecbbff4d9b327655963_h (2)as you became more “human,” as we’ve defined you, to not want to add the workers8burden of caring for dependent young ones to your already uncertain state. Alongside the increasing time of helplessness and dependence of newborns was chronicles-of-narnia-the-lion-the-witch-and-the-wardrobe-the-20051019035132942_640wthe increasing reluctance of fully growns to jeopardize their survival for their own newborns. These reluctant feelings did not fully manifest, however, until around the time of ultimate control and crazed beingness that occurred with the switch to sedentary and accumulating-conforming ways.

Paraphrase/Elaboration of the Twenty-First Prasad — by SillyMickel Adzema

imagfsdghdgjfesNow, let us look at childhood from the perspective of your fully growns.

For your adults are not passive actors in these developments. As we have been saying, this is the ultimate and easiest arena of control for humans.
clip_image007Sure enough, your adults consciously and unconsciously foster and constrain the Ego creations of your young ones in the course of their care giving.

You know how you seek to do it consciously. You call it “raising” your children; again, you show how you objectivize the world and how its people look to you like things to be grown for your use and consumption, much like your crops or chickens. More kindly, you view it as “training” them; though you would never acknowledge, however true, that your aim is to mold and force upon them a shape that makes of them just another extension of you … a mini-me. Again, there is that Ego of you. And here you see how your effects on your children begin to become unconscious influences: You affect them in ways of which you are completely oblivious and always and everywhere have vehemently denied. Still, we must tell you, for those who, because of the pressing and intense nature of these times and their unusual sensitivity to the needs of those beyond just themselves, are able to hear it.

_17_1750_WNN3D00ZWhat you are always and everywhere ignorant of is your biological, species-determined inability to give adequate care to those dependent on you. You are, for all the reasons we have been listing, “not quite here,” virtually all of the time.

illuminati-controlYou are distracted and self-obsessed. While responsible for tending the young’s needs,
you are forever distracted by your controlling and conforming obsessions; you are continually derailed and led astray by your backward thinking. You are barely able to focus outside of yourselves, as you are constantly consumed by the alien and crazed, overstimulated consciousness that characterizes you.

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You cannot help but be poor caregivers, with all these other things going on inside you. For children require attentiveness and focus on their needs, and you are ever self-obsessed, and your minds are busy building walls to buffer reality and bridges over unpleasant Nows to fantastical and ever receding futures of ease.

clip_image009Looking back at the deepest origins of that feverish controlling and fearful conforming we remember that it is rooted in and driven by your underlying — exaggerated and foundationless — fears of death — the supposed end of your beingness.
clip_image010This fear for your survival is made keen by your incessant paranoia of becoming deprived and of facing uncertainty, as you actually did, in most horrifying ways, as infants.

LionWitchWardrobe2_BirminghamSo, the very same deprivations and uncertainty we planetmates embrace as providing the spice and delightful play of life for you are the forces to drive your obsessive controlling. Furthermore, as you became more “human,” you became that much more, not less, fearful of death; you became ever more terrified of an imaginary future containing uncontainable levels of pain of not getting what you want. You became ever more deranged when confronting uncertainty in your present.

So, consumed with baseless terrors and caught up in your relentless mental machinations around them, you cannot bear the thought of adding the burden of children to all that.

Masked_Characters_14Hardly able to focus outside yourselves and lost in a matrix of long-ago schemas of feelings (from infancy and birth)—pushing and pulling you all about regardless of what you are confronted with in the present—you are babies raising babies.

You would like to make up for your inability by having your newborns simply grow up faster and not be such babies for so long. For after all, it is only their neediness that offends you. It drags you down and requires that you leave off some of your activities and thoughts in the efforts of defense and come out of yourself to heed another’s needs. “If only they would cry less”; “If only they would sleep through the night”; “If only they would poop in the right place.”

Forever falling short of filling your needs in the present, as you go about doing that along with attempting to fill the ever present list of imaginary “needs” left over from your past, you cannot be good caregivers for needy others. Put another way, burdened as you are with imaginary struggles, it does not behoove you to attend to another’s real needs.

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Bad enough, all this was when you were nomadic, gatherers and hunters, but all of this was made worse by the switch to sedentary living. For with fixed abodes, inequality of stores, and the resulting social hierarchy came all its requirements to conform increasingly to the demands of a social arena for the satisfaction of one’s needs. Remember that in Nature you enjoyed a relative independence of action in satisfying your basic needs. In Nature, you knew the relative self-assurance that one could always fend for oneself, if need be. 

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But hierarchy and increased specialization of function—which was a narrowing of the fullness of life experience down to a focus on the aspect of it which could be traded in society for survival—made one dependent on the good will of others for survival. It re-created the state of infantile dependence on one’s care-givers. You were thrust ever, triggered ever, into feelings of helplessness vis-à-vis the Other, which now would include the social matrix within which you were nurtured and fed.

We will leave for later how this, in itself alone, transformed your ideas of Divinity, again … this time it took on more of the qualities of the ones you were most dependent upon—strong men or a man, patriarchal elders, and chiefs—instead of the forces of Nature and its central experience of rebirth. For now it is more important to notice that the major effect this fundamental helplessness in relation to society had upon your feelings and thoughts was the requirement, always, that one’s actions be not just sufficient (for survival) but pleasing (to Other). So, to a consciousness caught up in pushes and pulls left over from early deprivations and trauma in interaction with an inattentive, sometimes harsh, Other (one’s caregiver/parent) was added the pushes and pulls to appeal to, and be approved by, similar unconcerned, careless, sometimes brutal Others in the present, which were one’s higher ups.

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This could not help but make it even more difficult to attend to the needs of your young. In the drama of intrigue and chicanery, which erupted out of the necessary interaction for fulfillment of needs with increasingly larger numbers of similarly helpless and equally desperate others in society, you were engaging the majority of the attention and focus you did have. Caught up in the necessary wiles of life left you with little over. The persistent and undeniable needs of children, arising at any time of the day or night, was an unwanted addition to the increasing demands and complexities of daily life.

The result? From the preceding prasads it can easily be guessed what transpired: Children were the lowest in the hierarchy of importance in any society—they were often abandoned or even killed, oftentimes right at birth—for they were the least able to defend themselves and represented the biggest additional outlay of resources and effort of anything coming into an adult’s life. But they were under the most pressure and were the most scapegoated in the hierarchical societies which came with sedentary living.

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In ways very similar to the change in the perceptions of women, with hierarchy—that is, with there being controlling and demanding persons ever above one—came incredible pressure to extract from others below oneself amounts of complicity and service equal to what was being demanded from above. It was the unconscious trade-off that men sought for the sacrifice of their energy, time, and self-esteem to those above.

By that we mean that men knew and secretly resented the fact that they needed to put time and effort into the needs and wants of those above them, rather than their own. They felt they could live with that as long as they could balance that suck of energy from them to above with acquisition of unworked for boons from those below. More simply, if you had to suck up to those above you, you could console yourself with the fact that others below you sucked up to you. This was all decided unconsciously, of course. So men used women and controlled them in an amount equal to that which they themselves felt controlled and dominated from above. Men knew they were humiliated and denigrated to an intolerable degree by those above, but they were able to live with that if at other times they also could dominate and bully.

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dirtyhippieAnd, of course, women were always targets for all this scapegoating and abuse. But even further down—and available to be scapegoated even by women—were the children. So, again, children were felt to be both the one excludable variable in life’s burdens as well as the ultimate repository for the suffering brought about by such burdens. They were not wanted and were killed or abandoned, being felt to be additional burdens on psychologically and economically distracted adults. But if they were allowed to live, their needs would be set aside in accordance with the pathetic needs of caregivers who desperately sought dependent underlings (of any kind, women or children, fringe group or subservient class) upon which to balance the injustices of one’s adult life.

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It is no coincidence, either, that women, being the easiest ones to burden, the ultimate societal scapegoats, would have thrust upon them the burden of caregiving that men did not want. Being the child-bearers they were obvious candidates; but these societal pressures that came with sedentary living increased and reinforced that relation. And men were both more anxious as well as more able—more easily beginning with sedentary life—to cut themselves away from any such responsibilities regarding children. However, they heaped extra pressure on women. For the fact that women, being lowest on the totem pole, were the most supervised of all sectors of adults meant that although men would not want to help in child caregiving, they certainly did not want women to be so cavalier about it.

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So, women were in the worst situation. Being the repository of the suffering of their men, who themselves were the repository of the misery of the strong men above them, women carried the heaviest burden yet were left with no one below them to pass along the burden of caregiving.

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clip_image012Further, this task of attentiveness to children is a complication that just adds to your considerable discomfort around not knowing things, not being able to control things … around uncertainty. For while you sought to control everything about you, your children would be the one major factor upsetting your carefully made plans and throwing the monkey wrench into any laboriously constructed ease you were able to carve out for yourself.

imaghjklgfesSo while your newborns required more, you clip_image013would prefer to give less. Your newborns required ever longer periods in the dependent and helpless state as you changed over time, while
with your increasing fears you felt it risky to focus on a helpless other and away from your attention to warding off present and future imaginary threats.

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clip_image004pepper-spray-ponyThis reluctance to care for your newborns only became truly apparent and blatant after your transition from nomadic ways to sedentary ones, however.
th_familyFor this switch allowed full rein to your mania to
Melancholia-accumulate and control and,
with this increased separation from the natural, a greater state of ordinary madness. You peaked, at this point, as far as your desires for controlling. So the unpredictability brought by newborn others was that much more unappealing.

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Continue with The Great Reveal from the Planetmates, the Twenty-Second Prasad: Perinatal Conformity and The Earliest Beauty Contest

Return to The Great Reveal from the Planetmates, the Twentieth Prasad: Obsessive Control — Controlling Your Young

To Read the Entire Book … on-line, free at this time … Go to The Great Reveal from The Planetmates

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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.

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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 Template for All You Think Was Created at Birth: Overview of the Pre- and Perinatal Psychology Field — Early Theorists, Psychoanalysis, and Birth

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

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, 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

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, 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, as we shall see.

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. His work is extremely relevant to the issues of this book and we will be returning to him again and again in this work.

Continue with Everything You “Know” About Religion You Learned as a Fetus: We Are a Fever, Part Three — Later Prenatal Psychology Theorists — Breathwork, Myth, and Consciousness

Return to 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”

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Children a Burden … Unfit Parents: Children Became the Ultimate Repository for the Suffering Resulting from Social Conformity and Its Humiliation, Say Planetmates in the 21st Prasad

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“You are Babies Raising Babies”: Consumed with Baseless Terrors and Caught up in Relentless Mental Machinations, Humans Are Hardly Fit Care-Givers, According to the Planetmates 

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The Great Reveal from the Planetmates, the Twenty-First Prasad: Children a Burden … Unfit Parents

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Planetmates Release The Twenty-First Prasad

Fully Growns Hardly Fit Care Givers for Newborns

clip_image002Tree Frog is First Consciousness at The Twenty-First Prasad. Alongside the increasing time of helplessness and dependence of newborns was the increasing reluctance of fully growns to jeopardize their survival for their own newborns.

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The Twenty-First Prasad – Children a Burden

clip_image003imagfdhjkfgesBut the fully growns are at the same time consumed by the controlling, conforming, backwards thinking, and the alien and crazed overstimulation of consciousness that we’ve been describing.user1863_1164423895 In this state they are hardly fit to be good care givers to newborns. Remember that fear for your survival—of deprivation and uncertainty—drives your obsessive controlling and conforming. So there was an increasing tendency, elephantfamily.animal,portraits,animals,life,wild,animal,photos,of,the,year-a6d4a06eb2c7aecbbff4d9b327655963_h (2)as you became more “human,” as we’ve defined you, to not want to add the workers8burden of caring for dependent young ones to your already uncertain state. Alongside the increasing time of helplessness and dependence of newborns was chronicles-of-narnia-the-lion-the-witch-and-the-wardrobe-the-20051019035132942_640wthe increasing reluctance of fully growns to jeopardize their survival for their own newborns. These reluctant feelings did not fully manifest, however, until around the time of ultimate control and crazed beingness that occurred with the switch to sedentary and accumulating-conforming ways.

Paraphrase/Elaboration of the Twenty-First Prasad — by SillyMickel Adzema

imagfsdghdgjfesNow, let us look at childhood from the perspective of your fully growns.

For your adults are not passive actors in these developments. As we have been saying, this is the ultimate and easiest arena of control for humans.
clip_image007Sure enough, your adults consciously and unconsciously foster and constrain the Ego creations of your young ones in the course of their care giving.

You know how you seek to do it consciously. You call it “raising” your children; again, you show how you objectivize the world and how its people look to you like things to be grown for your use and consumption, much like your crops or chickens. More kindly, you view it as “training” them; though you would never acknowledge, however true, that your aim is to mold and force upon them a shape that makes of them just another extension of you … a mini-me. Again, there is that Ego of you. And here you see how your effects on your children begin to become unconscious influences: You affect them in ways of which you are completely oblivious and always and everywhere have vehemently denied. Still, we must tell you, for those who, because of the pressing and intense nature of these times and their unusual sensitivity to the needs of those beyond just themselves, are able to hear it.

_17_1750_WNN3D00ZWhat you are always and everywhere ignorant of is your biological, species-determined inability to give adequate care to those dependent on you. You are, for all the reasons we have been listing, “not quite here,” virtually all of the time.

illuminati-controlYou are distracted and self-obsessed. While responsible for tending the young’s needs,
you are forever distracted by your controlling and conforming obsessions; you are continually derailed and led astray by your backward thinking. You are barely able to focus outside of yourselves, as you are constantly consumed by the alien and crazed, overstimulated consciousness that characterizes you.

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You cannot help but be poor caregivers, with all these other things going on inside you. For children require attentiveness and focus on their needs, and you are ever self-obsessed, and your minds are busy building walls to buffer reality and bridges over unpleasant Nows to fantastical and ever receding futures of ease.

clip_image009Looking back at the deepest origins of that feverish controlling and fearful conforming we remember that it is rooted in and driven by your underlying — exaggerated and foundationless — fears of death — the supposed end of your beingness.
clip_image010This fear for your survival is made keen by your incessant paranoia of becoming deprived and of facing uncertainty, as you actually did, in most horrifying ways, as infants.

LionWitchWardrobe2_BirminghamSo, the very same deprivations and uncertainty we planetmates embrace as providing the spice and delightful play of life for you are the forces to drive your obsessive controlling. Furthermore, as you became more “human,” you became that much more, not less, fearful of death; you became ever more terrified of an imaginary future containing uncontainable levels of pain of not getting what you want. You became ever more deranged when confronting uncertainty in your present.

So, consumed with baseless terrors and caught up in your relentless mental machinations around them, you cannot bear the thought of adding the burden of children to all that.

Masked_Characters_14Hardly able to focus outside yourselves and lost in a matrix of long-ago schemas of feelings (from infancy and birth)—pushing and pulling you all about regardless of what you are confronted with in the present—you are babies raising babies.

You would like to make up for your inability by having your newborns simply grow up faster and not be such babies for so long. For after all, it is only their neediness that offends you. It drags you down and requires that you leave off some of your activities and thoughts in the efforts of defense and come out of yourself to heed another’s needs. “If only they would cry less”; “If only they would sleep through the night”; “If only they would poop in the right place.”

Forever falling short of filling your needs in the present, as you go about doing that along with attempting to fill the ever present list of imaginary “needs” left over from your past, you cannot be good caregivers for needy others. Put another way, burdened as you are with imaginary struggles, it does not behoove you to attend to another’s real needs.

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Bad enough, all this was when you were nomadic, gatherers and hunters, but all of this was made worse by the switch to sedentary living. For with fixed abodes, inequality of stores, and the resulting social hierarchy came all its requirements to conform increasingly to the demands of a social arena for the satisfaction of one’s needs. Remember that in Nature you enjoyed a relative independence of action in satisfying your basic needs. In Nature, you knew the relative self-assurance that one could always fend for oneself, if need be. 

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But hierarchy and increased specialization of function—which was a narrowing of the fullness of life experience down to a focus on the aspect of it which could be traded in society for survival—made one dependent on the good will of others for survival. It re-created the state of infantile dependence on one’s care-givers. You were thrust ever, triggered ever, into feelings of helplessness vis-à-vis the Other, which now would include the social matrix within which you were nurtured and fed.

We will leave for later how this, in itself alone, transformed your ideas of Divinity, again … this time it took on more of the qualities of the ones you were most dependent upon—strong men or a man, patriarchal elders, and chiefs—instead of the forces of Nature and its central experience of rebirth. For now it is more important to notice that the major effect this fundamental helplessness in relation to society had upon your feelings and thoughts was the requirement, always, that one’s actions be not just sufficient (for survival) but pleasing (to Other). So, to a consciousness caught up in pushes and pulls left over from early deprivations and trauma in interaction with an inattentive, sometimes harsh, Other (one’s caregiver/parent) was added the pushes and pulls to appeal to, and be approved by, similar unconcerned, careless, sometimes brutal Others in the present, which were one’s higher ups.

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This could not help but make it even more difficult to attend to the needs of your young. In the drama of intrigue and chicanery, which erupted out of the necessary interaction for fulfillment of needs with increasingly larger numbers of similarly helpless and equally desperate others in society, you were engaging the majority of the attention and focus you did have. Caught up in the necessary wiles of life left you with little over. The persistent and undeniable needs of children, arising at any time of the day or night, was an unwanted addition to the increasing demands and complexities of daily life.

The result? From the preceding prasads it can easily be guessed what transpired: Children were the lowest in the hierarchy of importance in any society—they were often abandoned or even killed, oftentimes right at birth—for they were the least able to defend themselves and represented the biggest additional outlay of resources and effort of anything coming into an adult’s life. But they were under the most pressure and were the most scapegoated in the hierarchical societies which came with sedentary living.

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In ways very similar to the change in the perceptions of women, with hierarchy—that is, with there being controlling and demanding persons ever above one—came incredible pressure to extract from others below oneself amounts of complicity and service equal to what was being demanded from above. It was the unconscious trade-off that men sought for the sacrifice of their energy, time, and self-esteem to those above.

By that we mean that men knew and secretly resented the fact that they needed to put time and effort into the needs and wants of those above them, rather than their own. They felt they could live with that as long as they could balance that suck of energy from them to above with acquisition of unworked for boons from those below. More simply, if you had to suck up to those above you, you could console yourself with the fact that others below you sucked up to you. This was all decided unconsciously, of course. So men used women and controlled them in an amount equal to that which they themselves felt controlled and dominated from above. Men knew they were humiliated and denigrated to an intolerable degree by those above, but they were able to live with that if at other times they also could dominate and bully.

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dirtyhippieAnd, of course, women were always targets for all this scapegoating and abuse. But even further down—and available to be scapegoated even by women—were the children. So, again, children were felt to be both the one excludable variable in life’s burdens as well as the ultimate repository for the suffering brought about by such burdens. They were not wanted and were killed or abandoned, being felt to be additional burdens on psychologically and economically distracted adults. But if they were allowed to live, their needs would be set aside in accordance with the pathetic needs of caregivers who desperately sought dependent underlings (of any kind, women or children, fringe group or subservient class) upon which to balance the injustices of one’s adult life.

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It is no coincidence, either, that women, being the easiest ones to burden, the ultimate societal scapegoats, would have thrust upon them the burden of caregiving that men did not want. Being the child-bearers they were obvious candidates; but these societal pressures that came with sedentary living increased and reinforced that relation. And men were both more anxious as well as more able—more easily beginning with sedentary life—to cut themselves away from any such responsibilities regarding children. However, they heaped extra pressure on women. For the fact that women, being lowest on the totem pole, were the most supervised of all sectors of adults meant that although men would not want to help in child caregiving, they certainly did not want women to be so cavalier about it.

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So, women were in the worst situation. Being the repository of the suffering of their men, who themselves were the repository of the misery of the strong men above them, women carried the heaviest burden yet were left with no one below them to pass along the burden of caregiving.

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clip_image012Further, this task of attentiveness to children is a complication that just adds to your considerable discomfort around not knowing things, not being able to control things … around uncertainty. For while you sought to control everything about you, your children would be the one major factor upsetting your carefully made plans and throwing the monkey wrench into any laboriously constructed ease you were able to carve out for yourself.

imaghjklgfesSo while your newborns required more, you clip_image013would prefer to give less. Your newborns required ever longer periods in the dependent and helpless state as you changed over time, while
with your increasing fears you felt it risky to focus on a helpless other and away from your attention to warding off present and future imaginary threats.

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clip_image004pepper-spray-ponyThis reluctance to care for your newborns only became truly apparent and blatant after your transition from nomadic ways to sedentary ones, however.
th_familyFor this switch allowed full rein to your mania to
Melancholia-accumulate and control and,
with this increased separation from the natural, a greater state of ordinary madness. You peaked, at this point, as far as your desires for controlling. So the unpredictability brought by newborn others was that much more unappealing.

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Continue with The Great Reveal from the Planetmates, the Twenty-Second Prasad: Perinatal Conformity and The Earliest Beauty Contest

Return to The Great Reveal from the Planetmates, the Twentieth Prasad: Obsessive Control — Controlling Your Young

To Read the Entire Book … on-line, free at this time … Go to The Great Reveal from The Planetmates

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

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