In his e-book The Journey of Self-Discovery: Dimensions of Consciousness and New Views in Psychotherapy and Interior Exploration, Stanslav Grof presents his new cartography of the human psyche as developed throughout his medical work with psychedelics and holotropic breathwork. Whereas conventional psychotherapy is conceptually confined to the recollective materials of every particular person’s biography, Grof’s mannequin extends to the trans-biographical, together with the perinatal degree.
The perinatal degree of the psyche is characterised by the presence of allegories of delivery and dying. It’s accompanied by quick acute struggling together with exaggerated physiological manifestations akin to nausea, suffocation, temperature fluctuations, and so on. This current agony is alternately or concurrently skilled as sequences of delivery and dying, of a human and/or transcendental selection. Though cited as inconceivable by present neurophysiology, attributable to an absence of a completely myelinized cerebral cortex in newborns, particular and verifiable particulars of a person’s delivery are recalled. These recollections demand a revision of sure outdated theories.
This deep reencounter with delivery can resolve profound existential crises by internalizing the intrinsic religious features of the expertise and by exploring the varied aspects of the collective unconscious. The expertise is huge, together with options which can be archetypal, mythological, mystical, transpersonal, and extra. As a result of all of them revolve round delivery (perinatal), the medical phases of delivery function a passable mannequin to categorise and perceive the dynamics of the perinatal degree of the unconscious. The phases correspond to the 4 perinatal matrices: the Amniotic Universe, the Cosmic Engulfment (or No-Exit), the Dying and Rebirth Wrestle, and the Dying and Rebirth Expertise.
The primary primary perinatal matrix (BPM I) is termed the Amniotic Universe. Its organic foundation is the symbiotic unity of the fetus and maternal organism. The shortage of boundaries and obstructions permits a very undisturbed life. This intrauterine existence is way akin to the fashionable deprivation tanks, the place a elimination of the senses supplies a melting into an oceanic ecstasy. The magical dissolution of boundaries generally is a blissfully trusting and heavenly expertise, or a disintegration of the acquainted and dependable, leaving a generalized anxiousness of concern and paranoia. Nice imagery might relate to floating inside the ocean or in outer area as an astronaut hooked up to the mothership by a tether, and Eden experiences. Unfavourable imagery leads into the BPM II, together with contaminated waters, chemical warfare, evil metaphysical forces, and malicious astral influences.
The second primary perinatal matrix known as the Cosmic Engulfment. Its organic foundation is the primary medical stage of supply. Life is now disturbed by chemical indicators of impending mechanical restrictions of the contracting uterus. The umbilical wire can turn out to be constricted inflicting an absence of blood and oxygen and due to this fact heat and nourishment. This cosmos is now not a spot of blissful dissolution, however of existential angst. There may be an imminent but unidentified hazard afoot. The person will not be unified with the setting, however is condemned to a claustrophobic nightmare with no escape. That is now a hellish expertise of struggling and metaphysical loneliness. The person is misplaced in a void, separated from its environment by the restriction of the umbilical wire. Unfavourable imagery arising incorporates a depersonalization and derealization, perceiving all beings together with oneself as senseless, meaningless robots; merely cogs of a diabolic machine.
The third primary perinatal matrix is the Dying and Rebirth Wrestle. The organic foundation is the second medical stage of delivery, in which there’s cervical dilation and propulsion by way of the delivery canal. The journey from heaven and hell delivers one into purgatory, the place the person is purged, cleansed, and ready. BPM III is a battle for survival amidst crushing pressures. The additional restriction of the umbilical tether results in suffocation and anoxia, which appears like catching afire. Allegorically, this burning is a pyrocatharsis, a purifying fireplace that blazes by way of the ripe karmic seeds of the person’s psyche. Different imagery consists of raging parts of nature akin to volcanoes and tidal waves, excessive technological weaponry akin to atomic bombs, and sexual orgastic experiences. The volcanic ecstasy of this third matrix is a construct up and explosion of contractions and unimaginably pleasurable releases. There may be nonetheless a way of one thing sinister among the many pleasure, which may give the imagery a sadomasochistic angle, for instance being amongst a satanic orgy of demonic witches. The important thing to understanding the distinction right here is that struggling is now not hopeless or helpless, however has a route and a objective. The person is being purged and delivered into the sunshine.
The fourth primary perinatal matrix is named the Dying and Rebirth Expertise. Its organic foundation is the third medical stage of precise delivery. The umbilical wire is lastly utterly reduce. One emerges a person separated from the all or the mom. The person is now expelled from Eden and compelled to fend for himself. This occasion is the delivery for the fetus and dying for the re-experiencer of what Alan Watts known as the skin-encapsulated ego. In each circumstances there are visions of a tunnel and a white mild on the finish. A last pyrocatharsis is suffered as mild enters the eyes and the whole nervous system is very stimulated, and the load, or lack of weight, of the physique is felt for the primary time. Imagery from BPM IV can embrace the supply physician as a damaging deity or sacrificial priest, utilizing his forceps and anesthesia as damaging but useful instruments on the threshold to and from this world.
The 4 primary perinatal matrices are just one signature characteristic of Stanislov Grof’s new cartography of the human psyche. The trans-biographical map extends past the recollective materials utilized by conventional psychoanalysis, as far transcendental and as deep as perinatal. Solely listed here are a number of the most profound existential crises resolved and reconciled.