Personal & Archetypal Symbolism of Snakes & Serpents

Serpents, Snakes and Archetypal Symbols

by, Terra Wise

We let go in order to grow into the next phase 

A snake sheds its skin when its insides grow bigger than its outside. Some snakes shed more than once a year as new skin is formed beneath the old layer. Shedding is necessary because it allows for growth and is crucial for survival.

During its shedding cycle, a snake is vulnerable to injury and disease. Often it must rub its body against a hard rough rock to create a rip in the old skin to help begin the shedding process. The snake continues to work on the tear until it can shed the layer cleanly and completely. The eyes of a snake shed too, they become2snakes cloudy with a layer of old skin, a time when the snake is vulnerable to attack until they are clear again. 

Experts who work with snakes say that the sloughing of old skin, though natural and needed, is not an easy process for a snake, especially with the risk of wounds and disease if old fragments of skin become stuck. But despite the discomfort and danger, the process of shedding the old is necessary for growth and a healthy life. The snake has no choice but to let go of the old form or it will die.

Photo, Two Snakes. 1996 © Terra Wise

The symbolism of a snake’s shedding, the sloughing of the old as a necessity for interior growth, reminds us that the same type of process can occur for humans. We grow, we need to let go. Releasing what is no longer needed is not an easy task but it is an important part growth and development. The insights discovered and feelings of renewal are well worth it. 

Humans are capable of so much more than just surface sloughing of skin cells, hair shedding, and nail clippings. If we are to evolve we need to let go of what no longer works in our lives including old beliefs and patterns, attachments, closed-minded  biases and opinions and so on.

Most of us experience the ups and downs of life. We encounter struggles and cycles of development that create a type of friction urging us to respond. Some situations push us to transform, to cross a life threshold. These cycles help to shape who we are and who we can become. We look back on our lives and reflect on the many ways we have been challenged by events and emotions and how we are have changed over the years. We have grown and outgrown the old ways of life and living, we outgrow our former ways of perceiving to become who we are meant to be, for a time, in the current moment.

 

When we grow on the inside we need room to expand. Despite the discomfort, the process of shedding the old self is encouraged as a necessity for new growth and a healthy life to unfold.

By releasing what does not nourish us, including our thoughts and actions – those things that no longer support inner growth and well-being, we create an improved environment for a new refreshed self to emerge and thrive

 

Most people change as the years go by, one way or another we transform many times during a lifetime. No matter how hard the process, no matter how wounded we feel at the time of self-inquiry, eventually something shifts and the old way of being, the old skin, sloughs away in its entirety and we are freed.

Letting go of outdated and distressful patterns of behavior allows for the inner growth to move outward into the world. In this way we are similar to a snake in that as we grow bigger on the inside we must release all that is unhealthy so we make room to thrive.

 

 Snakes and Serpents: Archetypal & Mythic Symbolism

Serpents are the name given to a snake-like creature as described in religious and mythological stories. In the Judeo-Christian tradition of the West, the snake in the Garden story is associated with manipulation and sin for Adam and Eve, whereas in  many other cultures, snakes and serpents are aligned with healing, mystical and psychic powers, and regeneration.

Serpent themes are visible in architecture, in myth, and initiation rites from certain cultures. Healing power and mysticism are ascribed to snakes due to their ability to shed skin. The snake represents youthful vitality, an archetypal power of transmutation and immortality. Images of snakes appear in alchemical symbols representing vitality, healing and transformation, and the death/rebirth cycle of renewal. This similar symbolism is also seen in-depth psychology.

 Ancient and Esoteric Symbols

The alchemical image of the Ouroboros, the snake eating its own tail, is a symbol of wisdom. It is a symbol of the conjunctio, the union and wholeness of the divine marriage of the female and male principles.

The Ouroboros is associated with Alchemy. It represents the cyclical nature of things, eternal return, and other things perceived as cycles that begin anew as soon as they end.

In some representations the serpent is shown as half-light and half-dark, echoing symbols such as the Yin Yang, which illustrates the dual nature of all things, but more importantly, that these opposites are not in conflict.

The Ouroboros can represent self-reflection, or something constantly re-creating itself, the eternal return, things perceived as cycles that begin anew as soon as one ends Something like the Phoenix who rises from the ashes.

It can also represent the idea of primordial unity related to something existing in or persisting from the beginning with such force or qualities it cannot be extinguished. The ouroboros has been important in religious and mythological symbolism but has also been frequently used in alchemical illustrations, where it symbolizes the circular nature of the alchemist’s opus.

Uraeus

The uraeus is the royal headdress of the Egyptian pharaohs with the cobra image worn at the brow. It signifies a connection with divine power and protection.

Naga is Sanskrit word for a deity or a group of beings that take the form of ‘the Great Snake’ the King Cobra. These entities are found in Hinduism and Buddhism.

Hindu iconography includes the cobra as a symbol of awakened consciousness surrounding the head of many deities. The yogic concept of Kundalini Shakti, sexuality, power, elevation of consciousness, the serpent energy rising up the spinal centers emerging from the crown chakra in divine union with pure Shiva consciousness.

Tibetan and Chinese traditions, including feng shui theory and the wisdom of the snake, serpent and dragon as symbols of protection, good fortune and health.

The ritual rattlesnake dance of the Hopi Snake Clan people is done as an invocation to bring the rains.

We also have stories of the Dragon (a relative of the snake/serpent) in Merlin Lore we have the dragon, medieval stories and around the world.

Quetzalcoatl

The feathered winged serpent-god of Central America, a supernatural deity. It is said the feathered aspect represents its ability to fly as a sign of its divine nature and the serpent aspect represents its human aspect, the ability to move on the ground.

Asclepius

Asclepius, the ancient Greek god of medicine, healing, and dreams,  known for his staff, the single snake coiled around it. It was believed that a dream of a snake signaled healing and a union with god. Python was sacred to his cult.

Caduceus

 The caduceus is a symbol of modern Western medicine. Two snakes entwined around the winged wand of Hermes, the messenger of the gods, implying healing, harmony, and symmetry.

 

A Snake Charmer

 

 

 

 

Regression Therapy: Memories, Healing Integration

carl-jung-dreams

Introductory Note. Belief in the experiences described in these pages is not a requirement. Results are what matter. The fact that healing-transformation occurred as a result of the therapeutic sessions described is what matters. Regression therapy, past life therapy, clinical hypnotherapy, the labels are less important than the outcome. Even if the experiences are thought of as pure fantasy, that makes no difference, who is to say that fantasy is not healing? 

It is my experience that guided trance/hypnosis, somatic therapies, plus the inclusion of additional modalities does help people to feel better. Positive life changes are reported physically, relationally, and physiologically. This work is respectful of a person’s inner landscape. From all potential images and sensations that can be experienced by a person, the ones that are needed are the ones that show up in counseling sessions. An experience might feel foreign, not of this life and yet seem to be familiar all at once. Memories from this life that were forgotten can be rekindled (often verified by others). Exploring these sensations and images can help release stress and improve mood and relationships with oneself and with others, something to be celebrated. Imagery, which can include pictures in the mind’s eye, scent, sound, memories, changes in breathing patterns and body temperature, physical and emotional sensations, and feelings of familiarity are all possible. Sometimes the body can exhibit visible signs of the internal imagery that is being felt and described. The healing results that unfold as a result of this type of inner work are what matter most of all.

Traveling Through Time

The following is a description of a physical/psycho-spiritual transformation that occurred for a client as a result of our work together. As mentioned in the introductory note, it does not matter what name you give to this work. Call it the archetypal realm, collective unconscious, or make-believe. The fact remains that insight is gained and health improvements are reported. I have witnessed remarkable transformations time and again. In the case described below, as with others, the presenting health concern was alleviated, confirmed by a doctor and medical lab tests.

Case History: A Memory  

A woman in her thirties asked to work with me to address a combination of emotional, relational, and physical concerns. She began by describing unhappiness in her marriage. However, the most pressing issue for her was that her medical doctor had discovered cellular changes in her cervix described as unhealthy cell growth that would need to be treated. As we talked and almost as an aside, the client described something that had been with her for years, something that she had no logical understanding of.

She said that for as long as she could remember she had been “seeing” something she described as colorful blurry balloons. She had seen this image since her childhood, something that looked very much like out of focus blurry balloons. This was the best way she had of describing the image.

We worked together for approximately 9-months. Our sessions involved dream-work, somatic breath therapy, imagery, healing trance, creative art, releasing pent-up emotions, plus health and lifestyle adjustments. I also encouraged her to meet with a constitutional homeopath. At a certain point in our session-work we came to a natural opening to explore the mystery of the “blurry balloons.” We had developed an ease and rapport with each other and she entered into a deeply focused trance rather quickly. She lay on her back on a comfortable thick mat in my therapy room for the duration of the session. This is what emerged.

She described seeing herself as a young girl of 12-years living in a cabin in the wilderness with her parents. As the story unfolded she said that something happened to her mother and now she was alone with the father. She began to feel his energy had changed toward her, she no longer felt carefree, safe, or comfortable. As she described the images unfolding in her mind’s eye, her voice changed too, she sounded younger and much more anxious, a few tears began to fall.  She described seeing, sensing, and feeling that the father was becoming sexually aggressive toward her. When she refused his advances he became physically violent. As she told her story the intensity and emotion increased, I could clearly see visible kinesthetic responses. She was fully into the experience, showing signs of fear, sorrow, and anxiety, her tears were streaming too. She described running out of the house to get away from him, running as fast as she could into the field. But he was faster and caught up with her, pulling her to the ground and pinning her by sitting on top of her chest.

I am seated right beside her as she lay trembling face up on the mat, a pool of tears forming around her. She begins to cough and choke at the moment she tells me that he has his hands on her throat, choking her — she says he hates her for rejecting him!  At this point in the therapy session I wished I had a video camera to record what was occurring.

As she described the scene unfolding from inside, I witnessed from my external vantage point what she was going through. I began to see physical bruises and finger marks appear on her body, marks consistent with strangulation that were clearly manifesting on her neck! — There was no doubt that I was seeing what she was experiencing. A long-buried psycho-spiritual wound was making its way out of her body through this powerful catharsis. Much of what she had associated with this story, conscious or not  was released in that moment.

I reminded her with a soothing voice that I was close by, that she was safe, and that if she could carry on just a little longer she would discover something of great importance for her healing…  And then it all became clear. She said that she could not fight him any longer and as he was choking the life out of her she felt her head turned and her eyes caught sight of all the flowers in the field, the field she was dying in… And as her vision faded she thought to herself, the flowers looked so much like beautiful colorful blurry balloons!

Afterward, we integrated the session with specific healing methods and then moved into gentle post-care. I showed her the bruises with a mirror, and we watched together as they faded a little while we completed the session. The bruising took a couple of days more to completely disappear. We continued to integrate this session when we next met, tying together many threads, including various fears, the image she had carried all her life, the connections between the remembered abuse and the current cervical health, plus her marriage, and self-autonomy. Soon after this session she contacted me with great news, her pap test had come back normal and clear. There were additional positive shifts that came together for her as well.

***

Note:

I have seen the physical appearance of bodily markings that emerge during counseling/regression therapy in a number of sessions. In one case a client received a scar that was years old at the time we first met. The tissue around the scar became inflamed during our session as she discussed her associations to it and overlapping concerns ongoing in her present life. The events from years past, when she was initially hurt, and the current similar conditions create a kinesthetic bodily response in her.  As we progressed in the session, coming to a resolution, the inflammation and pain around the scar receded quite dramatically, until it practically disappearing before our eyes.

 In another case an image of a dagger was seen by many people during a group breathwork healing class. The dagger appeared on the skin of a woman’s body at precisely the moment she described a sensation and memory of death by stabbing.

 

 

 

Somatic Therapy: Breath-Body-Mind

 

Dear Terra,  I’ve had pain in my body for as long as I can remember with joint pain and scoliosis that made it hard for me to go a day without pain medicine, that is until my healing session with you. The combination of what you did was incredible. The deep listening, breath-work, gentle touch, assisted yoga,  props and pillows to help my body relax, and the powerful imagery all worked like magic for me. Today I can breathe so deeply and my body feels more flexible than I ever remember. I slept well for the first time in ages. I look forward to our next session.  Thank you, Sue

 

Somatic 

Soma is defined medically as the body of an organism. Somatic refers to, or of relating to, or affecting the body. Psyche, from Greek psyche (soul) is thought of as breath, spirit, soul, the mind, or the personality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The medicinal power of physical touch has been known to people from cultures across the planet since the beginning of recorded history allowed us to learn of it. When focused touch is combined with deep listening, mindful dialogue, and breath-work it can lead to insight and healing possibilities.

 

The Power of Touch

Soothing, calming, nurturing

Eases experiences of fear and shock

Creates physical warmth

Increases blood circulation

Energize muscles and boost energy

Can lull a baby (or adult) to sleep

Can express love and emotional warmth

Can work as a form of transformative therapy

 

At one time Western medicine believed there was no connection between the body and mind (psyche). In recent decades medical research and reports from doctors and  patients have demonstrated an interrelationship between the physical body, emotions and mind. This connection is ancient knowledge to many traditions such as meditation, yoga, martial arts, acupuncture, and Ayurvedic medicine.

Brain imagining scans reveal that a focused mind increases wellness. The cardiologists, fertility specialists, surgeons, pain specialist, and psychiatrists who study health of the body, brain, and emotional health have found compelling evidence supporting holistic connections between the body-mind and healing.

Olympic coaches and athletes also know of the importance of a focused mind to help improve fitness goals and health. Mind training helps athletes with performance, confidence, and to accomplish goals.

Somatic therapy unites the fragmented parts into healthy wholeness. Massage, assisted yoga, focused dialogue, breath-work, meditation, relaxation techniques and use of sound are some of the methods used.

Some people describe memories surfacing or receiving insight about physical and emotional pain, plus creativity and vitality are enhanced.  Relief from chronic pain, improvements in strength, flexibility,  and lowering of stress levels result as well.

***

The results of this work are unique for each person, though most everyone will experience deeper more fluid breath, an easing of constriction in the body, greater flexibility, and psycho-spiritual insight. Understanding of the personal beliefs that originally shaped the condition are almost always better understood. Somatic therapy is understood to mean more than the body as it refers to integrated health and wellness.

Therapist and client work from a foundation of heart-to-heart respectful communication. Though most often done in person on a mat or massage table, it is possible to experience results  working with focused attention, breath, and dialogue via phone or skype.

 

photos © 2011 Terra Wise

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Client Case History: Catatonia To Health

Client Case, 1993 © Terra Wise

Catatonic disorders are a group of symptoms characterized by disturbances in motor (muscular movement) behavior that may have either a psychological or a physiological basis. The best-known of these symptoms is immobility, which is a rigid positioning of the body held for a considerable length of time. Patients diagnosed with a catatonic disorder may maintain their body position for hours, days, weeks or even months at a time. Alternately, catatonic symptoms may look like agitated, purposeless movements that are seemingly unrelated to the person’s environment. The condition itself is called catatonia. 

Catatonia No More: Description of a Healing

A traumatic event from years prior remembered and proven to be true, confirmed from police sources.

 

I answered my phone and the man on the other end said he had just returned home from a three-month stay in a psychiatric facility. This is how he described his problem, “I go catatonic a lot.” 

He was in his forties, experiencing frequent episodes of catatonia, and said he would fill me in on the details when we met for our sessions, including discoveries made while he was hospitalized.

He explained that he had been referred to me as an open-minded counselor and he was eager to explore holistic ideas, hoping to make sense of the fragments in his life and some difficult experiences.

 

 

I hung up the phone, recalling another case of catatonia from years earlier. I was studying with a teacher who often worked in groups. A woman had come for help, for a healing. She described frequent episodes of catatonia so severe that the Child Welfare Service had threatened to remove her children from her home. Her healing experience was both psychological and metaphysical too. It involved a number of us assisting in an elaborate counseling/healing ceremony held over the course of several long action-packed hours. We started in the afternoon and continued through the night and into the next morning. That details of that story are posted in this link to story.    During subsequent follow-ups (days, weeks, and months later) we learned the woman was healthy, no more episodes of fainting/catatonia, her children were home allowed to remain with her, and all were doing quite well. She said she was at peace, the disturbing images, thoughts, and mysterious events had ended. That all-night healing is a powerful and complex one, it had been an adventure for all of us involved, and a story best left for another time.

 

The Case

My client arrived. During the initial portion of our visit he spoke of his love for his teen daughter, and then some disturbing memories that haunted him. His time in the hospital had not resolved his condition he said, although he had learned something very important connected to it. As he said that, talking about these events, he suddenly did indeed,  ‘go catatonic’  to use his phrase…

 

He slipped away, disappearing from consciousness.

One minute he was all there, alert, aware, talking, and the next he appeared as comatose, limp, and lifeless looking a form as can be imagined. His lips lost their color, he did not respond to gentle touch or sounds, he did not respond to pinching, pushing, pulling, or my loud voice calling his name, calling him back. After a few moments in this catatonic state he returned from wherever he had vanished to. — I asked him to describe what he had experienced, seen, or sensed? His response was that he was aware only of a darkness growing and expanding, and that he felt intense paralyzing fear. He said it was as if the fear and darkness called out to him and wanted to draw him into it; more than anything he wanted to get away but felt paralyzed, unable to move or speak.

He was shivering with fear, unable to understand what was happening or why, unable to control or stop it. He said he refused to go back to the hospital, he wanted to keep going and learn what was happening, he said he couldn’t do learn anything if he was drugged with medications and other restraints.

I reminded him he was not alone. I was right there with him and we would learn what we needed to learn about this dark place he went to and find some answers. I explained that I noticed it happened right after talking about his daughter and the shadowy, uncomfortable images. I suggested something — simple as they may sound in hindsight — I suggested that the next time it happens to remember, for some part of him to remember, that he is not alone, he is in a safe place, and to imagine a bright lamp with him; a light so bright that he can use it to illuminate his surroundings completely in order to learn about this shadowy place he vanishes to. Or that like an archeologist or a miner he had a helmet with headlamp to light the darkness.

 

I encouraged him to notice the details of his surroundings the next time it happened, the light would help him gather information, to remember. Knowledge is power as the saying goes, he needed to know more and the more. We both sensed the next episode was coming fast now, once again I reminded him that he would be able to learn about this environment and would retain what he sees and bring it back to consciousness. – I asked and found out he had been in the military, I suggested thinking of it as a recon mission, this time he would return safely to report back what he sees.

 

Sure enough it happened again, suddenly he was gone. The color drained from his lips, body looking lifeless. But this time when he returned he was able to describe what he saw, he said it was much more than he had ever seen before and the light really made a difference…

 

He described a chasm of darkness all around him. Darkness eating away at the light, the land disappearing from underneath him. A voice was urging him to step away from the light and solid land underneath him and to step off into the abyss and into the darkness. He said the shadow was calling him strongly. He had a dark foreboding feeling that increased as the light ebbed. He said he felt the darkness wanted him to die, to take him away from the light and from life.

 

When asked he said the image was not familiar as far as he could tell, it was nothing he had ever seen in a movie, painting, or sketch anywhere–but it seemed the darkness knew him and was calling him in. He described the fear was not like anything he had ever known, it was beyond anything he could describe, it was overwhelming. I suspected another episode was about to happen soon.

 

Seeing how the imagery and strong intention helped once, I expanded on that idea. I asked about his heroes. Was there anyone he knew, a real person or a fantasy character that he associated with courage and combat skill? We were going to invoke this courageous person to be a protector to help him. To stand by his side. Someone or something whose courage, skill, and instinct to protect would match and overtake the fear, shadow, and dark abyss.

 

Imagine someone is ready to help you, an ancestor or more than one who loves you, the good guys you know who can protect you. Imagine they are be present with us. I asked him again, does he have an association with anything or anyone that represents courage and protection, real or mythic? He told me he did know a good man who was brave and skilled, a buddy from the military. He described him as very skilled swordsman. He had trained with different weapons. Swords had been a part of his life-long martial arts training–this man was the perfect model of energy for what was needed. He had the confidence, courage and ability to protect. And in addition, they had personal history together, they knew what it was like to have each other’s back. He was feeling stronger just thinking about his friend by his side.

 

And then it happened again, the catatonia crept in, he was engulfed by it and as he slipped away I reminded him to hold onto the knowledge that his courageous friend would come to his aid when summoned…  He was being summoned right now! We both called on his protector by name. I continued to whisper in his friend’s name in his ear, like a hypnotic suggestion, all the help he required now to win this fight was with him, he was not alone, he was protected and would return safely with all the healing and wisdom he needed–leaving behind the pain and fear.

 

 First Problem Handled, Now the Next

All was quiet for a few moments and then he returned from the interior place he had been. When he opened his eyes he looked brighter and lighter inside and out. He described “seeing” his sword wielding friend overpower the dark (his word was demonic) force — and as soon as he did that the light grew so much brighter and the land more solid.  His fear waned. The land began to reappear, more light, solid land. The darkness faded as the chasm was closing, filling in with light. By the time they left the scene the shadowy chasm was all gone and the land beneath him felt alive with warmth, light and safety, he said. He described a sensation of peace that filled the scene and his heart too.

 

We had created the calm and spaciousness required to continue. With this first huge hurdle resolved–staying awake and aware without the fainting spells–we could move on. We were able to continue the sessions with the methods that enhanced his awareness and healing.  It was like a treasure hunt, searching for clues and answers. His breath calmed, his energy improved. his nightmares eased, his physical strength improved. We had uninterrupted opportunity to talk without the catatonia snatching him away mid-sentence. We began to explore the threads of the a bigger tapestry, a bigger picture that was alluding him. 

 

Reflecting on the fragments from his past that had haunted him, we delved deeper in to his past, his memories and experiences from his past. He was sure it was nothing to do with military service or issues with his parents. He sensed there was something really big and terrible that happened when he was younger. A trauma that occurred when he was a child of eleven or  twelve, he thought it was more than one thing that happened at once.

 

***

The horrific background story

The root of the darkness and fear had originated from a very disturbing deeply frightening childhood experience. While he was in the psychiatric hospital for the three-month stay he told this story many times to his doctor. He said the story felt real to him a memory from his youth, but the doctors and staff thought the images and story were far too horrific and detailed to be believable. They never for a moment believed it could be true, instead they concluded that he was hallucinating, acting paranoid and delusional, they gave him anti-psychotic drugs to quiet him down, pushing the memory further away. Anytime a fragment managed to pop up he tried to describe it again, the scenes coming to his mind. He spoke with detail and specificity, he was getting nowhere until one day a different nurse overheard him and told the doctor it sounded familiar to her.

 

The nurse said it sounded eerily similar to a news story she remembered hearing years previously and that the patient sounded as if he was describing it from a first-hand witness perspective. Luckily, the nurse searched the newspaper archives and found the story, the facts did indeed collaborate what he had been saying all along. Once this became known the drugs were stopped, it was understood an entirely different approach to healing was necessary to manage his trauma and stress. A once repressed memory of actual events had been awakened, he was not delusional, he was remembering; understandably he was not too interested in working with that doctor. They took him off the drugs, he was released.

 ***

The Traumatic Event

He told me his story. As a pre-teen he went outside to play, he started out for a walk and decided to go explore past the field or ravine near his house, walking a little further away from his house into the denser wooded area. It was not all that far from his house, but it was a greater distance than had gone previously, it felt like unexplored territory. Shockingly he came upon a horrific scene — one in which he was able to get down low and hide his presence from the bad man. His reaction probably saved his life. He witnessed a rape, mutilation, murder, and continued mutilation of the woman after her death. He told me he knew to not make a sound, he forced himself to be as quiet as possible, holding his breath for fear to make a sound, he was completely fear-filled.

 

He said he swallowed the scream that had wanted to come out of him, he somehow managed to wiggle backward and when he could he got up and ran as fast as he could back to his house. He never knew if the killer was behind him, he was too afraid to look back, he just ran and ran. He did not know if he had been seen, he feared for his own life as he ran out of the woods making it home terrified, out of breath, and feeling sick from what he had witnessed. But before he could even tell anyone about it, before he could get a word out, he saw that his pet had died! His attention went to this new horror. Seeing his pet’s body was a shock, his fear and trauma had been redirected to the lifeless body of his pet… One ghastly scene had flowed into another, a trauma so huge immediately followed by another. He was in shock unable to speak or even cry. The two events became conflated.

 

His heart was broken he said. He told me from that moment of seeing his pet he did not remember what happened in the woods until years later. The events in the woods were forgotten, buried in his mind and repressed – until a third trauma occurred, an event that triggered the childhood memory, catatonic episodes and admittance into the hospital. The third emotional shock occurred only months previously when he learned his teen daughter had been raped. His descent began at that moment and the catatonia with it. He began to recall seeing the rape and murder of the woman when he was a child, but at first it made no sense, more and more of it came back to him the news of his daughter’s attack had been a trigger. And once we got to this part of the story we also got to his rage.

 

***

I was reminded of another story of catatonia and its connection to rage. I had been told this story years early by same native teacher/healer mentioned previously. He described how his own teacher, an elder had been called to help in the healing of a catatonic patient in a psychiatric ward. The doctor who asked for his help knew of him and of his success as a spiritual healer. Apparently the doctor had no insights and had run out of ideas about how to help his patient. As the story was told to me the medicine man arrived at the hospital, talked with the doctor to learned some background facts and then asked for ice water in a turkey baster or in anything that would allow him to drip the water on to the patients third eye (the spot between her eyebrows) on her forehead.

The native healer warned the medical staff that he suspected she would become increasingly agitated by the water dripping on her and that was a good thing, it was necessary because it would move her out of her frozen state. He told the doctor he believed she had layers buried inside of her, sadness and anger pent-up and ready to be released. He asked the medical staff let her express, to not sedate her when she became emotional.  Underneath the silent disconnected woman he explained they would soon see the layers of all the emotion that the catatonia had bottled up inside of her, all the sadness and rage would be vented. He warned it would come out. He said his prayers, asked for his guides and hers, and began to drip ice water onto her.

He compared it to an infant or toddler in a bed crying. The cries when ignored become louder more intense, but the longer the call is ignored changes will occur emotionally and spiritually, until there is silence and disconnection. Something had happened in this women’s life that had repressed the sadness and anger… He asked the nurses and doctors to step back. As the story goes she went from a frozen disconnected state through layers of emotions sadness, sorrow, anger and her deepest rage came through at the end. The medicine man expected it and stayed present with her, eventually she quieted down and felt at peace.

***

Back to my treatment room and client…

He had witnessed a horrific event and described the horrors he had seen as a child, he had feared for his own life as he ran back to his house; the sight of his pet was another shock. Those events were buried in his mind, but years later the news that his teen daughter had been raped, filled him with rage and the cascade of memories…

I had a punching bag, I asked if he could manage to come to the bag, but that was too much, so I brought the bag to him and laid it down on the floor. I instructed him to get on his knees and by moving from his pelvis/hips  he could use his full power and weight to punch downward on the bag on the ground. He was able to use both hands at once, and to use his voice too, to rage as loud as needed; he flattened the bag with his fury, pain, and suffering. He exhausted himself, until there was no rage left in him. He cried softly, and then he said he felt peaceful. He never had another episode of catatonia.

In subsequent sessions we continued to weave together the healing threads. We explored his night dreams, worked with nutrients to help balance energy and build strength, and enhanced awareness and fluidity between breath, body, and emotions. Eventually he said it was hard to believe he once suffered as he had.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome. This is the Home Page

Support for the Whole Person 

 No matter how long or hard the winter, spring will come again

 Unfurl from Bud to Blossom 

lovely koruKoru is a word from the indigenous Maori people of New Zealand, it means loop. The Koru is associated with fresh starts, rejuvenation, renewal, and the cycle of rebirth, seen in nature each year at springtime. The coiled green fiddlehead is one of the first plants to emerge from the ground when winter comes to an end. Spirals and loops are found in nature and in the artworks of carvings, paintings, jewellery, and design details. The carved coil shape is also seen in the upper portion of a cello or violin. The shape is found in the spiral of seashells, and in the cosmos itself. The Koru is often seen in body art, personal tattoos with a number of possible versions chosen by women and men for its special symbolism and what it represents to a person.   

Spring Always follows Winter

The Koru reminds us that no matter how long or dark the winter has been spring will follow with its potential for revitalization, new growth, and a renewed sense of peace and optimism. As mere mortals, we humans are sensitive, sometimes in life distressful circumstances bring us down. Winter can feel long and isolating. And for some, “Winter” can be experienced not only as an environmental season but also as an internal cold dark place where life and interpersonal concerns dim the light… The aim of my work is to provide soothing compassionate care, helping to illuminate a path up and out from the darkness of winter. The Koru’s meaning also includes protection, peace, optimism, vibrancy, and health.

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My intention with this blog/website, as with my work, is to help people feel better. Together we find insight and peaceful solutions to complex feelings and situations that arise from personal and interpersonal experiences, and challenges.

Personal awareness, improved wellness, and a greater sense of inner freedom result from this work. Heart to heart compassionate listening is at the core of this work along with skills honed from three decades of counseling, group work, exploration, educational presentations, and writing. 

Terra, thank you! You set me on the path to safety and recovery. The hours we spent together have stayed with me. I hold the work we did as a sacred gift. I am able to access your healing insights, words and strength whenever I need them now. Your calming tone and ability to help me keep me going, keep me strong. I feel nourished by your mentoring and your tremendous encouragement after I came so close to giving up and to death. You were my solid ground, you were crystal clear in all the ways I needed. Your words, compassion, and strength gave me the life saving hope I needed to continue on when I hit bottom. I am so deeply grateful to you. I feel free now. Thank you so much. T.E. AZ, USA

 

Womb Wisdom™

A Unique Speciality for Women/Couples/Men Providing Guidance after Miscarriage, Abortion, and Loss. Soothing Care That is Free of Dogma, Blame and Shame.

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Womb Wisdom ™ is a unique specialty that fills a societal void having to do with a complex topic. This healing work provides a safe and soothing opportunity for women (couples and men too) to speak about their experiences and feelings of miscarriage and/or abortion in the days, months, or even years after an experience. This work is free of judgment, hostility, and political/religious constrictions. Feelings of calm and peace, and healng insight are reported  as a result of this work.

Details found here and via menu links: Womb Wisdom™  

 Dear Terra, I was a witness to how you helped that woman during the group session. You gently guided her out and up from that very dark and painful place she was in. She looked completely transformed afterward. I look forward to working with you again.” Thank you. – Jean

Most people have a desire to live a happier and healthier life, to experience confidence and inner freedom. Sometimes events occur that cause us to seek the support of an ally, a guide who can help when the path is uncertain.

Look around these pages, you will find a range of interesting posts on a number of topics, including health and fitness, womb events, resources, client stories, tips and ideas to inspire. TW

 

Me white hair half. April 9 2016Terra Wise, Support for the Whole Person, Since 1983

Spring Always follows Winter

Integrative Transpersonal Counseling

Birth Your Best Self

Womb Wisdom ™

Health & Lifestyle Wellness

Stress Reduction 

Insight from Dreams, Symbols, Myths

Compassionate Deep Listening

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