In 1300 BC a great famine in Palestine forced the Jews out of Palestine and into Egypt. There the Pharaohs used the Jews as slave labour and treated them with immense cruelty. the prophet Moses then led the Jews out of Egypt and into the desert. While the Jewish travellers were resting Moses went alone to Mount Sinai and asked for God’s guidance. In response, God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, also known as the Ark and the Covenant. While Moses was receiving God’s word, the Jews, fearing their plight, made a Golden Calf for their worship. The Jews rejected God’s Commandments and instead worshiped their old idols, Astarte, Baal and the Golden Calf.
In the first millennium BC David, a descendant of Moses conquered the city of Jerusalem from its indigenous inhabitants the Jedusites. It is believed that David and Moses both arose from the same lineage that dated back to Jacob, also called Israel. The two came from different sons of Jacob, David was from the tribe of Judah, while Moses was from the tribe of Levi. The Ark of the Covenant was placed in the care of the Levites.
Below the citadel on Mount Moab David bought a site for a Temple that would house the Ark and the Covenant, but David had no right to the precious object, he was not even allowed to touch it. David assembled the materials for the Temple, but it was eventually built by his son Solomon in about 950 BC. The Ark remained with the Levites until Solomon built the Temple in Jerusalem. The Temple site was believed to be that of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which referred to the whole area not just the building. When the old Temple was destroyed a new one was built next to it, which has led to inter-racial and religious disputes ever since.
Israel remained an independent state until Solomon’s death when it was conquered by nations to the east that included the Assyrians, the Chaldeans and the Persians. The Temple was destroyed by the Chaldeans in 568 BC and the Jews were transported to Babylon as slaves. The Chaldeans were then conquered by the Persians who allowed the Jews to rebuild their Temple in 515. The Persians were then conquered by the Greeks, but due to their absence many of the regions were actually governed by Jews. In 167 BC the Jews gained their independence, but not without constant struggles against neighbouring states. Jerusalem was then placed under the guardianship of the rising Roman Emperors who became the arbiters of power over the entire Jewish State. The Jews could not assimilate into the Greek or Roman way of life. Instead, they retained their destiny as God’s chosen people. This was to result in an inevitable and ongoing fight for their homeland.
A group calling themselves the Zealots resisted the Romans, but they were outnumbered. Many Zealots burned their possessions, took their own lives and those of their families rather than being tortured and killed by the Romans. A second uprising, led in part by the Messiah Jesus of Nazareth was predicated on the idea that the only way to a victory was to turn the Gentiles into Jews and increase their numbers, but the Jewish conservatives rebelled against this idea. Hence, the second uprising produced a worse result than the first. Many Jews were forced to flee. Nonetheless, a small number of Jews continued preaching to the Gentiles, thus a separate religion called Christianity was born.
During the many ensuing wars over the governance of Jerusalem a group of men called the Hospitallers assisted the wounded and sick who came to their hospitals from the battlefields. The Hospitalers were so concerned about the ongoing wars they banded together to create their own military order aiming to drive the Islamic forces out of Jerusalem. They became the Order of Knights of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem, otherwise called The Order of Saint John. They were joined by another group, The Order of the Temple who were a religious-military institution founded by a group of warriors in Jerusalem in the decades following the First Crusade of 1097–99. The group first received royal and church approval in 1120, and papal authorisation in January 1129. They protected Christian pilgrims on the roads to the pilgrimage sites around Jerusalem and also helped to defend the territories that the First Crusade had conquered. As members of a religious order, they made three vows: to obey their superior officer, to avoid sexual activity and to have no personal property. They came to be known as the Knights Templar after their headquarters in Jerusalem, the Al Aqsa mosque, which westerners believed was King Solomon’s temple.
Western European Christians gave the Templars gifts of land, money and tax concessions to help their Crusades, and the brothers of the order also traded and acted as government officials for the rulers of western Christendom. They acquired large estates in Europe and set up farming businesses, travellers inns and they acted as bankers. In the Middle East they and their fellow military orders, the Hospitallers, faced increasingly devastating assaults from the well-equipped and well trained Islamic forces and the Knights were no match for the Islamic forces. The sultan of Egypt conquered Jerusalem in 1244, and Acre in 1291. The Templars and the Hospitallers who escaped the massacre at the hands of the sultan’s forces moved their headquarters to Cyprus and set about trying to organise a new crusade.
The Templar grand master, Jacques de Molay, was in France planning such a crusade when he and all the Templars in France were arrested on the order of King Philip IV of France in October 1307. The brothers were charged with heresy, tortured and killed.
At the time of the arrests in January 1308, there were Templars resident in only 35 of their known houses in England. The king’s sheriffs who arrested the Templars also confiscated their lands. Royal officials administered these properties and sent their revenues to the crown. The king gave some of the estates to his friends and to important nobles and some of the lands were returned to the families who had originally given them to the Templars.
In May 1312 Pope Clement demanded the transfer of the Templars’ lands to the Hospitallers, but the king and his nobles refused to give them up. It took the Hospitallers more than two decades to gain the bulk of the Templars’ English estates; they never recovered all of the properties.
The Templars’ estates in Britain were concentrated in the east of England and the southern Midlands, with some lands on the English-Welsh border, and there were two sites in Scotland. Their location depended mainly on property which landowners had donated; some Templars also purchased their own lands.
Templar farms and other lands were grouped into areas of command with the larger manors holding court over the smaller properties. Commanderies in Britain were on flat or gently rolling land, and often sited on rivers for trade and good transportation.
In France King Philip IV of France ordered the arrest of all the Templars on 13 October 1307, charged with denying Christ when they were received into the order, spitting on the cross and exchanging obscene kisses, committing sodomy with each other, and the worship of an idol. He ordered they be tortured and killed.
Pope Clement V initially protested, then ordered the arrest of all Templars in Christendom and their interrogation for heresy. In August 1308 the Pope reported that the leading Templars in France had confessed to “horrible things” and that he had absolved them. According to the records, the only Templars to confess to any of the charges were those under the jurisdiction of the king of France or his relatives.
In the kingdom of Aragon, King James II ordered the Templars’ arrest, but had to besiege them in their castles before he could enforce this. The Templars were interrogated, but failed to confess to anything. In northern Italy the archbishop of Ravenna refused to allow torture to be used and no Templars confessed. In Cyprus, the Templars and non-Templars who gave evidence insisted that they were innocent. In Portugal King Dinis brought a legal case against the Templars to recover lands given to them by his predecessors, but there was no heresy trial. In all, the results of the trials outside France supported the Templars’ innocence.
Much of the history written about the Templars gives focus to the exotic warrior Knights, their exploits and their demise, but there were many Templars with smaller, less conspicuous roles who were clerks, builders and community officials. There are families with Templar origins that no one has ever heard of.
The Templars organisation still survives to this day and as individuals they have left their mark on the most unsuspecting of people and places.
I grew up with the stories of the Knights Templar and their ideology of war, chivalry and the rescue of fair damsels in distress. My story is not unusual, nor is it in any way grand. We learn our beliefs and values from our parents and ancestors and with experience we see their contradictions.
The contradictions in my family defined us but they were not straight forward. As British born nationals we looked upon the Templars as brave and exemplary ancestors, freedom fighters and liberators, but we had our roots in the Kabbalah not Christendom. In ancient times we were more likely to have support the Islamic Knights than those from the European continent. Yet, this was not a meddling of history, but of literature and its influence. It came from the fairy tales that wafted through the nursery and around the dinner table of a well ordered English family on Sunday afternoons. However, order was another fallacy. There was no order in Britain after the Second World War, only chaos and despondency. This is where my story begins, but I shall not start at the beginning, but at its crescendo and beg my readers for note that what is written here is not a clear cut and unequivocal biography of rags to riches, since I have been been truly privy to either. Rather I present a random series of events and their outcomes that are sometimes tragic vignettes at at other times mystical and inspiring journeys of discovery, love and forgiveness. I ask that before making a judgment on this work or the characters within that due consideration is given to the times and challenges that Wars present and the legacy that they leave behind.
In 1441 King James II Steward appointed William Sinclair to the post of Hereditary Patron and Protector of Scottish Masons. These were not Freemasons but operative, working stone masons, well learned in the application of mathematics and architectural geometry. William of St Clair (or, better, Sinclair from the late 14th century) founded Rosslyn Chapel in 1446; the construction was completed in 1486 by his son, Olivier. There are hundreds of stone carvings in the walls and in the ceiling; they represent biblical scenes, Masonic symbols, and examples of Templar iconography. There are swords, compasses, trowels, squares and mauls with images of the Solomon’s Temple. In addition to the Jewish and esoteric carvings, there are many Christian messages carved in stone. There are also some traces of Islam and Pagan serpents, dragons, and woodland trees. The wild face of the Green Man, the symbol of the earth forces and the life-cycle, is to be found everywhere on the pillars and arches, together with fruits, herbs, leaves, spices, flowers, vines and the plants of the garden paradise. Every carving has a purpose, and each purpose relates to the next, creating a sense of magical harmony. Rosslyn is the ultimate Holy Grail Chapel, and the Knights Templars were the Guardians of the Grail Family. The name Saint-Clair means “Holy Light”. Moreover the esoteric female symbol (V) represents the “chalice” of life, whereas the male symbol (A) symbolises the “blade” of virility and, if conjoined (X), it indicates “Unity”. If the two symbols are indented, or engrailed, it means “Generation”. As a result, an engrailed cross means “Holy Generation”. In the Holy Grail imagery, as in graphic symbolism, the Messianic succession is denoted by the female Chalice accompanied by the male Blade. (4, page 297). Both at Rosslyn Chapel and on the Grail Knights tombs, carvings of these two emblems are frequent. They are portrayed as a tall chalice with in its bowl the Rosy Cross (with a fleur-de-lis design); this means that the vas-uterus contains the blood of Jesus. Alongside, the Blade is shown in the form of a sword
In Britain and, later on in their exile, the Stuart Kings were at the forefront of the Scottish Rite Freemasonry, which was based on very ancient and arcane knowledge, and Universal Law. Their background was largely inspired by the Templar experience. It was under Charles I and Charles II that the Invisible College of the Royal Society emerged to be later on at the base of many arts and scientific discoveries.
It is well documented that many Templars settled in Scotland after their arrest in France in 1307, they also settled in many parts of England including Somerset. Prior to the Norman Conquest the village of Combe was held by Leofwine Godwinson. One part of the village was known as Abbas Combe which was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086–7 as Cumbe, when it was held by the church of St Edward, Shaftesbury. The other manor within the parish was held by Earl Leofwine but after the Norman Conquest was given to Bishop Odo of Bayeux. It was his descendant Serlo FitzOdo who granted it to the Knights Templar. Today the United Religious Military and Masonic Orders of the Temple and of St John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta and provinces of England and Wales is still active in Templecombe. 
During WWII Adolf Hitler believed that the Freemasonry Lodges were run by Jews so he rounded up all the Freemasons and executed them.  Many German Templars had settled in Palestine as part of the Ottoman Empire, what was to become Israel, but where forced to leave in 1940.
 By: Bro. Shawn M. Gorley 2015 Freemasonry and the Holocaust http://www.thelaudablepursuit.com/articles/2015/2/6/freemasonry-and-the-holocaust
It is important to understand that heritage and politics have long been a crucial element in British identity. British political history is complex and generally never considered when evaluating an individual’s family life or behaviour, it is nonetheless, a guideline to the values and emotions that become encapsulated in the individual and familial beliefs. For example, I might describe my family as having originated from the Whigs, a party that sat in opposition to the less conservative Tory factions of the British Parliament and which in today’s culture are regarded as the conservatives. However, the Whigs were a political party whose origins lay in constitutional monarchism and in opposition to absolute monarchy, so this may not seem to be a conservative view.
The Whigs played a central role in the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and were the standing enemies of the Stuart kings (and pretenders), who were Roman Catholic. King James II promulgated policies of catholic tolerance which after 1685 met with increasing opposition from members of the leading political circles who were also troubled by the King’s close ties with Catholic France, these policies divided opinion and would have lasting effects.
The Glorious Revolution of 1688, was the overthrow of King James II of England (James VII of Scotland) by a gathering of English Parliamentarians together with the Dutch protestant William III, Prince of Orange, who was James’s nephew and son-in-law. William’s successful invasion of England with a Dutch fleet and army led to his ascension to the throne as William III of England jointly with his wife, Mary II, James’s daughter.  The Whigs took full control of the government in 1715. It had been enabled by the Hanoverian succession of George I in 1714 and the failed Jacobite rising of 1715 led by Tory rebels and it remained totally dominant until King George III came to the throne in 1760, which allowed the Tory factions back into the government.  
I did say that that British politics was complex? Well, today the Tories would be the conservatives and the Whigs liberals. You see identity and policy do not always coincide.
The word ‘Tory’ is the pejorative term, derived from the Irish Gaelic-speaking Catholic rebellion meaning ‘outlaw’ or ‘brigand’. In the last quarter of the seventeenth century the outlaws were those against the attempt being made to put the Duke of York, a Catholic, on the throne after the death of his older brother Charles II. The word ‘Whigs’, is the term (also pejorative) that was derived from a rather vulgar Scottish expression – ‘Whiggamore’ – usually applied to any kind of rebel, it literally means ‘horse-thief’. 
Here we have the roots of a nineteenth century politics where both the Whigs and the Tories hailed from the aristocracy, because these are the people who have the power in the social, cultural and political setting. Only the rich are considered able to rule.
William of Orange and his wife Mary kept the English throne in the British family as Mary was the daughter of King James VII and William was the son of Charles I’s daughter, but this did not sit well with the Scots and they started the revolt known as the first Jacobite Rising (1689), which was led by Viscount Graham of Claverhouse, known as Bonnie Dundee and the Grand prior of the Knights Templars in Scotland. The King’s Army finally defeated them.
A second Jacobite rising took place on 1745 under the leadership of “Bonnie Prince” Charles Edward Stuart. He was successful at first and was confirmed on the throne as Charles III on 24 September 1745. He also became the Grand Master of the Order of the Temple of Jerusalem. He was defeated by the English troops in 1809 when there was a dispute over sovereign loyalties between the two sons of King George III, Prince Edward, Duke of Kent (Queen Victoria’s father), (who was a Freemason) and his brother, Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex, (who was a Knights Templar). Many of the Knights Templars were loyal to the Stuart household.
Edward tried to transfer their support to the House of Hanover, but failed. As a compromise he created a Templar branch within the existing masonic structure under the protectorate of the Duke of Kent.
The masons followed the English York Rite of Freemasonry while the chivalric Templars followed the Scottish Rite under the protectorate of Prince Edward James Stuart.
The exiled Stuarts in France and Italy were involved in the growth and dissemination of Freemasonry, more specifically of the Scottish rite that had higher degrees and held more mysteries than the other Masonic systems. One of the best-known Masons of the Scottish Rite was Charles Edward’s cousin and mentor, the Comte de St Germain. The Stuart Rite was based on established rights and privileges, and on the wish to initiate its members into the true antiquity and pedigree of the Craft. In England the secrecy of the Lodges was allegedly used to plot against the Whig and the Hanoverian dynasty.
 George was born in Hanover and inherited the titles and lands of the Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg from his father and uncles. A succession of European wars expanded his German domains during his lifetime, and in 1708 he was ratified as prince-elector of Hanover. At the age of 54, after the death of his second cousin Anne, Queen of Great Britain, George ascended the British throne as the first monarch of the House of Hanover. Although over 50 Roman Catholics were closer to Anne by primogeniture, the Act of Settlement 1701 prohibited Catholics from inheriting the British throne; George was Anne’s closest living Protestant relative. In reaction, Jacobites attempted to depose George and replace him with Anne’s Catholic half-brother, James Francis Edward Stuart, but their attempts failed. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_I_of_Great_Britain
Emotional disorders might be contagious. The general view is that emotions are contagious and emotional disorders are not contagious. This is what was posted on the Big Think.
Emotions are contagious. Like the common cold, stress can spread to the people around you, as can good moods and bad moods. Knowledge of this has led some people to believe that mental illness can be transmitted as well. And while the symptoms of the disease may be transferred—misery loves company, as they say—a study published in the journal Memory & Cognition concludes the illness itself is impossible to transfer.
Researchers Jessecae Marsh and Lindzi Shanks asked a group of individuals if they believed certain non-infectious diseases were indeed infectious. The group responded that alcoholism had a 56 percent chance of transmission, anorexia 35.7 percent, and depression 32.2 percent. These were the most “communicable” diseases. Whereas disorders like Tourette’s (4.2 percent), autism (5.3 percent), and schizophrenia (7.4 percent) scored much lower on the transmission scale.
The article went on to note that people’s willingness to interact with those afflicted with a mental disorder was related to how contagious they thought they were. A higher rate of a disorder’s possible transmission, the less likely participants were to interact with them. 
Clearly there is more incentive to say that mental disorders are not contagious because to say otherwise might cause victimisation to people with mental difficulties.
So how did the participants think these disorders were being transferred? Well, through social interactions. One individual explained, “If you hang out with someone that drinks all the time, you will soon be drinking a lot as well.”
According to the article this is false. According to the researchers, another study published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society found evidence suggesting that more frequent social interaction actually protects against depression.
A co-author Edward Hill, said: “Our results suggest that promotion of any friendship between adolescents can reduce depression since having depressed friends does not put them at risk, but having healthy friends is both protective and curative.”
According to the Health Times (2017) Depression: Who’s nursing the nurses? And, can your job result in a severe case of trauma?
The Trauma model of mental illness. oppression
The trauma model of mental disorders emphasises the effects of physical, sexual and psychological trauma as key causal factors in the development of psychiatric disorders, including depression, anxiety and psychoses./ Whether trauma occurs during childhood or in adult life reactions to traumatic events are the same as those classified in mental illness. In psychoanalysis Freud approached mental impacts of child sexual abuse and hysteria as having their roots in trauma. The French psychotherapist and philosopher Pierre Marie Félix Janet (1859 – 1947) also saw the connection between trauma and mental dysfunction. He specialised in the field of dissociation and traumatic memory. Janet studied under Jean-Martin Charcot at the Psychological Laboratory in the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris (in the same facility as Freud), Janet first published the results of his research in his philosophy thesis in 1889 and in his medical thesis, L’état mental des hystériques, in 1892. He earned a degree in medicine the following year in 1893. In 1898, Janet was appointed lecturer in psychology at the Sorbonne, and in 1902 he attained the chair of experimental and comparative psychology at the Collège de France, a position he held until 1936. He was a member of the Institut de France from 1913, and was a central figure in French psychology in the first half of the 20th century.  Janet was also one of the first people to allege a connection between events in a subject’s past life and his or her present-day trauma, and coined the words “dissociation” and “subconscious”. His study of the “magnetic passion” or “rapport” between the patient and the hypnotist later gave rise to accounts of the transference between patient and therapist.  
The 20th century saw Janet developing a grand model of the mind in terms of levels of energy, efficiency and social competence, which he set out in publications including Obsessions and Psychasthenia (1903) and From Anguish to Ecstasy (1926), among others. With its focus on the construction of the social personality, this model has been compared to the social behaviourism of George Herbert Mead. Much of Mead’s work centred on the development of the self and the objectivity of the world within the social realm: he insisted that “the individual mind can exist only in relation to other minds with shared meanings” 
Jacques Lacan had praise for Janet for his focus on feelings of persecution and what has been terms the phenomenological moments in social behaviour . Phenomenological moments and dissociation can be directly linked to the incidence of trauma.
Janet is ranked alongside William James and Wilhelm Wundt as one of the founding fathers of psychology. His trauma models emphasise that traumatic experiences are more common and more significant in terms of aetiology than has often been thought in people diagnosed with mental disorders. Such models have their roots in early experiences of chronic maltreatment and severe neglect which can later manifest psychological problems. 
In the 1960s trauma models were promulgated by the humanist and anti–psychiatry movements, particularly in regard to understanding schizophrenia and the role of the family. R. D. Laing ( 1927 –1989) who wrote extensively on psychosis argued that schizophrenia was a theory not a fact. Laing’s views on the causes and treatment of psychopathological phenomena were influenced by his study of existential philosophy and ran counter to the conventional methods of treatment such as electroshock and drugs. He focused on the direct traumatic experiences of the patient rather than a diagnosis of mental illness.
Personality disorders have also been a focus in cases of trauma, particularly borderline personality disorder, with the role of dissociation, fight, flight and freezing responses, which have been listed under the trauma model. In addition, some versions of trauma models have implicated the foetal environment and the event of being born as the cause of trauma, but these are not well-supported in the academic literature, the idea was first promoted by Otto Rank in the 1950s.
People can be traumatised by a wide range of circumstances, not just by people. Institutions such as schools and recreational groups have been implicated in trauma, but one of the most prevalent causes amongst women seems to be the trauma of giving birth as well as the expectations that follow. Post-partum depression has become common in western society.
Trauma models highlight the stressful and traumatic factors in relationships both in early attachments to a new born and in the development of mature relationships. Communication in general can be difficult for someone who has experienced intense trauma.
Toxic relationships are often presented as a cause in mental disorders and treated with standard medications which rarely address the real problem. More recently, there has been a strong focus on psychiatric orthodoxy and informed criticisms of the mental health system, as well as genetics and the neurological changes to the brain that have arisen from traumatic experiences. These explorations are not always available at the time of crisis and most people have to muster their own resilience.
Medications cannot overcome trauma, coping skills have to be learned and the past events have to be accepted before the individual can move on.
 Emotions Are Contagious, But Emotional Disorders Aren’t by Natalie Shoemaker n/d
 Jeronimus, B.F., Ormel, J., Aleman, A., Penninx, B.W.J.H., Riese, H. (2013). “Negative and positive life events are associated with small but lasting change in neuroticism”. Psychological Medicine. 43 (11): 2403–15.
 Read J, van Os J, Morrison AP, Ross CA (November 2005). “Childhood trauma, psychosis and schizophrenia: a literature review with theoretical and clinical implications”. Acta Psychiatr Scand. 112 (5): 330–50.
 Ibid and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Janet
 O. L. Zangwill, ‘Hypnotism, history of’, in Gregory ed., p. 332
 Henri F. Ellenberger, The Discovery of the Unconscious (1970) p. 147 and p. 406.
 Peter Gay, Freud: A Life for Our Time (1988) p. 50.
 Ellenberger, p. 386
 · · Baldwin, John (2009). George Herbert Mead. Sage. p. 7.
 “George Herbert Mead, Philosophy”. www.lib.uchicago.edu. Retrieved 2016-02-10.
 Jeronimus, B.F., Ormel, J., Aleman, A., Penninx, B.W.J.H., Riese, H. (2013). “Negative and positive life events are associated with small but lasting change in neuroticism”. Psychological Medicine. 43 (11): 2403–15.
Trauma and the Social Movements.
My own experiences in the social movements in the 1960s were dramatic, and they made a break with the middle-class mediocrity that was the bane of the would be intellectual who sought the utopian idea of a knowledge equality. The social movements also provided first-hand experience of how most groups serve as an object for the introjection of the ego into that of the leader or group. This leads to false consciousness and is especially prevalent amongst the disenchanted and those who were suffering trauma. Social movements appeased the deflated spirit of the poor and emotionally needy and the mass gatherings were an escape for the angry and the confused. As Freud described, individuals transfer personal trauma onto the object as a perceived panacea for pain, but it offers only temporary relief. Internal trauma cannot be treated with distance and repressed trauma will manifest in a host of other problems, the source of which are often hard to detect.
The Second World War produced a generation of rebels whose actions were based on repressed trauma. The Civil Rights movement, feminism and gay rights have all been an inadvertent attempt to break free from personal and intergenerational trauma.
Philosophers have approached the problem of trauma from many different angles. Many have sought solace in conscious awareness, but conscious awareness reminds us that despite our material circumstances, living is never easy, yet, it is also very hard to die. This prompted the philosopher David Benatar to ask the question: If life and death are so hard, is it wrong to reproduce?  None of us ask to be born and many of us see life as a gift; but is the gift of life a delusion? Further, might this delusion be underscoring a lot of trauma?
Benatar, is an anti-natalist who believes that having children is morally wrong. This is, without doubt, a difficult question since evolution has provided humans with all the drives to proliferate the species. Well before Benatar published his book the psychoanalyst Otto Rank published a volume called the Trauma of Birth in which he described the whole process of birthing as traumatic leaving the child with serious, but largely repressed, psychological problems.
Environmental and social circumstances often prevent adequate bonding and the result can be serious mental impairments or difficulties, but much depends, not on the experiences, but how the individual deals with them. Some people have more resilience than others.
There has been a significant philosophical and medical divide between the definitions of mental dysfunction and its correlation with trauma. Mental illness carries an insidious social stigma. On the other hand, trauma is seen as something separate from the mind and more in terms of a misadventure, despite its psychological effects. Moreover, the aetiology of generational trauma as a cause of mental illness has received little efficacy in the realms of modern diagnostics. Nonetheless, trauma can be seen as organic in individual outcomes while running through families with no identifiable genetic markers, so what is trauma? How do we define trauma? How is society and the family implicated in ongoing trauma? Further, how can trauma shape our lives?
What is Trauma.
The word ‘trauma’ conveys an extreme condition of immediate pain and urgency, yet, many other names can be attributed to the condition. Some descriptions of trauma simultaneously describe psychiatric conditions, such as depression, stress, neuroses or psychoses, an accident and/or a brain injury, a loss of job or income, a death of a loved one, to name only a few examples. At least one of these will be implicated in trauma, yet, they are spoken of differently, or given a softer more individual perspective. This can serve to undermine and confuse the issues of trauma, especially when it is complex trauma, that is when trauma has a long and arduous history. It is often complex trauma that draws people to the social movements where like-mindedness depends on the complexity of traumas.
Complex trauma is said to result from repetitive, prolonged traumatic events, often unintended or inflicted discursively via the perpetrators own history of experiences. In families, work or the institutional setting, trauma can be inbuilt into the dynamics of the establishment. Embedded trauma is common place in the military and conversely the military often attracts victims of trauma. Complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD) is generally associated with military action, but this view has been extended to include intimate partner violence (unwanted and painful sexual acts) bondage, kidnap, hostages, forced servitude, slaves, sweatshop workers, prisoners of war, concentration camp survivors, and defectors of cults or cult-like organizations. In other words, situations where people feel captivity and entrapment can lead to symptoms of trauma; these include prolonged feelings of terror, worthlessness, helplessness, and deformation of one’s identity and sense of self.
The Civil Rights movements identified the entrapment of people with racial differences. For radical feminists the experience within the marriage and family setting was generally viewed as oppressive and a form of entrapment. For Marxists the burden of intense labour for little return was viewed in the same idiom as slavery, bondage and entrapment, but this does not answer the questions on original trauma.
First let us look at a list of trauma symptoms.
Persistent sadness, anxiousness or “empty” mood
- Severe mood swings
- Frustration, irritability, restlessness, anger
- Feelings of hopelessness and/or helplessness
- Guilt, shame, worthlessness
- Low self-esteem
- Numbness, emptiness
- Inability to be comforted
- Trouble bonding with the baby
- Feeling inadequate in taking care of the baby
- Lack of interest or pleasure in usual activities
- Low or no energy
- Low libido
- Changes in appetite
- Fatigue, decreased energy and motivation
- Poor self-care
- Social withdrawal
- Insomnia or excessive sleep
- Diminished ability to make decisions and think clearly
- Lack of concentration and poor memory
- Fear that you can not care the baby or fear of the baby
- Worry about harming self, baby, or partner 
Trauma and Birth.
About 15% of women experience depression around childbirth. Postpartum psychosis occurs in about 1–2 per thousand women following childbirth. Postpartum depression is estimated to affect 1% to 26% fathers if new fathers. Postpartum psychosis is one of the leading causes of the murder of children less than one year of age, which occurs in about 8 per 100,000 births in the United States. 
In the 1960s and 1970s Leonard Orr established a movement arguing against the medicalization and pathologizing of birth practices. this followed a whole cadre of psychologists, therapists and writers who turned their attention away from orthodox medicine and towards personal growth. The psychologist Gay Hendricks became widely known as a writer and practitioner in the field of personal growth, relationships, and body intelligence, all of which were designed to enhance human relationships through the development of conscious breathing. People were given various breathing exercises which helped to control not just the breath, but also the mind. After receiving his Ph.D. in psychology from Stanford University in 1974, Gay began teaching at the University of Colorado. He spent 21 years at the University of Colorado and became a Full Professor in the Counselling Psychology Department while founding The Hendricks Institute.
The new birthing and re-birthing movement gave rise to a number of other prominent personal development advocates, perhaps one of the best know would be Louise Hay who recounted her life story in an interview with Mark Oppenheimer of the New York Times in May 2008. In it, Hay stated that she was born in Los Angeles to a poor mother who remarried Louise’s violent stepfather, whereby she and her mother were victims of constant physical abuse. According to Hay, when she was about 5, she was raped by a neighbour. At 15, she dropped out of high school without a diploma, became pregnant and, on her 16th birthday, gave up her newborn baby girl for adoption. She then moved to Chicago, where she worked in low-paying jobs. In 1950, she moved to New York, she changed her name and began a career as a fashion model. She achieved success and in 1954 and married the English businessman Andrew Hay who after 14 years of marriage left her for another woman. Hay was devastated and turned to the First Church of Religious Science, which taught her the transformative power of thought.
Hay revealed that here she studied the New Thought works of authors like Florence Scovel Shinn, who claimed that positive thinking could change peoples’ material circumstances, and the Religious Science founder Ernest Holmes, who taught that positive thinking could heal the body. 
The New Thought movement was a social and philosophical movement which developed in the United States in the 19th century. It was considered by many to have been derived from the unpublished writings of Phineas Quimby. Phineas Parkhurst Quimby (1802–1866) was an American spiritual teacher, a philosopher, healer, and inventor, who resided in Belfast, Maine. Quimby was one of seven children and the son of a blacksmith. He received little formal education and suffered tuberculosis in his youth and was prescribed calomel by his doctor. Instead of curing his sickness, the calomel rotted his teeth, and Quimby began experimenting with his own ideas for a cure and found that intense excitement alleviated his pain for brief periods of time, and became interested in the mind’s ability to affect the body.
William James, in The Varieties of Religious Experience, described New Thought as follows:
…for the sake of having a brief designation, I will give the title of the “Mind-cure movement.” There are various sects of this “New Thought,” to use another of the names by which it calls itself; but their agreements are so profound that their differences may be neglected for my present purpose, and I will treat the movement, without apology, as if it were a simple thing. It is an optimistic scheme of life, with both a speculative and a practical side. In its gradual development during the last quarter of a century, it has taken up into itself a number of contributory elements, and it must now be reckoned with as a genuine religious power. It has reached the stage, for example, when the demand for its literature is great enough for insincere stuff, mechanically produced for the market, to be to a certain extent supplied by publishers – a phenomenon never observed, I imagine, until a religion has got well past its earliest insecure beginnings.
One of the doctrinal sources of Mind-cure is the four Gospels; another is Emersonianism or New England transcendentalism; another is Berkeleyan idealism; another is spiritism, with its messages of “law” and “progress” and “development”; another the optimistic popular science evolutionism of which I have recently spoken; and, finally, Hinduism has contributed a strain. But the most characteristic feature of the mind-cure movement is an inspiration much more direct. The leaders in this faith have had an intuitive belief in the all-saving power of healthy-minded attitudes as such, in the conquering efficacy of courage, hope, and trust, and a correlative contempt for doubt, fear, worry, and all nervously precautionary states of mind. Their belief has in a general way been corroborated by the practical experience of their disciples; and this experience forms to-day a mass imposing in amount. 
In the early 1970s Hay became a Religious Science practitioner. In this role she led people in spoken affirmations, which she believed would cure their illnesses, and she ran workshops and publicly announced that she had cured herself of cervical cancer. In 1976, Hay wrote her first book Heal Your Body, which began as a small pamphlet containing a list of different bodily ailments and their “probable” metaphysical causes. This pamphlet was later enlarged and extended into her book You Can Heal Your Life, published in 1984 and went on to form the basis of the Hay House publishing company, which still exists today.
As yet there has been no proof of an absolute cure for complex and reflexive trauma. There are theories that the answer might lie in lucid dreaming, the state of being aware that you are dreaming and where theoretically one can rewrite the script from trauma to cure.
Trauma seriously affects psychological and biological development. There have been many studies over the past three decades that have helped in our understanding of how the brain works and how trauma hinders the developmental processes. Trauma is a worldwide problem that impacts the health and wellbeing of millions of people and it underscores a lot of negative human behaviour that perpetuates pain on a global scale. Today, the study of psychological trauma is accompanied by a mountain of knowledge about how experience shapes the central nervous system and the formation of our identity, or what we call the ‘self’. The developments in the neurosciences, developmental psychopathology and information processing have contributed to our understanding of how brain function is shaped by experience and that a life, in and of itself, can continually transform the body and mind. The study of trauma has probably been the most important area of study for helping to develop a deeper understanding of the relationship between the emotional, cognitive, social and biological forces that have moulded our human evolution and there is still a long way to go and much more to be explored.
So far, many of the studies on trauma have been around the high incidence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and these have been extended into the early experiences in childhood. We know for instance, that certain experiences can put in place psychological narratives that have an impact in physiology and decision making. We know that most experience is automatically processed by the unconscious and later shifted to consciousness. In other words, behaviours generally arise from the stored unconscious memories and what we regard as rational thinking has only a limited influence. We know that most of the problems of traumatised people are caused by replaying the traumatic events of the past. Drugs and therapy have only limited prospects for assisting these pre-conditioned scenarios and there is a high level of relapse from current drug and therapeutic practices. Added to this the suicide rates have soared.
Trauma and the Brain.
Trauma changes our brains and redirects our human evolution. Human consciousness created the world, but two thirds of the human capacity for consciousness is controlled by the intangible and hidden unconscious. When the world is manifesting trauma, the unconscious is where trauma resides. With this knowledge we must address trauma in a different way to most other physical maladies. We must look not just to childhood and infancy, but to the infancy and growth of every nation, group tradition and institution and ask, what is it that has created this trauma? Where is its core? We must examine the influences of previous generational childhoods and their implications for the modern and ongoing psyche. 
Intergenerational trauma is not a new problem. The consequences of intergenerational childhood trauma have been known for thousands of years. Warnings about bad times being passed on from generation to generation and many appear in the historical texts, the religious canon and the ancient mythologies. Scientists now have proof that trauma is passed on, but it is often not convenient to dwell on it. The impacts of intergenerational trauma reside in our emotions and how we behave can influence the expression of our DNA, otherwise referred to as our epi-genetics.
In recent decades, we have come to understand more about the genetic code. We know for instance that information is encoded in genetic material (DNA or RNA sequences), and how this is translated into proteins (amino acid sequences) by living cells. This knowledge has greatly changed the way we deal with mental and physical health issues, but it is not always reflected in the way we deal with social and political problems that also rest upon emotions, fears, feelings and historical trauma experiences. When we add the criterion of epi-genetics to individual events, a deeper analysis is available. To be clear, epi-genetics does not alter the DNA, it influences its expression in lifeworld circumstances. 
In 2016 the links between trauma and epigenetics became popularised in Britain when radio program host Sue Armstrong reported on a study of generational trauma in her broadcast on Radio 4 titled All in the Womb (produced by Ruth Evans). The Spectator magazine picked up the story and further detailed how recent developments in the understanding of severe trauma affects both the mind and the body and how these changes were creating physical changes in certain groups. Armstrong noted that people who lived through the Holocaust and who were incarcerated in concentration camps had children who had experiences of trauma metaphorically similar to the experiences of their parents. Evidence for these experiential links was had by comparing the parents’ and their childrens’ DNA during the Human Genome Project. People in prison camps were found to have low levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This is the hormone that the body releases into the bloodstream as we experience panic and fear. It is often referred to as the survival hormone. Scientists found that the descendants of those who have suffered war, violence, incessant fear also have lower levels of cortisol than average. Hence, it was determined that certain projections could be made based on our understanding of these generational legacies. 
A study by Dr. Rachel Yehuda, director of Mount Sinai’s Traumatic Stress Studies Division examined the DNA of Holocaust survivors and their children and found similar variations from the norm in both generations for the gene associated with depression and anxiety disorders. Although the study involved just thirty Holocaust survivors and their offspring, the findings implied that children of Holocaust survivor parents who experienced profound stress were more likely to pass on stress and anxiety disorders to their children. The pattern is known as an epigenetic change because it affects the chemical marker for the gene rather than the gene itself, albeit with attachments to new realities, scenarios and circumstances.  The question then arises, what might happen to these offspring when they are faced trauma in their own lives? Case studies revealed that the impact of past traumas experienced by parents could unwittingly have a direct influence on current traumas leading to the exacerbation of personal traumas and more distress.
Researcher Ilany Kogan describes two mechanisms by which the generational transmission of trauma occurs, first is where the child’s unconscious introjection and assimilation of the damaged parent’s self-images occurs through interaction with that parent, which then leads to the loss of the child’s separate sense of self and an inability to differentiate between the self and the damaged parent. Second, is where the parent forces aspects of him or herself onto the child, consciously or unconsciously.  Kogan goes on to say:
Life threatening reality does not reactivate only a simple recollection of traumatic events, but also reactivates in the children the mental representation…that they share with their parents. These include real events of a traumatic nature, conscious and unconscious fantasies regarding these events, intense feelings…and defences against unacceptable feelings such as shame, guilt or aggression. 
Two examples are offered by Kogan, one where a female high school teacher decides to demonstrate against Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, which Kogan suggests was a way of unconsciously mitigating the burden of guilt she felt towards her parents when her needs overshadowed the pain experienced by her mother and father, this also became transferred to other close relationships making them difficult to sustain.
The second example describes a man who sought counselling to control his anger. His father, also a Holocaust survivor, had committed suicide. Here the client projected his anger onto others having introjected the pain of his father’s experience as a Holocaust victim.
Findings suggests that profound stress in the older generation translated into an adaptation that passed on to their offspring. Scientists have long-known that parents pass genetic traits down to their children, research also suggests that life experiences can also produce chemical effects in DNA which can impact on behaviours and lives.
Does History Repeat Itself?
Our experiences, and those of our forebears, are never gone, even if they have been forgotten. They become a part of us, a molecular residue holding fast to our genetic scaffolding.
Intergenerational transference is the subject of Lost in Transmission: Studies of Trauma Across Generation edited by M. Gerard Fromm (2012). A collection of essays on traumatic transmission builds on the idea that what human beings cannot contain of their experience—what has been traumatically overwhelming, unbearable, unthinkable—falls out of social discourse, but very often on to and into the next generation as an affective sensitivity or a chaotic urgency. 
The transmission of trauma may be particular to a given family suffering a loss, such as the death of an infant, or it can be a shared response to societal trauma. Maurice De Witt, a sidewalk Santa on Fifth Avenue noticed a marked change in behaviour the holiday season following 9/11 when parents would not “let the hands of their children go. The kids sense that. It’s like water seeping down, and the kids can feel it… There is an anxiety, but the kids can’t make the connections.”
Psychic legacies are often passed on through unconscious cues or affective messages that flow between child and adult. Sometimes anxiety falls from one generation to the next through stories told to children by parents, friends or teachers. The psycho-historian Peter Loewenberg recalls the oral tradition of his parents who lived through the hunger years in Germany during the First World War when the physical health and stature of a generation was stunted due to prolonged malnutrition. According to their stories, a once-a-year indulgence was an orange segmented and apportioned among the entire family. Loewenberg further identifies a causal chain between physical privations of the German people during WWI, which culminated in the Great Depression (1929), and the Nazi appeal to children of Central Europe. To what extent did “the passive experiences of childhood starvation” lead to a reversal and fantasied “undoing” through the hunger regime and cruelty of the concentration camps? This is an interesting question because society blames the horrors of War on those who are directly involved and can be held accountable for their atrocities; but as Loewenberg suggests we need to asked who (or what) else is involved?
Transgenerational transmissions take on life of their own. The transmissions appear in our dreams and hallucinations (a form of dreaming) as well as in daily life through family influences. Discovering transmission means coming to know the greater narrative, the one from the preceding generation. It requires close listening to the stories of our parents and grandparents, with special attention to the social and historical milieu in which they lived – especially when there has been military and economic turmoil. The emotional ties between child and ancestors are essential to the development of values. These bonds often determine the answers to myriad questions such as: “Who am I?” “Who am I to my family?” “Who can ‘we’ trust” and who are our enemies?” “What ties me to my family?” And, most importantly, “of these ties, which do I reject and which to I keep?”
Birth, Depression and Trauma.
The psychoanalyst Otto Rank argued that birth itself is traumatic because it is an interruption of blissful uterine life from which people spend the rest of their lives trying to recover. Rank believed that the birth trauma, and the fantasy of returning to the mother’s womb, are far more important than subsequent traumas and fantasies. Arthur Janov argued that neurosis is caused by the repressed pain of childhood trauma. Janov’s primal therapy was used to re-experience childhood pain so it could be felt rather than exist in conceptual memories. This was believed to bring about a breakthrough and better integration into the real world. Primal therapy became very influential during the early 1970s, after the publication of Janov’s first book, The Primal Scream. 
Frédérick Leboyer believed babies were the forgotten subjects in the birth process. The French obstetrician and author, best known for his 1974 book, Birth Without Violence, popularized gentle birthing techniques, in particular, the practice of immersing new born infants in a small tub of warm water — known as a ‘’Leboyer bath’’. He believed the bath would help ease the transition from the womb to the outside world. He also advocated low lighting, less noise and a warm room to limit the supposed shock of birth. 
Trauma and Depression.
One of the most common mental ailments today is depression, but what if depression was not an illness, it was solely a response to trauma? The Anti-Psychiatry Movement of the 1960s and in particular R.D. Liang attempted to link all mental illness to various expectations and inequities within society said to cause anxiety and trauma. All mental illness has strong components of fear and anxiety, which in turn alters the brain chemistry, whereby it can cause long term damage to the brain’s neurological structure. The brain also has plasticity and in some cases the brain can repair itself or supplement the damage by using other areas of capacity.
Trauma has its own symbolism. Freud saw the formation of symbols as something created in the context of an internal narrative, which is replayed to ourselves as part of our inner world. We might call this our inner voice. Reality, or the events of the external world can only be fully grasped when the inner world and the outer world are working together. Extreme trauma causes this continuity to be disrupted. Trauma can cause too much focus on the inner world and then manifest it in outward pain. The inner world represents our needs, yet to be experienced. The traumatised individual sees the inner world as an emptiness with only terror in the abyss, this can have a profound impact on the ego and self-esteem.
In psychoanalysis symbolism is associated with ego formation. Sigmund Freud described ego formation in his Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis (1916-1917). Freud wrote:
There can be no doubt that the source [of the fantasies] lie in the instincts; but it still has to be explained why the same fantasies with the same content are created on every occasion. I am prepared with an answer that I know will seem daring to you. I believe that…primal fantasies, and no doubt a few others as well, are a phylogenetic endowment. 
Freud’s suggestion that primal fantasies are a residue of specific memories of prehistoric experiences follows Freud’s interest in archetypes, which he withdrew from after his split with partner Carl Jung. It was Jung who developed the notion of archetypes as an influential component in human behaviour. Laplanehe and Pontalis believe that all the so-called primal fantasies relate to the origins and that like collective myths they claim to provide a representation of and a ‘’solution’’ to whatever constitutes an enigma for the child. 
According to Melanie Klein not only does symbolism come to be the foundation of all fantasy and sublimation, but more than that, it is the basis of the subject’s relation to the outside world and to reality in general. For Klein trauma is associated with an internal rage that serves as an antidote for the preservation of the good object. Klein argued that the introjection and identification with a stable good object (good parent or caregiver) is crucial to the ego’s construction. Kleinian theory suggests the introjection of and identification with a stable good object is crucial to the ego’s capacity to cohere and integrate experience. Damaged or dead internal objects (sometimes referred to as the dead mother) cause enormous anxiety and can lead to traumatic personality disintegration  (My emphasis).
Introjection, Trauma and Loss of Balance.
The loss of personal judgement is a common feature in introjection. Hence, introjection can be present in any relationship where people manifest behaviour that they would normally regard as unacceptable or out of character, but which feels necessary to complete their make-up, especially at a time of trauma or chaos. Introjection also has a part to play in contagion where fringe cultures and the existence of groupies join together to follow a hero or icon and where behaviour can become erratic, emotional and problematic because introjection overwhelms everything else. For instance, if a young girl, idealises a pop star she can devote her entire existence to fantasising and following the life of the star to the detriment of other important tasks and relationships. What we call peer group pressure is often a case of introjecting the ideas of the societal group and/or its top dog, into the personality of the individual.
Introjection can be viewed an acceptable form of behaviour in a society based on peer group influences. Examples appear everywhere in daily life and are often hailed as strengths not weaknesses. Some children are also believed to use introjection as a protective strategy when relationships with parents break down or the child suffers neglect. Cases of neglect frequently occur because the parent has introjected harmful behaviours and fears from their parents, grandparents or relatives, then subsequently onto their own children in a transgenerational schemer.
Childhood experiences that have their roots in introjection can include, but are not limited to, bullying, physical and sexual abuse, loss of a family member or friend, and many more. Experiences like these can change a person’s physical, social and emotional life. Memories of these events usually linger in a person’s mind for years and become almost impossible to eradicate. In contrast, small incidents can be blown up into proportions equal to the fear that is increasingly generated when the problem has not been dealt with.
A child exposed to narcissistic parent can suffer extreme trauma, which in turn can be passed on to then next generation. When parents experience negative thoughts these can be subliminally played back to children resulting in feelings of being worthless making it very hard for the growing child to cope in the world. The actions and outcomes of negative thinking can be the result of feelings and emotions that are quite unconscious. A socially isolated parent will often introject their solitude onto the child so the child also remains alone and isolated from the mainstream. Without social contact the child has no point of reference and s/he can lapse into a state of not caring for themselves or others; this can also become a case of trauma driven morbid depression.
In The Sane Society (1955), Fromm wrote,
An unhealthy society is one which creates mutual hostility [and] distrust, which transforms man into an instrument of use and exploitation for others, which deprives him of a sense of self, except inasmuch as he submits to others or becomes an automaton… Yet many psychiatrists and psychologists refuse to entertain the idea that society as a whole may be lacking in sanity. They hold that the problem of mental health in a society is only that of the number of ‘unadjusted’ individuals, and not of a possible unadjustment of the culture itself. 
Studies show that all forms of abuse in childhood are likely to result in drugs and alcohol abuse, aggressive and anti-social behaviour and sometimes suicide, but rarely has abuse in one generation been linked to trauma in the previous generations. It would appear from the studies on the offspring of Holocaust survivors that abuse is caused by previous trauma and it becomes a vicious and ongoing cycle. The individual can become anxious, anti-social and typically fearing any kind of deep relationship. Abuse is everywhere in society and much of it goes unrecorded or unexplained.
Broken connections stem beyond those of our maternal parents and caregivers? Most people need a sense of where they come from in order to answer some of life’s important questions. These subtle omissions of intergenerational knowledge can determine the way we feel and what we project onto the society we live in.
 David Benatar 2015, Debating Procreation Oxford, Oxford University Press Chapter 1.
 Herman, Judith Lewis (1992). Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence. New York: Basic Books, pp ix, 268.
 Hendricks co-founded The Spiritual Cinema Circle with his wife and producer Stephen Simon, was Executive Producer for the film Zen Noir (2004). He served as producer and writer on the Louise Hay movie, You Can Heal Your Life. In 2011, he partnered with writer Tinker Lindsey to begin the Tenzing Zorbu mystery series, with titles such as The First Rule of Ten and The Second Rule of Ten, which illustrate emotional and spiritual challenges in the life of a fictional ex-monk private detective. A short biopic was made of his life for Polish television, he was portrayed by Canadian actor, Jon Cubbon.
 https://www.spectator.co.uk/2016/04/how-trauma-is-passed-on-down-through-the-e-generations-in- our-dna
 IIany Kogan 2012 The Second Generation in the Shadow of Terror Lost in Transmission: Studies of Trauma Across Generations. Introduction, London, Karnac Publishing. p6.
 Jonathan Harley (2012) Lost In Transmission by – Penguin Books Australia https://www.penguin.com.au/books/lost-in-transmission-9781863253994
 Otto Rank
 Arthur Janov
 Reynolds, Concise Encyclopedia of Special Education, 138]
 Andrew Samuels 1986 Jung and the Post Jungians. London Routledge.
 ———- 2012 The Second Generation in the Shadow of Terror Lost in Transmission: Studies of Trauma Across Generations. Introduction, London, Karnac Publishing. p52
 The Sane Society E Fromm
The above poster is contained in the Riley Collection at the Victorian State Library, Australia and it will appear on the Riley Collection website. It is always a great feeling to know that one’s work is appreciated. This particular poster, produced 33 years ago, was inspired by the photographs of Angelia Davis, the 1960s African American Civil Rights leader, someone for whom I had a great admiration.
Is it not time we took climate change seriously? There have been so many natural disasters in the past few years, surely we cannot call these incidents “natural” in the true sense of the word. Humans need to be accountable. As we continue to dig into the entrails of Mother Earth and manufacture weapons for more wars, we need to take notice of the fact that we are all living on borrowed time. More pain, more mental health issues. No planet, no life.
My condolences to all involved.
The art of reading symbols is a complex discipline, but those who have this skill can read the details of another secret world that remains cloaked in mystery and suspicion; and along with the hidden mystery and suspicion there comes the hidden trauma.
Take for example Homer’s ancient story of Odysseus who is on his way home from the Trojan War when he is captured by the nymph Calypso who professes her love for him. Odysseus finds compassion in the goddess Athena and she has him released, but on the way home Poseidon creates a great storm and shipwrecks the vessel that carries Odysseus.
Odysseus then blinds Poseidon’s son Cyclops and continues his journey home only to be turned into a pig by a witch. Odysseus then arrives home disguised as a pig and sees his wife has a number of other suiters. Athena sets a test for the suiters, whoever can string Odysseus’ bow and blast an arrow through twelve axe heads has Penelope’s hand. Only Odysseus passes the test and he celebrates by killing or mutilating everyone in the household.
The story of Odysseus reveals an important transition in the ancient human history of killing, from the sacrificing of animals to the gods to sacrificing humans. The sacrifices to the gods still exist today, only the gods take another form, they are in the building of monuments, the insignia of generals and leaders. They are robots, machines, drones, guns bombs and fighter planes, everything we value over nature and human existence. Each new invention must be put to the test as must each new leader or general and the winner takes all.
Such worlds rarely reveal their presence in ordinary circumstances, they arrive with the unexpected, through crises and altered states of consciousness. Trauma is intergenerational and it changes consciousness. These extraordinary states come with memories, histories and the emotional feelings of abandonment, pain and suffering. Trauma also comes with a loss of identity and a loss of belonging. It happens to everyone, no one is alone with their trauma and we are all put to the test.
We can experience these traumatic events in two ways, we can continue the suffering by transferring it onto others, or we can create new pathways to freedom. The lessons on transformative freedom are available to everyone willing to undertake the journey. We might think the Homeric poems are not valid today, but we need them more now than ever before.