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Copyright (c) 1999 by Sasha Lessin, Ph.D. (808) 244-4103 fax 242-7021 alessin@aloha.net.  All rights reserved.








This book extends Holotropic Breathwork TM. In breathwork you breathe to music and get holos--experiences, images and insights so you grow. Holos, properly integrated, can cure your psychic, emotional and physical ills, so you enjoy, know and love more.
Stanislav and Christina Grof designed Holotropic Breathwork to access holos. Breathwork blends psychology and sacred studies with deep breathing, evocative music, hypnosis, focused bodywork and art therapy. (1)
In Holotropic work, you evoke inner experiences and express them your way. If you're healthy and happy, Grof sessions expand your awareness; if you suffer, breathwork helps you heal. Grof's Adventure of Self-Discovery describes breathwork in depth.
I divide this book, Heighten Your Holos, in two parts. Part I, "Heed Your Holos," summarizes Grof's findings. Then Part II, "Heat Your Holos," gives rites: contemplations for before and after you breathe to music. Before a breathing session, pick a rite to stir your psyche. After you complete the session, choose a rite to deepen and integrate images you got breathing.
Breathwork and the rites in this book free your most loving capacity. The breathing and contemplations are safe, easy, practical ways to discharge any pain or anger you may hold from personal or empathized experiences. Grof breathing leaves you placid and able to contribute more to the world. 



You can do Holotropic Breathwork in a group setting or in private.
Privately, in an individual session, a breathworker discusses the experiences you may get, plays powerful taped music and helps you when you ask.
In a "holo" group, you choose another participant as your "sitter." A breathworker plays music while your sitter watches you breathe, then draw.
In a holo session--private or group--when you ask, your breathworker or sitter holds, resists, supports or wordlessly encourages you.
He (or she) offers pillows for you to stroke, kick or hit. If needed, he protects you from bumping anything. He brings you water, tissue, blankets, a basin or a towel and helps you to the bathroom and back.
Grof breathing's safe; thousands report it increased their vitality and insight. But holotropic work does involve deep breathing, so use common sense. If you've had heart problems, hypertension, brain hemorrhage, psychotic tendencies, or if you're pregnant, don't do Grof Breathwork. Don't do it when you have a contagious disease or unhealed surgical wounds. 


This is how you do Holotropic Breathwork. Tell your sitter how you'd like him or her to tend you when you breathe. Then lie back on a mat for three hours. Close your eyes, relax each body part. Breathe deep and fast--through throat and nose--to music. It's simple as that.
You visualize. Hear, smell, taste. Intuit. Feel. Move or stay still; keep quiet or make sounds. You may laugh, cry or jabber gibberish. Perhaps dance on your back, writhe, shake, sweat or shiver. Some people temporarily cramp or choke as they finish inner experiences that free them to feel good.
When you first breathe to music, you see (behind your lids) rich, moving colors, dazzling designs. You hear, besides the music, inner rings, chirps, buzzes. You enjoy aromas and tastes. For fifteen minutes, sensations shift, surprise and fascinate you. Then you relive your life's passions, see spiritual sagas or experience fetal feelings.
Maybe, in your mind, you return to times of bliss. Or you meander among memories placental and postnatal, scenes spiritual and prosaic. You might relive labor, loves lost, child or teen trauma. You could even relive past elapsed lives or mythic mentations. Perhaps you meet guides and gods, Gaia and God.
Breathers with repressed images may rerun times they almost died, or times they imprinted problems, upsets or urges. Some relive times they poisoned their minds, bodies or relations, thwarted or hurt themselves. They release their feelings and drop harmful habits tied to those times. By the end of the session, most breathers feel resolved and peaceful. A few breathers need another session in the next few days.
Usually, however, when you've holoed a few hours, you relax. If not, you can simply intensify your discomfort and release it. You may want your sitter or breathworker to press your tight points. If you wish, a breathworker will guide you to inner dialogue or further imaging, till you resolve emotions you stirred up when you breathed.
Then you draw and discuss your experience. Perhaps you act-out the drawing's parts.
In a group-setting, when you finish drawing, you change roles with your sitter. He breathes while you practice concentration, compassion and nonjudgment.
You usually finish a session resolved, nourished, healed. Almost certainly, if you participate in a series of sessions, you end up feeling loving, peaceful, flowing, spiritual, inspired, sexually-responsive, appreciative, expanded in outlook, more integrated. 


Relax. Feel your limits. Meet challenges. Win. Relax again. Flow through this sequence--the master matrix--and you mature and grow. Dr. Grof found the matrix while he treated psychotics, neurotics, criminals, alcoholics, addicts, clerics, professionals, geniuses and normals with psychedelic and holotropic therapy. He saw the matrix also in the world's great spiritual traditions, shamanic lore and experiences of holotropic breathers.
You'll get to know the matrix too, if you flow through it in a Grof breathwork session. Flowing through the matrix feels good. You'll especially enjoy the "relax" and "win" parts of the matrix.
Some breathers see and release images they repressed, images from "feel your limits" and "meet challenges." They release the images and stop creating events in their lives to stand for these images.
As a fetus, you floated, compressed, experienced labor, then delivered. The modules of the matrix--relaxation, feeling limits, struggling and winning--echo these fetal phases.


Probably, your first months alive, you relaxed--safe, satisfied, at one with the womb. You and the womb met each other's needs. Your relation showed how you and others can join, share, love, sate, open-up.
When you holobreathe and access the relaxation module, you seem tiny again, floating in fluid. Your head feels big as your body. You suck your fingers, rub your cord and genitals; you again hear Mom's heart and inner gurgles. Mostly, you like floating, though Mom's ills, drinks, diet, coitus, pelvic exams and noise-exposure temporarily upset you.
Sometimes, however, a breather holos the prenatal paradise--and, by extension, all potentially relaxing situations--as ruined. Ruined if mother drank, smoked, snorted, sickened, raged, shot-up, took abuse, wished she weren't pregnant, almost miscarried or tried to abort. Ruined if she worked in noise or stress, if she felt tense, unhappy or unloved. A breather experiencing a ruined floating phase first expresses discomfort, then realizes how the experience still generates expectations that spoil his or her ability to relax. The breather finally ends this inability to relax when he or she holos a good womb or other paradise.
Most likely though, when you holo the relaxation module, you watch or sense yourself--or something standing for you--floating. Then you feel holy, peaceful, joyous, timeless, boundless, free; empty yet full of potential. Perhaps you picture beautiful art and nurturing nature. You can see or be an anemone, seaweed, jellyfish, fish or whale, astronaut or bird, gold or gems.
Relaxation holos revive times, after birth, when life matched the good womb, times Mom nursed and loved you, happy times with family, friends, nature, times you lost boundaries in love, swimming, psychedelics or sex with a beloved.
Maybe, holoing relaxation, you visit pastlives--human, animal, plant, planetary or cosmic--when you knew oceanic ecstasy, symbiosis, unity, peace. Or you know nirvana; you merge with archetypes, deities or the Universe.


The months before labor, you outgrew the womb. It pressed; sometimes it squeezed, scrunched-off oxygen, food, warmth, contact. You and Mom hurt each other.
Breathers who relive this stage of gestation feel trapped, lonely, hopeless, helpless, useless, guilty, sad. They get temporary headaches; their ears ring with pressure and they find it hard to breathe. Some chill and shiver, flush and sweat or their organs hurt. They may even throw-up into a bag, simultaneously purging emotions.
When holos of the "limits" module command breathers' attention, they see sinister colors, see life as futile, ending in death. They feel anxious and scared, then depressed and apathetic. They might remember when they gave up and gave in, when closed places confined, surgeons sliced, accidents hurt, disease struck, war ravaged them. They could relive times they lacked rest, food or water; times they almost suffocated or drowned, or couldn't eat or eliminate. Or they may recall when they couldn't leave or fight their families, when people left, caged, mocked, shunned or sexually frustrated them. They may see sex scenes that shame, disgust or bore them.
They keep breathing to the music and realize how unconscious "limits" impulses held them back their whole lives. Feeling and understanding these impulses lets breathers stop limiting themselves. They realize compression scripts ran them when they despaired, lost interest, gave themselves migraines, needed alcohol or drugs.
Some breathers realize when they'd yearned to kill themselves to escape hopeless feelings, they'd imagined death would feel like floating in the womb (the prior module). Breathers who had suicidal impulses from the limits module usually considered suicide by freezing, overdosing, drowning or gassing themselves or cutting their wrists under warm water. But now, in holotropic breathing, they see the origin of their death-wish and drop it. A breather holoing the limits module may see victims of war, Inquisition, Nazis, epidemics, fatal childbirth; or see freaks, monsters, skeletons, insane asylum inmates, dead deserts, winter- lands. Or picture prior lives, tales of eternal torture, the suffering of Jesus, Sisyphus or Prometheus.
Some breathers again feel the womb shove them against the cervix, which opens. They may symbol this as falling into a whirlpool, volcano or labyrinth. A crocodile, octopus, spider, whale or boa snatches them. Dark skies, swamps or storms symbol impending labor.


You feel hope when you remember the cervix opening. You and Mom worked together to push you out; you learned cooperation. You learned to fight for better conditions.
And you learned rage, as contractions of 100 pounds per inch gripped your skull. The canal clamped your jaw shut, cut off warmth and oxygen when the cord looped or caught between you and it. You identified with it and learned power.
Experiences you may have if you holo from the challenge-labor module can be temporarily unpleasant. When, however, you fully feel them in breathwork, you'll forever deal better with challenges. When you holo and resolve this module, you can struggle, win and enjoy success without starting a new struggle right away.
If you holo this module, you could feel like an elephant slowly steps on your head, then sits on your body. At the same time, you might feel hot and sexy. You could tremble, twitch, jerk, shake, twist, slither, chill or sweat. Finally, you build, then you explode energy and pain. Then you need no longer create undue struggle for yourself. Holoing in this module, you relive danger. You could remember when you parachuted, sky-dived, risked the high board, waged war, fought hand-to-hand, competed in sports. Anon you might hunt animals, race cars, ride tossing horses, ships or planes.
You could see struggle symbols; fierce forces fight. Torturers, portraying the contracting canal, punish victims--who represent your frightened-fetus feelings. Enormous energies erupt. Visualize volcanos, tornadoes, hurricanes, tidal waves, explosions, rocket blasts, lightning, air raids, novas, quakes, floods. Armies, demons and gods battle. Atlantis, Pompeii, Hiroshima, Sodom or Earth die.
Scenes of sacrifice, suicide, massacre, execution, crucifixion, mutilation, murder and torture might torment and tantalize you. Perhaps you'll feel and fight the Hitler, Abu Nidal, witch, devil, werewolf, tiger, monster and boa within you. Tyrants and rebels echo the struggle of canal and babe.
Holoing these images lets you stop symbolically playing the sadistic canal or the suffering fetus. Holos from the struggle module implode impulses you might unconsciously harbor to hang, shoot, suffocate and violently kill yourself. Likewise, holos from labor can consume ulcer-causing conflicts, asthma, psoriasis, migraines, paralysis, tics and stammering.
A breather holoing mixed feelings toward an authority (from a toilet trainer to God) realizes authorities stand for feelings from the canal. When, struggling toward birth, a fetus felt strangled, it also felt aroused. It sensed its mother's sexual arousal too as it pushed through her vagina. There, some breathers realize, they linked sex and struggle. Now, in breathwork, they exhaust their sexual struggle images and stop associating sex with struggle.
These breathers may first need to holo drunk, stoned, sensual, promiscuous parties, carnivals or orgies. They may recall seducing, abusing, raping or witnessing such scenes or image primitive and satanic revels, fertility rites, temple prostitution, bacchanalian dancing. Behind their closed lids, they may see chimeras charade sex, struggle, bondage, bullying, beating, debauchery, suffering, strangulation, sensuality, ecstasy and spirituality.
When a breather exhausts the struggle and labor images, he or she also whips sadistic sex-urges and purges symptoms that screen the urges: trouble climaxing or staying erect.
In breathwork, some breathers sense or symbol themselves sliding, as they did in labor, through blood, urine, feces, fetal liquid. They holo later scenes of blood and wastes, sex mixed with feces or urine. Then they stop seeking symbolic scatological sex and end fear of body parts and wastes.
If anesthetic invaded labor, holoing may stimulate you to smell, feel and taste the drug again. You realize that, anesthetized, you missed labor's lesson--you can struggle and win. You may see how you consequently quit too soon or drug yourself with alcohol, cocaine or narcotics.
A breather may begin curing addiction and quitting by reliving drugged labor, then pushing against sitters' hands, enacting undrugged labor.
A breather may image prior lives echoing labor. The breather sees some lives when a bully--analogous to the canal--humiliated, raped, terrorized and murdered him or her. In other lives, the breather hated, avenged and killed the bully. The breather sees who, in life now, represents this rival. The breather forgives self and antagonist for pastlives, thereby ending tension, anger, envy, hate or obsessive lust toward this rival.
Some breathers relive the heat of labor. Just before birth, the baby stretched its own and its mother's tissues till their nerves sizzled. A breather holoing heat may see torched towns, flaring forests and witches searing at the stake, then drop his or her fire fixation. A breather who had an elective, nonlabor cesarean birth missed compression and struggle through the canal and so lacks a prenatal model for bearing and overcoming adversity. A cesarean-born breather might remember anesthesia, surgical cuts into the placenta, gloved hands lifting him or her through a bloody opening. He or she suddenly felt his or her body's weight. Holoing, a cesarean-born may remember later situations where he or she couldn't cope with obstacles, get excited or struggle. Cesarean birth left the person confused on where to fit in life and what to expect from people. He or she may have treated the world as an all-providing womb and always asked for more from others. The cesarean-born didn't always get what he or she wanted, and alternated between demanding and withdrawing.
Someone who holos cesarean birth can learn to feel limits and successfully struggle. Some cesarean-born breathers push their heads between their sitters' hands. The breathers later say pushing through the hands simulated their lost chance to struggle down the birth-canal.


When you behold a bird that burns, reforms, then flies, you holo birth, triumph, rebirth.
Birth freed you from terrible tension. Blood flowed to your lungs. They unfolded and took over for the cut cord, trading oxygen and carbon dioxide.
If you holo birth, you may gasp for breath, twitch, lose pressure outside your body. Your navel and genitals could hurt.
Holoing birth, a breather may experience ego-death: an end to thinking of himself or herself as only a thinker, body, or player of roles. Ego-death feels terrible for a time, but turns into intense joy. To a breather, ego-death may feel like his or her body's dying. He or she may flashback failures--emotional, moral, physical and mental--feeling small, grasping for status, money, things, power over others. Now, holoing ego-death, the breather can surrender vanity. He or she may holo death and sacrifice, Shiva, Christ, Dionysus, Moloch, Kali; Herod and Hitler murder babies as the breather's facade killed his or her real self.
Birth holos are delightful if Mom--undrugged, mellow--welcomed you. Gentle friends helped; Dad held her and you. You breathed before anyone cut the cord. Helpers bathed you and laid you at Mom's breast, next to the heartbeats you'd always heard.
But birth modeled life as painful if the cord choked you or you came too soon or late, or feet, arm or bottom first. Perhaps forceps or mishap hurt you, diminishing your trust in life. If your birth was difficult, you holo it, first as it was, then as you wished it. Enacting birth as you wanted it gives you new hope and trust.Birth trauma which breathers holo was often doctor-caused. From 1930 to 1970, a doctor routinely drugged a woman and, incidentally, her baby. With forceps or rubber gloves, a doctor pulled the infant from the dark, 98 canal into a blinding, 72 room. Too soon he cut the cord, spanked the baby while it gasped for air the cord would've given. Nurses cleaned, weighed and displayed the newborn. The mother was only allowed to hold it briefly; but before it could bond with her, the staff stowed it in a box.
If the mother didn't breastfeed, she denied the child antibodies to kill germs. If she didn't nestle the baby, she kept it from the comfort of her heartbeat. The father missed bonding too if barred from the birth.
Holobreathing, you return to birth, its resonances and symbols. Perhaps you escape sharks, beasts or human menaces; survive accidents, illness, surgery, storms, earthquakes, tidal waves, air raids, wars. Or return to reunions, reconciliations, revelations, sunrises, celebrations, delivering your babies, repose following orgasm, the downfall of tyrants and corrupt presidents. You may picture a hero vanquish a menace; St. George slays the dragon, Persus the Medusa. God defeats Satan; Thor, the giants; good, evil. Unite with Mother Goddesses, Mary, Isis, Parvati, Hera, your innermost, divine source, the sun, the tao.
You could behold brilliant white or radiant golden light, rainbows, peacock designs, Spring. Maybe you image majestic halls, mountains, valleys, meadows, lakes, oceans. Or watch glaciers crack, snow melt and flow as water; birds hatch, trees blossom, animals bear and feed their young. Reach the peak. Triumph--purified, redeemed, cleansed, sacred, safe, free.
After you experience ego-death and birth in breathwork, you appreciate yourself, your mate, sitters, friends, relatives, humanity, nature, the Universe. You enjoy the newness and beauty you see, hear, taste, feel, smell. You thrill to the music. Now beauty, justice, service, self-love, respect for others and divine purpose guide you. 


Rites help you evoke and use holotropic images. Rites help you integrate present (subselves, body, dreams), past (childhood scripts, birth, gestation, pastlives), future (life purpose, death) and the spiritual (archetypes, guiding myths and unity consciousness).
The day before you breathe to music, use a rite to stimulate you for your adventure the next day.
Do a rite with a breathworker, therapist or friend. Or alone.
Sometimes I guide breathers in a rite minutes before they start holotropic breathing.
The day after breathwork, pick rites to integrate and expand your experience. 


In this section you celebrate your subselves, mind your body and delve dreams.




Some of your personality aspects--subselves or "subs"--resonate the modules of the master matrix (relax, feel limits, struggle, triumph). "Bliss" subselves express the relaxation module. Limits show in your "Sadsack" subs. "Rambo" and "Whoopie" reflect challenge and triumph.
When you relax or feel loving oneness with others you live from a BLISS sub. You play a Pax part like Mellow Fellow, Content Lover, or Mediator.
A SADSACK sub dominates you when you feel trapped, doomed, depressed, hopeless, sad, limited. You worry, drink.
RAMBO--struggle subs--include your Hero, Striving Businessperson, Critic or Athlete.
WHOOPIE comes out as Star, Joyous Dancer, Escaper.
When you holo, you accept and understand the dance of Bliss, Sadsack, Rambo and Whoopie. Relax, feel your limits, meet challenges, win, relax again. Enjoy repose (Bliss), know when you need change (Sadsack), choose challenges (Rambo), triumph over trials (Whoopie), savor victory (Bliss).
Sometimes Bliss, Sadsack, Rambo and Whoopie subs compete or demand destructive deeds. But they all need cooperation and love. They need you to notice, protect and include them in your life rhythm. If you meet their needs, your subs enhance each other, you as a whole, other people and the planet.
But suppose you ignore Sadsack and refuse to see how you cage yourself. Or maybe you push inner struggles (Rambo) from your mind. If you deny your sad and mad feelings, you get other people to make you sad and mad. You make the world warrant what you repress.
If you suppress Sadsack, you find people to make you feel guilty, hopeless, sad, caught. If you repress Rambo, you create situations that justify compulsive competition; you never relax.
So don't let depression and inner struggle--Sadsack and Rambo repressed--drive you. Instead, feel them in the rite on the next page, in breathwork and day-to-day. Integrate the dissatisfaction of Sadsack and power of Rambo with the love of Bliss and joy of Whoopie.


Picture one of your BLISS subs.
Identify with it; as it, say your name and what you're like. Tell what you want and what you like to do. Say what you'd do if you dominated the breather.
Be your Inner Witness. As Witness, ask the Bliss sub why it wants what it wants.
Change to Bliss and reply. Say what makes you need what you want.
See one of your SADSACK subs next. Turn into it; tell your name. Describe your existence, what you do, what you want and why. Share the deep needs that fuel your wants.
Let your RAMBO and WHOOPIE subs speak to you like your Bliss and Sadsack subs did.
Alternate as Bliss, Sadsack, Rambo and Whoopie subs. As each, speak of sharing life with the other three.
Express yourself as one then another sub. As each, make conflicting demands for your whole personality.
Resolve the conflict. As each sub, say how your deep needs complement the others' needs. Discuss ways you can help the others, how they can help you.
Shift to Witness and tell your subs how to cooperate.




You could, in a breathing session, experience delightful rushes of energy up your spine, lively tingling, warmth, relaxation. You might dance ecstatically on your back.
Sometimes a breather experiences temporary physical tension, a hand-cramp, for example. He may remember or imagine hurt, surgery or repressed impulses in his hand. Perhaps he realizes he wanted to strike out, play music, write, create art, reach for people. Now, in the session, he reaches out. His cramp's gone. So's his outgrown inhibition.
Do the rite, "Soma Speaks," to prepare for body messages in breathwork. After a breathwork session, use the rite to expand what you learned.


Notice an area of your body that hurts, tenses or worries you. Let the feelings you get from it grow. If numb, deaden it more. If tense, tighten more. If it hurts, let the pain grow. Imagine the area holds a stifled emotion or impulse to move.
Imagine you shrink to Little You, small enough to enter one of your body's orifices or pores. Enter the orifice and go to the area you noticed.
Notice its shape, its energy. Note its color, temperature, smell, how tight it is. Do something to it. Ask why it makes you hurt, tense or numb. Ask what it wants from you.
Identify with the area. As it, react and discuss your attributes, what you want and need.
Be Little You. Ask the area if it's angry with you. Ask if it can help you. Ask it, "How do I depend on you?"
Play the area and respond. Identify again with Little You. Ask, "For whom do you speak? Tell me your messages."
Be it; reply.
Be Little You and go to another part of your body, a part you would enjoy visiting. Dialogue with that part.
Exit the body. Get big again.
Reflect on what you learned.




Dreams and holotropic images reflect the same psychic impulses. To coordinate and facilitate conscious emergence of these impulses, decipher your dreams before and after Grofwork. Talk with figments of your dreams, see holos there, feel yourself more.
Recall and tell a dream as though it's happening now. While you narrate, see, hear, feel and relive the dream (example, "The ape chases me up a tree ...").
Note all the dream's images, background and foreground (e.g., ape, tree, ground and teller).
Choose a background image (e.g., tree). Enact the image you selected. In its voice, tell about yourself in the dream.
As the background image, talk to a central image (e.g., the ape or you, the dreamer).
Shift your body, change to the central image and reply.
Act-out a talk between the central and background images; gesture, sound and speak as each.
Now play a third dream image. Describe yourself as the third image. Then speak to a forth image.
Shift your body, switch to the forth image and reply.
Act-out a talk between the third and forth images.
One-by-one, speak as each of the rest of the images you dreamed. Role-play dialogues among them. Imagine a mysterious dream image (e.g., ape or tree) has a zipper on its mask [or a bark, for a tree--make metaphors match images].
Unzip the zipper [or peel the bark] and reveal someone.
Speak to this person.
Change into her or him, respond and state your being-in-the-world.
Shift to dreamer again and talk with the person beneath the unzipped image.
Continue the dream beyond what you dreamed.
Play each new image. As each, give a message to the dreamer.
Assume all dream-images picture you. Say what you learned about yourself from this exploration. 


As you continue holotropic breathwork, you may find less of your holos concern your immediate existence. Your holos, instead, tend to turn to the earlier biographical roots of these concerns.
You can, using rites in this section, highlight and integrate holos involving your life history.




Breathwork can bring up feelings, impulses, attitudes, self-limiting beliefs and decisions based on a former relation--with a friend, lover, parent, child, pet, boss, employee.
If you do "Finish Farewells," the next rite, before a breathwork session, you may get holos the next day that release more fear, anger and pain tied up with the relation. If you do the rite after you've imaged someone in breathwork, the rite helps you leave limits you'd attached to him or her.
Conjure X, a person or pet with whom you have unexpressed feelings or unresolved issues. See X on an empty seat before you. Tell X how you feel toward him or her.
Tell X your unfinished business with him or her. Express more than you did before.
Now sit on the empty seat and play X. As him or her, describe your life. Respond to the unfinished business.
Change back to yourself. Sit again on your original seat; finish this sentence, till you find no more finishes: "X, I resent ..."
Tell X what you wanted from him or her.
Finish: "I forgive you for ..."
"I forgive myself for ..."
"I appreciate you for ..."
Say, "Goodbye."
Say it again. Say it two more times.
Reflect on what you learned from the relation.




When you do holotropic breathwork, you may realize you copied some of your parents' traits. You probably love some traits you copied--maybe Mom's manners or Dad's humor.
You could also have copied traits you'd like to change. If so, try the rites in this section. They're based on the Fischer-Hoffman Process. They explore your mother's model, then father's. Then they let you reprogram yourself.
Do "Prune Parents' Program" rites before or after a breathwork session. Do them when you get childhood memories or feelings about your parents.
When you complete these rites, you'll love and forgive your parents and yourself. You'll leave your parents' limits behind.
The rites for clearing with your parents have many parts; take as much time as you need to do them.




To prepare for the rites in this section, answer the questions below. Then, in the rites called "Mark Maladaptive Models," "The Bad Side of My History with Mom," "Release Resentments," "Say Secrets," and "Finish Feelings," discharge hurt or anger associated with her. In "Let Out Longing," "Admit Adopting Her Attitudes," "Feel Her," and "Love Her" you heal and forgive.


Ask yourself if your mother wanted you. Did she want you born the sex you are or the other sex? Did she treat you like a bouquet or a burden? Did she ignore you or leave you to others? Did you delight her?
Did she show you love you felt? Make time for you? Did she die or desert you? If so, do you still hurt inside?
Did she teach you to get along with or struggle against your siblings? Did she displace you with other kids or show favoritism?
How well did she ready you for school and react to your grades, sports, plays and clubs? Did she encourage you or criticize and withhold praise? Did she use your successes to win status from her friends? Attend visitor's day at school?
How joyous did she make your birthdays and holidays? How did she react to your gifts to her?
Did she hit you, ignore your misdeeds, stop speaking to you, threaten God's wrath or leave discipline to Dad? Did she teach you to deny mistakes? Or did she lovingly help you shape your behavior while respecting your integrity and self-esteem?
When you ailed, did she lovingly care for you? Or make you feel guilty? Did she reward illness as a way to get tenderness?
What attitudes toward men and marriage did she model? Did she belittle or praise Dad? Did she model equality or submissiveness in marriage?
Did she enjoy or was she jealous of your friends? Did she let you pick them, or did she pick them, teaching you to distrust your judgement? Did she demonstrate tolerance or prejudice?
Did she laugh and play with you, or withdraw, tense or mope?


If any of the words below fit your mother, put a red check by them. Use other colors for other mother-figures you had.


Put self down Cold, distant Despaired Hated self
Martyr Impatient Offensive Unclear
Lied Fearful Demanded attention Raged
Procrastinated Blamed others Suspicious Suppressed anger
Assumed others' guilt Bored  Subservient Pig-headed
Aggressive Feared rejection Patronized Angry
Felt inferior Feared solitude Vengeful  Nasty to others
Demanded love all the time Invalidated feelings Cheated Lashed out
Indignant Spoiled Irritable Petty
Careless Destructive Punitive Egotistical
Quarrelsome Bitter Sadistic Masochistic
Shrieked, yelled Sputtered Cruel Tactless
Pushy Bossy Pushed Put kids down
Dominated Nagged Bullied Thought for others
Preached Threatened Invalidated others Hurt animals
Critical Judgmental Fanatic Disdainful
Indifferent Sarcastic Impartial Fussy
Disappointed in mate Found fault Dirty Disappointed in kids
Conceited Hypersensitive to criticism Hid cowardliness hidden under mask of wisdom  Tried to make everything OK
Compulsively monogamous Rejected people and ideas for being different Obsessed with fashion Braggart
Cop-out Snob Dominated  False charm
Exhibitionist Too proud Two-faced Assumed others' values
Proselytized Gruff Plastic Phony
Impotent Narcissistic Unemotional Championed silly or hopeless causes
Conventional Pseudo-intellectual Compulsive achiever Boring
Hid behind humor Stopped joy Automatic Lacked humor
Machine-like Perfectionist Rehearsed Vain
Clung Workaholic Sexually conceited Possessive
Compulsive cleaner Smiled to hide hurt Greedy Too helpful
Messy Stingy Smothering Hid anger under smile
Guilty: (list) Obsessed with duty Self-centered Catty
Lust-dominated Stunk Gruff Promiscuous, swinger
Belched Annoying habits Prude Farted
Clumsy Frigid Fat Stiff
Hid sexuality Too skinny Hero-worshipper Hated body
Too quiet Too competitive Saw sex as exploitation Too loud
Too ambitious  Sexual or body shame Ugly (say how) Sloppy
Attention addict Sought Approval Put up a front Repressed sex
Rationalizer Food faddist Frustrated sexually Flirtatious
Chattered Too sexually aggressive Always questioned Lived fantasy
Jealous Unable to empathize Unrealistic Joyless
Scared of people Refused help Vulgar Planned obsessively
Generalized Thought sex vulgar Lived for afterlife Prejudiced
Puritanical Lived through others Suggestible Did sex as duty
Withheld encouragement Paranoid Didn't enjoy sex Unable to discuss sex
Obsequious Addicted to gurus Unable to take action Inattentive
Addicted to therapies Procrastinated Bad memory Undermined
Pacified Confused Fickle Overprotected
Matchmaker Explained and excused Too intellectual Drunk
Lazy Vague Coke addict Glutton
Escaped in sleep Insomniac Too permissive Weird
TV addict Neglectful Crazy Bit nails
Unloving Mood swinger Always in hurry Abandoned you
Irrational Vacillated Uncaring Manipulator
Stuttered Disrespectful Killed spontaneity Insecure
Shamed others Played favorites Ambivalent Not affectionate
Provoked violence Coward Unreliable Energy drain
Anxious Active discourager Castrated Suspicious
Insensitive Gave double messages Inarticulate Non-supportive
Divisive Superstitious Silent Explosive temper
Worried Had to earn everything Teased Overreacted
Pretended everything OK Afraid to speak in groups Retreated Scared you
Mocked Distrusted Dominated conversation Feared bugs
Feared height  Feared others' religions Loner Claustrophobic
Accused Gave then withdrew love Hid Sanctimonious
Wouldn't ask help Timid Moralistic Feared others' judgments
Amateur Rejected Not assertive Complained
Cynical Avoided confrontation Tattled Anti-social
Judged me for ________ Whined Rebel Negative
Prissy Untouchable Discouraged Extreme
Couldn't concentrate Poor cook Rigid  Incompetent
Indiscriminate Disorganized Withdrawn Avoided risk
Hated being hugged Made points citing allies Rewarded and punished with sex Projected feelings on others
Uncomfortable being man/woman Compulsive emotional exhibitionist -


Write "The Bad Side of My History with Mom"--your unpleasant memories of her. Emphasize her negative side; raise your ire.

Release Resentment

Use fists, a tennis racket, baseball bat or rubber hose to pound a pillow. Each time you pound, yell, "Mother, I resent you for ..." (Complete.)

Say Secrets

List things you hid from her.
Imagine Mom sits before you.
Tell her your secrets.
Then sit on her seat and play her. As her, respond.
Dialogue about the secrets; alternate in her role and yours.

Finish Feelings

Finish, to her, "I haven't resolved ..."

Let Out Longing

Tell her what you wanted and needed from her.
Say all you longed and hoped for from her.

Admit Adopting Her Attitudes

Realize how you copied her. List the bad traits you got from her.

Feel Her

Deepen your understanding of her so you forgive and love her.
Maybe she gave you less affection, support, freedom and encouragement than you wanted. But put yourself in her place. Then you drop your anger, work through conflicts keeping you apart and forgive her.
Identify with Mom when she was 13. Begin with, "I'm ... (her first name) and my life's like ... (Describe it.) "I got this way, because ..."
As her, say whether and how you felt loved. Tell how the people in your family got and get along, how your parents taught you to get along with your brothers and sisters.
Relate how you fared at school. Say how your parents treated your friends.
Tell your child-to-be how your parents led you to raise him or her. What flaws marred their teaching?
Be you again. Tell your 13-year-old Mom-to-be how your first 13 years compared to hers. Ask how her early years led her to treat you.
Switch to her and answer.

Love Her

Imagine Mom died. If she already died, recall or imagine her funeral.
See her coffin closing and think of the hopes, dreams and loves she cherished as a child. See the girl in her closed into the coffin.
As you see her buried or her ashes housed or scattered, think of how her life turned out. Consider what she wanted and whether she got it.
Finish this: "Mother, I forgive you for ..."
Tell her what you appreciate; say her good traits.
Relive the good side of your history together.
Notice any of Mom's habits and attitudes you gladly adopt as your own.
Imagine you and she both 13. Play, frolic, skip, share love.
If true, say, "Mother, I love you."
Visit, call or write her (or speak to her spirit). Tell her kindly about finishing your feelings toward her.




Notice notions and mannerisms you derived from Dad.
Remember if any of his habits helped or hurt you. If you fought them, you may have become his opposite instead of your real self.
To empower the rites for clearing your father's program in you, assume that, to the degree he didn't fully love, satisfy and support Mom and you kids, he embittered, chilled her; made her cold, phony or critical.
Did Dad deem you a blessing, accident or burden?
Did he want you male or female? Want you to do what he didn't?
Did he make you meet his standards? Compete with you?
If you're female, did he ignore you, teach you males counted more? Did he model men as cold, distant or babyish?
Did you and Dad hug, play, talk, listen and love as you wanted? Did he heed only his, Mom's or the other kids' needs and ignore yours?
Did he parent or just pay for and police you. Or leave you to Mom?
Did he avoid, fear, bully, put down, or humor Mom? Did he grovel? The way he treated her showed you how to act with women. Did he openly hug, kiss, and compliment her?
How he treated you and the other kids started your attitudes toward authority. Did he dictate, stifle spontaneity?
Did he hit, confine or abuse you, Mom, your brothers or sisters? Did he, with love, help you learn right from wrong?
Did he always decide what you'd do together? Or always let you have your way? Or combine guidance and flexibility?
Did he cheer and enjoy you and your siblings or judge, mock or just tolerate you.
Did he emphasize grades too much? Did he care?
Did he see you only when you misbehaved? Did he make you compete with the other kids? Favor you or them? Was he fair?
Good provider? Or did he make you beg for money? Did he discuss family finances so you mastered money?
Did Dad demand Mom love only him, while he had other women? Was he happy married to Mom? What view of sex did he give? How did he react to your puberty and interest in sex? What did he teach you to expect in relations?
Did he overwork? Work poorly? Balance work and play?
Did he laugh lots?
Did he leave or die early, making you deal with a stepdad or Mom's lovers who modeled negative traits for you to adopt or rebel against?
Use the same checklist of maladapted mannerisms (pages 30-35) you used for Mom's to mark Dad's. Check each trait of his. Use different colors for each man in charge of you.
Write the unhappy side of your history with him.
Release your anger toward him.
Tell him your withholds.
Relate your longing and unmet needs.
Tell him how you got his bad traits.
Pretend you and he, both 13 years-old, talk. First, play him. Tell your child (you) how your folks raised you that led you to parent as you did.
Compare your 13-year-old lives.
Play Dad and tell your child the trouble you had raising him or her.
Be you again. Tell Dad what you appreciate.
Tell him what you forgive him for.
See him buried and feel warmth for him. Tell him you love him.
Make a list of his good traits and any of his habits you want as yours.
Relive the good side of your life with him.
Talk with him in person, if possible.
Clear, as you did for Mom and Dad, with each person in charge of you as you grew. Purge your negative feelings toward each.




Relive an upset you had as an infant or later in life.
What did you feel? Feel it now. Express that emotion. Tell and show people involved in the upset how you feel.
What'd you decide as a result of the upset?
What'd you gain from this decision?
What would you like to do that you didn't do?
Rerun the scene aloud, the way you'd like it to have been. If you do it with a partner, have him or her play the other person involved in your upset the way you wanted. Do what you'd have liked to.
Forgive yourself and the other person.
What'd you learn? Sum it up; affirm what you learned.
Imagine living from what you affirm instead what you decided earlier.




Imagine yourself a reasonable adult in a safe, private, pretty place free of bad energy.
As Adult, tell the Brat in you, "I've purged the passion that made you misbehave. So stop blaming Mom and Dad for your immaturity."
Tell Brat what you resent and demand of him or her.
Play Brat; respond. Tell Adult your gripes.
Alternate roles between Adult and Brat; air their cares.
Imagine white light pours on Brat, changing him to a playful child.
As Adult, take Child on your lap. Ask Child to teach you to play.
Fantasize playing together.
Enact an excited, friendly, fun-loving five-year-old. Play ring-around-the-rosies, follow-the-leader, pass-the-apple, hide-and-seek, duck-duck-goose, freeze tag, jump-rope, doctor. Play spontaneously.
Imagine your Child entering a warm, safe room in your heart.
Touch your heart whenever you wish to invoke him or her.




Consider "C," one of your conflicts--one that doesn't involve your real parents.
Fantasize a MODEL MOM, perfect every way. She always cherishes the babe, child, teen and adult within you. She adores your fantasy father and reacts always with archetypal maternal wisdom.
Portray her; tell your traits.


Tell your child (you) how you feel toward him or her.

Counsel your child how to relate to "C". Hold the child close and let him or her feel your love, absorb your clarity.
Change back to you and get Mom's gifts.
Picture PERFECT POP--wise, warm, fair, protective, encouraging. He adores the child in you and worships your ideal mother.
Act him. Describe your qualities. Tell your child how you feel toward him or her.
Advise your child on Conflict C. Hold him or her and your ideal wife. Help your model mate convey compassion, strength and understanding to your child.
Picture your HIGH SELF illuminating you and your ideal parents.
Fuse with your High Self; beam light and love to the ideal parents and their beloved child (you).
Play you again and get the love, blessings and wisdom of Your High Self and your Ideal Parents.
Imagine your Ideal Parents enter the safe, warm room in your heart where your Inner Child dwells. There, they nurture the Child, who continues to grow.
This week, deal with Conflict C with the wisdom you gained from your Ideal Parents, High Self and Inner Child.
Invoke your perfect parents and High Self when you need encouragement and support.




Do the rite below alone or with a breathworker. Either way, take the postures indicated.
If you're with a breathworker, use his or her hands and body to simulate the womb. Role-play (first) your actual and (second) improved natal experiences.


Imagine the first months you float in your mother's womb. Feel yourself tiny again, afloat in fluid. Rub your cord and genitals, suck your fingers. Move your arms and legs through liquid.
Hear Mom's heart beat, her gut gurgle. You and she are as one, at peace, part of each other.
Imagine you absorb her attitudes toward herself, Dad and you.
Feel if she drinks, smokes, snorts, rages, tenses, sickens, shoots-up, takes abuse, works in noise, tries to abort, almost miscarries; if she feels unhappy, unloved or starved.
Does she feel joy? Contentment?


Does she make love?

Bring your knees toward your chest. Put your hands under your chin. Curl as tight as you can.
Imagine the months before labor, when you grow too big for the womb. The womb presses you. When, occasionally, it contracts, you feel crushed, your food, warmth, contact, oxygen scrunch-off. You feel lonely, caged, hopeless, helpless, guilty, depressed.
You're drawn to the cervix.


The cervix opens. You push and the birth canal pushes you along. You're learning active cooperation. You're learning to strive for better conditions.
Identify with the canal. Squeeze the fetus along. Teach it what it's like to be powerful.
Become the fetus experiencing labor again. Notice any difficult moments. Does the cord loop or catch between your head and Mom's pelvis, cutting your warmth, making you desperate for oxygen?
Do you feel sexual from feeling choked or sensing your mother's excitement as you push and slide through her vagina?
Do you smell, feel or taste anesthetic?
Feel the heat as Mom's nerves and yours fire.


Relive the moments before birth. Then emerge from the canal.
Feel blood flow to your lungs. They open and take over for the cord. Breathe air the first time. Release sounds. What do you feel, taste, smell, touch, hear, see, know in these first moments, hours and days in the world?
How do Mom and others regard you? Notice your emotions as they react to you.
How do you regard yourself?


Fantasize and enact your womb-life, birth and first moments in the world the way you wanted.




When you do breathwork, you may see pastlife images--images of you and people you know, but in other bodies in earlier lives. You picture prior lives when you had traits and feelings you still have.
Pastlives portray present problems and pleasures. A pastlife can exaggerate and explain your agony, ecstasy, confusion or compulsion. You can feel current, childhood and even birth joy and pain as though it belonged to someone you used to be.
Fear being left, feel insecure? were deserted, separated in a war, orphaned, sold into slavery, left to starve
Feel depressed, apathetic? lost a beloved or parent; didn't complete mourning; killed yourself; gave up in war, mass murder, exile
Fear beasts, fire, water, bugs, knives, disaster, smothering? were hurt and killed by beasts, flames, water, bugs, knives, disaster, smothering 
Feel guilty, play martyr? made others die
Over-eat, starve, worry about money? starved, were poor or bankrupt
Suffer injuries, physical abuse? died as a young soldier
Get in family struggles? were betrayed, bullied, or cheated by relatives
Have sex problems, genital infections or involvement in sex abuse? raped, abused or tortured. If abused this life, you image abusing in prior lives.
Have cruel impulses? were tormented, with sexual undercurrents and want to get even
Have marriage problems? had reversed sex and power roles with your mate
Have chronic physical ills? were hurt or killed by trauma to areas now troubling you
Have throat ailments? denounced someone, held-in thoughts
Have ulcers? were terrorized
Have neckaches? hanged or strangled
Suffer wanderlust or long for homeland? were exiled, separated from loved ones
Have traumatic labor or birth? had same kind of trauma at death
Feel victimized? tortured, tormented, took advantage, killed
Feel ill or depressed at certain times of year? were killed, hurt, traumatized at that time of year
Treat a pastlife you get in breathwork or the exploration to follow as real; don't judge or interpret.
Express pain, horror, shame. Live the main events of the pastlife--death too. See how loss, hurt, guilt, grief, bitterness you felt that life led you to defend, rationalize and avoid resonances this life.
You may image a life opposite yours now. Or see a series---a life when you were enslaved, raped or killed, then a life when you enslaved, raped or slew. Forgive yourself and your antagonists.
You could view a pastlife when you parented the soul who's now your mother or father. If you're male, you could view an earlier life where you were female and the women in your life now were men. A parent this life could be a mate in another; your wife now could have been your son in a prior existence.
Let earlier lives show you why you relate as you do this lifetime. Come to peace with yourself and them.


Lie on your back. Breathe deeply; relax. Think of an emotional, body or relation problem, a painful defeat, a subself you find hard to accept or a time someone abused you.
See a scene, person or image to stand for the abuse, defeat, problem, hurting body part, or subself.
Talk aloud to that person or image; tell it/him/her how you feel about the situation. Let out your feelings.
Choose a few words to sum-up your feeling in the problem, defeat or situation. (Example: "It's my fault.") Keep saying your sum-up sentence till it takes you back to a story of a prior life.
See the main turning points of the prior life.
Express your thoughts and feelings.


If you get darkness, or no visions, imagine that means you died. Replay the story, just before it darkens.

Forgive yourself and anyone you resented.
Say your last words and thoughts, then relive your death.
Separate from the body. As the separated soul, feel peace. Rejoin loved ones who already died. Float with them toward a light.
Meet the karma committee and your guide. They review the lessons you learned in that life.
They tell you how to bring the lessons of that life into this one.




Holotropic breathwork helps you learn your life work, work that gives life meaning--commitments to people, goals and principles. You pursue your purpose and enjoy serving larger causes. When you follow your calling, you put emotional upsets in wider perspective.




Get a large piece of paper and crayons.


Close your eyes.

See the landscape of your life, the roads taken, roadblocks, detours. View the regions--physical, emotional, social and spiritual--you traveled.
Imagine yourself at the base of a mountain peak that stands for your highest purpose.


Your experiences have prepared you to climb the mountain, fulfill your missions, find the meaning of your life, meet your destiny.

You'll create a score or more great things as you ascend. Only you can climb this path, achieve these creations. Look up the trail and see these creations.
Draw your life-path. Show your past, present and future. Show the influences affecting your ascent. Identify regions, travel conditions and destinations.
Put your drawing on the wall and look at it daily for a week.




Grace grows in death's jaws. Almost dying or considering your death can be enlightening.
People who barely escape death mature and feel more connected to life. Survivors of falls, near-drowning, combat, cardiac arrest and attempted suicide wind-up more spiritual, joyous and relaxed than before.
Golden Gate suicide survivors--miserable when they leaped--transformed as they fell. In the seconds before they hit water, they reviewed their lives. Rescued, they started solving their problems; they savored life, helped others and valued the divine more.
East Indians deployed doom to spur the spiritual. They threw a disturbed man to de-fanged cobras or to an elephant, trained to charge but not crush. Or they staged a trial, sentence, execution and last-minute pardon. American Plains Indians, initiating youths to spiritual adulthood, also staged near-fatal ordeals. Amazon Indians to this day evoke psychedelic death-visions in new shamans. Patients in psychedelic therapy--legal in the U.S. till the '50s--likewise experienced dying, karmic life-review and spiritual deepening.
People of every age, culture and religion who die then revive report similar experiences. You know you died, feel peace, float out of your body. Loving relatives and friends who already died guide you to a light. A Being of Light reviews your life and shows you its purpose: learning and love.
When you almost die, you appreciate life more, take joyous responsibility, think more clearly and upset yourself less about trivia.
After a near-death, you believe in an afterlife and no longer fear death. You love others more and seek further education. You connect with everyone and everything.
Holotropic breathwork evokes similar out-of-body experiences and images. Breathwork brings back accidents, illnesses, descent through the birth canal and delivery. You experience ego-death and realize you're much more than just your intellect.
Contemplate death with the rite below and come to peace with the fact that you'll die. The rite helps you realize you'd better love, get honest, win your goals and fulfill your missions while you still can. It also teaches how--though you body dies--your soul, love, art, knowledge and contributions to human consciousness live on.


Fantasize a final get-together with the people and animals who mean most to you. Tell all, some or one of them any unfinished feelings you have.
Say what angry feelings you have.
Tell them withholds--secrets, desires you held back.
Say what you appreciate, your loving feelings and physical impulses toward them.
Fantasize you do what you want your last week alive.
Imagine dying.
Say your last words and thoughts. Imagine your heart stops.
Forgive yourself and anyone you resented.
Separate from your body and suffering. Feel relief and peace.
See, from above, the people nearby. Try, but fail to talk to and touch them. Realize you died.
Whoosh down a tunnel toward the spirits of loved ones who already died.
These guiding spirits take you to the Being of Light, the karmic guide or the Life-Review Committee, who show you the main events of your life and their consequences for others. Witness the love you gave. Review the love you got. Notice what you learned from your life, what you contributed to humanity, to the consciousness of the cosmos.
See what you need to complete--your missions and purposes--before you die "for real." Return to this world. Wiggle your toes. Open and close your hands. Stretch. Swallow twice. Open your eyes; look at three things you enjoy seeing. Listen for three sounds you enjoy.
Holobreathing can make you think of others' deaths too.


Remember someone you knew who died [=X].
Imagine _____ [X] hears you now. Tell him/her what you left unsaid.
Play _____ [X] and reply.
Dialogue--switch back and forth, playing you and _____ [X].
If you'd like _____ [X] to forgive you, ask.
Hear _____ [X] forgive you.
If you held something against _____ [X], make a gesture of forgiveness and forgive him/her aloud.
Visualize your dearest living person [=Y]
Make-believe _____ [Y] has a few hours of life left, hours to spend with you.
Talk to _____ [Y] for the last time this life.
Play _____ [Y]. What, in these circumstances, do you say?
What, as you again, do you want to add?




Imagine yourself in a time machine that stops at a future life, one where you've completed the lessons you learned from all prior ones. Describe your ideal future.
Note aspects of this future you can live now.




In breathwork, meditation, the rites in this book, nature walks or everyday life, you experience the spiritual. You may love and feel oneness with all people and things; have peak experiences. You get ecstatic rushes, visions. Perhaps you sense your psychic powers, see synchronicities.
Maybe you meet archetypal guides or gods. You could even sense yourself and everything in the cosmos as aspects of the Creative Force.
Spiritual visions, feelings and insights free you, make you more present. Cleansed, you drop grandiose drives. You empathize more, enjoy people's differences. And relish nature. Spiritual experiences let you view yourself and your experiences as part of a divine plan.



PEAK (9)

When you peak, you experience your High Self: clear, joyous, loving, blissful, timeless, absorbed, accepting, delighted, fascinated, at-one with the world.
You may peak when you orgasm, deliver, marry or revive. Or dance, hike, climb, run, swim, dive, sail, bike, ski, skate, row, paddle. Or enjoy a spectacular sight, achieve insights, or feel oneness with God. Or even wash dishes or live any aspect of your life with total appreciation.
The rite below suggests you integrate the qualities of peak experiences you've had into your everyday life.
Relive a peak you had. See, hear, feel, relive; taste, smell, feel.
Re-experience the central quality of your peak.
Say a word or phrase that captures the quality (e.g., clarity, power, love, peace, bliss) of your peak.
Imagine you radiate this quality to someone. Now radiate it to your community. To the world.




Invoke an archetype--an image from humanity's mind. Whatever archetype you get stands for a force in you and everyone else, too.
Maybe you'll see Christ, Flipper or Luke Skywalker. Take what you get--an image from meditation, breathwork, a dream, movie, novel, fairytale, sacred text, tarot, nature or fantasy. Or you may represent one of your moods, worries, mind-loops or compulsions. If a trait of your mate irks you, the trait may show up as an archetype.
Ask the image you get who it is, what it wants and why, what it'd like to show you. Accept its answers and the story it shows--even things you dislike or don't understand.
Express your feelings to it. Tell it if it reminds you of a person, event or dream. If it says to do something in your head, do. If it suggests an ethical, reasonable outward activity, do that also.
But if the archetype suggests something destructive or extreme, refuse and say why. Tell it that--whereas its world's eternal--you've committed to fairness and justice, to serve people, to love and relate to family, friends in the present world. You need to express all your aspects. You have to listen to other archetypes too and keep your practical life together. Talk, compromise.
When you know an archetype, you and it guide and empower each other. You serve one another, those you love and the growth of human consciousness.




Close your eyes. Center and open yourself.
1. Imagine yourself in a sanctuary where you can get messages from deeper consciousness.
2. Picture a Greek god, personified force (e.g., tidal wave, Mother Earth), or a Tarot, fairy tale, book, Bible or movie character that stands for one of your problems or concerns.
3. See an archetype that symbolizes your current challenge, a fantasy you have, one of your life motifs, a mood or a worry you'd like to understand better. Picture a guide or a mysterious being. Review the images you saw. Focus on one of these images.
4. Identify with that image. As it, say your name and the archetype you represent. Say what you're like.
5. Switch to yourself. Ask the archetype a question.
6. Change to the archetype; reply. Tell the person playing you what you want of her/him and what you need.
7. Play yourself. Tell the archetype your limits meeting its demands.
Ask if it has a rival.
Talk (4-8 above) with the rival.
Change into the rival, then the first archetype. Enact a dialogue between them until they and you feel unity.
Agree on a ritual and a place where you can meet them again.
Do a mind-ritual to return you to everyday reality.
Choose a way to use what you learned.




The shaman served humanity since the Old Stone Age. The shaman--an otherwise ordinary farmer or hunter--sent his or her soul journeying into an alternate reality to heal other people. (11) The shaman's still an archetypal part of you. The shaman in you comes out in holotropic work.
It's easier to take a shamanic journey in a holotropic group than it was in the Old Stone days. To take a holotropic shaman's journey, you attend lectures, watch slides, maybe miss a meal. Then you lie back and listen to majestic music. You return and share your visions with others.
But if you'd been a traditional shaman, you'd have fasted, stayed awake, skipped sex. Then you'd drum, rattle, dance, chant yourself into a trance. In some societies, you'd take a psychedelic.
Holotropic or traditional, when you're a shaman, you go into a trance. You meet power-animals, guardians, teachers, guides, the dead. They give you riddles, advice and visions of the future. You encounter animal and nature spirits and feel how their spirits join.
You go down into the lower world, rise to the upper or glide through the ordinary world with extra-ordinary power.
Animal, plant or natural forces guide you down the roots of the world tree (or central axis). You meet lost souls and angry spirits and, though your guide helps you, the spirits may rip you apart or eat you.
Then natural creatures or forces revive and repair you. They give you new powers and return you to everyday life to cure or ease the dying of others.
When you enter the upper world you climb a tree, peak or rainbow. Or you fly as a bird. Flora, fauna, humans and spirits in the upper world mirror your gifts or unconscious subselves.
The denizens of this realm tell you ways to heal yourself and others, ways fix relationships too. They show you how to help your community.
Sometimes, on a shamanic journey, you stay here, in the middle world, but your soul travels in space and time. You see what's useful for you, others and the world.
Whether you go to the lower, upper or middle worlds, when you return, you remember anything. In the days to follow, you share what you remember. And you chop wood or go to the office. Here's a rite for you to sample or deepen shamanic imaging before or after breathwork.
Play Journey of the Drums (or other shamanic drum music) while you lie on your back, eyes closed.
Imagine you've abstained from sex all week. You fasted, alone and awake, two days. Late this afternoon you steamed two hours in the sweatlodge, then jumped in the river. Now, as dark descends, you sit in the ceremonial hut, feeling the psychedelic you took at sunset coming on.
Your costumed and masked buddies and kin drum, shake rattles, click sticks, ring bells, dance, chant, support you.
To focus as you enter your trance, ask yourself:
What friends or relatives need help healing--bodily, emotionally or spiritually?
How do I want to help my community or the world?
What soul of the dead would be valuable to contact?
How do I need healing?
What perplexes me? What challenges me?
What's next?
Find yourself transported to a cave, peak or tree--someplace in nature where you can access the shamanic realm.
Encounter an Ally--a friendly animal, plant, spirit or force. The Ally helps you descend into the lower world, climb, fly or ride the a rainbow into the upper. Perhaps your Ally shows you how to send your soul through time and space on this world.
Confront the Guardian of the lower, middle or upper world. Identify with the Guardian, empathize with it. As it, block the shaman; overcome him or her. Or feel the shaman overcome you.
Be the Shaman again. Experience yourself--surviving or dismembered--reach your destination.
Meet a great power there.
Merge with this power. Notice what you're like it.
Be Shaman again and tell the power what you seek, your questions.
Be the power and answer. Give the shaman experiences, visions, advice, commands, objects, information.
Take the shaman role again. Return to your clan; remembering all you experienced in the shamanic realm.
Translate what you learned on your journey into the life of the tribe.
Return to modern times and your present body. Think of specific ways you can use what you learned in this rite.




Process pain to its uplifting inner myth. Perceive the patterns pain pinpoints for you to improve. Pain, processed, propels progress--yours and humanity's.
Grasp the bigger picture; rise above the particulars you experienced. Pain punctures your complacency so you can prune your patterns. Let wounding waken you.
In the rite below, (12) tell the tale of your torment like a legend. Symbols and metaphors turn trauma to transformation. Sacred saga stimulates spiritual ascent.
Relive major emotional hurts in your life, how you suffered from conception till now. Recall when the womb, birth, illness or accident hurt you. Review times someone invaded, abused, raped, tortured or robbed you. Feel again when you lost trust, job, home, status, fortune, marriage, family, sanity, self-esteem, loved ones.
See the effects--good and bad--of each injury. What did you want in each situation? Find the motifs threaded through them.
Retell the history of your hurts again as a hero-myth.
Instead of saying "I," speak of a mystical child, god, animal, plant, another person or being on another planet. Include a call to adventure, guides, ordeal, reward, maturity-gain. Start with, "Once upon a time ..."
Forgive the people and forces who hurt or betrayed you.
Resolve the story in way that helps the hero and the world.
Fathom the moral of the fable, the purpose of the pain.
Next time you hurt, make it epic. Evoke an archetypal pattern that gives your personal loss meaning: growth for you, your group and the globe.




Earth lives, grows, thinks. Biologists define living systems as ingesting, digesting, using, excreting matter and energy, sensing the environment, coding, storing and retrieving information.(13) Earth does all these--ingests, digests, etc. Humanity's part of her self-reflective tissue--a cortical neuron net.
Identify with Earth, Gaia. As Gaia, contemplate your existence.
Notice your circulation, elimination, growth, temperature-regulation, learning, energy-exchanges.
Watch the pains and promise of humanity.
What, as Gaia, do you want? Why? What do you need?
What do you resent about people? What do you demand? Appreciate? Tell humans what you want them to know.
Identify, again, with yourself as the holotropic journeyer. As yourself, imagine Gaia's essence concentrating, till it's a small sphere. Absorb the sphere into your heart, into a place in your heart where you and she can keep sharing.



Receive God, manifest in symbols acceptable to you. Identify with this final archetype of your essential nature. State your existence. Tell the person playing you what he or she needs to hear.
Detach into formlessness containing all potentials--arising, interpenetrating and dissolving, moment to moment.




1. Grof, S., Realms of the Unconscious: Observations from LSD Research, New York: Dutton, 1976; LSD Psychotherapy, Pomona: Hunter House, 1980; Beyond The Brain: Birth, Death and Transcendence in Psychotherapy, Albany: SUNY, 1985 and The Adventure of Self-Discovery: Dimensions of Consciousness and New Perspectives in Psychotherapy and Inner Exploration; Albany: SUNY, 1988; Grof, C. and S., Spiritual Emergency: When Transformation Becomes a Crisis, Los Angeles: Tarcher, 1989; The Stormy Search for the Self, Los Angeles: Tarcher, 1990.
"Holo" means "whole," "tropic" is "toward;" "holotropic," "moving toward wholeness."

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2. Firman, J. and Vargiu, J., "Dimensions Of Growth," Synthesis, 3-4, 1977; Vargiu, J., "Psychosynthesis Workbook," Synthesis, Volume 1, 1974.

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3. Tobin, S., "Saying Goodbye in Gestalt Therapy" in Banet, A., (ed.), Creative Psychotherapy, La Jolla: University Associates, 1976.

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4. Hoffman, B., Getting Divorced From Mother and Dad, New York: Dutton, 1976.

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5. Hoffman, B., 1976, op. cit.

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6. Huxley, L., Recipes for Living Between Heaven and Earth, 1975, New York: Avon, pages 160-165.

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7. Grof, S., 1988, op. cit.; Woolger, R., Other Lives, Other Selves, New York: Doubleday, 1987 and what I've seen.

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8. Grof, S., The Adventure of Self-Discovery, NY: SUNY, 1988; Grof, S. and C., Beyond Death, London: Thames and Hudson, 1980; Noyes, R. and Kletti, R., "The Experience of Dying from Falls," Omega 3:45, 1972; Rosen, D., "Suicide Survivors: A Follow-Up Study of Persons Who Survived Jumping from the Golden Gate and San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridges," Western Journal of Medicine 122:289, 1973.

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9. Maslow, A., The Farther Reaches of Human Nature, NY: Penguin, 1971.

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10. Dallet, J., "Active Imagination in Practice" (in Jungian Analysis, Stein, M., editor, Boulder: Shambala, 1984) and Johnson, R., Inner Work (Harper and Row, 1986).

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11. Harner, M., "What is a Shaman?" in Shaman's Path, Dire, G. (ed.) Boston: Shambala, 1988; Townsend, J., "Neo-Shamanism and the Modern Mystical Movement" in Dire, G., 1988, op. cit.; Walsh, R., "Shamanism and Early Human Technology: The Technology of Transcendence," ReVision 12:1, Summer, 1989; "The Shamanic Journey: Experiences, Origins, and Analogues," ReVision 12:2, Fall, 1989.

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12. Houston, J., The Search for the Beloved, Los Angeles: Tarcher, 1987.

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13. Russell, P., The Global Brain, Los Angeles: Tarcher, 1983.

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14. Wilber, K., The Spectrum of Consciousness, Wheaton: Theosophical Publishing, 1977.

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