The magic age of ten

For Chris’s treatment, a transducer using both diamond and carnelian was placed at the front and back central positions directly in contact with his clothing. The electronic gem transducers in the lamp pulse vibrational energy through the gemstones, each of which have a unique vibration. The energies create a vortex that draws the split assemblage points back into position. Diamond is the strongest of the gems in energy terms and carnelian balances it by being a very soothing gem. Chris’s spleen was also energized at the same time with a diamond and carnelian transducer. People, especially those with a low position back or front, benefit from having the spleen energized, thus raising their energy levels. A depressed patient, for example, would be able to get out and about more.

As Chris settled in for his twenty-minute treatment, I pursued the theory behind the assemblage point. The shaman explained that the assemblage point is with us at birth, in a very low position centered around the navel, and travels up the chakra line as we develop, stabilizing in more or less the correct position slightly right of center at the level of the heart chakra at around the age of six. Children with seriously misaligned assemblage points find it difficult to interact with others. Childhood events can determine the location in which the assemblage point eventually settles.

Around the age of ten, the shaman continued, some assemblage points begin to split. The child may develop an interest in mysticism or begin to experience subtle changes that a trauma or shock in the teen years or thereabouts will tip into what we know as schizophrenia. It was at that moment that I understood why psychiatrists had asked me from time to time what Chris was like at the age of ten. When I told them about Magic cards, they didn’t seem at all interested. This leads me to conclude that there must be something else about the age of ten that interests them.

Chris’s intense interest in Magic cards began at the age of ten. Magic: The Gathering is an extraordinarily complex game played on many levels, with its own game terminology. Choosing a personally designed deck, players or “wizards” cast spells on their opponents through a variety of means. Each player starts with twenty life points and the object of the game is to reduce your opponent’s life points to zero.

Some people consider card games like this evil or satanic and feel that the game itself exerts a negative influence that provokes mental illness. I don’t feel that way. I considered this a fantasy game, reflective of the intense creative urge of the individual. I saw it at the time as a passing phase that Chris would eventually outgrow. We nurture children on fairy tales and Santa Claus but expect them to grow out of their fantasies. Children quickly outgrow their belief in Santa Claus and fairy tales. Chris, however, did not outgrow his liking for Magic. As he got older, he supplemented it with books on mythology and science fiction.

I had never considered the card game as a clue to what was later labelled “schizophrenia” in Chris’s case. Chris has often said he feels like he is existing somewhere between living and being dead. The following is a editor’s note from an ancient Syrian translation of “The Descent of Ishtar to the Nether World”. I can’t help but be reminded of the similarity of this ancient text to fantasy card games and computer games.

Ishtar passes through seven gates of the nether world. At each of them the gatekeeper removes an ornament. At the second gate, he takes the pendants on her ears; at the third, the chains round her neck, then he removes, respectively, the ornaments on her breast, the girdle of birthstones on her hips, the clasps round her hands and feet, and the breechcloth on her body. Each time, she asks the same question; each time she receives the same answer.

Translation by E. A. Speiser, Ancient Near Eastern Texts (Princeton, 1950), pp. 106-109, reprinted in Isaac Mendelsohn (ed.), Religions of the Ancient Near East, Library of Religion paperbook series (New York, 1955), pp. 119-25; notes by Mendelsohn

Desperate housewife

A reader contacted me. He was clearly alarmed at the direction in which he felt I personally am heading. He referred to my “grasping at straws”, my being “on a crusade”, and urged me to avoid “snake oil”. He expressed his opinion that all of this plus maternal guilt was clouding my ability to think rationally. According to the reader, this means that I am not providing effective support for Chris. Furthermore, by claiming center stage I am placing my needs before Chris’s. My blog, he feels, is a coping mechanism.

Since the reader knows me only through what I have written, his perception is valid. I believe in turn that I have pushed the bounds of his comfort zone.

My blog is about holistic recovery from schizophrenia. It also happens to include many references to my own understanding/healing process that was needed under the circumstances. The Cambridge Online Dictionary defines holistic as “relating to the whole of something or to the total system instead of just to its parts.” My interpretation of holistic has grown to include self-examination as a component of Chris’s and my healing process. I submit that looking at how I may have contributed to Chris’s existential dilemma is a valid way forward. I do not feel “guilty” and neither should anyone in these circumstances. Guilt doesn’t heal people.

Holistic recovery means that we are taking advantage of what healing information is currently out there and available. The information is not from traditional medicine. Going holistic means moving off level one of the healing pyramid. Level one is about treating illnesses, not just mental illnesses, with vitamin therapy, diet, medications and surgery, where necessary.

Once we move off level one we are headed into the realm of energy medicine, energy psychology, psychotherapy in its many branches, acupuncture, homeopathy, yoga, meditation, chakras, shamanism, out of body experiences, the Akashic records, meaningful coincidences, quantum physics, near death experiences. These pick up where Dr. Hoffer and other proponents of orthomolecular medicine left off. (See: Energy psychology and Emotional Freedom Technique – April 21. 2009.) When orthomolecular medicine was introduced it tread on a lot of people’s comfort zones. It still does, to some people.

All of the therapies that I discuss in my blog incorporate the idea in one form or another that human beings are energy masses. We vibrate. Our molecules rub up against other people’s molecules. We have cellular memory. The individual has his own energy field, but the family also has an energy field. I believe that psychotherapy as a discipline implicitly acknowledges our molecular co-dependence but does not usually describe itself using these terms.

Correcting misaligned energy can be done physically and psychically. It can be done by a doctor, a shaman, a psychiatrist, a priest or through your own thought process. This is a new concept that is vying for a place alongside orthomolecular medicine and psychotherapy in treating mental illness. New ideas invariably disturb people’s comfort zones. They take a long time to gain acceptance.

I occupy center stage in my blog because I write it. Writing any blog seems like an inherently narcissistic act. Where I hope my value added lies is precisely because I am the mother and I am willing to share some of myself and Chris with others. Chris and I have undergone many of the therapies together, which means I can report on them with some confidence. Publishing this may leave people with the impression that I am desperately clutching at straws and trying to convince people that if people would only do what Chris and I are doing, all will be well. We know it doesn’t work that way.

A holistic approach has taught me to appreciate that there are no such thing as coincidences. By contacting me when he did, my reader has helped me think about perception. I am sharing Chris’s and my experiences in the higher levels of healing to allow you to cherry pick what you want from the realm of healing possibilities. It is not desperation on my part that drives me to investigate these rather unusual therapies for Chris. These therapies have helped Chris to heal in ways that the medications did not do. They might just do the same for you.

A visit to the shaman

The shaman was a pleasant looking middle-aged woman with long black hair and billowing blouse and skirt of gemstone hue. From a chain around her neck hung a huge moonstone pendant. We entered the converted garden shed, which contained an examining table with an electronic gem lamp, a bunch of old blankets, some huge quartz crystal wands calibrated and cut in India, and a tiny desk. She took a medical history, although not much was needed. There was absolutely no risk to this procedure from a medical point of view. Chris signed a medical release form anyway.

Sometimes a patient with a high left assemblage point can be violent, although more commonly, the person is withdrawn and passive, presenting no risk to the examiner. As a precaution, it is recommended that an assistant be in the room. The shaman has found that two people of the opposite sex working together allow the best healing energies to enter the patient. Hence, her male assistant, who was dressed all in black.

She asked Chris to stand up and face her and she gently passed her hand over his chest to determine the positions of his assemblage points. When she came to a certain position, Chris swayed slightly as if caught off balance, indicating she had located the points where energy entered his body, which were equidistant from the center to the high left and high right. These were the typical two split assemblage point locations indicating a position typical of schizophrenia. She found similar points on his back and an additional third location. Inexplicably, she asked Chris if he spoke more than one language (he does) since the additional back position might indicate that he did.

According to our shaman, off center locations either cause certain conditions or are caused by them, so it is a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation to determine which came first. She often finds them in patients who have experienced trauma earlier in life.

“We can treat you, Chris, in one of several ways, using either quartz crystal wands and a sharp blow to the shoulder blade, or using electronic equipment.” Chris opted for the gem lamp treatment. The shaman nodded with understanding. “You’ve probably been pushed around quite a bit already because of your illness and don’t want somebody like me doing it, too.”

The shaman’s blow

The assemblage point shift is similar in principle to electroshock therapy. Both therapies can be used to address depression, mania, schizophrenia, and catatonia. However, shifting the assemblage point is noninvasive compared to electroshock. It complements Hoffer’s and Osmond’s understanding of the link between the hallucinogenic plants of the American Southwest and the state of mental well-being. (See: Why it is an honor to pay income tax – April 16, 2009)

In Castaneda’s The Fire from Within, Don Juan repeatedly warns about the health dangers that come from an assemblage point that has been knocked off center. Both legal and illicit drug use can knock an assemblage point off center. Don Juan uses peyote and other medicinal plants to induce a hallucinatory state in Castaneda. To bring him back to a balanced state afterwards, Jon Whale observes that Don Juan surreptitiously gave the author a quick sharp blow to the shoulder blade, popularly referred to as the shaman’s blow.

Dr. Whale has observed that psychiatric drugs do a poor job of moving the assemblage point back into position. According to him, psychiatric drugs do not take into account the complexities of the endocrine system and leave the patient in a chronic depressed state rather than correcting the situation. Dr. Hoffer’s niacin treatment is, in my opinion, another way of realigning the assemblage point. Whether you hallucinate naturally (e.g. schizophrenia) or unnaturally (e.g. mescaline and peyote), the antidote is the same: moving the assemblage point back into its correct position.

Split assemblage points and trauma

Assemblage points can shift due to sickness, medications, or trauma. Assemblage points can split. Dr. Blaen has found that split assemblage points are often associated with trauma to the energy field earlier in life. Both schizophrenics and bipolars are found to have two (and sometimes three) energy shadows or split assemblage points. The schizophrenic’s assemblage points are often found equidistant from the center, in high left and high right positions, front and back. Sometimes a low right point is also found. People with bipolar disorder often have a manic position at the back of the chest and a lower depressed position at the front of the chest. Misaligned assemblage points can be corrected, according to Dr. Blaen.

In 2001, Dr. Blaen became the first person in the world to measure the energy of the assemblage point from front to back and back to front. The measurements were conducted using stone sensors developed by a physicist and dampened with a standard isotonic solution.

The link between schizophrenia, trauma, and the body’s vibrational energy was beginning to reinforced in my mind, not only from learning about the assemblage point but also about energy medicine in its various forms, such as through the visualization work that Chris was doing with the help of his psychiatrist and by learning about Dr. Emoto’s water molecules. It is also noteworthy that Dr. Hamer measured two and sometimes three Hamer Herds resulting from trauma in the schizophrenic’s brain and that the assemblage point can also divide into two and three splits or shadows. Both Dr. Hamer and Dr. Blaen have linked this to an earlier trauma in the individual’s life.

Dr. Whale goes back even farther than that. According to him, the assemblage point is “assembled in the womb through the navel by the vibrational energy of the outside universe and that of the mother and everything to do with the mother.” Once the umbilical cord is severed, the universal mind connection is broken and the child develops a new perspective.

Jon Whale interview on Stationary Assemblage Point (SAP),

Assemblage point and chakras

The mapping of the assemblage point is relatively recent. In the late 1980s, Dr. Whale was quickly healed of his debilitating chronic fatigue syndrome through having his assemblage point shifted at a workshop conducted by Harley “Swiftdeer” Reagan, a native American shaman and one-time apprentice to Don Juan’s friend Don Genaro. Swiftdeer then asked Dr. Whale to document the quantum physics of the assemblage point and to apply its principles to the shamanic technique.

Many people are familiar through yoga and meditation with the spinning vortexes of spiritual and energy points in our body called chakras. Each chakra in the body has a different vibrational frequency that needs to be balanced and energized individually to ensure optimal spiritual and physical health. According to Dr. Angela Blaen, founder of the Assemblage Point Centre and author of From Intention to Technology: Assemblage Point and Gemstone Healing, since energy enters the body through the assemblage point and is thought to leave the body through the chakras, “balancing the whole energy field via the entry points of the assemblage, back and front, therefore energises and balances the body in a manner much more important than healing the chakras.”

Dr. Angela Blaen,

The assemblage point and extreme right brain activity

In more scientific terms, British engineer Dr. Jon Whale describes the assemblage point as the vortex of our body’s vibrational energy that is located slightly off center in our body at the level of the heart chakra. It is not the heart chakra, though it is near the heart chakra. It is thought that energy enters the body through the assemblage point, whereas at the chakras, energy leaves the body.

The angle at which energy enters the body can have a profound impact on physical and mental health. A common but misplaced center of vibrational energy high and to the right of the heart chakra indicates excessive left-brain activity. This can manifest in panic attacks, extrovert behavior, and high levels of adrenaline. (The location of the assemblage point in the high right position may be the price we pay for the stressful demands of living in an excessively left-brained, fact oriented, ego-driven culture.)

In contrast, a high left assemblage point leads to extreme right-brain activity and can manifest in introversion, fantasies, hallucinations, and delusions.

Once the assemblage point drops below the navel, death will soon follow.

Jon Whale interview on Stationary Assemblage Point (SAP),

The assemblage point

I became an avid follower of the anthropologist Carlos Castaneda and the German high court judge Daniel Paul Schreber after stumbling upon the concept of the assemblage point while researching light and color therapy early in the new year, 2006.

The assemblage point is familiar to fans of Carlos Castaneda and the shaman Don Juan Matus. Yet, despite the many hours of instruction that Castaneda received from Don Juan, he remained unclear as to what exactly the assemblage point was and where it was located. From Don Juan he learned that it was a hairy, luminous egg-shaped cocoon located about an arm’s length away from the body and linked to the energy at our disposal. A warrior’s energy, according to Don Juan, is always a consequence of a shift in his assemblage point. “Any movement of the assemblage point means a movement away from excessive concern with the individual self.”

In 1900, Daniel Paul Schreber, who was thought to be suffering from dementia praecox (the old term for schizophrenia) wrote to Dr. Flechsig, his psychiatrist, about what appears to be the assemblage point, although he calls it the soul. “The human soul is contained in the nerves of the body, about their physical nature I, as a layman, cannot say more than that they are extraordinarily delicate structures—comparable to the finest filaments—and that the total mental life of a human rests on their excitability by external impressions. Vibrations are thereby caused in the nerves which produce the sensations of pleasure and pain in a manner which cannot be further explained, they are able to retain the memory of impressions received (the human memory) and have also the power of moving the muscles in the body which they inhabit into any manifest activity by exertion of their will power.”

The benefit of institutions

Chris is out of the psychiatric hospital after three months and 10 days. This time around it was a different experience than when he was last hospitalized in the same institution for three months in the summer of 2004.

This time around I had warm fuzzies for the psychiatrist and staff. The atmosphere felt “homey”. Chris and his fellow inmates appeared much more functional to me than was the case before. We were moving up the food chain.

Although he is back on medications for the foreseeable future, I am no longer as uptight about the damage they are supposed to inflict. I have worked with a holistic psychiatrist for three years and I experienced how the other side of the drugs versus no drugs debate can be played out. It can be every bit as exhausting, demoralizing and propagandistic in its own way as what I experienced worrying about the damage that the drugs were doing. (See: The tyranny of vitamins – April 17, 2009.) At the same time, holistic/orthomolecular interventions take into account the personal history and biochemistry of the individual. For this reason alone, they are infinitely superior to meds. My position on the meds versus vitamins front now looks quite schizophrenic. In my own way I have become quite schizophrenic since schizophrenia befell Chris.

In the exit interview, Chris’s psychiatrist spoke warmly about Chris. He expressed a clear belief that Chris was evolving and that Chris will continue to evolve. I agree that Chris’s general future direction looks good, but not wanting to be a party pooper, I kept quiet about the niggling fear that Chris had merely gone underground for a while. No doubt the psychiatrist was also putting the best polish on the situation. Chris had been there long enough. There was nowhere to go but out. We discussed Chris taking life one baby step at a time in order to move onto the next level. We discussed letting him make his own decisions. During his worst periods Ian and I assumed that unwanted role. Chris has expressed an interest, in no particular order, in Buddhism and cooking classes. I was pleased to see that he pulled out an agenda during the exit interview and wrote down all his upcoming appointments.

The dreaded R words to the anti-meds folks are relapse and re-hospitalization. Re-hospitalization is seen as a sign of failure (relapse) and falling into the clutches of the drug lobby. I am now somewhat open to working with medications because (a) my husband is threatening to divorce me if I don’t support them (the gun to the head approach) and (b) because Chris has made progress over the past few years. I attribute this to the vigorous holistic interventions that he underwent during this period and the fact that we didn’t give up on him. The holistic interventions will continue, but I have “bought” the psychiatrist’s point that if, from time to time Chris needs a respite, the door is always open for shorter hospitalizations or overnight care on the road to good health. He suggested that this strategy shouldn’t be seen as a failure, but is more often a need for a sort of “regrouping”. The staff can offer help in this way. I nodded enthusiastically at the mention of short overnight stays. Although I fervently hope and pray that it doesn’t deteriorate to that point again, the idea of a little R & R away from Chris is very appealing.

First day back home, he was fine. Second day back, I wondered what Chris had been doing for three months in the hospital. He was acting pretty weird, possibly the voices, maybe not. The behavior always shakes me. This time around I promised myself that Chris was not going to get to me. I went to my room and closed the door, no longer wanting to be “helpful”. Let Chris come to me if he needs something or just wants to talk. At the end of the day, I broke my vow and instigated a little chat. Since Chris had still not filled the prescription that was about to run out, I asked him what exactly he was told at the hospital about the repercussions of not taking his meds. “Well, they just told me that I am supposed to take them every day,” he claimed. “And, what happens if you skip them or “forget” about them?” I prodded. He didn’t know. “I’m surprised that the doctors didn’t detail for you the physical consequences of not taking the meds as prescribed,” says I. “Being told to just take them every day is not as informative as spelling out the gut-wrenching head-clanging experience that you get by “forgetting” to take them.” I’m prepared to let Chris learn experientially on this one.

The hair test

Unlike most psychiatrists who will judge you insane just by looking at you, Dr. Gregory House is perhaps too willing to run tests on his patients. Overlooking the fact that he is the fictional MD star of the eponymously named hit television series, I don’t want House anywhere near my son. Dr. House will run a battery of invasive tests, drill into your skull and perhaps harvest your spleen before he finally figures out what your real problem is. No thank you! There are better, less invasive ways of getting a snapshot of your underlying health problems.

An alternative to muscle testing is hair tissue analysis. Hair tissue analysis is known to the general public in the context of forensic science, but what is not so well known is that it is often used for people with mental illness and other health concerns to discover and correct underlying problems in metabolic rate, energy levels, sugar and carbohydrate tolerance, stage of stress, immune system, and glandular activity. Tests can be ordered through your family physician.

Hair tissue mineral analysis is a relatively cheap, accurate method of testing for the presence of minerals and toxic metals that can be symptomatic of body chemistry imbalances. For example, excess quantities of copper found in the body are associated with various health concerns, from fatigue and anorexia to depression and schizophrenia. Persons with too much copper in their system might tend to be creative, dreamy, and inattentive. A test involves simply snipping a small amount of hair near the base of the scalp and sending it in the mail to a laboratory such as Analytical Research Labs in Phoenix, Arizona, or the Great Plains Laboratory in Lenexa, Kansas. These laboratories analyze the hair sample and send back a printout of the test results, along with a recommended diet plan and protocol of supplements to address the revealed deficiencies and imbalances.

My youngest son, Taylor, was a bright but dreamy and woefully underachieving student throughout his entire elementary and high school studies, right up until I got him a hair test. His test results showed that he was off the charts in terms of his high copper levels. Excess copper made him an excellent artist but a poor academic performer. He had trouble focusing and with attempting to solve complex problems. He all too often just gave up. The turn-around in him in the second half of his penultimate year in high school was astonishing. He graduated in the top 10% of his high school class, and has kept up the pace in his first year of college. Many people would say this pattern is typical of boys, who often pull up their socks academically in their last year of high school. I strongly believe (but cannot prove) that Taylor would not have done so well without the increased focus that the vitamin support provided.