Inside Mongolian shamanism

I’m quite excited about my current bedside reading, The Horse Boy: A Father’s Quest to Heal his Son, by Rupert Isaacson. It’s the story of a father helping his five year old son overcome autism by travelling to Mongolia to ride horses and undergo shamanic ceremonies. I’m only part way through the book at the moment, and hope to do a more in depth review later. The book explains that shamanism was the ancient religion of Mongols until the Soviets tried to stamp it out. Following the break-up of the Soviet empire in the 1990s, shamanism has been slowly making a comeback. Today there is even an association of Mongol shamans. In fact, the word shaman is a Siberian word meaning “to see in the dark,” referring to people who experience other realities.

What is especially gripping about this book is the in-depth documentation of what Isaacson, his wife and son experienced in Siberian and Mongolian healing ceremonies. I have written elsewhere in this blog about Olga Kharatidi’s book, The Master of Lucid Dreams, about her journey to the shamans of Uzbekistan to heal trauma, but the healing ceremony was not as well explained as in the Isaacson book.

The thought that so-called mental illness is a gift, if properly embraced and chanelled, is not especially new in Western circles, but Isaacson’s contribution is to anecdotally document how a specific problem (autism) can treated by aboriginal practices. The way these problems are viewed is similar to the Family Constellations that Chris and I went through. There is an ancestor element (a family curse) that needs atonement. Bert Hellinger, who popularized Family Constellations, drew on his work with the Zulus in Africa.

Several shamans questioned whether Isaacson’s wife had an immediate female ancestor with a strange mind. (She did.) Instead of saying, “mentally ill” they wondered if she had an ancestor who was “like a shaman.” The wife’s grandmother became bipolar after the death of her eight year old son and was institutionalized towards the end of her life. The shamans referred to her as “like a shaman” because some shamans have mental problems before they start their training. The shamans see this as a sign that these people are destined to be shamans. 

Isaacson thought about the shamanic healers he had come into contact with over the years in his career as a journalist. They were odd, often spoke in riddles and were “away with the fairies.” Isaacson notes, however, that it was interesting that they all had integral roles in their communities, rather than being marginalized as so often happens in industrialized societies.

The self-help community writes a good deal about how to treat people in their spiritual crisis, relying on shamanic beliefs, but here is an actual documented shamanic practice that makes fascinating reading. The family goes through the rituals meted out by nine shamans, who ask them to do some rather bizarre things like wash their more intimate parts with vodka, have vodka and curdled milk spat on their faces by the shamans, and be whipped (including the son).

At the end of the nine shaman ceremony, the son, who enjoyed it all immensely, walked over to a small Mongolian boy and declared him his “friend.” His first friend ever. Perhaps seeing what his parents were willing to go through for him and accept on his behalf was part of this breakthrough.

The shaman ceremony reminds me of the breakthroughs that Chris had after the assemblage point shift and the Family Constellation. Within ten minutes of finishing the AP shift, he immediately started walking taller and the color flooded back into his pale facial skin. About three months after the Family Constellation Therapy, he began to be sociable with people. These results can be achieved rather quickly with shamanic ceremonies. Ritualistic ceremonies are essential rights of passage that have been largely forgotten by the people and too often denigrated and ignored by science.

A Kundalini explanation

A Kundalini emergency can mimic schizophrenia and other health issues. While Eastern mystics and yogis and many Western holistic practitioners believe in it, mainstream Western medicine does not. Whether you call it an aroused Kundalini or an energy imbalance or a spiritual emergency, it doesn’t really matter, because it’s a health emergency.

Western medicine was not able to provide an answer as to why Chris experienced intense piercing pain over his eyebrow as our plane landed. He screamed in pain, and then it was gone just as quickly as it came, except for the lingering headaches over the next few days. The nurse at the airport had no explanation. I took him to our family doctor, who offered no explanation and didn’t recommend any tests. Chris continue to feel sensitive (inward inversion of pressure) in that area for the next six months. He then began experiencing the first of many symptoms which medicine labels the “prodromal signs. When I brought the head pain to the attention of the doctors after Chris was hospitalized, they simply shrugged their shoulders. They had never heard of intense head pain as a symptom of schizophrenia.

Western medicine had no explanation, but Kundalini arousal offers one. A friend alerted me to this* article on the symptoms of Kundalini. One of the many possible symptoms is headaches or pressures in the skull.

The Kundalini-Network in Denmark has a site that documents seventy-six cases of Kundalini arousal.

Else Johansen writes:

– Kundalini arousal especially occurs as an unintentional side effect of yoga, meditation, healing or body-and psychotherapy. Some of the other releasing factors can be: Births, unrequited love, celibacy, intense studies, physical traumas, deep sorrow, high fever and drug intake. But Kundalini arousal can also occur suddenly without apparent course.


– When the process of Kundalini had lasted in me for about ten years, I was too tired out to be able to earn a living on my own. I went to a doctor and said: “It is completely crazy, my Kundalini has been aroused. What shall I do?” And then I told him about my state.
 – “You are deeply psychotic”, he said. “I will send you to a good psychiatrist. The energy you are talking about does not exist. You have serious misconceptions”.


– I got sick pay and later disability pension, diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic, without first having been taken in for a mental examination. No doctor that I spoke to concerning my pension believed my talk about Kundalini.


– But in the yoga literature I got a reasonable explanation of what had happened to me. Yes, I understood that the secret purpose of yoga and meditation actually is to release the kundalini force. When Kundalini reaches the brain, it is said to be stimulating the brain cells that are normally not used, so that a higher state of consciousness is reached.


Else Johansen continues and says that the doctors’ ignorance of Kundalini has led to diagnoses like hypochondria, escapism, inflammation of the brain, and calcification of the brain.


– In a radio program, in which I participated, a psychiatrist said that Kundalini is just an idea, imported from the East through yoga. People hear or read about it, and therefore they think they have Kundalini arousal.


– But that reasoning does not hold, Else Johansen continues. I have met 250 (1996) people who have had a well-defined kundalini process, and about half of them did not know about Kundalini beforehand. It was a shock to them when the process started. They have been helped a lot, knowing what actually happened to them, because in any case it is an advantage to know what is going on. That they later found an explanation to the odd thing that happened to them, has helped them enormously, because it is in any case an advantage to know what is going on.”

The addition of, or withdrawal from, drugs (legal or illegal,) exacerbates the physical and mental symptoms.

An earlier post of mine discussed correcting energy imbalances by shifting the assemblage point.

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.

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*Mudrashram Institute of Spiritual Studies webpage

Martin Armstrong’s cycle theory becoming less of a secret

“We seek and see patterns in things. It is the way our minds work, presumably for the purpose of survival.”*

What I love about schizophrenia is how relevant it is to the life forces of our universe. There is almost nothing that I encounter on a daily basis that doesn’t relate in some way to schizophrenia as I have come to understand it. The latest is an article in the New Yorker magazine about market cycle guru Martin Armstrong, whose ability to predict market cycles based on the mathematical ratio pi, earned him billions and, unfortunately, since 1999, jail time. For obvious reasons I wish I understood as much about the cycles of the market as I think I do about how energy vibrations relate to schizophrenia. On the other hand, Mr. Armstrong has been at his obsession since the 1970s and I only relatively recently started to grasp that there is a link between energy vibrations and schizophrenia.

Losing one’s mind is treated by Western medicine from a biochemical perspective, but is seen by ancient and indigenous cultures in a completely different and more positive way. Ancient and indigenous peoples and religions use vibration as a pathway to the power that shapes the universe. These can range from ceremonially inducing a trance-like and/or hallucinatory state through yoga, music, or plant stimulants that shift the center of energy.

Martin Armstrong began to sense a pattern to the rise and fall of markets when he realized that on average there was a financial panic every 8.6 years between 1683 and 1907. He realized that there was a natural rhythm to the economy and world affairs that followed 8.6 year cycles. Later, he realized that the number 8.6 was 3,141 days, or 1000 times pi (3.141) Pi is an irrational number that governs the physical universe (pyramids, the swing of a pendulum, etc.) If it governs the physical universe, Armstrong reasoned, why could it not govern the financial markets and human behavior?

As technical analysts do for markets, people with schizophrenia see patterns where other people fail to see them. It looks like chaos to us, but as I have said many times, if you pay close enough attention to what is said, there is more than a thread of logic and ultimate truth tying it all together. Technical analysis of market forces say that the market fundamentals like balance sheets and price/earnings ratios are less important than emotions and the so far unexplainable forces that produce quantum changes in markets. “The idea that there may be celestial influences on the spontaneous desire to invest or not is an old one,” a trader is quoted as saying in the article, “but it’s too embarrassing to explore in modern economics. These topics are not fit for polite conversation in most circles.” To which I can add, “or even when healing schizophrenia using energy therapies.” I don’t bother talking to people about this anymore. They begin to nervously back away from me, as if I, too, have caught the so-called disease of schizophrenia.

Martin Armstrong believes that cycles in life (and the markets) started with the Big Bang. Very early on I began to entertain the idea that schizophrenia is also related to the Big Bang, but I couldn’t and still cannot explain it. I do think that schizophrenia is possibly related to sub-particle behavior, which is less predictable than the mass behavior Mr. Armstrong has observed that comes in waves. Perhaps people with schizophrenia are closer to the “God particle” than the rest of us. Many are obsessed with religion and see themselves as God or a God like figure, which to me is an enormous clue that science, so far, has failed to link to physics. I am being perfectly serious here, by the way.

The therapies that most correlate with the cycle theory that Chris and I have undertaken are sound therapy, which replicates the spiraling sound waves following the Big Bang, the Tomatis Method, which recognizes that our behavior is governed by what we hear, and the assemblage point shift. Cathartic psychotherapies also correlate because they are often ceremonial in nature and stimulate cellular changes through a release of emotion. What I am trying to do in having Chris undergo these therapies, is to put his emotions and actions more in sync with the natural world and to not be overwhelmed by it.

On reading the New Yorker article, I found another fellow traveler in Edward R. Dewey, the chief economic analyst at the Department of Commerce in the early 1930s. Like my experience in asking psychiatrists what causes schizophrenia, Mr. Dewey asked a number of economists about what caused the Great Depression, and he found that everybody had a different explanation, which to him meant that nobody had a clue. This has a familiar ring to me. At this point you either accept the wisdom (?) of the crowd, or you continue to look for meaning in what otherwise looks like chaos. Mr. Dewey found his answer in the view of a particular economist that business behaviors have a tendency to repeat themselves.

I am not writing this to boast that I have unlocked the key to healing schizophrenia, because clearly I haven’t. To me, though, there is growing compelling evidence, such as demonstrated by Martin Armstrong, that we are all sensitive to universal forces that began with the Big Bang. Observing the phenomenon of schizophrenia gives you a ring side seat in the quantum universe. This information, even if barely understood, can still be used to heal.

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*The Secret Cycle: Is the Financier Martin Armstrong a con man, a crank, or a genius?, Nick Paumgarten, The New Yorker, October 12, 2009
http://www.themartinarmstrongcase.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/NewYorker1012091.pdf

Fleetingly improvised men

Despite the benefits that I had observed in Chris from the assemblage point shift, Chris continued to present a poor clinical image at his day program. In early June 2006 at our monthly meeting, I argued the never-ending medication point once again with Dr. ‘L’ in the presence of Ian and Chris. I was getting that “please, dear” look from Ian, but I persisted.

Suddenly, in the midst of our discussion, Dr. ‘L’ did exactly as I expected he would that day. He was determined to demonstrate to us why Chris’s medication needed to be raised. He focused his gaze on a point near the window where Chris’s gaze was wandering, and asked quietly and with evident dramatic flourish, “Chris, what do you see?”

“Uh, someone over there near the window.”

“Surprise, surprise,” I thought sarcastically. Chris was seeing people in the room who weren’t us. He was hallucinating. Instead of the term “hallucination” I like the term that Daniel Paul Schreber used to describe people populating the corners of his gaze. He called them “fleetingly improvised men.” To Schreber, these were “souls, temporarily given human shape by divine miracle”.

Dr. ‘L’ had caught Chris in the act, and waved this around as proof positive that he needed to have his medication increased. I knew Dr ‘L’ would pull this trick and I was prepared, sort of. Chris had warned us before our meeting that Dr. ‘L’ wanted to raise the medication. I would have preferred to ignore Chris’s wandering eye, but it was rather obvious. So, instead, I said, “Yes, Dr. ‘L’, but in the bi-weekly meetings with the other families involved in the program, it has been said that we shouldn’t pay undue attention to voices. Therefore we haven’t. Of course he hears voices and sees things. Isn’t that what schizophrenia is all about? It’s not for academic interest that we talk about voices in the bi-weekly meetings in the first place. The drugs haven’t prevented the voices, have they, so what good are they in Chris’s case?” What I would have loved to add, but did not, was that two years in Dr ‘L’s day program hadn’t fixed the voices either.

Alas, as I also predicted, we allowed Dr. ‘L’ to raise one of his two medications from 200 mg to 300 mg. Chris, after all, was acting more skittish than we had usually seen him in Dr. ‘L’s presence. It was hard to deny it, but the medications wouldn’t fix it. We were stuck in this clinical program for better or worse and it was now a question of humoring Dr. ‘L’ until we could execute a graceful exit strategy from the program and the stupid medications.

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Daniel Paul Schreber, “Memoirs of My Nervous Illness,” New York Review Books Classics (January 31, 2000)

Prince Charles and the Royal Family

Ten days later after our first visit with the shaman, Chris returned for a checkup. Although this second visit wasn’t strictly necessary, I was beginning to appreciate the journey as a way of preparing for the outcome. As expected, Chris’s assemblage point was whole and had remained where the shaman had repositioned it. Nonetheless, Chris got a top-up of diamond and carnelian on his chest only.

I decided that I would like to have my assemblage point put back into shape the old-fashioned way, using the shaman’s blow and crystal wands. Given my age and the strain I had been under, my assemblage point had predictably traveled up the panic and anxiety line to the right side of my chest. The shaman’s assistant asked me to stand with my back to him, tighten my sphincter, and hold my breath. Then he quickly thumped my right shoulder blade. I was caught off guard. Air was forced reflexively out of my lungs and I emitted a little squeak. So that was the famous shaman’s blow! I then hopped onto the table where I was handed a giant quartz crystal wand that I struggled to keep upright over my assemblage point while the transducer pumped emerald crystal vibrations through my wine soaked liver. I stayed in that ludicrous position for twenty minutes.

A couple of days before, Prince Charles had delivered a keynote address at the World Health Organization about his belief that national health systems should take more account of alternative treatments such as homeopathy and acupuncture. I remarked on this to the shaman, who confided that established Harley Street doctors in London were quite concerned these days because members of the Royal Family were now largely seeing homeopathic doctors and other alternative medical practitioners.

I mentally began adding up the alternative treatments Chris had undergone: colonics; acupuncture; vitamins and supplements; energy medicine, including the magnetic mattress and a magnetic bracelet; Emotional Freedom Technique; and assemblage point shift. On a scale of 1 to 10, if Chris was a 10 when he was first hospitalized, then I would have to say he was now about a 5, a 4 at the most. He just was not visibly normal, meaning that he seemed somewhat nervous, was not comfortable around people in large or small groups and was not able to motivate himself. I attributed a lot of this to the effects of the medications, which I believed kept him in an anxious state, but I didn’t attribute all of it to the medications.

I felt that we were on the right track with all the interventions we had done up until that point, but that there was still a missing X factor that had not been addressed. The good that the vitamins had accomplished this far were undermined by the still heavy doses of meds. I believed that the benefits of the assemblage point shift would reveal themselves over the next few months and hopefully lead to a complete cure. We weren’t there yet. I still had not tried to approach Level 4 of the healing pyramid in a formal way.

As the shaman predicted, Chris gradually began to express his thoughts and convictions more. It was subtle, but it became increasingly apparent in the next few months. He more frequently expressed his preferences and sometimes lingered to talk a bit more. What surprised me is that I also felt that I was becoming more real. I became even more direct and focused.

The observer

An important concept in quantum physics is the role of the observer. There is a famous hypothesis called “Everett’s many worlds theory” that builds on Niels Bohr’s Copenhagen theory that an action seen by an observer has more than one possible outcome. Everett’s theory holds that the universe splits when that action is taken (or even when an action is not taken).

Physicist David Z. Albert has put a slightly different spin on Everett’s theory, which I believe is very important to the understanding of schizophrenia. Albert maintains that the term “many worlds” is actually incorrect and that a description that leads to a better understanding is to call it “many viewpoints.” This is in essence the schizophrenic problem of ambivalence: holding two (or possibly) more opposing views in which the center cannot hold. It offers one explanation for Chris’s lifelong aversion to making a choice.

As a university undergraduate, I was an art history major, not a physics major. Physics is hard for me, as it is for most people, to wrap my mind around. The implications of quantum physics are still not well understood, even by quantum physicists. What I can say with some conviction is that an appreciation of schizophrenia will emerge in future from a further understanding of quantum physics and lead to new methodologies in treatment. For the compassionate observer, schizophrenia brings us closer to the knowledge that we are all subject to a supreme power in the universe, but a spark of that divinity is also within us.

To quote Hermann Hesse once more, modern science is in the Stone Age compared to the teachings of ancient Indian mythology. Ancient and indigenous peoples seem to have a better appreciation of multiple realities than modern people do. Indigenous people, such as the Toltec civilization from which Don Juan came, know that hallucinogens can deliver you to an altered dimension where extraordinary things can happen. Although he did not know the physics of the assemblage point, he knew what moving it could do.

It made perfect sense to me that Chris began experiencing altered realities or parallel universes at the time that his assemblage point was breaking up. The assemblage point is assembled in the womb in part by the vibrational energy of the outside universe. Altered states of awareness such as in schizophrenia and lucid dreaming may be indications that there are universes parallel to our own.

(See also “The Akashic field and synchronicity,” April 22, 2009)

A parallel universe, even in the suburbs

The shaman and I continued to chat while Chris underwent his treatment. I learned all kinds of interesting things. Many of her clients and course trainees live in and around Amsterdam, where there is a high number of young people who have misaligned assemblage points due to drug use.

She has treated a number of epilepsy patients and cited one patient, a male in his late fifties, who had been an epileptic most of his life. He had many seizures during a typical day and, each time, his assemblage point would be jerked out of its central position and drop into the stomach area. He needed many treatments to his assemblage point before it gradually settled. With no change to his medication, he has been free from seizures for two years and was able to drive again.

We chatted further about the healing properties of stones and then Chris’s treatment was finished and it was time to go. “What changes can we expect in the next few weeks?” I asked.

“You may begin to notice that Chris becomes more emotionally expressive,” she suggested. “You may begin to notice that he walks taller and has a better complexion.”

Her last remark was immediately prophetic. As Chris walked along the garden path back to the car, he walked in a way I hadn’t seem him do for years. Taller and with confidence. His face, which was always rather pale and yet much improved with the niacinamide, began to flood with color. I was amazed.

Back at home, I got to thinking about assemblage points splitting around the age of ten. I recalled a recent spooky experience of finding Chris alone and hallucinating in our darkened apartment and I began to reflect on an incident that happened to Chris in the park ten years earlier, when he was eleven. I was at home on a Saturday morning when Chris came running in from the park, clearly panicked. He hardly ever ran, so this itself was unusual. He locked all the doors on the ground floor of the house and pulled all the shades shut. He kept peering out, as if someone was coming to get him. I asked him what was the matter and he replied “some bullies are after me.” I chalked it up at the time to just one of those things that happens to children his age, and let it go at that.

Now, something about Chris being in a darkened apartment and looking spooked, prompted me to ask him about the park incident all those years ago.

Signs of schizophrenia back then? I hadn’t recognized them. Was it significant that it might have started that long ago? Now when I questioned Chris about what had happened in the park with the “bullies” all those years ago, he finally leveled with me.

“Mom, I don’t want to say much about it except that I saw a spaceship land in the park and I saw extraterrestrials get out and they were chasing me!”

The prophet Ezekiel had a similar experience to what we could refer to as an extraterrestrial encounter. He described it instead as “the word of the Lord” coming directly into him. He saw a whirlwind and fire, and four creatures with wings and a wheeled vehicle thundering down from the sky. “The appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the colour of a beryl: and they four had one likeness: and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel . . . This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.”

I could worry about Chris’s revelation, or I could deconstruct my fear, as was beginning to become a habit with me. Did it mean he was sicker than I imagined since this had been going on so long? So he had signs of schizophrenia when he was eleven. It would be odd to think that schizophrenia just pops up all of a sudden at seventeen or eighteen. Did it mean he couldn’t get well? I doubted it. Maybe a more reassuring explanation is that he had experienced God.

Quantum physicists have another explanation, one which I believe is complementary to the knowledge of the existence of God. They believe that extraterrestrial experiences are hallucinations, or altered states of awareness that are “parallel universes” to our everyday reality. Parallel universes are almost identical to our own but weirdly different in some way, like the comic book planet of Bizarro World. Science fiction writers have relied on this quirky theme for years. Peter K. Chadwick, in a paper delivered to the Scientific and Medical Network, stated that schizophrenia might be understood if you considered that “genuine spiritual and paranormal forces operate on the person at least during and perhaps before and after their schizophrenic illness and that the realization and acceptance of this should form an important part of the treatment and rehabilitation process for such patients.” What many people call “paranormal,” a quantum physicist might say is simply the limits of the current knowledge of the universe.

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Peter K. Chadwick, “Is there an ‘X Factor’ in Schizophrenic Illness?” http://www.scimednet.org/Articles/MHchadwick.htm

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.

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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

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.