Biomancy and Trauma Healing
The other day I glanced at the Amazon bestseller list and was surprised to see Bessel van der Kolk’s book on trauma healing, The Body Keeps the Score, as the number one best-selling book in the U.S. It’s a powerful, comprehensive and well-written pop text by a former Harvard professor of psychiatry, validating complementary therapies in healing trauma – movement therapy, body-centered and somatic awareness, art therapy, neurofeedback, interpersonal therapies – treatments that are fundamentally important, safer and generally more effective than medications, and proven so by science. It seems a revolution is underway.
So, no big news that it was selling well for its genre. My surprise was how the field of trauma healing had quietly surged into public awareness since the book’s publication in 2014, when it was barely a blip on the radar. Likewise, Dr. Gabor Mate’s new documentary “The Wisdom of Trauma” received almost 4 million views in its first week of airing. The world is waking up to our current crisis. Trauma healing deserves this spotlight. Personal, ancestral and collective trauma is the cause of most of the world’s ills, and is the dissonance at the heart of our culture.
At its root trauma is a state of disconnection. This disconnection wreaks havoc on our bodies, on our relationships, on our families, and on our greater societies – because we are fundamentally relational, interconnected beings, at every level. That is how we are designed. When we become traumatized, all of our internal and external systems that rely on these connections begin to fail.
When this failure to thrive shows up in our lives – depression, anxiety, health issues, addictions, failed relationships - we often turn to the experts for help. The mainstream approach to trauma healing focuses almost exclusively on pharmaceutical solutions, or cognitive and psychological therapies. In the last few decades, the conversation has moved forward, with leading-edge somatic awareness and complementary approaches proven effective by clinical studies.1-4
But something is still missing. After all the talk therapy, shadow stalking and processing, the trauma often remains stuck.
Biomancy brings a new perspective. Our healing does not happen by working on our own, as an isolated or separated individual — our healing is in tandem with earth. Yes, the emotional and psychological aspects of trauma healing are important, but until we reconnect with the sacred and magical dimension of nature and the quantum alchemy of our body in a deeper way — in a biomantic and ecomantic way — we will be missing out on the most powerful healing resource available: our own regenerative blueprint in harmony with the quantum energy templates of creation.
Biomancy acknowledges that our body, as well as the body of Mother Earth, are living beings with their own vast, interconnected intelligence networks — documented by science — that are far wiser than our thinking minds. Trauma disrupts our ability to access these subtle fields of primordial intelligence that surround us. And until we reconnect, this separation from our own somatic intelligence and the greater web of life keeps us stuck in endless trauma loops.
The art of biomancy is consciously reweaving these magical connections, which naturally heal and regulate our nervous systems, and move us forward into new timelines — rather than replaying the same painful physiological and psychological responses from the past.
We are not aware of the degree to which trauma is a biological process, and how opening into a regenerative, reconnected, body-rooted biomantic consciousness can bring graceful healing.
Take our connection and interdependence with the earth as an example. Not as an abstract idea, but in a very literal, feet-on-the-ground kind of way. Every time we touch our body to the earth, a surge of electrons rushes up into us, quenching free radicals, allowing regeneration, stimulating mitochondrial function, enlivening us. When we step away from artificial electromagnetic fields, we quickly come into resonance with the Earth’s ambient electromagnetic fields, one of which is called the Schumann resonance, that at 7.83 Hz, entrains our brain into a high theta wave pattern associated with superflow states. Our bodies are engaged in an ongoing electromagnetic conversation with the earth, a love relationship with the subtle energy fields of our planet.
When trauma disrupts this felt sense of a loving and safe relationship with the earth, that holds and supports us, restoring this connection reignites our bio-magic, and our sense of wellbeing.
After the collective trauma vortex of the last few years, people are waking up to the idea that nature—including the body—has a field of intelligence that can heal us at the deepest level.
When I practiced medicine, often seeing patients with chronic conditions that traditional and alternative therapies had failed to treat, I understood that I needed to take a panoramic view of the situation, and move beyond the current paradigm of health that viewed the body as separate from its environment. The body does not exist in isolation; it is ensouled and entangled in nature.
Early research in the field of nature therapy was conducted by the Italian Oncology Group of Clinical Research (GOIRC), coordinated by Prof. Francesco Di Costanzo, director of the Oncology Department of Careggi Hospital in Florence, Italy. They showed that simply placing nature art on the walls of hospitals improved the healing and wellbeing of the patients, begging the question, “Imagine what real nature can do?”
There are now dozens of clinical studies proving that nature therapy, referred to as ecotherapy or green therapy, heals trauma, anxiety, depression, attention deficit disorder and addictions. Being in nature even for brief periods has been shown to improve mental and physical health in veterans, at-risk inner city youth and patients from all walks of life. Ecotherapy raises serotonin levels, stabilizes mood and improves a number of physical health outcomes.5-12
But, when I speak about healing trauma through connection with nature, I am not talking about simply taking a nice walk through the forest or a visit to the beach (though these are scientifically proven to heal us, too), but establishing a deeper connection to the nature that we all belong to. Not nature as separate from us, or outside of us, but nature that lives inside our own body, nature that unites us through a field of energy and intelligence with all the ecosystems of the world, whose fabric of interwoven beingness we are all an intricate part of.
Our wellbeing is dependent on the wellbeing of this entire system, just as the health of the entire system is dependent on our own, as an individual “cell” within her greater body. The vast reservoir of biomantic intelligence within our bodies and the natural world is asking for our attention, waiting for the invitation to surge into our awareness, and help us come into true “well”-ness. Here, I mean wellness is the ancient sense, as in the well waters, the fluid essences and elixirs of mother earth that emerge from deep within her body, without which we cannot live. This is why our ancestors worshipped wells and springs. They knew these sources carried healing powers beyond the physical; they held subtle energies that connected us to the greater whole. The sacred waters, the holy waters, provided resilience and protection against traumas of all kinds.
Our biology is magical, not mechanical—it operates according to quantum processes, not the Newtonian biochemistry we were taught in school. And our body is a great teacher.
The traditional approach to trauma healing focuses on the psychological and emotional dimensions of the problem. My own teacher, Dr. John Pierrakos, and his mentor, Dr. Wilhelm Reich (who was a peer of Dr. Carl Jung), revolutionized the field of psychotherapy with the idea that our body and psyche exist on a continuum—there is no clear separation. What affects one affects the other. By consciously moving our body, changing our breathing patterns, shifting muscular blocks and postural defenses, and opening our vocal expression, we begin to free up our bioenergetic flow, release old traumas and reconnect. In doing that our psyches change and begin to heal. The ancient knowledge that these men remembered, and that was once taught in the mystery schools, birthed the field of body-centered psychotherapies popular today.
Most people now understand that until it is healed, trauma keeps us frozen, dissociated from a full-spectrum and balanced emotional life. Leading researchers also recognize trauma as a chronic physiological state —of persistent biological dysregulation that affects our immune system, intestinal health, cardiovascular systems, birth outcomes, and literally every aspect of our physical functioning and measures of wellness. The fields of transgenerational trauma and epigenetic trauma teach us that until it is healed, this trauma is passed on and on to future generations. We not only heal ourselves; we are healing entire lineages of our ancestors.
Some of the deepest traumas remain invisible, because they are actually inflicted by our own cultural institutions and modern belief systems, patterns of living and perceiving the world that we have come to accept as normal, but that are profoundly abnormal to the natural order of life.
We modern humans are, in effect, all traumatized. We are all disconnected from our innate primal self, living far below our biological and spiritual potentials. Most people, for example, no longer view the Earth as a living sentient being. Every indigenous culture in the history of world has done so, as did Plato and Pythagoras, whose teachings laid the foundations of western philosophy and natural sciences. Most people have no idea that plants are scientifically proven to possess distributed cellular intelligence, memories, problem-solving skills, relationships, mothering behavior and imagination, and that they communicate to other plants and animals “bio-acoustically” through song. When we consciously consume plants, their wisdom then grows inside us. Our relationship is eucharistic—we become “at one” with their unique vibration.
What’s missing from the discussion of trauma healing is this biomantic perspective: trauma is also a state of disconnection from nature, from ecology, from a holistic vision of our place in the world, from magic, from the sacred and quantum dimensions of life. If trauma healing is about reconnection, then we must reconnect at the ecological, the magical, the bioenergetic, the quantum, the sacred, and the spiritual levels every bit as much as the psychological.
Our greatest gift is the wisdom of the body, the wisdom of nature, and our incredible regenerative healing capacity. We must understand that the body and psyche are one—if something is harmful to the body it harms the psyche, and if something is harmful to the psyche it harms the body. Healing our body, our physiology, and nervous system can heal the psyche. Sometimes we need talk therapy, to be able to speak the story out loud. It helps to acknowledge it, speak it and find our voice. But equally, being in nature, having reconnecting experiences with the energy fields of our body, the cosmos and the natural world, can restore, regenerate and create healing which is then passed on to the psyche.
Relationship regulates our nervous system, relationship not just with other people, but with the greater whole. This is how our bodies and psyches are designed, to be reassured, at a physiological level, when in connection with others. Think of a newborn baby with her mother; it is much the same even as adults with our greater mothers of ecosystem, earth, and cosmic mothers.
At its heart, trauma healing is a reconciliation with our trust in life, and openness to love.
The holy grail of trauma healing is regulation of the central nervous system—the calming of the sympathetic nervous system responsible for our “fight or flight” response, and the boosting of our parasympathetic nervous system which helps us relax and regenerate. In his polyvagal theory, Dr. Stephen Porges discovered a new, third type of nervous system response, mediated by the vagus nerve, that brings us into a state of balanced enjoyment, play and harmony. This powerful third way is strengthened through connection. Porges studied it in relation to social engagement. When we extend that connection to earth and body, how much more will be able to regulate? How much more belonged will we feel? How much more healing is possible?
We need to start seeing ourselves as bio-magical beings who depend on very subtle and complex relationships with the energies of our own body, and the ecosystems of earth and cosmos. These energies are not make-believe, they are very real, complex systems of energy that regulate our physiology and bio-fields—such as the photons of light we receive from the sun—that have a vast impact on our physical and mental wellbeing. The body experiences modern life, with its technological dominance and relentless busy-ness as a primal trauma. Our feminine self suffers most from this; our body doesn’t just keep the score or say "no"—it talks to us, and is our oracle.
We must ask ourselves, what is this deep intelligence inside our bodies and nature asking of us?
It can be as simple as stepping into a daily biomantic awareness practice and participating in earth’s rhythms again, so we can find the balance between living in the man-made world and returning to the natural world we belong to, and from which all our food, water, and energetic sustenance comes.
The importance of our connection to the sun and circadian rhythms often goes unrecognized. From a biological perspective, sunrise is nothing less than a physiological explosion. Every morning, as the first rays of the sun hit our retina, a cascade of biomagic is triggered that turns on some twenty percent of our genes. This genetic awakening is responsible for the generation of tens of thousands of proteins, as well as a flood of hormones, peptides and other molecules of communication. Light shifts our immune system, our mood, our cardiovascular health and the functioning of every other organ system in our body. We are very literally built around an architecture of light. A deeper connection to the sun, and its radiance, builds new realities inside us. As the sun rises, and if we choose to greet it, our body and psyche become solarized.
At sunset the opposite is true; the dimming rays of light turn on the production of melatonin, shifting our consciousness and neurological functioning profoundly. The darkness awakens not just dreamstates, as our consciousness becomes lunarized, but activates a full-body cellular regeneration program that repair and rebuild tissues, and heal trauma imprints, as we rest into night. It is our connection to the natural, cyclical rhythms of light that makes this possible.
When we lose this solar-lunar connection, due to artificial lighting and too much time spent indoors, the body perceives it as a biological trauma, a separation from the holistic cycles embedded deep within our body-nature, and that we depend upon for all our optimal functioning, physical and spiritual. Our ability to regenerate and recover from trauma is also impacted. Of course, our ancestors also experienced trauma—death, loss, change—but because of their bio-magical practices and rituals, in sacred trust with the natural world, they recovered more easily. Their deeper connections made them more resilient and able to flow with the cycles of life.
The sacred path of the elders offered not only spiritual wholeness, but biomantic healing and regeneration. Deep interconnection with earth and cosmos is a form of endocrine alchemy; it is medicine and it is magic.
Our ancestors were not only accomplished biomancers, they were also astromancers – they understood that the relationship between the cycles of the celestial bodies had a profound effect on the human body. They worshipped not just the sun, but the quality of light and transmissions of codes of subtle information and essences the sun brought into the human body. At an intuitive level, they perceived the biomagical photons and waves of light that we absorb from the celestial bodies, and that shift our consciousness, mirroring how plants respond to light, and facilitating a tremendous growth and inner flowering. They presaged the existence of bio-photons, particles of light generated within the cells of every living creature on the planet.
In every alchemical and indigenous tradition, people have built “churches” to amplify this biomagical relationship with nature. In Ireland, ancient megalithic sites such as Carrowmore (built more than 6,000 years ago, older than the pyramids of Egypt) were created in a cruciform shape, representing the primordial alchemical mysteries. At Newgrange in the Boyne valley, a beam of light penetrates the dark inner chamber on Winter Solstice; and in prehistoric times, initiates would have spent 3 days into the womb-tomb (like Jesus) before they were resurrected by the dazzling ray of light that penetrated the darkness. The sun and its relationship to the earth as the dark, fecund mother womb, was not an abstract concept, but an act of biomantic alchemy.
But as modern, traumatized humans, we have forgotten even the simplest routines and rituals to amplify our biomagical potentials, such as greeting the sun and bidding it farewell each day; gestures that help our biology and psychology integrate the cycles of the day, and the greater cosmic cycles.
By restoring connection, and consciously forging resonance with the natural magical fields that surround us, we can begin to emerge out of trauma loops that may have been held in our ancestral line for centuries.
The ultimate trauma is our disconnection from the web of life.
Often, healing breakthroughs come from activating our primal biomantic essence, not just working with our emotions. When we commune with the deep unmet needs of our biology, new levels of healing become possible, and we begin to experience that as an awakening. The rising sun is symbolic of this process, as is the returning moon who cycles through darkness every month. These celestial cycles teach us how to find renewal and rebirth.
In case we thought our ancestral traditions were merely "spiritual" rituals, neuroscience now shows that they were founded on sturdy scientific roots. Exposure to sunlight, especially at dawn and dusk, radically alters our brain chemistry. Likewise, disconnection from circadian rhythms causes chronic inflammation of the brain, which contributes to weight gain and body-wide immune system dysregulation, and predisposes us to cancer.
It is not just light itself that balances our neurophysiology; it is the natural rhythms and cycling patterns of darkness and light. Try this experiment: rather than looking at a computer or phone as the very first thing you do in the morning, instead go outside and look at the sun (whether you live in a crowded city or countryside, you will always have the sun). Make this commitment to look at the outdoor light as the first thing you do on waking, taking 10 minutes to let your retina absorb that radiance and light. It will trigger a cascade of information that shifts your nervous system, your physiology, your biology.
And beyond that, connect to the magnetic field of earth, and the negative ion reservoir of earth, through placing your bare feet on the ground, and feel what that does to your physiology. This starts to regulate your nervous system and slows your brain waves, and helps bring you out of trauma loops, addictive impulses and worry patterns. You can do this on a daily basis. At night go out and see the fading sun, the descending sun, the sunset. The quality of light coming from a setting sun is different from the quality of light coming from a sunrise. Or look out upon a dark starlit night, or a the light of the full moon. Each of these different qualities of light communicates different biomantic intelligence and information to our bodies—which changes our biology and physiology, can turn on or turn off thousands of genes, and can shift our consciousness into integrated states.
Biomancy is all about reconnection: to body, to bioenergetic templates, to nature, to psyche, to our fundamental ground of connection. And, as anyone knows who goes on a healing journey, the healing journey becomes an awakening journey. Another way of saying this is that it moves from repair to integration to expansion to flowering into an evolutionary transformation. If trauma is the breaking of connection to your own body, to your own sense of self, to your own sense of the sacred, to your connection with earth, to other people, to your connection to a trust in life, then Biomancy is the restoring of that connection—to body, self, soul, purpose; to the sense of the sacred; to the felt sense of nature and the cycles; and to restoring connection with your own heart.
What emerges through this process is an innate trust and faith, that brings a regenerative energy of embodiment, experienced as a rebirth of optimism, creativity, connection, love.
If trauma is the disconnection, then once you’re reconnected, the story of trauma can be laid to rest, it can just dissolve. You are now integrated and ready to move on to the next chapter in your beautiful story. The story of trauma exists with that urgency only because it’s still asking you to reconnect to something. Once that reconnection is made, that sense of urgency or importance dissolves, it simply becomes a wisdom that can be passed on.
Reconnecting to beauty, harmony, resonance, pleasure puts us back on the track to a beautiful timeline that promotes and sustains life and growth and creativity. It takes us into the evolutionary gold, which throughout time has been known as the “golden eras”. We all have golden eras, the time when our lives, our emotions, our biology, our belonging, our connection has anchored and expanded, and we feel the goldenness of the nourishment of life.
Our biology, and our biomagic is created from a regenerative template that lives within every cell of our body—and no matter how traumatic our personal experiences may have been, miracles of renewal are waiting to happen. Biomancy is the medicine of the future – it is future magic, future healing, a future golden age which our biology is designed for.
- van der Kolk, Bessel. The Body Keeps the Score. New York: Penguin, 2015.
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