Our body is made of a magic designed to regenerate and evolve us into awakened states.
Standing by the cold, tumbling waters of our local Appalachian river, offering my morning prayers and praise to her life-giving flow, my memory drifts back to a time in Bali nearly three decades ago now, when I lived and studied with a traditional Balinese high priest, known as the last great poet-priest of Bali, one of the last of his kind. That experience was my first embodied glimpse into the world of biomancy, a magical co-relating with Mother Earth and her elements
The scene is still etched in my mind: the seventy-year-old priest, in his ornamented white sarong, praying softly over the water and gently laying flower offerings into the bay next to me, watching them slowly drift away with the tide. In that moment it was as if time had dilated and softened, the vivid reds, pinks, yellows seemed to float on the surface of the water, reminding me of the way scientists describe stars floating on the currents and eddies of interstellar space.
A warm, humid breeze played on my face, and I felt a sudden quickening of radical aliveness course through my body. The soles of my bare feet were praying into the moist sand at water’s edge, and the Earth was responding to my invitation, charging me with ancient energy from her depths. The elderly poet-priest next to me possessed rich brown eyes that spoke of kindness and mystery. His soft hands scattered the last bit of the flower offering to the water, the breeze taking the final words of his prayers and diffusing them across the world. He knew that I, a curious young man eager to know the secrets of the universe, would have liked him to give me a full explanation of what just happened. Instead, his eyes twinkled with a joyful smile, and he offered me a few riddling words that made no sense to my logical mind. He knew better than I did, that there are some moments of magic in life that shouldn’t be put into words.
I was twenty years old at the time, taking a semester away from a rigorous biochemistry research degree. Against the advice of my career guidance mentors, I had decided to spend time in Bali on independent study, living and learning with the priest Ida Pedanda Ketut Sideman and his family. As part of my studies, I wrote an eighty-page thesis on the spiritual transmission I received from him, titled "Jubilant and Free from Doubt". The irony of that was not lost on me a few years later, when, after deciding to pursue a career in medicine, I experienced profound clinical depression that drained all the magic out of life, as I experienced the depths of doubt and despair, but which led me to my healing and awakening journey.
Looking back, I can see that the Balinese priest and the beautiful, biomantic traditional culture that he was a part of, along with the warmth and connection I experienced in his temple and family home, was my archetypal experience of the magical mentor. He was a real-life Yoda, who gave me a glimpse behind the curtain of magic that sustained me on the long and difficult road that would follow. Often, we are gifted with glimpses of awakening to inspire us.
Growing up, my church was the forest. I would spend hours lost in the green magic of nature. I also read many books on the superpowers of yogis, and if I wasn't sitting in the woods writing poetry, you might have found me trying to bend a spoon with just the power of my mind. I also devotedly practiced meditation for hours.
"Like many of you reading this, as I look back I realize that it was not I who had chosen the magical path, but the magical path that had chosen me."
Where other people around me seemed to dream of material success, big houses, expensive cars, security in their old age, I dreamed of awakening the magical potential in my own body and living out the mythic states of being and alchemical journeys of the magicians, wizards, yogis, saints, monks, and all the people across history who lived on the fringes of society in order to experience a deeper beauty and mystery, and to awaken their deep soul potential.
And maybe this is why, at age twenty-three, the night before medical school began, a profound sense of doom washed over me as I lay in bed in the middle of the night. By society's standards I was doing the right thing and choosing the right path, but the magical part of my soul was flashing warning lights. In the end, I embraced the decision because I knew part of my destiny was to learn about the path of healing, and, more importantly, to heal myself along the way.
The first day of med school was difficult. I instantly felt the lack of resonance with those around me. At the time I had long blond hair colorfully dyed with streaks of bright green, wearing wild and brightly colored clothes, marking me out as a rebel. A bit later, a chief resident in OB-GYN had the pleasure of telling me that for my own good he would offer me the choice of cutting my hair short, or he would give me a failing mark for the rotation and I wouldn’t graduate.
From the get-go I was more interested in alternative therapies. In particular I wanted to explore how consciousness, what I now call bio-magic, could heal people at a deeper level and in a more graceful way. I understood that pharmaceuticals could be a powerful healing tool, especially in emergencies, but certainly not the only option and not without serious potential risks. The gap between my reality and the reality of the medical culture was highlighted one Sunday afternoon when a friend and fellow medical student told me how he had successfully helped a woman with psychosis fall asleep without medications. She was huddled on her bed one night, clutching her knees to her chest, terrified of all the snakes that appeared to be on the floor around the bed. My friend was told to give her a tranquilizer. Instead, he suggested that perhaps they were friendly snakes, here to help and protect her. That made intuitive sense to her, and relieved of the terror, she had a wonderful night’s sleep.
“Incredible,” I thought. I saw how the snakes were a primal archetypal symbol that had emerged from her subconscious at this time of crisis in her life, and that re-storying her relationship to them was a far more powerful method of regulating her nervous system than anti-psychotic meds. But my friend was failed as a punishment, and forced to repeat a semester of medical school for the sin of using symbolic magic rather than the sanctioned pharmacologic drugs.
This world of medicine stood against the idea of magic, and by my third year of med school, I had dropped into a profound clinical depression. The memories of the Balinese priest’s prayers on the wind and the effervescent magic that infused all of life were gone. Instead, I was being crushed under the weight of a huge mechanical system that denied my own magical soul.
One night a few weeks later I simply could not fall asleep. My sense of despair and anxiety had heightened to the point that I knew I needed help—I couldn't heal this alone. So, naturally, I turned to the medical system I was studying to see what they had to offer me. First, I saw a family doctor who gave me an anti-depressant called venlafaxine (Effexor), but it made me even more anxious. I then went to a psychiatrist who gave me a different anti-depressant called paroxetine (Paxil). After six months, not only had it not helped the depression, it made me feel profoundly dissociated, it crushed any sense of libido or vitality and it caused irregular heart rhythms. Next, I saw a psychiatrist who specialized in psychoanalysis, but he could in no way create the kind of container I needed to heal. Our conversations went nowhere.
It was a wake-up call. I realized that the profession I was studying had none of the tools I needed to heal, and actively discouraged and shamed me for seeking alternative therapies outside their system. I made the monumental decision that I could not carry on in medical school and I needed to drop out. The true healing medicine that I needed lay elsewhere.
That night, I went home to my housemates full of fear and anxiety about my decision. They were integrated, streetwise young men, studying business, and I confessed to them I was quitting. They sat on the couch with me and listened with a warmth and presence that my psychiatrist had not been able to muster. After we had spoken about it in depth, one of the guys looked me directly in the eyes and asked, "Are you sure you want to do this?" I hesitated for a moment, but then a deep knowing rushed up into my body. It was as if those prayers on the wind spoken by the Balinese priest had only just reached me. "Yes," I replied, "I need to do this."
A moment later he stood up, popped quickly into his room and brought back a copy of a spiritual book he treasured. I opened it, and the first words I saw were "go forth spiritual warrior, trust your instincts that guide you on this spiritual path." As I read, tears started to stream down my face; it was the confirmation I needed. The other young man put a hand on my shoulder and handed me a DVD of a movie I had not yet watched—The Matrix. I spent the afternoon watching the movie, which blew my mind, with its story of unplugging from a mechanical and false reality to reclaim our primordial biological inheritance. I was ready.
I then called the dean of the med school, and later my parents, to break the difficult news.
A few weeks later I was sitting in a cafe in suburban Washington, DC, a young man adrift from the world, with no place of belonging, three years of study and an enormous financial investment down the drain, my parents out of their heads upset with my decision. I was still feeling depressed, and had no useful job skills to support myself. Sipping on a tea, I reached over to a free New Age healing magazine, the kind of thing considered forbidden contraband in medical school. I casually flicked through it, until my hand rested on a page, and my attention dialed in. It was a moment of destiny. There was a small ad for a healing modality called Core Energetics, created by Dr. John Pierrakos, a psychiatrist and protégé of the pioneering body-psychotherapist Dr. Wilhelm Reich, friend and colleague of the well-known psychiatrist Carl Jung. The ad read “Do you want to feel radically alive?” “Yes!”, I actually said out loud.
That night I called the number in the ad, and entered the world of somatic, body-centered healing. Within a few weeks of starting a powerful daily breathwork practice, I experienced more healing than in a year with mainstream doctors. The depression lifted, never to return, and a whole new world opened up to me, that I would now call body magic. I began a multi-year professional training course in alchemical bioenergetics, supporting myself with an organic home-cleaning business. A year later my Core Energetics mentor persuaded me to return to med school, saying he had a gut feeling it would be important to my journey.
And, I did return, but this time on my own terms—knowing through first-hand experience that there existed powerfully effective bio-magical healing modalities outside the scope of conventional medicine. And, that I no longer needed my professors or the other students to approve of me. I just needed to graduate, get my degree, and follow my healing dreams.
It turned out that with this renewed vision and perspective, I could also appreciate how valuable it was to learn the anatomy and physiology, to master the state-of-the-art diagnostics, to hone my skills at research (I spent two years doing research at the National Institutes of Health in mother-child attachment), and to have the invaluable experience of working hands-on with many thousands of patients. It was just that the modern institution of medicine, the “system”, was difficult, not the age-old profession of healing. I went on to complete a family medicine residency. Amongst other highlights were assisting-attending 150 live births, and working as the sole doctor covering emergency rooms, intensive care units (ICU’s) and internal medicine wards in rural California hospitals. My training was firmly grounded in the best of conventional medicine. Meanwhile I was building a successful private practice in leading-edge integrative and “soul medicine” that would become my full-time career for a number of years.
And, in those years my healing practice flourished. People flew in by helicopter and plane from distant states to see me. I was booked out for several months in advance. I traveled the world learning the latest regenerative technologies in combination with bioenergetics and emotional-symbolic healing. All was on track, or so I thought. But then in the midst of my hyper-busy schedule, flying home from a conference one day I heard a clear voice, as if announced through the PA system of the plane, that I needed to leave that practice and seek a new dimension of magic, or else I would die. I turned to the person beside me to ask if the captain had made an announcement. No, it was my inner voice, speaking loud enough to finally get my attention.
What life wanted of me was my next level of magical initiation and awakening, to discover a new (and ancient) vision of healing and connection that my soul was longing for, which would heal and awaken me at a deeper level than anything I had yet experienced.
In the years that followed, I began a deep apprenticeship in the earth-centric, “feminine” mysteries, researching and co-writing, with my wife Seren, two books on the global traditions of earth and feminine-based healing and awakening once practiced by every Elder culture around the world. I came to realize that my trauma, and our collective trauma (because we are all traumatized at some level), did not originate from where our culture teaches us to look.
Yes, many of us have had difficult childhood experiences, and some people have had it extremely so. And we must tend to that. Others have experienced the trauma of systematic ethnic and racial biases, which begin to get closer to the roots of the issue, and we must tend to that as well. But, all modern humans are suffering from a profound bio-magical and eco-magical disconnection. Our modern cosmologies, our worldviews and systems of healing and awakening have lost contact with our deep interconnection with natural world, and with the magic of our bodies and cosmos that was once so obvious to our ancestors. This absence is so much a part of the fabric of modern life that we must take a step back to even perceive how adrift we are.
We are cosmological beings, children of the stars, the sun, moon, the mysteries of the galactic center that birthed our world. We are children of the Earth Mother who gave us our body and who guides us, and we are younger siblings of the Plant Ancestors who feed and nourish us with so much more than calories and nutrients. The Story we live inside grows us at a foundational level, shaping us into the people, families, communities, collective we become.
I knew deep down that the medicine we needed most was a re-genesis of our Story, to inhabit an alchemical cosmovision that could guide us into our truest potential, and also educate us on the magical realities of our bodies, and the multi-dimensional ecologies we live within. Out of this knowing emerged Biomancy, as the culmination of thirty years of study and healing, along with my own personal awakening journey and communion with the more-than-human world.
I would like to open the door for you, into a new world that is waiting for you to step inside.
Biomantic Healing: A New Lens on Trauma
Acknowledging my own trauma was my entry point into the alchemical journey of awakening. And, that is how many of us arrived here—at some time in our life the pain was great enough that we started looking for answers. Or, it was the spontaneous upwelling of our magical gifts or spiritual awareness, labeled as “crazy” by our family and culture. Or, a bit of both.
As children or young adults, we have a bone-deep knowing that something in the “grown-up world” is not quite right. Some vital essence has been lost, something as important to us as the food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe. It can be hard to see, but we know it by the symptoms. Under the surface we carry a deep grief and sadness. Or, we might not have full and easy access to our feelings. Or, intimate relationships are difficult. Or, it might be hard to feel fully grounded, relaxed, open and connected to our body, our joy, our self-worth and value. Or, our nervous system is stressed and overwhelmed, and our health suffering. Or, we may be well aware of our magical gifts, but fear being judged and ostracized for them.
From a biomantic perspective, as well as a medical one, these are all symptoms of an underlying trauma, but when we seek help in the modern western system, we only receive partial answers to a deeply complex situation. It is because the entire framework is deficient. To get the healing we are looking for, we need to open up a new bio-magical story of how the world really works. This is the deepest medicine, the deepest magic. When we are able to perceive this, our path of healing also becomes a journey of biomantic awakening
A Biomantic Approach to Healing Trauma
When people speak of “trauma” these days, they are usually referring to what is called PTSD—post traumatic stress disorder— in the professional community, or complex-PTSD. What that means is that an event or set of events that happened in the past caused dysregulation of physiology and biology that is still ongoing in the present day. The trauma state lives on in our bodies, long after the event is over. Naturally, we all experience loss or shock at times, and our bodies and psyches usually return back to a state of equilibrium afterwards. But, sometimes we get stuck, and the bad feelings continue to loop.
This issue is not confined to the nervous system, the same can happen throughout our body. A parallel process happens in chronic fatigue, as shown in a 2016 paper published in the Proceeedings of the National Academy of Sciences by a former colleague of mine.1 In chronic fatigue our mitochondria, which are normally resilient to stress, go into a state of hibernation or dormancy due to an overwhelming stress that they cannot cope with and cannot bounce back from on their own. In other words, it is like a PTSD of the mitochondria. Our mitochondria get stuck—there is a failure to regulate and create coherence.
Both of these conditions are increasingly common in our modern world that is more and more traumatizing as we become more disconnected from the sources of inspiration and regeneration that our ancestors relied upon.
In the world of trauma healing, it is now recognized that what heals the dysregulation of our brains and autonomic nervous systems is, of course, neural “regulation”. Therapies and treatments that improve autonomic nervous system regulation are now the holy grail of PTSD therapy. This happens through strengthening the vagus nerve and parasympathetic nervous tone, which is easily measured, and that puts us into relaxed states where we can regenerate and heal. And our body is designed to enter these natural regenerative healing states.
We can also regulate ourselves with the Earth itself, and the plants, trees, elements, and on a deeper level we can regulate by entering dreaming states of magical coherence, which are facilitated by body magic, plant magic and eco magic, to name a few.
The Vision of Biomancy
Biomancy offers a new vision for this healing and re-weaving process, which places us in the context of our entwined body magic and ecological magic and the astro-magic of the cosmos. We are a continuum of interconnections rather than isolated separate beings. And the nature of this entangled reality of being is magical not modernist mechanical.
But let’s first take a brief tour of the evolution of trauma healing in modern times.
Chemical imbalance – The first stage for many people in their healing journey is when a doctor tells you that your ongoing trauma state is caused a chemical imbalance in your brain, and offers you pharmaceuticals to shift your neurotransmitters. For some people experiencing acute symptoms, this can be helpful in the short term, but it rarely works in the long run, and can causes adverse withdrawal and medication effects.
Psychology / talk therapy – The next stage for many people is “talk therapy”, mentally exploring and speaking about the challenging dynamics and behaviors around the trauma. This is an important key. Making conscious and speaking about the issues is a powerful step in the healing. The target of this method is the cortical “front brain”, the thinking and problem-solving mind. When you “hit the right piece” it moves energy and triggers emotional release, but despite understanding more about the trauma, symptoms often persist in the body and nervous system, and we can get stuck talking about the same events for years if we are not aware of the bigger picture.
Emotional feeling/releasing – This is the idea of “when you feel it, you heal it”. Feeling and allowing your emotions is helpful, especially if they have been repressed or “stuffed down”. When an emotion releases, often with tears or deep feelings, it can diminish the intensity of the charge around the trauma, and we can at times experience a huge shift. This works directly with the “limbic” brain centers, including the amygdala. But the trauma feelings often come back even after an emotional release. We can get stuck looping in the same feelings for years—if we keep focusing on the nature of the pain itself, it is difficult to heal.
Somatic healing – Now we are moving deeper. Pioneers like Wilhelm Reich began to understand that trauma is stored in the body, and is visible in our postures and body language. Working with the body can allow powerful energy movements, integration, release and insight, often beyond words or the logical mind. This opens the door to somatic magic, where the body is allowed to heal itself, with its own innate wisdom. But this is only one piece of a greater tapestry of reconnection to explore, as the layers of the body and psyche are a complex ecosystem.
Bioenergetic / Movement – An extension of the somatic work developed by Reich, and also seen in traditional healing systems, working with breath and movement can facilitate body energy shifts beyond talking or exploring rational cause-effect, and can enter quantum realms.
"Entheogens also function at this level, revealing non-local, multidimensional perspectives. This, like the somatic therapies, works at the level of the ancient brain centers, including the cerebellum and back brain."
Birth and prenatal trauma & relational templates – Trauma patterns are powerfully imprinted into our psyche during our time in the womb and birth. In Biomancy, we work directly with rebirth and re-templating our time in the womb, in the tradition of the Mystery Schools of old, where this was a center-piece of the healing and awakening journey, to re-install primordial energy blueprints that should have been activated and embodied in our time in the womb.
Ancestral layers (epigenetics) – At some point we realize that “our” trauma is not our own. We have inherited patterns from our parents, and their parents before them. Transgenerational trauma is real, and addressing this issue is a powerful complement. In Biomancy, we work with ancestral and lineage journeys, to remember and re-imprint the gifts of our past and future lineages. But once we realize how immense our ancestral trauma baggage is, surely we can’t be expected to feel and move it all through this one human body. So, where do we go next?
What’s New in Biomancy
In Biomancy the focus is on awakening, repairing and regenerating our original templates of creation, pre-existent in the universal birth story, that live on inside our cells and quantum biofield. Everything in existence is formed by a pattern. We are biologically coded for patterns of coherence, wired for multidimensional connection, fully equipped for stem cell, epigenetic and mitochondrial awakening, and embodied psychic repair.
We instinctively talk about "trauma patterns" reflecting this deeper knowing that our suffering is happening at a primordial root level, as if our intuition is pointing it out to us.
Eventually, this path opens us like a flower into awakening and reclaiming our evolutionary templates. Like the universe itself, we are time-coded for evolutionary surges. Trauma healing can expand out into the power of a magical cosmology, where we remember how our innate body alchemy can help us achieve precognition, oracular consciousness, body superpowers of healing and vitality, non-ordinary states of consciousness and powers of manifestation. These psychic and healing gifts are all scientifically validated, and the coherent states of consciousness marked by unique brainwave patterns measurable on EEG, or in functional MRI scans.
We also reconnect with the magical dimension of Earth, remembering that she is more than just food or shelter for us, more than just a mother, she is also a magician. With a massive amount of flowing liquid crystal at her center in an electrically-charged, quantumly-activated state, the Earth is functioning as an extraordinary quantum supercomputer. All computer technology operates through the crystalline magic of silicon mined from the earth, so imagine what kind of visionary power the whole of the Earth is generating and transmitting if we plug into it?
As modern people, we currently exist in a trauma-inducing worldview. The dominant cosmology is one of disconnection: scientific materialism, that tells us that the world is only mechanical and material, there is no spirit or magic. No love or mystery. There is no meaning, or greater unfolding purpose to our lives. There is no deep and magical field of connection that unites us all. Even our consciousness is an illusion, an “epiphenomenon” of the machine-like functioning of our brain. To think otherwise is labeled as childlike at best, and “dangerous New Age anti-science thinking” at worst. But the veil of materialism is flimsy. No one really believes it. It is knocked down in one moment of deep dreaming, in one powerful imaginal journey, or with a few psilocybin mushrooms—the curtain is pulled back to see a greater and more magical reality. Psychedelics are now scientifically proven to heal trauma as powerfully as some officially sanctioned treatments. Only the remembrance of our true magic can really heal us.
Now, more than ever, we see the magnitude of our personal, ancestral and collective trauma biology, and how it has been replicated in our relationships with others, including our bodies and the body of earth.
"And paradoxically, as we feel into this overwhelming truth, we are also sensing somewhere deep inside us a new dream awakening from within our primal core."
Traditional models of trauma healing are helpful and important. At certain times we have to talk, to feel, to cry, to move all the energy and emotion that has been stuck inside us. But we need more. This cumulative memory of holographic trauma is lodged in our foundational templates, in patterns and structures that define who we are at a quantum energy level. Biomantic healing and awakening works on this structural template level from many angles, to bring us back into resonance with life itself, and to reweave and restore our original templates, so we can expand into that felt sense of wellbeing, creative magic, and evolutionary potential that is our destiny.
We are all living inside an incredible story, and a story is also a pattern – a template.
We can re-narrate and re-template how we live and rebirth our magic here on earth.
- Naviaux RK, et al. "Metabolic features of chronic fatigue syndrome." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2016 Sep 13;113(37):E5472-80. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1607571113