cranial sacral and civilization

i had an incredibly powerful cranial sacral session yesterday afternoon with my naturopath that felt like an an electrical storm passing through my body while on the massage table. wow – crazy energy and emotional response. i have been going every two weeks for counselling, homeopathics and cranial sacral work since february and can attribute a lot of positive movement in my life to working with this healing modality.

a few days ago, a friend of mine who is also a cranial sacral practitioner (and who introduced it to me in the fall) sent me an email about the origins of CST, and his ideas about how it could relate to civilization – which i have shared below because i thought it was really fascinating.


he writes:

“Do you know the origins of cranial sacral? A man named Sutherland was a student in the Osteopathic school (a very holistic western medicine, much more education and dedication than standard western medicine). Well Sutherland was studying Anatomy and every day as he walked past a disarticulated human skull in a case (each of the head bones having been separated to show their size, shape and what not) he would stop every day to consider it. Now a few notes here, this was some 60 years ago, Sutherland was a very “normal” american, and the accepted, indeed unquestioned, understanding of the bones of the skull was that they fused solid during infancy (they are clearly separate at birth, allowing us to squeeze through the birth canal– the “soft spot” on the babies head is unosified cartilage which is waiting to turn to bone). Well as Sutherland stared at the skull one day he heard as clear and as loud as if someone was standing next to him “the bones are bevelled like the gills of a fish allowing for articular motion”. He jumped! Turned! No one was there! No one was there! The old boy thought he was going crazy.

Continuing in school, receiving his doctorate and moving into practice the vision he’d had continued to haunt him. Finally giving into the torture he was in over the episode he began to explore the possibility that the bones may indeed move. For over ten years, indeed I believe for nearly twenty, in secret even from his wife, he experimented by pulling skulls apart and investigating them, and then finally modifying an old leather football helmet in such a way that he could jam particular cranium bones. Finally letting his wife in on the funny scene in his basement he began to experiment with his helmet, tightening down one bone and having his wife record the differences in his behavior. One thing led to the next, and over another 25 years he eventually gave birth to what is now cranial sacral therapy. Others, geniuses in their own right, have taken Sutherland’s work and made what may become one of the most important healing treatments for this horribly troubled time.

Here is my biological mysticism relating to Cranial Sacral; cranial has become a major modality, both in and out of the osteopathic tradition. A major part of cranial is the reference and attention given to the CRI, the cranial rhythmic impulse, which is the most often used rhythm in the cranial system. It has a fluctuation of about 6 cycles per minute (which a slight bit of variation for each individual), which is slow for modern people to try and hang with, thus the settling effect when a practitioner drops into listening to it. There are however two other rhythms which Sutherland noted and which, although less known, are just as present. One is the “mid tide” which has a rhythm of 12 seconds per cycle and then there is the “long tide” which is 50 seconds per cycle.

Well here’s where it gets really interesting to me, there is an osteopath who travelled around the world holding heads from people from every walk of life, he found that tribal people do not have the CRI but only the mid tide and the long tide. There is then some wonder if the CRI is a bodily reaction to modernity. Wow! How about that vision Sutherland ha
d huh? Could it be that the bones were talking with him as plants talk to Vegetilistas in the jungle? Could it be that Cranial needed to come to help people drop back into the tides of the body (mid tide) and the ancestors (long tide).”

the sixth step

“step six says you are not who they say you are, even if you do what they say you do.”

this is the sixth step in the 12-step recovery program from western civilization – written into a novel by casey maddox called the day philosophy dies.

this is also something said to me by a friend 8 months ago as we grappled with our activism, our shared sorrows, our paths forward. he said, “you are not what they tell you to be, you are a wild animal, and you did not create this. you need to find a way home.”

how these reoccuring themes keep coming back at me, in the people i meet, in the books i choose to read, in the path towards health i seek. who are all of us but wild animals caged in concrete, pacing our cells and pawing at simple reflections of ourselves in media and shopping malls?

the aforementioned book lets us imagine what it would take to bring civilization to a halt, twists the top off possibilities, and throws out subversive ideas like red pills.

it’s worth a read, i couldn’t put it down once i started it.

making pretty pictures

a small patch i finished for my friend jasmine tonight. it’s a kingfisher (in case bird identification isn’t your strong point)

action-packed video

so – after much futzing around – i have posted two videos of the flying folk army in action at seattle’s folklife – the first one is 5 and a half minutes long and features clips from 4 different songs – the second is a song i recently wrote (watch real close and you will notice me drop a line near the end – that’s how new it is…)

they are both large files (20-30 megs), but any smaller and you can’t see anything. please download them before trying to watch (don’t try to watch them on the server or resist will be unhappy). don’t look here for fancy editing – i don’t have much room on my computer for rendering video unfortunately.

thanks to k. at laughingmeme.org for shooting this video in the rain – and to our seattle friends who came out to see us play!

apocalyptic fact of the day

according to a weekend report in the uk’s independent a new study shows that oceanic “dead zones” are on the increase globally and now number at about 150. this number is double that of 10 years ago.

dead zones in the sea are created as part of a chain of events starting with an excess of nutrients – nitrogen being key – that build up and cause excessive blooms of phytoplankton and other alages. when these blooms die and rot, they consume oxygen at a rapid rate, suffocating all other marine life.

agricultural fertilizers, vehicle and factory emissions, and human wastes are to blame for the increase in dead zones, some of which take up 70,000 square kilometres and are growing. the impacts of such zones on fish and fisheries is fairly obviousl as large swaths of the world’s seas become uninhabitable for any plant or animal life.

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