The Power of Craniosacral Work during Liminal Times
"Worms will not eat living wood where the vital sap is flowing;
rust will not hinder the opening of a gate when the hinges are used each day.
Movement gives health and life. Stagnation brings disease and death." - proverb in traditional Chinese Medicine
Every October I begin to feel more alive. As the leaves turn, as the sun wanes, I feel a sense of growing communion with that which is unseen. I feel the penetrating truth that lies just beyond our day-to-day sight, and it feels like home.
In our culture, we have exquisite doubt about the things which cannot be measured scientifically, the things that are mysterious and magical, the things that don't necessarily make sense in our minds, but are felt with significant emotional and spiritual capacity. It is in this realm of the "unseen" that I thrive.
I have always felt deeply, more than most people I know. This is both a gift and a burden. It is a gift because I have access to a greater array of information. Yet it is a burden because it is exhausting at times to feel so much, and this type of feeling and sensing isn't recognized or honored by mainstream America. It can feel lonely at times, feeling what others deny. Yet I wouldn't give it up for the world.
Part of the reason I love this time of year (end of October/beginning of November) so much is that the unseen realms feel a little closer. People who aren't typically used to it, experience glimpses into a wider reality. And it is because of this that I especially love doing bodywork at this time. In particular, Craniosacral Therapy (CST) sessions seem to have another layer of "profound." The watery realm of the craniosacral system can be communicated with and accessed with particular ease. After all, this time of year is associated with the direction of West and element of Water: Surrender, letting go, diving deep into the mystic realms (Discover more about this Season).
Craniosacral Therapy Background
Craniosacral therapy was pioneered by Osteopath Dr. John Upledger, after discovery of the cranial system by Dr. William Sutherland in the 1930's. From the Irish Association of Craniosacral Therapists: "The craniosacral system consists of the membranes and fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord, as well as the attached bones. These membranes extend from the bones of the skull, face and mouth (which make up the cranium) and down the spine to the sacrum or tailbone area. This craniosacral system plays a vital role in maintaining the environment in which the central nervous system (CNS) functions."
Craniosacral therapy works with the craniosacral system of the body, helping to free up movement of these tissues, remove blockages and stagnation. This enhances the flow of the Cerebra-spiral fluid which bathes the brain and spinal cord providing protection and nourishment.
Craniosacral therapy is extremely subtle, but has deep-seated impact. It works with the Cerebra-spinal fluid's rhythm, what is known as the "Breath of Life":
"Life expresses itself as motion. At a deep level of our physiological functioning all healthy, living tissues subtly "breathe" with the motion of life - a phenomenon that produces rhythmic impulses which can be palpated by sensitive hands...The essential ordering principle carried in the rhythms of the Breath of Life acts as a blueprint for health which is present from the time of our early embryological development and is the fundamental factor that maintains balance in our form and function. Thus, the ability of cells and tissues to express their primary respiratory motion is a critical factor in determining our state of health - when these rhythms are expressed in fullness and balance, health and well-being naturally follow.
During the course of our lives our bodies become patterned, shaped and conditioned according to how we're able to deal with any stresses or traumas. If stresses or traumas are overwhelming, they become locked in the body as sites of inertia - until such a time as we are able to access resources that allow them to be processed and released. These sites of inertia effect the natural rhythmical movements of the Breath of Life and so hinder the ability of our essential blueprint for health to manifest at a cellular level. Common causes of inertia are physical injuries, emotional and psychological stresses, birth trauma and toxicity. Due to an accumulation of these stresses, tissues can become imprinted with the memory of unresolved experiences and so act like video tape which may keep replaying whenever stimulated."
Craniosacral Therapy in Liminal Times
These traumas, stresses, or injuries get stored in our bodies, buried deep inside, and impede the flow of life force. The natural flow becomes stagnant. And as the above Chinese Medicine proverb suggests, "Movement gives health and life. Stagnation brings disease and death." This is where CST comes in.
I experience the craniosacral system as the place where the material and energetic meet, where the unconscious and conscious realms of our psyches merge. I believe this is why CST can be so incredibly powerful, rippling its impact out in not only the physical sphere, but also the emotional, mental, and spiritual spheres as well.
During this time of year, it is said that the veils between the worlds are thin. That we can access more in the realms of the unseen than usual. The way I see it, the veils between the worlds does not only refer to the spiritual realms: the veil between our physical world and that of spirit, ancestors, ghosts, God or Deity. It also refers to the veils within our minds.
Whereas our unconscious mind cannot regularly be accessed, there is more availability during this time of year. Our subconscious is thought to monitor communication between the unconscious and the conscious. And I believe that CST directly accesses this ability. Therefore, at this time of year the impact of a CST session is loaded with more "bang or your buck," if you will.
So during this sacred time of year, I invite you to dive into your own "breath of life," to explore the watery depths of your unconscious realms, to unlock new patterning from the depths of your being. What a gift of these liminal times.
Interested in Learning More? Here is a reading list: