Friday, May 29, 2009

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.

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

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