Copyright 2011-2022 by Joseph Ben Hil-Meyer Research, Inc.
By Bruce Berkowsky, N.M.D., M.H., NCTMB
Otto Rank and the Trauma of Birth
Part I of this article began with a discussion of psychoanalyst Otto Rank’s hypothesis, framed in his book The Trauma Of Birth (1924), that the anxiety experienced during birth was the template for all successive anxiety experienced during the course of one’s life.
Rank postulated that a child’s separation from the mother at birth, and subsequently once again via weaning, is the platform upon which neuroses of all kinds are constructed.
For Rank the very “nucleus of the unconscious mind” was the birth experience, during which an infant passes from a state of contented union with the mother to a violent dissolution of that union. Accordingly, a person’s struggles to compensate for the traumatic, anxiety-filled, experience of birth, and avoid similar experiences, contributes mightily to the character of one’s post-natal inventory of fears, anxiety and other neuroses.
One of the most important concepts that I take away from Rank’s ideas is that the trauma of that initial separation from the mother sets up a deep-seated fear, ingrained into both psycho-spiritual and physical memory regarding the urgent need to avoid future experiences of separation such as leaving the birth family, moving away from one’s hometown, divorce, etc..
Thus, when analyzing a case study for the purpose of preparing a custom essential oil blend for someone, it is crucial to determine the relative activity of the theme of separation in that person’s life.
The Kabbalah and the Theme of Separation
The theme of separation is also a highly prominent one in the Kabbalah, especially as regards the metaphysical constructs presented regarding God’s creation of the finite, material world.
According to the Kabbalah, God’s withdrawal from the central point of the completely unified pre-Creation Infinite Light (in which all the elements of which the natural world and physical existence are composed existed harmoniously as potentialities) resulted in a Vacated Space in which the finite, material could unfold.
This withdrawal of God’s Essence into itself set in motion the primordial exile that, while facilitating Creation, is the template for all the forms of separation and exile that underlie the existence of harsh judgment, evil and many of the other exigencies of mortal life.
Accordingly, the ultimate purpose of a person’s life is, through the leading of an exemplary spiritual existence, to help restore unity and harmony to all of Creation and furthermore to overcome the exile of the created universe from its creator.
Thus, there are many focal points and intricacies to the practice of Spiritual PhytoEssencing but ultimately its intent can be boiled down to helping an individual’s soul, via the use of customized essential oil blends, overcome the force of separation—the kernel of discontent and sense of incompleteness embedded in everyone’s existence.
Separation takes the form of estrangement between rational, everyday consciousness and higher consciousness, between a person and God, between an individual and his or her own true self, between a person and the natural world, between a person and his or her beloved, children and other loved ones.
Cinnamon Oil And Birth Trauma
Many essential oils, within a soul-level healing context, have varying degrees of relevance regarding birth trauma or particular aspects of birth trauma and/or separation anxiety. Below, I briefly allude to blue chamomile and pine . Other oils that come to mind, just to mention a few, include calendula, cardamom, carrot seed, celery seed, galbanum, jasmine, myrrh and neroli.
In this article, I focus primarily on cinnamon oil.
Cinnamon was held by the ancients to be precious in a spiritual sense. According to ancient myth, Phoenix collected cinnamon, along with myrrh and spikenard, for the magic fire in which it was reborn. Pliny (the Roman historian and naturalist) told of gold-encased cinnamon hanging in the main Roman temples. The Egyptians included cinnamon in their embalming mixtures both for its spiritual and physical properties. Cinnamon (as well as cassia) was an ingredient in the anointing oil and Qetoret (the holy temple incense) of the Jews.
In aromatherapy, cinnamon oil is used in certain instances to treat the following relevant symptoms: mental exhaustion; nervous depression [especially in devitalized, emaciated and/or anemic people]; depression caused by relationship problems; post-partum depression; introversion; feelings of isolation; emotional coldness; fear; nervousness; insomnia; circulatory debility with chilliness; respiratory weakness; lack of gastrointestinal tone; pancreatic deficiency; kidney weakness; deficient uterine contractions during birth delivery.
Homeopathic Remedy Cinnamomum
Some of the most valuable insights regarding the soul-nature of cinnamon oil can be provided by a review of the homeopathic remedy Cinnamomum, prepared from a tincture of the inner bark of Cinnamomum zeylanicum and Cinnamomum cassia.
Symptoms from the Cinnmomum picture relevant to our understanding of the soul nature of cinnamon oil as well as to thisdiscussion of birth trauma include: no desire for anything; restless; delusion that all is diminished; bearing down sensations in the pelvis; menses early, profuse, prolonged and bright red; metrorrhagia [irregular and sometimes prolonged uterine bleeding]; uterine hemorrhage (bright red blood) after delivery caused by overlifting, a strain in the muscles of the pelvis, stretching of the arms or even a false step; repeated small hemorrhages during pregnancy; miscarriage caused by overlifting or other form of hard physical exertion; miscarriage from thunderstorm; twitching during labor; post-partum hemorrhage.
Cinnamon, the Spleen-Pancreas and the Earth Element
In Chinese medicine, cinnamon is considered to be an important spleen remedy. Cinnamon is considered to warm the spleen and be therapeutic to the spleen acupuncture meridian. It should be noted that in Chinese medicine the spleen and pancreas are considered to be components of the same organ sometimes referred to by Western practitioners of Chinese medicine as the spleen-pancreas.
Within the context of the Five Element Theory (as well as the Six Element Paradigm of Spiritual PhytoEssencing), the spleen and pancreas are associated with the Earth element. In many of the ancient myths, the Earth is closely linked to motherliness, sustenance, security and safety, fertility, satiation and generosity.
Hence, in the human being, healthy Earth expresses itself through compassion, empathy, security and a feeling of unity with Nature. Accordingly, one experiences connectedness and a feeling of warm regard for others. There is also an objective understanding of one’s own needs and a competence to fulfill them.
When Earth is imbalanced, a person strays from the integral center to its polar fringes. He or she may be completely self-centered and emotionally separated from the needs of others, or obsessively compassionate to the point of neglecting self-needs. Frequently, the individual swings like a pendulum between these two poles. In this reference, cinnamon oil has the symptoms: emotional coldness; feelings of isolation; post-partum depression; introversion.
Self-absorption or narcissism is the product of a feeling of emotional undernourishment. Insecurity, self-pity and craving for attention reign and there is the constant underlying fear of loss of warmth and affection. These individuals tend to lack compassion and shy away from trusting, intimate relationships. They may be overly critical of others and display a high degree of intolerance.
In contrast, some individuals come to obsessively identify with the needs of others, and in the process, lose their sense of self, exhaust the vital resources required to sustain the organs of the metabolic-limb system, including the stomach and spleen-pancreas.
Cinnamon, the Kidneys and Breathing
Cinnamon is also a kidney-specific. In Chinese medicine it is considered a tonic for the kidney acupuncture meridian and for Kidney Yang. In anthroposophical medicine, the kidneys are considered to be the central organ of the air organization. While the lungs are the mechanical apparatus for breathing, the kidneys actually rule the breathing process. Hence, the lung/kidney relationship has special significance.
Chinese medicine has a similar view on the connecting of dynamic-to-physical processes. This view holds that the kidneys are charged with “grasping the chi.” While the lungs are the mechanical facilitator of respiration, the kidneys enable the chi, borne by air, to penetrate deeply into the body. The kidneys are thus considered to be the “root of chi” while the lungs are the “foundation of chi.”
The kidneys are also the central organ, and air the carrier, of vital force. Vital force connects with the physical body via breathing. The lungs are on of the primary routes by which vital force enters the physical body. At the moment of death and the final exhalation, vital force disappears from the physical body forever. It is no coincidence that the word expire is also a synonym for death.
The kidneys are noted by the Chinese as being the seat of “fear and anxiety,” both of which are found in the cinnamon oil picture. In China, fear is associated with the tremendous power of water that often manifests as floods or tidal waves. It’s also associated with water deficiency as when there is famine as a result of drought.
Fear is a survival-related mechanism, but when the kidneys are weakened, it may be disproportionately experienced. Anxiety and panic attacks are related to the fear mechanism. It’s important to remember that the adrenal glands, part of the “fight or flight” response team, adjoin and work closely with the kidneys.
What Is A Miasm?
A miasm is the homeopathic concept of an archetypal reactional mode, transmitted from generation to generation bioenergetically rather than genetically. The miasm is not an actual disease state, but rather, a complex of constitutional characteristics and reactional tendencies that resembles the emotional theme, and physical disharmony proneness profile, reminiscent of an individual who is actually suffering from the disease for which it is named.
In Spiritual PhytoEssencing, a miasm is also considered to be transferable as an archetypal component from one life incarnation to a subsequent one within the cycle of birth, death and rebirth. In other words, an individual with a strong constitutional Cancer miasm component for instance, may, in a previous life actually been afflicted with that disease.
Each of the miasms has characteristic physical and emotional symptoms, which, in conjunction, announce its presence. Essential oils are traditionally described in relation to certain physical, psychological and spiritual symptoms upon which they have been observed to have the potential to exert an ameliorating action. It is possible to begin to determine specific essential oil/miasm affinities through careful examination and correlation of the symptoms for which an essential oil is considered to be potentially useful in treating.
In addition to the Cancer miasm, cinnamon also has an affinity for, what is referred to in Spiritual PhytoEssencing as, the Death-Rebirth miasm. This miasmatic category is derived from the work of Dutch homeopath and psychologist Harry van der Zee as presented in his book Miasms in Labour.
Van der Zee’s premise is that miasms are connected to specific stages of the birth process and play an essential role in the process of physical and emotional development.
Van der Zee refers to the Death-Rebirth miasm as the “Acute” miasm. However, as his understanding of the Acute miasm is far different from the one (based upon the work of homeopath Dr. Rajan Sankaran) used in Spiritual PhytoEssencing, in order to differentiate between the two in Spiritual PhytoEssencing work, I have renamed van der Zee’s version of the Acute miasm as the Death-Rebirth miasm.
Van der Zee assigns the following qualities to this miasm: transformation, sudden change, destruction, life and death, release of enormous power, fire, heat, violence, destruction and transcendence.
The leading concepts of the Death-Rebirth miasm are: sudden transformation, purifying heat, reconnecting with the divine, elimination of boundaries, vulnerability, profound decompression, the nurturing breast and protection.
The appellation I have assigned van der Zee’s version of the Acute miasm is based upon his association of this miasm with the death-rebirth experience. Van der Zee writes: “When everything seems to have failed, when the ego dies, then unexpectedly there is a moment of birth, of new life, like the phoenix…. This is a sudden moment. All boundaries and constrictions suddenly fall away…. The idea of sudden change together with a purifying heat makes us think of acute diseases accompanied by high fevers … the birth crisis, being the blueprint of all crises in our life suggests that the acute should be placed at the end, thus marking the transformation.”
Van der Zee perceives this acute crisis as a sudden change which succeeds a chronic process. In this view, consistent with the Eastern model of death and subsequent rebirth, the acute is a bridging stage between the termination of one cycle and the beginning of another.
In the birth process, the displacement of the fetus from the uterus represents an existential crisis wherein the baby must switch from a placenta-delivered oxygen supply to breathing on his or her own. In a sense, the end of the fetal stage of life is a type of death or, at the very least, a confrontation with potential annihilation that terminates either in death or last minute escape.
The acute transformation from fetal life to infancy via parturition bears a resemblance to the life-to -afterlife transition described by mystics and those who have had near-death experiences in that both involve a transition from a dark passageway into light. Both processes deliver the individual from darkness into light, space and freedom.
The concept of fire associated with the Death-Rebirth miasm derives from the acute consuming nature of the death-rebirth experience wherein the old is immolated and the new arises from its ashes. Van der Zee remarks: “The acute diseases children have, with high fevers could be viewed as a finishing off or deepening of this [the fetal-infancy transformational] experience. The observation that children, when allowed to go through these episodes, make remarkable progress in their development sustains the idea that acutes help the individual incarnate fully.”
This is a very important observation. It has long been theorized by naturopaths that the acute diseases of childhood are required for the full development of the immune system and thus their suppression produces life-long immunological weakness. Now we see that these ailments may be just as important for the full evolution of both the soul and body.
Separation and the Nurturing Breast
The acute concept of the “nurturing breast” is a crucial one. When the symbiotic union between mother and child is severed, the first experiences the child has in the outside world will strongly influence her lifelong psycho-spiritual nature. If she encounters warmth, protection and nurturing succor, no root for psycho-spiritual pathology will be established in this phase.
One of the central elements in this seamless transition is the nurturing breast which, aside from being the child’s ideal nutritional source, also serves as a psycho-spiritual link back to the safety and comfort of the “nurturing womb.” Thus, if the child’s early experience of the outer world is one of coldness, hostility and defective nutrition than the she will be at great risk for developing acute pathologies.
In this reference, relevant cinnamon oil picture properties and symptoms include: cinnamon is sometimes used to dry up the secretion of breast milk; post-partum depression; introversion; feelings of isolation; emotional coldness; no desire for anything; fear; nervousness; insomnia.
Cinnamon and Fire
The element of fire is an important one in the cinnamon picture. Cinnamon is a plant that lives in the heat of the tropics and exerts a warming effect upon the body. It has also been used extensively to treat fever and febrile disorders such as typhoid fever. In homeopathy, the theme of fire is an important one regarding remedies prepared from snake venom.
Van der Zee remarks: “The element of fire, combined with transformation, we also see in the snake of the ‘Kundalini fire’ that rises from its coiled up position at the base of the spine [the root chakra] to the higher chakras.” Significantly, the hemorrhagic disorders of cinnamon occur primarily in the pelvic organs, the realm of the root chakra.
The Greek philosopher Theophrastus (successor to Aristotle), held that cinnamon trees grew in ravines full of deadly snakes. Accordingly, those who risked gathering cinnamon always left a portion of their harvest as an offering to the sun-god (note theme of fire here as well) in order to secure his protection on future cinnamon-gathering missions among the reptiles.
A pivotal folkloric cinnamon myth regarding the Death-Rebirth miasm is the one which holds that Phoenix collected cinnamon, along with myrrh and spikenard for the magic fire in which it was reborn.
The Cinnamon Oil Individual
Typically, the cinnamon type has, in a broad-sense, undergone a rebirth in his life in that he felt compelled to remake his image in his own eyes. He struggles with might and main to effect the “death” of his doubt-filled self, so that he may be reborn as an individual who is secure in his self-worth.
Also, he has commonly experienced a severe hemorrhagic disorder, perhaps a traumatic wound or ulcerative colitis. In the case of a female cinnamon oil type there also may be a history of severe life-threatening hemorrhage accompanying miscarriage, parturition, abortion, ectopic pregnancy, etc, which brought her to the brink of death.
Often, an encounter with death initiates a “rebirth” which changes one’s sense of self and vision of life.
Using Cinnamon Oil
The primary chemical component of the bark oil is cinnamaldehyde which is a potent skin-irritant. Therefore undiluted application to the skin is inadvisable.
It should be noted that in Spiritual PhytoEssencing, essential oils are used as part of a blend of different oils. Rarely are individual oils used in isolation. This is especially true of a very potent, potentially irritating oil such as cinnamon oil. Also, the oil, having a very strong aroma intensity, must be used in very small quantities in an oil blend lest it completely dominate that blend’s scent dynamics.
Therefore, if it is determined that it is appropriate in a given case to use cinnamon oil to help address birth trauma or separation anxiety, it is best to use it in combination with other potentially relevant oils such as blue chamomile (Matricaria recutita) and pine oil (Pinus spp.)
For reasons that are beyond the scope of this article, in Spiritual PhytoEssencing, lavender oil is added to every blend that is prepared to help harmonize all the other component oils and serve as a center around which the diverse oils can organize.
To give you an example of how little cinnamon oil should be used in a blend when I prepare a blend of approximately 150 drops in which cinnamon is a component, I use an absolute maximum of 2 drops of cinnamon oil in that blend.
If you feel that, in a particular instance, using cinnamon oil in isolation is the right approach, consider the following dilution method:
1) Mix one drop of unadulterated cinnamon oil with 9 drops of unrefined coconut oil (you may have to liquefy the coconut oil first by gently warming it). Shake well.
2) Next take 1 drop of the coconut oil/cinnamon oil dilution and mix it with another 9 drops of coconut oil. Shake well.
3) Finally, repeat step #2 and prepare a third sequential dilution.
You have now prepared a 1:1000 dilution of cinnamon oil that is essentially a 3X potency homeopathic remedy.
Applying the Blend or Diluted Cinnamon Oil
Whether working with a blend of oils which contains cinnamon (e.g., blue chamomile, pine, cinnamon and lavender) or the diluted cinnamon oil preparation, restrict use to external application only.
Don’t overdo, 2 to 3 applications per week of 2 drops of either the blend or the 3X cinnamon dilution, would generally be outside limit. Remember this is soul-level healing work with essential oils, not clinical aromatherapy. The goal is not to vanquish a symptom but simply to introduce an oil (or oils) to a person’s soul and, if that oil (or blend of oils) is indeed relevant for that individual, allow his or her soul to process the potential carried by that oil’s own soul presence and respond as it sees fit.
Given cinnamon’s association with both the spleen pancreas and the kidney, consider applying the blend or the 3X cinnamon dilution to the solar plexus chakra (Earth element) and to the abdominal kidney reflex points (bilateral points located 1″ above and 1″ to either side of the navel).
Note: To learn more about the inner nature of these oils, or any of the other ones mentioned above, you can purchase those specific chapters, as e-mailed PDF attachments, from my:
Written by Dr. Bruce Berkowsky, N.M.D., M.H., NCTMB
Dr. Berkowsky, a registered naturopath, master herbalist and classical homeopath–is President of Joseph Ben Hil-Meyer Research, Inc. He is the founder/teacher of both Spiritual PhytoEssencing and the Natural Health Science System which he designed following many years of research and clinical practice, and includes herbology, nutrition, homeopathy, aromatherapy, exercise, traditional nature-cure as well as East/West healing arts/bodywork. Dr. Berkowsky teaches in-depth seminars/teleseminars/workshops to health-care professionals and spiritually aware individuals.
Disclaimer: This publication is intended as an educational tool, and not as a prescription. Seek the advice of your health-care provider before discontinuing any medication and/or trying any new remedy or technique.