Notes from the short workshop "Recapitulating SeX Files" held by Franco Santoro at Cluny Hill College, Findhorn Foundation (Scotland) in 2005.
Shamanism explores primarily areas which are predominantly unconscious, repressed, controversial or perturbed in ordinary human awareness. In this respect death and sex play a major role. Both these themes are associated with Scorpio, which is also the realm of whatever is hidden and mysterious. At another level these themes are also related with Aquarius, associated with a multidimensional perspective of life and also holding the keys for exploring controversial themes with expanded awareness and a level of healing detachment.
Shamanic work aims at creating bridges between states of consciousness, unveiling zone of unconsciousness and aligning them with conscious intents. Recapitulation is one of the most important shamanic practices, serving a variety of functions.
First it involves honouring what happens in the course of a specific amount of time. In this context, for example, the practice may entails recalling the events of the day and searching for their essence in a way similar to the Christian Examination of Consciousness employed by St Ignatius. Yet here the aim consists primarily in acknowledging such events, rather than discriminating them according to a specific belief system.
Recapitulation is merely an act of witnessing with compassionate attention in a way similar to the attunement in the Findhorn Foundation. You may have experienced how healing it is to share in a context in which I am simply being listened to with an open heart. The fact that nobody is going to comment on what I say, support the healing process for this does not allow the identification with the feelings I express.
I may share about my sadness or despair, yet since nobody in the circle is going to refer to those emotions or trying to fix them, facilitate their release and the possibility of experiencing transformation. Hence, here the basic work involves simply expression and acknowledgment.
Secondly recapitulation also offers the opportunity to verify if there are certain past episodes that still holds emotional charge and, if this is the case, provide an opportunity for releasing them. Another aspect of recapitulation, which is more the realm of the shaman, also entails the option of exercising change.
The first step is acknowledgment. The second optional step is to apply a direct change. This may either imply to delete a specific scene of the past or to edit it, substituting it with an alternative scene. For example, if I was involved in a painful scene with a friend, after having it scanned in all its details, I may decide to change it.
The first requirement anyway, before even thinking of changing, involves acknowledging. In many traditions, before considering any amendment a certain amount of time has to elapse. This will allow all the elements involved in a certain situation to be honoured. Something that according to my limited perception may appear unpleasant or wrong, could serve a rightful purpose at a wider level. Hence the importance of merely acknowledging without judging, allowing the experience to align with the web of life.
Sexual experiences are in major need of acknowledgment for they are seldom unveiled in human interaction and are often removed from human awareness.
I invite you to relax for in this workshop we are not going to publicly share about our sexual experiences. The work of recapitulation in our case is a solitary activity in which I am alone with my experiences. It is a rehearsal of the moment of death and after death, which is also solitary. According to the accounts of those who had near death experiences, the transition between life and death is a time of recapitulation.
A major cause of pain at this stage is not having had a honourable separation from someone or something. As I recapitulate I may become aware that there is tension with certain people or situations. This tension, if I am unable to transform it and redirect it towards a honourable Intent, may draw me back to those people and situations in the attempt of concluding the unfinished business. In this respect recapitulation serves the purpose of verifying that I am not carrying over unfinished business as I move on in my journey.
Sexual experiences, since they involve intense expressions of energy, are often the source of unfinished business. When two individuals join in a sexual interaction, especially when there is considerable love and passion, yet also when there is a power issue or simply physical attraction, the amount of energy involved is extremely high.
The sexual union provides a multi-dimensional evidence of unity, encompassing the physical, the emotional, the mental and the spiritual body. All these bodies align during the sexual act, providing a climax of energy, yet issues may arise once one of those bodies does not appear to be aligned anymore. Since as human beings we officially identify ourselves through our physical body, major issues may develop when two individuals are not physically connected anymore. Although there may be still a strong emotional, mental or spiritual connection, the fact that the two are not physically together supports the perception of separation. And it is this feeling of separation that causes pain.
A typical experiential concept of shamanism is soul retrieval. This is based on the assumption that the soul was once united and then it became fragmented in several pieces. These pieces are projected on other individuals. Indeed they are not those individuals, they exist at a soul level, which I am unable to see, yet which I can feel. Unfortunately since what I feel is projected on other individuals, this causes confusion. When there is an intense and close physical interaction with these people, there is a climax of unity, which allows the individual to have a glimpse into other dimensions. The ecstasy that follows is the result of the fragmented soul pieces merging due to the physical connection of their projections.
What is powerful in sexual interactions is that they involve an enormous exchange of information. Apart from the conscious reality of those who seem to be involved there is much more going on, which is what creates the power. Most relevant forces are engaged in the sexual activity and I will miss their impact if I approach sex with lack of awareness. Recapitulation serves the purpose of promoting this awareness.
Acknowledgment and awareness regarding sex is the first step in healing. This stage is devoid of any interpretation or judgment. It is simply a witnessing process. This serves the purpose of getting to know the experience. Before I can use sexual energy for any creative or healing purpose I need first to get to know this energy, otherwise I will end up being manipulated by the flow of energy itself. Of course nothing is absolute here, which means that nobody prevents me from taking risks and that it is only through direct experience that I can learn what is the best course of action.
The point here is not whether to have sex or not. The basic condition is being aware of what is truly happening behind the appearance, getting out of the unconsciousness regarding sex experiences and approaching them neutrally. Recapitulation has the advantage of releasing compulsion and grievances regarding sex experiences, providing an alternative setting of investigation and expression.
Recapitulation is traditionally practiced in darkness and in an environment where I am not going to be disturbed or interrupted. This is crucial for the practice. It is mandatory to keep the eyes closed or to be in total darkness, so that I do not receive any information from my physical sight and I can devote my full attention to the object of recapitulation. Darkness is potent for it also evokes death. Another condition is to connect with a source of support. This may be your Spirit Guide, the Divine or whoever provides unconditional healing and power, as well as your Intent..
Franco then describes a first introductory practice of recapitulation, which articulates in three stages: the first stage involves the connection with a source of support and power, while the second stage is about recapitulating the earliest memory regarding the use of the sexual organs that we have of our childhood. The third final stage is a balancing exercise with a partner. Throughout the practice Franco invites to keep the connection with breath as a way of remaining aligned to the source of support. This serves also the purpose of aligning what is recapitulated to the web of life and thus allowing the energy trapped in the memory to flow. The final development of the practice in the third stage focuses on the Intent.
Later Franco talks on the theme of the Intent and how blocked energies can be used to support the manifestation of specific purposes. The Intent also provides a focus for energy to be directed to. Franco introduces a second practice, which will involve first focusing on an Intent, and then, in the second stage, opening up to the memory of a sexual experience which holds energy aimed at supporting the Intent. The third stage will be a phase of integration aiming at connecting with the essence of the previous experience.
Franco points out that sexual experiences, since they usually entails the expression of high amounts of energy, have wide multi-dimensional connotations of which most people are not aware.
This is the major cause of problems arising in relationships. Partners end up blaming or resenting each other, either directly or indirectly, simply because they are not aware of the forces involved in their sexual interaction. Recapitulation allows the emergence of these elements.”
The workshop concludes with is a sexual healing group practice in three stages. All participants join in the circle, while Franco plays the metallic drum, gives guidance and whistles. What follows are the words used at the end of the completion practice.
First stage: “Let’s connect with our individual Intent, allowing it to align with the collective Intent, so that it can serve a wider purpose and contribute to the community. Let’s also embrace the Divine, our ancestors and the next generations to come with love, unity and healing. Let’s allow our sexual organs to be aligned with such Intent and be blessed.
Second stage: “We acknowledge our sex history and allow it to join the collective sex history of mankind. We also acknowledge and honour all those we related with sexually in our life, allowing them to join this healing circle with us representing them.”
Third stage: “Let’s allow the unseen to join us, receiving a blessing from the invisible and giving them a blessing….. As we hold our hands let’s allow our energy to be shared and balanced. Let’s ask for a blessing on each one of us and on all our relationships past, present and future. Let’s bless sex files, allowing them to be unveiled and dispense their treasurer, opening up gateways into what we truly are.”
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