The First Perinatal Matrix according to Grof

by | Apr 18, 2022 | Article, Holotropic Breathwork | 0 comments

According to Grof, the first perinatal Matrix is also called the “Amniotic Universe.” In my previous article, I have already introduced the birth matrices of Stanislav Grof. Now I want to detail how the first phase of birth trauma can manifest itself in a regression. In addition, my series of articles highlights the entire spectrum around therapeutic reprocessing of trauma through techniques such as craniosacral therapy and holotropic breathing.

These techniques can induce expanded states of consciousness that allow us to access and work through the unconscious levels of the psyche. In this process, we recognize repressed and hidden traumas that have led to lasting imprints and psychosomatic implications. In holistic or holotropic therapy, these transpersonal dimensions are the playing field of blockages and psychopathological patterns. Therefore, knowing the perinatal matrices in detail helps identify and invalidate hidden traumas.

1st Matrix of birth | According to Grof

The Amniotic Universe

The first perinatal Matrix is the phase of advanced pregnancy, and it is the experience of the womb—a “good” or “bad” womb. The unborn baby initially floats in the uterus and, based on brain waves, is in a theta perceptual phase, where everything passes unfiltered through to it.

The theta state is a state of deep relaxation. The brain waves vibrate at 4–7 cycles per second. This is why people meditate for hours to reach this state and access this perfect stillness.

In this absolute mindfulness, the fetus perceives everything: the mother’s level of experience, emotions, nuances of the immediate environment, the father’s voice, the people around, etc. With a growth-related constriction, the 1st Matrix ends.

Associated Phenomena of the I. MATRIX

Two situations are distinguished—the undisturbed and the troubled intrauterine life.

Undisturbed intrauterine life:

Positive memories of life in the womb, “oceanic” ecstasy, experiences of oneness with the cosmos, the archetype of Mother Nature, visions of heaven and paradise.

Disturbances of intrauterine life:

Negative memories of life in the womb (fetal crises, illnesses, and excitements of the mother, twin situation, abortion attempts), paranoid thinking; unpleasant bodily sensations like “hangovers,” cold sensations and subtle spasms, unpleasant tastes, disgust, the feeling of being poisoned this is all possible if the mother has (e.g., drugs, alcohol, or other toxic substances taken during pregnancy), visions of demons of different cultures of the world encounter malicious metaphysical forces.

1st Matrix Example

Personal Experience

An example from a CranioSacral treatment can be qualitatively described with the 1st Matrix; I experienced the first perceived birth process at the treatment table in Austria, Linz, at CST SEE II.

I was lying on the couch and was treated for my energy cyst. I slipped increasingly into the expanded state of consciousness, and soon I was floating along with it. Furthermore, I spread my arms and legs in a deep meditative (theta) state. After asking my colleagues several times, my answer always remained the same:

“I feel just wonderful!”

I felt weightless, didn’t feel like I had a body, was floating through the cosmos, universe, or the like, and felt unified with it. The universe cared for me. These were my descriptions of this process. My colleagues repeatedly tried to talk to me to start a different process, but nothing was to be done to me.

A feeling of blissful happiness

I felt absolutely content, happy as a lark in that state, and they didn’t know what to do with me next. This lasted a considerable time through treatment until one of my colleagues (the primary therapist) called the teacher to help. Of course, the teacher asked me the right question, and I was ready to explore this condition until there was a total change. I made several movements and then curled up.

Meanwhile, I found it difficult to breathe and felt trapped. I walked headlong from the couch toward the floor shortly after, disoriented. Of course, everyone supported and held me so I did not hurt myself. Strong arms were needed for this. They guided me until I went through this “leap.” I had to be held tightly during this.

I landed on the floor, padded with pillows. Afterward, I took a deep breath, relaxed, and returned to this world filled with gratitude. I was held and was quite surprised at how far away I was from the couch. I had made the “leap.”

Continuation to the 2nd Matrix

Summary of the 1st Matrix

As long as no severe disturbances occur during the first phase of pregnancy because the mother has protected herself from stress and the child is also wanted, regression induced by CranioSacral Therapy or Holotropic Breathwork manifests as a very paradisiacal state. However, if there has been a conflict in the 1st Matrix, this disharmony will clearly show itself in a therapy session.

Overview of the perinatal Matrices

Relevant Questions

Continue to the 2nd Matrix >

About the Author

Hello, my name is Eva Ursiny, I am a CranioSacral therapist, homeopath, and certified facilitator for Holotropic Breathwork. I live and work in Ursy, in the canton of Fribourg. Since an early age I have been interested in what is widely referred to as “Transpersonal States of Consciousness, Holistic Medicine, Hermetic Philosophies, and Yoga.” Accordingly, I publish the essence of my research on this page.

Eva Ursiny Craniosacral Ursy


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