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How Our Mythology Influences Our Immune System

How Our Mythology Influences Our Immune System

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Autoimmune Disease (AD) is an illusive, painful and sometimes deadly force moving through our modern culture. It affects over 23 million people in the U.S., compared to the 9 million affected by cancer and the 22 million affected by heart disease. This disease affects women with a ration of 10:1. Despite the annual U.S. health care costs of $100 billion, many of the 24 – 80 different autoimmune diseases have no cure.

Maddening Lists

AD is essentially the activation of the body’s immune system against itself. And despite the astronomical numbers of people affected by the disease, researchers do not have a clear answer for what turns the body against itself or how to cure the many diseases associated with AD.

In the world of AD there are many lists. There is a list of “possible causes” including genetics. But even with genetics as the sited origin of your disease, there is no clear correlation to getting the same autoimmune disease as your parents or siblings. Other possible causes for AD include environmental factors (another long and random list) such as gluten, silica, hair dye, dairy, soy, corn, wheat, workplace chemicals, insufficient Omega 3, dust, stress, and the list goes on.

The list of symptoms is equally unnerving and random. Fatigue, depression, muscle pain, weakness, rashes, low-grade fever, weight loss, weight gain, tingling in hands, dry eyes, hair loss, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, miscarriages, and mood swings.

For treatment, the list includes everything from a complete “reboot” of the immune system using bone marrow transplants and chemotherapy, to brushing your teeth more regularly, using a neti-pot, ingesting more Omega 3, and going gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free. The endless and seemingly random list can send a person running around in circles looking for a cure to the chronic pain of living their life.

In light of the lack of conclusive scientific data surrounding AD, turning to our ancestral mythology might provide additional insight into its root causes. Because at the heart of the disease is the rejection of self, our collective mythology can provide some insight into its origin. This self rejection sends the body into high-alert and burns out the endocrine system which weakens the immune system.

The Original Disconnection

Our cultural mythology begins with the legend of the Garden of Eden. The Garden Story has a strong and subtle influence on our experience of self-rejection. Even if we did not grow up in a religious tradition, this story and its values has made its way into our language, advertising and thoughts. Stripping the story down to its essential elements and examining it as piece of writing from an important historical time, the abbreviated story might go a bit like this:

Once upon a time there was a man and woman. They lived in peace and harmony in the Garden. They talked to God, plants and animals and lived at peace with Mother Earth. They loved and enjoyed the beautiful pleasures of the Garden without shame. In every flower, animal and in each other, they recognized the Divine.

Then Eve got curious and some bad things happened. Our Father (The Divine Masculine) yelled, cursed us and banished us. Finally, he abandoned us, and took flight to the sky (heaven).

Our Mother (The Garden/Earth) was also cursed and became scary and bad and a place filled with temptation. She was now a “dark” temptress who also left us all alone in this scary world. And then we covered up ourselves out of shame and guilt.

Living with this cultural myth sets three primordial fears in motion which inform our body that we are in danger.

Primordial Fear #1: Being Alone

I could spend hours deconstructing the symbolism in this story, but fundamentally, the retelling illustrates a devastating separation. We are separated from our spiritual mother, Earth, who once nourished us.

We are then separated from our spiritual father, God, who once talked with us. Ultimately, we are spiritually orphaned and malnourished children who no longer feel safe because we no longer belong to heaven or to earth and are all alone.

Primordial Fear #2: Starving

As abandoned children, there is a very old part of our brain that gets triggered into fight or flight because there might not be enough for all of us to survive. Ironically, many of us truly are starving for spiritual and physical nourishment. As the religious structures that once held us are called into question for exclusive and even illegal practices, many of us are searching for a spiritual home.

Physically, much of the food we digest is not born of organic soil, sunlight and water, but instead, over processed and filled with chemicals. This further activates the part of our brain that governs fight or flight because even though we are eating, our bodies are starving for nutrients. Thus leaving our body and soul malnourished.

You are smart and may be thinking, “This is just a story. And on top of that, in the story there are options and choices available that enable one to transcend suffering and achieve forgiveness and salvation.” On one level, this is correct. However, on a deeper level, energetically sensitive people have been carrying these burdens without direct awareness. As a result, the fear response in the body has been on high alert, pumping cortisol and adrenaline into the system for decades.

Energetically, fear robs our system of vital energy. If you have ever had to pull a few stressful all-nighters in a row and survived simply through large doses of caffeine, then you might recognize that strung out, exhausted, disconnected feeling that comes from the massive doses of cortisol and the adrenal glands pumping in high alert.

Primordial Fear #3: It’s All Our Fault

Perhaps the most insidious of the primordial fears that originates in The Garden is that on a deep level, we think we blew it. Especially women. (Dang apple…) Again our smart minds can clearly say, “I’m a feminist! I know I deserve equal rights and can bench press my boyfriend! There is no way this is MY fault.” And this is why this hidden fear is so dangerous and directly related to autoimmune disease.

There is a deep part of our brain that feels guilty. Although we can’t figure out why, the guilt is a constant presence for many. I have many clients who come into my office fully accomplished, beautiful, powerful and yet there is an irrational, primordial belief hidden in their psyche that is devastating to the immune system.

“I am never going to be enough,” or its evil sister, “I don’t deserve to really live.”

Most of the time, these beliefs are not active beliefs. An active belief along these lines might cause suicidal thoughts, cutting or other visibly self destructive behavior where emergency psychological or even medical intervention is necessary.

But many of us are processing the guilt and shame of these beliefs without any awareness. These hidden beliefs affect our vitality and behavior in subtle ways like choosing jobs or relationships that are emotionally or mentally harmful, addiction or three-day Netflix binges and yes, even Autoimmune Disease.

To hold the belief that one doesn’t deserve to live is the mind turning against the body. This makes coming fully alive difficult. The mind that harbors these hidden beliefs will often flood the system with variations on the theme of self-loathing or at a minimum, self-rejection. For example, “I’m too stupid to get a better job,” or “It is selfish of me to want to make my dreams come alive.”

At the risk of sounding like Yoda, the simplified pathway looks like this:
Beliefs lead to thoughts.
Thoughts lead to emotions.
Emotions lead to biological and energetic responses in the body.

When the mind turns on the body, the body is a quick follower and the cells designed to protect us from outside harm are forced to protect us from the inside harm we are causing with our thoughts. Finally, our immune system begins to destroy the body.

How Energy Healing Can Help

In the hands of a well trained shaman or energy healer, you will explore and identify the hidden beliefs causing the commotion. As the belief is brought to consciousness, the thoughts, emotions, biological and energetic responses associated with that belief come to light. Shamans call this process Tracking the Origin.

After the hidden/harmful belief and its associated energy is found, the shaman will check to see which chakras are trying to process and clear the heavy energetic residue from the heavy emotions. Shame, Guilt, Fear and Anger are some of the heaviest energies in the body and must be cleared from the mind by healing the belief. The heavy emotional energy and fear must also be cleared from the emotions through release. Finally, the heavy energy must be cleared from the chakras and meridians.

Shamans work in the mental, emotional, physical and energetic bodies to help you create optimal health. For autoimmune related illnesses, several sessions are required to address the many layers of belief, emotion and heavy energy. This deep clearing with changes to your thoughts, language patterns and behaviors can create amazing results.

Self Healing

  1. Thank the illness or trouble you are having – this softens the energy and reminds you that it is energy and it has come to teach you something, like how to love yourself. Start by loving this part of yourself. The part with the disorder.
  2. Ask the body for forgiveness for your harsh thoughts and let your body know you are making a change.
  3. Make the changes necessary in your thoughts. In your actions.
  4. Choose thoughts and actions that nourish your body and connect you to Spirit.

Natalie Griffin is a life artist, international spiritual teacher, author and rock and roll star (at least in her own mind). She is the founder of Naughty Shaman, home of the Dharma School. Dharma School helps students identify their Soul’s Truth and release the fear holding them back from stepping into their Calling.

As the Director of Executive Development at a Fortune 100 Company, her thoughts on leadership were published in the Harvard Business Review on Leadership. Still, something was missing. After a series of life changing events, concluding with her mother’s death, she couldn’t deny her Soul’s Calling any longer and started a high velocity journey inward.

She studied with and worked for Alberto Villoldo. was initiated by the Q’ero Shamans of Peru on the sacred mountain of the Undomesticatable Feminine Life-Force. Now she is able to coach and support leaders on the deeper level that she always craved. 860-430-1788. Natalie@naughtyshaman.com, www.NaughtyShaman.com