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  • Karey Pohn

Reiteration of Grof’s Cartography

Stanislav Grof, one of the fathers of Transpersonal Psychology, found in his LSD research that peoples’ experience seemed to constellate around different themes, which he called systems of condensed experience or COEX systems. As previously mentioned, in the Cosmic Game chapter, COEXes resemble Jung’s complexes. COEXes are emotionally charged and resemble each other in the quality of emotion or physical sensations that they share, also there are different levels to these COEXes: the personal biographical level, transpersonal level that includes the collective unconscious, and the perinatal level (peri—near, natal—birth). Grof found that different COEX themes organized around the three stages of the physical birth process as well as the womb experience prior to birth, which he labeled Basic Perinatal Matrices ((BPMs). This perinatal level provided access between the personal biographical material and archetypal contents.


I have always been fascinated with maps, so Grof’s cartography was very appealing to me. As with complexes, these COEXes and BPMs have an archetypal core. So, by putting the BPMs of the cartography together with the planetary archetypes, along with a couple of paradigmatic example from popular culture, we can get a feel for what these different Basic Perinatal Matrices are like.


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