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and Kundalini  Psychosis

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Psychic Base of Personal Power

To understand the type of madness that jealousy can cause I need to introduce a phenomenon that is not known in Western medicine : this is kundalini, the psychic base of all personal power, whether physical or mental. In Eastern meditation practice the manifestation of the kundalini power is well known, but it is absent from Western views.

Kundalini in its beneficent form produces intense body heat, but in its adverse form it produces a sexual form of madness, which I call kundalini psychosis. In the latter case the person becomes obsessed by sexual phantasies.

Sub - Headings
Astral Delights
Emotional dynamics

In the psychosis the sexual phantasies become indistinguishable from normal reality.

This means that the person cannot tell the difference between subjective sexual thinking and objective sexual relationships. Hence these states may be interchanged : he may believe that his sexual thoughts represent real events, real happenings, whilst objective sexual relationships may seem to be only dreams and phantasies.

Eventually even non-sexual phantasy absorbs reality into itself – the person no longer knows if he is dreaming or if he is real and awake.

To illustrate the two forms I present my two experiences of the kundalini power.
I have had one experience of each form.

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Astral Delights

The first experience was around 1976 or 1977, when I was in my early 30s. This was long before I started keeping a diary and about ten years before my self-analysis began. At that time I was, as usual, giving a lot of time to daydreams in my world. However, I was becoming more and more preoccupied by sexual desire in those daydreams. I decided that it was time to de-sensitise myself and stop repressing that sexual desire so that I could get rid of it. That was all that I decided ; I did not actually do anything about it.

A short time later, perhaps a few days, I felt as though a volcano had exploded inside me. The whole aspect of my subconscious mind that focused on sexuality just erupted into my normal consciousness. For many days, every moment that I was awake I had sexual phantasies buzzing through my mind non-stop, even when I was at work. Within a week I was cross-dressing, the first time since puberty : I was obsessed with wearing skirts and blouses during my few moments of privacy in the evening at home. [¹]. Within two weeks I was beginning to lose the distinction between what was my phantasy and what was the real world. If I was doing something, was I dreaming that I was doing it or was I really doing it ?

At the rate that I was changing I knew that I would be insane within a few more days. I was desperate. I simply could not control the phantasising. The situation called for an urgent response, and the one that I used was highly dangerous: I took my problem into the astral world, the world that we enter when we go to sleep.

I intuitively used the process of attaining to ‘lucid dreaming’, the art of consciously entering the astral world by avoiding the moment of going to sleep. I had never used it before, and did not deliberately intend to use it. When going to sleep there is a transitional moment when the person is neither awake nor asleep. If he can focus his consciousness on that moment he remains awake whilst the body goes to sleep, and he enters the astral world in full consciousness.

I went to ‘sleep’ and ‘awoke’ in the astral world. I had not entered it in full consciousness for many years, since I no longer took hallucinogenic drugs like LSD. (My middle 20s were my hippie years). I was entranced by the colours – astral colours seem alive and vibrant compared to the colours of the material world. I just watched the patterns in front of my eyes. I missed my chance. I fluffed it. I lost consciousness and went to sleep.

But fate was ‘kind’ to me and gave me another chance. I once more awoke into the astral world with my full consciousness. The sight that I beheld was indescribably intoxicating. In front of my eyes stood dozens of the most beautiful women that I had ever seen, all fitting my conception of female beauty. For those people who have never seen the astral world except in half-remembered dreams, the astral equivalent of any beauty found in the material world is that beauty magnified by a factor of   x10 or more. The beauty seen in the astral world is beyond the imagination of those people who can see only Earthly beauty.

The combination of astral beauty and female sexuality was overwhelming to me. When I saw that vision I had to make an instantaneous decision : to accept it or to reject it. Even if I hesitated I knew that I would succumb to it – and to instant insanity. I really had no choice. I rejected it, by repressing it. And returned to normality. I was in and out of the astral world in less than a second.

To repress that vision required the whole force of my will. When I awoke back into normal consciousness the psychosis had vanished, and I could control my sexual phantasies easily again. But I felt that I had lost something by resorting to such drastic repression. By the time that I came to start evolving my psychology I had already decided never to repress any negative states of mind any more. They had to be handled in a different manner.

The danger of this method of problem solving is that decisions have to be made very fast and the consequences are drastic ; there is no time for adequate rational consideration. Not just beauty is magnified in the astral world, but the intensity of the problem is magnified too. A psychological problem that is manageable in an Earthly consciousness may easily become unmanageable in the astral world.

In this form of the kundalini power, the psychosis is characterised by a rapid onset with dominant sexual phantasy.

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My second experience of kundalini was benign and amusing. It occurred in the first winter of my self-analysis.

In the last week of December 1987, BBC television ran a season of films by Greta Garbo. She was my favourite actress from years previous. There were four films that I watched, one on each consecutive night. I was entranced by her. Watching the films, the flow of good feelings in me made me realise that I had been focusing too much on the insignificance of life. Now Garbo had switched me onto the glory and beauty of life, of relationships ; brought back hope.

At that time I slept in a sleeping bag on a carpeted floor, and I watched each film whilst in the bag. The nights were comparatively mild. During three of the films I found that the bag was turning into a sauna. My body was producing an enormous amount of heat, which the bag trapped, so forming a high-humidity environment.

I put my hand along the lower spine and found that the source of the intense heat emission was in the sacral region. The location of the source immediately suggested to me that it was kundalini energy. I applied the test of location given by John Woodroffe (pen name Arthur Avalon, a writer on Indian metaphysical and yoga theories) : two finger breadths above the anus and four finger breadths in extent. That was it – the muladhara chakra, the base chakra of the spinal system, which is the seat of dormant kundalini. [²]

Apart from the tremendous heat, kundalini produced no other effects. That was a relief !  But it posed problems for going to sleep when the film ended and kundalini was still functioning. I lay on top of the bag and had to put one blanket over my legs and another one over the top half of my body, so leaving my pelvic region uncovered. When I woke up after the heat emission had stopped I could get back into the sleeping bag. This was the procedure for three of the nights. On the other night kundalini remained dormant during the film, but switched on afterwards when I was going over it again in my mind.

After the fourth night I tried romantically reminiscing about Garbo to see whether I could induce kundalini to switch on again, but my efforts failed. At that time it remained a mystery why it had happened and what had triggered it. It was a totally different phenomenon from the psychosis of several years earlier.

In an ordinary person, kundalini is not very active, fortunately. Its potential power is enormous, but it needs to be very strictly controlled. This is why the preferred method of releasing it with any intensity is by certain exercises in yoga meditation ; if it is released without the person being able to control it then there is a strong possibility of madness occurring.

A side-effect of controlling the release of kundalini is the production of intense heat. The ability to generate this intense heat whenever one needs to is the reason that some Eastern yogis can live on snowy mountains without being affected by the cold.

Whether the kundalini power is experienced as malignant or as beneficial depends upon the connections that the person makes (or does not make) between love and sexual thoughts. The madness is triggered by love of sexuality, whereas the beneficent form is triggered by pure love (without sexual connections), or the love of god.

As far as I am aware, the only Western person who has written about the beneficent form is the fourteenth- century mystic Richard Rolle, in his book ‘ The Fire of Love ’ – here the ‘fire’ is kundalini. [³]. Commentators of his book have treated his references to the fire as being metaphorical,  since they had no knowledge of kundalini.  [ in actuality, the fire is a psychic fire, not  a metaphorical or symbolic one].

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Emotional Dynamics

Now I consider the emotional dynamics of kundalini psychosis (that is, the moods that maintain the psychological symptoms). The psychosis occurs through an explosion in the intensity of narcissism that swamps the conscious mind. Narcissistic love achieves an intensity that makes the internal world of the person supreme over any external influence. [4]

Phantasies of sexuality generated by narcissism become powerful enough to neutralise the problems that jealous love presents to the person. The objectivity of social /sexual relationships is muted by the intensity of narcissistic subjectivity. 

Each person has two sides to himself: his sense of individuality (which I call his individual identity) and his sense of being socially-orientated (which I call his social identity). During the episodes of kundalini madness, the overall effect is that social identity is swallowed up by individual identity. [5]. The psychosis represents the failure of jealousy to counter- balance narcissism. It represents the failure of the social side of existence.

Kundalini may present itself as an obsession with sexual phantasies that does not go all the way into madness. This obsession can be represented as a loop of mental states, as described in the article Mind Loops.

Kundalini psychosis is binary to schizophrenia.
Both of these disorders are sexual in origin : the former centres on the fragility of jealous love, the latter on the fragility of narcissistic love. Both of them represent a failure to handle sexuality adequately. I suspect that when cases of kundalini psychosis occur in the West they are treated as being schizophrenia by orthodox Western psychiatrists.

As with schizophrenia, the issue is how to classify kundalini psychosis. Both disorders represent a drastic imbalance between the intensities of narcissism and jealousy, between the individual identity and the social identity. When one of these two emotions becomes too weak in its influence, then the other one can take dangerous dominance.

I classify the disorders according to which identity is weak, rather than according to which one is invasive. This predilection originates in the fact that during my periods of schizophrenic distress, I was obsessed with bolstering my fragile narcissistic core.

In the article on Mind Loops, I describe the Loop of Kundalini.


The number in brackets at the end of each reference takes you back to the paragraph that featured it.

[¹]. I have an article TV/TS on cross-dressing, or transvestitism, on my website The Strange World of Emotion. See Links page. [1]

[²]. Woodroffe, John (pen name Arthur Avalon). The Serpent Power. chapter VI. Ganesh & Co, Madras, India, 1981.
The reader needs to be familiar with Indian terminology. [2]

[³]. Rolle, Richard. The Fire of Love. [3]

[4]. A summary of the factors of some important emotions is :
Guilt = self-pity + self-hate.
Pride = vanity + hatred of other people.
Narcissism = love + vanity.
Jealousy = love + self-pity.
Anxiety = fear + vanity.

My definitions, descriptions, and analysis of emotions are given in the three articles on Emotion. See Basic Ideas page. [4]

[5]. In my view, a person has two identities – an individual identity and a social identity. See the article Confusion and Identity.
A more detailed analysis is given in the article Two Identities, on my website The Subconscious Mind. See Links page . [5]

Home List of  Articles Links Top of Page

The articles in this section are :

Guilt and Meaning - part 1,  Catatonia and Faith

Guilt and Meaning - part 2,  Trauma and slow-onset Catatonia

Narcissism and Schizophrenia

Narcissism - Mania and Manic Depression  (also known as Bipolar Disorder)

Jealousy and Kundalini Psychosis

Pride and Paranoia

Depression and Autism,  and other States of  Despair

Mind Loops

Copyright @2003  Ian Heath
All Rights Reserved

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Ian Heath
London, UK

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