Basic Perinatal Matrix I

From The SpiritWiki

Basic Perinatal Matrix I refers to the stage of perinatal experience that occurs in the nine month gestation period prior to labor and birth of the infant.

Grof's Terms

Grof, Stanislav > COEX Systems, Dimensions of the Psyche, Past Life Memories, Perinatal Matrices, Perinatal Realm, Psychedelic Therapy, Psycholytic Therapy, Usual Consciousness

List of Perinatal Matrices

Perinatal Matrices > BPM IV, Basic Perinatal Matrix I, Basic Perinatal Matrix II, Basic Perinatal Matrix III

In an ideal situation, existence in the womb is experienced as gentle, warm, and safe with no emotional, chemical, or physical "spikes" that cause anxiety or trauma in the sensitive fetus. During an ideal (or close to ideal) gestation period, the fetus will perceive the world to be radiating beauty and bliss. During this stage, and assuming no significant and/or ongoing assaults on the physical unit, the developing physical unit will experience "cosmic identifications" and/or mystical unity with all things. This experience of the developing Physical Unit (i.e., the fetus) arises because of the connection to the Fabric of Consciousness. As Grof makes a point of noting (and as would be expected given the absence of indoctrination designed to instill System Concepts), the concept of evil is irrelevant and nonexistence in this where the physical unit's connection to the Fabric of Consciousness is as yet undamaged.

Assuming an acceptable perinatal and birth experience, and assuming a loving and supportive family and society, the physical unit should go on to experience psychological health in areas related to security and the satisfaction of needs. However, assaults in utero, or during the birth process, can become the locus of developing pathologies. The nature of the psychological or physical pathology will depend on the nature and severity of the trauma, and the extent to which the trauma was reinforced in the post-natal world. For example, chemical assaults in the womb may lead to a COEX Root that organizes all future experiences perceived of as "toxic" by the physical unit. Given sufficient time and reinforcement, this may eventually lead to various psychological disorders related to cleanliness, purity, lack of boundaries, etc. If the original COEX Root was to be associated with the traumatic metaphors of fire and brimstone fundamentalism, for example, we may end of up psychological dysfunction organized around issues of purity and cleanliness, with religious overtones.

In a physical unit that is functioning at sub-optimal levels of awareness the first perinatal matrix may (as a result of dogmatic impositions) become associated with mythical and symbolic representations representing "source" or "heaven" or (if the pre-natal experience was especially noxious) "hell." Regardless of the mythical representations, the conceptual and emotional constructs that an individual surrounds the perinatal experiences will provide important clues to childhood and/or past life trauma.


Grof, Stanislav (1976). Realms of the Unconscious: Observations from LSD Research. New York: Viking Press

Grof, Stanislav (1985). Beyond the brain: Birth, death, and transcendence in psychotherapy. Albany, NY: State University of New York.

Summary of Grof's Basic Perinatal Matrices