Ingrid Naiman, The Pacific Northwest Years

Ingrid Naiman, Medical Astrologer and Herbalist
After 7000 miles of wandering, I moved to the Pacific Northwest in the dead of winter 2000. Almost immediately, I was devastated by a hugely serious exposure to toxic mold. This was the third major challenge to my survival in this incarnation and by far the most serious. I am happy to say I am fine now, but to explain the last years of my life takes even more effort than the events covered in the first two pages of this introduction to who I am and what I do and why I do it the way I do.
   

The 21st Century

To understand me, it's important to understand how I have managed to keep the spiritual balanced with the professional side of myself. One part of me is very private and contemplative and another part is public. To ensure my steadiness on my Path, I prepared to consecrate myself to my service and took Bodhisattva Vows from Nechung Rinpoche in 1977. Then, in 1998, I was ordained into the International Assembly of Spiritual Healers and Earth Stewards. The timing could not have been better because the journey across country and back had driven home the magnitude of the ecological disaster we are facing with genetically modified food.

Whether or not the Earth is getting warmer or colder, our neglect of the environment and meddling with Nature are far more serious than climate change. I became a passionate environmentalist.

The whole time I was driving, I was listening to snippets on Gore vs. Bush, mainly on NPR. By the time I reached the Northwest, I knew we were in for trouble. Within days of arriving, my house flooded. Then, there was an earthquake. Then, the neighbor's house burned down. The elements were definitely disturbed. I became very, very ill from the toxic mold. On top of this, there was 9/11 and it would have been easy to believe that 2012 would be the end of the world as we know it. However, I did not believe this, largely because I have had so many visions. All my life, I have had glimpses into the future. I know we can create a better world.

In the meantime, it is still a little difficult to say what the 21st century has represented for me professionally. I have not lectured much at all since moving to the Northwest: just a few talks in Portland and Seattle and seven trips to Europe. Almost none of the talks were properly recorded. I have done some radio interviews and podcasts and posted a lot of material online.

 

The Microscope and the Herbs

If it had not been for my access to a microscope, I would not have understood the extent of the mold infection and clearly, I would have died because mold is not self-limiting. A chemical toxin plays havoc on the system but being inorganic, it does not reproduce itself. Fungi have an ideal environment inside the body for perpetuating themselves at the expense of the host. My challenges pushed me into a new role as wounded healer. At times, I felt I was to mold what Father Damien was to lepers but I hoped the last chapter of the story would be different. I think it will because I am confident I have something to offer other sufferers. In short, I am not joining the ranks of the doomed but rather finding a solution for all of us.

The need to cure myself in order to be of continued use to others has made me a much better herbalist and microscopist. My endless curiosity, ability to see outside the box, and the propensity to synthesize that comes from years and years of astrological work have equipped me to see what many others miss.

In Santa Fe, I wrote a book on Immunity, but little by little as my own experiences have pushed me towards the yin and towards a reconcilation of spirit and matter, I now understand disease in a totally unique way.

Excitement over bacteria and later viruses, over inoculations and antibiotics, tended to shift the focus of medicine from constitutional type and predisposition to disease to treatment. While this was a great loss for astrology, psychology, and psychiatry, it was an even greater loss when one considers the impact of such theories on immunity. Failure to understand susceptibility was accompanied by almost total neglect of the immune responses; and to the extent that because there is really no such thing as an immune system—at least not in the sense that there is a skeletal system or a reproductive system—even the term chosen to represent a host of varied immune responses is ill-fitting.

I actually wrote that years ago but every day that goes by, we see the resilience of microorganisms in the face of pharmaceuticals. I believe this is going to force us to come into harmony with the sentience that is intrinsic to all forms of life. The idea that humans are top of the food chain must be incomprehensible to bacteria and fungi but worse, the manipulation of Nature is scary to all other kingdoms of life.

I believe astrology is ultimately a tool for understanding self in the context of a vast destiny, one spanning many lifetimes, and a complex accumulation of experiences collected during those lifetimes. Bringing all the parts into a integrated and functional whole is the primary obligation of each individual. The astrologer, properly trained and disciplined, can be a guide for those seeking help in their own alignment processes. The insights and understanding made possbile through the horoscope are invaluable when used properly. My course is designed to impart the tools needed to guide others. Therefore, I demand a high level of seriousness and commitment and have not tried to package the material into podcasts or weekend seminars. I have put it into a four-to-five year curriculum that I fully appreciate will take some students ten years to complete. This is fine, but short cuts are not.

 

Summary

What began as a childhood hobby became a profession over forty years ago. One of the unique characteristics of my life has been how extensive periods of clairvoyance afforded the types of revelations that contributed to my insights while my very analytical mind took all the pieces and organized them coherently so as to make them completely understandable to others. I have also tried very hard to empower that which we call our spirituality without lessening the importance or value of the experiential part of our beings, the part that is psychological. In this way, my work differs from some of the material of the esotericists as well as the psychologists. It is both and neither, it is original. Work can evolve from ancient sources and still be put together in a way that is unique. I have not attacked anyone else's work nor imitated anyone else. I have found my own Path. A few final points are worthy of note:

  • First, I have purged the astrological vocabulary of archaic terminology by representing the elements intelligently. For instance, I call them elements rather than humors and I do not refer to red and white and yellow and black blood but rather physiological functions and psychological biases.
  • Second, I have adapted some of the five element theories of India and China to the four elements of astrology; however, in doing so, I am not suggesting that there is no fifth element, simply that it is not manifest in the same manner as the four denser elements.
  • Third, I have developed incredibly sophisticated ways for determining constitutional type and elemental balance using either the horoscope or medical history.
  • Fourth, I have created strategies for eliminating the effects of elemental imbalance that involve all parts of life: food, herbal medicine, life style, and even shamanic integration of the psyche.
  • Fifth, all the physical, psychological, and spiritual forces can be seen as a totality, not isolated one from another but interactive one with the other.

My relationships with the official world of astrology have not been repaired. I have not published in any journal nor spoken at any major conferences in several years, but I have received two honorary doctorates that I think are important to the astrological community as a whole . . . because they represent the historic unity between medicine and astrology that is still accepted in Ayurvedic and Tibetan medicine but that was lost in the West around the 17th century.

 

 

 

 

   

Poulsbo, Washington

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