Pathena: Recapitulation Exercise

by Dorie/Pathena

Now that we’ve stirred up some memories and gotten several topics working, I’d like to open a discussion on healing methods that have helped some of us to move past the difficult residual effects of our Morningland experience – or any other experiences in our lives.

I’d like to hear about other teachings or teachers you have discovered that have helped you over the years, and to offer techniques that have worked to those who are just now feeling the process of healing begin. Some of you have already mentioned certain things that have helped you.

I’d have to say that, for myself, I shelved much of my ML experience for many years while immersing myself in the earthly life of wife, mother and employee. It seemed as though I had to pass through a period of grounding in earth energy to balance my years of ‘spiritual prodigy’ which had taken their toll on my energy at a young age. This, in itself, was healing, as was having a spouse and a few close friends to dialog with regarding the shared ML experience. Returning to my studies several years ago, the next level of healing occured when I re-activated my astrological knowledge and connected with a world wide community of light bearers via the internet. Being able to talk about my experiences with people who were spiritually aware but had not been involved, gave me a new perspective – even though I’d frequently think, “Well, they don’t really know since they weren’t there….”

As I continued to process, one of my astrological friends introduced me to a Shaman who taught me a technique that I would like to share with you for retreiving energy from the past. One of the things that impresses me about the shamanic techniques is their ability to be applied to the task at hand, regardless of a person’s spiritual background or path. The Shaman teaches how to work with basic energy. You can put any face or name on it you want, but at it’s base, we, and everything in our Universe are simply energy vibrating at different frequencies…

Those of you familiar with Castaneda’s writings will recognize this procedure, called the ‘Recapitulation’. This process is singularly THE most important exercise I have ever used. It works at the basic level of my energy. It neither requires nor demands any devotion to any other person, place or thing – only me to myself. It is responsible for my ability to talk about my Morningland experiences at all. It is, in my opinion, the most powerful thing we can do to heal ourselves and retreive our personal energy and I offer it to you here,to try for yourselves, if you are so inclined….. It uses the power of Will to focus Intent to retreive energy via the physical vehicle of the breath as the mechanism upon which the Intent operates….


The word, “recapitulation” is taken from the work of Carlos Casteneda. Although Casteneda gave it this particular name it has been a part of all shamanic practice for as far back as anyone knows. Some shamanic cultures refer to it as purification, throwing off the world, or being reborn into the world. It is often combined with other processes or techniques during shamanic initiations. Here in Western Culture, however, it has been separated out as a distinct technique of it own. The reason for this is the enculturation process which most members of our culture go through in order to function as a part of our society. We are after all, a guilt based culture.

The theory of recapitulation is simple. Every interaction you have had with other people in your life has tied up personal energy. Each memory you have requires energy to keep it alive and maintain the emotions you have about the encounter. Over the course of a lifetime you invest enormous amounts of energy in these things and they drain you, make you miserable, create behavior in the present predicated on the energies of the past. You will be surprised after doing even a partial recapitulation at how much energy it was taking on a daily basis to keep those things from the past alive in the present. Shamans know, or have seen, that we, as human beings, do not have an infinite amount of personal energy. We need every little scrap available to us in order to live life effectively or for shamans, to accomplish the tasks that they feel lie before them. Modern psychologists try to do much the same thing as recapitulation for their patients.

Psychologist will treat people who have suffered traumatic experiences by urging them to work back through the experience and put it behind them. They have names for all these techniques and processes, they all sound quite scientific and well reasoned. But they ignore the basic issue of being human and so often the person takes years to work on one major trauma and is never really freed of the pain which accompanied it. Shamans see the recapitulation as a more natural means of dealing with it; stalk the memory, and take back your energy, letting it become just a memory, with no life, no power to invoke a response from the present.

So how do you do this recapitulation thing? The technique is very simple. You can make a list and follow it, not a bad idea actually, or I would also suggest picking a time period. Begin by arranging some time that you won’t be likely to be disturbed. You will need a space that compresses your energy, a closet would do, or even putting a heavy blanket over you will work as well. Bring up a specific memory or event. Get it pictured right in front of your face. Turn your head to the left and exhale and slowly turn your head from left to right drawing in the energy of the scene in front of you with your breath. When your head is completely to the right again turn slowly back to the left exhaling the foreign energy that exists from the scene. Go on to the next event on your list and keep doing this until you have worked through it. Be aware of what you are doing, keep your mind focused and intend each step of the way. Feel the intention of taking the energy back.

When you are finished the first time you may feel a little lightheaded, that’s normal, it means something is changing. If the memories you are working with are especially painful or traumatic it may take a number of recapitulations to completely suck the energy back out of them. You will know it is working when you recall one of the memories and find that the emotions it was evoking in you have lessened, or even completely disappeared. Sometimes you may look at them and feel like they aren’t even your memories, that seem as though the happened to someone else. This is a start, you may want eventually to do a complete recapitulation. Shamans are never done recapitulating, it is done over and over through a lifetime.

There are other techniques which can be added to this, but I feel like this is the core of recalling personal energy to yourself from the past. The other methods seem too theatrical to me, too much symbolism to be immediately useful. It may seem silly at first, but if you keep it up it will make a major change in you, give you more clarity and change the perspective from which you make decisions now in your life.

(Below is a response to a request for clarification on the difference between the emotions and energy when doing the energy retrieval, the following was written in addition to the above…)

Okay as I understand it then, the question is whether, when you take back personal energy, that includes the actual emotions that were present?

Emotions, like anger, hate, fear, etc., are the end product of an energetic interaction. The energy that was required to initiate the original entanglements doesn’t have any thing to do with raw emotions, that energy is your personal energy. By recapitulating you will not be bringing anger back into your energy. What the recap does is recover the energetic attachments that allowed the anger to be produced, in other words once that energy is recovered – poof, no more anger.

When you look back, or remember something and it makes you angry, it is that anger you are producing now that is feeding the connection to your past. Hence, you expend even more personal energy just keeping that connection alive. By going back and taking the original energy back into yourself, which is purely your own personal energy, neither good nor bad, you eliminate the source of the anger. The event or interaction becomes only a memory, almost like it happened in someone else’s life and you were just an observer. What a person who is doing the recap notices first is a better sense of well being, of being better grounded and more clear about their directions. We can tie up so much energy in a “bad” past that we finally come to a standstill in our present.

The process takes time, after all, it took you a long time to waste all this energy in the past, so it will take time to recover it, but perhaps not as long as one might think. My point is that you are not recovering specific emotions, that isn’t the point, what you are doing is just simply removing the energy you have tied up in the past and bringing it back to you to use again in the present. Once that is done, and with some interactions it can take a number of times to release all the energy, you will find that you are much stronger. You will feel stronger and more complete and life as a mystery worth solving will begin to have appeal to you again.