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ABSTRACT

THE AWAKENING OF THE HEART


HEALING THE EROTIC IN VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ABUSE

by

Celeste Howe

This dissertation looks at altered states of consciousness and aberrant somatic

phenomena as an expression of trauma in adult victims of sexual abuse when

they later fall in love. It looks like at wether the early experience of sexual abuse

affects the capacity to experience love in an embodied manner, and ponders the

question of what the experience of falling in love is to someone who was

traumatized sexually in childhood. Is it an opportunity for healing, or merely a

re-traumatization.

The method used in this dissertation is both hermeneutic and heuristic, where an

initiatory experience was used in the forming of the question. This question was

then used, after a period of reflection, as a guide in the selection of reading. The

reading then influenced the understanding of the question, which led into

further reading, or at times periods of gestation where the literature

superimposed upon personal experience began to reveal patterns underlying the

healing of childhood sexual trauma. As this progressed, the material was

organized into chapters, and the process of reading, reflection, and writing was

repeated until the chapters were complete.

Sexual abuse and its healing can both be understood through the concept of

kundalini, consciousness that first lies trapped in its dormant state within the

body. In the early stages it manifests as sexual energy, or libido. Sexual abuse, as
an energetic penetration, causes a premature arousal of kundalini, a

fragmentation of consciousness, and the creation of a complex, an energetic

blockage, which manifests in emotional distortions, altered states, and unusual

somatic phenomena. As consciousness develops, the complex goes through its

own transformation in the healing of trauma. This study finds that where

consciousness develops to the point where the adult survivor falls in love, this

signals a stage of both healing and development, which if worked with

consciously, can result in the transcendence of the trauma, and the healing of the

split between spirit and matter, which underlies the phenomenon of sexual

abuse. Once this occurs the adult victim is ready to return to embodied and

instinctual life consciously.