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The Primal Scream

My new life started with the primal scream. When I called my father and mother for the first time, I felt like a baby. My breath fell into my stomach. It was a rebirth and I was finding myself.
I repeated the primal scream so often until there was no reaction any more. At the beginning I recognized: I am a man and the female part of me must die.

»This book discusses the discovery of the primal scream - it is a cry that can change psychology in previously unsuspected ways. During a therapeutic appointment, a student told me about an actor in London who played the role of a baby who constantly cried for its mother and father until it threw up at the end of its appearance. During his number, plastic bags were distributed and the audience was requested to follow his example.
This fascinated the student so much that I got the idea to ask him to try it out. At first he refused, but as I insisted, he began calling for his mother and father. Suddenly he screamed loudly and shrilly as if he were in a hypnotic state. At the same time he crumpled up on the floor; a spasm went through his entire body. Finally he emitted a loud, piercing scream, such that I have never heard in my entire experience as a psychotherapist. The cry shooked the walls of my office.
The whole thing lasted only a few minutes and all he could tell me was that he did it. What he did, he couldn't describe. He only said that he can now feel.«

When I just read the introduction of Arthur Janov's book about the primal scream the idea came to me that I should try it also. I was a little nervous, but I calmed myself down by telling myself that it cannot be much worse than the dream I had before.
I laid down on the bed and started to call for my father and mother, at first softly, then somewhat more courageously "Daddy! Mommy!" and again "Daddy! Mommy!". Then suddenly it was as if the screaming automatically came out of me, so forcefully that I couldn't control myself: "Daddy! Mommy!" At the same time loud voices came from deep inside of me causing my body to jump up und twitch. I couldn't think; I felt like a baby just born into the world and who couldn't do anything but cry. The longer I screamed the more it seemed to please the baby until my crying transformed into a form of singing and stopped itself.

The whole thing lasted at the most five minutes. What happened to me? I simply had to laugh, I felt so good afterwards. I didn't think about how much my girlfriend hurt me. All at once I became aware that I could only feel hurt through the pain that I had suffered since my childhood. Now that I let it out, there were no more wounds that could be opened up. The biggest change was in my breathing, which fell into my stomach, and my voice, which was stronger and more confident. When I went outside, I could see everything so clearly, whereas previously I needed glasses.

When Sonja came back that evening, she noticed something different about me. I told her enthusiastically what I had tried. And I did it a second time for her. I lied down on the bed, and started to call for my father and mother. And again came the same feeling: I believed I was a baby who could do nothing but cry and that crying was fun. Finally I couldn't distinguish whether it was singing or crying. Sonja praised me afterwards and said that I never sung so freely and beautifully. Surely I had made her curious about my experience because she wanted to try it as well.

So one evening we went to a waterfall on the Isar river, where the rushing water swallows one's voices and where we didn't need to be embarrassed to cry out. On this rainy evening we were completely alone. Sonja walked a short distance from me, she apperently didn't want me to be with her. I was curious to see how it would go with her. I observed from a short distance, how she sat on the shore and began to cry for her mother. She shouted with such a high voice that I had never heard from her before.
Now a strange feeling overcame me to cry for my father and mother as well. But this time it was different than the first two times: I stood with uplifted hands and unintentionally bent myself backwards very slowly and steadily. It lasted a few minutes until I noticed Sonja standing beside to me. She said it didn't exactly work right with her and that she has to try it again, because she could not call for her father.

During the night I awoke from the following dream:

I race down the stairs, skipping several steps. I crash into some pictures that are hanging on the wall. Coincidentally something falls down. The picture is of an old woman shining a lantern on a unique animal. I have never seen such an animal before. It appears green and male and I ask myself where the female counterpart is. Suddenly, I see a book that someone haphazardly threw away. I quickly open and close it. It is the Bible with a red cover. A red book of Psalms is nearby. The old woman says "It is the Bible."
Again, my vision is drawn to something. This time it is two chapels standing on a hill. She opens one of the chapels, and inside is a gold men's watch. She hands me the watch as if I naturally should receive it. Then she opens the other chapel, which contains a woman's watch. Then I see needles sticking in a small piece of cloth; beautiful needles. I think, I could use one of them and take one for myself. The woman is annoyed that I took one, and grabs some for herself too.

Before the primal scream I always tried to fulfill her wishes. I didn't recognize that I was lying to myself when I wanted to do her a favor. I will never be the other person. Therefore, I can express my own feelings and what is good for me. The dream tells me that I shouldn't put myself in a woman's position because then I would be denying my own male character that belongs to me and my destiny. Therefore the old woman gets angry when I want to adopt a character that doesn't belong to me, namely the feminine part.


A interesting link from the author with the experiences of life 40 years later: