AA ARTICLE Des Embryos ausdruckvolle Form – Die Embryologie von Jaap van der Wal – 2013 DE

Published as side article by Wal, Jaap van der, MD PhD, 2013, The Embryo in us – A phenomenological Search for Soul and Consciousness in the prenatal Body in the Journal of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health JOPPPH, Volume 27, Issue 3, April 2013.

When he participated in my course Embryo in Motion which I gave at the Nature Institute in Ghent. New York, USA, (an institute for phenomenological science) Stephen L. Talbott, one of the staff members of the institute at that time wrote a very enthusiastic review and analysis of the course content and published it in the institute’s journal In Context.


One can explore embryology qualitatively by studying the expressive gestures of the human oocyte and spermatozoon, their mutual encounter during the preconceptional “attraction complex,” their association with each other at conception, and the subsequent development of the embryo These gestures tell us a remarkable and consistent story. Much of this story is about the play of complementary opposites and the conversation that takes place first between the germ cells and then between the embryo and its mother. We can see the complementary’ or polar, opposites in the opposition between male and female, between center and periphery (“embryo proper” on the one hand and the fetal amniotic sac and placenta on the other), and between self and other. But in each of these cases, the play of opposites is a tension within unity. Moreover, the gestures at issue here are not gestures in the usual sense, where we speak, for example, of the use of our limbs. More precisely, they are growth gestures the expressive movements through which limbs and organs appear in the first place.

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