Template Course The Embryo in Us

A course with images and anecdotes trying to find an answer to the ‘real’ questions about our prenatal embryonic existence.

The basic structure of a course Embryo in Motion – The Embryo in Us is as follows

Undivided Embryo

Polarity Embryo

Threefold Embryo

Universal Embryo

EMBRYONIC LIFEThe Speech of the EmbryoMind and Body are ONE
CONCEPTIONHeavens and Earth?Life between Chaos & Cosmos
WEEK 2 & 3The vegetative EmbryoInteraction and Innerness
PRENATAL PSYCHEThe Psychosomatic EmbryoHuman existence: the fourth way
TOWARDS BIRTHWhat do we do as embryo??Th Embryo in Us
FIRST WEEKIn the Beginning (Big Bang?)Twofold Embryo
WEEK 4 – 8The animal EmbryoIncarnation & Individuation
FIRST BORNThe Embryo of FreedomEmbryo and Evolution

The course can be presented with quite other title like The Embryo in us – Man as Embryo.

Or with subtitles like Dynamic Embryology and Morphology.

Next a kind of program template  for a four days course with four themes and eight modules:

Day 1
The undivided embryo

Day 2
The polarity embryo

Day 3
The threefold embryo

Day 4
The universal embryo

The Speech of the Embryo
Mind and Body
are one
Two stances (observer vs participant), two realities in one: non-duality and twofoldness. Holistic science: how to overcome (not deny) Cartesian dualism? The body-brain-dualism as false monism. Polarity and/or duality? Spirit and matter as One. Secondary vs primary reality: two bodies. Phenomenology: understanding (meaning, gestures) versus explaining forms (causality). Mind and body in the womb? The human being is Mind, Motion and Matter. About form, movement, gesture and act. What do we do as embryo?  The body as a process. Gestures of growth as human behavior and expression.
Life between Chaos and Cosmos
Conception – Heaven and Earth?
The Breath of Life between Chaos and Cosmos, Yin and Yang with in the Middle health and dialogue. Meden Agan. Death has two faces, Life is the Middle. Trimeria of the animal body with trunk as the ‘functional elevation’. The lemniscate principle as the signature of ‘The Middle’ with Health and Life as balance. Dynamic morphology of human conception. Phenomenology as method to see the ‘invisible’. Sperm cellularity’ versus ‘egg cellularity’ with Steigerung in the Middle as a resultIn the beginning Celestial and terrestrial forces: the PCAC.  ‘Passing on, not the beginning of life’?
The vegetative Embryo
Interaction and Innerness

Third week and fourth week: dynamics of individuation and embodiment. Meso: fascia and blood as the major appearances of the mesenchyme as the dimension of the Middle. From growing out to growing in as the ‘animal ’way of being.  The incarna­tion process of the heart ‘coming to here’. Individuation of the embryonic body. Craniocaudal axis: the organization of the midline. Head and tail and Left and right as body dimensions. The animal body with dimensions of antipathy and sympathy. Neural tube and gut tube. Metameria of the body: rhythmic segmentation of the middle.
The psychosomatic Embryo
Four ways of being
A new placenta? Mirroring the macrocosm in the microcosm of the bodily organization.The psycho-morphology of the germ layers: organs as psycho-somatic dimensions. Awareness and consciousness.Four phases of growing and autonomy. Balancing and centering as fourth principle: unfolding the human erect posture. Limbs as next ordering principle with the polarity arms vs legs but also head (skull) versus limbs with the trunk in between as the image of freedom. Three pair of limbs: arms mediate.
What do we do as embryo?
Yond to here – The Embryo in Us
Mind and body in the womb: the non-duality body. Homology: not human yet? The ‘body formative soul’ pre-exer­cising in shapes and Gestalt. The body developed out of us, not we from it. Craniocaudal gradient: form pole and process pole related to awareness. The embryo in us. Where do we come from? The zygote as the undivided body. Whole(ness) versus parts (cells). Centripetal existence: from yond to here. Being born as basic gesture of dying emancipation and development. Connection and separation
In the beginning (Big Bang)?
The twofold Embryo
Conception, not the ‘making of’. The biology of incarnation. The first week: the undivided body vs cellularity, differentiation and organization as the essentials of embryo life. Time is not there yet. Nidation as a dialogue of binding and de-binding. Blastula with center en periphery, back and front as first two orientations of the body. Ectoderm and Endoderm as two fundamental ways of interaction with environment. Through crisis of nidation into the second week, vegetative being. Tat tvam asi: Man is not ‘there’ yet
The animal Embryo
Incarnation and Individuation
Polarity of external vs internal motion and of animal (somatic) and vegetative (autonomic) nervous system. The act of birth pre-exercised. The organization of Innerness: fascia and blood, architecture and continuity as complementary to anatomy. Magnet principle: in all body dimensions the polarity principle appears. The holographic principle of threefoldness. Neuro-/ pneumo-/ viscero-. The V of symmetry. Muscle as connective tissue: three types of muscle and motion. Cycles, rhythms and vibrations
The embryo of Freedom
The evolving Embryo
Summary of the four ways of being and phases in embryonic development. The conservation of the upright posture and embryonic features as the image of the essential human quality of equilibrium and centering. Man and animal, an opposition? “Animals give in where man holds back”. Man as ‘adult embryo’ (‘retardation’) and ‘first-born’ (non-specialization). Phylogeny and ontogeny: plan or consequence? The embryology and evolution of freedom. Not by brain and genes alone. Man as mediator. Evolution of spirit and mind?


What do we do when we are embryo?

As a kind of ‘brainless’ being the human embryo is a challenge for those who search for spirit in the human existence and body. Spirit in this context defined as everything that modern science inclusive modern genetics, neurophysiology and psychology qualitate qua to deny as non-evident and therefore non-existent quality. Jaap van der Wal tries in this course to go on the search for spirit in man and nature following another scientific pathway. That means searching for sense, meaning, goal of our existence. The question like What we actually doing when we are embryo? is only relevant for the embryologist who is on the search for such qualities. An effort is made to come to the essence of spiritual being of the human embryo and to bring the relationships between spirit, soul and body to light. New perspectives are presented with an outlook on a polarity morphology, threefoldness of the human body, on microcosmos and macrocosmos, human existence in development and incarnation. The human body is considered here as a dynamic process that only can be understood as a living organism. Effort will be made to overcome the modern poor philosophical ‘nothingbutterism'(“the human being is nothing else than just material processes and software and so on”) and to extend it to a real holistic and spiritual human biology. The approach that will be followed is a scientific one i.e the Goetheanistic phenomenology and is based upon our primary perception and experiencing of our reality. This means: NOT “I think therefor I am” bit “I experience myself as a thinking, feeling and willing being, therefor I am and exist in , by and thanks to this body”.

Content of the course
In the human embryonic development we are dealing with what could be mentioned as ‘still functioning in forms’. By this is meant that the gestures of growth and development that the human embryo is performing could be interpreted and understood as human behavior. And as a kind a pre-exercising of what later on will appear as physiological and psychological functions. It looks as if the embryo, and therefore the human being, is in a kind of empathetic equilibrium between antipathy and sympathy with the environment and the world. This polarity seems to be essential for the human being and suggests to be an indication of the twofoldness of spirit and matter. Phenomenological embryology helps us to see the human body is an expression of as well body as well as mind (dynamic morphology). The search is made for possible answers to questions like Where do we come from? and What is the human being? The approach practiced here leads to a kind of process morphology that may overcome the Cartesian anatomy: a real morphology of mind and body with the whole body as expression of the human soul.  The gestures of growth of the embryo could be interpreted as a kind of echo of the development of mankind (evolution):  in this way  becoming  human and the evolution of humanity, biography and biology come together.  The embryo also provides insight  in the laws and priciples of human development. The way in which the human shape gets its form in the prenatal phase is an expression of the essential feature that the human being ‘is citizens of two worlds i.e. mind AND matter, heavens AND earth and that in this tension field the human being develops (embryology) and manifests itself (morphology).
The aim of the course is to allow the people to participate in the mighty processes that create the basis for the existence of each human individual. Aim is to do this not only means of intelligence (‘head’) had but also with feeling (‘heart’). With the ‘spectacles’ of the phenomenology is possible to ‘see’ a spiritual perspective in man and in becoming man based upon the scientific facts of the prenatal life. This approach ‘teaches’ that we human beings may be considered as beings that by means of conception, embryonic development and birth create incarnations of mind (spirit) into a body.
Prior knowledge of embryology is not required. Diagrams, illustrations and a reader will be available. The lectures and discussions will be alternated with practical exercises like form drawing and bodily motions (‘eurhythmy’).
A reader or text of the course is not available.
There exists a German edition of six lectures with extensive English abstracts: Jaap van der Wal, Michaela Glöckler u.a., Bausteine einer anthroposophischen Physiotherapie – Dynamische Morphologie und Entwicklung der menschlichen Gestalt, Persephone, 3rd edition, 2009, ISBN 978-3-7235-1183-1. German, extensive English abstracts. A good alternative is Jaap van der Wal, Dynamic Morphology and Embryology, Chapter 4 in Guus van der Bie and Machteld Huber (eds), Foundations of Anthroposophical Medicine, Floris Books, 2003, ISBN 0-86315-417-4. In English (75 pages).  Of this chapter  additions in several languages  are available :  Dutch, German,  Spanish  and Italian.
Written by Jaap are two chapters The Speech of the Embryo en Human Conception: How to overcome Reproduction published in the book by Michael J. Shea: Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy, Volume One, North Atlantic Books, Berkely, California, 200, ISBN-13 978-1-55643-591-1 en the chapter Der Inkarnierende Embryo, in the German book by Torsten Liem, Morphodynamik in der Osteopathie, Hippokrates Verlag, 2006, ISBN 3-8304-5340-X.  English translation is available. I
Some courses and seminars are recorded on DVD. in English: Embryo In Motion: Understanding Ourselves as Embryo, Jaap van der Wal, 4-DVD Set, recorded live in Portland, OR, June 3–6, 2010, Price: $130.
Documents available (downloaden)
It is possible to download PowerPoint Presentation used during the course from the website (www.embryo.nl). This includes the course documents from the reader and also for Dynamic Morphology and Embryology as well as ALL the animations shown during the course. If you bring a USB stick, you can also simply download this package of documents on that.
Bie, G. van der, Embryology – Early development from a phenomenological point of view, en andere boekjes uit de reeks Companions to Medical Study, Louis Bolk Instituut, Driebergen, Holland, Publ. Number GVO 01, Zie ook www.louisbolk.nl. Thans beschikbaar: Embryology, Anatomy, Physiology, Biochemistry, Pharmacology and Immunology.
About embryology (a.o.)
Blechschmidt, E., The Ontogenetic Basis of Human Anatomy – A Biodynamic Approach to Development from Conception to Birth. Brian Freeman, N. Atlantic Books, Berkeley, 2004.
Blechschmidt E., Gasser R.F., Biokineticstics and Biodynamics of Human Differentiation, North Atlantic Books, Berkely USA, 2012 (1978), ISBN 978-1-58394-452-3
Grossinger, Richard, (2003): Embryos, Galaxies and Sentient Beings – How the Universe Makes Life.  North Atlantic Books, Berkely USA, 2003, ISBN 1-55643-419-7
Sadler, T.W., Langman’s Medical Embryology. Philadelphia, 2005
About morphology
Functional Morphology – The dynamic wholeness of the human organism, Johannes W. Rohen, Adonis Press, 2008, ISBN-10 0932776361.
Verhulst, J.,  Der Erstgeborene, Verlag Freies Geistesleben, Stuttgart, 1999.

More information about dates of the course you may find under course calendar.

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