Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Are there differences in male and female near-death experiences?

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"During our last IANDS meeting, an interesting question arose: are there specific differences in male and female near-death experiences? As far as I can remember, this question was nowhere directly addressed in NDE literature (I can be, of course, wrong). But I can imagine that, as Ken Wilbur would put it, male NDEs show more characteristics of agency, and female NDEs of communion, whereby the basic features are the same. Our data base is too small to answer this question. Have you found such differences in your overwhelmingly large NDE sample? This question is intended to be addressed at our next meeting"....Thomas


What we know so far in near-death research from the various countries participating, is that there is no difference whatsoever between male and female near-death experiences: the same with children. No difference. Same types, same elements, same scenarios, and they deal with the same pattern of aftereffects.

Drs. Pim van Lommel and Peter Fenwick, however, have noticed that in their work females tended to have more episodes than males and that people of advanced ages tended to have fewer of them. Their findings at this point have not been verified by others in the field, nor have I noticed what they claimed. Thus, I believe their findings are preliminary and should be taken in that regard.

I did find a significant difference between males and females, though, in how the experiencers died. In my research base, a little over half the men I contacted died because of heart-related ailments, while another 25% were involved in violence or accidents (the rest from assorted causes). With females, a whopping 70% experienced their episode either during childbirth, miscarriage, or hysterectomies.

When viewed symbolically, I take these figures to be indicative of the fact that in our society men are not encouraged to express their "heart" or emotions openly. Aggressive, athletic behavior is promoted but not gentleness or lovingkindness. Men are expected to perform as stalwart paragons of strength and success. Weakness is not tolerated. It should come as no surprise, then, that so many men suffer heart stress, commit acts of violence, or are involved in accidents. By repressing or holding in their emotions, they build up pressure that must be either externally or internally released.

The process of pregnancy and childbirth, the child-bearing years, have always symbolized a time when a woman is completely transformed through the high drama of co-creation, which carries with it the ever-present possibility of death, either for herself or her child. Although women died more often in the past from childbirth and related conditions, women today still "die" in the sense that the birth of a child demands both the surrender and the rebirth of the mother. Interestingly, in a survey done by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2007, they found that childbirth is still today the number one killer of women worldwide. They estimate that one woman dies every single minute of every day because of childbirth (refer to Newsweek Magazine article "What Kills One Woman Every Minute of Every Day" by Barbara Kantrowitz - July 2/July 9, 2007, page 56).

As for the aftereffects, I have not noticed the kind of male/female differences in handling them and with integration, that one finds reams of material about in psychology and psychiatry. We just don't see that. What we do see and there is agreement on this - is that people more left-brained before their experience tend to return more right-brained, and vice versa. I fall into this category. I was more right-brained before; returned more left-brained. My goal: to become more whole-brained. It was taking up rune casting using the elder runes that enabled me to do that. Yes, of all things, free-form rune casting with the ancient runic symbol-signs going back 12,000 to 30,000 years ago (not the better known Norse or German runes which are much younger in history). That's why I have written books about this and have a section of these runes on my website---not because I have turned into some type of neighborhood psychic, but because I have found the skills I have gleaned from using Goddess Runes plus the way they affect others in the sessions I offer to be tremendously helpful. It certainly made a difference with me. As of July 14, 2007, my "Runes of the Goddess" is now available in kit form or as a single book.

Kenneth Ring claimed that he found a number of switches in handedness in his research: a left-handed person becoming right-handed and vice versa. I only came across this switch with maybe five or ten people, not enough, in my opinion, to comment on nor even to consider as an anomaly of the experience. Perhaps another researcher might be able to pursue this with a larger research base. I did find slight changes in the length between the joints on fingers, though. They were longer, afterwards, as if the fingers had grown. This happened to me as well, and I have before and after handprints to back this up. This also happened to around 2% of the people I had sessions with. Again, this is another small number, but the fact that it happened at all and with that many I think needs some looking into. Perhaps one could combine this with switches in handedness to see if there is something happening to, not just people's hands afterward, but with size or joints or with the physicality of the body - above and beyond the big ones that are well documented now (that of changes in the digestion, brain structures and function, the skin, and the nervous system). More research is now coming in on these "big ones." I refer you to Richard J. Bonenfant's paper in our Journal, Vol. 22, No. 3, Spring, 2004. He found that synesthesia (multi-sensing) really is an aftereffect of near-death states - something I have been saying since the early eighties. And there are other strange differences that occur: for instance, with acupuncture, using gold needles is much more successful and quicker for results with experiencers than using stainless steel needles. This seems to be true across the board, although we don't as yet have numbers to back up observations.

I hope all of this helps at your next IANDS meeting. If I can be of further service, let me know. PMH


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