Sex and Homeostasis in New Guinea

Michaela Denis, in her book Leopard In My Lap, tells of an interesting practise used by the Chimbu people of New Guinea. One of their ‘dances’ takes the form of the men and women sitting around the edge of a large hut. They are arranged alternately male and female, the men facing the women. With accompanying drumming they gradual­ly draw close and the men passionately rub noses and faces with the woman on their right, then the one on their left. This carries on for a long period and with obvious pleasure and ardour. The dance seems to be a way of safely allowing the sexual feelings within a group to find expression.

In the ancient world a great many of the ways people used coex was within a religious framework. The unconscious was allowed to express within accepted symbols and boundaries. Frequently the practitioner held the belief structure that it was a god or a spirit which expressed through them. Given the manner in which the unconscious expresses itself in symbols and readily takes up and uses any available belief system, such practices still obviously remain as self regulatory. In Man and His Symbols Jung tells of a Hindu widow who capably directed her household and employees by going into a trance and speaking with the same confidence, voice and authority as her dead husband. After all, she had lived with him many years, and his mannerisms and attitudes were well recorded in her un­conscious. By allowing her being to express itself in that way, she maintained an equilibrium which might other­wise have been difficult.

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