Metamorphic hormonal secretions are felt as ever more poignant longings and gratitudes.
The fire of kundalini is a circuitous contagion of cause and effect. Increased sex hormone levels intensifies kundalini and increased kundalini upregulates both the level of sex hormones and receptor sensitivity to them. This circle of cause and effect is the basis of metamorphosis and spiritual birth.
The metamorphichormone cycle probably follows a similar sequence to that of romantic love. Dr. Helen Fisher who wrote "The Anatomy of Love," says that testosterone might be the main active agent occurring during infatuation, then the stimulants dopamine and norepinephrine coupled with low levels of serotonin during the romantic/obsessive phase and then oxytocin and vasopressin during the attachment, calm and peace of long term relationship. Similarly I think that testosterone might be the predominant agent during the priming phase of kundalini awakening when sexual heat is stimulated regardless of one's social context. Then during the influx, shock and transmutation phases the activating hormones dopamine and norepinephrine are probably predominant. Finally things settle down during the substantiation phase with vasopressin and oxytocin giving one a sense of deep peace and Connection. Fisher says that orgasm is associated with higher levels of vasopressin and oxytocin and a successful metamorphosis stabilizes bliss such that one could liken the state to a permanent brain orgasm.
All the hormones are amplified during metamorphosis. From some of the symptoms we can work out which ones are dominant at each stage. Track your symptoms on a calendar, because they will fall in with your hormone cycles, and the seasonal-month of the year. That way each month and year you will know what to expect. The monthly and annual kundalini cycle in males will track closely with testosterone and with females it follows the estrogen cycle. As I have said the solar and lunar passage throughout the year is a huge factor in kundalini flow and development, but so is large weather systems. The seasonal effect on kundalini cycles is very apparent and easily explained. One of the factors in seasonal variability is the increased secretion of melatonin in winter may be what reduces kundalini at this time, by down-regulating the production of sex hormones. Conversely the maximum light hours of July could be why July is max-kundalini month, because of the consequent reduced melatonin and increased sex hormones.
There is more information on this fascinating subject of the chemistry of love in Diane Ackerman's book "A Natural History of Love."
Testosterone must increase in both men and women during the mystic/sexual heating period in the beginning, and during the influx. Sex hormones probably start falling off during the burnout/fall/substantiation and recovery period.
More testosterone is produced during puberty, when in love, through exercise, during war to powerful stimulate cells, prepare for action and make the mind alert and enterprising. So often do people relate a period of intense sexual activation at the beginning of a kundalini awakening that I think testosterone must be fundamental in spiritual initiation. The sexual heat does indeed feel very similar to taking a hit of testosterone supplement, although because it's something the body is instigating, the sexual heat of kundalini is both more enduring, intense and portentous. It can last for years and penetrates one's being completely.
Consider that the several years of mystic heating that occur prior to the awakening is fueled by testosterone, and testosterone is the hormone of individuation and autonomy. Nature in her wisdom gives us this time of hormonal priming to prepare our lives for the coming awakening. Testosterone by increasing one's boundary definition and activity level is exactly what we need prior to having our adaptive brain (left-brain functions) dissolve in the Great Bliss. This increase in personal power forces us to push for life circumstances that "feed and nurture" us. Thus we prepare our nest for the period when our resourcefulness is diminished during the awakening itself.
If the years of testosterone priming didn't occur we would simply be too vulnerable and exposed to external influences. The awakening therefore is more likely to become a psychotic breakdown if the self-system is not strong enough to hold the heightened senses and expanded levels of perception into a coherent whole. Since stress reduces testosterone it might be that those individuals from stressful childhoods or under excessive stress during the start of an awakening are more likely to become unbalanced because their boundary definition and solid self-sense has been compromised by lack of testosterone throughout their lives. If the years of testosterone priming did not occur we would be more likely to be in an unconscious (parasitic/codependent) social environment, which is antithetical to awakening. So not only does the testosterone work on the biological level to rev up our cells, it also operates in the social and lifestyle departments.
This same effect probably applies to reproductive relationships as well. Just as Nature prepares the ground for children to be born, through the hormonal modulation of social conditions, Nature, the causal force of manifestation, hormonally she prepares a nest for the emergence of cosmic consciousness. The really interesting thing would be to study the triggering of metamorphic chemistry between the sexes through this hormonal and neurological change.
This internal dynamo seems to be propelling us forcibly toward some unknown event, like the Eros between lovers forcing union. Yet this enormous pressure is not so much to cause things to happen in the world, but is the very dynamic of evolution itself melting us in the sacred marriage of inner unity. The marriage of the hemispheres/sexes/poles. We might be inspired to run here and there by this hormonal tension until we realize that we are simply cooking in God's melting pot. Knowing what is going on within us helps us to get some distance from our uproarious physiology and emotions in order to enjoy the ride.
Testosterone enhances aerobic metabolism and increases protein synthesis in males and females. Low levels of testosterone are associated with muscle loss, weight gain, brittle bones, impotence, loss of sex drive, irritability, depression and fatigue. Levels tend to drop off as we get older at the rate of 1% per year after middle age.
Reasons for low testosterone levels include:
Receptors become blocked: Estrogen gets taken up by the receptor sites and blocks testosterone from acting.
Testosterone becomes bound: Testosterone gets bound to sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) leaving only about 2% of testosterone actually free to work.
Production falls: High levels of estrogen trick the brain into thinking that enough testosterone is being produced. Stress and sense of failure also reduce testosterone.
Testosterone converts to estrogen: Testosterone changes to estrogen and DHT, excess estrogen can increase production of SHBG and block receptor sites.
TESTOSTERONE AND KINDLING
Studies show that testosterone can induce mania or hypomania, in about 10% of men. There are reports of testosterone patches and DHEA inducing manic episodes.In males, Testosterone and its two metabolites, estradiol E(2) and DHT, enhance the development of amygdala-kindled seizures. Since estradiol has the most potent kindling effect anti-estradiol herbal intervention may have potential therapeutic value for males with epilepsy and might help reduce the severity of kundalini awakenings.
Jed Diamond identifies a number of male hormonal cycles including: Testosterone, which goes up and down four or five times an hour. Daily cycles, with testosterone being higher in the morning and lower at night. A monthly hormonal cycle that is unique to each man. Seasonal cycles with testosterone higher in November and lower in April. Hormonal cycles between 40 and 55 that have been called male menopause or andropause. Hormonal changes related to stressors in a man's life. www.theirritablemale.com
In a study with male monkeys mean serum prolactin levels increased significantly during June, July and August in all six animals. Peak levels were observed in August and September and then levels declined gradually to reach a minimum in April and May. Mean serum testosterone levels closely paralleled the annual pattern of prolactin. Mean serum LH levels significantly decreased during the time when mean serum prolactin and testosterone levels were increasing and they increased again at the time of decreasing mean prolactin levels, i.e. mean serum LH and prolactin were negatively correlated.
Estrogens antagonize the effects of the parathyroid hormone, minimizing the loss of calcium from bones and thus helping to keep bones strong. Recent research suggests that rising estradiol levels in estrous females causes a temporary but substantial increase in dendritic spine density of the hippocampus.
ESTROGEN CYCLE AND KUNDALINI
It appears that kundalini increases around 8 days after the start of menses, probably due to the sharp peak of estrogen at this time. During menstruation a new follicle begins to develop in one of the ovaries. After menstruation ceases, the follicle continues to develop, secreting an increasing amount of estrogen as it does so. The estrogen level reaches its peak just prior to ovulation at around 8-10 days, then it drops off for ovulation, and picks up at a lower level, (along with progesterone) for the building of the uterus wall. Estrogen has been shown to increase seizures (kindling), and progesterone to decrease them; and both seem also to modulate bipolar mood states.
The estrogen peak of the menses cycle's effect on kundalini might not be apparent during the peak of the awakening, for it would be hidden amongst the intensity of the various symptoms; but it appears to be a very regular phenomena during the quiet substantiation stage for the years following an awakening.
There is a nice chart showing the estrogen and progesterone levels during the 28 day cycle: users.rcn.com
PROTECTION FROM ESTROGEN
Estrogens (estradiol and estrone) are produced by the aromatization of testosterone in the fat cells, skin, bone and other tissues. Since testosterone changes into estrogen one thing I focused on was to make sure the diet included substances that sop up the extra estrogen so it didn't cause cancer. Increased free radicals plus increased hormones and a preoccupied immune system is a dangerous combo so during a kundalini awakening both men and women should consider taking herbs to protect ourselves from excess estrogen.
Artificial steroid hormones may facilitate the growth of certain cancers, and we can maintain youthful hormone levels without them. The effect of meditation on the pituitary gland is one such way, and exercise will increase testosterone. To facilitate the Heating phase of awakening we can constructively manage our testosterone metabolism by taking herbs to unbind the blood testosterone, free up receptors, increase testosterone production and aid in estrogen elimination.
It is also most helpful to include a cleansing program to detoxify the tissues thus diminishing resistance to whatever circulating thyroid hormone is present. Women who are estrogen dominant have poor thyroid efficiency because estrogen increases thyroxine-binding globulin--the transport system for both T3 and T4. Globulin-bound thyroid is inactive. The more thyroid hormones are globulin-bound, the less of the active form is available. Adequate amounts of natural progesterone reduce estrogen dominance and consequently, increase the biologically active form of thyroid hormones. For many women, using natural progesterone along with committing to a healthy diet, using nutritional support, reducing stress and adding exercise is most effective. Saw palmetto has anti-estrogenic and anti-androgenic effects in addition to anti-inflammatory properties.
Beyond-a-Century.com sells an antiestrogen formula to inhibit the conversion of testosterone to estrogen and DHT. It contains DIM, chrysin, nettle root and Bioperine. Other antiestrogen products include: quercetin, chasteberry, Saw Palmetto, methoxy isoflavone and calcium D-glucarate.
Avena Sativa or "oat green juice" frees globulin bound (useless) testosterone making it bioavailable and preventing it from turning into DHT. The percentage of testosterone held by globulin increases with age. Those taking oat grass juice report higher free testosterone levels and an increase in strength, and libido in both males and females. Works especially well with higher potency Tribulus. Oat-grass juice is both a sex enhancer and helps recovery from nicotine addiction. helping to increase endurance, mental processing and anaerobic work capacity. Avena Sativa, Saw Palmetto and Nettle Root are a good combo for freeing serum testosterone for women and men.
Luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) are called gonadotropins because stimulate the gonads--in males, the testes, and in females, the ovaries. These two hormones secreted from cells in the anterior pituitary are essential for reproduction. In women, LH helps regulate the menstrual cycle and egg production (ovulation); in men, LH stimulates the production of testosterone, which plays a role in sperm production. Women's LH levels normally vary with the phase of the menstrual cycle, rapidly increasing just before ovulation occurs. This "LH surge" could be why kundalini increases at this time in women. Men's LH levels normally remain constant. The principle regulator of LH and FSH secretion is gonadotropin-releasing hormone or GnRH. GnRH is a ten amino acid peptide that is synthesized and secreted from hypothalamic neurons and activates gonadotropic cells of the pituitary. Nitric oxide stimulates gonadotrophin in the Hypothalamus so the increase in sex hormones during awakening might be due to the general dys-inhibition of the pituitary and the sensitization of hormone receptors.
Black cohosh preparations are used in the treatment of menopause to improve symptoms such as hot flashes, depression and sleep disturbance. German researchers found that black cohosh produced an effect on serum concentrations of pituitary hormone levels, including a significant and selective reduction of luteinizing hormone (LH) (while not significantly effecting levels of prolactin and follicle stimulating hormone). Hot flashes have been linked to a significant spike in the release of luteinizing hormone.
The love peptide oxytocin (OT) is released into the blood stream in from the posterior pituitary in response to a variety of stimuli such as suckling, childbirth, or certain kinds of stress. Oxytocinergic neurons display widespread projections throughout the central nervous system, and in peripheral tissues such as the uterus, placenta, amnion, corpus luteum, testis, and heart. OT receptors have also been identified in other tissues, including the kidney, thymus, pancreas, and even fat cells. It is interesting that (in rats at least) the amygdala contains receptors for vasopressin whose activation increases aggressiveness and other signs of the flight or fight response and oxytocin whose activation lessens the signs of stress.
During kundalini awakenings there are some liberal squirtings of oxytocin with very interesting somatic/emotional consequences. Before any inner-conjunction and samadhi there must be a fair amount of this chemical in order to calm one prior to the paralysis of the event. Along with all the bliss chemicals there must be oxytocin as well. Oxytocin is considered the hormone of bonding and trust. It has been labeled the cuddle hormone, increases during nursing, and skyrockets in men and women during orgasms. OT exerts potent antistress effects that modulate the neuroendocrine reflexes to the establishment of complex social and bonding behaviors related to the reproduction and care of the offspring.
The oxytocin system is strongly regulated by gonadal and adrenal steroids. Before the onset of labor, uterine sensitivity to OT markedly increases concomitant with a strong upregulation of OT receptors. The many other reproductive roles oxytocin plays include: stimulation of uterine smooth muscle contraction during labor and milk ejection during lactation, milk let-down reflex, estrous cycle length, follicle luteinization in the ovary, and ovarian steroidogenesis, spontaneous erections, and ejaculation.
Oxytocin is undoubtedly elevated during some of the peak experiences of kundalini influx such as: the inner-conjunction/samadhi/silver cord, and mystic sexual ecstasies and when the helix-cord of energy goes down to the ground from the pelvis. Also during the false pregnancy events when kundalini is working on the belly.
Oxytocin stimulates contractions of the uterus at the time of birth, so it is probably dominant during mystical ecstasy (Sex with Eros). Oxytocin is higher in women, and gives uterine contractions this is perhaps why females have more spontaneous orgasms than men. Oxytocin and testosterone in differing quantities are used by both the male and female body. Estrogen seems to enhance the effect of oxytocin, while tesosterone seems to reduce its effects.
Because oxytocin is one of the main chemicals involved in the actual initiation of kundalini there is great spiritual incentive for upgrading our ability for compassionate action. This explains why compassion, generosity, and caring action for others is essential to the spiritual path for it's the very stones on the path. No walking of compassion, generosity and caring means no spiritual path period.
Cortisol is synthesized from cholesterol and acts through specific intracellular receptors to affect numerous physiologic systems including immune function, glucose counter regulation, vascular tone, and bone metabolism. The"stress hormone" cortisol is released to generate energy during times of stress along with the hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine that constitute the "fight or flight" response to a perceived threat. Following the stressful or threatening event, epinephrine and norepinephrine levels return to normal while cortisol levels can remain elevated for a longer time period. In fact, cortisol levels can remain persistently elevated in the body when a person is subjected to chronic stress.
The stress response requires an intact hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) secreted by the hypothalamus is the most proximal element of the HPA axis, and it acts as a central coordinator for neuroendocrine and behavioral responses to stress. CRH is made not only in the hypothalamus but also in peripheral tissues, such as T lymphocytes. The stress hormone CRH produces kindling and makes it more likely that other external stimuli will create a kindling reaction. The more cortisol that is released in the early stages of an awakening during shock or stressful maladjustment, the more likely depression will occur later on during the exhaustion phase.
Cortisol acts like a thermostat clamping down on its own production. It slows the production of the two hormones that touch off the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis: corticotropin-releasing factor in the hypothalamus and adrenocorticotropic hormone in the pituitary. Cortisol also has a strong anti-inflammatory effect, it reins in the immune system and reduces swelling from tissue damage. In hypoadrenalism when there is insufficient cortisol the immune system runs wild and reacts to things that do not really pose a threat to the body, such as in the instance of allergies. High cortisol levels are the result of the response to chronic stress and represent the adaptation phase of the stress response. Low cortisol levels are the consequence of adrenal exhaustion or the exhaustion phase of the stress response.
Cortisol output normally has a diurnal and circadian rhythm, rising in the morning, falling at night, and changing with the seasons. Changes related to work-sleep cycles affect this rhythm, and changes in the rhythm affect night-time sleep patterns. Changes in the length of daylight hours, blindness, and loss of consciousness also affects the rhythm. Cortisol levels might be one of the main factors in the timing of kundalini awakenings and its various phases.
Cortisol opposes and works to balance the action of insulin on glucose storage. When insulin lowers blood sugar past a certain point, cortisol levels increase to raise blood sugar. Cortisol mobilizatizes amino acids from muscle to increase protein breakdown, increases mobilization of fatty acids to increase lipid concentrations in the blood, and increases blood glucose concentration. At the same time the other tissues of the body such as viscera decrease their use of glucose as fuel. Cortisol also leads to the release of so-called fatty acids, an energy source from fat cells, for use by the muscles. Taken together, these energy-directing processes prepare the individual to deal with stressors and danger, and ensure that the brain receives adequate energy source.
Cortisol stimulates fat and carbohydrate metabolism for fast energy, and stimulates insulin release and maintenance of blood sugar levels resulting in an increase in appetite. Thus chronic stress, may lead to cortisol levels that stimulate your appetite, with the end result being weight gain. While muscle growth is adversely affected by cortisol by preventing the production of prostaglandin in response to training (mechanical stimulation) and eating (insulin action). A low glycemic diet is important for sugar handling stress increases cortisol levels. Elevated cortisol, in turn, aggravates the sugar metabolism situation contributing to the development of high insulin levels and ultimately diabetes.
The adrenal cortical hormones suppress inflammatory processes, healing processes and the immune system. Various immune cells (white blood cells) cycle in and out of the spleen and bone marrow for special conditioning and possible nourishment and instruction. This immune system trafficking follows the cortisol cycle. High stress levels produce high levels of cortisol in response. When stress is ongoing cortisol levels may also remain high indefinitely, producing a series of biochemical, physiological and even anatomical reactions. Cortisol is known to increase whole body lipolysis, yet chronic hypercortisolemia results in increased fat mass. Depressed patients who are also hypercortisolemic gain increased visceral fat, are resistance to insulin, linking major depression and cardiovascular disorders.
The hippocampus is the region of the brain that decifers and stores emotional and sense memory. It is the most plastic, changeable and vulnerable region of the brain. Nerve cell generation in the hippocampus slows down or stops with the sustained cortisol levels of chronic stress. It also responds to gonadal, thyroid, and adrenal hormones, which modulate changes in synapse formation and dendritic structure.
The level of cortisol at the cell level controls thyroid hormone production. Hypothyroidism, reactive hypoglycemia (glucose intolerance) and depressed immunity are often associated with this condition as well. Long-term exposure to high cortisol levels may eventually result in such changes as osteoporosis, muscle weakening and wasting, high blood pressure, increased abdominal fat deposition, immune dysfunction, steroid-induced diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Another serious consequence may be the eventual fatigue and failure of the adrenal glands.
The exhaustion phase of a kundalini awakening needs to be treated as a general hypofunctional down regulation of all body systems. Repeated and prolonged stress leads to the depletion of the adrenal glands and other glands and organ systems. It is the stress response itself that is damaging, because the body spends so many resources on allostatic adaptation that it causes the economy of the body to become bankrupt. An under-working Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis is one of the results. Prof. Validimir Dilman described an age-related syndrome that he named Hyperadaptosis. Hyperadaptosis, or adrenal burnout, results from cortisol resistance and hypercortisolemia. Hypothalamic cortisol receptors become progressively less sensitive with age, so cortisol receptor sensitivity in the hypothalamus determines the biological age of the adaptive homeostat. To recover from chronic stress response it is necessary to increase receptor sensitivity to cortisol, thereby lowering cortisol levels and reducing cellular damage. This reduces loss of brain cells, improves glucose tolerance, reduces body fat and preserves bone density.
SAMe and Phosphatidylserine increases sensitivity of prolactin and cortisol receptors resulting in lower levels of circulating hormone. One of the most effective ways to lower excess cortisol levels is with the nutrient Phosphatidylserine (PS), for it is believed to facilitate the repair of the cortisol receptors in the hypothalamus. Cortisol receptors can become damaged by high cortisol levels, reducing the ability of the hypothalamus to sense and correct high cortisone levels. Because Phosphatidylserine helps repair the feedback control apparatus, it is useful in correcting both high and low cortisol levels. DHEA can also be used to alleviate the symptoms of excess cortisol or hyperadaptosis. DHEA can improve glucose tolerance, convert excess body fat to lean muscle mass, alleviate depression, increase energy and decrease pain in chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia patients, decrease joint pain and fatigue in inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, improve mental clarity and enhance overall immune function.
Reading: There are plenty of books out there on cortisol, adrenal exhaustion, balancing hormones and thyroid. Hormonal Balance: Understanding Hormones, Weight, and Your Metabolism by Scott Isaacs looks like a good one. For a general overhaul on all homestats a program like that laid out in Total Renewal: 7 Key Steps to Resilience, Vitality, and Long-Term Health by Frank Lipman M.D. might be in order.