By Dr. Terry Willard
One of the most wondrous parts of our physical body is the Pineal Gland. It is also called the epiphysis cerebri, epiphysis, conarium or the “Third Eye.” It is a small endocrine gland in the vertebrate brain. It produces serotonin and melatonin, hormones that affect mood and modulate our wake/sleep patterns and seasonal functions. Its shape resembles a tiny pine-cone (hence its name in Latin, pinea, which means “pinecone”), and it is located near the center of the brain, between the two hemispheres, tucked in a groove where the two rounded thalamic bodies join.
Even though this gland is hidden deep inside the brain and is only the size of a pea, it has been an almost fanatical obsession of masters, mystery schools and religions throughout the ages. Rene Descartes, the famous philosopher dedicated much of his life to studying the pineal gland, stating it is the “principal seat of the soul”. He believed it is the connection between the physical body and the mind/soul. We also see it playing prominent in the writings of Pythagoras, Plato, and Iamblichus, as well as in Egyptian, Tibetan and Roman Catholic Church. It is even mentioned by the Founding Fathers of the USA.
One of the central figures in Egyptian mystery school myths is the Eye of Horus. Many feel the eye of Horus is really the third eye, or the pineal gland. There does seem to be a lot of similarities, at least from an anatomical point of view.
The Egyptian connection does not stop there, by any means – in fact some feel the great pyramid of Giza was not only built to stimulate Pineal activity, it was built with the initiation chamber in the shape/ location of the pineal gland.
In earlier blogs we have talked about the law of similarities, fractal relationships or morphic resonance. When we have things with such a great degree of similarity of shape, they can communicate (vibrate) with each other with ease. This pyramid/ third eye connection was not lost on the Founding Fathers of the U.S.A., who were mostly Free Masons; they used it as part of the country’s seal, which can be seen on the back of the American dollar bill to this day.
Many of the mystery schools often coded the information in the form of a pine cone. We can see this prominently in the Vatican as one of the largest statues to nature. It also retains a dominant role on the staff of the Pope. The entwined snakes on Osiris’ staff are reminiscent of the kundalini forces entwining up the spinal cord to end in the pineal gland.
The Pineal Gland develops in the human fetus around 21 days, responding to light and darkness. Even though it is hidden deep inside the brain, it has photoreceptor cells that bear a strong resemblance to the retinal cells of the eyes. In some species, like lamprey (jawless, blood sucking eel-like fish) and tuatara (reptile), the pineal gland has access to the surface of the skin (a foramen opening) and acts as a third eye with photoreception, having cornea, lens and retina. In Humans, the pineal gland helps set up the circadian rhythms. Melatonin is stimulated by darkness and inhibited by light. Why would we have an organ buried deep inside our brain that responds to light?
Recent scientific research has shown there are substantial, biological similarities between the retina and the pineal gland. Piezoelectric microcrystals may be transmitting photons that can be picked up by the retina-like tissue in the pineal gland—where they are then sent to the brain and descrambled into visual images. This may be responsible for what we call the “mind’s eye”—such as when we suddenly see a mental image of our friend right before he or she calls us. DNA itself seems to accumulate light and in the process transmit light to other cells as a form of communication. Can we watch this process in our mind’s eye? Clearly, more research is necessary to fully understand how the Pineal Gland actually works, but we already have some intriguing research available.
Even though the pineal gland is geographically in the center of the brain, it does not separate itself from the rest of the body with the Blood Brain Barrier (BBB), which the rest of the brain maintains. The internal portion of the pineal gland contains extremely coherent water, with small crystals that respond to piezoelectric frequencies. In fact, this water is so pure and coherent, it is hard to find this purity anywhere else in nature accept the microtubules in the cell. Rudolf Steiner, a well-known scholar of the esoteric mystery schools, argued that the legend of the Holy Grail—a chalice filled with the “waters of life” or “elixir of immortality”—is yet another symbolic reference to the pineal gland. A recent Steiner compilation entitled The Mysteries of the Holy Grail establishes detailed connections between the Grail legends and the pineal gland. The [Holy] Grail is also located within each of us, in the castle of the skull, and can nourish our subtlest perceptions in a way that dispels all but the most refined material influence.
This response to light has not gone unnoticed by researchers of psychedelic hallucinations. Dr. Rick Strassman, while conducting research on the psychedelic dimethyltryptamine (DMT) at the University of New Mexico, advanced the controversial hypothesis that a massive release of DMT from the pineal gland prior to death or near death was the cause of the near death experience (NDE) phenomenon. Several of his test subjects reported NDE-like audio or visual hallucinations. His explanation for this was the possible lack of panic involved in the clinical setting and possible dosage differences between those administered and those encountered in actual NDE cases. Several subjects also reported contact with ‘other beings’, alien-like, insectoid or reptilian in nature, in highly advanced technological environments where the subjects were ‘carried,’ ‘probed,’ ‘tested,’ ‘manipulated,’ ‘dismembered,’ ‘taught,’ ‘loved,’ and even ‘raped’ by these ‘beings’. Basing his reasoning on his belief that all the enzymatic material needed to produce DMT is found in the pineal gland, and moreover in substantially greater concentrations than in any other part of the body, Strassman has speculated that DMT is made in the pineal gland. Currently there is no published reliable scientific evidence supporting this hypothesis and as such, it is merely a hypothesis. DMT and chemically similar substances have been found in many of the botanicals that are used by Shamans around the world to induce euphoric states for them to communicate with the spirit world.
The mood altering substance serotonin, which is in the same chemical family of indols as melatonin and DMT, is manufactured in many parts of the body, especially the brain. Nicholas Giarmin, a professor of pharmacology, and Daniel Freedman, a professor of psychiatry, confirmed that the human brain manufactures serotonin at various sites in the brain. For example, in the Thalamus, they discovered 61 nanograms of serotonin per gram of tissue; in the Hippocampus, 56 ng.; in the Central Gray Section of the Midbrain, they found 482 ng. But in the Pineal Gland, they found 3140 ng. of serotonin per gram of tissue. The Pineal Gland was unmistakably the richest site of serotonin in the brain. This discovery implicates the Pineal Gland as an important site of serotonergic [serotonin-forming] activity. This strongly suggests pineal gland function can affect mood. On the other hand, there may be some correlation between pineal gland health and autoimmune issues such as MS.
Clearly, MS is associated with pineal calcification. For example, one study showed 100 percent of individuals with MS who were consecutively admitted to a hospital had pineal calcification compared to only 43 percent for similar-aged controls with other neurological disorders. In addition, groups who have a low MS incidence (e.g., African Americans, Japanese) also have less pineal calcification. Fluoride may affect the enzymatic conversion of tryptophan to melatonin. Fluoride may also affect the synthesis of melatonin precursors (e.g., serotonin), or other pineal products (e.g., 5-methoxytryptamine). The human pineal gland contains the highest concentration of fluoride in the body. Whether or not fluoride interferes with pineal function in humans requires further investigation.
When you start adding all of this up, where mystery schools, philosophers, major religions, and shamans all point toward the pineal gland being important for spiritual awaking, we can easily see a pattern. When you realize that modern health issues like mood disorders, depression and anxiety, as well as autoimmune issues like MS also point toward the small pineal gland, it triggers ones curiosity.
There are many futurists who say 2012 is a time for reawaking of the Third Eye or the Pineal Gland. In fact, there have been many techniques found to activate the Pineal gland. In future blogs I will investigate some of these.
To be continued . . .