Thomas Hubl (2020) writes that our societies are dominated by trauma energy. The symptoms of this are disparate worldviews, distorted perceptions and a general sense of disembodiment and disconnection, cut off from our collective roots and our ancestors, leading lives that are unsustainable in a society that is unsustainable.

Trauma fragments, warps perception, and creates isolation, leading to disembodiment (Hubl, 2020). When this is fixed in the collective field, separation is agreed upon as a cultural norm. Individual trauma needs to be seen in the context of social trauma – both are entangled. The collective field is shaped by the social history of that landscape. When this field is filled with historical and trans-generational trauma people within it can be more easily activated and new traumas are easily ignited. A new soul enters through the energetic fields of the parents, the ancestral field and the collective field. The new soul inherits these energies like ‘karmic packages’. If the wider matrix is filled with traumas from slavery or the holocaust, all souls born into that field will be imprinted by this energy. In the same way that a child’s growth is impacted by developmental trauma, the evolution of the culture is impacted by historical trauma. These past energies that are fragmented and unintegrated freeze and change biomatter through epigenetics and manifest downstream through problems in interpersonal dynamics.

In a traumatised culture large amounts of energy are dissociated and suppressed in shadow (Hubl, 2020). They are held in a ‘dark lake’ that is not generally visible, although the symptoms produced can be seen in the social field. The nervous system of the next generation is born and raised in that field. These structures are solidified and taken as ‘normal’. It is hard for people living within that field to recognise this ‘dark lake’. The trauma generates unconscious structures in the field that is the ‘water in which we swim’. Trauma structures, in contrast to water, become fixed and frozen and resist the creativeness of life. These structures, however, are unstable and eventually erupt in crises. Traumatised cultures do not have coherence but are marked by interference. A façade of civility may mask the trauma that lies beneath the surface if the trauma happened a number of generations back, as denial and dissociation are a way of dealing with the past.

Cultural trauma arises as hyperarousal and numbing, social denial and dissociation (Hubl, 2020). Each of these is like a wave rippling through the social field. A trauma field is a darkly generative field of the culture’s shadow. Everything we cannot bare is disowned and cast into this. Trauma fields are collective distortions in perception, delusion and mass projection. Indifference and numbness mean humanity cannot witness itself and reduces our capacity for compassion. Numbness manifests at the collective levels in various addictive patterns – to food, money, shopping, substances, media overuse. It is a collective shutting down to crisis and to healing. Climate change is a symptom of collective trauma, as is the failure to respond. To heal mass trauma greater collective space must be created from which solutions can emerge.

Laboratory mice that are exposed to trauma transmit epigenetic messages to their offspring. This influences the way genes are expressed and passes on important information about trauma to successive generations. The evolutionary purpose of this might be to impart important information about challenging conditions to help descendants to survive. The information that a wider field may hold about social and cultural trauma may serve the same purpose. Trauma field may not be seen just in negative terms but also purveyors of important information about our heritage that hold truths about current reality. These fields highlight where the pain of humanity resides and point toward the need for collective healing.

Hübl, T., & Avritt, J. J. (2020). Healing collective trauma: A process for integrating our intergenerational and cultural wounds. Sounds True.