The Recapitulation Diaries

In The Recapitulation Diaries, Jan Ketchel recounts her three-year-long period of deep and intensive recapitulation. Please be aware that these are adult books. Instances of sexual abuse are described, not for sensational purposes but only as part of the unfolding process. Be forewarned that these instances of sexual abuse can be very uncomfortable. We suggest putting the books down, taking notes, and returning to reading when ready. If triggered at a deeper level, we advise seeking the aid of a qualified mental health professional.

More than just a documentation of a process and the revelation of a traumatic past, The Recapitulation Diaries comprise a deeply intriguing memoir. As the whirlwind journey unfolds in poignant detail Jan holds nothing back; she reveals what lies in the muck of her deepest self.

As Michael Gellert, Author and Jungian Analyst wrote regarding The Man in the Woods: “…perhaps the most meticulously and poignantly documented experience of trauma work that I’ve read…light does slowly come and there can be redemption at the end. Probably the only way to that, however, is the recapitulation (the author) talks about, or what Jungians and Freudians call anamnesis.”

If you are interested in learning about and understanding what it means to take a recapitulation journey, Jan’s books capture the process perfectly. In memories, dreams and life’s unfolding, she shows us what it means to face the darkness inside and gradually emerge into the light, a changed being, totally freed to live life to the fullest. She reveals herself to us on every page, letting us know that we are not alone, that our innermost thoughts and fears are part of being human. These are, indeed, books about being poignantly human, full of tender frailties and profound insights alike, but these are also books about discovering the deeper, interconnected self. As Jan’s life unfolds in the most touching and magical of ways we are shown the fuller potential that we all hold within us, every day of our own lives.

The Recapitulation Diaries offer insight into a fascinating process of healing, encompassing both a holistic approach to mental health and the process of recapitulation as carved from the shamanic world of Carlos Castaneda. In true warrior form, Jan forges through the destruction of the ego and the old self, through the collapse of an old world structure that no longer serves her, into a powerful rebirthing.

A shamanic recapitulation is certainly a journey worth taking, whether one has trauma to deal with or is simply looking for a deeply transformative process. Be aware that The Recapitulation Diaries carry significant energy, as recapitulation is imbued with the energy of ancient shamanic intent, like many other healing practices that have been handed down through generations of practitioners. It is a powerful process, a pathway to a changed perception of the self and the world.

Through the highs and lows of her night sea journey, Jan learns the importance of staying  grounded in reality, for even though she experiences moments of transcendent bliss and insight, she also learns that life is meant to be lived on Earth, the learning ground for everything.

As Jan’s recapitulation process comes to an end, the biggest challenge may be to the reader, for she quite unintentionally leaves us in a state of cognitive dissonance, a technique so treasured by the shamans of ancient Mexico, where we are left with two irreconcilable opposites, two contradictory truths that leave us stunned and confused. Having overcome the ruthless petty tyrant that was her abuser, having freed her energy and her spirit, she leaves us wondering: could her personal reconciliation of her cognitive dissonance truly be authentic?

In the end, it is the reconciliation of cognitive dissonance that launches us to advancement beyond victimhood, offers the potential for advancement into a higher stage of evolution, and schools us in the non-attachment needed to truly become a loving being.

Chuck Ketchel, LCSWR