What is Pythiism? by Rachael Lee Harris

What is Pythiism? by Rachael Lee Harris

An alternative form of consciousness distinguished as an oscillation of psychic energy between the unconscious and conscious mind informing one’s whole field of perception: cognitive, emotional, social, physical and spiritual.

Rachael Lee Harris is a psychotherapist and writer in private practice specialising in autism spectrum conditions based in Brisbane, Australia. Her latest book Pythiism: Reframing Autism as an Alternative Form of Consciousness is a revolutionary new theory that describes autism as “an alternative form of human consciousness hidden in plain sight”. It asserts that autism is based, not in the brain, but in the psyche: where mind interfaces with matter – a seismic shift in focus from empirical to intuitive observation. Rachael’s landmark theory re-examines not only the established major symptoms of autism, but also includes rarely or never covered areas of autism research: a psycho-evolutionary perspective, the existential emotions, and psychic phenomena and spirituality.

As a psychotherapist working for many years with clients on the autism spectrum, I had been unsatisfied with the way autism had been explained. The question: “What is Autism?” had routinely, almost exclusively, been answered in terms of its symptoms (a lack of social understanding, limited ability to partake in reciprocal conversation and limited interests) rather than that of its origin – what it is in itself.

An Intuitive Perspective

This symptomatic definition did not sit well with me, because it did not explain to me with any satisfaction the basic traits of autism, let alone autism’s anomalies, such as the psychic phenomena to which people on the spectrum are predisposed. The presentation known as autism isn’t business as usual, by any means. By dint of its oddity, it’s very strangeness, it demands a fresh framework of enquiry, an intuitive lens to bring our assumptions about autism into sharp relief, free from the constraints of the familiar.

A Clean Slate of Perception

My desire to better understand what I was looking at gave me the courage to wipe the slate of my perception clean, not to pursue the answer, but wait for the answer without an external framework of interpretation. So I continued to watch and wait for some years more, and when the answer came I was not disappointed.

One morning in 2016, I sat out in my garden pondering not only my clients experience, but also my own experience: that of a child on the autism spectrum, often unreachable, drawn into my inner-world of fragmented images and fleeting emotions or drawn out by some subject of interest that had caught my attention, before descending once more into my inner-world again.

A Discovery Hidden in Plain Sight

As I sat there considering these two seemingly opposite states of mind, in my mind’s eye I suddenly saw a thin unbroken line rising and falling steadily between the two points, linking and connecting each, and the answer came to me: What you are looking at is an oscillation of psychic energy between your unconscious and conscious mind. Your perception is moving between both. What I stumbled upon was a new understanding of autism not based in the brain, but in the psyche: where mind interfaces with matter: an alternative form of consciousness hidden in plain sight which I defined in the following way:

An alternative form of consciousness distinguished as an oscillation of psychic energy between the unconscious and conscious mind informing one’s whole field of perception: cognitive, emotional, social, physical and spiritual.

The result of this understanding? Not just a new book, but the first new major theory of autism since 1944: Pythiism: Reframing Autism as an Alternative Form of Consciousness.