Orgone | Wilhelm Reich, Vital Life Energy, and Sexuality

Published: Feb 10, 2022 | Updated: May 19, 2022

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Orgone | Wilhelm Reich, Sexuality, and his Vital Life Energy Concept

The concept of the existence of Orgone Energy (or Orgone Radiation) was developed in the 1930s by Wilhelm Reich (1897 – 1957), an Austrian physician and psychoanalyst.

The idea of Orgone roughly corresponds with the concepts of Indian Prana and Chinese Qi, that is, with Vital Life Energy or the Universal Life Force, in the sense that Orgone is considered an omnipresent, invisible substance being the creative “thing” that gives life to and animates everything, from plants, bacteria to humans and from the sea, mountains, and earth to the entire universe.

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Wilhelm Reich believed that blockages and subsequent deficiencies of Orgone lie at the root of diseases and discomforts. As a consequence, Reich designed so-called Orgone Energy Accumulators, which are devices or machines that can collect Orgone Energy from the environment to be used to cure health conditions and promote overall health and wellbeing. Reich was notably occupied with improving Orgastic i.e. Orgasmic Potency (which he believed could solve many illnesses), and the idea of curing cancer with concentrated Orgone Energy.

Reich also claimed that he could actually “see” Orgone through his self-created Organoscope, a special kind of telescope. Orgone Energy, according to Reich, is present in the soil and in the air, and has a blue or blue-greyish color. Its physical i.e. material aspect is Aether, and it’s energetic or spiritual aspect is what we call God. In fact, he called the elementary make-up of Orgone as consisting of so-called bions (or biones). Reich claimed that the (observable) bion is the core functional unit of all living things.

The concept of Reich’s Orgone Energy was initially influenced by Sigmund Freud’s work on libido i.e. sexual drive, but he took this farther than only being an individual psycho-emotional phenomenon. Reich saw Libido as a powerful life-embracing, bioenergetic force — with both an energetic and physical aspect — in fact, the underpinning Life Force of all phenomena, which he later called Orgone. Moreover, the free flow and subsequent spontaneous expression of this Orgone Energy through human beings was being obstructed, that is, inhibited by the detrimental effects of society’s rules, laws, and moral codes on our body, according to Reich, notably those moral rules with regard to our sexuality.

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Interesting enough, Orgone theory shows some resemblances with Tantric Kundalini Energy, which in Indian traditions is considered the sexual, creative energy — an important aspect (or expression) of Vital Life Energy, the latter called Prana in India.

According to Tantric traditions i.e. Tantra Yoga, Kundalini Energy needs to be “awakened” in order to get rid of our inhibitions, let Prana Shakti Sexual-Creative Energy flow freely through the Chakras and our body, to finally become self-realized, liberated, and spiritually enlightened.

Moreover, Reich argued that poor Orgone exposure and/or circulation leads to neurosis and what he called a Body Armor, the latter being a “shield” consisting of deep rooted emotional traumas, tensions and inhibitions, which express themselves physically (leading again to mental i.e. psychological issues in an enduring vicious circle). As a result of these ideas Reich developed a specific type of therapy to open up and resolve this Body Armor i.e. neuroses, called Vegetotherapy or Psychiatric Orgone Therapy. The goal of this therapy was to stimulate the free flow of Orgone through the body, which would heal the person mentally, emotionally, and physically.

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Vegetotherapy shows remarkable parallels with modern psycho-somatic Dearmoring Bodywork or Body Psychotherapy, which of late has become adopted and further influenced by the Neo-Tantric and Sacred Sexuality movement. In Neo-Tantra, Vegetotherapy or Orgone Therapy merges with Indian Tantric concepts of the “free flow of Prana Life and Sexual Energy,” Self-Liberation, Self-Realization, and “the transformation of sexual energy into spiritual energy and growth,” among other ideas.

In any case, it was Wilhelm Reich who coined the term Sexual Revolution in the 1930s, and he is indeed by many considered the “Godfather of the Sexual Revolution,” which is considered to have taken place from the 1960s to the 1980s. Reich argued that an authentic political revolution could only be possible when sexual repression was overthrown, which again shows quite some resemblance with millennia-old Tantra concepts and implications.


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