As the pineal gland was the one most recognized and written about by the earlier adepts, it is the logical beginning of any occult discussion of the endocrine chain. The epiphysis cerebri, or pineal body, secures its name from its peculiar shape (thepinus, or pine cone) and arises in the fifth week of the human embryo as a blind sac branching off from that section of the brain which is next in front of the mid-brain—the diencephalon—which includes the area of the third ventricle and adjacent parts. The distal, or remote, portion of this sac becomes the body of the gland. The proximal portion (the point of attachment or origin) remains as the stalk. Is not this pine cone the one to which E. A. Wallis-Budge refers in his Osiris and the Egyptian Resurrection, when in describing the entry of Ani into the presence of Osiris in the Egyptian ritual of Coming Forth by Day as “the so-called ‘cone’ on Ani’s wig,” for which the good Egyptologist could find no intelligent reason? Is this not also the whirring cone which was among the symbolic playthings of the child Bacchus and which Bastius describes as a small cone-shaped piece of wood around which a cord was wound so that it might be made to spin and give out a “humming noise”? (SeeOrpheus, by G. R. S. Mead.) Those acquainted with the esoteric function of the pineal gland or who have experienced the “whirring” sound attendant upon its activity will realize how apt is the analogy.
This volume provides the reader with an overview of an intriguing and interdisciplinary field of research. For the first time the mammalian pineal gland, its mode of action and its physiological effects are discussed in a comprehensive, single-authored work.
Biological Rhythms, Mood Disorders, Light Therapy, and the Pineal Gland combines the experience of psychiatric clinicians, psychiatric residents, medical students, endocrinologists, psychoimmunologists, neurobiologists, neuroanatomists, and other health professionals to present the most recent progress made in the study of the pineal gland and its relationship to mood disorders, including * major depressive disorders* winter depression* bipolar disorders* premenstrual syndrome (PMS)* sleep disorders The use of bright light to treat these disorders is also discussed.
The pineal gland has been a subject of interest and speculation for more than 2000 years. Greek anatomists were impressed by the ob servation that the pineal gland is an unpaired structure and they believed that it regulated the flow of thoughts. The philosopher Descartes proposed an important role for this organ in brain function. At the beginning of the 20th century experiments by several investi gators indicated that the pineal influenced sexual function and skin pigmentation and was also responsive to light signals. With the iso lation of melatonin from bovine pineal glands by Lerner and cowork ers in 1958 the modern era of pineal research was initiated. Within a few years the pathway for the biosynthesis of melatonin in the pineal was elucidated. Soon thereafter it was shown that the formation of melatonin was influenced by environmental lighting. Ana tomists found that the pineal was innervated by sympathetic nerves and that the gland had photoreceptor elements. It was also shown that the gonads were influenced by light via the pineal gland. Research on the pineal gland became of increasing interest to anatomists, bioche mists, pharmacologists and endocrinologists. With the expanding know ledge concerning the function of the pineal gland contributed by the wide variety of disciplines, it was thought that a study workshop would be timely.