Healing: The Divine Art, by Manly Palmer Hall

That's French for "the ancient system," as in the ancient system of feudal privileges and the exercise of autocratic power over the peasants. The ancien regime never goes away, like vampires and dinosaur bones they are always hidden in the earth, exercising a mysterious influence. It is not paranoia to believe that the elites scheme against the common man. Inform yourself about their schemes here.

Healing: The Divine Art, by Manly Palmer Hall

Postby admin » Sun May 13, 2018 3:12 am

Healing: The Divine Art
by Manly Palmer Hall
© 1972 by Manly Palmer Hall
Philosophical Research Society, Inc., 3910 Los Feliz Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90027
Sixth Printing




To my mother, whose life has been devoted to the healing arts, this book on Metaphysical Medicine is affectionately dedicated.

Table of Contents:

• Preface
• Introduction
• Part One: The Historical Road to The Metaphysics of Medicine
o Chapter 1: The Beginnings of Metaphysical Healing
o Chapter 2: The American Indian Medicine Man
o Chapter 3: The Healing Cult of Asclepius-Hippocrates
o Chapter 4: Healing During the Rise of the Christian Church
o Chapter 5: Modern Healing Cults
• Part Two: The Philosophy of Healing
o Chapter 6: Esoteric Physiology
o Chapter 7: The Pineal Gland and the Mental Focus
o Chapter 8: The Point of Conscious Awareness and the Technique of Suggestion Therapy
o Chapter 9: Ailments Psychical and Pseudo-Psychical
o Chapter 10: Diagnosis and Treatment: Concluding Notes and More Case Histories

As time goes on medicine will depend less and less on harsh drugs to accomplish its results. Already the motion is well under way. Gradually the mind and its power will take the place of many revered remedies. Then we shall find out that there is something even deeper than the mind, and so we shall go on in our cautious crab-like motion toward the world of spirit. When in the end we arrive there, would it not be passing strange if we should come back to the old ways of the gods, and find that the temples of the first day had the truths that shall come to general knowledge in the last day?


Puritanism worked a serious hardship upon the psycho-emotional part of human nature, by depriving it of participation in the pageantry of religion. The grandeur, pomp and glory of the Church was lost to those who left to find their own way of faith. Gone was the Infallibility of the Popes, gone were the Princes of the Church in their scarlet robes, gone were the Gregorian Chants and the mass, gone were the great cathedrals with their rose windows of priceless glass, gone were absolution and the confessional, and gone was the Apostolic Succession.

All this was swept from the life of the Protestant, and nothing of solemn beauty was put in its place. But it is not the province of the present work to argue the virtues or vices of the Church, or the spiritual reality or unreality of its rituals. These pages are concerned rather with the psychological results of depriving the human consciousness of religious ceremonial and symbolism, and of the emotional exaltation which comes from participation in such rites.


The rise of mystical organization in the modern scheme of life is the direct result of three centuries of Protestant Christianity and a hundred years of materialistic science. The spirit force at the root of things cannot be denied. Blocked by the organized literalism of both religion and science, the metaphysical energies in human consciousness were to break through the intellectual barriers men had set up, and create new channels that the old truths should not die.

The sages of ancient India reached out across time and space and raised up a Brahman in the West. He was Ralph Waldo Emerson, America's only great philosopher, and the moving spirit of the New England Transcendentalists. Visions came to Joseph Smith, and the religion of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints was born. Spirits rapped on the walls of the old Eddy homestead, and ageless spiritism became modern Spiritualism. Phineas Quimby, obeying the admonition of Christ to heal the sick, taught men the power of Truth within the self. Andrew Jackson Davis talked with spirits from the other side of death, and learned from them the mysteries of the Summerland. A little later, H. P. Blavatsky brought esoteric Buddhism to prosaic old New York.

If modern materialists are unhappy about the renaissance of the old mystic cults, they should remember that they have no one but themselves to blame for the condition. If these scoffers had given but an instant of sober thought to the natural structure of the human being, they would have realized that metaphysics is necessary to the survival of civilization.


Occultism is the ancient science which deals with the hidden forces of nature, the laws governing them, and the means by which such forces can be brought under the control of the enlightened human mind.

An occultist is one who believes in the reality of esoteric sciences, has studied them in a scholarly manner, has resolved to perfect his own consciousness according to their rules, and may, or may not, be able to practice the rituals and formulas of Transcendental Magic.

The occult sciences are the secret teachings of the World Saviors, prophets, seers, sages, and initiated philosophers, with which they instructed their most intimate disciples. This body of esoteric tradition has descended to the present time through the medium of secret religious societies, which therefore are in possession of a most sacred and peculiar knowledge of extra-physical energies, faculties, functions, and powers.

The most important of the occult sciences are magic, demonism, exorcism, alchemy, cabala, astrology and other forms of divination, spiritism, magnetism, esoteric cosmogony, and anthropology, the metaphysical physiology of man, and the extra-sensory perceptions.

The well informed student of occultism is one of the most universally learned of human beings. He must be acquainted with all of the important systems of world philosophy and religion, both Eastern and Western, and he must have a thorough understanding of ancient sciences and arts. There is no place for the superficial thinker in this field; and should he wander in by accident, it would be wise for him to depart in haste.

According to the rules of occultism, all particulars must be suspended from universal principles. In the case of healing, any particular cure must bear witness to some general philosophical pattern; that is, it must be explainable in terms of the relationship between the macrocosm and the microcosm -- between the universe and man.

Strangely enough, there is no place for miracles in the sciences of Magic. Occultism defines a miracle as an effect, the cause of which is unknown; but the cause must be equal to the effect which it produces. Knowledge is power, and esoteric knowledge bestows the larger power which appears miraculous to the uninformed. The great occultist Paracelsus said, "The beginning of wisdom is the beginning of supernatural powers."


Widely accepted among modern metaphysicians is the ancient belief in the reality of certain superhuman beings called Initiates and Masters. A number of sects have arisen which involve these Adepts in their methods of healing. Adepts are such disciples of the occult sciences as have attained to great knowledge and power, and have been initiated into the secret schools of the esoteric wisdom.... Prayers are addressed to the Masters with the full conviction that these Initiates will be aware of the supplications, regardless of distance; and will answer them with appropriate demonstrations of supernatural power. The wonderful stories which have been circulated about these Initiates and Masters are well calculated to increase faith in their ability to heal all manner of disease....

The diagnosis and treatment of disease by the study of the aura, or magnetic emanations of the human body, was practiced by the priests of the old Mystery cults....Dr. Kilner was able to devise for those without clairvoyant training a simple method of stimulating the human eye so that it is capable of seeing auras....

Indicative of the trends are these: The possibility of capturing the rays of the planets in dew; research in the Druidic lore of the mistletoe, as a medium for the astral light; and investigation into the crystals formed in human blood, by the process of drying....

Jerome Cardan, wrote a book on the occult significance of moles on the body, and in the lines of the forehead....The Chinese can accurately predict the number of children a woman will bear, from the small lines in the corners of her eyes; and they will also determine the length of life from the angle of the cheek bones....

[T]he practice of metaphysical medicine is justified by thousands of years of tradition and sanctified by the veneration of ages.


A mystic may, or may not, believe in a personal God. To most Christian mystics, Deity is to some degree personal, capable of likes and dislikes, and able to hear and answer the prayers of the faithful. Among Oriental mystics the Divine Nature is usually regarded as impersonal, and is adored as the Universal Reality, to be glorified rather than supplicated.


The practice of the mystical disciplines must result ultimately in the attainment of the mystical state. A strange enthusiasm (from the Greek enthousiazein, to be possessed by a god), rises up and fills the consciousness of the mystic, and he is obsessed by a powerful ecstatic emotion of exaltation or rapture. While thus transported he feels himself one with God, and a part of all that lives.


In recent years a number of religio-psychological cults have arisen which are attempting to rescue the spiritual values in psychology from the rank materialism of most academic practitioners in the field. It is possible that one of the reasons why scientific psychology has not lived up to the hopes and expectations of its enthusiasts is, that in borrowing its principles from the ancient temples, too much of the religious and philosophical parts of the doctrine were rejected and ignored.


[S]ickness comes from wrong thinking and not from other spiritual, moral, or physical causes....It is assumed that sickness has no real existence, but is an illusion resulting from the failure of the individual to preserve the clarity of his spiritual viewpoint....There is no such thing as disease, therefore I am not sick.


Hypnotic therapy belongs in the class of mental healing. It is the technique of creating an artificial receptivity in the mind, so that suggestions for the correction of character defects and functional ailments will be more readily assimilated by the intellect. The practice of hypnotic therapy is encouraged in Europe, and recognized as an important branch of psychology, but the entire field is practically ignored in America, due probably, to unfortunate religious prejudices, rooted in a complete misunderstanding of the principles involved. Hypnotism is a mechanical art, and not a spiritual mystery, as so many believe.

Students of the processes behind suggestion, or mental healing, should bear in mind the often quoted story of the dyspeptic farmer who went to the local doctor to get something for his bad stomach. The physician wrote out a prescription and told the man to take it the first thing in the morning. A few days later the patient returned and said that nothing had ever done him so much good. A little adroit questioning revealed that the farmer had not taken the prescription to the druggist to be filled but had eaten the paper itself.


That Deity is outside of, or apart from its creation, is a doctrine of Christianity, one that only a few great religious systems teach. All enlightened pagans taught that the material universe is the physical body of the creating Principle. Plato called the universe the "Eternal Animal," and the Neo-Platonists of Alexandria described the world as "the body of a Blessed God." The modern occultist accepts this philosophical doctrine. He does not seek in the distant heavens for the Spiritual Cause of all things, but finds the creation itself bearing splendid witness to its indwelling divinity.

The "personality" of the solar system, the sun, with the group of celestial bodies which revolve round it, is composed of four kinds of substance; mental substance, emotional substance, functional substance, and physical substance. In the solar system these spheres of substance are called planes, and together, these make up the personality of the solar God. These four strata are the four worlds of the philosophical Cabala, and it was in the substance of these four worlds that the four Adams came into being.

Man has a body to correspond with each of the planes of nature. Each of these bodies of man is composed of the substance of the plane in which it originated. It grows and develops in that plane, it is subject to the laws governing that plane, and ultimately it disintegrates back into the basic matter of that plane. These four bodies are the four Adams, and the physical body is the last Adam, the one that fell into matter and put on the coat of skins.


One who would try to deny symptoms of disease, and go on as though they did not exist, should be fully aware that he is a hypochondriac, with symptoms that are entirely imaginary.


Seen clairvoyantly, the pineal gland is located near the center of a magnetic field or aura varying from twelve to sixteen inches in diameter. This aura has no exact or definite boundaries, nor are its radiations entirely uniform. Rather, it appears as a pulsing, flickering field of energy which becomes intensified under stimulation or irritation, and fades to an almost imperceptible condition as the result of extreme mental or vital exhaustion.


A synthesis, by which all the processes are observed in proper relationship to each other, demands a methodical, systematic adjustment of the clairvoyant vision to each of the special divisions of vibratory rates which constitute the complex process of function.

The human aura is divisible into ten principal levels or planes, and it is necessary to focus the clairvoyant attention upon each of these levels in its proper ascending order of vibratory refinement.


Serious diseases of the pineal usually involve the rational powers. The disturbance may not be accompanied by any serious pain, but it is particularly observable in the eyes; the pupils may contract and there is a tendency to stare without focusing. Some hallucinations of an optical nature may be experienced, and the imagination becomes distorted. Lesser disturbances are associated with fatigue, lack of coordination and continuity of thought, supersensitivity, loss of appetite, nausea, lowered circulation. In all cases where morbid psychology exists apart from morbid pathology, derangements of the pineal may be suspected.

-- Healing: The Divine Art, by Manly Palmer Hall
Site Admin
Posts: 22407
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Healing: The Divine Art, by Manly Palmer Hall

Postby admin » Sun May 13, 2018 3:17 am

The gold and ivory statue of Asclepius in the adytum at the Hieron, the sanctuary at Epidaurus, a shrine erected to a priest-physician elevated to the rank of demi-god. Redrawn from print supplied by U.S. National Museum.



THE purpose of this book is to make available in one volume a wide variety of evidence bearing on the theory and practice of Metaphysical Medicine, and to point out certain broad and invariable principles that bear upon the practitioner and his practice. Results can not be advanced as proof of method until the philosophy of method itself is established firmly. The healer who would advance his own cause must study his cases and keep permanent records of the means which he employed and the types of patients which have responded to various methods of treatment.

So far as I have been able to discover, there is no general text on the subject of Metaphysical Medicine obtainable in the English language. By general text, I mean a writing that is not influenced by the author's addiction to the teachings of some particular group or sect. The value of a reference work is considerably reduced when it is apparent that it has been written out of an enthusiastic allegiance to some special belief, or body of beliefs. Such books define the methods of particular cults, but cannot be regarded as general reference texts.

A thoughtful weighing of the material contained in several of the better known of these writings, would indicate that the compilers were working from theoretical convictions and not from personal observation or experience. It is not difficult to detect empiric viewpoints, because they are always in conflict with the results of clinical study. The theorist does not have the mental flexibility which comes to those who must adapt their opinions to the diversity of actual practice.

There is no doubt that a considerable part of so-called spiritual healing is, in reality, nothing but suggestion therapy, but this obviously is unknown to many who practice the healing arts. Much of religious healing especially is suggestion or auto-suggestion, and the results obtained arise from a sincere conviction that such results can be obtained.

This is not a formal or technical treatise, but a faithful account of things known through experience. In working with those variously afflicted it is necessary to adapt formulas to the problems arising from individual experiences, traditions, and dispositions. It is in failure to so adapt the psychological technique that many mistakes arise in the field of psycho-therapy.

Especial emphasis is laid upon ailments arising from religious causes, because such cases have dominated my personal experience. There is no confusion worse confounding than that confounded by religious beliefs. And to date very little practical information is available concerning religious ailments and their treatment.

This book is divided into two sections, of which the first is historical, and the second technical and clinical. The historical section, however, is far more practical to present day problems than might at first appear. Most of the material which it contains relates directly to beliefs held at the present time. Beneath a thin coating of modern terminology the most primitive convictions concerning health and sickness are in general circulation today.

Mohammed, during his long vigils in the cave on Mt. Hira, prayed that through him the simple and eternal truth of primitive religion might be made known to the world. In the same spirit, I have tried to tell in this book something of the simple and eternal truth of health, as it has been taught by the wise of all ages.

Site Admin
Posts: 22407
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Healing: The Divine Art, by Manly Palmer Hall

Postby admin » Sun May 13, 2018 3:21 am



SICKNESS, in ancient times, was due largely to ignorance of the physical laws governing health. In the modern world, sickness is more often the result of ignorance of the laws governing the spiritual, mental, and emotional forces operating in people's lives. In our effort to conquer externals we have failed to meet the challenge of the internal existence.

In remote times the tribes which inhabited the earth were mostly nomadic. They migrated, sometimes considerable distances, in search of better hunting or more fertile fields, driven from their old homes by scarcity of game or impoverished soil. By their wanderings these savages escaped many of the diseases which afflict modern mankind.

When these nomads began to establish permanent communities their health problems increased immediately. The wanderer had left his refuse behind and moved into a healthier environment, but the builder of cities piled his refuse on the outskirts of the old towns and villages, and here a great part of the sickness that still plagues our race had its origin.

It is only within the last hundred years that the sanitation problems of the large city have been solved. The sixteenth century Florentines drove herds of swine through the streets of Florence to scavenge the filth that was thrown from the windows of both palaces and humble dwellings. The swine were later butchered and eaten. Conditions in Venice were so bad that most of the Doges contracted smallpox, even in the luxurious surroundings of the Ducal Palace. London had very little sanitation as late as the end of the eighteenth century.

Improper nutrition also played a large part in the health problems of our remote ancestors. They depended upon seasonal hunting for most of their food, and had no adequate way of preserving meat. Explorers have described how the less advanced natives of certain African tribes, especially the pygmies, will devour raw the putrifying remains of an animal that has lain dead for days in a tropical jungle. A diet of partly decomposed fish is now regarded as responsible for some of the most dreaded diseases of Asia, including the leprosy so common in China. Were it not that nature had met this challenge of wrong diet with the mechanism of immunities, it is doubtful if the human species could have survived.

Ventilation was another mystery to our noble forebears. Their caves and dens never were touched by the purifying rays of the sun, and cross ventilation was utterly beyond their comprehension. And when men began to build houses, their principal concern was protection; and every unnecessary aperture was only another hazard. Not until the present century did laws enacted and enforced make adequate ventilation compulsory in private dwellings, factories and public buildings. And many were the private protests to this extravagant procedure.

Infant mortality has always been high among primitive people. This is not alone because of the natural hazards, but the very process of birth has usually been involved in religious ceremonials and rituals not always conducive to the survival of the mother or the offspring. The queens of Egypt were required by the state to be delivered of their children in a public ceremony, while seated on the Birth Throne. Beating was widely used among savage tribes to hasten childbirth. Medieval physicians found it entirely beneath their dignity to attend a confinement, unless the parents were of royal or noble estate. There is a reputable account of a hog-gelder being called in to perform a Caesarian section. More recently, midwives carried blunderbusses which they fired close to the expectant mother's ear to hasten delivery.

Surgery and bone-setting were among the brighter spots in ancient medical practice. Injuries suffered in war and while hunting took a dreadful toll in the good old times. This class of physical misfortune was probably the first to receive intelligent attention. The causes of such injuries were obvious, and there was less of the mysterious to hinder consideration of the facts. The Edwin Smith Papyrus indicates that the Egyptians had an excellent understanding of surgery at least two thousand years before the Christian Era. Examinations of ancient, possibly prehistoric, skulls show that even trepanning was performed successfully at a remote time. Also, several excellent examples of early dentistry are known in which teeth were filled with inlays of precious or semiprecious stones.

In the last two thousand years mankind's material knowledge has increased so greatly that most of the natural hazards which afflicted the ancient human being have been overcome. No longer do we fear the ghosts and spirits that burdened the lives of the untutored savages of the old world. We have every right to be proud of our achievement, but despite this boasted progress, man still sickens, suffers, and dies. And sad to say, much of his misfortune is the result of superstitions and traditions as senseless and deadly as those which afflicted primitive races.

The city is an interesting example of the survival of an ancient tradition which is no longer significant. That grand old book of symbols, the Bible, makes Cain, the fratricide, to be the first builder of cities. There was nothing cultural or esthetic in the impulse to create large communities; the motive was fear, and the desire for mutual protection. Most ancient towns were walled, and men huddled within these walls to find safety from invading armies and marauding hands of brigands. The invention of artillery ended the age of the walled cities, but habit caused the continuance of the huddling process, even after these towns had proved to be nothing but death-traps for their inhabitants.

The walled towns of early days were little more than villages. Great cities were unknown in the ancient world. The large community presented problems which even the classical Greeks, wise in so many arts and sciences, were never able to solve. It remained for the Romans to devise the elaborate system of aqueducts and sewers that made feasible the modern metropolis.

Although the great cities of today rise as monuments to human ingenuity, they still are a serious menace to the health of the race. The large community brings with it unhealthful congestion, emphasizes poverty, and is a natural breeding place for crime. The vocations and the avocations, amusements and recreations of the city dweller are artificial. Locked in a man-made world, he has lost contact with the God-made universe.

No simple Adamite ever groveled before the grotesque jujus of his devil cult with a blinder devotion than that with which the modern man venerates the superstition of wealth. The theory of accumulation has blighted the whole course of our civilization. It has turned every man against his brother, and filled the world with a terrible fear. No longer is it the old blind fear of the unknown, but a new and tangible terror, the sickening realization that survival itself is threatened by human selfishness.

Savage men feared the mysterious forces of nature, but civilized men fear each other, for they have learned that the human being himself is the most dangerous of all creatures. Unfortunately the concept of wealth is responsible for the greater part of man's inhumanity to man. The free villages in the Andes Mountains are completely socialized communities. They are entirely untouched by our economic theories and function according to the old Inca laws. These free villages produce solely for use, and the profit system is unknown in them. The citizens cooperate in all undertakings, and there is no poverty and practically no crime. These small mountain villages were untouched by the great depression of 1929, for the simple reason that there was no debt.

It is usual for the economist to dismiss these socialized communities as unimportant, and to insist that it would not be possible to apply such rules to large cities or nations. These arguments may be true, but the evidence is conclusive that cooperative living is the one solution for the economic fear complex that is destroying the health and peace of mind of the so-called civilized races.

In an order of living based on a doctrine of debt, nervous ailments are bound to increase. Insecurity is the normal heritage, and each man must struggle throughout his days to maintain some semblance of physical success. There is little time for healthful repose in any family where one serious illness may destroy the economic stability of three generations. It is small wonder that strange and obscure diseases flourish in such an atmosphere.

Need it be said that the Divine Power that administrates universal nature is influenced in no way by man's financial aspirations. The whole mechanics of accumulation is a human invention, and has no significance outside of the human sphere. If men wish to create little symbols on metal or paper, worship them, and fight, cheat, and kill for them, that is a matter of no interest in the wider vistas of Space. An all-wise providence has placed at the disposal of the human race all that is necessary to ensure peace, happiness, health, and security. If mortals prefer to wrangle over debits and credits in a universe filled with life and beauty, their rewards will be according to the demerits of their works.

The principal phobias of the modern man are closely related to the false belief to which he is addicted. Prominent among the popular phobias are: fear of poverty, fear of old age, fear of war, fear of financial failure, fear of sickness, and fear of death. All of these fears are closely related to the financial state. We fear poverty because it threatens the survival of everything that is important to our outward lives; we fear old age because it results in unemployment and consequent dependence; we may fear war for a number of reasons, but one of them is the resulting economic upheaval. We fear financial failure as one of the greatest disasters possible to an individual. We fear sickness because it endangers our economic productivity. And we fear death because it may leave our loved ones without adequate provision. All too many of our fears are interpreted in terms of money, and life itself is measured in years of earning power.

It is not difficult to understand that the conscious or subconscious tension due to constant fear is detrimental to health and life. The result is the great American disease -- nerves.

A great East Indian scholar, whom I knew in Calcutta, made several pertinent remarks on the subject of nerve tension. He said, in substance: It is impossible for the mental life of man to unfold naturally and normally toward a state of enlightenment unless the physical environment be simplified in every possible way. Creative thought must come from an environment which does not interfere with the sensitive impulses, which flow from the mind through the ethers and into the brain. Confusion, stress, tension, interruption, noise, the constant vibratory agitation present in the surroundings of the average Occidental, make it practically impossible for him to think in a manner solutional to his personal problems.

When I suggested that this wise old Asiatic should visit America, the kindly gentleman was horrified at the prospect. He exclaimed: "But I could not think in America; and if I cannot think, I am dead. To think is to live; and to exist without thinking is to be less than an animal; I will remain where I am, where I can sit quietly under my favorite tree and commune with nature."

Nerves manifest disturbance to their structure and function in a wide variety of ways. The more obvious disorders can be diagnosed with reasonable accuracy, and a number of baffling symptoms are summed up under the general term, nervous break-down. Unfortunately however, nervous exhaustion and extreme nerve over-stimulation, are quite likely to work out through a series of obscure and extremely complicated mental and emotional abnormalities. Once the nerves have been whipped by the tension of their environment, the whole personality loses the power to relax into a normal rhythm of living, and the result is revealed through dispositional peculiarities.

Among Western peoples there is a popular belief that a bad disposition is a normal and proper thing to have. Excitability, irritability, and violent outbursts of temper are summed up under the term, temperament. It seldom occurs to a person suffering from temperament that there is anything that he can do to correct his own faults. Persons who have come to me for help become aghast at the prospect of attempting to practice self-control. When told that a bad temper is the cause of the trouble, they will invariably answer, "I know I shouldn't have such spells, but I can't help it."

Disposition of course reacts strongly into the body, disordering its functions and even attacking the structure itself. It is impossible for any person to escape the consequences of his own attitudes, as these attitudes affect his bodily harmony.

In early life, the human being is sustained by a powerful reserve of physical energy. This is especially evident in children, who are never still and bubble-over with an apparently inexhaustible supply of vitality. Mental and emotional habits acquired in youth are not usually obvious in their consequences until after middle life. Gradually, as the supply of vital force diminishes, the body begins to exhibit the rewards of the various mental and emotional intemperances with which it has been afflicted.

Chronic dispositional tendencies result in chronic physical ailments. The peculiarities of disposition, as we nurse them through the years, set in upon us as bodily ailments, afflicting our later years with innumerable misfortunes which destroy our happiness and peace of mind. Nowhere throughout nature is the working of the law of cause and effect more evident than in problems of physical health.

Take cancer for example. I have been able to assemble a large number of case histories which indicate that cancer is a grief disease. It is most likely to arise in the individual who has locked his disappointments, sorrows, and hurts within himself. Grief eats up the normal optimism of human nature, producing in the consciousness a condition identical with that which cancer sets up in the body. As women are more likely to nourish in silence the grieving of their hearts, the ailment is particularly prevalent among them. In three cases that I know of, a deep self-censoring remorse was followed within a year by cancer of the breast, and in each case history no cancer was known in the heredity.

Diabetes, in my experience, is often associated with a hypocritical reaction to the circumstances of life. The individual who demands of others a degree of perfection totally absent within himself, and then builds up from his disappointments a negative and cynical disposition, is an easy victim of both diabetes and chronic kidney trouble.

Rheumatism and arthritis are present in personalities incapable of adjusting to change. Several cases are known to me in which severe attacks of these diseases have been quickly improved by releasing the mind from the tension of trying to preserve a status quo in an ever changing world.

An old lady whom I once knew was resolved to maintain her mid-Victorian traditions in the twentieth century. As late as 1920 this quaint character refused to ride in street cars, would have neither electric lights nor a telephone, and dressed in the fashion of 1870. She would have no part in that motion of progress which she was convinced was leading the world directly to perdition. The orthodoxy of her religious viewpoints was unassailable, and she crept about town suffering with rheumatics in every joint.

At last through a series of curious circumstances this old lady was rejuvenated. Near her 80th year she gave up the fight to preserve the old way of life, and blossomed forth with a progressiveness of spirit that startled the entire community. Six months later the rheumatism was gone, and she enjoyed the best of health until her 94th year.

Chronic stomach trouble is most frequently found among the worriers and those whose delicate egos are easily bruised. Nervous stomach trouble is a difficult ailment to bear gracefully, but if the mind can be directed to become less critical of others, more tolerant in its viewpoints, the digestion will immediately show a marked improvement.

While all sickness cannot be traced to disposition, it can be said with accuracy that all persons with bad dispositions are sick. A bad disposition is one of the heaviest burdens that the flesh can bear.

Our nervous folk often build up destructive tension around the simplest processes of their living. This tension distorts and deforms otherwise useful and noble beliefs and convictions. Religion, for example, must be approached with a normal optimist's attitude, or the believer soon finds himself in serious trouble. Most of the fanaticism, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, so obvious among those addicted to religious convictions, are the result of nerve tension manifesting in the sphere of spiritual beliefs. Religion is extremely dangerous for the neurotic, for it will set their neurosis in a peculiarly disastrous channel. Yet, it is the neurotic who is most likely to seek consolation in religion.

It is an old philosophical truth that the human being must bring normalcy to any subject which he wishes to consider, or he will fail in that subject. In our Western theory of education we have overlooked the part that the individual himself plays in the arts or sciences which he is studying. For example, medicine is more than a science; it is a way of living; and only the man who lives according to the philosophy of medicine can become a great doctor. Music is not merely a technique; a musicologist, one who is experienced in the whole theory of music, must live the life of music to gain the full benefit of musical education. We cannot bring an old way of life to a new art without destroying that art by the limitations of our own consciousness.

Of all the arts and sciences, life itself is the greatest and most profound. It takes many years to train a physician, or a lawyer, in the particulars of his profession; but it requires many lives of experience and thoughtfulness to bring a human being into the fullness of his own humanity. In order to be a successful human being, a man must study the laws which govern his development, and then apply those laws to every aspect of his living. Only when a man lives intelligently, simply, efficiently, and with gentleness of spirit can he be mentally wise, emotionally happy, or physically healthy. To the degree that he compromises truth, to that degree he will be sick. Philosophy, therefore, is preventive medicine.

Philosophy teaches thus of health, and how it can be preserved, and if lost, how it can be regained.

The beginning of health is the discovery of the gods. Our personal living is based upon our conviction concerning the nature of Eternal Being. When we can perceive behind visible nature a Universal Principle of good accomplishing all things through wisdom, strength, and beauty, we free our minds from those several doubts concerning providence. These inwardly discovered certainties bestow the courage necessary for right action, thus establishing the mind in harmony and peace.

The second necessary element in a normal philosophy of life is the realization of the eternity of the self, and the understanding of the great law of evolution through which all lives are growing up toward perfection. There must be a sense of participation in the growth and unfoldment everywhere visible in nature. The purpose of life is growth. And a man is successful to the degree that he develops character in harmony with the laws of the world of which he is a part.

The third consideration involves the sharing of what we are, and what we have, with others of our kind. Cooperation, friendship, and the constructive emotions which bring human beings into a closer concord are important as elements in a philosophy of health.

The last consideration is that of leisure; haste and stress must be eliminated from the technique of living. The civilized human being is one who has discovered the dignity of leisure, and it is this discovery which made the Greeks, Hindus, and Chinese great in philosophy, art, and literature. There must be time, rescued from less important pursuits to be devoted to the culturing of the self. It is this freedom from tension that brings with it non-resistance to ideas, and those seasons of contemplation which are a part of true maturity.

If we would be well in mind and body, we must free ourselves from the delusion of a materialistic civilization and renounce as unliveable the prevailing custom of haste, ambition, avarice, and competition. Each man must suffer his own pain, and we will be afflicted by the sins of our world to the degree that we permit ourselves to cooperate with the pattern of the world's mistakes.

Health is precious to every human being, for without it even the noblest of ambitions are difficult of realization. But nature, always scheming toward the right, reserves health as a reward for those who do other things well. Health cannot be achieved by direct effort alone; it must be a consequence of action -- the result of an adequate cause.

The secret of healing is to cause health by removing those artificial obstacles which impede the natural flow of life.
Site Admin
Posts: 22407
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Healing: The Divine Art, by Manly Palmer Hall

Postby admin » Sun May 13, 2018 3:33 am





WHEN a child falls down, and the parent kisses the little injury to "make it well," this is a magical ritual that is one in spirit with the ancient miracles of the Witch Doctor. His power over evil forces was conceived in a veneration for age, which was fundamental to primitive religion -- it is reasonably clear that all religion originated with veneration for the old -- and an encompassing belief that all forces invisible to the eye or beyond average mind comprehension were supernatural. But this is not all that is known about the Witch Doctor; clear traces of his influence remain in our healing methods today. He is thus entitled to our respect, and our worthy purpose of seeking a better understanding of his methods, his place, and his position in the advancing march of civilization.

It is a mistake to assume that our remote and savage ancestors enjoyed the boon of good health. The aborigine lived a hazardous and afflicted existence. All about him were huge animals whose strength vastly exceeded his own, and smaller reptiles and insects whose cunning he could not match. The anthropological Adamite man who was to become so great in his latter times was the weakling of the prehistoric world, with little to be thankful for, and not much to be thankful with.

He was entirely without knowledge of the natural causes of disease. No reasonable connection had been established between his mode of living and the condition of his health. And so, to him, all sickness was of supernatural origin. He could see that the good and the bad were stricken together, the old and the young knew the same pain, the rich and the poor wasted away side by side. He did not know why.

Out of this deep unknowing, fear was born. It was fear of everything, of everyone; fear of the great animals which roared in the jungles; fear of the little shining things that buzzed in the swamps; fear of the thunder that rumbled in the sky, and the lightning that filled the heavens with greenish fire; fear of floods and of droughts; fear of earthquakes and tidal waves. Most of all, fear of darkness, that strange and fatal gloom that covered the earth for a part of every day.

Night had a thousand terrors for shivering creatures huddled in their caves and huts through the long hours of darkness. Outside were strange sounds; and if one of the bravest went forth to seek the origin of the sounds he returned no more. In the morning the others found him, dead, and usually partly devoured. Darkness was filled with life that struck and destroyed, that slunk on padded feet, and had green eyes that shone in the darkness; it was life that barked, and grunted, and whined, and hissed, life ever waiting, always to do harm.

Fear, oldest and cruelest of man's emotions, heartless and senseless in itself, is the source of endless pain and misery. In a fear-ruled savage world, courage was but an instant of resistance followed by disaster. The more men fought against the unknown the greater was their fear, for nature opposed each time became more terrible than before. The venturesome and courageous crept back to their dens like whipped curs, to ponder with untutored minds the misfortunes of their state.


Out of this old, dark night of the mind which preceded the dawn of reason came the Witch Doctor. We have no record of the origin or of the processes that produced this fantastic hierophant of the earth's first healing cults; the first priest, the first physician, and the first psychologist. If to our more sophisticated minds the Witch Doctor was a horrible monstrosity, he was to the savage world that produced him the beginning of hope, the first of the long line of adventurers who have dared to shape inevitables to meet the human need.

Many scholars, who have deeply pondered old peoples and their lores, have tried to explain the Witch Doctor; of these the psychologists appear to be the most successful, for they have recognized their distant kinship with him and with his methods. But psychology opens only on a small part of the broad vista of philosophy, and a better look at the Witch Doctor can be had from philosophy's wider perspective; its viewpoint should enable us to discern more clearly the forces that fashioned him, the larger motions that directed his course.

The physical origin of religion, to my mind, is the veneration for age. Those who have lived long have experienced the most. Tradition is the record of the long-lived. Not many reached to great age in primitive times and among savage peoples, there were too many hazards in the way; so most of the races respected the old, and accorded them dignities and honors equal with the gods and spirits. For, in the first state of human society, those who reached fullness of years excelled in simple thoughtfulness -- the survivor was the superior man.

The savage has never been one to preserve the useless. It was not love for his fellowkind that induced him to feed and protect the old warriors who could no longer provide for themselves; the considerations were entirely utilitarian. These old men knew the ways of the jungle and the hill. They had been to far places, they had hunted the forests and crossed the rivers on floating logs. They had known heroes of previous generations, and they were the custodians of words of wisdom spoken by men long dead.

In the beginning man honored only strength of arm, but slowly this changed. Another kind of strength had proved that it might have the tribe when valor failed; this other strength was wisdom. And wisdom belonged to the old ones who had lived long. The hereditary chief, young and in the fullness of his powers, honored for his strength, had behind him the old ones, venerated for their wisdom; and it was of greatest benefit for the young chieftain to consult with them and profit by their counsel. Thus came into being the dual form of government that existed throughout antiquity; it came to full flowering in the Egyptian culture -- the government of the priest and king.

Thus had the fathers become the priests by long and mysterious processes of veneration and tradition -- as even today, it is the custom of the Catholic to call his priest "Father." And the word Pope, from the Greek papas, literally means Father.

It is well known to psychology that the small child bestows upon its parents -- if they do not disillusion it too young -- the same veneration that the child will transfer later to its concept of God. Father is God, and God is Father.

How many parents realize that when their small boy bumps his knee and comes running to them for sympathy and help, he is expressing the primary religious instinct of mankind? In later life, when tragedies disturb the soul, the afflicted person takes his pain to God through the ritual of prayer, with the firm belief that he will find comfort and strength.

Primitive man had no way to perpetuate his knowledge and the records of his deeds except by oral tradition. In time he learned to draw crude pictures on the walls of cliffs; but long before that the Witch Doctor was an institution. Likenesses of him, variously garbed in the skins of animals, are included in the earliest form of art.


Always, men have wanted to be remembered and have their deeds to live on after them. So the old ones, when they felt that they had not much longer to live, sought for others that they could instruct in their lore and history. Thus it came about that the neurotic became the savior of his tribe, later, of his race. The old men, seeking suitable disciples, turned to the quiet and more thoughtful youths, because their minds were better suited to the perpetuation of tradition than the lustier and more belligerent types. Having discovered someone to his liking, the old man then devoted his closing years to the task of transferring his knowledge, and with it, of course, an ample description of his own personal exploits. When the old teacher joined the ghosts of his fathers, the young disciple was, so to speak, ordained to carry on his wisdom, and probably in the name of the older man rather than in his own.

A new condition now presented itself. Veneration was no longer merely a respect for years, it was directed to a person of any age who had the knowledge of the "olds." But just as in modern time it is impossible to divide learning entirely apart from the personalities of the learned, so did the younger men then share in the respect accorded to their knowledge. This was the next step in the development of the priesthood, when the ones who knew received special privileges. They sat with the warriors when matters of importance were discussed, these wise men who were too valuable to be exposed in battle and whose pursuits did not equip them for warlike exploits. They wore various distinguishing marks and badges. Their advice was sought in all things pertaining to the happiness and security of the tribe. It was inevitable that sickness should be brought to the consideration of the wise ones; for there was no other direction in which the sufferer could turn.

From the wise ones the sick learned of the experiences of their ancestors under similar conditions. Whatever means had helped in the past were repeated, and faith in the old ways undoubtedly brought a measure of relief. Memory kept such records as it could, and being a faculty closely linked to imagination, these records grew and flourished in many curious ways.

Metaphysical elements were most certainly present in this old pattern, for the psychic sensitiveness of primitive people is established beyond intelligent dispute. The savage is very close to nature, and close to the animal life about him, and most animals possess a higher development of instinct than does man; instinct may have been the beginning of mysticism. And it is not at all impossible that some of the "olds" were natural spiritists and had a crude form of mystic vision.

Then at some very remote time it was discovered that this sensitiveness could be increased by fasting and vigils that exhausted the physical strength. Those who have lived the longest close to savage tribes are the most convinced that not all the powers of the Witch Doctor are psychological or imaginary.


Dreams probably played an important part in the development of the aboriginal mystic. The mysteries of the dream life never have been fully explained, but it is well known that a person is most likely to dream about those things that are uppermost in his mind. It is thus quite possible that the tribal prophets were visited in their dreams by the "olds" who had been their teachers. If these dead did not actually appear, they could seem to come in dream consciousness, thus linking the past with the present through the mystery of sleep. Trances are but artificial sleep, induced by drugs, suggestion, or autosuggestion; and their avowed purpose is to give easier access to the dream state and its phenomena. Here then, are all the elements necessary to produce the Witch Doctor.

Time perfected the process. Fainter and fainter in the distance of untrained memory grew the "olds"; they became the great spirits who had lived in the long ago, who now dwelt in some strange ghost land where the seer could seek them in his dreams and trances. And the lore of the tribe thus became its religion, and the faith was as cruel and primitive as its believers.

It is impossible to understand the Witch Doctor in the terms of our present standards of right and wrong. He was part of his world as we are part of ours, and they are two worlds that have little in common. In sleep we come closer to the old one, but even our dreams have been largely conditioned by our conscious thinking.

We cannot know the Witch Doctor, but let us at least respect him -- in the deep realization that without his strange powers modern civilization could not be as it is.

We cannot appreciate his healing methods, without understanding the religion of the Witch Doctor. In its theological aspect, a religion is an attitude toward life, a series of beliefs and conclusions bearing upon the relationship of the individual to the spiritual world and its creatures. On the moral, or ethical side, religion is the rule of conduct -- things that can be done, and things that cannot be done. In primitive society those actions which violated the tribal law were punished in proportion to the magnitude of the offense. And so we can readily understand that the first religious ethics were mostly taboos, and only after thousands of years of refinement was ethics evolved into the dignified standards of today.


In the beginning, religion was little more than organized fear. Gradually, certain distinctive practices began to appear, bearing witness to specialized attitudes and convictions. Savage theology had this basis: All that is invisible to the untrained eye or is beyond the understanding of the untrained mind is supernatural. Disease, therefore, was a spiritual mystery, one to be approached only by those who had power over spirits and their evil force. So far as we know, these were the tribal convictions as they applied to sickness and disease:

Disease itself is a spirit, without form or body, existing in the air and attaching itself to man with or without cause.

This spirit, at will, may take on any number of appearances, and may attack man in any of these forms, animate or inanimate.

A person possessing magical knowledge, or some powerful fetish, may direct the spirit of disease against his enemies to destroy them.

Disease may be caused by angry spirits, either of the human dead, or of animals, or of plants; even of minerals.

Any indignity or neglect to the tribal dead may cause their spirits to send sickness or other misfortunes.

Animals killed for food may cause disease unless proper ceremonies are performed at the time of killing.

Whether possessing, or not possessing, special occult powers, evil persons may communicate disease by a glance (evil eye), or by touching some article belonging to the victim.

The Witch Doctor himself may cause sickness to anyone doubting his powers or resisting his authority.

It is to be noted that no mention has been made of gods as causes of physical misfortunes. This is because in those remote times there was no clear concept of superior deities, nor was there the conception of disease as retribution for sin. The nearest approach was the fear of offending powerful spirits; but no ethical motives were imputed to the spirits, and ethics had little to do with appeasing their wrath.

Some writers refer to the practices of the Witch Doctors as Black Magic. This is incorrect, for there can be no perversion of power so long as no standard of right exists. Witchcraft became a negative and perverse force as civilization developed standards of integrity which it violates. The term Witch Doctor therefore is incorrectly interpreted as one inferring evil; it applies only to a savage, or primitive magician.

Masks always played an important part in the Witch Doctor's rites. What was the origin of these weird masks? I believe they were originally the likenesses of the "olds." Most of these masks are to us grotesque and horrible, but the strange designs were probably things of beauty and dignity to the primitive men who made them, and full of subtle meaning.


In the mask cults it was believed that to put on the mask was to take upon oneself the spirit which the mask represented
. If then, the Witch Doctor put on the face of the "old" he became the embodiment of the "old," spoke with his voice, and possessed his authority.

The animal heads worn by the Egyptian priests had the same meaning, and may have originated in totemism -- the priest wearing the mask of his spirit-animal.

The fear produced by the mask may also have played an important part in this ancient religious custom. The Witch Doctor increased his prestige immensely by changing his appearance into something unearthly. The natives knew of course that a mask was used, but still it produced considerable emotional reaction.

Years ago, at Darjeeling in Northern India, a number of Devil Dancers wandered up to our hotel to stage a performance. Among them was a little boy, about eight years of age, who soon became the darling of the resident tourists. In the evening when the dance was given, all of the performers, including the youngster, were masked to represent Tibetan demons. In the midst of the dance the young boy, wearing the papier-mache head of a bull, rushed toward the crowd, which broke and ran with cries of alarm. All knew the boy, and many of them had been feeding him candy during the afternoon, but in the scramble the educated whites outran the natives. It was primordial logic to suppose that if the mask frightened mortals it would have a similar effect upon evil spirits. These, terrified by the awesome spectacle, would depart in haste and remove their evil forces from the village. This belief is at the root of some of the Tibetan ceremonies, and is recorded in many accounts of Witch Doctors and their methods. The savage saw no reason to suppose that spirits were any more intelligent than himself; what frightened him should also frighten ghosts.


There is also a deeper psychological meaning to masks. Their designs come out of the unconscious, or deeply subconscious parts of the human intellect. Possibly the designs were brought over from dream life and are evidences of strange impulses locked in the further recesses of the mind. The religious art of savage peoples has a dramatic integrity that should give the psychologist much to think about. The mask was an escape from self. The wearer became someone else, and in many ways lived another life, with all the implications of such new identity.

In some American Indian tribes persons who have suffered from a long series of misfortunes change their names to escape further misery. A new name means a new personality; the Indian becomes someone else; and the spirits who disliked the previous name will have no cause to plague the new one.

Any stage or screen actor who uses make-up will understand this psychology. When costumed and be-whiskered to look like King Lear, he should feel like King Lear; and if he does not, he is a poor actor. If then, some crepe hair and a little grease paint can make a man feel like Lord Beaconsfield, why cannot the mask of a superhuman make the wearer feel a little more like that superhuman being? -- in fact make that spirit seem very close and real. Analytical research should be done in this direction; it is a most provocative subject.

Various types of noise-makers have always been part of the Witch Doctor's paraphernalia. His rattle, another means of frightening spirits, or of commanding their attention, also aroused the sick person, made him aware of the presence of the magician, thus focussing his mind on the treatment he was receiving -- a process important in what is called suggestive therapy, or healing by suggestion. Many of these rattles were ornamented with symbols resembling streaks of lightning; in this is a possible indication that the sounds they made were intended to represent thunder. The savage is always profoundly impressed by loud sounds, and to his sensitive ears the noise is much louder than it would seem to us. An experiment made a few years ago proved that a certain American Indian could hear the ticking of a watch in a man's pocket more than fifty feet away.

Drums, flutes, and other primitive instruments also served the Witch Doctor in his rituals. Different tribes evolved their own special practices, but in principle all were the same. The antiquity of the Witch Doctor is registered in the universal distribution of his methods. There are no primitive peoples in the world today among which he does not flourish, and there is no civilized race whose spiritual culture docs not bear witness to his original presence. It is more than a possibility that both music and the dance began with him, used as means of frightening away evil spirits, or conjuring up benevolent ghosts.


Music began in the mimicking of natural sounds, such as the cries of animals and the songs of birds. After the Witch Doctor had put on the mask of some creature, it was part of the procedure that he should imitate the sounds made by that creature. The endless repetition of similar tones and notes resulted in simple rhythms. At some parts of his ceremonies the magician needed greater emphasis, and in the midst of his chanting he would agitate his rattle or beat his drum; and thus was accompaniment born. As time passed the various medicine songs were more or less standardized, and musical composition thus came into existence, its form and rhythm fixed by tradition. Placement keys resulted from the natural differences in human voices, and the various pitches of primitive instruments. As late as the Greeks, each member of a chorus sang according to the comfort of his own voice; harmonics was unknown until the time of Pythagoras.

From the earliest available records it appears that the dance had its genesis in the efforts of the Witch Doctor to imitate the motions of the creatures whose faces he wore. When he wore the mask of an elephant some inner force impelled him to assume the manner of an elephant, and his step was slow and dignified. But if his mask was that of a bird he hopped about and tried to give the impression of flying. Then the wild abandon of his first efforts was gradually modified by the rhythms of his rattle and drum; he preserved the basic motions of the creatures he represented but he brought them within the limits of his other rituals. Gradually the gyrations became symbolical rather than literal. The dance forms, like the songs which usually accompanied them, then became traditional. The dance has always been part of religion, first as a magical rite, and later as pageantry and aesthetic ritual.

The theatre also began with the Witch Doctor; as sacred drama it continued until the collapse of classical civilization. It was later revived in the medieval mystery plays of the Catholic Church, which are still to be seen in isolated regions. The Penitentes of New Mexico include to this day sacred representations from the life drama of the Christ among their strange rites.

When the Witch Doctor lived out the personalities of his masks he became an actor, and as he gained ever greater skill in pantomime and impersonation, there was a corresponding increase in the psychological results from his treatments. Much of his early acting was while in a state of ecstasy or light trance, and so we know that his theatrics were from his own subconscious nature.

In the Egyptian and Greek Mystery rituals the actors were always masked, and those portraying gods were generally accepted as the divinities themselves. When ancient writers stated that they had spoken to certain gods it generally meant that they had spoken to priests wearing the masks of those gods. This was not imposture on the part of the priests, as many moderns have assumed. The masks were known to be covering a human face, but it was an old belief that the gods abode in the likenesses of themselves. In this we find the true explanation of idols and sacred images.


The fetish was the beginning of formal medicine; it was the first compound used in the treatment of disease
. A fetish may be defined as any material object in which a spirit, or a spiritual power is present. The fetish was some natural substance which by its appearance, or peculiar properties, appeared unusual, or it was bone, stone, or wood crudely carved into the likeness of some creature, or some ceremonial object or sacred relic. Most frequently a fetish is composed of several magical or non-magical elements, as pebbles, feathers, hairs, bones, twigs and beads, and has special virtue because of certain rites performed in the assembling of the parts, or because the particular pattern composed has traditional sanctity. Commonly the fetish is either worn on the person, or placed in the living quarters as a protection against malignant forces.

Fetishes made from small objects and from herbs were sometimes swallowed; they were even inserted under the skin to increase their efficacy. This is probably the earliest form of medication. Herbs were originally used as fetishes only, but as time passed they were chewed, or they were boiled and the brew drunk, not for the sake of its chemical action but in order that its 'spirit' might thus be captured and held. Through trial and error it was gradually discovered that certain of these plants were more effective than others, and some ailments responded to one herb and some to another, thus a pharmacology was built up. Magic was the motive, medicine was the result.

The evolution of fetishes is an interesting phase of the history of magical practices. As nations refined their beliefs the fetish gradually changed into the amulet. Among the Egyptians there was a wide variety of amulets -- small figures of gods, goddesses, and sacred symbols, cut from stone or molded from clay baked and glazed. These figures were pierced, so that they could be hung about the neck on a cord. So great is the number of these little charms found in the ruins of Egyptian towns that they must have been worn in profusion, many by a single person.

The amulet was a charm of protection against various evils; the theory of its use was that any spirit or witch that attacked the wearer would be confronted by the likeness and power of a protecting deity. The crucifix worn by many Christians is either a symbol or an amulet, according to the motive of the wearer. If he believes that the symbol protects him in any way, the cross becomes an amulet.

The amulet evolved into the talisman. This is a magical charm decorated with cabalistic formulas or mystical designs calculated to protect the owner against physical or metaphysical hazards. It is usually of metal -- silver preferred. Talismans of one class, shaped to resemble parts and organs of the body, were worn to ensure, or to restore health in the parts which they represented. Such talismans were sometimes hung in the temples or churches, as votive offerings or as appeals for help.

In oriental countries, especially, will be found a third type of talisman. These are small cases containing prayers or extracts from the sacred writings, and are worn by holy men, or those making pilgrimages to important shrines. Also among Islamic peoples are many talismanic jewels, beautifully inscribed. A small charm in the shape of an open hand is a favorite among the Arabic nations; it represents the hand of Fatima, daughter of Mohammed.

It may be well to note that in considerable volume charms are manufactured for use in trading with savage tribes. These fetishes include most of the desired types, those popular in different districts, and all are made according to the best native specifications. These charms are made in England for use throughout the colonial empire, and the traveler should remember this when he is searching for aboriginal religious trinkets. It is quite likely his rare old juju from West Africa originated in London.


It is only a short step from the talisman to the holy relic. This important object in modern religious practice also had its origin in the world of the Witch Doctor
. When the savage slew an exceptionally powerful animal, or killed a renowned warrior in battle, he would keep some part of the body of the vanquished, that he might in this way gain strength from its spirit.

Frequently the Witch Doctor's magical instruments were formed from human or animal bones. Bowls and drums made from human skulls are to be seen on Tibetan altars, and decorations of bones adorn the fronts of the Witch Doctors' huts.

Buddhism makes much of relics, and the tooth of Buddha in Calcutta is the object of annual celebrations. (A parade through the streets to the temple of the Sacred Tooth was once held for my benefit). Most Buddhist shrines have been built over remains of great arhats, and small reliquaries containing bits of bone or the ashes of some saint are carried about by both the priest and the laity. As in the Christian faith, these relics are believed to have the power to cure disease and bestow sanctity.

When European kings grew weary of bestowing the 'Royal Touch' for scrofula, these thoughtful princes devised the scheme of coining touchpieces to accomplish the cures. These golden coins are a combination of talisman and relic: their magical powers were talismanic, but they were relics by association with the king who could heal by 'Divine Right.' These touchpieces are still occasionally met with in Scotland, where they are regarded as excellent remedies for some ailments, especially those of the skin.


The practices of the Witch Doctor are now called witchcraft, but this is misleading, in the present meaning of the word. Witchcraft is the survival of the old dark magic of Lemuria. Wherever in the world the black people are to be found, the shadow of the Witch Doctor hangs over them, and his wild spirit is in their blood. Witchcraft, as practiced by savage races, is not a perversion of mystical doctrines, as most persons think. It is the way that was old long before men had recognized and differentiated between good and bad. As some races grew more rapidly than others and refined their beliefs, it became the custom to regard primitive beliefs as evil. If this is sound theology, it is not a very enlightened attitude -- to assume that the priest of any cult other than your own is the servant of the devil.

Believing that disease was a spirit wandering about in the nights seeking for something to afflict, the Witch Doctor was faced with a delicate problem when he forced such a spirit out of his patient. If the spirit was left without habitation it might reasonably resent its condition, attack the entire village, destroy the inhabitants and their flocks. So the spirit had to be kept happy, even when deprived of its victim. There was only one way: it had to be coaxed into finding a new abode, one as desirable as possible. An old method was to select a scapegoat and sacrifice him for the good of the whole tribe. All sacrifices were originally made to appease the wrath of spirits and ghosts. Another way was to capture the spirit in some fetish and leave the charm where another would find it, and thus become the victim of the spirit's desire for lodgings. This might not seem exactly ethical, but self-preservation was the law of the wilds; so whoever found the fetish had to find his own way to get rid of the unwelcome guest.

The reputed power of the Witch Doctor to assume the forms of various animals and birds probably originated from his use of masks and costumes. This belief spread to every corner of the earth, in universal acceptance of were-wolves, were-tigers, were-bats, and were-owls. The form assumed by the Witch Doctor was determined by the local attitude toward animals and the fauna of the vicinity, but the principle remained the same.

Lycanthropy is folklore associated with the name of Lycaon, mythical king of Arcadia, who was changed into a wolf by Zeus who was offended because the king made him an offering of human flesh. In many myths persons are changed into animals as punishment for evil deeds, but in most cases these merely signify that the animal nature dominates vicious persons and they become human beasts. Accounts of lycanthropy do not imply that the physical body of the wizard or witch changed into a wolf, but rather that the soul or 'double' of the sorcerer assumed the appearance of the wolf.

"My Mirror, my mirror," by Tara Carreon
[Manly P. Hall] Yorty for President.
[Sam Yorty] "A Declaration of War Against America ..."

Sirhan was the name of an ancient tribe that roamed the Syrian Desert and means "wolf" in Arabic.

-- Who Killed Bobby Kennedy?: The Unsolved Murder of Robert F. Kennedy, by Shane O'Sullivan

A story reached me recently about a were-owl in one of the American Government Indian Schools some few years back. The story is vouched for by a participant in the incident. Several boys were sleeping on an enclosed screen porch when they were awakened by a screech-owl that in some way had gotten through the screen. The boys immediately decided that it was a were-owl, and attacked it with shoes and sticks -- finally killing it. The Indian boys then dressed and took the bird into the forest nearby, and then traveled some three miles to the house of the suspected witch. As they approached they heard the old woman howling and crying out as if in great pain. They threw the dead owl on her front steps and returned to the school. The next day they learned that the old woman was dead. All agreed they had killed a witch.

When witches planned to go to the Sabbat, become werewolves, or vampires, or to travel to distant places, they threw themselves into trances or comas and went forth in spirit bodies or doubles. If they were injured in this magical body the physical form suffered the same misfortune. Here is an indication that at least one phase of the witchcraft doctrine belongs to the phenomena of the subconscious mind. If research in thought transference fulfills the present expectancy, it is possible that the mental purposes of the sorcerer might be felt by the intended victim; and he might see, in his dreams, the form which the witch had desired to assume.


The mental effect of believing oneself bewitched is demoralizing to persons who are not ordinarily superstitious. Many white men have been driven out of primitive countries by the workings of Witch Doctors. The human mind is very sensitive to phobias and fixations, even when the beliefs are against every conviction of the conscious intellect. Many times, men and women have emphatically stated to me that they did not believe in witchcraft; then added that it is just as well to leave it alone, and not stir up mysterious things.

A planter returning from Java told me that to excite the animosity of the natives was a serious misfortune. When these people are angered strange things happen which cannot be explained by any knowledge that we have today. He told me how the family of one plantation owner was tormented into leaving the island -- a stream of mud and filth fell in the various rooms of the house; it seemed to come through the ceiling, in showers of refuse that plagued them for months.

Much witch lore is susceptible of reasonable explanation and has no foundation in the practices of the Witch Doctor. The celebrated Brocken, the mountain of the witches in the Black Forest of Germany, was a figment of ecclesiastical imagination and fanaticism. The Brocken, regarded as the site of the infernal Sabbat, was really a place where the old pagans kept up their pre-Christian rites long after the rise of the Church. As all the old Mysteries were institutions of Satan, according to the Fathers, it did not take long for their pronouncements to infect the public mind. The result was a belief in sorcery that is without parallel in history.

Thus we see that from the jungle hut of the savage's Witch Doctor together came forth sciences and superstitions, arts and artifices, spirits and sprites, ghosts and goblins, faiths and fetishes. Like the fabulous Banyan tree of India, whose branches fell to earth and taking root became trees in their turn, the primitive magic of the Witch Doctor extended itself throughout the world. Most of the respected beliefs of modern times are but a refinement of his old doctrines.

It would seem that we also owe to this jungle sorcerer the discovery and first use of intoxicating beverages, when he found that certain herbs affected his mind and made easier the trances that he needed in his ministry.

The Egyptians believed that the blood of ancient warriors fell into the earth and was absorbed by the roots of the grape; to them drunkenness was possession by the spirits battling in the veins of the drinker, as they once had in life. Even into classical times wine was regarded as the blood of Dionysus, and the frenzies which it caused were sacred to the rites of that god. The use of wine in modern sacraments is the direct descent of a rite from the Dionysiac Mysteries of Greece.


In the beginning of his power the Witch Doctor used his knowledge largely for the preservation of his tribe, so as time went on it became also his duty to punish those who violated the taboos. He was therefore the first administrator of the law. Tribal organization demanded complete obedience to the traditions, the ways of the "olds." To disobey was to depart from the tribe. If the violation was slight, it might be punished in some lesser way; but if the fault was of large import, death was the penalty.

Somewhere in this mystery conscience was born. The inner-voice warning to obey was coupled to fear of the consequences of departure from the hereditary laws. The supernatural powers attributed to the Witch Doctor played an important part in the development of conscience, for it was believed that he could tell the thoughts of men and the schemes in their hearts. In The Emperor Jones, the play by Eugene O'Neil, the wrongdoers punish themselves by their own sense of guilt; in long ago times the Witch Doctor gained the credit. We know conscience as a kind of fear that will defeat a man even if he is immune to other forms of punishment. Conscience was the first-born of taboos.

Somewhere in the long ago the Witch Doctor came to realize the fuller possibilities that his position offered. Because there was no evidence of honesty in the universe about him, no incentive or example to direct the course of magical arts, he was tempted to use his mystical powers for his own gain. It was natural that the sorcerer should exploit the fear and respect in which he was held, and thus make himself master not only over the spirits of his people, but their bodies as well. Whatever wealth the tribesmen had, finally came to him in payment for his numerous services.

The Witch Doctor seldom aspired to be a chief; he was content to rule the rulers. That gave him added protection for himself. And in the natural course of things he was inevitably inspired to 'make friends and influence people.' Because he could, and did, curse his enemies, make spells to bewitch them, transfer disease to them, these were ways to so intimidate the poor savages that they were afraid to refuse any of the magician's wishes.

This development complicated the practice of the reputable Witch Doctor, and vastly increased the prestige of the unscrupulous practitioner. It was now necessary to fight one spell with another, and the primordial man through most of his life was either bewitched or under treatment. The Witch Doctors had many an occult battle among themselves, vieing with one another to concoct infernal brews and diabolic enchantments. This was the beginning of those strange, evil practices that were to chill the hearts of Europeans for more than fifteen hundred years when the witch cult was revived in the opening centuries of the Christian era.

In Africa, the missionary and the Witch Doctor are still struggling for control over the soul of the Dark Continent. A converted native appeared for help recently at one of the mission stations. The old gods were angry, because this man had joined the new faith; a demon had appeared in the house and was tormenting the negro and his family. The evil spirit had hair like whiplashes, and beat the converts with its head until their bodies were masses of bleeding welts. What did the missionaries do? Well, what could they do? They were representatives of a faith that has long taught miracles, and the casting out of devils; but these well meaning men lacked the power to perform even one small miracle that would benefit this afflicted family.


Some degree of primitive ethics is nearly everywhere present in the forms of witchcraft that exist in our world of today. Perversions of magical powers are regarded with general disapproval, even by remote African tribes, and hatred for the Witch Doctor suspected of evil practices is now quite common, even among his own followers, for the processes of growth are at work everywhere in nature, and in human nature.

The Vodun, or Voodoo, rites of Haiti abound in witchcraft and wizardry, being of African origin. But a clear line is drawn between the use and abuse of magic. The houngan is the wonder-working priest of the Vodun cult; the bocar is the wizard or sorcerer. In his recent work, The Haitian People, James G. Leyburn writes: "A respectable houngan will not permit himself to dabble in evil magic, destined to bring misfortune to someone else; but such work is the stock in trade of the bocar, who knows the dangers of his profession yet is willing to run the risk for the sake of high profit."


One of the most common forms of Black Magic, based on old beliefs, are the 'devil dolls.' These are small images of a person, carved from wood, or merely made by stuffing cloth with straw or sawdust and drawing the face of the victim on the knob representing the head. I have had opportunities to examine a number of these dolls, and in a few cases photographs of the person against whom they were to be used had been cut out and pasted on the doll. This practice is founded in the belief about masks and idols, that the victim is attached to the doll by the sympathetic magic of likeness. But to further assure the effectiveness of the 'devil dolls' it is customary to include in their assembly something that has belonged to the object of the intended sorcery. A strand of hair or fingernail parings are first choice, but a bit of clothing or a piece of a shoe will do. Thus is the living victim further bound to the doll by the psychic effluvium remaining in bits of his personal belongings.

With the doll completed, certain rites were performed over it, the magical powers of nature invoked to aid in the evil work. Then the doll was variously tortured; pins were stuck into it, cuts were made in the arms and legs, red-hot irons were put against its body, and at last a knife or pin was thrust through the region of the heart. According to magic, the victim, regardless of distance, suffered all the pains that were inflicted on the doll, and with the last thrust of the knife or pin -- he died.

When Catherine de Medici brought the Ruggieri from Italy to be her sorcerers, she learned from them the secrets of the 'devil dolls.' This Queen of France went so far as to break these little effigies on a miniature rack, in order to increase the suffering of the enemies they represented. It was a common belief that she disposed of many persons in this way. There was a troubled moment in France when one of these dolls was found made to represent the Queen herself.

From the Court of Catherine it is a long way to some little pueblo of the American southwest, but here the 'devil dolls' are still to be found, performing their same weird duties -- as in the case of an Indian woman who, jealous of the skillful fingers of another rug weaver, made a doll and broke its hands, thus to destroy her rival's skill.

The fear that savage peoples have of being photographed or even painted rests in the belief that any harm that may come to the pictures will react upon them. They do not even like to tell their names nor will they give to strangers intimate personal belongings unless they are certain of the individual's integrity.

The man of today's civilization feels that he has outgrown the magic of the primordial world. When he hears of hexing in Pennsylvania, voodoo in Louisiana, or of an outbreak of witchcraft in New Mexico, he smiles indulgently, wonders how such things can be in enlightened times. His belief is sincere that in the newer and saner way of life he has left behind forever the chanting and the drums. But he cannot escape hearing them; the very basis of modern jazz is the African rhythm, the response to it is mankind's reawakening to old, very old memories. The modern world is young, the jungle is old; the jungle ways were once our ways, and they are not easily forgotten. Within each of us lingers something of the older magic; somewhere in each of us the old ways are calling, calling us back to the dance and the drum.

If science fails us, we seek again the Witch Doctor with a strange deep confidence that magic cannot fail. Though we deny miracles, we live each day in full expectancy of the miraculous. Sober reason is our outward boast, but our inner conviction harkens back to the wailing chant of the Witch Doctor. We deny him with our tongues, but in our hearts we still believe in his magic.

He is part of our racial heritage, part of the blood and bone of our kind. Many a proud edifice of modern learning is but the lengthened shadow of a jungle den, where Witch Doctors of old burned the bones of the great cave bear ... so that ghosts could come and hover in the smoke.
Site Admin
Posts: 22407
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Healing: The Divine Art, by Manly Palmer Hall

Postby admin » Sun May 13, 2018 3:43 am


The Medicine Man is not necessarily a healer, although healing may be one of his duties. The Indian has long applied the word medicine to any mysterious force which is beyond his understanding. Primarily the Medicine Man is a holy man, one who can speak with the spirits, who knows the ways of the gods.

The more advanced Medicine Man who specializes in healing has in addition to his magical powers some knowledge of medicine and surgery. These priest-seers are also masters of hypnosis and mental suggestion; modern scientists have acknowledged their excellency, and there is everything to indicate that in their knowledge of the suggestive arts they are far ahead of the white man.

Sitting Bull, one of the most celebrated of the Medicine Priests, whose visions enabled him to surprise and annihilate General Custer's troop at the Little Big Horn




THE dictionary does not distinguish any difference in meaning between the terms Witch Doctor and Medicine Man, but assigns the first to the African Voodoo worker, and the second to the mystery priests of the American Indian tribes. In reality, the two represent distinct stages in the development of occult practices. The Witch Doctor came first, and only through a long and complicated process of evolution was he developed into the Medicine Man.

To describe the Indian mystic as a Medicine Man is a singularly unfortunate choice of words. Semantically speaking, it causes, through association of ideas, an entirely erroneous conception of the whole structure of Indian metaphysics. With the term so fixed in the language that it is impossible now to change it, the need is to clarify as much as possible the natural confusion which results from the use of a familiar word in an entirely unfamiliar sense.

We think of medicine as a medicinal substance used in the treating of disease, and so a Medicine Man would be one who gives medicines -- a physician. In this sense, however, it conveys no adequate conception of the American Indian holy man. The term was bestowed some two hundred years ago by ignorant whites, with definite intent to disparage; and later, Medicine Man came into still further disrepute when the term was assumed by itinerant quacks, unscrupulous white men who peddled various 'infallible Elixirs' and 'Snake-bite Cures,' supposedly genuine Indian remedies, but in actuality, utterly worthless concoctions.

The dictionary recognizes that medicine is a synonym for magic, as applied to magical forms of healing. This meaning, while a little closer to function, is still misleading. The Medicine Man is not necessarily a healer, although healing may be one of his duties. The Indian has long applied the word medicine to any mysterious force which is beyond his understanding. When the American army began to use repeating rifles against the Indians, these rapid firing guns were described among the tribes as 'powerful medicine'; because the Sioux did not understand how the rifles could be loaded so rapidly.

To the Indians, the Medicine Man was one who possessed supernatural powers as prophet, seer, thaumaturgist, priest, physician, spiritist or spiritual healer. He might be only one of these, or he might combine several of the offices in his person. Primarily he was a holy man; he was one who could speak with the spirits, he knew the ways of the gods. Frequently he was also the tribal historian, for most of these priests possessed remarkable memories.


Modern skeptics inclined to discount the supernatural powers of the Medicine Man will do well to remember the conditions under which he worked. This prophet-priest lived his years and performed his miracles under the ever watchful eyes of his fellow tribesmen. They knew his life from the beginning; they had seen the mystic look come into his eyes; they had known that he would choose the way of the seer; they remembered his first visions, and many times they had seen him come back from his long vigils by the sacred fire.

It would be difficult indeed for a man to be a deceiver from his infancy, especially when other watchful and sometimes jealous Medicine Men were ever present to try the spirits.

The wonder-worker was continually being called upon for various kinds of services, and if he failed in his enchantments he did not continue long in popular respect. Nor could he remove to some other community if his failures caught up with him. For the Medicine Man to remain in good standing throughout a long and eventful life, his experiments had to be successful in considerable number. The more highly advanced Indian nations were far too intelligent to be easily deceived, and it was among these that the mystery priest came to his greatest power and developed to full flowering his supernatural arts.

If the tribe needed rain, it was the Medicine Man's duty to find some way of producing it; excuses might work for a time, but there nevertheless must be rain, or there would certainly be a new Medicine Man.

If a prominent member of the tribe was taken sick, the Medicine Man was expected to discover and administer the necessary remedies. Too many failures in this line would also be disastrous, and this magician could not hide behind the declaration of an ailment being incurable, as the modern physician can and does. Nothing is impossible to one possessing supernatural powers; the desired cure is the only satisfactory end to the sick call.

If the hunting was poor, the Medicine Man was consulted as to the exact location of the game, and when he had made his pronouncement, the hunters started out. It is difficult to say what might have happened to the unhappy shaman had the animals not been there, and the hunters had to come back empty handed, for the simple reason that all available accounts state that always the game was in the place that the priest had indicated.

At various times the tribe might be expecting trouble from some other band of Indians, or later, from the menacing white men. Then there would be a council, with the Medicine Man required, upon demand, to describe the enemy war party, state its whereabouts and its strength. Often the survival of the entire tribe might depend upon the accuracy of the priest's mystical vision; he had to be correct in every detail, although the enemy might be a hundred miles away.

These were the daily tasks of the venerated seer, and the whole tribe stood judgment over the results. How many of our most highly trained scientists could qualify for the office of Medicine Man in a tribe of American Plains Indians? Only results counted; excuses were buried with the dead.


The more advanced Medicine Man who specialized in healing had in addition to his magical powers some knowledge of medicine and surgery. His physiotherapy included massage, sweat-baths, sun bathing, counter irritation, and local pressure with the hands and feet. He also set broken bones, performed blood-letting, pulled teeth, and bandaged wounds. Dieting and fasting were practiced by most primitive peoples and the Medicine Man prescribed these whenever indicated. Herbs have been used from the earliest times, and the experienced practitioners compounded herbal medicines, and in some cases made use of animal and mineral substances.

Medicine as science was highly developed among the Indians of Yucatan and the Central American areas in the two thousand years prior to the coming of Columbus. These people fitted false teeth and artificial limbs, they perfected a number of surgical instruments, and they performed the Caesarean section long before the birth of Julius Caesar.

Many important changes had to take place in the structure of ancient society before the dominion of the Witch Doctor was left behind and the Medicine Man became the keeper of his people. The most significant of these changes came gradually in the sphere of religion. The God concept emerged, to put in order the spirit world of primitive man.

The processes which brought this about can be studied among such peoples as the Egyptians; they had a large and complicated pantheon of divinities. The spirit guardians of powerful tribes gained prestige as these rose to temporal power. The conquered accepted the spirits believed in by their conquerors, and these victorious spirits gradually assumed the proportions of gods. There were gods of peace and war, gods of towns and villages, gods of earth, and air, and fire, gods of the living and of the dead. As the nomes, or provinces, increased in strength their gods took on national influence and in the end the most successful deities became the superior gods and the less fortunate assumed the estates of tutelaries.

With the belief in God came the transference of the tribal virtues to the person of this Invisible Being, the strong and loving protector of his children. Thus God became good, because the ways of the tribe itself were always good. Man made his God in his own image, or in the image of that which he, man, desired to be. The tribal God was a great chieftain, a glorified extension in space of the physical chief. This spirit chieftain was the master of all the lesser spirits and ghosts and they had to obey him.

This belief, that malignant agencies were no longer free to wander about afflicting at will, put the world in order
. For now, if an evil being sought to do harm, the good God would come to the aid of his people and punish the offending ghost. The bad spirits resisted this loss of power of course, and tried in many ways to outwit the God, but this was not possible, because the God who knew all things could offset the evil purpose of the wicked spirits. It was the good God against the bad ghosts, and the struggle resulted in anthropomorphism, the doctrine of God and devil fighting for control over the world.

Soon, good men in this world tried to help the God, and lived according to his will; and after death their spirits could still help him; and also aid in protecting the tribe. Evil men, who disobeyed the God, continued after they had died to plague the living; and so it became necessary for the God to punish them. Thus good and evil came into being, White Magic and Black Magic were divided; and the sorcerer came into ill repute.


Then came a culminating psychological realization that was to modify the whole course of human effort. This was the belief that suffering was punishment for disobeying the good God. That made it necessary for all who were afflicted by sorrow or sickness to make an atonement for their sins in the form of an offering to the God.

This conviction did not work out so well, for the reason that both the virtuous and the vice-ridden were subject to many of the same misfortunes. But the belief had been set up empirically, so the facts had to be altered to fit the preconceptions. When no fault could be found in the unfortunate sufferer that would explain his ailment, an appropriate vice was manufactured. Such beliefs as that of the sins of the fathers being visited upon the sons, and "With Adam's fall we sinned us all," are remembered examples of endeavors to explain the misfortunes of the virtuous man.

It was suspected, too, that evil spirits or ghosts might try to lure men away from the good God by various temptations; or, because of his personal goodness might afflict him out of spite. This became a popular notion, and one that was to be complicated by the further involvement that the God himself might tempt his children, to discover how true they were in their devotion. Saints wrestling with Satan, and Job plagued with boils are illustrative of these viewpoints.

From primitive man's floundering about trying to fit the facts of his living into the structure of his beliefs came some of the world's most unpleasant and unconvincing religious doctrines. We have to appreciate the spiritual problems of half-civilized mankind: Man obeyed his God, and suffered; he disobeyed his God, and suffered; he made offerings to his God, and still he suffered; or if he sold his soul to evil spirits, even then he suffered. Regardless of everything he suffered, he sickened and he died. Is it to be wondered at that in the end he decided that God wanted him to be miserable, and that there was something very wicked in being happy or comfortable?

In this state of things there was no rest for the mind, and the ancient pressed on miserably in search of some liveable code
. He had reached the inquiring stage by now, and the after-death condition of the soul began to intrigue his mind.

As late as Homer, ninth century B. C., the Greeks believed that the departed dwelt forever in a gray shadow-land, so that the poorest living mortal was more fortunate than the most illustrious dead. But, it seemed obvious that God must live somewhere, and since he was invisible, his house must be invisible also; and so the invisible hut of the good God marked the beginning of our conception of the other world. These were days when greatness was measured in strength, skill, and physical possessions. God resided in the best hut, had the finest cattle, and the most desirable slaves -- was not God the mighty chieftain above all chieftains? So, heaven came into being. The Valhalla of the strong, it was adorned always in the best, in terms of the things most desirable to men, as witness when gold was introduced as the symbol of wealth, heaven was promptly paved with it.

Heaven became the great escape for poor suffering mortals who had no peace in this world -- But that puts us ahead of our story, for the Medicine Man came before theology had set itself in the doctrine of terrestrial misery and celestial bliss. He belonged to that pagan order of things that held to the belief in joy and in living the full life; he was not one to moralize too deeply about the origin of disease. He did believe in the good God, and in his simple way he came much closer to a sufficient natural religion than those who were to deeply involve themselves in theological complications. He was never influenced by the conception that mankind was so wicked that it stood in constant need of salvation; and he was so respectful of the various religious beliefs of his neighbors that he could not be agitated by such questions as which of several faiths was the most inspired. What he knew was, his faith was suitable to him; he assumed that others had the same sense of security.


It is not possible here to discuss fully the various Indian beliefs, for these were distributed among the many tribes and nations. But it may be said that most of the American Indians believed in one God, or Great Spirit, who communicated with his children through the visions and dreams of the priests, and sometimes through those of the laity.

After death the soul might go to some Happy Land, or, as in the words of Chief Seattle: "When the last Red Man shall have perished from the earth and his memory among the white man shall have become a myth, these shores will swarm with the invisible dead of my tribe." Some Indians believed that the spirits of the departed remained among the living to serve and protect them in time of need. To the Witch Doctor all spirits were evil, but the Medicine Man regarded most spirits as good.

The Medicine Man brought forward many of the practices and beliefs of the Witch Doctor, but in every case with refinements and a marked improvement in the mental outlook. The mask, the rattle, and the drum remained, but all these implements were now parts of an integrated religious viewpoint. In some sections of the country the Medicine Men still had to fight the wizards and the witches, but these adherents to Black Magic had lost caste and were ostracized by the respectable. Rites changed into rituals as the magical ceremonies were explained in terms of religious symbolism. Every song and dance took on a definite meaning, one understandable in the light of tribal tradition. The spiritual leader was now entering into the time of his leadership. As priest he became the servant of his God, doing the will of the Great Spirit as revealed through an inner communion.

The Medicine Man still sought his God in the old magical way, through dreams, visions, and trances. Most great leaders of the Indian nations from Hiawatha to Geronimo gained their strength from visions, for on occasion these might come to those who were not actually priests. The celebrated warrior Crazy Horse had a spirit experience in his younger days, and it is known that because of this he believed that he could never be slain in battle; and he was not. His death was brought about by treachery, under a flag of truce.

During the Custer wars when one Medicine Man rode up to the American soldiers they fired several volleys at him from a distance of less than a hundred feet; but neither the Indian nor his horse was touched. When the magician returned to his own warriors he shook a number of bullets from his war shirt.

Some tribes, like the Ojibway, required long periods of special training for those who would be medicine priests; but it was more usual for the youth to select the career himself and then rise to fame and authority by virtue of his powers alone. In a few cases the gifts of the spirit have been regarded as hereditary or prenatal. Men too have been called by their visions late in life; but usually the visions began in childhood, and by the time the boy was twelve or thirteen years of age it was the common knowledge of the tribe that he would be a priest. Sometimes he studied with older Medicine Men, but this was not necessary as the visions taught him all the things that he should know.

The finest book that has come to my attention on the subject of the mystical experiences of a Medicine Man is Black Elk Speaks, the life story of a Holy Man of the Ogalala Sioux. The work is autobiographical, and was given through an interpreter to John G. Neihardt.

Black Elk's great vision came to him when he was nine; the experience required twelve days, and during that entire time his body was lying in a deep coma, and his life was despaired of. He remembered that on his return from the spirit world, he saw his own body lying in the tepee, and as he came near to put on his body again, someone was saying, "The boy is coming to; you had better give him some water."

Many years later Black Elk was part of a troupe of Indians taken to Europe on a theatrical venture. While on the other side of the Big Water, this priest made a spirit journey to visit his parents on their reservation. This mysterious trip required three days, and during that time his body was in a deep trance and it was difficult to detect any breathing. These accounts may sound extravagant, but the Indian is a truthful man, especially in the matters of his religion.

The mystical experiences described by the Medicine Men, when they will speak of such things -- which is not often because of the ridicule with which such theories are received by most whites -- are identical with those recorded among other nations which have developed elaborate occult traditions. The Indian mystics can see auras about the bodies of persons, can enter and leave their own bodies at will, can travel long distances in their spirit shapes, can converse with the dead and help them to find their way in the other world, can meet the fathers and grandfathers of their tribes who have gone long before, can see the future in clouds, can describe words as flames of light coming from men's mouths, can feel themselves possessed by spirits and intelligences, and can understand the languages of animals and birds.

It is important at this point to realize that most of the Medicine Men cannot speak any language but the tribal dialect of their people. It is not possible for them to have studied the metaphysical systems of India, China, or Egypt. It is more than interesting therefore, that they should describe their occult power in exactly the same way as do these other, far separated races. If there are genuine occult phenomena anywhere in the world they are present with the Medicine Men of the American Indians.


These priest-seers are also masters of hypnosis and mental suggestion; modern scientists have acknowledged their excellency, and there is everything to indicate that in their knowledge of the suggestive arts they are far ahead of the white man. In Medicine and Mankind, Eugene H. Pool, M. D., President of the New York Academy of Medicine, describes a medicine sing he attended which was given for the benefit of a young girl suffering from an advanced case of tuberculosis. "At the completion of the sing," he writes, "I said to the medicine man that I thought he worked much harder for his fee than I usually did. With a genial smile and a pat on my back he responded that he did his patient a lot more good, too. Perhaps he was right."

In the same book Dr. Pool also pays tribute to the Indian knowledge of suggestive therapy, in these words: "They have used hypnotism and suggestive treatment far more effectively than we have, and quackery is now no more prevalent among them than with us. They have so combined religion and medical practice that both are respected among them and both are respectable."

The modern physician of course has far greater knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and chemistry than the Indian, but the red man excels him in all the metaphysical aspects of the healing arts. Furthermore, the Medicine Man in most cases has been given his healing formulas in his visions, which may mean a great deal in the final consideration of the cure achieved. From any standpoint the subject is strange and fascinating, and will sometime mean a great deal to the non-Indian doctor in his search for medical truths.

It was my good fortune, some years ago, to see a fire-eating ceremony given by the California Indians. This was in no sense of the word a theatrical performance; it was put on by the tribe solely for religious purposes. A large heap of coals was prepared in advance, and an important Medicine Man came in from the desert to preside. After prayers and chanting that lasted well into the evening, the priest led his followers to the coals, and kicking the embers loose with his foot, he picked up a glowing coal with his hands and put it in his mouth. The others followed his lead, and soon a dozen or more were dancing about with the glow of the coals in their mouths showing weirdly through their cheeks in the darkness. The excitement spread to Indians who had gathered to see the ritual, and in a few minutes men, women, and children were holding the coals in their mouths. When the embers ceased to glow, the Indians spat them out and selected new pieces. Among the participating fire eaters were two men with badges that showed they were reservation police, but the ceremony was otherwise given in great secrecy because of the violent opposition of church missionaries.

This ceremony belongs to the same general type as the famous Fiji Island fire-walking rites. In the Fiji ritual a long trench is dug and fires are burned in it for several days to make ready a bed of coals about six feet in width and from twenty to thirty feet in length. The heat is so great that it is impossible to approach the sides of the trench nearer than ten feet. The fire-walkers, after special preparation and sanctification, step into the fire pit and slowly walk the entire length. An occasional fire-walker will carry in his hand a piece of raw meat. When he has finished the fiery journey the meat is burned to a crisp; but neither the native nor his white body cloth is injured in any way. Examination of the bare feet of the fire-walkers fails to show even the slightest sign of scorching or blistering, yet the heat in the pit may exceed 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

If the power of the mind can prevent a man from being destroyed by such heat, it is time that the subject was given consideration in a much more useful way than merely as a study of personality complexes. To dismiss such miracles by the statement that they are the result of mass hypnosis, and that the audience only 'thinks' that it sees the fire-eating or the fire-walking, is a ridiculous evasion of the observable and provable in the actual happenings. Nor can these native rituals be compared with modern theatrical performances whose wonders are accomplished with the aid of advanced chemical knowledge and devices.

A remarkable Medicine Man on the Blackfoot Indian Reservation at Gleichen, Alberta, has been described by Chief Buffalo Child Long Lance. The name of this mystic was Wolf Head; in 1928 he was still alive at the age of eighty-three years. Chief Long Lance writes: "That Wolf Head has a unique power that is unexplainable even to a highly educated white man is admitted by the present Blackfoot Indian Agent, George H. Gooderham, a graduate of Toronto University, a white man who was born among the Indians and has no queer notions about what they can, or cannot do."

Wolf Head gained his medicine powers when struck by lightning at the age of seventeen, and the mystic faculties remained with him until he was converted to the Christian faith; then the visions ceased entirely. His most remarkable exploit involves Archdeacon Tims, a missionary to the Indians, who invented a method of writing the Blackfoot language. Wolf Head's spirit guide was called Boy Thunder, and one night this spirit appeared and taught the Medicine Man to write the Archdeacon's characters. The next morning the Indian priest amazed the entire tribe, and especially the Archdeacon, who had tried in vain to teach his system, by writing the new symbols perfectly without having had any normal way of learning them.


About 1888, a mystical Messiah doctrine, based largely upon visions and metaphysical experiences, spread rapidly among the Plains Indians from Missouri to the Rocky Mountains. The prophet of this new dispensation was Wovoka, a young Paiute Indian, whose seership arose as he was lying dangerously ill with a fever. An eclipse took place, and during the eclipse Wovoka was in contact with a strange power: He believed that he had been taken into the Spirit World, there to be given a direct revelation by the God of the Indian peoples. Songs and dances being an important part of the new faith, the sect is often referred to as the cult of the Ghost Dance. According to Stanley Vestal, in Sitting Bull: "The Ghost Dance was entirely Christian, except for the difference in rituals."

During the great Ghost Dance, given in September, 1890, an Arapaho thaumaturgist named Sitting Bull (not the famous Sioux Medicine Man) performed hypnotisms with the aid of an eagle feather. The miracle worker waved this feather slowly before the eyes of the assembled subjects, speaking strange words in a slow measured tone. In a few moments definite hypnotism resulted, eyes became set and glassy, bodies grew rigid, and the Indians fell to the ground in complete coma or trance. They remained in this condition for varying lengths of time. Sitting Bull warned against disturbing the entranced persons: they were seeing visions and conversing with the spirits. From the details of this account it is evident that this important leader of the Ghost cult was using methods for producing trance in no way essentially different from those employed by psychologists fifty years later.

Although the purposes of the Ghost Dance were entirely peaceful; and the sect was dedicated to nonresistance and brotherly love, the American government was determined to prevent the spread of the movement. The government attitude climaxed in the Massacre of Wounded Knee, when 370 Indians, who had just surrendered their arms, were slaughtered in cold blood by Hotchkiss guns. The dead included 250 women and children. Thus was ended the Indian hope of the Messiah who was to right the wrongs of the red man and bring peace to the nations.


Among the most celebrated of the Medicine Priests of the American Indians was the other Sitting Bull. He was the Medicine Chief of the Hunkpapa Sioux. Father Beede, who spent the greater part of his life among the Sioux, spoke their language and knew most of their leaders, who was finally converted to their religion and initiated into their Sacred Medicine Lodge, is authority for the statement that Sitting Bull was baptized into the Roman Catholic faith. If this is true, he was probably baptized in 1868 by Father Pierre Jean De Smet.

Stanley Vestal doubts the baptism, but mentions in Sitting Bull that Father De Smet "gave Sitting Bull a crucifix of brass and wood, which remains a treasured possession in the family. It may be seen on his breast in a well-known photograph of the Chief by D. F. Barry -- the one in which he wears a white buckskin shirt and a single feather in his hair."

On this point, Father (later lawyer) Beede adds: "I have it on good authority that Sitting Bull not infrequently prayed to Jesus, and that he spoke of St. Mary as a human incarnation of the mystical 'Mother' whom all old-time Dakotas were taught to adore."

The Reverend Father Beede's estimation of the metaphysical powers of Sitting Bull is a delightful record of personal struggle with his own mind to reconcile miraculous acts with the fixation he had acquired in years of devotion to the Catholic faith. In Sitting Bull-Custer he remarks:

"Sitting Bull, I think, did possess unusual powers in the heathen oracular divination. My sense of truth requires this statement. I study his well attested words and acts in the light of which I myself have seen among Indians. At times his soul seemed to leave his body in part, while his body became somewhat rigid, and traveled far away to regions where he beheld the movements of men and heard their thoughts as if they were speaking them in words. Difference of language seems to have been no impediment. Besides such an experience as this, there are many other things, including the foretelling of future events, which I can account for only on the ground that miracles of power and miracles of glory are allowed to occur among the heathen as well as among Christians. And I am inclined to think that such miracles occur more frequently among the heathen. In their lack of the one ever perpetuated miracle of grace, they have more painful need of other miracles. The power of Deity is not restricted."

Sitting Bull's name is most often associated with the surprise and annihilation of General Custer's troop at the Battle of the Little Big Horn River. According to James McLaughlin, in My Friend the Indian, Sitting Bull at the time was in the hills "making medicine," and his accurate foretelling of the battle enabled him "to come out of the affair with higher honors than he possessed when he went into it."

It is said that Sitting Bull never discussed the Custer incident with any white man, but among his own people he spoke more freely, and we have a most impressive account of how this great Indian seer went at night to the battlefield and sought out the body of Custer. He made medicine beside the body, and the spirit of the dead general appeared to him, and they conversed together.

It was then that Custer warned Sitting Bull that he would die by the treachery of the whites, in fifteen years. After the ghost of Custer had vanished, Sitting Bull covered the face of the dead officer with a silk handkerchief that "Long Hair" himself had once presented to the medicine chief. The details of this story are in Sitting Bull-Custer, by A. McG. Beede.

Sitting Bull remembered this warning; several times he mentioned it to his fellow tribesmen. The fulfillment was as startling as the circumstances of the prophecy. Fourteen years and about seven months later Sitting Bull was assassinated by agents of the government at Standing Rock. At the time of the murder Sitting Bull was not on the warpath; he was peacefully sleeping in his cabin. An order was issued for his arrest, then the affair was so arranged that it was almost certain that the Chief could not be taken alive.

Indians have claimed that the ghost of Sitting Bull has appeared on several occasions. On December 18th, 1890, three days after his death, the spirit of the great chief appeared to the Two Kettle Sioux in the hills by the Bad River. The story was told by Tom Hetlund two days later. He said. "Night before last some Indians were returning from a little social gathering when a sight met their eyes that chilled them to the bone. One of their number directed attention to the top of a bluff and there stood a figure in white perfectly motionless. Suddenly one of them cried out in Sioux: 'It's Sitting Bull!' ... The phantom suddenly commenced waving an arm as if motioning them to follow, and with the speed of a bird glided from hill top to hill top, finally disappearing in the direction of the Bad Lands."

It seems possible that the great Ghost Dance at Wounded Knee, that resulted in the terrible massacre, was directly connected with the incident of the appearance of the spirit of Sitting Bull. Among the Sioux he remains, to this day, a name to conjure with.


Since the establishment of the Indian reservations the Medicine Men have for the most part remained to themselves; they seldom hang about the towns as do other Indians. Nor do they depend upon their powers for a livelihood, but engage in some occupation common to their tribe, such as farming, cattle raising, or sheep herding. The American Indian priesthoods were not celibate orders, and many of the Medicine Men married and had families. In some instances, as among other nations, the holy men have chosen to remain single and devote their lives wholly to prayer and meditation. Medicine Men seldom interfere openly in the government of their people, but in other ways they exercise a very considerable influence in the composite life of the tribe.

The Indians of the Southwest present interesting problems to those interested in metaphysical healing. Many of their pueblos have been inhabited for hundreds of years. Community life for many generations moulded the consciousness of the tribe, and it naturally follows that problems of social adjustment -- the simple lessons learned by centuries of intimate living -- color the religions and philosophies of these old town dwellers.

It has been observed that whenever men live together in close and permanent association they come in the end to fear each other more than they fear gods or demons. And so, as might be expected, witchcraft is regarded by the pueblo Indians as a principal cause of disease. Although demons and evil spirits are recognized as secondary causes of sickness, it is generally accepted that these malignant agencies have been set in motion by witches, or by witchcraft.

For example, disease may be caused by a wizard 'shooting' some foreign substance into the body of a person who has incurred the animosity of the sorcerer. The stuff shot into the victim may be small pebbles, bits of hair, sticks, or pieces of metal. The shooting is done by magic, and the unfortunate victim does not know that he has been so attacked until pain arises in the part affected.

The Medicine Man's search for the foreign substance is made with the aid of a magic eye, a bit of crystal or glass through which he looks as he examines the patient.

This experiment in pain-hunting has been tried upon white men and women, and in several cases these experimental patients have admitted that the Medicine Man, although told nothing, located the exact place where the pain was the worst.

Having discovered the place where the witch-shot entered, the next step is removal of the evil thing. The mystic healer places his mouth over the center of pain, sucks out the poisonous object. This he shows to the patient and then causes it to be thrown away or destroyed. The sick man immediately feels the improvement and the cure follows.

This seems to be a very literal application of the Hippocratic theory that disease is due to the presence in the body of some foreign substance. Unbelievers say that by sleight of hand the Medicine Man puts the pebbles, or other materials, in his mouth in advance of the treatment; if this is so, it is done so cleverly that such fraud is rarely discovered.

Accidents, in which no magical element is suspected, are treated in the same way. A boy, studying in a United States Indian School, slipped one day on a gravel path and received a most painful injury to his knee. Ordinary methods of treatment did little good and it was feared that the youth might be permanently crippled. In time, the boy, limping badly and in great pain, returned to his reservation, and his parents called in a Medicine Man. The healer diagnosed the trouble: a number of pieces of gravel from the path were still in the knee. These he proceeded to suck out, to the number of nine or ten, showing them to the boy and his parents. The knee improved immediately. The youth was soon back in school, completely healed.

In Oklahoma thirty years ago there was a famous Cherokee healer named Charlie Hughes. A ten year old boy was suffering from a very unpleasant bladder difficulty, and the white doctors were unable to do anything for him. In desperation his father finally sent for Hughes. The Medicine Man told the boy to strip to the waist, and while the lad was doing so, Hughes went to the fireplace and took a shovelfull of coals. He warmed his hands over these coals for some time and then placed his warm hands on the boy's back in the region of the kidneys. He rubbed the back softly, chanted some old healing melody, and then whistled a single note, which he repeated at considerable length. After some time he announced that he had finished and departed. His patient, now grown to healthy maturity, told me the story himself, and says that he has had no return of the trouble from that day to this -- more than thirty years.

Dr. Eugene Pool, already quoted, in Medicine and Mankind has this to say about these unusual Indian healers: "The leading doctor within my boyhood memory, in the district in which my parents settled, was an old Sioux medicine man, whose services were considered by the territorial government so valuable that when his tribe was removed to a reservation he was asked to remain with his white patients, among whom were my own parents. I am sure that much of the medicine I received as an infant and child was derived directly from the lore of this fine, learned, and much respected old man." This statement from the President of the New York Academy of Medicine should be of significance to those who would dismiss the Medicine Man as an untutored savage.


Among the Navajo and Hopi tribes, an important place in metaphysical healing is given to sand-paintings, or dry-paintings. These are traditional designs relating to divine matters, or to the mythical history of the tribe, and are regarded as bringing special virtues to the sick for whom they are made. These paintings are destroyed as soon as the ceremonies are finished; the designs are perpetuated by memory alone.

Some years ago it was my privilege to have as a guest in Los Angeles, the late Hosteen Klah, a distinguished Navajo sand-painter and healer. He drew for me, with his own hands, twenty-six of the sand-painting designs on large sheets of cardboard, and through an interpreter described the symbols and their meanings. He told me that in his healing work he made the sand-paintings large enough for the sick person to sit, or be laid, upon them, as part of the medicine ceremonies. Hosteen Klah, a noble Indian with the face of a sage and the manner of a scholar, said with all simplicity that when the ceremony was over the patient got well.

Because of the great respect in which he was held by the Navajos, Lorenzo Hubell was permitted to make a complete motion picture record of a Navajo healing ceremony. The film, made about fifteen years ago, has never been publicly exhibited, but it was my good fortune to see a special showing at the Laboratory of Anthropology, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Miss Mary C. Wheelright, an authority on Indian religions, made a few opening remarks and occasional comments.

The picture is most revealing, and shows the importance of the healing ceremonies in the life of the Navajo people. In the film, the principal Medicine Man is a cripple who appears to have suffered from infantile paralysis, for he has lost the use of his lower limbs. Known as "The Crawler," he was brought from a considerable distance to officiate at the rituals. Close views of this holy man's face showed a fine sensitive expression and a look of deep spiritual understanding. He used very little paraphernalia and depended largely upon the power of his own personality to win the confidence of his patients.

Several other famous Medicine Men assisted The Crawler in the depicted healing ceremony, which lasted nine days. Others prepared the great sand-painting which was the central part of the ritual. Miss Wheelright made the observation that most Medicine Men are very poor, in answer to the often made accusation that the rituals are intended for profit. No one can see this extraordinary picture without arriving at the firm conviction that everyone involved in the ceremony was utterly sincere and without any ulterior motive.

In a recent book, Sandpaintings of the Navajo Shooting Chant, the author pays the following tribute to the healing priests of the Navajos: "My acquaintance with numerous medicine-men, the light in their faces, the conviction in which they speak of their belief, all suffice to convince me that their devotion is genuine ... A fact that is incontrovertible is that, when discord or disease overtakes one of them, no matter how much power he has in his own right, he submits himself to the ministrations of his fellow Chanters with complete faith in their ability to relieve him."

If, as many would have us believe, the medicine priest is one who merely puts on a show for the sake of his own fame, or some reward he might hope to gain, surely he would be loath to trust his life to others of his kind. It is well-known that the reputable modern physician if he becomes ill, is often a bad patient. Is this because he knows his own symptoms too well? Or is it because he knows his fellow doctors too well? The Medicine Man has no such qualms; he takes his own medicine with perfect trust, because it is the wisdom of his people, given in ancient times by the gods of the tribe.


Some of the Dakota tribes have a most curious and interesting belief about the origin of their Medicine Men. Before birth into the material world these priests come into intellectual existence in the form of thistle-like 'flying seeds.' These seeds are wafted about in the invisible spirit-world by the four sacred winds, until they come at last to the abode of one of the orders of gods. Here the spirit-seeds are instructed in magic and medicine, and also in the chants, feasts, dances, and sacrificial rites. This is accomplished by the process of the seeds 'dreaming' of the gods.

When they have completed their training with one group of deities the spirit-seeds fly on to another, and so continue until they have mastered all heavenly knowledge. At last, perfected in wisdom, these flying seeds make a great journey, the length and breadth of the earth, carefully observing the characters and usages of all tribes. In this way the spirit-priest decides where he will be born; and having made this decision, he enters into one about to become a mother, and thus incarnates in human form.

When his earthly labors are over the Medicine Man returns to the abode of the gods whom he has selected to serve. Here he receives further inspiration and wisdom; and then, is born again as a mortal.

Four is the sacred number of the Indian, and the medicine priest may be born four times into the physical life. After that he returns to space, according to Gideon H. Pond, in Schoolcraft's Indian Tribes of the United States.

Description of the human spirit as a flying seed reveals an extraordinary grasp of metaphysical doctrine; and must have originated in clairvoyant examination of disembodied entities. Inclusion of the factor of metempsychosis (the passing of the soul at death into another body) also indicates that these Indians were aware of the oriental belief in a plurality of lives.

In a discussion of Medicine Men, it is to be remembered that women also fulfilled the various duties of the medicine cult. Medicine Women were held in equal esteem with the men, and became famous as spiritual leaders. The women frequently specialized in problems of childbirth. Like the Medicine Men, they combined magic and simple herbal remedies.


The modern intellectual has considerable difficulty in accustoming his mind to the spiritistic beliefs of older peoples. Dominated by the intensely materialistic viewpoint which is the present fashion, most writers on Indian religion and healing having assumed that the miracles attributed to the Shamans are merely cunning impostures. The objections of the misinformed have been sustained by the uninformed; and oddly, the evidence is regarded as conclusive.

In the discrediting of pagan miracles, and so-called 'heathen' lore, missionaries have played quite a part. These pious men seldom lose an opportunity to disparage beliefs that differ from their own. In the past, and to a lesser degree in the present, the churches have been moulders of public opinion, and it may be accepted without question that most Christian religious organizations have convicted the Medicine Man of every imaginable fault from simple charlatanism to infernal necromancy.

A recent writer on the general subject of knowledge observes: When it is necessary to find an explanation for some difficult problem in natural phenomena, it is usually wisest to accept the simplest solution that will reasonably cover the elements of the matter. Now, it seems to me, if this method of reasoning is applied to the known accomplishments of the Indian Medicine Man, the simplest solution is to admit that he possesses psychic or mediumistic powers.

Civilized man has departed from the ways of nature into artificial habits of his own invention. He has surrounded himself with a material, economic, and industrial system which is no part of natural law; it is an ersatz structure ever threatening to collapse upon its inventors. The modern intellectual giant, hypnotized by the superstition that he is not superstitious, is burdened by groundless notions that any intelligent savage would laugh to scorn.

Nature, wise in all her ways, bestows upon her creations the knowledge necessary for their survival. Man, in the process of becoming civilized, has dammed up his instincts and impulses, and thus has lost his psychic bond with universal life. He will blunder along, falling from one conceit into another. It is in this way that nature, in the end, outwits the human error, for man after long suffering will come to realize that only by listening to the voice of nature can he survive. This discovery is Wisdom.


When the Medicine Man goes out into the night, builds his vigil fire on the top of some lonely hill, sets his prayer sticks in a circle about him, and smokes his medicine pipe to the six directions, he is one humble human being seeking to know the way of the Great Mother of all that lives. He brings no boasted learning of his own; nor does he come to criticize and condemn. He is alone with the stars. Raising his outspread arms to the skies and the mountains he breathes the simple prayer of a lonely creation wandering, it knows not where, struggling it knows not why: "Great Spirit, show us the way."

How does a man dare to say that there is no answer to this prayer?

Will the Old Mother who guides the birds and animals, and teaches them to care for their young, and to build the simple nests and dens of their kind, will she remain silent to the need of the noblest of her creatures? Will the world move on majestically amidst the harmony of the spheres, and the old man reverently waiting by his vigil fire, listen in vain for the voice of his God?

Has the skeptic ever waited and fasted for seven days in the wilderness, while the low breeze tosses the feathers on his prayer sticks. Has the contemporary white man ever sought his way of life in humble waiting, pouring forth all the love and devotion of his heart into the air, cold with the gray of the dawn? If he has not, then he has no right to say that the Indian's prayer is unanswered, for he does not know.

It is in these long hours of silent communion that the Medicine Man hears the voices of the spirits, feels the powers of the air moving through his body, sees the visions that guide his way, and gains the strength to lead his people according to the will of the Old Ones who sit in the Rainbow Lodge of the Sky and send their voices down the spirit road of the Milky Way.

Here the priest learns the secrets of the soul and its powers and develops the mystic sight that enables him to see the spirits that float in the ethers like the flying seeds of the thistle. In his raptures the old man feels himself slowly leaving his body to climb with floating feet the pathway of stars that leads to the Great Medicine Lodge, where the Manitos sit in council, each smoking his long pipe.

We cannot do these things that the old priests do, because we have not the faith of the simple Indian mystic. But have we any right to deny his powers, merely because we live in another way, one that has taken us far from the little path that leads to the vigil hill?

We have our religion, but it is not strong in our hearts, and our priests have not stayed close to the way of the old gods. Our ways are those of the jarring sect, the clash of creeds, the many roads that twist about in endless confusion. But the Indian Medicine Man has kept to that other little path that leads to the high place, he has climbed it many times, and at the top of his hill of prayer are the voices and the visions, the spirit guidance of his people.
Site Admin
Posts: 22407
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Healing: The Divine Art, by Manly Palmer Hall

Postby admin » Sun May 13, 2018 3:55 am


The Father of Medicine

From the viewpoint of the metaphysician, had it not been for the Mysteries of Asclepius there could have been no Hippocrates. He took his vows before the altar of Asclepius and became a priest-physician. His clinical methods established a precedent which changed the whole course of medical thought, but the materialist physician should remember that the Father of Medicine was to the end of his days a priest, and the wise and careful observations that have brought him the eternal gratitude of mankind were begun in the house of the healing god.

Hippocrates, born 460 B. C., called the Father of Medicine




THE Greek healing cult of Asclepius, of great importance to the metaphysically minded, is worthy of most careful consideration. While many modern authors mention it in connection with the history of medical arts, few devote more than a dozen lines to this extraordinary order of priest-physicians. This lack of interest among the scientific writers is due, no doubt, to the miraculous means by which the cures were accomplished. In the mild controversy about these cures, as to whether they were the result of mass delusion, or animal magnetism, it has not seemed to occur to many that the miracles might be exactly what the Greeks believed them to be, a divine remedy for human ills.

The first priestly healer to be mentioned in history was the Egyptian physician, Imhotep. This mighty man left to his people many proverbs and wise observations about sickness and health, and after his death he was elevated to the estate of a demigod. Temples were built in his honor and a priesthood served these shrines, perpetuating the remedies and magical formulas which he had given to the world. Schools of medicine were established in the Houses of 1mhotep, and clinics maintained for the treating of disease.

What Imhotep had done for the Egyptians, Asclepius was to accomplish for the Greeks. The sacred Mysteries of healing were established in his memory and his descendants were priest-physicians until the end of Hellenic civilization.

Homer refers to Asclepius as an historical person, a Thessalian prince, and calls him the 'blameless physician.' Almost nothing is known of the life of this great healer. It is believed that he married Epione, a daughter of the King of Kos, and was the father of four children; two sons, Machaon and Podalirius, who also became physicians, and two daughters, Hygeia and Panacea, whose names are still remembered as terms in healing. No date can be assigned to Asclepius with certainty, but he probably lived between 1200 and 1000 B. C.

It is possible that some factual elements may be involved in the myths which grew up about this demigod of medicine, since mythology has been defined as the history of prehistoric times. In most accounts, his father was Apollo, god of healing, and his mother was Coronis, a girl of Thessaly. When the father of the girl Coronis forced her to marry a mortal man, Apollo in his rage destroyed the family. Coronis, although about to bear a child, was slain by Apollo's sister, the goddess Artemis.

Apollo, as his desire for vengeance subsided, was grief stricken at his deed, and descending in his glory he rescued his unborn son from the burning body of Coronis as she lay on her funeral pyre. Thus Asclepius was brought into the world by a Caesarean section, possibly the first account of a child to be so born.

It is generally agreed that Apollo took his infant son to Chiron, the centaur, to be educated. It was from Chiron, who was also the mentor of Achilles, that Asclepius learned the mysteries of medicine.

Let us rationalize this part of the fable.


The centaurs have an important symbolical meaning, for they represent the children of time. Their father was Saturn, the old god-Father Time. To the philosophic Greeks, therefore, the centaurs signified tradition, that which is born of ancient time
. Chiron was wise in the old lore -- the primitive experience-record of the human race. He was indeed the very personification of tradition, this centaur with his human parts rising out of the body of the animal world. In this light the teacher in the fables takes on a rich new meaning. It is well to remember that all myths yield readily to reasonable interpretation.

After Asclepius had learned all that Chiron could teach him, he entered upon his career as a physician and performed many great and wonderful cures. It is said that on at least one occasion he succeeded in raising the dead. This was his undoing; for Pluto, lord of death, fearing that in the end Hades might be depopulated by the skill and magic of a mortal man, appealed to Zeus to protect the dignity of death and the natural laws of the world. The Father of All then took one of his thunderbolts, fashioned in the fiery pits of Etna, and hurling it at the physician, destroyed him with the heavenly flame.

But a grateful humankind did not forget its Prometheus of Medicine, who had paid with his life for the life he had brought back. Asclepius was elevated to the rank of demigod, healing shrines were dedicated to him, his sacred Mysteries were established, and his descendants set apart as healing priests forever.

Many temples to Asclepius were built throughout the Greek states, and later the Roman Empire. The most famous of these was the great Hieron, or sanctuary, at Epidaurus. This magnificent group of buildings clustered about the central temple of the healing god, and in the adytum of this shrine was the gold and ivory statue of Asclepius, by the sculptor Thrasymedes. The divine physician of noble countenance was represented as a seated figure holding in one hand the serpent-wound staff. The dog of medicine crouched at the feet of its deified master.


Grouped about the shrine itself were various buildings and rooms for the lodging of pilgrims and the treatment of the sick. They were large airy buildings, constructed for abundance of sunlight. As a proof that faith alone was not to be the basis of wonders, most of the temples of Asclepius were built near medicinal springs, much like the modern spas.


If the shrines themselves were remarkable, the method of healing practiced in them was even more so. The diagnosis and treatment were determined through oracles given by the god, himself. These oracles were dream experiences of the patients.

When the sick came to the temple for healing, they went through a special period of preparation, and then the sufferers, clothed in new white garments, were brought on their couches into the presence of the statue of Asclepius, and left for the night. In their sleep, the sick saw the god come to life; he walked among them and spoke to them, and prescribed the necessary remedies. In the morning the patients told their dreams to the priest-physicians, who then prepared the medicines or magical formulas.

The scientifically trained modern practitioner may call the whole thing a disgusting example of primitive superstition. But, the sick recovered. They were carried into the shrine one day, and on the third day thereafter walked out amidst the plaudits of the assembled multitudes. Was it not Paracelsus who said that the true end of medicine is the recovery of the patient? By that definition these ancients were good doctors, even if Dr. Haggard does liken them to Medicine Men.


Outstanding healings resulting from the oracles of Asclepius were recorded on tablets in the temples, for the admiration of visitors, and no doubt to increase the confidence of patients. Edgar James Swift quotes several accounts of these metaphysical healings, taken from ancient Greek inscription of the 4th and 3rd centuries B. C. Dr. Swift's opinion of these cures can be gathered from the title of his book, The Jungle of the Mind. For those interested in the records, and not in the viewpoints upon them, here they are, in digest:

A boy who was dumb made his offering at the altar, and a torchbearer of the god demanded of the youth a promise that if he were healed he would make the usual thank-offering.

"I promise," replied the boy, and all were astonished; for in that instant he had recovered his speech.


Pandaras, the Thessalian, besought the god to cure him of scars on his forehead. He dreamed that the god bound his head with a fillet, and when he awoke the fillet was still there. He removed the fillet and found his scars gone.


A man blind in one eye, which had only lids, (the eyeball was gone), was visited in his dream by the god, who seemed to boil a drug and put it in his eyes. The next day he saw with both eyes. (This particular account is especially hard on Dr. Swift.)

Alcetas, of Alicos, blind, dreamed that the god opened his eyes with his fingers, and he saw the trees about the temple. The next day he was entirely cured.


Hermon of Thasa was cured of blindness by the god, but did not make the offering which he promised. His blindness returned; but when he promised again, his sight was restored.

Later in this chapter other examples are given of the oracular healings accomplished in the sanctuaries of Asclepius. A European physician once told me that he did not like to hear about such miracles, because they were unfair. The modern doctor knows much more than the ancient priests, but naturally cannot compete with the supernatural!


Among historians of the healing arts there is a popular belief that Hippocrates of Kos was the Moses of medicine who led the physicians of his time from the Egyptian darkness of magic and superstition into the promised land of rational therapy
. It is in order, therefore, to examine now the life and teaching of this great man, from the viewpoint of a metaphysician.

Hippocrates, called the Father of Medicine, was born on the Greek island of Kos, in the year 460 B. C. His father was of the family of Asclepiadea, the guild of priest-healers descended from the deified Asclepius. Early writers make much of the fact that Hippocrates was the seventh in lineal descent from the "divine physician." The mother of Hippocrates, Phaenarete, traced her ancestry back to Hercules, the strongest of mortals. From such an illustrious background a genius could be expected to emerge.

Hippocrates studied medicine with his father, Hereclides, a celebrated healer. Later, in Athens, he sat at the feet of the physician Herodicus. For his philosophical education he was for a time the pupil of Georgias of Leontini, a brilliant Sophist; and he also received instructions from Democritus of Abdena, a man of vast learning, and one of the fathers of the atomic theory. Obviously then, Hippocrates was well schooled in those mental disciplines that are the necessary foundation of intellectual greatness.

Having completed his education, according to the custom of his time Hippocrates returned to Kos, there took his vows before the altar of Asclepius, and became a priest-physician as his father had before him. How much time he spent in the temple of the god of healing we do not know. In various places and for a greater part of his life he ministered to the needs of the sick; and we have his thoughtful consideration of their ailments preserved for us through his numerous writings. There can be no doubt that Hippocrates was the greatest of the Asclepiadea, and the materialistic physician should remember that the Father of Medicine was to the end of his days a priest.

How has it come about that Hippocrates has received in general the plaudits of medical historians, but the great order of priest-physicians that produced him has been passed over with hardly a grudging compliment? Had it not been for the Mysteries of Asclepius there could have been no Hippocrates. As greatness is honored, is not the cause of greatness equally worthy of respect? It surely is not reasonable to accept a man's attainments and then deny, or ignore, the very things that made that man what he was. The predicament of the materialist is, how can he afford to honor the teachers of his hero, when to do so would force him to acknowledge the debt he owes to mystical and metaphysical arts?

A grateful world has showered honors upon the memory of Hippocrates; his knowledge, for his time, was extraordinary; and his personal character was above reproach; his clinical methods established a precedent which was to change the whole course of medical thought. All this is to be granted without reservation; but this is not the end of the matter, for there is reason for resentment in a type of statement that in one form or another appears in almost every modern text on the early history of medicine. Its general import is this: "Hippocrates was the first to separate medicine from superstition and priestcraft, to base its practice upon the principles of inductive philosophy, and direct especial attention to the natural history of disease."


It is not to be ignored that Hippocrates was born in the shadow of the Asclepian shrine, that his father was a priest-physician, that young Hippocrates first came in contact with disease in the healthy and hygienic atmosphere of the Hieron. Those wise and careful observations that have brought him the eternal gratitude of mankind were begun in the house of the healing god.

Here the sick were arranged in wards, their bodily comfort assured by ever watchful attendants. Hippocrates could sit by their couches, listen to their symptoms, and watch the course of their ailments. He had the opportunity to observe and study thousands of cases and distinguish many types of disease; only the great clinics of Asclepius could have afforded such opportunity for research.

But it was not possible to follow the condition of patients in the temples, as they came only for a short time, so it is probable that Hippocrates also formed clinics of his own so that he might observe the longer courses of some ailments. What little can be gathered about the private practice of Hippocrates indicates that his clinics were patterned, with certain modifications, after those of the temples.

Some moderns would have us imagine that Hippocrates stood alone in a benighted world, one shining light in a universal darkness. This is a little difficult to believe. Socrates, Plato, Democritus, Demosthenes, Aristippus, and even Aristotle were among his contemporaries. He lived in the golden age of Grecian intellectual culture, one of the highest points in the philosophical life of the race. Plato and Socrates definitely believed in the Mysteries, accepted the mystical tradition, and acknowledged the existence of the gods and heroic souls; and these are considered reasons for materialistic opinion to seek to dim their glory.


It would be interesting to know what Hippocrates himself believed about such matters as the gods, and a future life. He was an initiate of the Asclepian cult, and the celebrated oath attributed to him opens with these words, "I swear by Apollo, physician, by Asclepius, by Hygeia and Panacea, by all the gods and all the goddesses -- taking them to witness ... etc." So it could be suspected that Hippocrates was not a perfect example of emancipated materialism. It might also be recalled that very little of good has come to man, in any age, from those of little faith.

Apropos of the Hippocratis jusjurandum -- the great oath of medical ethics -- there is some doubt among inquiring minds as to whether Hippocrates was its true author. Just as the Lord's Prayer was lifted bodily from the Jewish Talmud, it is quite possible that the Hippocratic Oath was part of the Asclepian rites long before the advent of Hippocrates.

This Oath, especially the opening lines, is not entirely satisfactory to the non-mystical minded. Not long ago I was privileged to sit in on an argument when precisely this thought worried several eminent medics. It was the final and mature opinion of these gentlemen that the Oath should be revised! -- they wanted references to gods entirely removed, as inconsistent with the state of modern enlightenment.

It is a little difficult to believe that the priest-physician who took his Oath, when oaths were meaningful, "by all the gods, and all the goddesses" is the same man, according to many texts, who "separated medicine from the priestcraft." Hippocrates, we know, through a series of clinical observations, made a number of important discoveries concerning the nature and course of disease, and the effects of various remedies, not generally known before his time. But this does not prove that he had any intention of overthrowing priestly medicine. Nor does it indicate any intention to deny the spiritual factors in the problem of health. It is true that Hippocrates said that "there is no authority except facts," but the Greeks certainly would have been the first to assert that it would be a poor religion that facts could tumble from the sky. The Jesuit Father, Athanasius Kircher, discoverer of a number of facts important to medicine, remained a devout man; he never expressed any fear that his findings would overthrow the Papacy.

It is probable that the secular physician did come into being as a result of the Hippocratic emphasis upon the physical causes and treatment of disease, but in many ways this separation was a loss rather than a gain to medicine. The division was not necessary to scientific progress. A religious system that produced such outstanding individualists as Pythagoras and Plato would not have hindered the medical practices of Hippocrates. There is no evidence that any effort was made to interfere with any of his methods. Hippocrates practiced his medical convictions and communicated them to his disciples without hindrance or persecution, as did most other teachers of his time -- so long as they did not involve themselves in politics.


Hippocrates proved, probably without fully realizing the implications himself, that many diseases can be treated successfully by natural means alone. There were numerous advantages to this viewpoint, but there were also many serious disadvantages, as time was to prove. The greatest good that came from the Hippocratic reformation, so-called, was the impetus that it gave to the physical aspect of medical research. It supplied a reason why physicians should search unceasingly for natural remedies for human ills. The greatest evil that resulted from the new viewpoint was the gradual but relentless motion of medicine away from the spiritual and ethical standards which the Mysteries imposed upon the physician.

What were the medical opinions of Hippocrates of Kos? He divided the causes of disease into two general classes; the first external, as weather, climate and locality; and the second, internal or personal, as habits, diet and exercise. He believed that appearance, disposition, and mentality were largely influenced by climate, thus explaining the general superiority of the Greeks. The decline of the Greeks, in spite of their admirable locality, he did not live to see or explain.

Disease, according to the Hippocratic doctrine, was due to the derangement of the "four humours," or bodily fluids; these are blood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile. When these humours were not in proper proportion or arrangement sickness invariably followed, and if they could be coaxed into a more propitious relationship a cure could be effected.

The Father of Medicine was more famous for prognosis than diagnosis, and was accused of a fatalistic attitude in treatment. He may have brought this fatalism with him from the Asclepian temples, for the rules of these shrines included one to the effect that cases obviously hopeless could not be treated. With Hippocrates, if previous cases of a similar nature had ended fatally, he was not likely to oppose the course of the disease.

The Hippocratic theory of treatment has been called "cautious and expectant." Diet and baths were his favorite remedies, and he made considerable use of herbs. Leclerc collected a list of almost four hundred milks, wines, fruits, vegetables, fats, and other "simples" which he prescribed. Horns of the ox and stag, and the excrement of the goat, mule, ass, goose, and fox are included in his pharmacology. The opinions of Hippocrates on the subject of astrology are particularly obnoxious to modern practitioners.

Treatment was not his greater bid to fame, although he was honored by the Athenians for his services during the outbreak of the plague. Hippocrates was primarily an observer of disease, and his two sons, also Asclepian physicians, assisted him in compiling the various case-histories that became the basis of his writings. He was sometimes accused of being more interested in watching his patients than in trying to help them, and he was accused by his contemporaries of letting the sick die by "doing nothing to keep them alive." In this practice he differed markedly from the modern physician, who prolongs life by any means in his power on the assumption that hope lingers until actual death. It was probably his prognostic skill that caused Hippocrates to neglect cases he regarded as hopeless.

Eighty-seven books are attributed to him, but most of these were probably by other learned physicians of his time, some with the same name as himself. This would indicate that he was one of a considerable group of similarly minded men. On this subject, in The Doctor In History, Howard W. Haggard, Associate Professor of Applied Physiology at Yale, writes: "Hippocrates exists as a name rather than a man. Under that name we group all the great and now forgotten men of Greece who in the fifth century B. C. formed the scientific basis of medicine."


The principal works of which Hippocrates of Kos is now believed to be the author, treat such subjects as Prognostics, Epidemics, On Diet, and On Air, Water and Locality. Some of the best of his writings are the Aphorisms, short and spirited sentences, factual and descriptive. The most famous and discouraging of the aphorisms is, "Life is short and art is long." Another is typical. "If a dropsical patient is seized with hiccup, the case is hopeless."

Under the name of Bokrat, Hippocrates was known to the Arabs, and his writings were treasured among them through the long night of Europe's dark ages. A considerable mythology has grown up about this great physician and miracles have been attributed to him that do not appear inferior to the wonders performed by the divine Asclepius. As many of these myths are of Grecian origin, and some of them are very ancient, it would not appear that Hippocrates was regarded as a materialist by his contemporaries or followers.

If older opinions are confused, the moderns are no better. Logan Clendening in his book, Behind the Doctor, published in 1933, writes, "It is doubtful if there was any single personality known as Hippocrates." It would be rather embarrassing if the father of factual medicine was himself a myth!

One thing is certain however, the majority of medical historians do not believe the great physician to be a figment of the imagination. To them he is a very real person, with a long gray beard, and scholarly, if un-Grecian, appearance. How little we really know about these matters upon which we are so sure. My own opinion is that there are few myths that do not root in realities, and Hippocrates was most certainly an actual person, but many of his accomplishments originated among the thinkers of his own, or earlier times.


Another important contribution that Hippocrates made to modern medicine was the bedside manner. The physician entered with dignity, and if the ailment was not in a violent stage, seated himself beside the patient and 'artistically' questioned him concerning his age, his manner of living, his recent exposure to infection or contagion, his diet, his previous ailments, and the special seat of the present discomfiture and the symptoms. This was usually followed by a general examination. He had also to encompass the delicate matter of previous physicians and their prescriptions, for it was not ethical to question the ability of a fellow practitioner. Then followed the new medication and recommendations. This, the Hippocratic procedure, has varied little since his day.

Concerning the later life of Hippocrates nothing is known, except that he died at Larissa. Ancient writers have given the length of his life variously as 85, 90, 104 and 109 years. Clinton favors 104 years, but most moderns are more conservative, the larger figures do not sound factual to them. He had at least two sons, Thessalus and Dracon, but the date of his marriage and the name of his wife are not preserved.

Thus little we know of the wise old physician whose name is burdened with the responsibility of having divided, forever, the art of healing from its priestly founders. The more we study his mind and his methods the more we feel the injustice that has been done him in the name of glory. What Hippocrates really believed was, the gods help those that help themselves. He taught that men should not depend upon divine aid for all the infirmities of their flesh, but should seek natural means of binding up the wounds of their indiscretion. This is not only good science, it is good religion.

The many Catholic and Protestant hospitals in our communities, equipped with every modern instrument of diagnosis and healing prove that religions do not reject progress in scientific knowledge. The great 'division' is in the mind alone, and attitudes, not facts, are responsible for the long antagonism between the gods and the doctors, to the dishonoring of both.

In his treatise on the Sacred Sickness, (epilepsy), Hippocrates reveals his true position in his own words. "Such things," he writes, "are divine or not -- as you will, for me distinction matters not -- and there is no need to make such division anywhere in nature, for all things are alike divine or all are alike human." Here, the physician, in his own words, denies the very division that has been in his name.

Division leads not to progress but to confusion. The fruits of division are dissension, intolerance, and waste. Where there are many schools teaching differently about the same thing all learning is obscured. Mankind is united in all essentials, and divided only in those things which are of secondary importance. But it has been fashionable to magnify the difference and ignore the great unities that bind the world together. Selfishness and stupidity caused the Dark Ages, the Inquisition, the wars and economic upheavals that have plagued mankind for ages, and last but not least, the discords of religion, divided as it is into hundreds of sects, which would serve God by plaguing one another.


The discoveries made by Hippocrates did not destroy the cult of Asclepius. It remained for centuries the principal custodian of public health.

A great plague broke out in Rome and threatened to destroy the entire city. The Romans sent an embassy to Epidaurus to beseech the help of the god of healing. The oracles were questioned and Asclepius was pleased to listen to the need of the Romans. He permitted himself to be taken to Rome in the form of a living serpent. As the ship was sailing up the Tiber on the return journey, the god glided over the side of the boat and took to himself an island in the river. The Romans, taking the action as an omen, built their sanctuary to Asclepius on this island, and through the favor of the god, the plague was overcome.

A memorial tablet has been found on the site of this temple on the Island of the Tiber. The tablet commemorates four miraculous healings that took place in this shrine. The substance of the four inscriptions is as follows:

Gaius, who was blind, consulted the oracle and was told to approach the altar, offer prayers, cross the temple from right to left, place his five fingers upon the altar, raise his hand and place it upon his eyes. He recovered his sight at once in the presence of many persons. This occurred in the reign of Antoninus, (about 120 A.D.).


Valerius Aper, a blind soldier, consulted the oracle, and was told to mix the blood of a white cock with honey, and rub his eyes with this ointment for three days. He recovered his sight, and gave thanks to the god.


A certain Julian, who had hemorrhage of the lungs, consulted the oracle and was told to go to the altar, thence take some pine nuts, mix them with honey and eat them for three days. He was cured.


The son of Lucius was dying of pleurisy. Asc;epius appeared to him in a dream and told him to take ashes from the altar, mix them with wine, and apply them to his side. He was saved and gave thanks to the god.

If these inscriptions are representative of Asclepian therapy it is not difficult to understand why the Greeks and Romans so greatly admired their cult of priestly-physicians. Since the rise of the psychological viewpoint it is customary to dismiss all accounts of miraculous healing as 'purely psychic,' or as 'the result of mental suggestion.' This attitude is justified by the assumption that only functional ailments could be so treated, that none but the secular physician was qualified to cope with serious, organic disorders.

Let us apply this kind of logic to the testimonials on the Asclepian tablet from the Island of the Tiber. Blindness, hemorrhage of the lungs, and pleurisy, are not superficial ailments by any standard of medicine. It may be true that blindness can be caused by hysteria; but again, it is more often the manifestation of very serious bodily ills. It is difficult to believe that hemorrhage of the lungs is merely a mild form of psychic disturbance, and its instantaneous cure is something for medical men to think about. The same holds true in the pleurisy case.

If psychic medicine can produce such results as those described on the memorial tablet it is a valuable and important part of the technique of healing. Perhaps, indeed it is the therapy of the future, in answer to the prayers of a suffering humankind that has been drugged and purged, and bled for the last two thousand years in the name of materia medica.

Not long ago, a man selected my sympathetic ear to pour into it the long tale of his physical woes. His case history included twenty years of suffering, a dozen ineffective doctors, and complete economic demoralization. Would it be facetious to observe that this poor suffering mortal would gladly exchange the opinions of his twelve physicians for one slightly inspired utterance relative to his condition?


Even the trained psychologist knows pathetically little about the powers of the human mind. He is searching, but only centuries of constant effort will be sufficient to perfect his knowledge. Is it possible that the initiated priest-physicians of antiquity did possess a spiritual insight into the origin and treatment of disease, which was lost to the secular doctor when he severed his connection with the great, mystical institutions of healing? The modern materialist assumes a negative answer to this question, but an assumption is not a fact.

When Plato opened his school in the Lyceum he discovered that a nearby swamp rendered the location unhealthful. After a short time he was stricken with a dangerous fever caused by the fetid air. His disciples recommended that he move the Academy to a salutary location. But the master refused, explaining that a wise man could free himself from the influence of any environment, once he had recognized the nature of the difficulty. Plato cured himself of the fever by the strength of his mind alone, and continued in the Lyceum the rest of his life with no recurrence of the ailment
. He lived to ripe old age, and finally died, in his eighty-first year. It is reported that his death was due to no disease, but to the general infirmities of old age. He died in his sleep, with the books of the poet Sophron under his head for a pillow.

A swamp is not a fixation, a phobia, a neurosis, or an inhibition; it is a very real source of bad health. A mental attitude alone is not enough to overcome its evil force, nor is autosuggestion a reasonable answer. Plato might have denied that the swamp could hurt him, but in the end his constitution would have been undermined. There is much more than mere affirming and denying to metaphysical healing. It appears certain that Plato knew how to make himself immune to the local fevers. Who can deny that such knowledge would be valuable, even in this time of inoculations?

Plato taught by his example that man possesses within himself the power to cure the diseases of his body, that in the end, every man is his own priest, and every man is his own physician.

Wisdom is a universal medicine, and the only remedy for ignorance, the great sickness of mankind. This is the doctrine of the mystics, the doctrine which they learned in the old temples; the doctrine which some day must be the foundation of all enlightened therapy.


Approximate dates of the healing recorded on the memorial tablet are fixed by the first inscription, 'in the reign of Antoninus,' or early in the second century, A. D. By this time secular medicine was well established in Rome, and by numerous Greek physicians who were not priests; so we may assume that they were products of the 'great separation' attributed to Hippocrates. These doctors had first come to the Roman Empire about two centuries before the Christian Era, and because of the Roman respect for Greek culture, they established large and profitable practices. By studying these men we may discover some of the immediate results of the secularizing of medicine.

These physicians who had left spiritual values far behind in their haste after physical knowledge, were, on the whole, a scurvy lot. Cato cried out against them, declaring that the Romans had flourished for six centuries without doctors, only, in the end, to be murdered by Greek physicians. To these inquisitive medics the human being had lost his identity as a son of God, and had become a case-history. Of their thirst after knowledge, and their ethics generally, Pliny writes: "It is at the expense of our perils that they learn, and they experimentalize by putting us to death, a physician being the only person that can kill another with sovereign impunity. Nay, more than this, all the blame is thrown upon the sick man only; he is charged of disobedience forthwith, and it is the person who is dead and gone that is put upon trial."

It was at this point, also, that commercialism reared its ugly head. The priest-physicians were attached to temples that were supported by the state. If grateful patients, who had been benefited, wished to make gifts to the temple, well and good. Most of the shrines were filled with treasures, along with lesser gifts of no physical worth given by the poor, but every offering was a token of actual assistance. Secular Greek doctors, however, charged high fees; they based these upon the limit of the financial means of the sufferer, and they charged the same whether the patient lived or died. Where medicine ceased to be a religion it became a business. When Cato said that the Romans had gone along for six hundred years without doctors, he meant that until the appearance of the Greek medics the healing arts had been in the keeping of the sacerdotal class. The priest-physicians and the temple of healing were the sole custodians of the public health during the rise of the Roman Empire, the secular physicians were in authority during the decline. Until the coming of the Greek doctors the Romans had never paid a fee for medical attention, but the crafty Greeks assured their new patients that a man only appreciates what he pays for.

The new therapy removed the superstition of Divine aid, and substituted for it the superstition that money can buy health, and pay for dissipation. The greater harm was that the high prices kept health away from the poor, and it was the poor who had to fight and die for the glory of Rome.

The Romans had quite a time adjusting themselves to the new scientific viewpoint in medicine; they made laws against malpractice, regulated fees, and devised legal methods to hold physicians responsible for their mistakes and the consequences. The new doctors were supposed of course to be men of high principles, and they had taken the Hippocratic Oath, but it could be questioned how important is an oath to the gods, when belief and faith in those gods is itself undermined. These men were no longer ruled by their own spiritual convictions, by the belief in the reality of Divine powers; and then, as always, it was necessary to govern their actions by man-made codes to protect society from an excess of exploitation.

It has ever been difficult to make laws against a privileged class, especially if this class organizes itself against any regulations that interfere with its complete freedom of action. The Romans found this out when they tried to regulate the practice of medicine. They succeeded in part, but never again did the Eternal City enjoy that freedom from medical crime that had been there before the coming of the Greek doctors.

For several centuries priestly healing and materia medica dwelt side by side in a state of armed truce. To the priests, the secular physician was guilty of the grossest form of sacrilege; and to the emancipated doctors the priests were a superstitious lot insofar as their claims to healing were concerned. In the midst of this tense situation another complication entered -- the Christian religion began its rise to power.

There was nothing particularly mysterious about the collapse of pagan Rome. Emperors were degenerate, aristocracy decadent, laws were corrupted by private interest; its religions had been profaned, its citizens demoralized by constant wars, its treasuries exhausted by public graft, and its provinces overrun by barbarians. In the face of all this tribulation, a recent writer with the modern medical attitude on matters of history, naively suggests that malaria was a dominant factor in what Gibbons so euphoniously describes as the decline and fall of the Roman Empire!

Could it be that the city built by Romulus on the banks of the Tiber ruled the known world for centuries, but by a curious coincidence, succumbed to its malarial environment at the precise time that its ethics and morality reached their lowest ebb? This attitude is typical of men who try to think through the problems of their world with their minds turned away from the benefits of spiritual education.


When secular medicine separated from the Asclepian Mysteries, it departed in such a hurry that it left behind many of the most important furniture and fixtures of the healing art.

Primarily it left behind the exalted ethical standards that must apply to all relations between the public servant and the public he serves. It was taught in the temples that wisdom was a divinely bestowed superiority; and that men so favored by the gods must always deport themselves in a manner worthy of the confidence which their wisdom inspires.

In their hurried exit the new doctors also overlooked the part that beauty plays in the health of mankind. Utility became their one obsessing concern, and even today, after centuries of progress, the modern hospital looks more like a factory than a temple of health. The temples of Asclepius were places of beauty and gentle dignity. There may have been less efficiency, but there was certainly a noble and beautiful spirit in these sacred places. The priest-physicians were servants of a loving god who looked down with infinite pity upon his suffering world. The body of man was the living temple of a living spirit, and it was gently and reverently cared for. Why is it not possible for a world, rich and powerful far beyond the dreams of the Greeks, to restore this kindly way of health, adding all that scientific knowledge can bestow? Surely in this later day healing can be practiced with the same wise beauty that the ancients knew.

The hasty-footed medics in their race for freedom also left behind the most enlightened of all ancient concepts about the ethics of healing -- the simple acceptance that medicine is for all who are sick. In the temple of Asclepius at Rome, slaves left by their masters to die were taken in and hospitalized until their ailments were cured. One of the Emperors made a law that such slaves, if they recovered, were free, and their former masters had no claim upon them. Naturally, most of these slaves could pay nothing for treatment, but this made no difference, the gift of health was a divine right of man. This famous temple on the Island of the Tiber, the first hospital, served the rich and the poor without discrimination.

The modern world has its city and county hospitals and free clinics, the last usually attached to some medical school; but few of these compare favorably, in spirit at least, with the shrines of the healing god. The great majority of these charitable institutions are a disgrace to modern civilization, and those who enter through their ornate doors must humiliate and even in some cases pauperize themselves to secure necessary medical attention. And once installed, they are at the mercy of inexperienced internes and overworked nurses; and they are reminded in a multitude of ways that they are enjoying the grudging generosity of the public. Instead of being inspired to feel that a loving world is sincerely interested in their recovery, these patients know that the principal concern of all involved is to get them off the premises with as little time and bother as possible, so that another can have the bed.

These misfortunes are beyond doubt the by-products of the famous division of religion and medicine for which wise old Hippocrates is blamed. Great and important as its contributions may be, science alone cannot perfect civilization. If man were simply an animal, living an animal existence and suffering only from the vicissitudes of the animal world, a physical viewpoint might be enough to preserve his economy. But man is more than this; he is a creature elevated by his mental and emotional energies to a unique place among created things.

The wisest men of all times have believed in the reality of spiritual values, and they have been inspired to the service of the human need, not by hope of profit, but by love of man. Religion there must be, if the race is to endure; and nowhere is religion more essential than among those who are learned and skilled. There should be something of the priest in every physician, and something of the physician in every priest. Each needs the other, and not the so-called division between them, which is the modern boast.

Two schools of medicine have come down to us through the ages, honored and respected by mankind. The first, and oldest, is spiritual medicine, with its doctrines of faith, prayer, penance, divine intercession, miracles, and if you like, a pure and unselfish magic. The second, and much younger, school is material medicine, developing the newer ways of chemistry, biochemistry, and electricity.

Between these two now stands psychology, old in principle but new in technique, which must try to unite the mystic and the medic for the survival of the race. There seems no good reason why so many scientists should strive eternally to destroy mysticism, and to condemn and ridicule the old ways which made men happier and better. There is less reason why they should try year after year, in books and articles, to destroy men's faith in spirit and prayer; for to the greater part of humankind these are the most important things in all of life.

It is the doctor's task to help us through painful days and nights of suffering, and he who is not grateful is a fool. But the physician walks with us but a little way; science, or none, every man in the end must go through the same dark door into the unknown. Even the physician himself is mortal, and when his years are full, his end is the same as that of some ancient dreamer who has gone long before.

Science belongs to this world alone. Man, the mystery of mysteries, does not. Can science solve for us the mystery of that other world, where time rests with the ages? Perhaps some day, but not yet. Edison was working with a kind of telephone that could connect the living and the dead, but death came to him before the work was done. Someday another will carry on, and science will link the worlds, but until that day men can have only their faith to make them strong.


The great Mystery Schools of antiquity, the sources of most that we know and believe, taught that the human consciousness was limited only by the arbitrary intellectual boundaries which it imposed upon itself. Is this impossible? Has the modern materialistic thinker really tried to explore the depths of himself? Has he sincerely examined all evidence which is against his own opinion? Has he disproved miracles, magic, clairvoyance, spiritualism, and telepathy?

Spiritual healing is good and necessary for those who believe in it and have made it part of their religion. And, there is much in mysticism that would be good for all the world. What there are of superstitions and false doctrines will pass away. All mankind has beliefs, as of today, which a hundred years from now will be regarded as superstitions, and scientists and doctors are not immune. There is much of good, and if we are doing less than the best we know, it is because we are hampered by a medieval educational system and mid-Victorian immorality.

As time goes on medicine will depend less and less on harsh drugs to accomplish its results. Already the motion is well under way. Gradually the mind and its power will take the place of many revered remedies. Then we shall find out that there is something even deeper than the mind, and so we shall go on in our cautious crab-like motion toward the world of spirit. When in the end we arrive there, would it not be passing strange if we should come back to the old ways of the gods, and find that the temples of the first day had the truths that shall come to general knowledge in the last day?

All honor then to Hippocrates of Kos, who taught men to find natural ways to health. But let us honor him not as the father of a terrible division, but as the wise old Greek who said, "There is no need to make such division in nature, for all things are alike divine, or all are alike human."
Site Admin
Posts: 22407
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Healing: The Divine Art, by Manly Palmer Hall

Postby admin » Sun May 13, 2018 4:34 am


A quaint old portrait which records the death by poison of Paracelsus of Hohenheim, the greatest metaphysical physician in the history of Europe. It is believed that the great physician was murdered by professional assassin in the hire of jealous and vindictive doctors.



THE Christian ministry of healing is founded in the words of Christ, in the miracles which he performed, and in his bestowal upon his disciples of the power to heal the sick. The attitude of the early Christians on the important subject of mystical healing may be summed up in the words of the Apostle James: "Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him." The Epistle of James, 5, xiv, xv.

Of the miracles of Christ, the devout Alexander Cruden wrote: "Our Savior confirmed the doctrine which he taught by a train of incontestable miracles: they were so great in their nature, so real and solid in their proof, so divine in the manner of performing them, by the power of his will; so holy in their end, to confirm a doctrine most becoming the wisdom and other glorious attributes of God, and for the accomplishment of the prophecies concerning the Messiah, whose coming as foretold was to be with miraculous healing benefits; that there was the greatest assurance, that none without the omnipotent hand of God could do them."

Should any doubt remain as to the importance of miracles in the proof and justification of the Christian dispensation, these few lines are quoted from the Vatican Council, sess. iii, canon 3, 4: "If anyone should say that no miracles can be performed ... or that they can never be known with certainty, or that by them the divine origin of the Christian religion cannot be rightly proved, let him be anathema."

When the Church leaned so heavily upon miracles as proof of its divine estate it fell almost immediately into a serious difficulty. Most of the pagan faiths which flourished in the early centuries of the Christian Era could also advance miraculous happening to justify an equal claim to divine overshadowing. To extricate themselves from this embarrassing situation the early Fathers had recourse to the Second Chapter of Second Thessalonians, in which is described the "man of sin" who should come with lying wonders after the working of Satan. By various improvisations upon this theme, it was demonstrated to the satisfaction of the pious that all miracles not arising within the Christian faith were snares and delusions, originated with the devil, and calculated to destroy utterly all who regarded them favorably.

This solution invited disaster, for it stigmatized all non-Christian beliefs, and set the stage for a vast program of religious intolerance. The devil became the ruler of three quarters of the earth. The Church had set itself the heroic task of fighting his power in the four corners of the world. And, as might be suspected, non-Christians did not take kindly to the idea that they were worshippers of Satan, and as the centuries passed, the inevitable consequences of these theological pronouncements were Holy Wars and Crusades.

In addition to various healings of physical disease and sickness, the Gospels ascribe to Jesus the power of casting out demons. He cast seven devils out of Mary of Magdala; and in Gerasa he caused a legion of evil spirits to depart out of a man and enter into a herd of swine. Miracles of this kind justified the theological doctrine of demoniacal possession, and strengthened generally the public belief in the reality and power of evil. It was upon the authority of the scripture therefore, that the medieval Church made an extensive study of demonology; and the casting out of evil spirits became an important part of the healing arts during the Middle Ages.


As the various isolated Christian communities of the first three centuries were gradually drawn together into one great assembly, the historical Church began to take form. Much of its symbolism and many of its rites were patterned after the pre-Christian religions of India, Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Every effort was made to conceal this borrowing, but from the wider vista of present knowledge the borrowings are evident. The Christian doctrine of the canonization of saints, it seems to me, came directly from the Hindus, especially the Buddhists, and the Greeks. Because of the importance of the saints in the religious healings of the Church, it seems well to look more closely into this phase of spiritual tradition.


In the early years of the Christian faith, canonization was performed by the local communities. This gives support to the belief that it was patterned after some already existing formula. In the tenth century the Pope reserved this power to himself. Since that time canonization has been an elaborate process often requiring centuries.

The servant of God, who is to be canonized, passes through three steps. He is first made Venerable. Then, after further consideration and evidence, he is advanced and becomes known as Blessed. If additional investigation proves his worthiness, he receives the final honors and the word Saint is placed before his name.

Except in the case of Martyrs, it is usual for the sanctified state to be discovered by miracles, performed in the lifetime of the Saint, and further proven by his miraculous intercessions after death. When the candidate for canonization has been advanced to the state of Venerable, "at least two important miracles wrought through the intercession of the servant of God must be proved," before he can be acknowledged as Blessed. And two further miracles must take place through the intercession of one called Blessed, before canonization can be completed.

One who is Blessed may receive veneration locally, and prayers may be addressed to him under certain conditions, but only after canonization may he be appealed to by the whole body of the Church.

The Saints were important in the mystical medicine of the medieval Christian faith, even as in the Catholic Church of today. They were called upon selectively by those suffering from various ailments. St. Apollonia was prayed to for toothache, St. Valentine for epilepsy, St. Vitus for nervous disorders, and St. Anthony of Padua for difficult childbirth. Charms bearing the likenesses of different Saints were worn for protection, one of the most popular being the medals of St. Christopher, supposed to preserve travelers from the dangers of their journeys.

Although the early Church had an elaborate theory about sickness and healing by Grace, it does not seem to have interfered with the secular practice of medicine. Many of the great leaders of the Christian faith, including St. Augustine himself, were physicians.
So long as the medical practitioner did not become involved in some fine point of theology, he practiced in whatever place was natural to his times.

It was well that the Church did not further complicate the life of the physician; he was having trouble enough with the patron saints of his own profession. There was Galen to make things difficult, and later was Avicenna, to make them more difficult; and then with the two of them, the confusion was worse confounded.


Greatest of the Greek physicians to practice in Rome was Galen, (Claudius Galenus), born in Mysia, 131 A. D. His fame in medicine won him the appointment of official doctor to the school of the gladiators at Pergamos, the city of his birth. He attended several of the Roman Emperors, and according to the Arabic tradition, died in Sicily about the year 201 A. D.

In anatomy, Galen is known for his persevering dissection on the bodies of animals, but he had no opportunity for a detailed study of human structure. In physiology, he was dominated by the four humours of Hippocrates, and sought to correct their unbalances by medicines of sympathy and antipathy. Galen was much given to magical processes, and put more faith in amulets than in drugs. According to Cullen, he is supposed to be the originator of the anodyne necklace so long famous in England.

Avicenna, (Ibn-Sina), the Mohammedan philosopher and physician, (980-1037A. D.), was a student of the writings of Galen, and his principal interpreter among the Eastern, and later, the European nations. He added many opinions drawn from Aristotle, and mixed with these considerable Neo-Platonic lore and a great inspiration gathered from early study of the Koran. Like Galen, he had very little actual knowledge of the human body and its functions.

Both Galen and Avicenna left voluminous writings, and their books became the official texts of the medieval physician. These 'priceless' treatises were interminable volumes, rich in noble generalities, and laden with philosophical discourses on every subject from stomach ache to falling sickness, with occasional references to volcanoes. It is beyond doubt that the books of Galen and Avicenna retarded medical progress for hundreds of years; but in their time, there was neither recourse nor relief from their authority. Galen was medicine's god, and Avicenna was his prophet.


The thousand years from the fourth century to the fourteenth is the period usually referred to as the Middle Ages, with the first six hundred years graphically designated the Dark Ages
. It is pretty much of a mystery what happened to human nature and human progress after the fall of the Roman Empire. All that can be said with certainty is that European civilization was in the doldrums for a millennium. The wisdom of the classical civilizations was lost, and not until after the Crusades did the minds of men finally shake off the inertia of these melancholy times.

Many have asked if the Christian Church was responsible for the Dark Ages. In some ways possibly, but in general it was a victim in common with the rest. The pivotal cause seems to have been the collapse of pagan Rome, for with it passed the law and order of its time. A second cause was the closing of the schools of Athens by Justinian, in 529 A. D. The Church may have been partly responsible for this, but the emperor himself was largely to blame.

H. G. Wells, in his Outline of History, takes another view of the case. "It is not perhaps true," he writes, "to say that the world became miserable in those 'dark ages'... much nearer the truth is it to say that the violent and vulgar fraud of Roman imperialism, that world of politicians, adventurers, landowners and financiers, collapsed into a sea of misery that was already there."

The Wells' analysis is thought provoking, but it seems a little strange that a great cultural system, built up through thousands of years of human effort, in a dozen highly civilized nations, and able to survive the vices of Imperial Rome, should have perished with the fall of a system of which it was never a part. The arts and sciences were not driven to Islam simply by the Roman debacle. More likely an ignorant aristocracy took the place of a corrupt one -- always, the beggar on horseback's first act is to persecute the learned.

From the meager history that lights the Dark Ages it would seem that a succession of plagues and fevers ravaged most of Europe. These nearly always follow in the wake of war. The armies of Attila were stricken while invading Northern Italy. Barbarians had broken up the existing pattern of life and brought nothing in its place. Men were wandering about hopelessly, spreading chaos and the plague. Earthquakes added to the general misery and terror, as whole cities vanished from the earth. Famine also swept the continent; the death rate was appalling.

By establishment of the monastery system the Church did what it could to preserve the remnants of culture -- but only such parts as were not in conflict with the dogmas of the faith. In the monastery libraries the great texts of medicine, art and music were preserved, together with many of the older sciences such as mathematics, geometry, astronomy, logic, rhetoric, and the languages. These monasteries were virtually the only schools, and the clergy, with no worldly ties and with ample time for study, became the only literate class.

As the temporal power of the Church grew, Europe slowly organized itself into the semblance of order. The Benedictines were the monastery builders, and in time they added schools to their Holy Houses; from these simple schools grew the great universities that were to become the pride of Europe. The Church patronized the universities generously, and kings and princes followed its example.

Lack of knowledge was the primary impediment to the progress of these schools. Four branches of learning were favored; belles-lettres, law, medicine, and theology. To enter the universities, it was usually necessary to sign a statement to the effect that the applicant was a Christian, over twenty years of age, a freeman, not a peasant, and of good family. Then, as now, there was also a delicate financial consideration.

The curriculum was impressive but sterile. Hooded savants on gilded thrones lectured, or simply read, from ancient authorities; and the students sat, listened, believed, accepted, and were overwhelmed, but not informed. Neither science nor the Church was particularly to blame; there was no one who knew more to lead the rest to a better way.

The colleges of medicine were typical of the rest. They were grand and impressive necropolises, where somber professors mumbled over the dead tomes of Galen and Avicenna. Diseases were worked out by mathematics, and remedies selected because the herbs themselves resembled the afflicted organ. Thus toothwort was recommended for toothache, ivy for the nerves. These were the times of the unicorn's horn and the bezoar stone. These moderns who like to think of the Church arguing for generations over the respective dignities of the Three Persons of the Trinity, may be interested in knowing how the doctors of that time were amusing themselves.


The hooded and sceptered medics were wrestling with the momentous problem of the comparative medicinal virtues of the Arabian, Egyptian, Pissasphaltos, and Lybian Mumie. The Arabian mumie was a gum that exuded from ancient bodies that had been mummified with aloes, myrrh, crocus, and balsam. Egyptian mumie was a similar exudation from the humbler dead who had been preserved only with asphaltum. The Pissasphaltos mumie, highly recommended by Dioscorides, was made from the crystals found on the bodies of mummies embalmed with bitumen -- but our authority notes how this is very difficult to secure and is extensively counterfeited by the apothecaries. The Lybian mumie was derived from bodies that had been swallowed up by Lybian quicksands, and had not been embalmed at all.

This delightful argument was finally solved by the discovery of a still more important mumie that could be made from the moss growing on the skull of an executed criminal
. Thus went medicine in the good old days, when men feared the physician more than they did the disease.

Medieval doctors did not exactly burn the midnight oil in a consecrated search for new ideas in medicine. They were quite impressed with their own magnificence, smug and self-satisfied, and of a mind to murder any confreres whose originality threatened their composure. The prince, the priest, and the physician alike were members of closed corporations; they hung together for mutual support in times of trouble; and when fortune favored, they pillaged from each other, with a good conscience.

In the heyday of the clergy the heavy hand of ecclesiastical displeasure fell not on the physician, but on the astronomer. Men like Bruno, Galileo, and Copernicus could upset the Christian order of the world, for they stepped directly on the toes of the Fathers who had been taught that the earth was God's foot-stool, and that the whole mystery of creation had been worked out on this planet. When Copernicus stopped the sun and made the earth to move, he outdid Joshua, who only stopped the sun. The Church acted against these men with all sincerity -- but with a woeful lack of knowledge -- to put these innovationists back in their places before they tore the universe apart.

It does not appear that the early Church made any general effort to limit the study of medicine, or to declare against its practices. The Church respected the doctor, according to the authority of Eccl. 38, i, iv: "Honor the physician for the need thou hast of him: For the most High hath created him ... The most High hath created medicines out of the earth, and a wise man will not abhor them."

The Church was the only institution great enough to demand common consideration from all the confused factions that made up medieval life. Unfortunately the Fathers were not 'health conscious.' They honored the physician, but they did not inspire him to any general effort to improve the health of his world. To the extremely pious, the doctor was just another cross to bear, in a world of pain and misery. In many instances this attitude could be justified by the gruesome way in which the healing arts were practiced. Paracelsus cried out in the agony of his spirit against barber surgeons and barbarous doctors, in these words: "Fortunate is that man whose physician does not kill him."

Early Christian psychology shows how profound was the influence of the decadence and degeneracy of the Romans. The debauchery of the Caesars and the indescribable licentiousness of the aristocracy set up such a revulsion mechanism in the early Church that it turned against all worldly things, including life itself. In an effort to preserve its followers from the evils of the times, the Church thundered its disapproval of the intemperances of the flesh, carrying its pronouncements to such an extreme as to violently disturb the normal patterns of living.


To the mind once set in a concept of sin, it is not hard to see faults in the simplest and most natural of habits and customs -- "Nothing is either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." In application, theology saw evil everywhere, because it was thinking of evil. The world was regarded as corrupt in all its parts; the greatest misfortune was to be born into the physical state, and the greatest blessing was to die out of it on one's natal day.

Coinciding with this religious viewpoint was the condition of the world itself. Men had small hope of physical security or happiness during the Dark Ages. Life was a painful ordeal, burdened with uncounted woes and hopeless to the end. Sickness and poverty were universal, and tyranny rested cruelly upon all. Those who were not carried away by disease or starvation, died on the field of battle. It is little wonder in such an atmosphere a doctrine of corporeal misery and incorporeal bliss flourished. It was inevitable that men should dream of death as liberation, to regard it desirable to leave this world behind.

In a sorrowing sphere, sorrow became the virtue of the hour. To the medieval Christian it was dangerous to be happy, for joy might cause the mind to forget the sordid fact of ever present temptation, and might also lead into actions which would result in sin. It seemed obvious that the longer a man lived the greater would be his opportunity and temptation to make mistakes and commit wrong deeds. With his eternal salvation depending upon his faultless behavior in this life, the sooner he left the mortal world the better.

In addition to these negative considerations, the Church advanced a very positive reason why it was not fortunate to live long. Those who died in the faith of Christ passed to a better life, where close to the noble Saints and Martyrs, they might be one with the legion of the blessed who had gone before. One of the great authorities of the Church, St. Augustine, wrote in a moment of rapture: "O let me die, Lord, that I may behold Thee."

The Church did not encourage men to hasten their ends by any unnatural means, as this would be contrary to the will of God, who has given to each the burdens that he must bear; but the Church certainly did not inspire medieval medicine to seek for unusual means of prolongating life. Under a doctrine which taught that all misfortunes were sent by God, and must be borne without complaint and without sin, there was a completeness about things, with no change needed, and no correction.

St. Alphonsus was a man of such extreme piety that Pope Pius the VII desired to possess as relics the three fingers of his right hand. These were the fingers that held the pen with which he wrote down his inspired thoughts. St. Alphonsus lived to great age, but his health was always poor; and for many years he suffered his physical pains with patience and humility. His words are regarded as expressing the highest form of Christian teaching on such matters as health. "We must be particularly resigned," he wrote, "under the pressure of corporeal infirmities, and we must embrace them willingly both in such a manner and for such a time as God wills. Nevertheless we ought to employ the usual remedies, for this is what the Lord wills also, but if they do us no good, let us unite ourselves to the will of God, and this will do us much more good than health. 'Oh, Lord,' let us then say, 'I have no wish either to get well or remain sick:I1 will only that which thou dost will."


Miracles resulting from prayer indicated that God in his wisdom was moved to relieve the suffering of certain persons. The miracle thus was the perfect remedy, for it further revealed the will of Deity. Medicine, on the other hand, sanctified to a lesser degree, might cope with the ailment; then if a cure resulted, it was to be understood that God had effected the work through the physician. To again quote St. Alphonsus, when a doctor had prescribed for him; "If I take your medicine, it is because obedience to you is obedience to God."

There was no place in the medieval world for any form of metaphysical healing outside of the Church, and there was very little need for separate healing cults. Those who sought for health through prayer and meditation could fulfill their mystic longings in the cathedrals, churches, and shrines of their faith. Or, if they chose to trust themselves to the physicians, these were available at a price; and their remedies, if not effective, were certainly sensational. Funds permitting, there could even be, then as now, a consultation of tasselled medics.

There was, however, a thin fringe of unorthodox magical-medicine, a fringe that was to grow so long and heavy that eventually it wagged the garment. The poor had little hope of medicine from the elegant physicians who served nobility; and under the feudal system, even less hope of buying expensive remedies like the Pissasphaltos mumie; they had to depend upon simple home-made remedies. So the lowly and the poor followed the little path that led to the edge of the village, where some old 'widow-woman' held forth medicinally amid bunches of dangling herbs.

The lonely and old had a hard time in those days, and if their skill permitted, they would trade in simples, nurse the sick, and deal in charms and philters. Respectable doctors usually had a stuffed crocodile to adorn their reception rooms, but the 'widow-women' could not afford such grandeur; so they hung up a dead owl or bat instead. This is all very childish in the light of our present day, but in the thirteenth century the smallest circumstance took on an air of significance.

It seems that these old herbalists, at least on some occasions, gained considerable fame for their remedies, and persons of consequence came to consult them. It would then not be long before the robed physician appeared upon the scene in high dudgeon. His personal reactions were precisely those of the modern practitioner should his best paying patient desert him for the local naturopath. But the medieval doctor was not to be outwitted by a 'widow-woman'; he promptly accused her of being in league with the devil; and the temper of the times accomplished the rest.


European civilization of the Middle Ages was overshadowed by the most sinister creature ever fabricated by the human mind -- the devil. For centuries this monstrous hallucination ruled supreme in Christendom, blocking the normal growth of human thinking. If the Romans had a goddess for every itch, the medieval Europeans had a demon for every chimney corner. No one ventured out at night because any one of a host of evil spirits might be lurking under doorsteps and around dark corners. In some of the old churches carven imps peered out from under the pews, and a man was not safe from harm even while he prayed before the altar.

These spirits were not at all kindly sprites, like the nymphs and dryads of classical mythology; the demons of medieval imagining were all horrible, soul-devouring monsters; and the poor rustics huddled close to each other, in their cots and hovels, their teeth chattering with fear every time a gust of wind shook the eaves or muttered in the chimney pots. Ghosts galloped through the night on skeleton steeds; the dead came from the churchyards in tattered winding sheets; the Prince of Darkness himself haunted crossroads; and witches and warlocks greased their bodies with human fat and rode on knotted broom handles to the infernal rites of the Goat of Mendes.

Priests exorcised demons from half demented creatures who howled and struggled on the steps of the cathedrals. Princes and dukes hired private sorcerers to work evil enchantments on their enemies, and to brew poisons to further the conspiracies of the state. Those few more enlightened ones who raised their voices against the prevailing madness were silenced by the rack and gibbet; and after dark wizards crept out to steal the broken bodies, so they could mix the flesh with their infernal potions.

This was the era of witchcraft, and it brought misery to millions and horrible death to hundreds of thousands. Men, denied the right to think, ceased to be men; they became again creatures of the jungle, with all the fears and terrors of that state.


Demonism in Europe was the direct result of a feudal system that held countless human beings in a state of ignorance and illiteracy for the profit of their overlords.

Let us examine some of the factors that were involved in the mass mania of medieval witchcraft:

The belief in a personal devil, as taught by the Church, resulted in a devil fixation. Solemnly warned to be ever watchful of temptation, men finally reached a condition of the mind that caused them to see temptation everywhere. The devil became a mental reality, whose very form could be conjured up by the imagination at the slightest provocation. Shadows took demon forms. Cows were tried for sorcery by a jury of their peers. The fear of evil, as the result of over-emphasis on the doctrine of sin and damnation, literally frightened men out of their wits and common sense.

Primitive pagan beliefs were still close to the surface of Central European minds. As the towns and villages had little contact with each other, these beliefs remained comparatively uninfluenced by outside contacts. The mixture of Christian and pagan ideas, with no means of ordering them, resulted in a strange religious conglomerate, made up of the worst of all the involved faiths and cults.

Personal fear, exaggerated by the common terror, brought out the least desirable part of human nature. Each man feared his neighbor, and all men feared any person whose knowledge was greater than their own. It was mass hysteria that knew no bounds of reason, and it quickly brought about a complete demoralization of the whole spiritual viewpoint.

The gift of psychical phenomena singled out its possessor as a special victim. No civilization has ever reached maturity without some persons being born into it with mediumistic powers, varying degrees of clairvoyance, and the ability to hear voices or predict events. In the witchcraft scare, all such curious but entirely natural gifts were held as proof of their possessors being in league with the devil.

The subconscious mind of the medieval man was loaded with complexes and fixations due to his unfortunate religious convictions. A general neurosis too had resulted from the inhibition of all his natural impulses to happiness and pleasure. The psychological elements in the pattern are obvious. The whole of Europe was obsessed with the concept of evil, and frustrated with inhibitions; these had to break out somewhere, and they did, with ghastly consequences. The witch riding through the air on a broomstick was simply neurosis coming home to roost.

Entirely personal and selfish factors were also present. The man who wished to accomplish a horrible revenge for some real or imaginary ill, had only to accuse his enemy of witchcraft. The ponderous mechanism of the ecclesiastical courts came into operation, and the enemy was seen no more. It was not even necessary to make a personal complaint in some places, as boxes stood ready to receive the anonymous accusations of those who feared to appear in person. It is reasonable to believe that the percentage was high of victims of personal animosity and cupidity.

How were the medical sciences faring during those long years of witchcraft and demonology? There is nothing to indicate that things went particularly well with any branch of the sciences.

If the physician managed to pacify the Church, and dodge the wrath of the Universities, he still had the devil and public opinion at his heels. Ignorance ruled supreme and unchallenged, and the thoughtful man was in constant danger of his life. Mental initiative was penalized on every hand; this we know, for little of importance has come down to us from the Middle Ages.

There were honest doctors in those days; many of these traveled about Europe, consulted with leading practitioners in various countries, and exchanged secret formulas which had been proved successful. These men had learned that they could not depend upon the Universities for practical information. They took their degrees as a matter of precaution and safety; and then, protected by the illuminated vellums that itemized their privileges, each evolved techniques according to personal ability.

But such men lived in constant hazard. If their cures were too effective they might be accused of sorcery and turned over to the spiritual courts. The progressive practitioner was also in constant danger from other physicians who might be, and usually were, jealous of his successes. These rivals could accuse him of malpractice, and throw him to the civil courts, which were scarcely less dangerous than the clergy. The apothecaries were, for the most part, corrupt, and would falsify prescriptions regardless of consequences to the patients.

A medieval apothecary in a period when there was open warfare between the conscientious doctor and the unscrupulous chemist, prays: "Listen to us, O Lord, and sleep lightly. Let Thine eyes rest upon us at all times."

As a result of the delinquencies of the chemists, many physicians prepared their own medications and reverted to the old practice of raising herbs in their own gardens. That brought on open warfare between the conscientious doctor and the unscrupulous apothecary. In an emergency of this kind the apothecary usually accused the physician of being in league with the devil. When this rumor was spread through the town, the populace, including many of the doctor's own patients, turned on the physician, pelted him with rocks and filth from the streets, and forced him to leave town. It required considerable fortitude to practice medicine under such conditions.


The Church and state were deep in theories, but the doctor had to face facts that were the direct result of false theories. For centuries, Europe was afflicted periodically by waves of the bubonic plague. Whole regions were depopulated and every medical facility was taxed to the limit. Thousands of doctors themselves died of the plague, which spread like wildfire through the towns and villages. It was useless for the medieval medic to preach sanitation; the plague was generally regarded as a religious calamity. The faculty of the Paris College of Medicine was of the opinion that the plague was the result of a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn over the Indian Ocean, but the wiser heads were agreed that the devil was the real cause.

Most of the doctors of the Middle Ages were themselves religious men, and accepted without question the teachings of their Church. They believed in a personal God and a personal devil, as was the custom of their time. But gradually, over a period of centuries, the thoughtful physician began to observe the relationship between sickness and unhealthful environments. It dawned upon him that those who believed most firmly in the devil had the least need of this conviction to explain their miseries. This newly developed power of observation resulted in a gradual rift between the Church and the sciences.

By the fifteenth century the devil had lost considerable ground. Its existence was still acknowledged by the majority, but to the enlightened minority the Prince of Darkness was slowly passing into the condition of a myth.

But if Satan had lost his power over the minds of the thoughtful, his botheration value in the field of learning can scarcely be overestimated. When the physicians in a certain town decided that a nearby swamp was the cause of a local epidemic, the local clergy was equally certain that the devil was to blame. To arbitrate this dilemma, the physicians came to the conclusion that the swamp was the direct cause of the fever, but the devil was the direct cause of the swamp.

The final cure for ignorance is knowledge. About 1440, Gutenberg of Mainz invented the printing press. According to some of his contemporaries, Gutenberg employed the devil as his first printer, and the Prince of Demons assisted personally in the publication of the great Bible. Regardless of this, the printing press was the greatest single force in bringing the world out of the Middle Ages.

But it was also necessary to break forever the power of scholasticism. At the University of Basel, Paracelsus burned the writings of Galen and Avicenna in a public ceremony. The old era of empiric medicine was closing. Already Leonardo da Vinci was performing dissection for the purposes of art, and a few years later Andreas Vesalius published his great textbook of human anatomy. Nothing could stop the forward motion.


Paracelsus of Hohenheim, burner of the textbooks, was the greatest metaphysical physician in the history of Europe
. Theophrastus Paracelsus was born in 1493, the year after Columbus discovered the West Indies. His father was a physician, and in medicine and the letters the young man received the benefits of a University education, if the system of teaching then in vogue could be said to bestow any benefits. After he had finished with the schools, the young doctor began his real medical education. One of the happy circumstances that was to mould his character was a journey to Constantinople where he was able to study with the Mohammedan physicians.

It is not often that a serious student of the sciences is also a man of action, but these two extremes were dramatically mingled in the personality of the man who called himself "Paracelsus" -- to indicate that he vastly excelled the Greek philosopher Celsus. His contemporaries described Paracelsus as rough, uncouth, bombastic, and fanatically egocentric. He was not attractive in appearance, and made no effort to develop an engaging manner. He preferred arguments to discussions, and liked nothing better than an opportunity to insult important scholastics.

Paracelsus traveled extensively and was particularly interested in the healing lore of gypsies, witches, herbalists, and alchemists. He studied astrology and demonism, talismanic magic, and the Cabala. He was interested in sympathetic medicine and magnetism, and is said to have had a piece of the mysterious alchemical magisterium, Azoth, in the hilt of his sword. To Paracelsus, only results were important, in a day when most men were trying to maintain the dignity of theories. To this daring Swiss doctor, all means physical and magical were justified if they contributed to the recovery of the patient. He cured dropsy with rings of antimony, and when a man was wounded, he rubbed the ointment on the weapon and not the wound.

The books of Paracelsus were dictated to his disciples, and published, not in the medieval Latin of the schoolmen, but in low German, so that all who could read their native tongue could study the problem of health. To the horror of the other professors he also lectured in German, considering it more important to be understood than to be impressive. For these heresies, and the even greater sin of being successful in his handling of diseases that had never before responded to treatment, Paracelsus earned for himself the undying gratitude of suffering humankind, and the equally undying hatred of his fellow doctors.

At last, the respectable and self-righteous physicians could stand no more of the rabble-rouser who announced publicly that the soft down on the back of his neck knew more about the healing arts than all the doctors of Europe put together. To this insult he added the further injury of taking difficult cases, solemnly pronounced as incurable by the most learned savants, and restoring the sufferers to health.

It is sometimes said that Paracelsus was killed in a brawl, but it has been my privilege to examine various old books and manuscripts, and they are unanimous in stating that in 1541 the great physician was murdered by a professional assassin in the hire of the jealous and vindictive doctors.

Despite his magic and his mysticism, Paracelsus is honored today as a great pioneer of medicine; but scientific men who revere his name seldom study the metaphysical methods which were the real basis of his greatness. Paracelsus, the first doctor of the modern world, was like most of those who have led men to the truth, a mystic and a seer.


A vital factor in the development of modern metaphysical healing was the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century. Even now, after four hundred years, it is difficult to fully estimate the consequence of this upheaval within the body of the Christian faith. The Protestant reformers not only decentralized the power of the religion, they altered the entire form of worship; additionally, they carved out entirely new sects, dominated by new viewpoints and separated by a confusion of contrary doctrines.

Like most who desire emancipation from tyrannical forms, these protestants immediately set up tyrannies of their own. In their zeal they were guilty of nearly every fault with which they had stigmatized the elder Church. Again it was not a matter of sincerity, but of basic inability to meet the challenge of progress. When Calvin caused Servetus to be burned at the stake over a theological squabble, it is hard to reconcile such an action with the Protestants' claim that he was seeking the freedom to worship God according to the dictates of conscience. Or perhaps it was conscience itself that lay at the root of the trouble. In any event, the Reformation did not end bigotry; it only started a number of smaller bigotries, and began a motion toward separation that resulted in hundreds of arbitrary cults, with little of friendliness for each other.

Puritanism worked a serious hardship upon the psycho-emotional part of human nature, by depriving it of participation in the pageantry of religion. The grandeur, pomp and glory of the Church was lost to those who left to find their own way of faith. Gone was the Infallibility of the Popes, gone were the Princes of the Church in their scarlet robes, gone were the Gregorian Chants and the mass, gone were the great cathedrals with their rose windows of priceless glass, gone were absolution and the confessional, and gone was the Apostolic Succession.

All this was swept from the life of the Protestant, and nothing of solemn beauty was put in its place. But it is not the province of the present work to argue the virtues or vices of the Church, or the spiritual reality or unreality of its rituals. These pages are concerned rather with the psychological results of depriving the human consciousness of religious ceremonial and symbolism, and of the emotional exaltation which comes from participation in such rites.

Puritanism chose to take an attitude of extreme austerity. Beauty found no place in its early concepts. Everything religious became drab and colorless. The new churches were mostly barren and shabby; the virtuous dressed in somber black and developed a dour and stubborn devotion to the jots and tittles. Martin Luther had thrown his ink pot at the devil while translating the Bible into German. The Prince of Evil was still on the job, and never had the medieval Church worked him harder than did the Protestants. After Jonathan Edwards finished one of his sulphurous sermons in old New England, a deacon came up to him and said, "Dr. Edwards, is there any hope for any of us?"

If the Latin sermons of the Middle Ages were meaningless to the unlearned, the English sermons of the eighteenth century were equally meaningless to the informed. Stolid men in square-toed shoes sat for hours on rough benches and listened to various divines who denounced every human impulse as infernally inspired. And little children with pale frightened faces heard the dreadful words of common doom, while their hearts were still too young to know good from evil.

The doctrine of eternal damnation in the name of an all-loving God blighted the arts and frustrated the sciences. Now there was neither beauty nor hope, and even human kindliness might be weakness endangering the immortal soul. Many of the older men and women of today have suffered all their lives from that strange sickness of their spirits which resulted from puritanical parental homes.


With the coming of the nineteenth century, religion, medicine, and mysticism, associated since the beginning of recorded history, arrived at the parting of the ways.

There was no place for mysticism in those neat little red brick churches, shaded with stately elms, where kindly clergymen preached trite sermons from well-loved verses of the scriptures. Great orators like Henry Ward Beecher and DeWitt Talmadge drew admiring throngs, and evangelists of the caliber of Dwight Moody and Charles Spurgeon converted thousands. But these men were untouched by that mystical divinity which comes to those, who like Francis of Assisi, preached their sermons to the birds.

Nor was there any place for metaphysics in the distant vaulted temples of science, where mathematical-minded physicists pondered the plane of the continuum. Charles Darwin and Thomas Huxley ruled supreme in the empire of the mind, and with all the material world to explore, there was no time for vagaries of the spirit.

The rise of mystical organization in the modern scheme of life is the direct result of three centuries of Protestant Christianity and a hundred years of materialistic science. The spirit force at the root of things cannot be denied. Blocked by the organized literalism of both religion and science, the metaphysical energies in human consciousness were to break through the intellectual barriers men had set up, and create new channels that the old truths should not die.

The sages of ancient India reached out across time and space and raised up a Brahman in the West. He was Ralph Waldo Emerson, America's only great philosopher, and the moving spirit of the New England Transcendentalists. Visions came to Joseph Smith, and the religion of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints was born
. Spirits rapped on the walls of the old Eddy homestead, and ageless spiritism became modern Spiritualism. Phineas Quimby, obeying the admonition of Christ to heal the sick, taught men the power of Truth within the self. Andrew Jackson Davis talked with spirits from the other side of death, and learned from them the mysteries of the Summerland. A little later, H. P. Blavatsky brought esoteric Buddhism to prosaic old New York.

If modern materialists are unhappy about the renaissance of the old mystic cults, they should remember that they have no one but themselves to blame for the condition. If these scoffers had given but an instant of sober thought to the natural structure of the human being, they would have realized that metaphysics is necessary to the survival of civilization. Not ridicule, but thoughtful consideration, was indicated; but the worldly-wise had no temper for this more reasonable approach.


The Protestant sects did not perpetuate the Christian ministry of healing, and materia medica had divorced itself from the last vestiges of magical practice. Psychologists are just now beginning to realize the magnitude of this mistake. Humanity was deprived of a spiritual consolation essential to its well-being, and nothing was offered to take the place of this loss
. We cannot do better than to refer to a statement made by the distinguished Swiss psychologist, Carl Jung, in a recent interview. He said, in substance, that it was not necessary to psychoanalyze Catholics because they had the confessional.

Most doctors have little time to sympathize with the personal problems of their patients, yet it is the sick who stand in the greatest need of gentle understanding. This is the reason why the old family physician, fast disappearing from modern practice, was frequently more successful than the better informed modern practitioner. The average clergyman has had no training in psychology, and can offer little that is useable to those with muddled lives.

Sad experiences have awakened the public mind to this situation, and in recent years, those troubled in themselves have turned hopefully to the psychologists for relief. But many of these doctors of the mind have themselves been unfortunately suffering from a materialistic fixation, and could offer only Freudian formulas, for problems that Freud himself never understood.

Those who found no help in the churches of their faith turned to other beliefs for guidance and inspiration. They revived old cults, pondered the scriptures of other nations, worshipped at strange shrines, and received with open arms the missionaries of Eastern religions. The churches stormed against these heathen practices, but the fault lay at their own door. Men who have discovered the answers to their questions will seek no further; but those who have not found what they need will go on searching, and no power in heaven or earth can stop them.

The same holds true in the field of medicine. The various non-medical schools of healing survive and flourish only because a great number of men and women are dissatisfied with the theories and practices of orthodox physicians. Instead of trying to understand the reasons for this popular trend, the medical powers-that-be merely thunder their disapproval, and use every means at hand to prohibit the practice of nonmedical healing.

But vox populi, vox Dei, and history has proven beyond all doubt that the will of the people cannot be denied. It is the unchangeable purpose of the human being to restore the spiritual foundations of his world.

[Father Henri Sardis] Brothers, the Lord has made it known to me ...
the beast will return ...
to herald the rebirth of our morality in this kingdom of decadence,
and a new France shall be born.
We shall be the invisible princes,
for God is with us.
Dominus nobiscum, dominus nobiscum.

[Chorus] Miserer nobis

[Father Henri Sardis] The people have yet to see the true wrath of God.
The unjust censure of the king ...
cannot withstand the rage of the population,
and when that rage is at its peak,
we may then bargain with the king.
If he has failed to dominate the beast,
imagine, brothers, what shall happen if all the provinces in the kingdom ...
were then attacked by other beasts.
The hour approaches when we shall reap what we have sown.
Let us read the Book of Malachi.
"The lips of the priest shall be the depository of science,
and from His mouth he shall gain the knowledge of the law,
for he is the angel of God."

-- "Brotherhood of the Wolf," directed by Christophe Gans

The image of the world is half the world. He who possesses the world but not its image possesses only half the world, since his soul is poor and has nothing. The wealth of the soul exists in images. He who possesses the image of the world, possesses half the world, even if his humanity is poor and owns nothing. But hunger makes the soul into a beast that devours the unbearable and is poisoned by it. My friends, it is wise to nourish the soul, otherwise you will breed dragons and devils in your heart.

-- The Red Book: Liber Novus, by C.G. Jung

The great English physicist, Sir James Jeans, has admitted that the mechanistic theory of life has failed, and it is necessary to restore intelligence to space.

Materialism has failed in man, failed in society, and failed in the universe. The human instinct, wiser and older than all the sciences, knows that creation is a mystery in the spirit, and that the man who would solve the riddle of himself, must find the mystic ways that lead to God.
Site Admin
Posts: 22407
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Healing: The Divine Art, by Manly Palmer Hall

Postby admin » Sun May 13, 2018 5:33 am


Pythagoras of Sarnos was initiated into fourteen different schools of esoteric religious philosophy and treated disease by reading to patients certain verses from Homer's Odyssey; he also advised the study of higher mathematics for those who were mentally or physically unfit. The researches of Pythagoras in the therapeutic effect of music are again under consideration, and interest still continues in color therapy, and in perfumed odors, as it is now known that the pituitary body is especially sensitive to fragrances.

Pythagoras (6th century B. C.) taught in his school at Crotona the systems of occult healing practiced by the priests of various Eastern and near-Eastern cults




THERE is something almost awe inspiring about the certainty with which the spiritually minded can differ about the same thing. To gather the religious beliefs of human beings into one chapter of a book thus becomes almost as difficult as it would be to assemble the believers themselves under one roof.

Most healing cults resent proper classification of their methods, for each feels that it is especially favored of the gods, is entirely unique, and is infinitely superior to all of the others. For the same reasons none relish being included with several rival sects in any literary pattern. As it is no desire of mine to breed dissension or cause unhappiness among the metaphysicians, it has seemed expedient to classify the various systems of healing according to the methods employed, rather than by names or claims.

For comparative purposes, metaphysical medicine can be arranged under four general headings; occult healing, mystical healing, mental healing, and physical healing. In some cases more than one method is employed by a group or practitioner; whenever this occurs the combination should be separated into its basic parts and each considered under its proper heading.

In Europe and America most healing cults are nominally Christian, but the technique which they use may be derived from ancient pagan or modern Asiatic sources. As metaphysical healing has been practiced with equal success by nearly all the great religious systems of the world, there is nothing to indicate that one faith has ever been favored above another in power to heal the sick. If miracles seem to be more frequent among non-Christian peoples, it is because the religious spirit is more vital with them than with us.


Occultism is the ancient science which deals with the hidden forces of nature, the laws governing them, and the means by which such forces can be brought under the control of the enlightened human mind.

An occultist is one who believes in the reality of esoteric sciences, has studied them in a scholarly manner, has resolved to perfect his own consciousness according to their rules, and may, or may not, be able to practice the rituals and formulas of Transcendental Magic.

The occult sciences are the secret teachings of the World Saviors, prophets, seers, sages, and initiated philosophers, with which they instructed their most intimate disciples. This body of esoteric tradition has descended to the present time through the medium of secret religious societies, which therefore are in possession of a most sacred and peculiar knowledge of extra-physical energies, faculties, functions, and powers.

The most important of the occult sciences are magic, demonism, exorcism, alchemy, cabala, astrology and other forms of divination, spiritism, magnetism, esoteric cosmogony, and anthropology, the metaphysical physiology of man, and the extra-sensory perceptions.

The well informed student of occultism is one of the most universally learned of human beings. He must be acquainted with all of the important systems of world philosophy and religion, both Eastern and Western, and he must have a thorough understanding of ancient sciences and arts. There is no place for the superficial thinker in this field; and should he wander in by accident, it would be wise for him to depart in haste.

According to the rules of occultism, all particulars must be suspended from universal principles. In the case of healing, any particular cure must bear witness to some general philosophical pattern; that is, it must be explainable in terms of the relationship between the macrocosm and the microcosm -- between the universe and man.

Strangely enough, there is no place for miracles in the sciences of Magic. Occultism defines a miracle as an effect, the cause of which is unknown; but the cause must be equal to the effect which it produces. Knowledge is power, and esoteric knowledge bestows the larger power which appears miraculous to the uninformed. The great occultist Paracelsus said, "The beginning of wisdom is the beginning of supernatural powers."

Buddha taught that the universal disease of mankind was ignorance, and wisdom the only remedy. This statement sums up, exactly, the attitude of the occultist. It is his conviction that the world is ruled by absolute and immutable laws; to know them is to be wise, to keep them is to be happy, and to break them is to die. Many of these laws are unknown to material scientists, whose faculties are not developed to explore the fourth-dimensional vistas of spirit-space; but it is through such strange laws and knowledge of them that so-called miracles are produced.

Occult healing may be defined as a method of treating various distempers of the mind, soul, and body, by means of a superior knowledge of the spiritual laws governing health. The remedies may be either physical or metaphysical, as the case may indicate, but the philosophy involved is entirely different from that which guides the medical practitioner.

Occultism does not teach that good health is the natural birthright of man. Health is reserved for those who know how to live, and have the courage to live what they know. The ignorant can never be well, for cured of one ailment they immediately fall victim to another. Health, like happiness, must be earned
. Those who would enjoy either, must set the proper causes in motion.

Many of the systems of occult medicine practiced in ancient times are without apologists in the modern world, but such as seem likely to be revived I will include in the present survey.

For some reason difficult to understand, the greatest of all classical institutions of healing, the Oracles of Asclepius, have no counterpart in present society, and the entire field of dream therapy is ignored.

Pythagoras of Samos (6th century B. C.) was initiated into fourteen different schools of esoteric religious philosophy. He traveled as far as India, and was accepted into the Brahman Mysteries at Ellora and Elephanta. He is the only non-Hindu ever to be so honored. In his school at Crotona, Pythagoras taught certain of his more advanced disciples the systems of occult healing practiced by the priests of various Eastern and near-Eastern cults.

Pythagoras wrote nothing, nor were there any detailed accounts of his thought written by contemporaries...only fragments of the first detailed accounts of Pythagoras, written about 150 years after his death, have survived....[I]t is clear that these accounts disagreed with one another on significant points.

-- Pythagoras, by Carl Huffman, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Pythagoras treated disease by reading to patients certain verses from Homer's Odyssey, but whether it was the words of the poem or the voice of the master that possessed healing power is not recorded. This Samian sage also advised the study of higher mathematics for those who were mentally or physically unfit, because contemplation of the orderly sequences of numbers would subdue the intemperate impulses of the soul and body. It may be interesting to note that Emanuel Swedenborg is said to have become clairvoyant as the result of his addiction to arithmetic problems.

The researches of Pythagoras in the therapeutic effect of music were revived after the First World War, and experiments were made with men suffering from so-called shell shock. The results were sufficiently positive to arouse considerable interest, and the subject is still under consideration. Greek music was composed according to modes, and the Archon of Athens had enough faith in the occult power of the musical composition that a man could be exiled as an enemy of the state should he write a song in the wrong mode.

The Pythagoreans were probably the first to experiment in color therapy, from the principle that it was possible to be fed through the eyes. From the same premise, they exposed various symmetrical geometric solids to the gaze of the sick, in order that the soul might benefit from the harmonizing influence of perfect proportion. This last method they had learned from the Egyptians.

Perfumes, incense, and various magical fumigations were also used for healing purposes. These were compounded with the greatest of care, and the odors were believed to pass through the nostrils directly to the brain. It is now known that the pituitary body is especially sensitive to fragrances, so further research along this line might be profitable. A French perfumer has created what he calls a scale of odors, similar to a musical scale, and claims to be able to compose harmonic perfumes by this means.

Astro-diagnosis and astro-therapy have been practiced for thousands of years, and prior to the middle of the eighteenth century most physicians made use of astrology. Even Lord Bacon allowed that plagues could be predicted from the motions of the stars, and it is reported of him that he fainted whenever there was an eclipse of the moon. Rene Descartes was no convert to the art, but he grudgingly admitted that astrology could not be disproved.

Upon the authority of Hippocrates, Galen, and Avicenna, medieval astrologer-physicians developed an elaborate system of correspondences between the planets and herbs, chemicals, and mineral medicines. They administered these according to rules of sympathy and antipathy, and judged the disease by the afflicting planet and its aspects.

Diseases of Saturn were offset with remedies of Jupiter, and critical days were determined by the moon.

Seventeenth century England produced several important writers and practitioners along lines of astrological medicine. Dr. William Lilly, Dr. Nicholas Culpeper, and Dr. Henry Coley were the most famous of this group, and these men enjoyed the patronage of Sir Elias Ashmole, to whom some of their astrological books were dedicated, with permission.

An interesting phase of astro-diagnosis was the old practice of setting up a horoscope for the exact minute when a sample of the patient's urine was taken to the doctor. This enabled the physician to select the proper remedies to take with him when he visited the sick person.

Several modern metaphysical organizations make use of astrology to diagnose sickness and disease in connection with spiritual healing. It does not seem that many of them attempt to prescribe medication by this method, but for those who believe that the subject of astrology is not worthy of consideration the words of Dr. Carl Jung may prove discomforting. "I use astrology," he wrote to a friend, "in my difficult cases."

The tradition of alchemy is also long and venerable. It flourished in Egypt, India, and China long before the beginning of the Christian era, and is rightly described as the mother of chemistry.

All alchemists were not gold-makers, and it is on record that the most important ones were violent in their denouncement of the transmuters of base metals. The great quest in alchemy was for the Elixir of Life and the Universal Medicine. A few like Raymond Lully, Basilius Valentinus, and Albertus Magnus claim to have found the Wise Man's Stone, but if they did, the formulas still lie hidden in the archives of secret societies.

In seeking after the ultimates of chemistry the alchemists made many important discoveries along the way, and these have enriched the pharmacopoeia of modern medicine. Sir Isaac Newton was sufficiently impressed by the literature of alchemy to collect a magnificent library on the subject for his own use. When this library was finally broken up, many of the books were found to contain thoughtful notations made by Newton's hand.

Alchemy is too obscure a subject to find a place in popular metaphysics, but occasional references are made to it, and human regeneration is sometimes called spiritual alchemy. There are a number of advanced occultists, however, who are carrying on alchemical experiments in private laboratories. It has been my privilege to know some of these men, and study closely the work they are doing. They should not be confused with the gentleman who was selling chips off the Philosopher's Stone a few years ago.

The Cabala is the secret doctrine of Israel, descended by oral tradition through the priesthood, from Moses the great Lawgiver. During the Middle Ages, both Jewish and Christian scholars were deep in cabalistic speculation about the origin of the universe, the letters of the Sacred Name, and the hierarchies of the blessed and infernal angels. The Sepher ha Zohar, the Book of the Splendors, has only recently been available in the English language. This is the great text of the Cabala, and those who wish to study the subject should accept no other authority. Popular numerology is not Cabalism.

BENJAMIN IS A WOLF THAT RAVINETH. 'Benjamin is called a wolf because he was imprinted in this form on the Throne, all animals great and small being delineated there. The throne which Solomon made contained similar designs. He is also called a wolf because the altar was in his territory, and the altar is called "wolf" because it consumed flesh every day. Again, we may translate: "Benjamin shall feed the wolf", to wit, the adversaries who are posted above to accuse, and who are all appeased by the sacrifice. IN THE MORNING HE SHALL DEVOUR THE PREY. This means that in the morning, when Abraham stirs in the world and it is the time of grace, the sacrifice brings appeasement and rises to the place called 'Ad (perpetuity). We may also translate "In the morning 'Ad shall eat", this being the supernal throne which is forever and ever ('ade 'ad). The smoke ascends and love is awakened above, and a lamp is kindled and shines forth through this impulse from below. The priest is busy and the Levites sing praises joyfully, and wine is poured forth to be united with water (wine being good below to cause gladness to another wine above), and all is at work to link the Left with the Right. The bread, which is the "fine flour" used for royalty, and which gave the impulse, is received by the Left and the Right and joined to the Body. Then the supernal oil flows forth and is taken up by the hand of the Zaddik (hence the impulse must be given by means of fine flour and oil commingled, so that all should be linked together). So a complete unity is formed, with its resulting delight and the gratification which is gathered up by all the crowns. These all join together, and the moon is illumined through being joined with the sun, and there is universal delight. This is indeed "an offering for the Lord", and for no other.

-- The Zohar, translated by Harry Sperling and Maurice Simon

The Ceremonial Cabala includes an elaborate development of the science of Demonism. Various spells and formulas are given for the binding of spirits so that they must obey the will of the Magician. Some rabbis, especially in the old country, exorcise demons, and cure spirit-possession by Cabalistic rites. Many orthodox Jews will have nothing to do with the Cabala, but most metaphysical philosophers of their race have been influenced by its teachings.

All forms of Transcendental Magic contain elements from the Cabala. The French occultist, Abbe Louis Constant (Eliphas Levi) invoked the spirit of Apollonius of Tyanna for Lady Bulwer-Lytton with the aid of Cabalistic spells. Ceremonial Magic is mentioned here because it taught that spirits and demons could be called upon to heal disease and prolong life.

The Rosicrucian physicians of the seventeenth century combined alchemy, astrology, the Cabala, and magic in their secret system of therapy.
Among the doctors of the Rosy Cross should be mentioned Robert Fludd, Michael Maier and John Heydon. In his Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum, Elias Ashmole notes that a Rosicrucian physician was able to cure the young Duke of Norfolk of the leprosy. Some modern Rosicrucian movements include healing among their activities, but the methods used do not necessarily relate to the theories of the old order.


Magnetic healing was known to the Egyptians, Greeks, and Hindus, and was practiced by them in remote times. The sorceresses of Thessaly treated the sick with metal rods called fingers, and the Chinese highly valued amber for its magnetic qualities. Later, in Europe, the lodestone was held in similar esteem. Magnetic healing and animal magnetism were revived in the eighteenth century as the result of the experiments of Anton Mesmer with his celebrated tub.

Some magnetic healers, or mesmerists as they are now called, make use of instruments intended to store up or direct the course of the magnetic currents. Others depend entirely upon the magnetism of their own bodies, which they direct with mental impulses, or with motions of their hands over the body of the patient. Since the development of electrical therapy, a number of magnetic devices have been offered to the public. The best known are the magnetic belts which plug into a light socket and are referred to as 'horse collars' by the profane.

The belief that, in the matter of health, those who have departed from this life can be of assistance to the living, is a very old doctrine that has survived to modern times. This is spiritistic healing
, and a medium is usually consulted who will attempt to contact some decarnate intelligence to gain the knowledge necessary to prescribe the proper remedy. This procedure is based upon the belief that the dead who have already passed into the spirit world have discovered secrets about the hidden side of nature, beyond the knowledge of the living.

Persons naturally sensitive to psychic impressions may attempt to communicate directly with some guide on the inner planes without recourse to a professional medium. Several cases have come to my attention of persons who received instructions in healing and solutions to their own health problems from entities which they contacted by mediumistic means.

Widely accepted among modern metaphysicians is the ancient belief in the reality of certain superhuman beings called Initiates and Masters. A number of sects have arisen which involve these Adepts in their methods of healing. Adepts are such disciples of the occult sciences as have attained to great knowledge and power, and have been initiated into the secret schools of the esoteric wisdom. In India these Initiates are called Mahatmas, and are supposed to abide in remote places far from the habitations of ordinary mortals. These great souls are usually regarded as teachers and sages, but occasionally they perform miracles of healing.

In the modern occult world, the Adepts are regarded with the same kind of veneration that the Catholic feels for his saints. Prayers are addressed to the Masters with the full conviction that these Initiates will be aware of the supplications, regardless of distance; and will answer them with appropriate demonstrations of supernatural power. The wonderful stories which have been circulated about these Initiates and Masters are well calculated to increase faith in their ability to heal all manner of disease, and belief in these superhuman beings has become a potent force in modern theories of metaphysical healing.

There are a number of Hindus and a few other Asiatic teachers of metaphysics in this country who include philosophies of healing among their doctrines. Most of these Orientals combine diet, exercise, and rhythmic breathing with their occult forms of treatment. The power of the mind over the body is emphasized, and various esoteric disciplines are taught.

This group holds the general view that the ailments of the body can be corrected by purifying the system and increasing the spiritual energies through meditation and the practice of the Yogas. Mantras, the Hindu hymns which proclaim the inseparability of the gods, monads, and atoms are also used by these cults; and in their teachings obscure references are made to the kundalini, the universal life-principle which everywhere manifests in Nature. As there is little organization among these Oriental teachers, it is very difficult to give an adequate summary of their methods.

The diagnosis and treatment of disease by the study of the aura, or magnetic emanations of the human body, was practiced by the priests of the old Mystery cults. The Kilner Screen, invented by Walter J. Kilner, B. A., M. B., Cantab., M. R. C. P., etc., late Electrician at St. Thomas' Hospital, London, has now brought this subject within the field of physical scientific research. Dr. Kilner was able to devise for those without clairvoyant training a simple method of stimulating the human eye so that it is capable of seeing auras.

European occultists are carrying on many interesting experiments suggested by old writings of medieval alchemists and magicians. Indicative of the trends are these: The possibility of capturing the rays of the planets in dew; research in the Druidic lore of the mistletoe, as a medium for the astral light; and investigation into the crystals formed in human blood, by the process of drying.

Diagnosis by divination has also been widely practiced. That eccentric genius, Jerome Cardan, wrote a book on the occult significance of moles on the body, and in the lines of the forehead. The late Count Louis Hamon (Cheiro) told me that he could tell the condition of a person's health by the lines on the hands and the condition and shape of the finger nails. The Chinese can accurately predict the number of children a woman will bear, from the small lines in the corners of her eyes; and they will also determine the length of life from the angle of the cheek bones. All such methods belong to the general field of the occult sciences, because if they are true, they bear witness to laws operating in the body of man.

An occult healer is a person learned in all the obscure arts and philosophies which bear upon the health of man. His ways may seem strange to the uninformed, but the practice of metaphysical medicine is justified by thousands of years of tradition and sanctified by the veneration of ages.


Mysticism may be academically defined as the belief that the direct knowledge of God and Truth is possible to man through an extension of his spiritual insight toward union with the substance and essence of Divinity.

In common practice, mysticism is a simple and abiding faith in the power of God to accomplish all things necessary to the life and happiness of man.

A mystic is one who practices the mystical attitude toward life, and rejects formal religious theologies, believing that God may be approached through personal devotion, and the contemplation of Divine Truths.

A mystic may, or may not, believe in a personal God. To most Christian mystics, Deity is to some degree personal, capable of likes and dislikes, and able to hear and answer the prayers of the faithful. Among Oriental mystics the Divine Nature is usually regarded as impersonal, and is adored as the Universal Reality, to be glorified rather than supplicated.

The mystical arts are the traditional disciplines by which the human consciousness is brought into a state of attunement with the World Spirit
. These disciplines are largely derived from the lives and teachings of great mystics who are known to have achieved the Cosmic Consciousness.

Weltgeist, the world spirit concept, designates an idealistic principle of world explanation, which can be found from the beginnings of philosophy up to more recent time. The concept of world spirit was already accepted by the idealistic schools of ancient Indian philosophy, whereby one explained objective reality as its product. (See metaphysical objectivism). In the early philosophy of Greek antiquity, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle all paid homage, amongst other things, to the concept of world spirit. Hegel later based his philosophy of history on it.

-- Geist, by Wikipedia

In philosophy, idealism is the group of philosophies which assert that reality, or reality as we can know it, is fundamentally mental, mentally constructed, or otherwise immaterial. Epistemologically, idealism manifests as a skepticism about the possibility of knowing any mind-independent thing. In a sociological sense, idealism emphasizes how human ideas — especially beliefs and values — shape society. As an ontological doctrine, idealism goes further, asserting that all entities are composed of mind or spirit. Idealism thus rejects physicalist and dualist theories that fail to ascribe priority to the mind. An extreme version of this idealism can exist in the philosophical notion of solipsism.

-- Idealism, by Wikipedia

The popular mysticism practiced in modern metaphysical movements has been called 'the heart doctrine,' and the followers of these cults are taught to live from day to day with the emotion of 'Divine Love' uppermost in their consciousness. Unfortunately, the average student of these subjects has no comprehension of the meaning of the words "Divine Love," and he can only assume that they signify a sublimated kind of human affection. He therefore tries to love God as he might try to love another human being, and the result is anything but true mysticism.

It is difficult to define in words a spiritual process that has no equivalent in the outer life of mankind. Brother Lawrence defined mysticism as "the practice of the presence of God." This is a noble statement, and certainly inclines the mind in the direction of mystical conviction; but it is not the complete definition. Perhaps we can add, mysticism is participation in the Divine Nature of Being. Participation means to share in common, or to partake of, a substance, quality, or action. There can be no true mysticism without this becoming aware in God.

The practice of the mystical disciplines must result ultimately in the attainment of the mystical state. A strange enthusiasm (from the Greek enthousiazein, to be possessed by a god), rises up and fills the consciousness of the mystic, and he is obsessed by a powerful ecstatic emotion of exaltation or rapture. While thus transported he feels himself one with God, and a part of all that lives.

As the mystic becomes more sensitive to the sympathies present everywhere in nature, it is ever more difficult for him to resist the emotional or mystical content of life about him. Dante could not gaze upon an open rose without being so completely overcome by its beauty that he lost human consciousness in an ecstacy of exquisite pain.

The great East Indian saint and mystic Sri Ramakrishna, spent many hours of each day in rapturous contemplation of the Motherhood of God. In the last years of his life, Ramakrishna could not think or speak of the Beloved Mother of the World without passing into Samadhi, the superconscious state. When this mood came upon him, it was necessary for his disciples to support his body, to prevent him from falling to the ground.

The earlier forms of Christian mysticism were largely dominated by the emotion of suffering. Men sought to come nearer to Christ by experiencing his pain. This was the mysticism of participation through agony. The exquisite sweetness of great pain in Christ, led to the extreme austerities and physical disciplines of the Monks and Fathers of the Church. "Oh! how sweet it is," cried St. Alphonsus, "to suffer and die, embracing the cross."

Modern mystics seldom go to the extreme of Sufi or Dervish ecstacy; they are satisfied to follow along the ways of prayer and faith. They believe that God is truly an ever present help in time of trouble, and turn to Him whenever pain or sorrow comes to them. The one really mystical attitude of these people is their firm conviction that Deity can be reached by personal appeal.

Mystical healing, in practice, is most often faith healing, and depends for its accomplishment upon the stimulating of the faith content in human nature, and the psychological and biological results of sincere conviction upon the functional processes and organic structure of the body. Through faith, the power of God is released in the human chemistry to work its wonders and renew the life of the flesh.

The mystical healing of the Catholic Church is closely associated with venerated shrines, holy relics, and sacred images. Through pilgrimage to sanctified places and meditation upon the symbols and objects of faith, the chemistry of the body may be profoundly influenced. Modern scientists are inclined to believe that the healings resulting from faith are psychological rather than spiritual, but they admit that results are obtained in cases where the doctor fails.

Of the mystical healings at Lourdes in France, and St. Anne de Beaupre in Canada, Dr. Howard writes: "Relics and shrines cure today as they did in medieval times. Modern physicians even have sent some of their patients to be thus treated. All diseases due to hysteria or to melancholy states of mind are susceptible to such cures. Even men and women suffering from incurable diseases are temporarily improved by the hope that is inspired in them."

Dr. Alexis Carrel is reported to have been converted to the Catholic faith as the result of seeing a cancer wither away and fall off a man's hand in a few moments at the shrine of Lourdes. It would therefore appear that faith can work miracles beyond the mere improvement of morbid psychological attitudes.

The power of holy relics and the intercession of the saints are sustained from the words of the Scriptures. According to Acts 5, xv, xvi, the shadow of St. Peter cured the sick, and it is recorded in Acts 19, xii, that cloths that had touched the body of St. Paul had the power to restore health.

It is therefore upon the authority of the words of Christ, and the testimony of the Disciples, that faith healing is practiced also by the protestant Christian denominations and metaphysical Christian sects. It is widely believed by these organizations that the spiritual curing of disease is possible to those who have a complete and abiding faith in Christ and his ministry. Other religions hold a similar belief, regarding their Prophets and Saviors, and examples of faith healing resulting from sincere conviction of the healing power of God are to be found in all parts of the world.

To effect a healing by faith it is usually necessary to intensify the religious emotions of the sufferer in one of several ways. Faith healing in the orthodox Christian sects is frequently part of evangelistic revivals, during which the evangelist works upon the emotions of the audience until a condition approaching crisis or ecstacy is produced. Religious healers most often work against a background of this emotional intensity.

Many religious organizations teach the value of direct prayer in the curing of bodily ailments. The sufferer may pray himself, or the prayers may be said on his behalf by a priest or clergyman. It is also common for a group or congregation to unite their prayers on behalf of a sick person. It is also a Christian belief that prayers may be addressed to Deity asking help for the sick by anyone of sincere and devout mind; and men may pray for the health of each other, and for those dear to them. When respected national leaders are stricken it is usual for congregations of all denominations to unite in prayers for the recovery of such outstanding men.

Healing by the laying on of hands is a very ancient form of mystical therapy, and has been widely practiced among Christian religious groups. The healer has usually believed himself to possess a spiritual power derived from God, which he is able to communicate to other persons by touching their heads or the affected parts of their bodies with his hands. By this contact, the spiritual virtue passes into the sufferer, accomplishing a cure by the direct power of God. Laying on of hands is sometimes confused with magnetic healing, but the two methods are entirely different in basic principle.

It has always seemed to me that the great power of faith lies in the changes that it can bring about in our living and thinking. When a man is converted to some religious belief by the conviction of his own consciousness, the mental, emotional, and physical parts of his nature are all profoundly affected. Diseases which were the direct or indirect results of the previous patterns of his living and thinking may cease in him, because his new life pattern does not support them.

We are all acquainted with the type of doctor who says to his difficult patient, "My good fellow, what you need is a change of air," Very likely the physician is merely tactfully admitting his desire to terminate relationships with the case. But the advice may be far more sound than it appears. Human beings get into ruts, and these ruts can result in sickness and disease.

Many a doctor has had the embarrassing experience of meeting on the street a hale and hearty person whose face is vaguely familiar. "Don't you know me?" beams the stranger, "I'm the chap you told, ten years ago, that he had just six months to live."

It then develops that the erstwhile patient was so frightened by the prospect of an early demise that he resolved to get well at all cost. So he went to a ranch in Nebraska and his improvement was immediate. The trip to the West and the outdoor life unquestionably did a great deal of good, but there was more to the cure than vigorous living; there was a complete change of outlook, mental and emotional. New faces, other values, and different standards of living, all these played their part. The young man became a new person; and that new person was not subject to the old ailments; so he got well.

If such changes can be brought about by shifting the personality pattern into a new environment, as much or more can be accomplished by changing the mental and emotional patterns. People can become allergic to themselves. The only remedy that is appropriate to such cases, is for the individual to change himself. Under certain conditions, religion can bring about this change. An old gentleman once told me that he had cured inflammatory rheumatism by joining a certain church. His friends ridiculed the idea, but it was probably true. Inspired by a new religious zeal, he had earnestly endeavored to mend his moral ways, and his physical health cleared up as a result.


Thousands of years before the advent of Freud, Adler, and Jung, the Witch Doctors of Africa, the Shamans of Asia and America, and the Priest-Physicians of classical Greece, were aware of the psychological factors which influence the lives of human beings. But, because these old occultists involved their knowledge in mystical and metaphysical rites, and used religious and philosophical terms in explaining their conclusions, the entire subject was ignored by modern scientific thinkers, who would not descend from the heights of their smug materialism to examine the 'superstitions' of the ancients. It therefore remained for the nineteenth century A. D. to re-discover what the nineteenth millennium B. C. already understood.

A considerable part of psychological lore is still in the keeping of religion. In recent years a number of religio-psychological cults have arisen which are attempting to rescue the spiritual values in psychology from the rank materialism of most academic practitioners in the field. It is possible that one of the reasons why scientific psychology has not lived up to the hopes and expectations of its enthusiasts is, that in borrowing its principles from the ancient temples, too much of the religious and philosophical parts of the doctrine were rejected and ignored.

Mentalism teaches that the various phenomena of life are of mental origin, that the universe itself is a creation in mind, that the laws of nature originated in the world of thought, and are administered by cosmic intelligence, and that God is the mental, or Intellectual Principle that rules all things, and not a spiritual Being.

Mental science is a collective term used by metaphysicians to cover that aspect of spiritual culture by which the individual is improved through personal application of the universal laws governing spiritual thought. It further assumes that mind and not matter is an actual reality, and that the illusion of matter can be controlled by mental power. By this teaching, material life is a false attitude held by a mind which is ignorant of its potential power to dominate all material substances and conditions.

Mental healing is any form of spiritual-psychological therapy which operates on the principle that the mind can correct the evils of sickness and disease, and restore health by reconditioning the mental outlook.

Mental healing differs from academic psychotherapy in the emphasis that is placed on the spiritual aspect of mind; and in the teaching that spiritual mind is capable of bringing about a state of perfection in the consciousness of the individual.

It is important to point out that it is a cardinal tenet of most mental healing cults that health is the natural state of man; sickness is the result of the acceptance of mental error. In this respect, the modern doctrine differs widely from the ancient philosophical belief: that sickness and disaster were natural to all mortals, until they perfected their standards of living.

To metaphysical mentalists, God, the spiritual mind of the world, desires the health of man, and sickness comes from wrong thinking and not from other spiritual, moral, or physical causes. God wishes all creatures to be healthy and prosperous, but in order to achieve this state, they must realize that this is the Divine Will, and make it their daily task to reaffirm this fact in every thought and action.

Mentalism as a religion is represented by a wide variety of sects, each differing from the others in terminology and minor details of procedure, but all agreeing that mind is the origin of happiness and misery, health and sickness, even life and death. A few groups have attempted to prove that it is possible to overcome death, the last great enemy, by setting the mind firmly in the realization of the eternity of life; but to date, none of them has been able to extend man's existence beyond the usual physical span.

A strange contradiction comes into the practices of many of the mentalist sects. While claiming the unreality of material things, these groups are deeply engaged in accomplishing all that they can of physical success and power. Most mental healing cults seem to include personal unhappiness, marital difficulties, and financial reverses among physical ailments, and treat these problems along with sickness and disease. And, most mental sects are very prosperity conscious, even as they deny the actual existence of the material world.

All mental healing is a form of suggestive or auto-suggestive therapy, but some practitioners will not admit this; they insist upon involving its practices in elaborate formulas and methods.

Good results are frequently attained, because a person who takes on a more optimistic attitude about himself and his activities is the one most likely to succeed in life and in business. Also, as we expect a better state of things for ourselves, we are quicker to recognize opportunity and make use of it.

The most widely practiced form of mental therapy is healing by affirmation. In metaphysics, an affirmation is a statement of spiritual truth intended to overcome a false attitude held in the material mind. It is assumed that sickness has no real existence, but is an illusion resulting from the failure of the individual to preserve the clarity of his spiritual viewpoint.

Affirmations are most frequently made by the sufferer himself, but a practitioner may be consulted to determine the affirmation most suitable to the immediate problem. Affirmative statements are not addressed to any external agent of healing, but are intended to clarify the realization of personal spiritual sufficiency. Typical affirmations for health are: I am radiantly healthy, and, I am perfect; therefore I cannot be sick.

The denial is the reverse of the affirmation. In some groups, instead of a positive statement of health, the negative statement of denial is employed. For example, the patient may say, There is no pain, or My leg does not hurt.

In many systems of mental healing, affirmation and denial are used together in a logical sequence. Types of these statements include, There is no such thing as disease, therefore I am not sick. And again, I am only sick because I think I am sick. The whole purpose of the statements is to convince the individual himself that what he has accepted as the illness from which he is suffering is only its mental image.

A platitude is a general statement of spiritual fact or conviction. The platitude is used in healing as the abstract basis for a particular affirmation. It is a moral argument to justify the belief in the therapeutic value of a metaphysical statement of truth. The patient may memorize the platitude himself, or he may have it recited or read to him by a practitioner. The patient can say, God desires all of his creatures to enjoy good health, or All things are perfect in the Divine Mind. These are platitudes because they are generalizations, serving to rationalize certain special attitudes concerning the conduct of life.

In the field of New Thought, it is held by some, that healing thoughts can be sent to a person at a distance; this is called absent treatment. If the patient is visualized, held in the mind, or thought about intensely, a contact is established regardless of distance and the healing treatment or affirmation will be effective. This method is popular both with individual practitioners and large organizations.

The requests for help are written, telegraphed, or phoned to the healer, or group, and the curative vibrations are sent out to meet the need. Large metaphysical-religious orders have departments to handle nothing but requests for healing and related matters. Most of these sects have developed their own special technique in the practice of absent treatment.

The ultimate in something or other, is the recent innovation of healing by decrees. In this type of mental therapy, the patient or the healer commands the Infinite or its agencies to accomplish the desired cure, immediately and completely. In some cases the power of the decree is intensified by a number of persons decreeing together for the attainment of the purpose. The decrees are usually spoken formulas addressed to some superhuman force or being as, I decree for perfect health, or, I demand instantaneous healing for my injured foot.

There are mental healing sects that do not deny the reality of matter, but teach the development of a dominant personality that can accomplish anything that it wills to do. These folks practice the process of willing for things that they want. Again, this is a method of increasing the courage content in themselves, in this way to overcome the natural or unnatural limitations of their characters. Schopenhauer's doctrine of the will to power is apparent in these cults and may lead to the production of dictatorial complexes.

All who are interested in the power of the mind over the affairs of their lives will do well to remember the words of Pythagoras, who refused to ask any favors from Divinity because, "All men know what they want, but only the Gods know what they need."

Emile Coue's famous formula, Day by day, in every way, I am getting better and better, is an example of mental healing that is not necessarily religious but is simply autosuggestion popularized for the masses.

One of the most ingenious devices yet to be advanced in this field, is an automatic phonograph which plays suggestive affirmations to the fortunate purchaser while he is asleep. This is based on the belief that the subconscious mind is more receptive to impressions while the conscious mind is at rest.

Hypnotic therapy belongs in the class of mental healing. It is the technique of creating an artificial receptivity in the mind, so that suggestions for the correction of character defects and functional ailments will be more readily assimilated by the intellect. The practice of hypnotic therapy is encouraged in Europe, and recognized as an important branch of psychology, but the entire field is practically ignored in America, due probably, to unfortunate religious prejudices, rooted in a complete misunderstanding of the principles involved. Hypnotism is a mechanical art, and not a spiritual mystery, as so many believe.

Students of the processes behind suggestion, or mental healing, should bear in mind the often quoted story of the dyspeptic farmer who went to the local doctor to get something for his bad stomach. The physician wrote out a prescription and told the man to take it the first thing in the morning. A few days later the patient returned and said that nothing had ever done him so much good. A little adroit questioning revealed that the farmer had not taken the prescription to the druggist to be filled but had eaten the paper itself.


It may appear inconsistent to include a consideration of physical healing in a chapter devoted to metaphysical therapy, but it must be remembered that it is quite possible to have religious convictions about absolutely purely physical practices. Most religions have involved themselves in the personal lives of their followers, sometimes with disastrous results.

Diet, for example, plays an important part in the spiritual persuasions of many persons. A number of metaphysical sects will not permit their members to eat certain foods, because these are regarded as detrimental to spiritual development. Such restrictions obviously should be applied cautiously, for usually they are entirely arbitrary, and do not take into consideration the particular needs of the individual.

Vegetarianism was not originally a Christian doctrine; it came to Europe and America from the Orient, where it is practiced by a number of mystic sects, especially the Buddhists. It is not certain that Buddha himself preached a meatless diet, but it is held as necessary to the virtuous life by most of his followers.

Buddha is said to have died as the result of eating tainted pork, which was given to him by a poor peasant who could offer nothing better to the great teacher whom he dearly loved. The attitude of Buddha on this occasion was, that it is the duty of the Holy Man to accept without question whatever food is given by the sincere, and eat it with gratitude, even though death be the result. This part of the doctrine would simplify life for the hostess who has vegetarians coming in to dinner.

Religious organizations may also prescribe the clothing that members shall wear. The style of dress, the color, and the number of garments worn, may be determined by unchanging tradition, or more modern revelations. In many cases, the attire of the sect member is neither artistic nor hygienic, and may be detrimental to health.

As the present trend is from prudery to nudity, from the overdressed we can pass to a consideration of the underdressed. In the freilichparks (free light parks) of Germany before the Second World War, nacktkultur (nudism) assumed the proportions of a spiritual belief. And it is permissible to regard nudism as a form of spiritual healing, if the devotees of the cult believe in the Divine power of the sun, and agree with the East Indian gymnosophists that the unclothed way is the direct route to God.

It is still a moot question as to whether the sexual life of man is a problem in biology or theology; but until the mechanics of the immaculate conception have been somewhat simplified, the biologists have an edge in the argument. Celibacy is a very ancient religious practice that may have a profound effect upon the physical life of human beings. Some sects demand complete continence of their members, others permit the sex relationship solely for purposes of propagation.

A number of oriental teachers include simple calisthenics and setting up exercises among the disciplines of their cults. So rigorous is the physical culture of the Eastern mystics that few occidentals are able to assume the correct postures used in Tantra and Yoga. Anyone who has sat crosslegged and attempted to hold his body off the ground for an hour by the strength of his arms and hands alone, will realize the tremendous physical endurance that the Asiatic holy men have developed.

Because of their spiritual persuasions, metaphysicians are opposed frequently to the entire theory of allopathic medicine. They will not go to doctors, nor will they take drugs, serums, or glandular secretions; and many are opposed to vaccination. Some go so far as to reject surgery, others will permit it if there is no other way to preserve life, but are opposed to minor operations, such as removal of tonsils. There is considerable hard feeling between the mystics and the medics, and each group has rather unpleasant opinions of the other.

There does not appear to be any general antipathy to dentistry, but a prominent new thoughtist, some years ago, when asked why, instead of wearing a plate he had not demonstrated a new set of teeth, replied, "I would, only I've never had the time."

Natural methods of physical therapy are favored by metaphysicians generally, and they turn to osteopathy, chiropractic, homeopathy, and naturopathic forms of treatment. Electrical and radiomagnetic devices are also accepted as indicating a trend away from drugs. But there is considerable opposition to the use of X-ray for therapeutic purposes.

A medical writer, unhappy over the whole mystical attitude on healing, includes osteopathy among the faith cults, because the founder, Dr. Andrew Still, once said, "God is the Father of osteopathy and I am not ashamed of the child of His mind."

Biochemistry, as developed by Schusler, and later given a metaphysical explanation by Dr. George Carey, with his twelve cell-salts and their zodiacal correspondences, has many followers.

With the exception of certain of the mentalists, the members of the various spiritual groups believe in the sacredness of the human body, and teach that it should be preserved and cared for in every way possible. They emphasize good simple food, proper ventilation, light and non-binding clothes, sufficient exercise, sunbaths, hydro-therapy, moderation in all personal habits, the outdoor life, and healthful recreation.

To these folks natural living is a religious virtue. While a few go to doubtful extremes in their allegiance to these principles, the majority have a sound and constructive policy in harmony with the best traditions of spiritual and physical culture.
Site Admin
Posts: 22407
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Healing: The Divine Art, by Manly Palmer Hall

Postby admin » Mon May 14, 2018 11:15 pm


A. The Physical Body. B. The Functional, or Etheric Body. c. The Emotional Body. D. The Mental Body. E. The Energy Field. F. The Circumference of the Personality, the Abode of the Body Principles.




THE subject now to be dealt with is difficult to present, especially in digest form. Clearest expression demands little or no use of synonyms, for those that could be used are both confusing and inexact; the essential words will thus be repeated whenever necessary, for the sake of clarity.

According to the doctrines of the occult sciences, the physical body of man is a vehicle for the manifestation of invisible, spiritual energies. These energies not only sustain the body itself, but flow through it, manifesting as the attitudes, impulses, and functional processes of the outer life.

This viewpoint of the old philosophers may be summarized in a definition: Man is a metaphysical being, abiding in the superphysical worlds; he is revealed to our material sense perceptions by his physical body, which is the least part of his composite nature.

One school of materialistic psychology teaches that thought and emotion arise within the physical body, with individuality, character, and temperament being the result of the external pressure of environment and events. Intelligence is thus identified as a kind of overtone of the body, originating in the chemical activity that is in substance itself.

The mystics believe that intellectual and moral energy flow into the body; these mould the form into the likeness of themselves, and so establish the true causes of all the phenomenal life of man.

It is not possible to comprehend the principles of occult healing without an understanding of the four-fold constitution of the human being. The personality of man is composed of a mental nature, an emotional nature, a functional nature, and a physical nature. Of these four natures only the physical is visible; but the powers of the remaining three higher natures can be discovered by studying their effects upon the physical nature.

The physical body of all living creatures is a mineral organism; of itself it is only a refined kind of stone. According to the Hindu mystics, it is "the hard rock that softened," described in the Tibetan Book of Dzyan, but still a mineral structure. Consider the composition of man's physical body: -- oxygen, 65 percent; carbon, 18 percent; hydrogen, 10 percent; nitrogen, 3 percent; calcium 2 percent; and phosphorus, 1 percent. The remaining one percent is made up of small quantities of potassium, sodium, chlorine, magnesium, iron, iodine, fluorine, and silicon.

No matter how these elements are arranged and combined, the occult philosopher contends that the genius of a Leonardo da Vinci, or the mental excellence of a Plato, could not possibly lurk among them. Or, if you combine all the listed chemical elements in their correct proportions, the result is not a man, but an inert mass. Is it, then, such a mystical abstraction to believe that the human being is not merely his physical body? Is it not much more reasonable to regard man himself as the intangible power that ensouls the elements, and fashions them into the vehicle of his purposes?

The mechanistic school of physics has tried for a long time to prove that the universe and man are self-operating machines, and so there is no need for the hypothesis of a conscious or intellectual principle in nature to explain the mystery of life. But, though machines may be very wonderfully and very skillfully made, human beings must build them, and human beings must operate them; and when, for any reason, they cease to function, human beings must repair them.

For all practical purposes, the human body is a machine, the most perfect machine in all the world. It is capable of almost unbelievable delicacy of function, and is sensitive to every impulse of the will, but like all mechanical devices, it is composed of material substances, useless unless directed by intelligence, and inert and powerless unless ensouled by a conscious spirit.


Behind the physical form that is visible to the eyes stands man himself, clothed in three intangible but very real bodies of specialized energy. The first of these is composed of mental substance, the stuff that thoughts are made of; the second is composed of emotional substance, the sensitive fabric of feelings and desires; the third is composed of vital substance, the functional energy without which physical forms could not endure.

Man thinks, not with his brain, but through his brain. The brain is but a sensitized area of physical matter which reacts to the subtle impulses of the mental body. In the same way, emotions and functions are communicated to the physical body through the liver and the spleen, and these organs are but distributors of specialized impulses, and not the originators of these impulses.

Nothing originates in the body but inertia. All its activity is communicated to it from one of the zones of metaphysical energy. It is for this reason that the ancients did not refer to the physical body as a principle, but as a receptacle of principles. Like the canopic jar of the classical Egyptians, it receives into itself the waters of Life, and distributes them into the world through its many mouths.

In order to make these sequences of processes more readily comprehensible, they can be arranged in a table, as follows:

Principles and Powers / Energies / The Four-fold Body / Etheric Mediums / Physical Organs
Mental Principle / Mental Energy / Mental Body / Mental Ether / Brain
Emotional Principle / Emotional Energy / Emotional Body / Emotional Ether / Liver
Functional Principle / Functional Energy / Functional Body / Functional Ether / Spleen
Physical Power / Physical Energy / Physical Body / Physical Ether / Heart

Behind the body principles is the spiritual consciousness itself. But the spirit cannot be sick or diseased, because it abides in the perfect state of its own nature. Nor can it exert any direct healing power except through the four-fold personality which it has set up as the proper medium for the mechanics of its biological processes.


That Deity is outside of, or apart from its creation, is a doctrine of Christianity, one that only a few great religious systems teach. All enlightened pagans taught that the material universe is the physical body of the creating Principle. Plato called the universe the "Eternal Animal," and the Neo-Platonists of Alexandria described the world as "the body of a Blessed God." The modern occultist accepts this philosophical doctrine. He does not seek in the distant heavens for the Spiritual Cause of all things, but finds the creation itself bearing splendid witness to its indwelling divinity.

The "personality" of the solar system, the sun, with the group of celestial bodies which revolve round it, is composed of four kinds of substance; mental substance, emotional substance, functional substance, and physical substance. In the solar system these spheres of substance are called planes, and together, these make up the personality of the solar God. These four strata are the four worlds of the philosophical Cabala, and it was in the substance of these four worlds that the four Adams came into being.

Man has a body to correspond with each of the planes of nature. Each of these bodies of man is composed of the substance of the plane in which it originated. It grows and develops in that plane, it is subject to the laws governing that plane, and ultimately it disintegrates back into the basic matter of that plane. These four bodies are the four Adams, and the physical body is the last Adam, the one that fell into matter and put on the coat of skins.

It may be a little difficult to realize that the mind is really a body, and not merely a strange, vague emptiness with thoughts floating about in it. Our way of thinking has long accepted things as material only if we can contact them with our sense perceptions. Yet we know that the five senses of man are only at the beginning of their development, and many very real things are beyond present sensory range. There are innumerable sounds that the human ear cannot hear, colors and forms that the human eye cannot see, flavors that the human taste cannot register, odors that the human sense of smell cannot detect, and substances so refined that they cannot be felt by the human sense of touch. Only in recent years has science come to a realization of the limitations of man's sensory perceptions, recognized the possibility of the substance and reality of things unseen.


The physical body of man and the superphysical bodies which sustain it are shown in their proper relationship to each other in the figure on page 186. To the trained clairvoyant, the higher bodies B, C, and D, are visible as fields of light; they make up what is commonly called the aura. The ancients referred to this aura as an "invisible perspiration," because it seemed to be emanating from the physical form.

In actuality, the only part of the aura that comes from the material body is the etheric sheath B. The emotional and mental auras C and D are magnetic fields of energy that flow toward the body, and are involved in its functions through the medium of the etheric sheath.

E represents an energy field that has not yet been differentiated into a body, but which will become the vehicle of man's spiritual nature when this has been perfected by the processes of evolution.

F is the circumference of personal existence, the shell of the auric egg, in which the human creature lives, and moves, and has his being.

The importance of the functional body -- or etheric double, as it is often called -- will now be apparent. It is the link that unites the physical body A, with the emotional bodies C, and D. The ethers are the great mystery of occultism; it is by the knowledge of them and their operation that the metaphysician comes to understand the workings of spiritual force in the material world.


The ancients recognized four ethers, or four etheric essences which serve as binders between the spiritual energies of man and the physical substances through which they operate. This is the true explanation of the four humours of Hippocrates. The modern physicist defines ether as a postulated medium for the transmission of light waves; but to the occultist the ethers are the secret of all function and growth.

The ethers, physical in their origin, are actually the subtler parts of matter. The etheric emanations of the earth itself fill the inner atmosphere of the planet, so that, as Thales expressed it, the earth seems to float in an humid vapor, a thinned-out or attenuated water. This etheric humidity is invisible to the physical perceptions, but may be examined by those possessing etheric sight. When seen, it resembles a slightly luminous thin haze, dimly stratified. Its lower parts are placid and unchanging, but its upper layers are in a state of constant agitation.

Close to the earth, and about the bodies of living things, the etheric haze is more pronounced, and shines with a greenish-blue light. This light surrounds minerals, plants, animals and human beings with glistening halos. The etheric emanations from the lower kingdoms are not so brilliant as are those of man.


The four ethers and the parts they play in the economy of human life are as follows:

1. Physical or chemical ether, the form binder. 2. Functional or vital ether, the energy binder. 3. Emotional or psychical ether, the impulse binder. 4. Mental or intellectual ether, the thought binder.

These ethers have laws governing them, and have qualities inherent in their natures which every metaphysical healer must learn to know and use. A considerable part of so-called physical sickness and disease originates in the etheric binders, and not in the material body itself. Even contagion and infection are largely the result of disturbances in the etheric envelopes.

For example, consider the ethers as protection against bacterial infections. In the normal state of health the physical body is surrounded by etheric rays which flow out through the skin pores, and enclose the form in a flickering fur-like aura. This aura is a natural defense, repelling contagion and infection, and destroying any germs that come within its field. But, if, for any reason, the chemical vitality is depleted, these sterilizing ether-rays lose their power, and can no longer combat the destructive micro-organisms.


During life, a pale electric mist hovers about the human skeleton. This is the physical ether, and it seems to originate in the bone marrow. From there it flows out along the heavier chemical formations, touching with its eerie light each cell and organ of the body.

Pronounced condensations of this same ether surround most of the vital organs, the strange glow being especially bright about the heart, where it serves as the focus for the physical principle of the body, which is located at the apex of the left ventricle.

The human body's inorganic chemical processes are controlled and regulated by the natural energies which operate through the physical ether. As a chemical binder it preserves the arrangement of the element-patterns which make up the corporeal form. Because of its peculiar cohesive power it serves as a matrix holding within itself all the basic substances involved in the human chemistry.

The physical ether is most active in child life, from the first year to the seventh, during which time its crystallizing activities are establishing order in the inorganic structure that is to serve as the foundation for organic life.

In the newborn infant this ether is derived directly from the maternal parent and carries the ancestral records implanted in the fertilized cell at the time of impregnation, and it is the medium for the perpetuation of hereditary tendencies, and the cause of family resemblance. In a larger way it also preserves racial differentiation, and determines organic quality.

The physical ether is the most dense and material of the four etheric essences; and it is so similar to the corporeal body from which it emanates that the two are bound together with an intense vibratory sympathy. Paracelsus's followers taught that this ether could be injured by sharp instruments, shocks, bruises, and various accidents which affected the physical body. The higher ethers will permit the repairing of the tissue of the body when cut or wounded, but the chemical ether is entirely inorganic, and injuries to it will not heal. The marks will remain, and their shadows in the flesh are called scars, or scar tissue.

Plastic surgery in many cases can remove physical scars. But plastic surgery has no effect on the etheric records. Persons having some extension of vision can still see the abrasions, even after all traces apparently have been removed.

As the physical ether impresses the form patterns upon matter, derangements of it may result in deformities, monstrosities, and imperfect births. These bodies seldom survive, for they lack the perfection that permits the proper manifestation of the higher life principles through them. Childhood ailments, especially those in which the bones fail to harden properly, or crystallize too rapidly, are due to derangements of the physical ether.

The common reservoir of the chemical ether is the earth, and those suffering from a deficiency of this ether's activity should contact the earth as much as possible. But they must not expose themselves to the direct rays of the sun
. Essential to them are the minerals in food, and additional mineral support may be indicated. If there is an excess of crystallization, the mineral intake must be reduced, and the supply of functional ether correspondingly increased.

In Europe, occultists have been experimenting with polarities which can be taken into the body to increase the flow of the ethers. One of the substances with which they have been working is meteoric iron. Because of its tremendous magnetic powers, this material is useful in combating deficiencies of the etheric energies. Paracelsus was of the opinion that chemical drugs are important to the body, not because they can be assimilated, but because they set up magnetic poles and attract the ethers which are so necessary to physical health.


The vital body of the human being is a brilliant complex of radiant energy. The force follows along every nerve, so that each fiber seems to be filled with an internal light. It glistens in the cell tissue, and the minute particles appear like tiny stars. Around the spleen, which is its peculiar center in the body, it makes a gleaming aureole. In pulsing waves it pours out from the nerve ends and extends several inches beyond the skin. This ether fills all structure with vitality and life, and wherever functions are taking place, it gathers its shining substances and energizes the organs and muscles for their tasks.

The essential functions of life, growth, reproduction, assimilation, excretion, and circulation are maintained by the forces flowing through the vital ether. It also distributes pigmentation. This ether regulates the life energy supply, called prana by the Hindus, which sustains all organic structure, thus maintaining the functions of living tissue. As the chemical ether is associated with the solids of the body, so the functional ether is related to the fluids, and was known among the ancients as the "water of life."

This vital ether is closely involved in all of the processes of human growth, and is especially active from the seventh to the fourteenth years, the period of most rapid physical development. As the result of the abundance of functional etheric energy at that time, there is a rapid increase in the number of cells, with a corresponding enlargement of the composite structure.

In the adult, the principal work of this ether is the restoration of tissue destroyed by physical, emotional, or mental activity, and the rebuilding of structure destroyed or enervated by disease. The happy sense of well-being enjoyed by those in good health is the direct result of the normal flow of vitality through the channels of the functional ether.

Nature has entrusted the perpetuation of the species to the vital ether, and it is the vortex of this substance in seeds and eggs and animal cells that makes them fertile. The amazing endurance of this etheric atom is attested to in a number of remarkable ways. Wheat, found in the hand of an Egyptian pharaoh who had been buried more than three-thousand years, was planted and it grew. Yet so sensitive is the fertility principle that the slightest derangement of its physical magnetic poles in the body may result in sterility.

Although the vital ether is derived from the sun, its activity in the human body is most intense during sleep. It sustains and regulates the automatic and involuntary functions and repairs the consequences of daily wear and tear. If rest is disturbed, this work is interfered with, and the next morning the person does not feel so well.

Most of the ailments involving the functional ether are the result of the failure of the human being to cooperate with the biochemical requirements of his body. The effort necessary to mend the damage done by wrong habits, improper diet, overwork, and physical exhaustion, may tax this energy flow beyond its capacity. In addition, the vital ether must cope with the depressing and demoralizing effects of destructive mental patterns and emotional excesses which react harmfully upon the physical fabric.

Enlargements and benign growths, giantism and dwarfism, overstimulation of function, disorders of bodily rhythms, and some types of obesity, are ailments of the vital ether. Anemia is an advanced form of etheric debility. Sun baths help in many cases, but, in avoidance of extremes, should be taken only under proper advice. It is a good rule to remember, that the functional ether will serve a man well if he will be moderate in all things, and not expect from nature accomplishment of the impossible.

Both chemical and vital ether have an interesting photographic quality. As they permeate all the earth's atmosphere, they are present in any place that man can occupy. A person walking through a room leaves a picture of himself in the ethers of that room; and also a vibratory record of his personality and character. These etheric pictures remain for some time after he has departed.

A psychometrist can go into the room later and describe all that has occurred there
; and can sometimes do the same from examination of articles of dress, or jewelry, impregnated with the etheric emanations of previous owners.

These ethers are especially active in water. Magical vessels filled with water were often used by primitive Witch Doctors and old mystics in their divinations. It is recorded that the celebrated Nostradamus gained some of his prophetic powers from spirits he had captured in bowls of magnetized water, and Cagliostro employed similar methods at his seances.

The photographic power and vibratory sympathies in ether are the basis of the new theories of extra-sensory perception. The etheric essences possess what the ancients called an azonic quality. The word azonic means "above zone," that is, beyond the limitation of place. According to this doctrine, similars are always near to each other regardless of what we call distance.

A certain man had his leg amputated, and because he knew nothing about the theory of ethers, he was indifferent as to the disposal of the removed limb. As time went on the man continued to feel pain in the leg that was gone, not an unusual phenomena, because part of the etheric body of the leg remained with him. But in this case the pain grew more and more intense, and felt as though a sharp instrument was cutting into the missing limb. At last the leg, which had been buried in a wooden box, was dug up, and it proved upon examination that a careless workman had driven a nail through the lid of the box and into the leg. This nail was removed and the patient immediately enjoyed greater comfort. Paracelsus has recorded such instances, but to most modern physicians these are not of interest, not anyhow until something unusual happens to one of their own patients.

The activity of the functional ether may continue for a short time after the death of the physical body. There is evidence that hair will grow on the dead. This is denied by some modern authorities, but the older medical writers give numerous examples. A curious book by Oswald Crolli, a disciple of Paracelsus, passed through my hands some time ago. In this work is described a rare case in which the fur continued to grow on an animal's skin, stretched on a wall. General Albert Pike mentions the vital power of acacia wood, which in Syria will send forth shoots after the tree has been cut down, sawed into planks, and built into doorposts.


Through the arterial system of the human body flows a pale rose light with a greenish fringe of etheric force
. This is the emotional ether. It courses along the blood vessels in a state of constant pulsation; everywhere there is motion. Around the organs, especially the intestinal tract, this fiery substance whirls and eddies. The principal center of the psychic ether is in the liver, and the great vortex of this important gland is a swirling sea of pinkish flame.

This ether is responsive to the emotional impulses of the individual, and blazes forth in moments of intense feeling or desire. It registers every mood of the psychic nature, and when for any reason, self-control is lost, as in the case of extreme anger, the effect in the ethers resembles a miniature volcanic eruption. Such outbursts do considerable harm to the etheric structure. If they occur too frequently they will finally destroy emotional control.

Through the medium of the emotional ether, the physical body of man is united to his superphysical body of feeling and desire. The two lower ethers are vehicles of involuntary natural processes, but the third ether carries into the emotional centers of the nervous system the fears, angers, disgusts, griefs, joys, surprises, and yearnings of the metaphysical self
. It is obvious therefore, that this ether is heavily burdened with impulses, many of which are far from constructive. In addition to its other responsibilities the psychic ether must also distribute the power of motion, and support the sense perceptions.

In the growing human being the emotional ether has its period of most intense activity between the fourteenth and twenty-first years. There are marked changes in the physical body during this period, and equally important changes in the mental outlook. It has been observed that many of the less advanced races have unusual problems at this time. Very often, children of these races are mentally alert until adolescence, and then lose the power of further intellectual advancement. A school teacher verified this for me; she taught such a class, and had noted that the children were exceptionally brilliant until their fourteenth year, and from that time on could learn nothing.

Impulses carried from the outer world to the emotional and mental bodies enter through the gateways of the sense perceptions. To a great degree the emotional life is conditioned by externals, and by personal reactions to externals. A person's general convictions determine largely his impulsive reflexes. The testimonies of the sense perceptions are carried back to the emotional body across the bridge of ether, and the reactions of the emotional body to these testimonies are then returned again through the same ether to the emotional centers in the physical body. In this case the etheric medium carries emotional impulses in two directions.

The emotional ether can be damaged by an overload of intense feeling or desire, in much the same way that too heavy a current damages an electric wire. With its proper function destroyed, the ether may permit an overflowing of emotional content; or it may be so debilitated that emotional reflexes almost cease. Lack of reasonable emotional control is the cause of numerous physical ailments. On the other hand, too much self-control can prove equally disastrous. All extremes destroy; moderation and right use are the sustaining virtues.

Hysteria is one of the most common ailments due to unbalance of the psychic ether. Irresistible feelings flow into the body, and overwhelm the judgment and control. Hallucinations of various kinds and a wide variety of psychical disturbances can be traced to disorganizations of this ether. Homosexuality is often the result of psycho-chemical derangement in the compound of the functional and psychic ethers. It must be remembered that the ethers are brought into a diseased state as the result of the abnormalcy of the conscious impulses sent through them. When a breakdown comes, it is not the ethers that are at fault, it is the quality of the material which they are forced to distribute.


The upper half of the human body is surrounded by a soft golden light that seems to originate in the central parts of the brain. The glow streams out from the third ventricle in particular, enclosing the head in a nimbus like that pictured around the heads of saints. This yellow glow extends down the spine through the sixth ventricle, and touches the spinal nerves with its luminous power.

The greater a person's intellectual life, the stronger the activity of the mental ether. Its substances and currents are constantly responding to thought impulse, and the quality of the mental viewpoint can change the colors in the etheric medium from yellow to deep orange, and even pale green.

The intellectual consciousness of the individual flows into the body on the currents of the mental ether. To the psychologist, mind is the total of the conscious states of man; but to the philosopher, mind is man's consciousness that is perceptive, reflective, and imaginative. It is in this sense that the occultist views the intellect. The mental ether binds the conscious mind to the magnetic field of the pineal gland, which is the mental focus in the physical body. The ways in which mental impulses are distributed through the objective processes of the brain are so important in metaphysical healing that a later chapter is devoted to a detailed consideration of the subject.

The intellectual ether is the most volatile of the etheric essences, and is the last to be developed in the maturing of the human being. The activity of this ether begins to be observable in the personality about the twenty-first year, but the period of maximum intensity is from about the forty-fifth to sixtieth years. In the case of an infant prodigy, this ether takes hold earlier in life; and this may cause trouble, because the physical body is not then sufficiently developed to stand the strain of adult mentality.

The mental ether is the victim of thought disturbances, and may be seriously injured by chronic habits of wrong thinking. All four of the ethers are sensitive to thought impulses, and if they have been seriously affected by faulty mental processes, the consequences are gradually transferred to the physical structure as chronic diseases.

Mental senility, and the failure of memory and thought acuteness, is often due to the depletion of this ether. It is an old occult belief that most forms of insanity are not the result of the failure of the mind, but arise in the physical brain or the ethers which support it. If complexes and fixations become too intense, they will destroy the subtle magnetic fields which bind the mind to the brain. The brain, in turn, deprived of the energies necessary to its processes, shows various symptoms of decline and deterioration.

Remembering always, that the ethers originate in the physical body, the matter of nutrition becomes a spiritual science. The powers of the ethers depend upon proper food, relaxation, sleep, sunlight, exercise, the normal expression of the emotions and the right attitude of the mind. Many students of the mystical philosophies fail in their search for higher truths because they neglect or even ignore the physical foundation of spiritual regeneration. While the perfection of the physical body is not the principal end of philosophy, the release of the transcendental powers in man depends to a considerable degree upon the health of the body.


Closely related to the four fields of etheric energy is that mysterious force which is called the human will. The will has been defined as the total conscious process in making a decision; but much more than decisional activity takes place in its psychic-chemistry. Will power is most frequently an application of energy to bring about that which is desired; or that which seems desirable in the light of convictions, ideals, or accepted principles. The direction in which the will is most likely to impel life or action is determined by the educational opportunities, the religious affiliations, the environmental circumstances and examples, the economic standards, and the personal inclinations.

Like many of the metaphysical energies that operate through man, the actual substance and nature of the will is unknown to materialistic thinkers, but the consequences which it sets up can be studied and classified. Will is usually bound up with purposes of physical ambition, and if these ambitions are inordinate, frequently the result is tragic. The will may force a condition or state that is foreign to the capacity of the personality, and will power, unsupported by adequate rational strength from within the self, can only result in disaster. The delusion is common that will power is a substitute for trained ability.

Some metaphysical teachers have circulated doctrines to the effect that a person can accomplish anything that he wills to accomplish. Nothing could be further from the truth; but such ideas appeal to those who have little desire to equip themselves by the arduous procedure of real personal effort. Even if the will could with certainty bring about the circumstances willed for, there is nothing to prove these new conditions would be more solutional than the present state. The uninformed cannot know what is necessary to themselves. The informed quietly but effectively bring about the patterns that they require, without heroic exertions of the will.

The use of will power in occult healing must be carefully considered, for there are conditions in which it is definitely indicated. For example, the will is useful in breaking up undesirable habits, in controlling inordinate impulses, and in directing activity into constructive channels. Moderate self-discipline is good for most persons, and those inclined to be dilatory in matters of decision, or given to sloppy thinking generally, are improved by a little intelligently applied will power. Many who are suffering from dissipation and lack of self-control are in this condition because of will demoralization; in nearly all these cases suggestion therapy is helpful. By the judicious use of mental suggestion the will can be reestablished as the controller of conduct.

The will is a kind of whip, indicated for the lazy, but very destructive to those who are really sick and require a sound program of health reconstruction. The one exception to this rule is the will to live. Many have recovered from apparently hopeless infirmities by the strength of will alone; when combined with proper therapy the will is a vital factor in recovery. Conversely, patients who lose the will to live may succumb to comparatively trivial ailments.

The attempt to substitute will power for proper treatment, and the type of metaphysics which would deny the right of the body to manifest the diseases which exist within it, can only lead to trouble more serious. The whip or spur may get a last burst of energy from an exhausted horse, but the life of the creature is shortened and we have complicated the misfortunes which afflict it. There may be moments when a high duty makes it necessary for us to drive ourselves beyond the breaking point, but this does not mean that we should make a practice of such extreme measures. Pain and fatigue are warnings, and they cannot be denied with impunity. The individual who by will power drives himself beyond the natural endurance of his body will suffer the results, even if he uses a religious formula to justify his actions. The gods never sustain in man any course of action contrary to the laws established for the governing of the world.

One who would try to deny symptoms of disease, and go on as though they did not exist, should be fully aware that he is a hypochondriac, with symptoms that are entirely imaginary. Seldom can hypochondriacs diagnose themselves as such.

Pain is a gentle but insistent reminder that something is wrong; to ignore it is to endanger health and survival.


Conscience, already mentioned in the chapter on the Witch Doctor, is a mysterious voice worthy of more detailed analysis. Conscience frequently supplies the stuff for exhibitions of will power, so the two can be intimately connected.

A theological belief holds that conscience is a spiritual organ, by which the will of God is made known in the personal conduct of individuals. A little investigation proves that conscience, far from being the voice of a universal morality, is a very mundane, and often dangerous, form of subconscious opinionism. It is the type of opinionism that Heraclitus called a falling sickness of the reason.

Conscience, in actuality, is a fear mechanism, and its origin is in the emotional body. Basically, it is the fear of nonconformity, ever compelling its owner to agree with the patterns of his time. For this reason conscience usually speaks for obedience to law, order, and tradition; and this in many cases is constructive in its effect, for society can survive only if its parts conform with the rules which have been established by the whole. But, though these rules may be necessary, it does not follow that they are divine.

Left to its own devices, conscience would no doubt make a very sensible contribution to human betterment; but unfortunately, its gentle ways have been interfered with seriously by religious training. Most religious teachings are heavily loaded with 'thou shalt nots,' and these have a demoralizing effect on the conscience. They cause this poor faculty to lose all sense of orientation and dissolve in a sea of fears.

We will never have a spiritual code that solves human problems, prevents war and crime, and leads men to the Promised Land of personal and collective security, until fear is removed from the mechanisms of soul conversion and religious practice. It is impossible to live a truly God-like existence with terror in the heart.

Conscience is a creature of education and circumstances, modified by inherited and acquired tendencies, and can be no reliable guide until it has been correctly trained, by a thorough knowledge of Nature. Conscience being an automatic alarm, that rings when our actions do not correspond with our belief, in no way justifies that belief.

-- A Call to the "Awakened" From "The Unseen and Unknown," for an Esoteric College, and For G.....R Dept. No. 1, by Vidya-Nyaika.

Conscience having become the vehicle of the taboos, it can no longer be depended upon to indicate the proper course of action. A man may obey the dictates of his conscience and yet be a danger to himself and a menace to all others in his community.

Some have taught that conscience is the voice of Karma, (the principle or law of as-ye-sow-so-shall-ye-reap); but this is not always true, according to my experience with conscience sufferers. The effect is much more likely to have originated in the parental home, where good and bad were defined according to the personal points of view of father and mother. These well-meaning elders, with their well set opinions on virtue or vice may, or may not, have had any intelligent understanding of the meaning of either. Out of "don't do this," and "don't do that," from tired and exasperated elders, conscience is born. On and on through the years, it keeps repeating, parrot-like, "don't do this," and "don't do that."

A mind accustomed to this endless cycle of negatives becomes keenly aware of the monotonous voice of the proprieties in every aspect of life, chanting the same dolorous admonitions. Resistance to the traditions having been broken in childhood, before the character is formed, generation after generation goes on, conforming to the old ways; because of fear, fear of displeasing the multitudes who sing the "don'ts."

It is through those who refuse to accept the will and attitudes of the many that progress comes to the world. These free-thinkers obey if they can discover some sensible reason for obedience; for they have learned that things are not necessarily true merely because the majority believes them. Many of these blazers of new trails are heartily persecuted in their own time for their refusal to conform, only in later centuries to be honored as heroes, with their words and thoughts set up as the basis of new standards of conformity.

A great many people are suffering from conscience trouble, and some of them deserve their remorse; but others are miserable over thoughts and actions that violate some system of hereditary 'don'ts,' but are perfectly natural and honorable. Let me give you a true instance of how foolish and stupid the whole thing can be.

A man came to me on the verge of a complete nervous breakdown; he was so mentally and morally sick that his life was endangered. He told me he was filled with shame, he could never raise his head and look men in the eyes again; he was a sinner. This awful knowledge had ruined his digestion and destroyed his peace of mind.

He was conscience stricken. And what was the horrible sin? A religious organization that he belonged to forbade its members to attend motion picture shows on pain of the loss of their immortal souls, and in a moment of weakness the devil had tempted him, and he had gone to see the March of Time. More terrible yet, he had taken his children. This had not at the moment appeared so sinful, but as the weeks passed his conscience had revealed to him the magnitude of the offense. He had broken his solemn vow, had himself done a sinful deed, and had contributed to sin in the lives of his children.

It is hard to believe that a thing like this could happen in our day. There is of course nothing spiritually or naturally wrong in going to a motion picture. The real fault lay with the religious group, clinging to a medieval antipathy to all places of amusement. The seventeenth century protestants stopped even the Shakespearean theater in England.

The crux of the man's remorse was the broken obligation. He had given his solemn word, and had not kept it. In this case the sufferer was guilty of two faults. The lesser one was breaking his word, and the greater one was that he had taken such a vow in the first place. But, an obligation which is unreasonable, unnatural, and out of harmony with wisdom and truth, cannot be binding. No religion can prove that Deity requires such vows. And no man can be held to his word once it is apparent that the entire premise is false.

Many religious and most metaphysical organizations demand that their students sign various pledges and vows before they can become members in good standing. Because little, if any, personal consideration is given to the characters or temperaments of students, these obligations frequently are unsuitable, and if strictly observed bring disaster. But the majority of joiners do not take their vows too seriously, and their consciences do not hurt. It is the very sincere and conscientious person who gets into trouble. He tries to live the letter of his vows, secure in the belief that the cult knows what is good for him; he goes along full of faith until some of his unnatural obligations unsettle his life, forcing him to modify his practices in order to survive; he then has trouble with his conscience. It would surprise you how many metaphysicians are having this kind of difficulty with the still small voice. Of a great number who have come to me for help, some tell stories that are pitiful beyond words.

Many psychologists are of the opinion that once the conscience pattern is firmly set, the individual is most likely to be happy if he conforms with its dictates. This may be true for those who lack the character to correct the false impulses that are locked within the conscience; but the philosophically minded prefer to straighten out their thinking, even if it requires a complete mental housecleaning. Conscience is a valuable faculty once it has been relieved of the burden of complexes and fixations which have been accumulated from taboos. But spirituality and fear cannot abide in the same personality. There is nothing in the universe of which man need be afraid; but there are many things which he must learn, and there are many laws which he must come to love and to obey.


As the functions of the ethers are not visible to the physical perceptions of man, unless dicyanin screens are used, the healer must depend upon his ability to diagnose causes from their effects. This is not always easy; the patient's own description of the circumstances which have brought about his difficulties may be quite misleading. If the sufferer is himself a metaphysician, he is likely to have an elaborate explanation of his ailments based upon things he has been taught, or from suggestions made by fellow students. The practitioner has to remember that to the mystically minded all disease takes on mystical qualities, which usually have no existence except in the imagination.

Take the case of a woman who had been studying with several oriental teachers who specialized in breathing exercises. She developed a curious type of headache, affecting the region behind the eyes, and causing great physical discomfort.
She discussed the matter with one of her instructors. He was of the opinion that the pain was due to overstimulation of the pineal gland. A friend, who thought otherwise because she was taking similar instructions, warned that the kundalini had reached the brain too suddenly, and that condition could be very serious. The unhappy sufferer then consulted a practitioner and was assured that the trouble was 'vibratory'; a long series of treatments would put things right. Several months passed with no improvement, and the woman finally was convinced that she had done permanent damage to her mind. In the despair that followed this conclusion she contemplated suicide.

Things were in this state when the woman came to me, as a last resort. She prefaced her visit with the remark that the condition was hopeless, and there was no reason to spare her feelings.

A few minutes conversation cleared up many important details. It is valuable for the healer to know the esoteric exercises taught by various groups, and individual teachers, for the moment the names of the instructors were made known to me, it was possible to dismiss the pineal gland theory without further discussion. Although these 'masters' had a wide reputation for their spiritual powers, out of personal knowledge I was sure that none of them had the ability to bestow development exercises that would produce results, good or bad. The only soul growth that these teachers could confer was out of sad experience, with its maturing effect on consciousness.

Getting rid of this stumbling block of metaphysical implication, the way was cleared for a reasonable consideration of the facts. The pain was no illusion, even if the esoteric exercises were. What was it that had caused the vital ether to densify in the frontal part of the brain area? It was not black magic, nor was it the kundalini, nor again, over-hastened soul growth -- it was plain old fashioned eye strain.

This eager disciple of life's mysteries spent the greater part of her time reading and re-reading the literature of her favorite subject. She read many hours in bed, by a poor light, and unwisely had given up most of her social contacts, cutting off the diversion that might have given her tired eyes a rest. A well-fitted pair of glasses and moderation in reading brought immediate relief. The lady is now in the best of health, and has discontinued the foolish lessons and taken up a more substantial type of teachings.

It is rare to find an instance of real disaster resulting from wrong development exercises, for there are very few teachers who actually know enough occult physiology to teach anything dangerous. But there are a large number of cases in which fear and imagination have resulted in serious nervous disorders in persons who believe they have opened centers of consciousness which they cannot control.
Site Admin
Posts: 22407
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Healing: The Divine Art, by Manly Palmer Hall

Postby admin » Mon May 14, 2018 11:21 pm


Organ of Spiritual Sight

Medical gland specialists are in general agreement that the true purpose of the pineal gland in the life of the human being is unknown, and they doubt whether the gland is active in the normal adult.

These conclusions are not in agreement with the results of clairvoyant investigations, which indicate that the pineal gland is active throughout life, and is the positive organ of spiritual sight within the human body.

A global haze of blue-green luminosity marks the gland's magnetic field. The axis of the field is inclined and the whole resembles a miniature solar system. The mental field of the pineal gland in form resembles a spherical glass bottle, and seems to rest on the surface of semi-liquid mist. An antibody revolves about the gland in an ecliptic [sic]




THE pineal gland is a small body located approximately in the center of the brain. It is the governor and regulator of the entire endocrine system. The endocrines are the glands whose secretions pass directly into the blood or lymph. Considered clairvoyantly, the various ductless glands of the body are dependent for their balanced function upon the pineal gland.

The pineal body is a fibrous structure, composed of material similar to the filaments of the optic nerve. The gland is connected intimately with the phenomenon of sight, and deterioration of the gland frequently is accompanied by impairment of the vision.

In the normal and healthy adult, the pineal gland contains a number of small granules or crystals. While the exact function of these granules is unknown to science, usually they are absent or greatly reduced in number and size in cases of congenital idiocy and imbecility.

For the most part, efforts to examine and study the physiological function of the pineal gland by physical means have been unsatisfactory. Endocrine therapy now is a recognized and valuable part of the science of medicine, with the other bodies of the gland chain having certain definite and clearly defined duties to perform which are understood at least in principle.

The exceptional nature of the pineal gland has become more apparent as knowledge of the other glandular bodies has increased. Technic for the diagnosis of pineal imbalance is as yet quite imperfect, and the methods of treatment are wholly inadequate. The usual procedure to date has been to attempt to normalize the function of this gland by conditioning the other glandular bodies. No satisfactory method for direct treatment has as yet been standardized.

Questioning several prominent endocrinologists as to the latest scientific information concerning the pineal gland, they have agreed in substance that its true purpose in the life of the human being is unknown; and they also expressed considerable doubt as to whether the gland is active in the normal adult. The pineal gland appears to reach its maximum activity at approximately the twelfth year of human growth. After this time a retrogressive process starts and the gland function decreases until its effect becomes negligible.

This may be true of the pineal gland as a physical structure, but these conclusions are not in agreement with the results of clairvoyant investigation. Nearly all of the independent operators who have examined the gland with the aid of extra-sensory perception agree on one point -- the pineal gland is active throughout life, and, under certain conditions, its activity may increase to a marked degree.


I have given a general summary of occult and modern thought and opinion concerning the pineal gland in chapter sixteen of another book, MAN: The Grand Symbol of the Mysteries, with numerous quotations sustaining the contentions of clairvoyant observers that the pineal gland is the positive organ of spiritual sight within the human body.

I shall not now enter into the existing scientific controversy as to the physical importance of the pineal gland. My purpose in these pages is to point out certain metaphysical activities which I have observed in the aura or magnetic field of the gland, in research that has been carried on over a period of approximately twenty years. During this time the opportunities have been many to examine a considerable number of persons in whom the activity of this gland presented unusual features. I hold to the hope, and there is every reason to believe, that in time material science and the occult sciences will unite their findings and recognize the necessity of supplementing each other in research problems of this kind.

Seen clairvoyantly, the pineal gland is located near the center of a magnetic field or aura varying from twelve to sixteen inches in diameter. This aura has no exact or definite boundaries, nor are its radiations entirely uniform. Rather, it appears as a pulsing, flickering field of energy which becomes intensified under stimulation or irritation, and fades to an almost imperceptible condition as the result of extreme mental or vital exhaustion.

Regarding the term aura, all living organisms continually are exuding an insensible perspiration. These subtle emanations are actual extensions of etheric nerve force beyond the terminal circumference of the physical nervous system. The aura, or physical magnetic field, therefore, is an emanation from the nerve terminals which surrounds the body with a dim but discernible radiance.

These auric emanations flow from the nerve terminals with an appearance resembling fine fur. When intensely magnified, each separate emanation is visible as a stream of minute geometrically shaped particles pouring with great velocity from the skin's surface.

Not only is the human body itself surrounded by a field of these emanations, but each part of the body -- organs, systems, and secretions -- have their own emanations or auras. Even the separate cells, molecules, atoms, and electrons are seen clairvoyantly as centers of fields of magnetic emanations.

The colors, the extent, and the rates of vibration of these magnetic fields reveal the intrinsic natures of the structures from which they proceed. No important change can take place within the structure of any living organism without modifying its aura.


The late Dr. Kilner developed a technique for rendering certain parts of the human magnetic field visible to non-clairvoyant vision. With the aid of dicyanin screens he was able to cause a temporary change in the human optical processes which enabled the average person to see the lower or least attenuated parts of the human aura. Intensive research carried on with these screens resulted in the development of a technique for the diagnosis of human diseases through the study of the patterns and modifications visible in the auric emanations. For details of his methods, consult his text, The Human Atmosphere.

The aura of the pineal gland is one of the principal systems of emanations visible in the composite structure of the human being. In brilliance and size it is second only to the aura of the heart, which is the largest and most completely organized magnetic field in the human body. The heart's aura is of sufficient diameter to include within its area all the vital organs of the physical body. The area of the pineal aura is sufficient to include within its radius all of the vital organs of the brain.

The energy and power of the aura of the pineal gland is derived from the aura of the heart, which also is the source for the auric field of the reproductive system. These three intimately associated electromagnetic fields sustain the bodily economy, and explain the balance of function everywhere apparent in the life of man.

Clairvoyance is the term properly applied to that form of extra-sensory perception by which the faculty of sight is extended, or increased, or supplemented to include the power to observe superphysical phenomena. The power of visual awareness is under the control of the will of the trained clairvoyant, and may be shifted from one plane or focus to another. As the focus changes, various phases of one problem may be analyzed separately.

A number of different vibratory qualities must be analyzed and differentiated in the case of the present research. To make this possible, the clairvoyant visual focus must change with each phase of the problem. In other words, each part of the phenomenon must be examined and described in terms of its own plane, or in the vibratory level upon which the phenomenon occurs. If the focus is not changed, only a part of the sequence of force activity can be examined.

Omitting to do this accounts, in part at least, for the diversity of testimonies which have accumulated in clairvoyant investigation of nature's unseen forces. Those who have seen only in part can describe only in part. Had the various investigators adjusted their attention to the different levels of the invisible planes, each would have become aware of different and apparently disconnected parts of the processes which are taking place. A synthesis, by which all the processes are observed in proper relationship to each other, demands a methodical, systematic adjustment of the clairvoyant vision to each of the special divisions of vibratory rates which constitute the complex process of function.

The human aura is divisible into ten principal levels or planes, and it is necessary to focus the clairvoyant attention upon each of these levels in its proper ascending order of vibratory refinement.
Only by such a complete examination will the metaphysical causes behind physical activity be discovered and properly classified.


Diseases of the pineal gland may be divided into two classifications:

1. Unbalance as the result of injury or disorder affecting any single gland or group of glands of the endocrine chain. Under such conditions the pineal shows a rapid loss of tone. If one of the lower glands is disturbed or depressed, it throws its load upon another gland. For example: affections of the thyroid may result in a stimulation of the parathyroids, which take up the work of the diseased gland and attempt to preserve bodily harmony. The pineal is the only gland in the ductless chain which cannot shift its load. It is, therefore, less frequently disordered than the other glands, but when once affected it is more difficult to cure.

2. The pineal gland may be disturbed through reflex action from the mind. Destructive thoughts with their interrelated emotional states can result in physiological changes in the organic structure and function of the pineal gland. The gland, once disordered in this way, has a tendency to throw out the functions of the other glands, especially those connected with the processes of reproduction.

Serious diseases of the pineal usually involve the rational powers. The disturbance may not be accompanied by any serious pain, but it is particularly observable in the eyes; the pupils may contract and there is a tendency to stare without focusing. Some hallucinations of an optical nature may be experienced, and the imagination becomes distorted. Lesser disturbances are associated with fatigue, lack of coordination and continuity of thought, supersensitivity, loss of appetite, nausea, lowered circulation. In all cases where morbid psychology exists apart from morbid pathology, derangements of the pineal may be suspected. Insomnia is often present, and occasionally a sense of pressure directly under the crown of the head. Chemical analysis of the blood will often show a deficiency of calcium.

Except for a limited study of the pineal gland from a pathological standpoint, very little actual information about this mysterious organ is available. Some clairvoyant research has been carried on, but for the most part the observations are merely restatements of occult traditions which identify the gland as the "third eye" referred to in ancient religious symbolism. Observations of the activity of this gland in certain reptiles prove that it is a rudimentary eye which retired into the brain after the development of the present optic system. The composition of the gland itself sustains these findings, and indicates that it might still be sensitive to light.


H. P. Blavatsky, in the E. S. Papers, and certain commentaries by her original students and disciples, have indicated a possible course of study which may lead to a more complete knowledge of the true structure and purpose of the pineal gland at this stage of human evolution.

When first examined, the pineal gland's magnetic field glows as an electrical haze of bluish-green luminosity, brilliant at its circumference and almost invisible in those parts closest to the gland itself. In the almost spherical field the gland appears, under some conditions, as if in the midst of a hollow globe with a bubble-like wall.

The gland is not in the exact center of the globe; when seen clairvoyantly, it is up about one-third of the distance from the lower extremity of the field. Thus observed, the gland itself resembles a minute four-pointed star of extreme brilliance. Further examination shows that in the small granules is .the source of the star-like light; they glow, not with an inherent energy, but as though fluorescent.

A further examination of the magnetic field of the gland shows that this field is stratified. There are ten concentric circles, each dimly but clearly demarked. Each of these circles or rings is in the orbit of small but brilliant points of light. The entire gland with its magnetic field thus resembles a miniature solar system, which is in constant motion around the structure of the gland itself.

The axis of the gland's magnetic field is so inclined that its upper extremity passes through the skull close to the two small foramina near the crown of the head. These correspond to what the Hindus call the Brahma-randhra, or gate of Brahma. According to the Hindus, life, departing from the body at death, leaves through these foramina. They are connected to the brain by very direct nerve filaments, which are burned out or destroyed by the departure of the life-principle; and it is this which makes it impossible to resuscitate a person once actually dead.

The motion of the small points of light within their orbits in the magnetic field of the pineal gland is proportioned mathematically to the sideral motion of the celestial solar system: It appears (but this will require confirmation) that the annual motion of the solar bodies is accomplished diurnally in the smaller glandular orbits -- a day with man being equal to a year in the solar system.

The small orbital points of light of the gland are the positive poles of the complete human endocrine system. Each of the bodily glands of the chain, extending from the pituitary body to the testicular bodies, has its causal nature in the pineal aura. Derangement, disease, irritation, or atrophy of any of the other glands is visible immediately as a modification of its corresponding energy center in the pineal system.

The seven principal organs of the brain itself are physical extensions of these glandular vortices. (See E. S. Instruction.) All physical organs are physical extensions of invisible energy centers throughout the physical body. The brain is the Mercavah, or chariot, (Sanscrit: vahan) of the pineal gland; and the ten smaller vortices in the aura of the gland are the horses attached to the chariot of the Sun, the racing steeds described by St. Chrysostom.

Further inquiry reveals that the magnetic field of the pineal body not only has its pole inclined to correspond with the earth's pole, but it also has a hypothetical equator. And, in conformity with ancient symbolism, the entire magnetic field is enclosed within an empyrean or heavenly wall composed of thirty-six constellational surfaces, corresponding to the principal constellations of the zodiacal and extra-zodiacal orders.

This arrangement need not be regarded as hopelessly complex or involved. While adequate description is exceedingly difficult, the arrangement itself, when conceived as a whole, is orderly, simple; and it is in perfect conformity with the analogical processes everywhere evident in nature.

The gland and its auras constitute a microcosm. The cabalists perfectly symbolized the mystery in their Sephirothic tree. The first and highest part of this tree they called Kether; it corresponds to the pineal gland. Chochmah, and Binah, the second and third spheres, correspond to the right and left lobes of the cerebrum. In the cabatistic writings it is stated that the ten parts of the Sepherothic tree represent the ten parts of the human body, but that all of these parts exist primarily within Kether itself. Thus the whole tree is within the Crown (Kether) in principia. Likewise, the whole body and the whole life of man is within the magnetic field of the pineal gland, the light radiating from which is the Crown.


The implications of this ancient esoteric science are m· evitable:

(a) The universe is an extension of powers that remain eternally in the nature of Deity.

(b) Man is an extension of powers resident eternally in his own spiritual source.

(c) And the body of man is the extension of powers resident temporally within the aura of the pineal gland.

Although the aura is divided into ten parts, only the lower four of these parts are concerned with the maintenance of the physical bodily economy. The lower four parts of the aura of the pineal gland are involved in the distribution of the four ethers described in the previous chapter. The remaining six parts of the magnetic field have comparatively little to do with man's external life. Their function is noumenal rather than phenomenal.

The ten states of the magnetic field are roughly divisible into two groups of five each, which may be termed the higher and the lower. The five lower are related directly to sensory perception, and the five higher to the mind-octaves of these perceptions; or to the five perceiving powers for which the perceptions themselves are the media.

In the various orders of life, visible and invisible, the position of the gland itself in relationship to its magnetic field varies, regulated by the focusing power peculiar to each of the kingdoms of the animal creation. Among animals, the gland is farther from the center of its magnetic field than in the human.


Each of the ten fields or orbits of the gland may be isolated for separate consideration. This chapter will consider only the fourth field, the one which controls the mental life of the human being. It is typical of the five orbits which make up the southern hemisphere of the magnetic sphere. Those composing the northern hemisphere must be approached through an entirely different system of analysis.

Separated from the rest of the aura, the fourth field appears keyed dominantly to the color green. The reaction, however, is not as much to the shades of green familiar to us, as to a kind of green that is sensed in the substance of light. We are aware that it is green, but we could not hope to find a color or shade of color by which this green could be reproduced in pigment. This green glow is divided within its own field, in divisions that are extremely attenuated and defy complete analysis.

This green field is the present focus for the pineal gland itself. The gland is located slightly below the center, and appears to be floating on the surface of a somewhat denser color which occupies the lower two-fifths of the field.

In form, the mental field of the pineal gland resembles a spherical glass bottle, the lower two fifths of which appears as though filled with a semi-liquid mist; in the upper part, the material is of almost the same color but entirely gaseous.

It is on the surface of the lower semi-liquid mist that the structure of the gland itself seems to rest. Its radiance is more brilliant upward than downward, and it moves slightly as though carried on the surface of a slight tidal motion. It is known that the pineal gland is so constructed and so attached to the inner surface of the brain that it is capable of independent motion. It appears that this motion is not entirely intrinsic; or, possibly more correctly, inherent; but at least part of the motion is communicated to it as to a ship floating on the surface of water.

A short distance from the gland itself is a smaller brilliant antibody which for lack of a better term we shall call a mental vortex. Revolving about the gland in an ecliptic it causes periodic descent into the denser substances in the lower part of the magnetic field. This vortex makes a complete revolution about the central gland in approximately twenty-four hours. About one-third of this time is required for its passage through the lower part of the sphere, when the antibody is somewhat dimmed. This phenomenon may prove to be part of the explanation as to the nature of sleep. The effect of rearranging sleep hours so as to break the normal rhythm of this motion will require special research, for it has been observed that in some persons and at some times, the revolutional motion of this antibody appears to be more rapid.

The antibody itself is an important structure of mentoids or mental atoms. It has its own polarity and a rotational motion accompanied by constant emanation. This causes the structure to appear like a tiny spiral nebula. Disturbances of the brain, the optic thalamus, and the anterior lobe of the pituitary body cause disturbances within the structure of this pineal antibody.


In the metaphysics of the classical Greeks, the superphysical nature of man is divided into nine parts arranged in the form of three triads. To these is added the physical body, which completes the decad consisting of nine numbers and the cipher -- the Pythagorean tetractys.

Man was exoterically seven; esoterically, ten.

Each of the triads was said to be posited in a sphere.

The first triad abode in the Supreme Sphere, and consisted of Being, Life, and Light, which together comprise spirit.

The second triad abode in the middle sphere, denominated by the Greeks the Superior World. This was the triad of motion. Its parts were: the Unmoved, the Self-moving, and the Moved, referred to collectively as the "gods," and considered as the zonic and azonic hierarchies -- that is, those powers which abide in place, and those which abide distinct from place.

The third triad, which abode in the Inferior Sphere, was termed formative. It consisted of the principles of generation designated as creative, preservative, and disintegrative. Collectively they comprised the supermundane divinities, of which order the Greeks declared Zeus to be the chief. The equivalent of Zeus in the human system is the ego, or the complex of self from which personalities are suspended as flowers from a parent stem. The supermundane principles through their extension outward into the tenth sphere, which is matter, produce form, which is organized matter. Of. forms, the human body is the most important to man.

Personality is the complex arising from the relationship existing between the supermundane ego and the chain of bodies which it has precipitated. The ego itself, located in the midst of the magnetic field of the physical body, appears in juxtaposition to the physical heart and controls the entire body by impinging its power on the subtle fi1aments of the Bundle of His. The positive pole of the ego, its radiant principle, impinges itself upon the granules in the pineal gland and the adjacent sensitive nerve areas, which become fluorescent as a result.

The negative pole operates through the sacro-coccygeal ganglia and the principal internal organs of the generative system. The ego itself has no direct effect upon the physical body except that which it produces in the heart. Its other manifestations are achieved by the polarities which it sustains.

The pineal gland, therefore, occupying the middle position in the egoic triad is linked to the noumenal and the phenomenal personalities, by the etheric binders. It is not merely a third eye in the body; it is the eye of the overself, the focussing point between two conditions of form, the invisible archetypal form, and the visible corporeal body. As this focus is located in the vibration of the mental nature, it may be said to grow in the neutral etheric zone between mind and brain.

The most sensitive parts of the physical brain, dilated by the presence of an almost intangible gas, are so refined that their ethers mingle with the lowest and most nearly physical dements of the higher nature itself. While they mingle they never actually coalesce, because the two sets of rays move in different directions; but the impingement is so close and so nearly perfect that a neutral zone is created. This neutral zone corresponds with the middle part of the vibratory register of the magnetic field of the fourth orbit of the pineal gland.

Impulses from the mind must pass through this focus as through a lens before they can be distributed by the brain as nerve impulses. In the same way. all sensory impulses collected from the periphery of the nerve system must return through this lens before they can be incorporated into the mental nature itself.


How, then, shall we define the mind? Pragmatically, it is the cause of those mentational processes which we call thought. It includes inspiration, reflection, imagination, analysis, comparison, and memory. It must be accepted also as the source of mental experience, containing not only the evidence accumulated by the senses from the experiences of objective life, but the residual matter of previous lives -- all that can be implied by karmic memory.

Mind is to brain as the brain is to the body; it is the source and superior part of itself. It is as though man extended beyond the boundaries of his physical body into a more subtle state, of which the physical body is merely the grosser, visible part.

Individual mind partakes of universal mind, of which it is a specialized area, in the same way that the physical body partakes of physical nature, of whose elements it is composed. Brain is an extension downward of mind into matter, in the same way that the spinal cord is an extension of the brain down into the body. The difficulty of analogy arises because mind, though a form and having dimensions, is beyond the limitations of our visual power. It is mysterious to us, not because there is any actual mystery about it, but just because we cannot see it.

Therefore, if mind has the brain as its pole in the body, and is connected with the brain through certain etheric magnetic areas, the entire procedure is brought within the limits of our comprehension.

The scientific objection to the idea of the existence of mind independent of brain is easily met by the philosophically inclined:

So long as brain must serve as a condenser and distributor of mental impulses which cannot become tangible except through some sensitive magnetized field, it is quite obvious that the removal of that field, or its absence, will result in the failure of mental manifestation. The entire brain as we know it, or even brain organization as we understand it, is not essential to mental existence. But the presence of the magnetic field is essential.

Simple monocellular organisms in which no individual brain has been organized are capable of manifesting rudimentary forms of intelligence. This is because in these monocellular structures brain exists in abscondite -- that is, in principle. The entire cell contains brain potentials not yet localized; the magnetic field pervades the entire cell, but its manifestations are rudimentary because there is not sufficient nerve organization to coordinate or rationalize the nerve impulses. In this way all form partakes of mind.

Modern psychology, breaking away from the greater field of philosophy of which it is essentially a part, seeks to classify and organize that which is known and that which is knowable concerning the function of mind and its reactions upon the nervous and emotional systems. This art, though in its comparative infancy, is making rapid strides toward the comprehension of its purpose. But psychology can not be regarded as a complete science or a perfected art until its foundations are thoroughly laid in a working knowledge of man's superphysical mental life. This knowledge can be gained only when scientific research is complemented by and coordinated with an intensive examination of the mind itself by properly trained clairvoyants.

The majority of modern psychological systems recognize a natural division of the mind into three parts. Popular terminology refers to these as the superconscious, the conscious, and the subconscious mind. These minds are a hypothetical division within the pure substance of the mind itself, whose parts constantly are interrelated in their activities. The psychological divisions are consistent with the findings of occult research. They are merely new names given to old truths.


The superconscious and conscious parts of the mind are not likely to be serious factors in health, as their processes are more or less obvious. But the subconscious mind is a constant hazard to those who permit it to accumulate negative and destructive memory patterns. The subtle power of the subconscious is due largely to those who suffer most from its machinations having no idea of the source of their difficulties. It is my sincere conviction after years of study and observation, that a large part of so-called psychical phenomena is no more than psychological phenomena, associated with sinister patterns in the subconscious mind.

The subconscious sphere of mental phenomena might be defined as the haunted house of the mind. It is here, in the dark and musty realm of memories, already forgotten in the conscious life, that the ghosts of old thoughts and experiences walk the gloomy galleries of the mind, as the shade of Hamlet's father wandered about the battlements of Elsinore. We all have a ghost life locked somewhere within us; and all too frequently these shadows from the misty deep rattle their chains, and babble their insensate words into the ears of our conscious selves, causing all manner of disaster. It is important for each person that he should know about this individual family closet where the skeletons are kept, hidden sources of shame or grief that from year to year haunt the present with the faults of the past.

Some of the medieval writers recognized three great centers in the brain, corresponding to the three worlds of the Christian Mysteries -- Heaven, Earth, and Hell. Hell was assigned to the ventricle of memory. This may be conformed to the modern concept of the subconscious mind as indeed a kind of personal purgatory, with tormenting sprites and mocking demons abiding amidst the murky flames of unsatisfied desires. It is here that old hates and grievances rise to obscure the light of hope and future promise -- in a madman's world, seething with endless conflict, and poisoning unborn tomorrow with the noxious vapors of dead yesterdays.

Habits, attitudes, convictions, and opinions gather here like bats in a dark cave; from here to flutter out at night to plague dreams with their melancholy symbolism, to render painful the long sleepless hours with the fantastic shadows they cast upon thoughts. By the strange workings of the subconscious, fancies become facts, fears are magnified to horrible proportions, and doubts take on the attributes of despair. Nothing is left untouched by the weird forces at work in this subjective sphere, where strong men, once dominated by this ghost world of illusions, can degenerate into hopeless cowards.

From out of the subconscious, streams of negation are forever flowing. By an analogy to music, we may say that the conscious mind is a natural tone, the superconscious mind is the sharp of that tone, and the subconscious mind is the flat. Memory is mostly in the minor, and like primitive music, has a sadness about it, a wailing note of frustration and pain. While the subconscious may be the repository of many good and necessary harmonies, it is much more likely to be recognized for .its emission of tones negative and mournful.

Visions may be visualized memories, obsessions may be domination by ghosts from the subconscious, voices that sound in the air may come from the mind itself -- and not from the spirit land. Even automatic writing may be impelled by fixations that seem to live and have independent existence in the deep parts of the subconscious. Here, thoughts are things; every impulse has taken form and been given power by frequent repetition. When a heavily loaded subconscious bursts forth into the conscious mind, as it will do finally, if the condition is not corrected, life and health are at hazard.

The best method of treating fixations is to break them up before they have time to become deeply entrenched in the consciousness. Grudges held, regardless of the justification, destroy the holder, and not the opponent. No habits should be allowed to take possession of a life so firmly that they cannot be broken by a simple application of the will. It is to be remembered that men do not have habits, habits have the men. The past should not be permitted to over-shade the present 'effort, nor old sorrows be allowed to breed in the mind the pleasant pain of martyrdom. Wrong thinking is its own reward -- and that reward is misery.

If it is too late for preventative therapy, then it is necessary to resort to other means. The old patterns must be broken up by an intelligent application of the will. Psychoanalysis helps, but the process is long and expensive.

It has been my observation that one of the most terrible aspects of subconscious impulse is an accompanying deadly seriousness. Those most afflicted will fight with all their strength to justify their misfortunes and rationalize the worst of what they believe. In such cases a sense of humor comes like the shining ray of St. Michael's flaming sword, which overcame the Prince of Darkness and his legion of unhappy spirits.

The man able to laugh at his own mistakes, who can toss aside with a smile the bitter things that have burdened his soul, can do much to unseat the phantoms that are riding on his thoughts. Never must there be bitterness in the laugh, but the sure realization that man is the master of his destiny, and it is in his power to lift the load of his despondencies by seeing through them, understanding them, and cheerfully accepting the lessons they have to teach.


If three distinguishable mental currents are flowing downward from mind into brain, and from brain through body, it is also true that three distinct states of reflexes are flowing back through nerve into brain, and through brain into mind. Mental impulses set up glandular reflexes, and the entire glandular system is involved in human thinking.

Conversely, glandular impulses, interpreted first biochemically and then psycho-chemically, affect the mind and the mental attitudes by conditioning sensory and emotional reflexes. Thus a vicious circle is set up, and we become aware of the absolute interdependence upon each other of all the manifestations of life.

One school of endocrinology declares that disposition is a matter of glands. It would be just as fair to say that glands are a matter of disposition. Harmony in the mind results in the increasing health of the body; and harmony in the body improves the disposition of the mind.

The whole purpose of man's mental evolution is to bring the mind and body into perfect coordination. If the exigencies of the life render this impossible at any given time, then the mind, as the superior part, should receive the greatest emphasis. It is possible for the mind to excel the body because of its natural and inherent excellence; but it never is possible for the body to excel the mind in a normal personality pattern, because of its utter dependency upon the superior part. Excellence of the human body should not be regarded as merely its physical health, but is to be measured in terms of degrees of refinement and sensitivity to mental impulses.

The dispositional equation is the result of the complex of mind working through brain. The brain stores up in its own auric field the experiences of the senses and its reactions thereto. This material is absorbed mentally by the mind and transmuted into experience. Thus, in a sense, the brain is a sort of stomach which receives into itself certain foods, but the digestion of these foods and the assimilation of their energy elements is reserved for the processes of mental alchemy. The undigested parts of experience also affect the bodily economy. These impulses are associated with the secretion of pituitrin by the pituitary body; the flow of this secretion differs with each individual, and its psychic load depends upon the undigested mental material which still is in the brain.

Personality may be symbolized by an upright triangle with its base firmly established upon the physical reflexes and its apex ascending to the sphere of mind. Mind itself may be likened to an inverted pyramid, with its base rooted firmly in the substance of mind and its apex flowing downward to interlace with the upper part of the pyramid of brain. This symbolism was used by the medieval Rosicrucians to explain the mystery of thought.


The eternal conflict between thought and impulse thus becomes explainable. It is a struggle between a superior and an inferior power for dominion over mental phenomena. The struggle apparently is rendered equal, because the brain, though far less in power than the mind, is closer to the body and more imminently understandable. For this reason the ancients symbolized the brain by the moon and the mind by the sun. Leonardo da Vinci went so far as to declare that the moon gave tides to the fluids in the brain. In this he expressed an opinion current during his time.

The neutral zone at the point of overlap between the magnetic fields of the brain and the mind is entirely qualitative, and may only be recognized with the aid of clairvoyant perception. We shall refer to this neutral zone as a lens, because it is a transmitter of mental light; this the old philosophers referred to as the "light of the soul," or "the light of reason," the mysterious light that "Lighteth every man that cometh into the world." It is the sidereal light of the microcosm, according to Paracelsus and the Cabalists.

Certain reflexes are transmitted to the brain by the crystalline lens of the eye; but it is the magnetic lens that is the medium for the distribution of noumenal and phenomenal impulses. As defects in the crystalline lens of the eye result in the distortion of the vision, so defects in the magnetic lens result in aberrations of mental activity. Such astigmatism of the magnetic lens is the basis for many abnormal psychological states.

As the magnetic lens exists by virtue of the blending of two magnetic fields, its clarity requires an exact adjustment and blending; every mood of the individual affects these, and every mental and emotional reaction.

The mind, as the source of reason in man, flows downward into manifestation through this lens. Pure thought always is qualified or conditioned by the state of the lens. Passing through the lens, thought distorted by any fault that may exist in the lens itself, is reflected upon the sensitive centers of the nervous system.

The testimony of the senses coordinated in the magnetic field of the brain is reflected upward or inward through the same lens; and the reflection thus cast upon the attenuated surface of the mind itself is likewise distorted according to the imperfections of the lens. Thus the lens itself determines by its quality the accuracy of the impulses which pass through it.

The lens may be variously impaired. If the two magnetic fields can not blend at least in part, the result is idiocy. If the blending is but partly accomplished, we have the subnormal and the moron. Under such conditions. no reasonable images are reflected either upward or downward. and only mental confusion and opacity remain.

Let us consider how the magnetic field of the brain may be affected.


Every thought arising in the personality complex assumes geometrical form in the brain's aura. This has long been established by clairvoyant research and the findings of trained psychics.

These patterns set up in the magnetic field of the brain have been called thought-forms, forms that consist of a color, a number, a sound, and a form. They are precipitated with the same regularity and complexity of design that we see in snowflakes, and in such geometrically formed creatures as radiolaria. The repetition of any special series of thoughts intensifies these thought-forms. The result is that they are constantly appearing and disappearing within the magnetic field, some persisting and others rapidly fading out.

When these thought-forms represent sudden moods or transient opinions, they blaze out brightly with various colors and emit a subtle sound. When they represent established convictions, they grow steadily; their intensity is augmented by the fixation of the will.

Thus a man attending a concert and affected by the music will interpret these impulses by a mood which is visible clairvoyantly as luminous radiations or waves in the magnetic field. When the concert is over and the mind returns to its normal preoccupations, these waves fade out and other patterns take their place.

But an intense hatred will continue as a constant pattern, and may build in intensity over a period of years. Such an intense pattern may ultimately dominate and so completely impregnate the entire magnetic field that it will affect all other thought-forms that may arise there.

What the metaphysician terms thought-forms, the psychologist calls fixations, complexes, phobias, and neuroses. The stronger patterns by their vibratory rates produce subtle but permanent changes in the entire substance of the brain's magnetic field. The result will be distortion in the blending of the brain's magnetic aura with the magnetic field of the mind; and in extreme cases even a complete rupture of the two fields may occur. Under such conditions the individual loses his reason as the result of destructive fixations.

In many cases, the blending of the two magnetic fields is impaired rather than destroyed, and various degrees of mental abnormalcy are apparent. Nature, eternally striving after balance and normalcy, has devised auto-corrective processes to break down strong fixations in the magnetic field of the brain. Thought-forms may be combatted or neutralized by opposing thought-forms, upon the basis that two rates of vibration may neutralize each other. Also, thoughts or emotions of extraordinary intensity may cause such disturbance within the magnetic field of the brain that they will burn out entire areas of complexes and fixations. Observation of the brain's magnetic field during moments of ecstasy or great emotional exhilaration gives the key to various systems of mental therapy.

The mind itself also affects its own magnetic field, but usually the effects are less obvious than those set up in the brain. The mind, less subject to transitory moods than the brain, docs not create thought-forms. Rather, the entire magnetic field of the mind changes gradually, usually from the circumference toward the center. The modifications appear first as color changes in the outer fringe of the field, the hues moving gradually toward the center until the entire field changes color. Within one color, as we can perceive it, there are innumerable shades, because the mind is constantly modifying the color values. In many cases, however, there appears to be a general tone peculiar to the mind and relatively permanent, and the changes are modifications of this tone.

The lens composed of the overlapping of the two magnetic fields is thus in constant motion within itself. Even in the state of physical sleep this motion continues, although the colors and forms are somewhat dim.

An elaborate series of personality complexes may cause a frost-like appearance to arise in the lens. The personality patterns, like the frost pictures on a windowpane, have shape and definition, but in addition they have an element of life in them that is not apparent in frost pictures. Mental energy passing downward through the lens reflects these thought patterns into the nervous system, where they become the source of innumerable dispositional complexes. The sensory perceptions sending their energy upward through the lens into the mind similarly cause the reflection of the lens patterns to be thrown upon the surface of the mind like stereopticon pictures upon a screen. In this way the testimony of the senses is conditioned by the attitudes of the brain, and the rational impulses of the mind are modified and distorted by these same patterns. The composite consequence is general distortion of the testimony of both the brain and the mind, and results in the personality complex which we have long accepted as intrinsic to man's thinking processes.

If the lens becomes too heavily obscured by the patterns, the amount of true light that can pass in either direction is correspondingly limited. Thus a man may experience without benefiting by experience. Or he may have visions of a highly worthy type which he is unable to interpret into action. As long as this confusion exists, he may be said to "see through a glass darkly."

It is the desirable end to which all reasonable human beings aspire, that they may perceive clearly and understand that which they perceive. To accomplish these purposes, the lens must be kept clean. If it is already obscured, it must be properly cleansed. If this is accomplished, the result is clarity and constancy.

To accomplish this clarity, the body must supply sufficient magnetic energy to sustain the brain's magnetic field. The emotions and the thoughts must be without any serious complexes, and the will must be directed toward the breaking up of such patterns as arise through wrong reaction to the experiences of life.

This may be termed psychological conditioning. It may be either preventive or corrective. Preventive conditioning preserves existing normalcy, and corrective conditioning has as its object the breaking down of existing complexes and fixations. At the same time, the mind itself must be strengthened. This is accomplished by the stimulation of the rational faculties through study, reflection, and meditation, under a formularized technique. The directing of the imagination and the rendering orderly of all mental impulses was the purpose of the ancient philosophical education, as contrasted to modern educational theories.

The entire problem of thought is reduced to vibration which is affected by every attitude, thought, and emotion which we express.
Site Admin
Posts: 22407
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am


Return to Ancien Regime

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest