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.

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

Postby admin » Mon May 14, 2018 11:49 pm


The point of view and the beliefs of individuals are changing constantly, and a point of view is a location in matter or mind from which we view some external object or opinion.

As we gain new information about the object of our attention our point of view is shifted, and the appearance of the object itself is altered.

If a number of the mental faculties concentrate upon an object, the mental beams meet and form a powerful focus. The will power of attention is the will to perceive, and consciousness is in the midst of the converging rays of the attention faculties, and where the point of attention is at a given moment, the self is there.

The focus of attention is in constant motion, either in the physical nature or in the emotional nature or in the mental nature; and where it remains the greater part of the time is the key to an individual's dominant temperament




VERY few Occidentals have studied Buddhistic bio-physics. This is because Buddhism is a religion to most Westerners, with little consideration given to the philosophical and scientific aspects of the doctrine. Yet Buddhism is one of the few great systems of spiritual culture that in no way conflicts with the growing knowledge encompassed by the broad boundaries of physics, biology, and astronomy. We should not permit ourselves the error of supposing that ancient India was without knowledge of the physical sciences. Asia is the unsuspected source of much valuable scientific information now in general circulation, usually attributed to the Greeks or Egyptians.

Buddhism has a significant teaching about the nature of the ego, or self. In the Eastern system, the word sattva stands for the center of conscious awareness, the point of "I" or "I-am-ness." To the older Buddhists, the sattva was not a permanent ens, or being, but a complex of attention. This could shift from one part of the body to another, or change its quality or condition to a different one by the impulse of the will. The sattva is forever in motion, its physical motion is according to place, and its spiritual motion is according to state.

While all this sounds hopelessly abstract, it requires only a little thought to realize the practical implications of the idea. The consciousness of the individual is changing constantly. The beliefs that were held with fanatical devotion yesterday are not even of passing interest today, because the point of view has changed.

A point of view is a location in matter or mind from which we view some external object or opinion. Our viewpoint depends upon where we are, or what we are. The instant that either of these conditions is changed our perspective is correspondingly altered. Possibly we gain new information about the object of our attention, then in the light of .this further knowledge our point of view is shifted, and the appearance of the object itself is altered.

If our center of awareness, for any reason internal or external, moves away from a certain thing, that thing ceases to exist as a force in our lives.

Conversely, if the awareness focuses upon some factor, previously of no interest, suddenly we discover the vitality in this new object of our attention, and it becomes an important element in the pattern of our convictions.

A discovery may be either the finding of something previously hidden or unknown, or the perceiving, inwardly, of something previously unrealized. In the latter case, discovery is an adventure in attention. In our daily living we are constantly exploring distances of mental or physical dimension in search for solution to present doubts.


How shall we define the center of awareness in man? We must realize that the human being has many perceptions and faculties, each of which records a fragment of sensory experience. While these mental powers are more or less alert all of the time, there can be no clear picture of the things they record unless a number of the faculties focus upon one point and bring in a composite testimony. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle caused his hero, Sherlock Holmes, to remind Dr. Watson that he had climbed the stairs of the Baker Street flat almost every day for years, but had never been sufficiently aware of the ascent to know the number of the steps.

If a number of the mental faculties concentrate upon a given object, the mind becomes definitely aware of the reality and substance of that object. As these mental beams meet, they form a powerful focus. The sattva, flowing on the will power of attention, takes up its place in this field of intensity, and functions from it so long as the attention is centered there. Attention is the will to perceive, and consciousness always moves with the will.

Thus we come to understand the nature of the sattva, one of the deepest mysteries of Buddhist philosophy. The center of consciousness is in the midst of the converging rays of the attention faculties, and wherever the point of attention is at a given moment, the self is there.

Although the sattva is in constant motion, we may say that the point of awareness is posited in that division of the personality where it remains the greater part of the time. This positing of the sattva is the key to dominant temperament. If the focus of attention is posited in the physical nature, the individual is a materialist: If the focus is in the lower emotional nature, he is an emotionalist: If the focus is in the higher emotional nature, he is an esthete: If the focus is in the lower mental nature, he is an intellectual: If the focus is in the higher mental nature, he is a philosopher: And if the focus is in the spiritual nature, he is a mystic or an occultist.


When the center of awareness is focused upon the physical nature, we become acutely aware of the body itself, its appearance, health, and comfort, and the circumstances by which it is affected. We live, and feel, and think in terms of body, and action is motivated by physical considerations.

Among the consequences of focusing attention on the physical body are the primitive impulses toward beautification and adornment. The ancient Chinese, Hindus, and Greeks, both men and women, used cosmetics and perfumes extensively. Dynastic Egyptian ladies enameled their toenails and fingernails, and carried powder, rouge, and lipstick when they traveled. Some central African tribes still regard rancid butter as a particularly fragrant hair oil. And Rajput gentlemen who wish to be in the height of fashion, henna their beards.

The human being, always desiring to be physically attractive to others of his species, has devised a variety of ways to supplement his natural charms. Adornment began with bones, feathers, flowers, and furs. Later, crude ornaments were carved from colored stones, moulded from clay, and pounded or cast from metals. Clothing was designed originally for protection or adornment, and not for concealment. It was also used to cover bodily defects, but the motive was esthetic rather than moral. Only in the last two thousand years has dress been associated definitely with morality, with the curious result that immorality has increased generally among clothed nations. This is because the constant emphasis on the effort for concealment has centered the focus of awareness upon the moral issue.

While thoughtfulness and good taste in matters of personal appearance are indicators of refinement, a fixation in this direction may result in an exaggerated form of vanity. If the individual is aware only of appearance, he may attempt to substitute external ornamentation for internal accomplishment. When Alcibiades, who was wealthy and a fop, came before Plato in an exceptionally extravagant attire, the philosopher observed quietly, "What a pity that a leaden dagger has so fine a sheath."


The attention center may be drawn to the physical nature by pain or other bodily distress. Certain diseases, especially those ailments which affect the heart, draw the consciousness to their symptoms with an almost hypnotic power. When the physician takes the pulse of a healthy man, even this simple action, by directing awareness, often causes an increase in the rate of the heart-beat. Among sufferers from cardiac disorders there is a strong tendency to become 'pulse takers.' The fearful patient will hourly take his own pulse, and will feel that he is having a relapse every time he notices the slightest irregularity.

Another group has a symptom fixation, which degenerates rapidly into hypochondria.

Still others hold to the foolish conviction that out of pain is out of danger, and dose themselves with pain-killers.

It is well known that patients suffering from incurable ailments usually have a more sane attitude toward their condition than those whose health problems are trivial. The reason is, hopelessness frees the mind from uncertainty; the physical fixation relaxes because no cure is possible; the mind resolves to make the best use of the time remaining.

Deformities and peculiarities of physical appearance intensify body awareness, result in the inferiority complex and excessive self-consciousness. Where these can be corrected by cosmetic surgery, general improvement in the psychological pattern of living nearly always follows. If the physical condition cannot be improved, the individual can be taught that it is still possible to have a useful and successful life if he will overcome self pity and negative thinking. Aesop, the immortal writer of fables, was a slave and a hunchback; Socrates was bowlegged and pigeon-breasted; and the great poet Milton was blind. Helen Keller, both blind and dumb, has one of the most radiant personalities I have been privileged to know. Physical handicaps prevent accomplishment only when the focus of awareness is set upon them so firmly that all other considerations are denied.

Racial discrimination may cause a body fixation, by making the individual overly conscious of color or facial structure.

The athlete also is likely to become a victim of his own physical perfection, and forget that the body is the mortal vehicle of an immortal soul. A Greek Sophist once was invited to attend the public games held in Athens, that he might behold a famous local gymnast who could swim like a fish, run like a deer, and possessed the strength of a bear. The scholar declined with thanks, but added that he would be pleased to be a spectator if there was a human being among the entrants who could think like a man.


In most of the arts, sciences, and crafts, skill is necessary to proficiency. The hands, and sometimes the entire body must be trained to fulfill the impulses of the mind. What then is skill? To the popular mind, skill is technical ability developed, or acquired, by patience, perseverance, or specialized training. According to this viewpoint, the body is trained to perform certain actions much as we might train a seal for the circus.

Considered philosophically, skill is achieved by three processes: First, the consciousness must be completely informed concerning the laws and principles governing the subject under consideration. Second, the patterns of the physical effects desired, and the bodily processes necessary to accomplish them, must be visualized clearly in the mental nature. And third, the body itself must be disciplined to respond immediately to the impelling of the will.

Skill is a form of self-control, and one of the reasons why a particular technique is so difficult to acquire is, the body of the average person has never been subjected generally to the control of the will.

If the center of awareness focuses upon the bodily mechanics of an art, the result may be a serious technique fixation. In music, the cleverest technician is seldom the greatest genius, despite public opinion to the contrary. The musician who allows means to dominate end, will in spite of his virtuosity remain mediocre. In painting, drawing, and sculpturing the same is true. The most proficient draftsman may be the poorest artist, because he lacks imagination and creative power. A dancer is only a gymnast unless muscular control is directed by imagination and esthetic realization of rhythm and design.

Leonardo da Vinci's immortal painting, La Gioconda, (Mona Lisa), is priceless, but a perfect reproduction executed by a skilled copyist is worth only a few dollars. The true value of a picture lies in its spiritual content, in the vision which conceived it, in the intangible overtones which pervade it. An adequate technique is important, but certain it is that without inspiration skill is lifeless. The world's finest artists have painted bad pictures when the subject did not inspire them, and mediocre artists have produced great works under the pressure of a compelling spiritual or emotional impulse.

Art is impulse moving through the body, and its complete expression depends upon the relaxation of the physical structure. Wherever there is body awareness there will be body tension; and wherever there is body tension the flow of impulse is blocked.


The Chinese had mastered the fine arts when Europeans were still living in caves and fighting bears with stone hatchets. To the Easterner, our Western singing is "a loud noise full of holes." He does not understand how anyone can enjoy an intellectual rendition of memorized compositions, accomplished by muscular gymnastics. The 'hole' occurs when the vocalist must pause for a mighty inhalation of breath before attempting high C.

The technique of singing is typical of the artistic method. If the student of voice is fortunate enough to have an intelligent teacher, he learns that tone is formed in the mind and not in the throat. We sing with the mind, through the body. Tone flows out from the tonal center of consciousness as vibration. It is carried on the surface of the will, sustained but never forced by the will power. The vocal cords transform mental tone into physical sound. The will still controls the tone, through the physical medium of the breath. Breath does not create tone; it merely floats the tone as the physical carrier of the transformed mental impulse. Singing is a spiritual experience, and not simply a physical technique.

Remembering always that tension destroys tonal quality, the enlightened singer keeps his center of awareness away from all the physical structures involved in tone production. Should the vocalist become breath-conscious he will attempt to force tone by increasing breath. Or, attention will cause tension resulting in shortness of breath. If he thinks about .his throat, the singer will interfere with natural placement; the tone will become throaty, and the tension will cause dryness and even irritation. Mouth-consciousness will cause tension in the facial muscles, cramping tone and resulting in unpleasant grimaces and those labial contortions so noticeable with badly trained singers. The rule is: Relax and sing, contract and bellow.

A simple formula to overcome the structure and function fixations which cramp the vocal processes is to place the center of conscious awareness in the magnetic field outside of the physical body, about twelve inches in front of the mouth. As the magnetic field is an extension of the body itself, the point of attention can be posited in the aura as easily as in physical structure. In a curious extra-dimensional way, this placement of the attention center permits the complete formation of tone before it reaches the awareness. By deliberately placing thought in a specific location, the attention is focused there; and the body is left free to fulfill its own functions without conscious interruption.

Actually, this is not singing outside of the body, but rather centering the awareness far enough from the delicate mechanism of tone production that it cannot interfere with natural processes. Then to increase volume, the singer does not push tone with breath, rather he moves the center of awareness away from the body and allows tone to flow toward this point. Become aware of the man seated in the back row, says the rule, and the tone will reach him; in proper volume and without the distortion that results from forcing.

A well instructed singer never tries to sing through a throat cold; he sings over, beyond, and away from the congestion, by keeping the center of awareness outside the body. The same technique would apply if a public speaker develops laryngitis. It is possible to overcome many limitations of the body by shifting the point of awareness, with resultant relaxing of tense nerves and muscles.


Many functional ailments are the result of poor health fixations supported by symptoms real or imaginary. A number of cases are recorded of persons completely paralyzed who have recovered as the result of a sudden and dramatic compulsion. A woman confined to her wheel-chair jumped up and ran a hundred yards to save a baby who had crawled to the edge of a swimming-pool. The attention of the mother was fixed with such intensity upon the danger to her child that her own health fixation was entirely forgotten; her body obeyed without question the will to reach the imperiled infant.

The Chinese have a story, perhaps a legend, about an old scholar whose habit it was to walk by the edge of a little lake, while he meditated upon the spiritual mystery of Tao. One day, while in deep contemplation, his attention fixed on his mystical speculations, he wandered out onto the lake, walking safely upon the water. After a time, he realized suddenly his strange position and fear came to him; he promptly sank and almost drowned. The account of the disciple who walked out on the Sea of Tiberias to meet the Master, has a similar meaning. So long as he kept his attention upon Jesus he was safe, but the moment his mind returned to a self focus, he was afraid, and phenomenal power departed from him.

A man wrecked on a small uninhabited island with his new-born son came to the terrible realization that without proper nourishment the boy would die in his arms. The baby clung to him crying piteously, and so great was this father's love and desire that milk formed in his mammillary glands and he was able to nurse his son until they were rescued several weeks later. In cases like this we realize the power of consciousness over body, and how completely the physical structure can respond to the purposes of the will.

When the human center of awareness is posited in the emotional nature, feeling and desire dominate the consciousness of the individual. Fear, hate, and love are the most intense of the emotions, and if they are permitted to control thought and action, physical complications may be expected as a natural result. Feelings are the most difficult impulses to moderate, but unless their extremes are tempered by a reasonable amount of self-restraint, the health of the body certainly will be impaired.


Fear is the basic negative emotion, the source and substance of numberless painful disquietudes. Among the more common aspects of fear are dread, fright, alarm, dismay, consternation, panic, terror, and horror. The habit of fearing is acquired easily, and once established is extremely difficult to overcome. A fear is an irrational emotion, co-eternal with the animal life of man, and it must be included among those ailments for which no actual cure is known. Bravery is not absence of fear, but courage of conviction in the presence of fear.

Any action, circumstance, condition, object, or substance may cause anxious concern or appear dreadful to those who are fearful minded. It is usual to consider the unknown as potentially menacing. We are most afraid of that which we least understand. Then, of course, human survival is threatened by numerous natural hazards and man-made dangers, and those suffering from a general tendency to phobias, magnify these risks and ignore the more optimistic probabilities. One of the most debilitating types of fear is the morbid anticipation of disaster. The sufferer so devitalizes himself with his own forebodings that he has little strength left with which to face a crisis, when, or if, it does arise.

In addition to simple fears, a large number of curious phobias have been observed and classified. One group includes: claustrophobia, fear of closed places; anginophobia, fear of narrow places; and agoraphobia, fear of open places. In another interesting class we find: graphophobia, fear of writing; logophobia, fear of words; and ideophobia, fear of thoughts. Then there is blonephobia, fear of needles; eretephobia, fear of pins; and eisoptrophobia, fear of mirrors. If you have siderodropomophobia, you are afraid of railway trains, and if you have ergophobia you are suffering from the most fashionable of diseases, fear of work.

A great many fear fixations originate in childhood, that period being particularly sensitive to impressions. A number of cases have come to my attention in which otherwise normal men and women have suffered extreme mental anguish throughout their mature years as the result of being frightened into obedience, during childhood, by ignorant nurse-girls or stupid parents. Religious denominations which promulgate doctrines of sin, hell, and the devil have also contributed heavily to infant class emotional demoralization.

A fully developed phobia is an unreasonable and uncontrollable terror of some subject or object. The victim experiences the most violent internal panic and suffers indescribable torture, without knowing why; and often with a clear mental realization of the absurdity of his condition.

Many phobias originate in the natural human tendency to base false generalizations upon some particular circumstance. .A man was bitten by a dog, and as a result was afraid of dogs, on the assumption that all dogs are like the one that bit him. Or, to cite another example, a sensitive and naturally fearful child is locked in a dark closet as a form of punishment. Twenty years later, that child, now grown to manhood, is the husband who asks his wife to get his shoes for him, because he cannot go into the closet of his own room without great emotional disturbance.

There is one bright side to the problem of phobias: they usually dissolve in the presence of positive action. The quickest and surest way to overcome a fear fixation is to perform the action most feared. The man who feared dogs recovered when he bought several dogs and made them his constant companions. The first week he was very uncomfortable, but as the months passed he grew to love his pets. The husband with the fear of closets required a more extended program of treatment. He had a weak heart, and had he abruptly been locked in a dark closet for several hours he might have died of sheer terror. After considerable conditioning he was induced to enter the closet for a few seconds, with the door left open. Gradually his courage increased, and he could stay for several minutes without serious discomfort. Then, over a period of weeks, the door was kept closed for successively longer periods. One day, with a tragic kind of courage, he walked to the closet, like a condemned man entering the death cell, closed the door, and remained for half an hour. He came out calm and poised, a look of triumph in his eyes; all he said was, "Now I am not afraid," but that will speak volumes to those who have suffered long from strange blind fears, who know what it means to actually break one of these fixations.

Another irrational emotion is hatred; defined as an intense form of dislike, it is far more dangerous to the one who hates than to the object of the hatred.


No one can hate and be healthy at the same time. It is essentially human for a person to dislike those who have injured him, filched his worldly goods, or frustrated his reasonable accomplishments. The other person's fault may be great, but the one who hates him, no matter how just the cause, has the fault which is the greater. The Scriptural admonition, to do good to those who despitefully use us, is not only a noble statement of spiritual truth, but a cardinal tenet of psychotherapy.

It has been my observation that most persons regard their hatreds as righteous emotions, and they have. no particular desire to get over them. They seem to feel that through dislike they accomplish a vicarious revenge. To work up an implacable hatred may require many years of brooding over real or imaginary ills, so that when this is achieved it is not unusual to learn that the despised one has departed, long since, from this mortal life. The ancient custom of forgiving the dead, and burying all grievances with the body, was not so much a kindness to the deceased, as a release for the living.

Energy expended in perpetuating grudges is not available for positive accomplishments, and those who hate impoverish themselves with their destructive emotions. A philosophical attitude toward life and people is a good remedy for hate fixations.

An old doctor, who had spent sixty years studying human nature in all its complex manifestations, once said to me; "I am entirely convinced, from a lifetime of experience and observation, that every man does the best he can, for what he is and what he knows."

The student of psychology becomes tolerant of people and their faults. He realizes that under similar motivations, and limited by the same training, circumstances, and traditions, he in all probability would make the identical mistakes that appear so despicable in others.

No man is ever hurt as badly by what is done to him, as by his own mental and emotional reactions to the injury. On one occasion, the Greek philosopher Diogenes was insulted outrageously by an ignorant soldier who publicly spat in his face: The great Skeptic was silent for a moment, and then observed with a smile, "I realize that I should be properly incensed by this unwarranted act, but addiction to wisdom and love of man have taken away my temper, and I know not how to be angry."

Hate is a destructive fixation of the point of attention. If the fixation is too intense for the individual to overcome by the power of his own will, suggestion therapy is indicated. In extreme cases hypnotic therapy is helpful. There are instances in which the person hated has become the patient's best friend, once the complex was broken. It is possible to hate anyone if only that person's faults are seen, and conversely it is equally possible to like anyone, after becoming aware of his virtues.

Particularly difficult aversion complexes can result from marital incompatibility, endured over a long period of time. Small irritations, lovingly fostered, develop into hate, and even loathing. It is a tragic mistake to permit human relationships to degenerate into domestic chaos. The wiser course is for the couple to acknowledge the failure. break up the marriage, and part as friends. Even if there are children, separation may be the better way. Inharmony in the home will blight the psyche of the small child, and so perpetuate the parental complexes in the next generation.


Love is the most mysterious of human emotions. According to the teachings of the Platonists, there are seven kinds of love: the love of man and woman; the love of parent and child; the love of friend for friend; the love of beauty; the love of good; the love of wisdom; and the love of God. In this concatenation is a gradual ascent of the emotional point of attention from the personal, through the impersonal, to the spiritual.

All the physical aspects of love include strong personal attachment to the object of the affection, and this attachment easily intensifies to the degree of a fixation. The emotion of possession also is stimulated, and frequently is mistaken for fondness. The desire to possess or to be possessed is present in most forms of human affection, and its absence is regarded as abnormal.

The tendency in modern psychology is to rationalize the emotional processes, and to seek natural explanations for attachments and antipathies. A considerable amount of evidence has been accumulated to prove that love is the result of subconscious impulses originating in the personality pattern. The love nature is formed in childhood and rarely changes in later years. If the parental home has been reasonably harmonious, the children will fall in love with persons reminiscent of their parents in appearance or temperament. The boys will select wives resembling their mother, and the girls will select husbands resembling their father. If the childhood home is unhappy, or the parents die, or the children are reared by other relatives, then the dominant personalities in the lives of the children will supply the types for which there will be a later affinity.

A daughter born to an elderly but delightfully companionable father, might have no interest in boys of her own age, marry a man twenty-five years her senior and be quite happy. One boy who adored his crippled sister, married a charming but physically frail young woman, and is rapturously happy ministering to her comforts. In cases like these is the indication that we prefer to continue throughout life in the familiar patterns that were pleasant in our childhood days. Unfortunately, we can be disappointed. For we may fall in love with a resemblance, only to discover that no two persons are alike, and the resemblance is a delusion when we have to live with the dissimilarities.

Extreme possessiveness is the most disastrous consequence of ardent attachment. It is almost impossible to feel possessiveness without the impulse to dominate. There are no happy endings for the situations set up by domination. If, for example, a strong willed parent fails to succeed in dominating a child, the parent is miserable; but if domination is achieved the child's life is ruined. Possessive parents are a serious menace to the future of their children. Widowed mothers are likely offenders, especially if there is but one child. If the child is a son, he will be in grave danger of becoming a homosexual; and if it is a daughter she may remain unmarried, and her entire personal life become a futile sacrifice to a selfish mother's comfort and happiness.

There is in practice a fine point where possessiveness ceases to be a delightful and heart-warming form of amative flattery, and becomes a disagreeable and destructive kind of tyranny. The younger generation is too independently minded to permit such a state of affairs, but a number of such cases have come to my attention concerned with persons beyond middle life.

A woman fifty-five years old, suffering from a variety of frustrations and profoundly neurotic, suspected that the cause of her unhappiness was a dominating husband. In their thirty-two years of married life he had never permitted her to select her own clothes, leave the house without him, have any close friends, visit her family, express a personal like or dislike; she was not allowed to learn to drive a car, she was given no pin money, could not vote according to the dictates of her own conscience, attend the church in which she had been reared, or have anything to say about the education of their children. The one opportunity she had to come to me was when her delightful spouse was in the hospital with a well-merited touch of gall-bladder. This of course is an extreme case, but in many homes the condition exists to some degree.

Buddha pointed out, twenty-five centuries ago, that possessiveness is the principal cause of sorrow. The dictionary defines sorrow as suffering or sadness arising from loss or disappointment. Loss is impossible without the sense of possession, and disappointment can be the loss or failure of something expected. Loss of physical goods possessed results in poverty, and loss of persons possessed results in loneliness, which is poverty of companionship. It is a sad but common mistake to invest oneself so completely in others that the loss of these persons destroys the reason and purpose for our own existence. Realizing how dependent we have become upon those we love, our natural instinct is to hold on to them regardless of cost. When, as must happen, they finally leave us, our sorrow is uncontrollable, and nothing remains but to live on with our memories. The only solution to this problem is to build a personal existence which can survive the loss of the external in persons and things.

It is not to be expected that the emotional life of the average person will be entirely satisfactory. Yet any serious departure from the normalcy pattern of humankind leads to tragic consequences. Nature has ordained that men and women should establish homes, bring children into the world, prepare them for life according to ability and estate, and then release them to establish their own lives. To depart from this simple cosmic scheme of things, regardless of the motives, is to increase the hazards of living and open oneself to dangerous complexes, fixations, frustrations, and neuroses.

When the emotional life has been frustrated, it is according to rule that the inhibited person should turn either to religion, or seek relief through gratification of ambition. The sufferer may fall heels-over-head into some strange cult, engage in philanthropic enterprises, join a club devoted to higher criticism, or become suddenly conscious of civic mismanagement. The process by which the neurotic becomes 'spiritual' is summed up tersely in a statement made to me some years ago by a prominent member of a metaphysical sect.

"My husband divorced me," she moaned; "then I lost my money through a bad investment; my children have all left me, my health is poor, and so having nothing left to live for, I gave myself to God." It hadn't occurred to this lady that she would be no more valuable to the Deity than she had been to the members of her own family.


Many psychologists consider religion a fixation as dangerous as acute alcoholism or chronic drug addiction. Without concurring in this opinion, it is useful to know why doctors of the mind come to such a conclusion. Theirs is a good sound argument, substantially as follows:

Most of those who take refuge in religion are running away from factual situations which they lack the courage to face. The Balm which is in Gilead is to them just a salve for bruises of the ego. As escapists, they should be inspired to go back into the world, meet their problems, solve them, and reestablish self-confidence and poise. While they nestle in the arms of the Lord these unhappy but well-meaning folk are only exchanging vagaries for ineptitudes.

The present state of many religious movements wholly justifies the viewpoint of the psychologist, and the factual material he has gathered can not be overthrown by sentimental opposition or by howls of heresy. The fault is in modern religions, especially those of the West, having divorced themselves from the great systems of spiritual philosophy which were the foundations of the faiths. Julian the Apostate, noblest of the Roman Emperors, attacked the early Church for this very fault and returned to the gods of his fathers. The substance of Julian's Oration Against the Christians can be summed up in a few lines: No man is worthy to enter a place of worship unless his mind is devoted to learning, his heart to virtuous emotions and his body to good works. God rejoices not in sinners but in just men, not in the foolish but in the wise, not in the well-meaners but in the well-doers. Only when men put their own lives in order is it proper for them to approach the House of God. The temple is defamed if men come only to beg favors; the pious should come giving thanks for the beauty of the world and the universal Good that governs all created things.


When the center of awareness is posited in the mental nature of the human being, thought dominates both emotion and action. Understanding of thought dominance requires definition of intelligence and intellect. The popular conception is, intelligence is intellect in operation. It seems to me, that the two words signify entirely different states of the mind.

Intelligence is the power to perceive the nature of externals in their relationship to ourselves. It is the ability to discern the inter-relationships of presented facts as they may affect us. And it is the aptitude to meet unexpected situations by appropriate personality adjustments.

Intelligence arises from experience and observation, and is present sometimes in a marked degree among those who are without benefit of formal education. There is little to indicate that schooling can bestow intelligence; scholastic training is even likely to prove damaging to basic intelligence.

Intellect, to me, represents intelligence that has been conditioned by formal education. An intellectual person is one who has acquired various forms of knowledge, and who makes use of these rather than native intelligence in the solution of his problems. As a great part of so-called knowledge is merely accredited opinion, with little foundation in fact, the intellectualist may be over-well versed in fallacies.

The educated man is the one most likely to involve his life in destructive complications. He lacks the ability. so evident among primitive people, to think simply and directly. Artificial values divert his attention, and his conclusions lose the name of action.

It is unfortunate that we must unlearn much that has been taught to us as sober truth before we can put our lives in order. The intellectual man, limited by his learning, is helpless in the presence of the unknown. The intelligent man, because he has not been narrowed by formalized training, applies common sense to the abstruse problem and generally finds a solution.

One of the commonest tricks of the intellectualist is to substitute words for ideas. He will argue with words in lieu of thoughts, then consider himself victorious if he has outtalked his opponent.

While it seems to have been the medieval Scholastics who discovered that long words in a strange language are an excellent means of concealing ignorance, yet when some learned man today calls a dandelion a Taraxacum officinale, we are apt to suspect that he has a profound knowledge of the plant.

It is well to remember that names can be memorized with no particular benefit, but thoughts must arise from diligent and intelligent consideration of facts.

The intellectualist has the type of mind that can deteriorate easily into a tumbling ground for whimsies. Straight thinking is rare in our time, and common sense the most uncommon of the senses. Many psychological difficulties have their origin in the effort to live in harmony with some immature system of opinions. Everyone has opinions and to their owners these notions are vitally significant, worthy to be passed on as a priceless heritage unto their issue. To differ with a man's opinions is a grave social error, not easily forgiven. But, opinions are of importance no greater than the mental achievements of the person who has them; and they are most abundant where the ability is the slightest. Even your own opinions on any matter are not to be taken by yourself too seriously unless you know you are thoroughly informed on the subject.


Three basic attitudes, interest, indifference, and appreciation, control the motions of the mental point of attention. Each human being has a personal sphere of interests. With most of us, these interests follow the lines of the familiar. The moment we depart from the familiar we realize inadequacy, and this realization, outraging the ego, stimulates fear and doubt. This explains the human tendency to dislike, oppose, and condemn that which is new or different.

The pattern of the childhood home, and the doctrines and attitudes inculcated there; the public school, with its emphasis upon certain cultural and economic standards; the university, with its specialized curricula for various professions; the church, with its long established dogma and tradition; and finally, the occupation selected as a livelihood -- all these contribute to the reference frame of familiar things and direct interest. Experience, which results from the application of formulas to facts, rounds out the pattern and bestows the finished viewpoint.

As an attitude, indifference is lack of interest, which in turn is lack of awareness. That which is beyond our experience is beyond our comprehension. The center of attention passes over the unfamiliar without pause, or selects only the familiar elements in an otherwise uninteresting compound. There is an old saying that a shoemaker will look at all men's feet, and the haberdasher sees only their hats and ties.

Appreciation is a generalized awareness of certain matters beyond the sphere of specialized attention. A person may enjoy music without technical knowledge, and he may respect accomplishment in fields far removed from his own achievements. The impulse to appreciate is highly constructive, and is an indication of mental refinement.

In most persons, the center of mental awareness shifts with the interests of the day and the passing moods of the individual. There is little intensity of realization, and even less continuity of purpose. Things seen are not remembered; experiences add little to the sum of knowledge; and opportunities go unrecognized. The inability to control the wanderings of the point of attention, is just as surely a form of sickness as the inability to control the functions of the body. Persons lacking internal organization cannot be healthy, and most of them are suffering from nervous ailments which bear witness to inconsistencies in habits and thoughts. Few Occidentals even realize that it is possible to control either the mind or the emotions. They assume that it is necessary to obey every urge, and fulfill every whim, merely because they have the impulse.

The opposite extreme is the one-track mind. In this case the awareness is dominated by a fixation that places arbitrary limitations upon the perceptions. The one-track mind has certain advantages from a financial and intellectual standpoint, and many of our successful industrialists and scientists suffer from this ailment. When we think of success, however, we must remember that it is quite possible to succeed admirably in the economic world and fail utterly in our personal lives. And it is this personal failure that destroys us in the end.


Worry, which is intellectualized fear, is one of the most popular of man's destructive mental habits. Worry and the common cold are equally difficult to cure. The chronic worrier is forever imagining the worst, and then suffering in proportion to the magnitude of the expected evil. There is no universal remedy for worry, no simple formula by which the mind can be released from its anxiety complex. It is useless to tell a person not to worry, and it does little good to solve his problem for him. He will direct his attention to some other concern and continue in the same anxiety mechanism. The story of the man who was deeply concerned because there was nothing to worry about at the moment, is no exaggeration.

The economic factor contributes many worries in the life of the average person. The uncertainties which afflict us all are particularly difficult to the anxious type of mind. Many feel that they have not accepted their share of the common woe unless they worry industriously about private and public matters. An old lady once said to me, "But I don't want to stop my worries; I'd be miserable without something to worry about." Worry causes internal suffering, and suffering makes us feel important, a little akin to the martyrs of the olden days.

It is difficult to estimate the full degree of damage that is done to the physical body by the worry habit. Vitality is lowered, function depressed, and even the organic structure may be seriously affected. The survival of the individual in a state of reasonable health, and his ability to lead a useful and happy life, depend upon a constructive mental attitude, and to achieve this he must overcome the tendency to excessive worry. In treatment, religion and philosophy help more than psychology; the sufferer must develop a viewpoint toward life in which faith in good is stronger than fear of evil.


Remorse is another demoralizing mental attitude, in which the center of awareness is centered in old regrets, to the detriment of present efforts. It is curious, but true, that those who have committed serious offenses are not always the most remorseful. The fixation is apt to select some inconsequential mistake, and dwell upon it until it becomes an obsession. If, actually, a person has been guilty of some large fault, the only way to balance the books of his life is to compensate for the delinquency by other gallant and noble actions.

A case came to me of a woman who was so remorseful over an early love affair, in which she had been responsible for tragedy, that she made two subsequent husbands miserable for years with her sighs and moans.

Every man makes mistakes, but if he accepts their lessons and goes on enriched by experience, these same mistakes, in the end, can make the man.


No consideration of mental pathology would be complete without a few words on the subject of egotism. Here a distinction might be made that is not clearly indicated in the dictionary. I would define egoism as self-awareness; and egotism as excessive self-awareness. The ego is the self recognized as distinct from other selves, and egoism is the natural result of this realization. Psychologically speaking, the acceptance of the concept of the separate self leads to the impulse to protect or preserve individual existence. This brings into play the much abused libido, which is not necessarily the sexual nature but is better defined merely as the primitive will to live.

The quality of egoism is present as an equation in most human action, and is responsible for the greater part of progress, personal and collective. Because we are, we can do, and we can have, we can achieve -- yes, even, we can renounce, we can sacrifice, and we can die. It is said that no man can give more than himself. It is egoism that makes possible this supreme unselfishness.

We exist. Religion teaches us to exist morally, philosophy to exist ethically, and science to exist efficiently. With the sense of self comes the solemn determination to protect the dignity of our being. Plato permitted suicide to those who could no longer protect the honorable estate of the internal principle.

The Oriental philosopher is not problemed with the concept of the ego, because he does not believe in the reality of the personality complex. To him, all subjective life is universal; and the perfect human accomplishment is the overcoming of the delusion of separate existence. It seems therefore, that egoism is the burden of the West, the peculiar responsibility of the Occidental. Certainly, self-awareness is at the root of our entire theory of life, manifested to the full in our competitive system of economics. Herein lies the cause of rugged individualism, and the sincere, but sometimes unpleasant belief, that men must go on, age after age, struggling desperately to excel in wealth, position, or accomplishment.

A moderate amount of egoism is necessary in the life of the average man, to preserve him from the encroachment of other ambitious persons. But there is little to indicate that egocentricity contributes much to happiness or good health. In our time, personal ambition has become a dangerous disease in its own right; and, by aggravating other ailments, it contributes extensively to bodily infirmity. Most successful men are sick.

Egoism, unless tempered by the moderating influence of wisdom, gradually changes into egotism, which is self-obsession. The consciousness is focused on the fact of self, and the result is an offensive self-conceit. The condition may develop even further and produce a kind of mania, such as is evident in the lives of tyrants, despots, and dictators. The divinity complex is about the last stage of egotism, and causes the delusion of divine power and authority to arise in a personality least suited for a God-like career. Most world conquerors who have drenched the earth with the blood of their fellow creatures have suffered from the divinity complex.

Pride, arrogance, the desire to possess, the will to dominate, the urge to impress others with our superiority, and the willingness to sacrifice the good of those about us to our own interests, are common and often justified forms of egotism. Society has a tendency to reward those who have a high opinion of themselves, and to penalize the modest man. But the evidence remains, that egotism is a destructive mental attitude, and each person must decide for himself, either to do that which is best for his happiness and security, or suffer through a compromise of his standards to meet the stupidity of the world.

There is another form of egotism that manifests through a variety of negative attitudes. Constant self-censure, exaggerated humility, over-obvious modesty, some types of shyness and timidity, radical departures from conventions, and the public depreciation of one's own abilities, are all evidences of self-consciousness. The normal person is the one who is not conscious of self, and therefore does not need to extol or condemn himself or his actions.

Considerable space has been devoted to this problem because it plays such an important part in the health of men and women. Wherever the point of conscious awareness is posited, there will be stress and tension; and these forces are violently detrimental to normal function. When the focus of attention is upon the self, the individual cannot be natural, and he cannot relax. Life becomes a frantic struggle to satisfy ego-ambition, or to justify mistakes. These are as frequent, often more so, in the lives of egotists as in the careers of less intensive persons.

The man who will never change his mind, because to change it is to admit that he has been wrong in the past, is bound to have trouble both with his disposition and his digestion. And not in much better condition is the befuddled mortal who told me that he dared not acknowledge his errors for fear that he would lose faith in himself. The egotist is forever pretending to be more than he is, which makes for a most uncomfortable state of affairs for all lives concerned with his.

The tension caused by egocentricity can prevent the very accomplishments that mean so much to the self-centered person. An old Chinese saying maintains that the man who works for glory never does his work well. It is the man who labors for the joy of the labor who comes in the fullness of time to the fame deserved. When this happens he is hated by those who have done little themselves, the egotists who resent the greatness of other men. Seldom are the egotistical contented; with bad humor upsetting their body chemistry, acidity is their reward on earth.


Some metaphysical groups have contributed to the always abundant crop of egotists by teachings which could be interpreted as justifying self-conceit. It may be true that every man is a potential god; but if he overworks this potential without evolving it into a true potency, he is in a fair way to develop a divinity complex. My case histories include several dealing with persons who believed, soberly, that they were God, and by this delusion, ruined their lives.

Some have told me of long conversations held with Deity, and how He had appointed them to correct the evils of the world. Others think they are great Initiates, possessed of celestial wisdom, acquired through degrees bought in fraudulent organizations; or because they have vastly overestimated some personal psychic experiences which they did not understand. Still others were party to esoteric secrets that would change the whole course of civilization, and their 'masters' had so informed them. In possession of such stupendous knowledge, these persons become puffed up with their own importance, egos distended to the bursting point. I have watched some of these cases over a period of many years, and not one of these poor deluded men and women had made the slightest contribution to human progress.

Most religious organizations depreciate the beliefs of other groups, and sometimes evolve elaborate explanations to sustain their prejudices. Each cult assumes its own infinite superiority, and this attitude is passed on to the membership as justification for the complex of spiritual aristocracy. As a result, the devotees come to look with smug pity upon those unfortunate mortals who have not the vision to join the self-elected. Thus the old fallacies of the orthodox sects are carried on to plague the metaphysically minded, and under various names the 'holier than thous' flourish exceedingly in our time.

While most mystical movements pretend to the brotherhood of man, not a few of them are making positive contributions to racial prejudices. The Aryo-manic is a common phenomenon among so-called advanced souls. At this time, especially, such a belief is a menace to the survival of civilization, for the security of the entire race depends upon the development of honest and constructive inter-racial and international viewpoints.

When a man has done nothing himself of which he can reasonably be proud, he is likely to fall back upon family, nation, or race, for the stuff with which to bolster up his ego. While it may be comforting to have illustrious forebears, or to belong to a dominant racial strain, personal superiority can· not be inherited or vicariously conferred. Confucius defined a superior man, not as one born to high estate, or of the ruling class or race, but as one who was above the performance of an inferior action under any condition.

Unfortunately, there is very little that can be done to help the chronic egotist, for the reason that he refuses to admit any fault in himself or his ideas. He always blames his numerous misfortunes on other persons and other causes, and often takes the attitude that all the world is to blame for his unhappiness. Only the laws of karma and reincarnation can work out his problem, and it may take many lives of pain and sorrow to break down the ego-complex. If the tendency to inflated ego appears in small children it should be broken up at once, before it has a chance to become established. Spoiled youngsters, or those coming from proud and wealthy homes, are the most likely to become offensive.


Men and women of today seeking help for their personality problems are far more honest and cooperative than those of twenty years ago. Now it is the psychologist himself who may be at fault; he is all too likely to have academic fixations of his own, and prejudices without end. Instances are known to me in which patients, going to a prominent practitioner to unburden their souls, have listened for hours instead to the heart-rending tribulations of the psychoanalyst, and paid a substantial fee for the privilege. A number of patients have told me that their psychoanalysis would have been much more useful to them if the psychologist had been more idealistic and philosophical in his recommendations.

Most persons suffering from personality and character defects are profoundly ignorant of the simple truths of constructive living. They have lost impersonal perspective, and their own problems are magnified entirely out of proportion with their true values. They are confused, disillusioned, and discouraged. They fear the world because it has hurt them; and they fear themselves because of the internal weaknesses that have brought on past and present misfortunes. For these muddled ones, a few simple, usable directions are far more practical than profound psychological formulas, difficult to understand.

For such as these, I would offer the following summary of basic truths which apply to health and happiness.


1. Thou shalt not worry, for by so doing thou shalt suffer the same disaster many times.

2. Thou shalt not try to dominate or possess others, for it is the right of every man to govern his own actions.

3. Thou shalt not desire after fame, for the burdens of greatness are an affliction unto the spirit.

4. Thou shalt not desire after great wealth, for there is no peace in the lives of the rich.

5. Thou shalt relax, for great tension is an abomination unto the flesh.

6. Thou shalt have a sense of humor, or thy years will seem much longer and more painful in the land.

7. Thou shalt love the beautiful and serve the good, for this is according to the Will of Heaven.

8. Thou shalt harm no other person, by word, or thought or deed, regardless of the cause; for to do so is to perpetuate the sorrows of the race.

9. Thou shalt not be angry at any person for any reason, for anger injures most the one who is angry.

10. Thou shalt never blame another for thy misfortune, for each man's destiny is in his own keeping.
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Re: Healing: The Divine Art, by Manly Palmer Hall

Postby admin » Mon May 14, 2018 11:52 pm




(All proper names used in the case histories are fictitious, and any similarity to persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.)

IN ancient times, the secret sciences of nature and the esoteric parts of religion and philosophy were closely guarded in the Temples of the Gods, by orders of initiated priests. A young man resolved to dedicate his life to the service of the Mysteries, had first to secure letters from the elders of his city and the teachers of his preparatory school; these credentials testified to his outstanding character and scholastic ability. They were issued only after a complete investigation of his family background and his own conduct from early childhood. And the applicant had also to prove proficiency in at least three arts or sciences, usually mathematics, astronomy, and music.

When the candidate for admission to the Temple had presented his recommendations to the priests, he was further examined as to his bodily perfection, moral integrity, and devotion to learning. If he passed these tests with sufficiently high honors, he was admitted to the class of neophytes, to begin his term of formal instruction.

The period of study and testing lasted from five to ten years, according to the rules of the particular order. At any time during this period the neophyte might be dismissed if he lacked the required aptitudes.

At the end of his novitiate, the disciple was expected to make the grand tour. Unless wars made the journey impossible, he visited the Mystery Temples of various districts and countries, studying for a time at each of the Sanctuaries. Finally, at the discretion of the Hierophant of his own Temple, the neophyte was informed that he might attempt the initiation.

The initiatory drama was divided into several parts. Selected priests questioned the candidate to prove his knowledge in every branch of the sacred sciences. He was turned over to another group of initiators who tested his fortitude, and his moral and physical courage, in tests which exposed him to a series of real and imaginary dangers. If he failed in any of these trials the neophyte disappeared forever from the sight of men.

The last part of the ritual was a magnificent religious pageant, given in the great theatre of the Mysteries. The candidate was accepted into the Brotherhood of the Twice Born, he was embraced by the Master of the House, who also bestowed the 'new name' and the insignia of the Order. The new initiate was then instructed in the final secrets of the adytum, and admonished to go forth from this inner shrine and devote his life to the service of mankind.


These elaborate precautions were not imposed by any selfish desire on the part of the priests to prevent the spread of wisdom; they were dictated by two important considerations: The first was to prevent the misinterpretation of knowledge by the uninformed. The second was to prevent the misuse of knowledge by the unworthy. "The mysteries of God are for the initiated," sang the old Hebrew prophet, and no truer words were ever spoken. It requires many years of study, devotion, and self-discipline to fit the life and the mind for the abstractions of metaphysical philosophy.

It is a popular modern conceit that knowledge belongs to whomsoever can discover it, by any means, fair or foul. The initiated priests of the elder rites held to a different conviction. They taught that knowledge belongs only to those who can use it wisely. The most difficult of all the arts and sciences is religion, because. it deals with intangibles; few indeed are the landmarks among familiar things to guide and direct the truth-seeker; his dependence must be upon the strength of his own vision, and the basic integrity of his own viewpoint to protect him from the perils of abstract contemplation.

The old temples are now gone from the Western world; the priesthoods which guarded the shrines have vanished away; and the secret doctrines of long ago have become the religious fads of modern times. And now, after the lapse of ages, the thoughtful observer is beginning to understand why the old priests refused to give their spiritual secrets to the untutored world.

The Occidental has an especially hard time trying to keep his spiritual values straight. There is little in his environment or experience that can help him. He has been educated in material matters, but is as ignorant as a new-born babe when it comes to superphysical problems.

But in Asiatic countries, mysticism is still a living force, and most educated Orientals have a working knowledge of the so-called esoteric sciences. We of the West are not only uninformed, but blissfully unaware of our lack of information. Our average man is without any frame of reference by which he can evaluate doctrines and beliefs.


Those years of false prosperity between 1920 and 1929 were the golden age of popular metaphysics. Self-styled psychologists were explaining to enchanted audiences how dollars floated about in space, hunting for pockets to fall into, and the secret of success was to push out the chest, firmly, against the reverse side of the third vest button. Metaphysical teachers in flowing gowns of pastel hues taught spontaneous precipitation of prosperity, and led their enthusiastic followers in meditation, visualization, realization, holding the thought, and treating for power. Turbaned Orientals, masquerading as Yogis, involved their disciples in hopeless confusion; and when things were nicely out of hand, moved on to other pastures.

This was indeed the heyday of the cults, and the inmates of Old Bethlehem Madhouse were addicted to no wilder notions than those which then occupied the minds of sober American students of new thought. Weird cults, large and small, sprang up like mushrooms in the night. There was no rule or reason in the various teachings, all were pronounced inspired, and each contradicted the others. A totally uninformed, public selected as best it could from the wide display of offerings. None knew enough to justify his own choice, or aid others in their dilemma. All were sailing into the unknown together on the fabled Ship of Fools.

Those were the days when housewives were deep in spiritual alchemy, and maiden aunts made solemn pronouncements after two weeks in astrology. The local tailor was a Rosicrucian of high degrees, and the neighborhood grocer a Gnostic Illuminist. There were meetings of elderly would-be Yogis at the home of a prominent hardware dealer; and the corner druggist practiced mystic Buddhistic mantrams for his toothache. Everyone meant well, and each was trying desperately to improve himself; but none knew what he was doing, or had the slightest comprehension of the dangers to which he was exposing himself. The very condition which the old initiates had feared came to blase America with all its deadly force.

Mankind makes lovable mistakes at times, and this was one of the times. The truth-seekers of that day were earnest and sincere, but they could not succeed; they lacked both wisdom and understanding. How could Mrs. Smith, who put up excellent quince preserves, realize that it was not possible to master the secrets of the Cabala in ten easy correspondence lessons? She had never heard of the Cabala until she took those lessons, and did not dream that the most learned of Hebrew scholars approached the great Mystery of the Cabalistic Splendors with fear and trembling, and devoted a lifetime of prayer, meditation, and study to a few verses of its sacred books.

Many sects were founded in these troubled Nineteen- Twenties. Some were created by honest well-meaning folk totally unprepared to cope with the consequences of organization and the complications which always arise in manmade institutions. Most of these sects were short-lived, and were destroyed by their own internal bickerings. Other groups were started by thoroughly dishonest men who had no interest beyond the golden opportunity to become rich off the faith and credulity of their followers. These false leaders were definitely criminals, and the damage they have done in the lives of human beings is beyond estimation.

The Great Depression ended most of the lesser cults, but some have survived to perpetuate the confusion. For years it has been one of my jobs to salvage the products of false religious teachings. Only a person in my position, closely in touch with the entire field of metaphysics, can have any clear idea of the suffering, sickness, and insanity that have been left in the wake of fraudulent or deluded religious teachers. And the pernicious practices continue, protected by the right of free worship. Every few months a new cult appears to make more difficult the already painful course of human life.


The occupational diseases of occultism are the direct result of improper instruction or misunderstanding. This basic difficulty is aggravated further by that unsettled state of mind which causes metaphysicians to wander from one belief to another, accumulating a mass of unrelated notions. As indigestible food results in physical stomach trouble, so indigestive thoughts and ideas result in mental dyspepsia. Once the mind loses its contact with those simple certainties which protect the normal person, the power of direct and solutional thought is lost, and the whole mental nature degenerates into vagary.

By the time an ordinary human being has taken a numerological name to improve his vibrations, has altered his diet several times in order to increase his spiritual content, has changed his occupation to some line that does not conflict with his ideals of the moment, has broken up his home because it interfered with his ascetic aspirations, has painted stars on the ceiling of his meditation room to make the cosmos seem closer, has practiced all the development exercises recommended by an assortment of instructors, and has periodically burned his library of rejected authors, he is in a fair way to becoming completely demoralized.

If the average cult is totally indifferent as to the ultimate state of its members, it is entirely conscious of their periodic contributions. To prevent members from wandering outside the fold, the cult may issue a series of solemn pronouncements calculated to prevent such delinquency. The warnings are reminiscent of the worst utterances of the old orthodox theologians. The backslider will lose of course all participation in heavenly bliss and earthly happiness. But this is only the beginning of his misfortunes. Black magicians will hound him the rest of his days; evil spirits will plague his sleep; and malicious forces will steal away his goods. Even the eternal being of the metaphysical heretic is threatened with divers calamities. One group warned that to leave their order was to be set back two-hundred incarnations in spiritual evolution. Another sect warned that only members in good standing would be permitted to see the second coming of Christ. Some leaders have gone so far as to hint, broadly, that they will destroy with occult powers any followers who attempt to depart from their holy ministrations. Thus does the old fear of the devil and his agencies rise again in modem mystical movements, and so are most metaphysicians loaded with fears, primitive terrors with a thin veneer of new thought.

With most cultists of today, the belief in the miraculous has taken away common sense. Trivial circumstances take on deep esoteric meaning. Persons have phoned me in the middle of the night to report a strange scratching sound under the floor near the bed. Is this noise caused by a Mahatma? Or do I think it possible that an initiation is pending? Or are the elementals at work again? Then, with a quaver in the voice, comes the inevitable question: Is it some evil force come to destroy?

If you assure the terrified one that a mouse under the floor would explain the situation quite nicely, and if he then accepts your explanation -- which is rare -- relief is mingled with disappointment. The victim had hoped the sound at least bore witness to the presence of a deceased relative.


In the books on spiritual healing which have come to my attention, no clear line is drawn between psychical and psychological phenomena. It is usual to assume that ailments apparently metaphysical, actually are metaphysical; and treatment is based upon this kind of diagnosis.

Experience proves that genuine occult phenomena are exceedingly rare; and physical suffering due to such causes is equally rare. Obsession, spirit possession, black magic, psychic persecution, vampirism, undue occult influence, malicious magnetism, elemental annoyances, and destructive vibrations are the more common forms of occult ailments. We may concede that such phenomena do exist, since history supports such a belief, tradition further sustains it, and experience confirms the testimonies. But we can also realize that not one in five hundred cited cases actually involves any superphysical factors.

Imagination, distorted by erroneous religious teaching, is responsible for a wide variety of curious manifestations that appear supernatural to the individual who has lost his sense of values. The man who reads Sinistrari's Demonologia far into the night is quite likely to dream of demons, and see an assemblage of imps leering at him from the foot-rail of his bed. After a few weeks study of kundalini and the spirit-fire in the spine, the novice is almost certain to feel strange currents moving through his body and imagine he is on the verge of cosmic-consciousness. Soon after learning of the existence of Masters and Adepts, it should not be surprising if the overwhelmed student dreams of these great ones, and then announces proudly that he has left his body and gone to a temple in the high Himalayas. The imagination is ready always to supply the substance for things hoped for and longed after.

The psychic phenomena reported on every hand cannot be genuine; the students are not sufficiently advanced nor informed to have such experiences. Clairvoyance does not come upon one without warning or preparation; nor are persons initiated into the secret orders of far Tibet without rhyme or reason. Yet many have come to me for explanations of their wonderful spiritual adventures in space. It never dawns on these persons that something must be wrong when an initiate is not told the meaning or purpose of his own initiation; and equally lacks the knowledge to explain the very rituals through which he has passed.

The simplest method of showing how metaphysical or pseudo-metaphysical ailments should be diagnosed and treated is by reference to case histories. They allow the reader to examine the evidence for himself and to discover how easily the human mind becomes a victim of mystical hallucinations. All of these records are authentic, but names and unimportant details have been slightly altered to protect the sufferers from embarrassment.

To work successfully with problems of this kind the practitioner needs broad, general knowledge of his subject, and three specialized qualifications. First, he should be a good listener, never shocked by revelations, capable of evaluating evidence, and as a professional consultant not be susceptible to false interpretation of conditions which the patient himself has come to believe. Second, he must possess a certain gift for strategy, so that the patient will not depart in a huff when told the unromantic basis of his case. Third. and invaluable. is a flair for amateur detective work; for it is often necessary to recognize revealing clues hidden under a mass of false evidence.


In the field of religious psychology, the largest single group of sufferers is composed of those who believe sincerely that they are victims of occult malpractice. For some reason. usually not quite clear, these unfortunates have incurred the displeasure of black magicians, disembodied spirits, or persons still in the flesh, who are able, in one way or another, to persecute, intimidate, or victimize these sufferers.

It is rare indeed, in such cases, for the recipients of all this evil power and attention to be able to give any reasonable explanation as to how it came about that they have merited so much villainy.

There is always a weak link in the chain of evidence which is advanced to sustain a persecution complex. One patient explained at great length how he had been attacked by evil forces while in a state of amnesia, with terrible consequences extending over a period of years. The story was convincing except on one point, the poor man could not remember when the amnesia occurred!

Another miserable old gentleman believed that several wicked magicians had invented a kind of radio that sent out destructive vibrations. The full force of this machine was being centered upon him; he was sure of this because he could hear the buzzing of the instrument day and night. It took a world of argument to persuade this deluded person that he was afflicted with buzzing from nothing worse than an attack of catarrh.


Late one afternoon Mrs. Mary Annett laid on my office desk a massive and ornate ring containing a large beetle cut from blue stone. She sat down, folded her hands on the edge of the blotter, and exclaimed with great agitation, "Can you help me to get rid of this cursed thing?" Slowly, and with considerable difficulty she told her sad story.

Mary had been studying the occult sciences for a number of years with several teachers and groups. At last she had found· her true teacher, a 'perfectly wonderful' master who admitted that he was the only living initiate of the mysteries of Karnac. So it came about that Mary completely immersed herself in pseudo-Egyptian metaphysics. Then, one day several months earlier, this good lady had been 'drawn' by some psychic force into a little second hand store, and there was this "perfectly wonderful" old Egyptian scarab ring. It cost only a song, "because it was meant for her," and the dealer "had no idea of its value." She had worn the ring only for a few days when she discovered that the scarab had "perfectly wonderful" vibrations.

Now, it so happened that Mrs. Annett had a friend and fellow student who was a 'perfectly wonderful' psychometrist; and one evening the two believers went to work on the ring. After an appropriate procedure the occult divinator announced that the scarab had belonged to an ancient Egyptian priestess, who had been buried alive in the vaults of the temple, because she had dared to oppose the will of an evil magician. There was even the possibility that friend Mary was a reincarnation of the ill-starred priestess. It was all 'perfectly wonderful,' but not for long.

A few nights later Mary Annett had a vision. The wicked Egyptian magician appeared in the dead of night and the simple drama assumed melodramatic proportions. The deceased sorcerer laughed fiendishly and pointing a ghostly finger at terrified Mrs. Annett told her that the ring was cursed, and that so long as she wore it her soul belonged to his evil purposes. Then to complete the fatal picture, he further threatened that if ever she attempted to dispose of the scarab he would destroy her, body and soul.

The vision returned night after night, and all manner of minor misfortune had followed upon the curse. Her pet dog had mysteriously died, then the family pocketbook disappeared, a sister had an accident, and soon after, Mrs. Annett herself became the victim of a strange sick spell.

She had gone to her teacher, the still 'perfectly wonderful' man from Karnac, to be told by him that the condition was very serious, for Egyptian death-curses defied the highest magic of the modern world --

Long before the story with all its lurid details was finished these certain things were evident: There was not one bit of genuine psychic phenomena involved in any part of the happenings. The ring was not cursed; there had never been any priestess; the wicked magician was an illusion; the psychometrist friend had erupted in a violent outburst of imagination; the reported misfortunes were ordinary occurrences, falsely involved in the story; and last, but not least by any means, the 'perfectly wonderful' master from Karnac was a fraud -- or he would have found out the truth by one or another of his marvelous occult powers.

Fortunately the proof was conclusive, and Mrs. Annett went home happy. She had no more trouble with phantoms but experienced a highly dramatic moment when she stopped off to tell the man from Karnac what was on her mind.

The only level-headed person in the case proved to be the second hand store dealer, and with him the amateur detection technique came into the diagnosis. My first glance at the ring told me that the scarab was a fake, one of thousands made in Italy during the last twenty-five years; counterfeits which are sold all over the world as genuine but at a price far below the value of these comparatively rare Egyptian signets. One glance and inquiry as to what she had paid for the scarab, established that the good lady's strong vibrations could be only in her own mind.

What really had happened to Mary Annett was this: She had Egypt on her mind, not the Egypt of the archaeologist or antiquarian, but a fantastic, imaginary Egypt; one that existed only in the mind of a fraudulent metaphysical teacher. This unworthy controlled his ignorant followers with 'perfectly wonderful' revelations, which he hatched whenever they served his purposes. All aflutter with these splendid fictions, Mrs. Annett was drawn to the ring, not by its vibrations but by her own exaggerated interest. The incompetent psychometrist supplied the stuff necessary for a definite hallucination. Mrs. Annett dreaming about the tale she had heard, mistook the dream for a vision. The more she thought about the dream, the more she believed it, and the more she believed it, the more certain it was to be repeated. The other complications followed as a matter of course.

There are accounts of Egyptian curses which never have been explained satisfactorily, but fortunately, this was not one of those strange cases. The cause of Mary Annett's months of fear and acute mental suffering was nothing but fraudulent instruction in mystical beliefs.


Tired little Mrs. Sarah Briswell looked for all the world like Whistler's painting of his mother. Her narrative· was to me especially pathetic because so much of pain and misery had been brought to the closing years of a sweet and gentle life, which had been burdened enough without this added woe. It required several hours to hear her story, but the substance is as follows:

Mrs. Briswell was approaching eighty, with her husband dead for fifteen years. After his death she had turned to metaphysics for comfort and consolation. She had attended many classes and had studied with nearly every lecturer who had visited her community.

One teacher in particular had made a profound impression. This 'wundermann' was the self-styled first line of defense against the 'dark forces' that were bent on the destruction of mankind. Every cult but his own was in league with the devil; and even the heads of nations and states were really black magicians determined to overthrow the world. The air was filled with evil vibrations, and a great dark monster hovered like some immense vampire bat above the earth. This horrible creature waited to devour any who rejected the salvation offered by the 'wundermann,' in ten easy lessons, with an advanced course for the elect.

Frightened out of her wits by this awful state of world affairs, aging little Sarah Briswell lived for years in constant fear. As second childhood came upon her, weakening mental faculties were set in a hopeless phobia. She dared not leave her room in a cheap boarding house after dark for fear that some malicious force would destroy her. She recited magical formulas every night to protect her immortal soul, and hung sacred pictures on the walls to keep away black magicians.

Then the terrible thing happened.

From her one little window on the third floor back, Sarah Briswell could look out over the roofs of the run-down neighborhood in which she lived. A few hundred feet away was a stately old mansion, heavily trimmed with the ginger-bread decorations of the Gay Nineties. On one corner of this pretentious house was a round squat tower, and on top of this tower was an elaborate weather vane of wrought iron; Sarah Briswell was fascinated by the weather vane. One day as she was gazing at the ornate device, to her utter amazement the arrow turned slowly and pointed directly at her. Then, as the childish little woman expressed it, "Everything came to her in a flash." The ancient dwelling was the headquarters of the black forces that were trying to destroy the world. The wicked sorcerers released their terrible magic through the point of the weather vane. Sometimes they pointed the iron arrow at her; and then she could feel the dreadful vibrations trying to kill her, because she was party to an awful secret.

It was useless to explain that the arrow was turned by the wind. That sort of explanation is all right only for uninitiated mortals who do not realize that dark forces are plotting the extinction of mankind. Nor did it help to point out that the house with the weather vane was not an ogre's castle, but a cheap hotel where elderly men with small means rocked all day long on the rutted wooden porch. For Mrs. Sarah Briswell knew that the old men were hired to sit there so that no one would suspect the sinister beings who gathered in the cupola.

Not a great deal could be done for Sarah Briswell. She was too old; her mind was too feeble to understand the truth about her own case. But a certain amount of psychological release resulted from the simple telling of her story. She had the personal comfort of feeling that her duty was done. For she turned over to me the task of saving the threatened world.

With my assurance that the matter would be given all necessary consideration, Mrs. Briswell departed with a somewhat better attitude and a pathetic little scheme of her own. She, with all secrecy, was going to move to another house, where the evil forces could not find her.

This is the only case of psychic persecution involving a weather vane in my files. but there are a large number of instances in which fear of evil beings has brought years of mental suffering. Unfortunately, the condition will continue just as long as fraudulent religious teachers, some of them mentally unbalanced themselves, are permitted in the name of religious tolerance to circulate false and destructive doctrines among their susceptible followers.


Among the mental prosperity cults the persecution complex results from a fear that the very type of mental selfishness we are directing against others, may, in turn, be directed against ourselves. A man who was "holding the thought" for a rich relative to die and leave him a fortune, suddenly was certain that the wealthy uncle was sending equally malevolent mental vibrations in the direction of his evil-minded nephew. Here a bad conscience reaped its own reward.

Education is no protection against complexes, once the intellect is undermined. Two maiden sisters, both holding college degrees, developed a psychic feud which originated in a religious culturing of neuroses. One of them made a devil doll to represent her sister, and went through the old magical process of sticking pins in the doll. The victim, with a full knowledge of the plot, suffered terribly until she discovered a protective counter-spell which rendered the effigy harmless.

Ignorance gives no protection. A physician in Santa Fe told me this curious case: One of his patients, a totally unschooled Mexican, was cursed by a bruja (witch), and told that he would die in one year to the day. The cursed man slowly failed in health, although he was without any physical ailment; and on the allotted day turned over in his bed and died -- of fear. This man believed his life might have been saved had a Mexican boy with the name of Jose put on his clothes inside-out, and then ordered the witch to release her victim. Such are the workings of primitive psychology.


Many types of psychical phenomena can be simulated by the imagination in conspiracy with the subconscious mind. Sometimes the imposture is so perfect that only weeks of patient research can uncover the facts. There is no conscious intent to deceive, but usually there is considerable wishful thinking involved in the occurrences.

Many persons turn to the psychic in times of grief or affliction. Under such conditions the reasoning faculties have small opportunity to function. So intense is the general desire of humankind to communicate with some loved one, that, particularly in bereavement, supernatural origin is attributed to the most trivial happenings. Once involved in the mystic maze of psychism, it is difficult indeed to distinguish fact from fantasy, especially when we want to believe the fantasy.

Nothing in this chapter should be interpreted as an attack on spiritualism. The reality of spiritualistic phenomena is established firmly by both tradition and experience. The qualified investigator approaching the subject with a trained mind, can and does, make important discoveries about that other life so close to our own. But the sentimentalist, seeking only comfort or peace in an emotional emergency, easily falls victim to his own delusions. Some of my case histories should prove of real value to thoughtful researchers in the field of psychical phenomena.


Mrs. Betty Larson and John had been married just one year. She was an attractive girl, graduated from a well-known university, and to all appearances level headed and practical. Betty had become interested in the occult through her mother, who was completely immersed in a cult that specialized in soul-mates. This was the only part of the teaching that had made much of an impression on the younger woman.

John was an average American, twenty-five years old, sober, industrious, very much in love and a trifle dull. He had no interest in things mystical. If Betty had those ideas, it was all right with him.

Mrs. Larson explained her problem simply and clearly. She was not passionately in love with John, but she did admire him sincerely and felt that they could be happy together. They had been married only about three months when their lives had been triangulated by a visitor from the other world. The apparition had appeared to Betty in the middle of the night, and she was positive, (they always are,) she was not asleep at the time. He was a young and handsome specter, costumed as of the romantic medieval period. In spirit voice he announced to the young wife that she was his soul-mate, married to him forever in the inner world; and so she must divorce her husband, and remaining true to her spirit partner throughout life. they would be united forever after her death.

"I don't know what to do," said Mrs. Larson. "John is a fine man, and all this has hurt him terribly. But my soul-mate is everything I have ever dreamed of, and if we are ordained to be one, I must be true to him."

It had looked for a moment that this might be a real psychic problem, but Betty revealed the key to the whole matter when she said of her mysterious visitor that he was everything she had ever dreamed of. For that is exactly what he was -- a dream.

Like many other young girls, Betty in her teens had created in her own mind a romantic ideal of the man whom some day she would marry. Of course, it is rare that such a dream can be realized; and in her conscious mind Betty knew this. She married John as one who promised to be a satisfactory husband, though possessed of few of the attributes of her ideal type. But the subconscious mind remembered Prince Charming, and a half-belief in the doctrines of the soul-mate cult was sufficient to set up a mechanism which resulted in the young wife's vision.

Imaginings of this sort can not endure the light of exposure, and Mrs. Larson had only to be made to realize that her spirit bridegroom was the personification of her childhood dream hero to see the entire process. There were no more visitations; the case was closed. John, a thoughtful young man, profited from the experience; he at once cultivated some of the qualities which his wife admired especially, and in this contributed much to the subsequent happiness of the couple. Betty made the astute observation as she was leaving my office that first day: "Could it be said that nearly all soul-mates have had the same origin as mine?"


Old Captain Hartsell departed from this mortal sphere in 1930, from a complication of physical ailments; but before he died we had many talks together about the ghost that ruined his life. His is a case where it is quite possible that the trouble started with an actual psychical experience, but gradually developed into a typical psychological delusion.

The night after the Battle of Gettysburg, the Captain, exhausted and slightly wounded, threw himself on the ground under a small tree and fell into a deep trance-like sleep. Just before dawn he was awakened by someone shaking him violently. Sitting up half dazed, the astonished officer saw a tall figure in shimmering white standing among the branches of the tree. The unearthly being spoke in a low sorrowful voice:

"I died, and I did not want to die. I died yesterday on the field of Gettysburg, and now from the spirit world I can see the folly of war. Wars must cease, so that other innocent men shall not die as I have died. Wait, and watch, and pray; for in the fullness of time I will reveal to you the secret of everlasting peace among the nations of the earth. Through you all wars will end." After these fateful words the specter disappeared.

Perhaps it was a vision of some soldier who had died in battle, or perhaps it was the whole revulsion mechanism to war set up in the subconscious mind of the Captain himself which caused the vision. The facts can never be known. But one thing is certain, the ghostly occurrence ruined the life of Captain Hartsell.

Year after year he waited, and watched, and prayed; and many times the spirit appeared to him in his dreams, always promising to reveal in a little while the secret of world peace. On several occasions it seemed as though the revelation was at hand; but for some reason at the last moment it was always delayed, time after time, year after year.

For nearly seventy years the Captain waited faithfully for the solutional spirit message, but it never came. He did not marry; he gave up his business, and eked out a scanty living by doing odd jobs, for these could be dropped the moment he received the great call. In the course of his lifetime he consulted numerous mediums and psychics, but they could not wrest the secret from the mysterious spirit. At last, Captain Hartsell died at a Soldier's Home, a broken-hearted old man, laid to rest in the army cemetery with those others who had fought at Gettysburg.

The promise of some world changing revelation from the spirits of the departed is a common and tragic form of psychic disturbance. At least a hundred such cases are known to me personally, and not one has ever received the knowledge promised. The original vision at Gettysburg could have been authentic, but even so, the spectral dead soldier had no real solution for the tragedy that had destroyed him. He never appeared but once; it was the Captain's fixation that took over and manufactured a ghost out of the substances of longing, hope, and belief. This imaginary spirit could never bring the secret of peace, because it could never know more than the mind in which it was created.

This is the true explanation of a large group of pseudo- psychical phenomena. If the supposed entity exists only in the mind of the believer, it can not under any conditions solve problems that the believer himself cannot solve. Such pseudo-spirit promises, therefore, either must go unfulfilled, or the answers come from the living person's own level of thinking. Thus immature opinions may be transferred to the false ghost, to be returned again to their original creator through the lips of the vision, as an awe-filled and divine revelation. In this way many cults come to be founded by the self-deluded; and the spirit world is blamed for fantastic and foundationless doctrines.


Persecution by voices, supposedly belonging to the dead, or to black magicians still alive, is a frequent form of pseudo-psychic malady. From my large collection of such case histories, one is selected. It involves a prosaic man, a plumber by trade, who attempted to develop his spiritual perceptions with the aid of a crystal ball.

William Jetty began to hear voices after his third sitting with the crystal. At the beginning he was appropriately thrilled with his newly gained clairaudience. But after a time, the spirits made quite a nuisance of themselves, with their constant jabbering. The voices seemed to come from the air, and by differences in their tones appeared to be both male and female; at least a dozen spirit personalities were differentiated.

The plumber was in a sad state when he came to see me. Night or day he had no peace; always the atmosphere was alive with whispering, chuckling, moaning, or shouting entities. Some of the voices were vile and hateful, others were gentle and entreating. Recently the voices had urged the frightened man to commit suicide, and then they would howl with ghoulish glee and tell him that he was going mad. Even as he was telling me this story, Jetty could hear the demoniacal laughter of the spirits.

It required considerable time and thought to clear up the case of William Jetty, the plumber.

The spirits that had risen to torment him were born in the ghostly sphere of his own subconscious, in a ghastly procession of impulses, phobias, and complexes which had assumed auditory forms, to release their doleful energies through the symbolism of words. Jetty heard the voices in his own mind; and it was in vocal patterns that all of his old hates, fears, greeds, lusts, grudges, and disappointments whispered their confused stories in his mental ear. Repressed impulses can of course manifest as voices; and in this case a secret impulse to suicide took this means of expressing itself.

It was a great help to William Jetty to learn that his trouble was not due to evil spirits. As he expressed it, "I can fight against my own faults, but I cannot fight the supernatural." With him, the battle was half won when the true state of affairs was known. It was the unknown that assumed monstrous proportions and paralyzed initiative. It made possible closing again the door of the subconscious, and returning the ghosts in time to their proper closet. Jetty went to work himself on some of the major fixations and cleared them up after a while.

William Jetty gave up the crystal ball. He knows now that sitting for hours gazing into a gleaming sphere with the mind a blank is far. more likely to release the phantoms of the subconscious than it is to raise genuine spirits from the misty deep.


The lady was about forty years of age who one day dropped heavily into one of my office chairs. She was poorly organized, mentally, emotionally and physically; her suffering came from a serious overdose of a popular cultism. There were a number of interesting points in her narrative.

Mrs. Ethel Kirkbride, as we'll call her, married about fifteen years, was the mother of three children. From obvious defects in character it was easily understood that she was a poor housekeeper, mentally lazy, full of self pity, addicted to countless worries, extravagant and a nagger.

A few months back Mrs. Kirkbride had noticed a peculiar twitching in her right arm and hand. This increased until she developed into a full-fledged automatic writer. Now, all she had to do was to pick up a pencil, and her fingers began to quiver and jerk as though moved by some spirit force, and the result was scrawling, half legible material, "signed by an archangel."

The purpose of the lady's visit was not to secure help for her condition, but to invite me to publish her spirit manuscript, and thus change the whole course of human history.

Examination proved the so-called book to be a hopeless and horrible mass of unrelated jargon, of no possible value to anyone. It had everything in it from soul-flights to bad poetry, the whole permeated with bitterness and frustration. The manuscript was heightened with a number of curious examples of neurotic and erotic symbolism.

Broken down by the Freudian technique, usually applied to dreams, the automatic writings held the clearest indications that Mrs. Kirkbride was unhappily married, and that she entertained some very disagreeable notions about her husband.

When told that her automatic literary production was a complete expose of her own private life, Ethel Kirkbride was properly indignant. As it was proven to her, incident by incident, she glowered and fumed. At last, when she could stand no more of the damning evidence, she grabbed the manuscript, tore it to shreds and departed with a number of unladylike remarks. But out of the scene came good results; Mrs. Kirkbride did no more automatic writing. But it is doubtful that her home has been much the happier.

It has been proven to me on a number of occasions that automatic writing can originate in the subconscious mind. It may come as wish fulfillment, or as a means of releasing frustrations and inhibitions. The same is true of the Ouija board and other psychic devices.


The doctrine of reincarnation is one of the noblest and most practical of all philosophical teachings. For some years now, it has been fashionable among metaphysicians to remember three or four past lives. These previous appearances are referred to as "my seventh back," or, "my ninth before this," and if memory is a little weak on this subject, imagination always comes to the rescue. Occidental misunderstanding of the great law of rebirth as given by Gautama Buddha led to many humorous and pathetic situations at the time of the modern mystics giving the matter the benefit of their attention.

A smallish gentleman, marked from head to foot with evidences of non-eventuality, slipped into my sanctum one day and drawing himself up to his full five-foot-four, announced solemnly, "I am here."

Evidently my reaction was not sufficiently profound; so he added, with gestures, "I am Rameses the Great, reborn to lead the world." This visitor was not insane; it was not his mind that was lost, bur his common sense.

An amusing episode occurred at a meeting of an occult organization when a leader declared that she was the reincarnation of Hypatia. Instantly another prominent member arose and shouted, "It's not true -- I'm Hypatia!"

A man tall and thin with a smile enhanced by the lack of three front teeth, once buttonholed me after a lecture. "It's a secret," he whispered, "but I am Jacob Boehme reborn." It seemed to me an excellent opportunity to get some valuable information about the strange teachings of this obscure German mystic. But, the toothless one could not answer any of my questions. He explained the complete loss of his previous knowledge by saying, "I am here for a greater purpose, and all my previous studies have been blocked from my consciousness."

Things get more complicated when the memory of other lives is so complete that the visitor remembers your past incarnations, as well as his own. One delightful character grabbed me enthusiastically by both hands, exclaiming rapturously, "Imagine meeting you again, after all these lives? Isn't it wonderful? -- and to think we used to teach school together in Atlantis!"

Then there was an Indian who could tell by the "moons" in my eyes that we had been blood-brothers in Lemuria. The Adepts on Mt. Shasta had suggested to this aboriginal American that he could borrow ten dollars from me .... and what could a blood-brother do under such conditions.

We all have our vanity, and the kindly lady who recognized me as the original model for one of the statues on Easter Island will never realize how much scar-tissue she created m my ego.

Not a great deal of variety enters into reincarnation stories; the elements are generally similar, with minor variations. Occasionally past lives are held responsible for phobias and aversions. One man attributed his pyrophobia, (fear of fire), to the belief that he had been burned at the stake in a previous existence. A lady of uncertain morals excused her nymphomania on the grounds that she was the re-embodiment of Sappho, without any trace of lyric poetry.

Two case histories will indicate the usual trend of the reincarnation persuasion. The first account is undoubtedly false, and the second probably true. Both persons were convinced that they had lived in Rome during the early centuries of the Christian Era.

Robert Forsland felt certain that he was the rebirth of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, Emperor and eclectic philosopher.

While in college Robert had developed a bad case of hero worship of this noble Roman, and had selected the Meditations as the subject for his thesis. After a number of years of normal business experience, soliciting insurance, Forsland read a book on reincarnation, and began to speculate as to his own previous lives. Quickly his mind reverted to Marcus Aurelius. Could it be possible that the haughty Marcus lived again in the humble frame of an insurance broker? If it was possible, it could be probable. If it was probable, it could be so. Ergo, it was so.

Upon this extraordinary example of logic, Robert erected a sober conviction that the grandeur which was Rome abode in him. For a man of mediocre attainments, an imperial destiny was a heavy responsibility. Robert did his best; but that best was pitifully inadequate. Trying to be a superman, he failed utterly at the task of being a normal human. He lost the respect of his friends, and his insurance employers decided against advancing a man with such a fixation to a position of authority.

Had Robert borne the slightest intellectual resemblance to the splendid Antoninus, all could have been forgiven; but from any point of perspective, except his own, the claim was absurd; and could be interpreted only as a mental aberration.

Albert Moorhead was an entirely different type of man, and his story demanded serious consideration. When Albert was six years old, he told his parents that he had lived before he was born to them. And in this previous life he had been a Roman soldier stationed in Palestine during the reign of the Emperor Vespasion.

The Moorheads, a good, orthodox Scotch-Irish family, were horrified; the members all tried in every way to disprove this strange remembrance. But the boy refused to be shaken, and added so many accurate details of Roman life and history that in the end the parents themselves were half convinced.

The little lad told them that in his former life his name was Lucian, and after serving several years in the Near East he had returned to Rome by way of Ephesus. Because of his service in foreign wars he became a member of the Imperial Guard, and frequently accompanied the Emperor on state missions. Later, he was pensioned and retired to a small farm, where he died at an advanced age.

At eleven, Albert insisted on studying Latin; and so quickly did he learn the language that at thirteen he could read Virgil in the original. As he grew up he was interested only in a military career and joined the army. After one enlistment he left the service; he had found no excitement in peacetime army life.

In later years, Albert Moorehead read of the Buddhist doctrine of rebirth. He accepted it immediately, because he knew from his own experiences that the belief was true. He seldom discussed his memories, but one evening he summed up his conclusions thus:

"I was only a soldier eighteen centuries ago, living the life of my time. I hope that in this incarnation I can do something really worth while. But if I cannot accomplish everything now, I will do my best and look forward with certainty to other lives. In the end I will make my contribution to the good of mankind."
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Re: Healing: The Divine Art, by Manly Palmer Hall

Postby admin » Mon May 14, 2018 11:54 pm




WHEN a certain elderly Duchess placed one chair atop the seat of another and received her guests thus enthroned, there were some who believed that Her Grace was suffering from delusions of grandeur. But she was a brilliant lady and a charming hostess, so her peculiarity was passed over as a possible consequence of Habsburg blood.

Had the Duchess been a metaphysician, her eccentricity in the matter of the chairs would have been regarded as proof that she was a very advanced soul who had selected this lofty perch to protect her higher vibrations from earthly contamination.

A prominent occultist of some years back was so worried over the possibility of being drained of his especially refined psychic effluvium that he would shake hands only while wearing black ~ilk gloves. As none of the World Saviors, prophets, or religious leaders, ever found a protection necessary, it may safely be assumed that the silk gloves metaphysically belong in the same category as the Duchess's two chairs.

When the mind has reached that state of easy believing in which it can discover mystical marvels where they do not exist, the difficulties of living are infinitely multiplied. One Oriental teacher who· was markedly cross-eyed, solemnly informed his disciples that he belonged to an advanced type of humanity, and that in the sixth root-race all would have convergent squint so they could see their pineal glands with greater ease.

A lady initiate, who in flowing robes taught esoteric mysteries, suffered from a conspicuous goiter; she assured her devotees that this thyroid enlargement was proof positive that she was an Adept.

Lost continents always have intrigued the lovers of mysteries, and it is a widespread belief among them that a new land is rising in the Pacific. This may be true, for the land and water distribution is shifting constantly. But it is reasonably certain that those now living will not be here to see California become an inland state. By the same token, the coming continent can scarcely be regarded as a particularly good real estate venture currently. But it appears that a group of optimists have been selling stock in the Bank of Lemuria, now under water. Incidentally, sales have been brisk. The capital assets are deeply submerged, at this writing; but soundings indicate that they are coming up slowly, and when the assets reach the surface, reportedly the investors will be rich.

According to recent reports, the United States Government has visaed a passport for a citizen of Atlantis. But this circumstance is not so remarkable as first appears. There is a small island in the Bahamas which has been given the name of Atlantis. The people on this land have gone so far as to issue their own postage stamps. These stamps, good only for local use, are not recognized by the International Postal Union.

The coming-continent enthusiasts are, for the most part, a cheerful lot; but there are devotees envisioning impending cataclysm, and these are given to doleful speculations. Some of them are waiting for the Atlantic seaboard to disappear; others know that the Mississippi Valley will be inundated; and others still move about from place to place to escape expected earthquakes and tidal waves.

There are cult members who believe sincerely that only their fervent prayers and meditations have prevented the complete destruction of the North American continent. These good people are wasting a great deal of energy and causing themselves much needless alarm and nervous stress. They are akin in their thinking to those worried folks of the last century who sold their homes and sat on the curbs with the money in their hands waiting for the world to end.

It was my misfortune, some years ago, to attend a lecture where a prominent speaker held the attention of a considerable audience while he explained how the moon was going to explode, and the fragments shower down upon the earth, killing all who did not join his movement. Such nonsense cannot fail to do harm to persons of poor judgment and abiding faith.


Many are the persons who, suffering from physical disorders, have ignored their bodily symptoms to falsely attribute their ailments to metaphysical causes. While it is true that physical ills frequently are due to personality and character defects, it is extremely foolish to neglect or deny sickness simply because of the wish not to believe in the reality of matter.

An interesting case of this kind comes to mind. It involves a truth lecturer who enjoyed the reality of coffee, at the same time denying the reality of caffeine. The reasoning used was somewhat as follows: The next time you think that coffee is going to keep you awake at night, stand in front of a mirror and drink a large cup of coffee. Then ask yourself if the reflection in the glass is injured in the slightest degree by the caffeine. H the reflection is not injured, why should you suffer? -- after all, man is only a reflection in spirit, and his material existence is an illusion ... The possibility was not speculated upon of the mirrored coffee being caffeine-less in reflection.

The metaphysician's common complex against the medical sciences,and the discoveries which have resulted from modern research, can lead to disastrous consequences. A person actually sick follows the wiser course when he consults a reputable physician, and does not depend solely upon absent treatments or mental attitudes. Good thoughts will help; but in many cases, they simply do not take the place of expert services based upon co-ordinated lifetimes of practical experience with ailments. Many come to me for help with their religious problems when their trouble of the moment is entirely physical. Once the bodily condition is corrected, it is possible to accomplish much more with the psychical and psychological difficulties.


Truth-seekers seem particularly susceptible to dietetic fads. It was not so long ago that health movements assumed the proportions of religions, and some outlandish doctrines were taught. If some of the health cults were quite sane and helpful, others had nothing to offer but laxatives and bad advice. The laxatives may have served a useful purpose, but at best the advice was worthless. These diets, variously circumscribed and limited by religious beliefs, aggravated constitutional ailments and stimulated functional disorders. The vegetarians stuffed themselves with starch, and the raw food addicts got into trouble with parasites and Paris green. When the system rebelled against the notions of its owner the unpleasant symptoms were interpreted as assaults by black magicians, or they were low vibrations sent out by enemies or relatives.

Confronted by what appears to be a metaphysical ailment, the first thing to do is to check the physical health of the sufferer. In many instances it is unnecessary to search further. Several cases I have known of reported vampirism proved to be anemia or other devitalizing diseases. At least one case was the direct result of trying to attain a state of spirituality through excessive fasting.

Psychic persecution is often nothing more than physical debility aggravated by phobias.


Oriental breathing exercises have caused a great deal of trouble among Western students, not because they have opened chakras or stimulated the kundalini, but because they upset the student's bodily rhythm.

Each person has a normal rate of respiration. This may be abnormalized by emotional excitement or physical disease; but when this rhythm is disturbed by the mind, and the natural flow of the breath is variously controlled by the will, the results are likely to be measured in terms of nervous derangement.

Even more dangerous than the breathing exercise itself is the stress and tension set up in the effort to concentrate and meditate, when the temperament is unsuited to such pursuits. Trying desperately to achieve the different spiritualized states described in the textbooks, or explained by the Oriental teacher, the student passes through cycles of hope and despair, which work a real hardship on the constitution. Hallucinations usually crown the effort.

After practicing at Yoga for a few weeks, one disciple announced to me proudly that she had attained cosmic consciousness, entered the Absolute, passed through it, and come out victoriously on top. But when her certain cult declared that it could bestow Absolute consciousness upon its members, a rival organization had immediately promised super-Absolute consciousness for its followers. Then a third group, not to be outdone, offered Absolute-Absolute consciousness as a special inducement. As none of the promises could be fulfilled, there was no particular point in being conservative.

My collection of case histories includes a number dealing with the havoc wrought by development exercises. In only one instance was the damage definitely due to overstimulation of psychic centers. It was a case in which the student had been practicing Yoga for nearly twenty years, and had neglected to bring his physical and emotional natures into harmony with the Yogic disciplines. He did not realize that it is fatal to perform advanced esoteric exercises, and at the same time nurse personal animosities and a bad temper. The Hindu teacher involved in this tragedy was a fine and learned man, utterly sincere. He simply did not understand Western people; and it never occurred to him that a student would attempt to develop his spiritual faculties without correcting his personal faults as he went along.

The average metaphysically-minded person is preserved from serious consequences by his lack of patience and continuity of purpose. He studies a system of development and if illumination does not come in a few weeks he drifts to some other teacher who promises quicker results. While this process is demoralizing in itself, it may prove less serious than the consequences of actually attempting a long program of effort in a wrong direction.

Oriental exercises are not the only ones that can cause difficulty. One disciple of a Western sect followed its instructions to the letter: He placed a lighted candle on each side of a mirror and gazed at his own eyes in the glass. The result was a form of auto-hypnosis; the poor man could not release his eyes from their reflections in the mirror, and finally collapsed in an hysterical convulsion. The experience cured him of further experimenting in that direction; but the nervous shock caused several months of misery.

Most occult organizations are blissfully unconscious that their doctrines, prohibitions, or esoteric exercises can cause trouble. When you point out to the leader the chaos that is developing in his cult, he assures you that it is impossible for the teaching to be at fault in any particular. The instructions are divinely inspired; and if anything is wrong, the members themselves are to blame.


Certain prosperity teachings must be mentioned, because of their final demoralizing effect upon the health. One lady told me that it was positively uncanny how she could get anything she wanted by visualizing her desire, then demanding that the universe bring about its fulfillment. She had secured a fine house in this way, and at the moment was 'holding the thought' for a wealthy gentleman, whose present wife must be eliminated before he could be hers. It had never occurred to the lady who was concentrating for things she had never earned the right to have, that others would be injured; in this case an innocent wife. Her mental decrees had all been backed up by a series of dishonest and despicable plots, which she justified by a religious belief that everyone is divinely entitled to anything that they ardently desire.

Less violent forms of the prosperity delusion include the process of sitting down and waiting for the universe to provide. This is no more than a highly esoteric form of laziness. A man who had followed this formula described to me in thrilling detail the proof of divine providence in his life. He had pressing need of one hundred dollars, so that he could continue his studies in mystic abundance. He just waited, knowing that "God would provide." He was right, for his doting mother gave him the money she had been saving for medical attention. It never came to this man's mind that he should earn the hundred dollars. He was satisfied to sit and 'hold the thought,' and was stupidly proud of his 'demonstration' of cosmic availability.

Such procedures as these cannot fail to have a detrimental result in the lives of human beings. Existence is a kind of balanced struggle for survival and accomplishment. Men become strong and wise through struggle and effort. When the incentives for living are confused by irrational beliefs, all parts of the personality suffer; for a man cannot be happy or healthy unless he is carrying his part of the common load. Nature punishes alike the drone and the schemer by making their misdeeds the basis of compensatory misfortunes.

Criticizing or exposing religious frauds is resented by many persons who believe that we should see only the good in these beliefs, whether it be present or not. It is regarded as 'unspiritual' to point out that even a well-meaning individual can harm himself and others, when his basic convictions are wrong.

Responsibility for our own faults is something very few of us like to accept. It is much more pleasing to attribute such failings to circumstances beyond our control. Under some conditions, mysticism can become a magnificent new excuse for old and well-loved delinquencies.


Mrs. Marjory Metzger was one who explained to me that before she found truth her temper was most uncertain. But now, all this dispositional equation had been cleared away. Just one little problem still bothered her. When Marjory was in the company of persons with low vibrations, the negative forces which they radiated were so upsetting to her sensitive nature that she became violently agitated and said many mean and hateful things.

Mrs. Metzger hadn't thought about the individuals with the 'low vibrations' being just folks who disagreed with her opinions; she had to be told that the psychic outbursts were nothing but the same bad temper she had nursed so long.

Arnold Weaver was a chronic alcoholic who had made several feeble attempts to break the habit. He learned from hop-skip reading in occult literature that the spirits of deceased drunkards hovered about saloons luring the weak to destruction. Decarnate entities derived a vicarious satisfaction, it seemed, by attaching themselves to the auras of living inebriates. Because this explanation had satisfied Mr. Arnold that the fault was not really his own, it made the task of clearing up his difficulty lengthy and much more complicated.

Eleanor Mason remained unmarried until middle life in order to care for a dominating and demanding' mother. When mother finally was called to her reward, Eleanor was desolate. Mother's ashes were put in a silver urn, and a shrine arranged on the mantel of her room had the ashes as the central motif. Miss Mason habitually sat for hours before the urn, weeping and mourning, and begging her mother to come back. But one day she read in a metaphysical book that it was wrong to do this; it might result in her mother becoming earthbound. Convinced now that she had brought suffering to the soul of her parent, Eleanor, grief stricken, attempted suicide by taking an overdose of a powerful sedative. She recovered, but her health was permanently impaired.

These are the types of stories one hears, day after day, from those who have gone astray in their search for truth. Each account differs slightly, but the principle involved is always the same -- religious teachings, intended to make life happier and more wholesome, have led to misfortune and pain. The understanding needed by students of the occult sciences is that the spiritual arts are not for the weak, but for the strong; they are not for the confused, but for those of sound mind and moral courage. The fearful and the worried are not suited to philosophy. Without simple human weaknesses first being conquered, knowledge is a hopeless burden afflicting the spirit.

When the ancient Israelites built their tabernacle in the wilderness they divided the peoples of the twelve tribes into three classes of worshippers. The multitudes gathered in the great open square before the temple to pray, to make offerings, and to listen to the moral counsel of the priests. The priests themselves assembled in the inner courtyard, there to discourse on deeper matters and worship in another and more learned way. Only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies, where the Spirit of the Lord hovered between the wings of the Cherubim. The High Priest had a rope fastened to his foot when he approached the Mercy Seat. If one worldly or unhallowed thought entered his mind while in the presence of Jehovah, he would be stricken dead. As the other priests could not enter the Holy of Holies, they would be the ones to drag the body out of the sanctuary by the rope on its foot.

In spite of foolish talk about new dispensations, under which all humanity may study the sacred sciences, the old laws still hold true, and will always remain in force. As the great Maimonides so wisely pointed out, the moral parts of religions are suited to the majority of men; the philosophical parts are suited to the few who have given their lives to such studies; and the spiritual parts are reserved to the very few whom God himself shall select from the number of the learned. It is better for the multitude that its worship should be before the gate; and many cultists would be safer and happier in the old and simple faith of their fathers. He makes a sad mistake who attempts to force his way into Holy Places beyond his power to understand.

Spiritual mysteries cannot be brought down to the level of the uninformed. The esoteric sciences cannot be simplified; they are already simple to the wise, but they must remain to the end unintelligible to the ignorant.


The most spectacular of all metaphysical ailments is the obsession. In the terminology of occultism, obsession means the possession of the mind, or body, of the victim by an outside intelligence, usually decarnate.

In its psychological definition, an obsession is a persistent and inescapable preoccupation with an idea or emotion. It is therefore quite possible to be obsessed by the obsession that one is obsessed.

In medieval times it was believed that a man could be obsessed or possessed by the devil, or by some evil spirit such as a demon. These malignant agencies were exorcised by the Church with the aid of rituals, holy water, and sacred relics. It was customary to make a small hole in the floor of a room where witches were examined or tortured. When the demon was forced from the body of its victim, it could take the form of a rat and escape through the prepared opening. If the hole was not provided, the spirit might attach itself to one of the inquisitors.

In modern belief the possessing entity usually is recognized as human or elemental. It is widely taught in present day cults that possession by spirits frequently is mistaken for insanity, and so improperly treated by materialistic physicians; for they do not recognize the difference between obsession and true insanity. And it is quite possible that such mistakes actually do occur.

Cases of alleged obsession have come under my observation in considerable number, affording excellent opportunity to examine this strange phenomenon. Present in most instances has been the factor of divided personality. Nearly everyone is to some degree a Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde. Among the mystic faiths there is much discussion of higher and lower natures, and the eternal conflict between them. As Goethe expressed it, "Two souls within our body strive." Thus the Faust and sub-Faust struggle for dominion. The dominant personality comes to be recognized as the normal self, and the submerged personality goes unrecognized, unless some unusual happening reverses the polarities.

A personality can be split by the violent inhibition of a group of normal and natural impulses. An overdose of doctrination can cause the very outburst of potentials that it seeks to prevent. In noticeable evidence is the old belief that the minister's son is sure to turn out badly.

An early surfeit will turn the mind against all religious convictions. Nothing good is accomplished by inhibiting normal mental, emotional, or physical tendencies; the auto-corrective mechanism in human nature will finally force the release of the inhibited impulses. If the inhibitions have been intensive over a long period of time, the releasing process may bring about disastrous results.

A quiet and patient husband endured the cruel and bitter nagging of his wife for twenty-five years without once losing his temper. Then, one morning he killed her with an axe. Had this man expressed his proper indignation at times along the way of their married life, the wife would have been a better woman, and the husband would not have ended up as a murderer. He held his temper too long in the presence of just cause, and tragedy was the outcome.

A little girl, of a family exceedingly poor, spent many hours of each day gazing into shop windows at pretty trinkets she could not buy. Later, a fortunate marriage gave her the means to purchase whatever she wanted. But it was too late; years of inhibition had destroyed her ability to enjoy the very things she once had wanted. Then, suddenly, this Mrs. Winters, as we'll call her, developed kleptomania. She began by stealing small articles, and was very happy with the little things that she stole, but found no pleasure in things bought for her. Mr. Winters went about quietly and paid the merchants for the shoplifted articles without his wife's knowledge.

This woman was obsessed with two fixations; the love of pretty things; and the childhood realization that to buy them was an unforgivable extravagance, for to spend money foolishly was to deprive her family of food. So firmly was this fixed in her subconscious that in adult life the things she wanted brought her no happiness, unless she could secure them without spending once crucial money.

Another little girl, coming home from school one day was a victim of criminal exhibitionism. If little Florence had followed her first impulse, which was to run home and tell her parents, the chances are no serious damage would have been done. But when the child reached the house she was in hysterics, and afraid to describe what had occurred. In the privacy of her own room, Florence re-lived the terrible experience hundreds of times, and a serious psychological condition was established. Even then, this delicately poised fixation might have been neutralized by a fortunate romance or marriage. But in her late teens Florence went through an unhappy love affair; and this changed the fixation into a complete obsession. Her entire personality passed through a rapid change and as the aversion mechanism came into complete power and assumed the proportions of an obsession, Florence developed pronounced lesbian tendencies.


One morning my phone rang, and a masculine voice at the other end of the wire inquired, rather casually, "Can you do anything for a man who is someone else?"

This was the case: Two brothers, twins, but not identical twins, had volunteered for military service in the First World War. Harry and George were intensely devoted to each other, and had never been separated until the time of their enlistment. Overseas, a few weeks before the armistice, Harry was killed in action. When the news reached George he collapsed, and was invalided home, presumably suffering from what was then broadly termed shell-shock. It was while recuperating that George made the astonishing discovery that he was no longer himself but his brother, Harry.

He had kept this strange secret for a number of years, but gradually a deep concern had arisen in his mind. If Harry had taken his body, what had happened to his own consciousness? Was he, George, wandering about in the spirit world while he, Harry, was living on selfishly, in the body of another? He, as Harry, was perfectly willing to die, if George could come back. But could he, George, return and use the body that had been taken from him?

As is usual in these cases, the causes of the trouble revealed themselves. In the telephone message was the first clue. When George inquired, "Can you do anything for a man who is someone else?" it was George asking about Harry. Throughout the narrative it was George who knew that he was Harry. It was George, as Harry, who was willing to die for Harry, as George. If Harry had taken his brother's body, he would not have said, "after Harry died in France," but rather, "After I died in France." This was a case of obsession by an idea, and not possession by a spirit.

The twin brothers had been very close, and a vivid picture of each was in the subconscious mind of the other. Grief imposed the mental image of Harry upon the personality of George, and he really thought he was his brother. The psychic personality of Harry was built up from memories, supplemented by George's own conclusions about his brother's temperament. Suggestion therapy soon cleared up the confusion.

Mrs. Yeaman developed a curious delusion. She was convinced that her only child, a daughter who had died in her ninth year, came back on various occasions from the spirit world and manifested through the body of her mother, possessing it for several hours at a time. During these periods Mrs. Yeaman seemed to become a small child; even her voice changed, and she prattled on about dolls and toys and Teddy bears. Many spiritualists believe that children who die continue to mature in the spirit world, but little Constance never grew up, because her mother was unable to visualize the child beyond her ninth year. This was another case of idea obsession.

James Avitt claimed that his body was borrowed without his consent by an Oriental mystic who preferred to manifest his presence without taking on a corporeal constitution. While possessed by the spirit of this Hindu, James made learned discourses on Asiatic metaphysics. He insisted that he could not have made the speeches himself. But, when questioned, he admitted that he had attended many lectures by Yogis and Swamis. The subject matter of these lectures had not been retained in his conscious mind, but all were properly recorded in his subconscious, later to come out through this apparent obsession.

In many alleged cases of spirit possession, the possessing entity is of a lower mental and moral order than the supposed victim. The reason for this is that it is customary to inhibit the less desirable phases of character, and these build up in the suppressed personality. When an obsession results in the complete degeneration of the moral nature it is safe to assume that the obsession is a symptom of strongly inhibited tendencies to depravity.

In the course of years a few cases of genuine occult obsession have presented themselves. One experience with these rare instances is worth noting.

My library contains a number of early magical manuscripts, including some which deal with the rites for the exorcising of evil spirits and obsessing demons. It occurred to me to try these medieval formulas on Otto Fertig, who was having serious trouble with some kind of an entity. Strangely enough, the spells were effective almost immediately; the bothersome spirit, whoever he was, departed in haste; and did not return.

If there is a reasonable suspicion that an account of spirit possession is genuine, the simple remedy is to change the psychic pattern of the afflicted person. If the life is shifted into a new design the obsessing being is likely to depart. Improved physical health, new interests in living, and a positive normal outlook, result in the body becoming an uncomfortable habitation for the uninvited guest. Obsessions, both psychological and occult, usually occur in very neurotic persons, and the breaking of the neurosis ends this type of phenomena.


It is always easier to prevent a psychic disturbance than to get rid of one after it is thoroughly established. False teachings and improper methods of study are the principal causes of metaphysical health problems, which makes it evident that it is in these directions the ounce of prevention must be applied.

Those who are likely to be unduly influenced by spiritual pretensions can always be reminded that a metaphysical teacher is not a superhuman being, in spite of his claims. He may, or may not, be learned in his subject, but his solemn pronouncements are no more important than the opinions of other men, unless he can substantiate his claims by reasonable and understandable proof. By keeping this thought in mind the truth-seeker can avoid wrong selection of subject matter.

Improper methods of study are a common fault. This is because the average person does not know how to discipline his thoughts. One frequent mistake is to plunge into a religious doctrine to the exclusion of every other consideration in life. The enthusiast will read day and night, taking off only enough time to attend the meetings of his chosen cult. He lives solely for his new found convictions, and wears himself out in a few weeks. The mind, unused to such specialized exertions, becomes exhausted and confused, and the integrity of the viewpoint is lost.

Life takes on an appearance of undeviating seriousness to the tyro in the mystic arts. Those who are obsessed with the problem of their eternal salvation have no time for rest or relaxation. The 'advanced' students are those who are ever ready to tell me that simple, homely, human things no longer interest them; they have evolved beyond the commonplace, for their lives are wholly dedicated to truth.

This whole attitude is wrong. No sound educational institution would permit students to ponder any subject continuously for months, and certainly not for years, without break or relaxation. Contrast is necessary to the normal function of the intellect, and where it is lacking the thinking will not be found.

Religious beliefs are just as habit-forming as narcotics; and the damage done in both cases is equally serious. The religious addict degenerates into a fanatic, and all progress is lost. One hour a day of abstract metaphysical study is all that can safely be sustained by the average mentality. Additional hours hinder rather than help.

When the appointed period of study is ended, the wise student closes the book, detaches his mind from the entire field of metaphysical thought and interests himself in other matters that concern ordinary human beings. No student is so advanced that he can not profitably laugh and play, or keep up his social contacts, continue his recreations, and attend to his regular duties. For science, and art, and literature, and sociology are just as important to a well-rounded philosophical viewpoint as mystical religion. Occult diseases are not likely to afflict well-balanced mentalities, but they are always a threat to one-track minds.

Those who go off the deep end in their religious contemplations often find themselves in domestic difficulties. They burden the entire family with their immature opinions, neglect their children, allow their homes to go to wrack and ruin, and fail utterly in their responsibilities as husbands or wives. To those of practical mind, such spiritual beliefs are not particularly attractive; and so the fanatic is likely to regard himself as misunderstood and even persecuted by his relatives, when the fault is actually his own.

A splendid way to keep the feet on the ground is to balance occult studies with their correspondences among the physical sciences or philosophies. Those who are interested in alchemy, can take a course in chemistry. If astrology is all, the study of astronomy is the anodyne. Those interested in the mystical aspects of comparative religion, might well enroll for a university course in the subject. The foolish belief to be eliminated is, that time is wasted in unilluminated formal education.

Throughout the country opportunities exist for men and women whose educational advantages have been limited to study extension courses or attend adult sessions of the evening schools. The public libraries can supply properly balanced programs of home reading on most vital themes. By availing himself of these facilities the sincere truth-seeker can educate himself in the great systems of human thought that have led the world.

Suppose someone is interested in Buddhism. Several of the larger universities have courses in Oriental religions. These embrace the conditions that brought Buddhism into existence, the sphere of its influence, the best available information about the historical Buddha, the faith that he founded, the councils by which its course was changed, and the means by which the doctrines were disseminated throughout Asia. When armed with a solid working knowledge of the Buddhist philosophy, misinformation can be detected immediately, and the admired teachings can also be defended with authority.

This was the burden of my recommendations to Mrs. Elsie Redlich when she came to me for help to straighten out a muddle of neo-Buddhist nonsense she had gathered from several poorly informed but very imaginative teachers. Mrs. Redlich was aghast at the prospect of actually studying Buddhism under academic supervision. "I could never study every day," she exclaimed; "I don't know how to study; and I could never remember all those awful names and dates and places. And to write out answers to questions: why I simply haven't got that kind of mind. I don't want a lot of dry facts; I want Illumination."

This good lady was trying to study the deepest and most complicated philosophical system in the world; and yet she admitted to having the kind of mind that couldn't at school learn the simple historical facts of the Buddhist religion. She of course had no desire to improve her mind; all she wanted was to achieve nirvana without effort. And this is so with many metaphysicians; they do not want to work for knowledge. They are content to listen to their favorite teacher and let him do the thinking for them. They desire the rewards of wisdom without the long and difficult process of becoming wise.


If it is too late to establish proper thinking habits, then it is necessary to repair, insofar as possible, the damage done by wrong habits. When a person in psychic difficulty comes for help, strict but sympathetic guidance is needed. It must be understood with the patient that he will follow to the letter the method of treatment outlined by the healer. If he refuses to agree to such a program, then he should be dismissed immediately. I have found it wise also to decline the case when it is evident that the sufferer has mental reservations and is likely to disobey in spite of promises. Successes are few with those patients who feel that they know more than the practitioner.

If the psychic disturbance is the result of false or improper instruction, the sufferer must be made to sever all relations with the organization or teacher responsible for the trouble. Only on this condition should the case be handled. If the teachings themselves are reputable, and the difficulty is due to misunderstanding or misapplication of principles, the mistakes must be corrected, and then the mind be given a period for rest and readjustment.

If extreme nervousness or hallucinations are present, all metaphysical studies and development exercises of every kind must be discontinued for at least a year after the last of the unpleasant symptoms have disappeared. Once the nervous system has been upset, it remains supersensitive for some time to the causes which produced the specialized tension. In other respects the nerves may be quite normal, but if confronted again with a similar type of stress, the nervous structure will show damage almost immediately.

Some devotees will not stop their exercises, because they fear that to do so will retard the development of their spiritual natures. Such a one said to me, "I would rather die than give up my occult growth." She made her choice; she died less than a year later in a home for mental cases.


The procedure with a patient includes a complete physical examination, with special attention to chronic ailments, the nervous system, the ductless glands, the eyes and the teeth. Mystical speculations seem to work an especial hardship on the glandular functions; and conversely, if the glands are deranged the mental and emotional natures are particularly susceptible to psychic disturbances. As many metaphysicians neglect their physical health, either from addiction to mental healing methods, or because of their prejudices against doctors, the physical examination usually reveals a number of conditions that require correction.

Then, to proceed in proper order, the diet should be considered; and there is a wide variety of fads in this field. Religious movements that impose particular diets on their members seldom inquire into the nutritional requirements of the individual cases. One group which had followers in Northern Siberia actually demanded of these poor folks that they give up meat eating and the wearing of furs -- a death sentence in that barren and frigid country.

Sufferers from nervous and psychic ailments should be encouraged to eat normally and wisely of nourishing and properly prepared foods. Three well-balanced meals, eaten regularly, and taken with enjoyment, will go a long way toward clearing up psychic difficulties. Mysterious symptoms can result from nervous stomach trouble aggravated by the belief that one gains spiritual merit by attempting to wean the body from 'low vibration' foodstuffs.

In my experience occasional but considerable trouble can be caused by over use of citrus fruits. They should be taken very moderately by persons suffering from any nerve excitement or irritation.

Some flourish on one type of diet, and some on another; there is no way of planning a food program that will fit all cases. Usually a simple, tasteful meal of regular foods, eaten in moderate amounts, brings the best results. It is certainly a mistake to become so conscious of things to eat that no time or energy is left to perfect the life in other ways.


As emotional frustrations lead a large number of unhappy persons to the study of religion, these frustrations are next on the list to be investigated. Usually, religion does not solve emotional problems! it merely transforms the impulses and obscures their natural origin. Inhibited emotions, unrequited loves, unhappy marriages, disastrous romances, tragic sexual experiences, and general disillusionments may be suspected whenever a person turns to religion with fanatical devotion. As women brood over these matters much more than men, women members are likely to predominate in religious organizations.

Persons who nurture grievances and griefs are inclined to choose a solitary life. They have few friends, and their melancholy dispositions are not calculated to draw acquaintances, or to hold them. And so, it is always helpful in diagnosing and treating to examine into the social life of the patient. If mysticism is being used simply to fill up the days of a lonely existence, the sufferer should be encouraged to increase his circle of friends and take a more active part in the life of his community and neighborhood. The extroversion which results from participating in social activities is a fine and normal way of breaking down inhibitions. The tendency to go off by one's self and suffer in silence, is bad, not only for the victim himself, but it is against all the laws of social existence.

The present temper of our time complicates this situation. It is not easy to find congenial people, and most groups of the socially minded are inclined toward extravagance and dissipation. But outside contacts are necessary; and a little thought will discover a suitable avenue of social expression.

Hobbies are important to the balanced life of the individual. All metaphysicians should have hobbies entirely apart from their spiritual beliefs. Hobbies broaden the perspective, increase the store of useful knowledge, stimulate outside contacts, and break down internal tension. When neurotic inclinations are pronounced, the sufferer will find that a hobby can give constructive release and comfort. An avocation has possible economic advantages, also; it may lead to a future vocation. But regardless of this contingency, it is valuable in complementing the dominant interests of the personality.

A number of cases have come to me in which the spiritual studies were used to escape from some real and personal problems of the moment. Both the French and Russian revolutions were caused, in part, by this approach to vital issues. The aristocracy exploited the people and the clergy recommended only patience under affliction. In the end the people rose and destroyed both church and state. Let me give you an example of this condition as it exists in the lives of modern truth-seekers.

Mrs. Lucille Stewart told her story in these words: "If it was not for my studies of truth, I could not live with my husband another day. He is selfish, insensitive, and completely immersed in his own affairs. We have nothing in common, but it is my karma, so I will stay with him and be patient until the law of life gives me release." Her attitude was noble and kind but utterly impractical and unsound. In the first place, she was contributing to the delinquency of her husband by permitting him to continue in his selfish ways without correction or discomfort. And in the second place, she was injuring her own psychological structure by going along, year after year, deprived of the natural companionship and close sympathy to which she was entitled. No good was coming out of the problem for either person, except the wife's over-development of patience to the degree of frustration.

Mrs. Stewart had been driven to religion by this very frustration, and through the lack of courage to put her house in order. She should have corrected her domestic difficulties by a simple application of common sense. When she came to me, Mrs. Stewart was suffering from hallucinations and a variety of nervous ailments. There was no possibility of a permanent correction until she solved the disaster in her emotional life. Instead of inspiring her to solve this problem, religion was giving her only patience to endure something she had no need to endure.

Attempting to practice the metaphysical disciplines of several different cults at the same time often leads to trouble. This is not broad-mindedness, but a dangerous eclecticism. It is always wise to secure a list of the patient's affiliations from the time he became interested in mysticism. Many clues will be unearthed in this way. Sometimes the fault lies not with the present teachings, but with old notions which have lingered in the recesses of the mind. It is also useful to check the individual's present reading. He may have picked up dangerous literature, which abounds at the moment.


The character and disposition of the patient must be carefully considered when recommending a system of treatment. The spiritually sick divide themselves into three distinct classes according to mentality and temperament.

The first division is made up of the cases that are nearly, if not entirely, hopeless. This does not mean that the ailment is hopeless, but rather, that the addiction to foolish beliefs is incurable.. If such persons are helped out of one difficulty, they will fall immediately into another. There is no good, solid ratiocination possible to these folks; they are vague, disconnected in their thinking, filled with platitudes and noble generalities, and utterly unable to resist the persuasive powers of fraudulent teachers and cults.

The second division encompasses those who still retain considerable of their native intelligence and will cooperate within certain limitations. There is a good chance of getting these persons back to normalcy, and they are proof against the more obvious types of religious swindles. This group will follow instructions that are given, but most of their decisions must be made for them, as they have little innate talent for spiritual speculations.

The third, and smallest division, contains men and women of marked ability and unquestioned intelligence who have made a few mistakes, but have the mental power to solve their problems once they understand the causes. These types will do their part cheerfully and enthusiastically, and can be set right in nearly every instance.

Only wide experience can bestow skill in the diagnosis and treating of metaphysical diseases. While all the cases are much alike in principle, the personality equation complicates each problem, for almost certainly the patient is working against his own best interests. Long familiarity with the subject, however, enables the practitioner to estimate the situation correctly, even before the sufferer has begun to tell his story.


If all the circumstances listed in this section have been checked upon and analyzed, the healer is in possession of most of the information necessary to form the basis of treatment. Lesser details will fall into their proper places, and the case can be considered as a whole -- a complete problem pattern. It is not possible in a general work of this kind to explain the formulas used in treating every combination of mystical maladjustment. Here again, experience is the only certain guide; experience derived from a thorough knowledge of the occult philosophies, and perfected through years of practical application.

The broad, basic rule of treatment is that normalcy must be restored. That which is abnormal to any individual is dangerous to his life and health. This is true even though the abnormalcy results from a sincere effort to live some religious belief that is beyond the understanding or capacity of the believer. There is no truth in the notion that God will protect the foolish because they are sincere in their foolishness. It is entirely possible to get into serious trouble searching for truth, if the seeker breaks natural laws along the way. Deity protects only those who are too wise to attempt to break Its laws.

Happy, simple, human ways are the best ways for the ordinary man. There are a few whose extraordinary abilities qualify them to explore the mysteries of magic and the occult sciences, but it is extremely unfortunate for the average person to attempt the works of genius. If the passion for the mystic arts is strong and irresistible, then the proper foundation must be laid in study and research under reputable instruction. It is evident that a man who cannot distinguish a false teacher from a true one is not yet ready to search after the great spiritual intangibles of the universe.

It may seem that this book attacks all mystical philosophies; but such is not the intention. It is a volume devoted to metaphysical healing, with therefore little space to be devoted to the spiritually healthy. But they exist, and in considerable numbers, among those who have found in their beliefs strength and courage to face the problems of life and perfect their own characters. They have approached the subject quietly and intelligently, have never been involved in dubious organizations, have never followed after questionable teachers, and have never tried to finish the work of ages in a few short years. And so they are not seeking help for their troubles; they have kept out of trouble by the generous use of common sense.

Once, twenty-five centuries ago, the Greek sage, Thales of Miletus, was walking down a narrow road at night discoursing to his disciples about the stars. With his eyes and attention fixed upon the heavenly bodies, he forgot the path beneath his feet and fell into a ditch filled with muddy water. Thales never forgot this; he liked to remind his students that man is so placed in the order of living things that he can look at the heavens to his heart's content; but he must also watch his feet, or some accident will certainly befall him.

Man is a spiritual being with feet of clay. In his haste to release his divine potentials he may well forget that he is bound to the earth by a corporeal nature that has certain reasonable demands that must be satisfied.
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