Posted: October 31st. 2004
Times Viewed: 2,323
Physicians do not heal a sick body; the body heals itself because the body wants to be healthy. That's why it has not one, but two immune systems. The older, more primitive one is called the natural or innate system, and is a set of non-specific defenses such as skin, mucous membranes to trap entering microbes and particles and expel them in phlegm; also some varieties of cells that kill intruders that get through the outer defenses and clean up the debris of the destroyed intruders. The newer one is designed to develop antibodies as defenses against specific things such as toxins, viruses and bacteria that can easily penetrate the innate defenses. When the body's health is failing, it does things to restore its condition. Faced with an infected cut, for example, it inflames itself to promote the circulation of blood with antibodies to the infection site. Another example is a broken bone, which only needs to be stabilized and left alone so the body can rejoin the two pieces. Doctors can only give it things to help, but the actual healing process is realized by and within the body. If the body cannot heal itself, the doctors can only resort to the use of chemicals that kill life - forms that are attacking the body, that is: parasites, bacteria, viruses, or fungi; or to drugs to suppress (but not cure) the pathological condition, or to procedures to remove the incurable portion by drainage, excision, amputation, etc. Other liquids, medications, vitamins, if they do not come directly from Nature's medicine cabinet, are derivatives, concentrations or imitations of naturally occurring plants, minerals, and so on.
When we say the body wants to be healthy, we are not referring to positive attitudes, wellness, will to heal, and so on; this has nothing to do with mind control or biofeedback, or anything else that originates in the brain and is transmitted to the body. We are realizing that the very cells, the individual cells of the body, have this nonconscious impulse that originates at the cellular level to maintain their health, and that the mind, like the medical doctors, can influence and help the cells. (Dr. Andrew Weil wrote a great book on this idea, Spontaneous Healing.) If the mind worked the same way, conscious maintenance of health would be as imperative and unquestioned as breathing, of which we are very conscious and cannot stop doing for very long. But where does this impulse come from? If we know the answer to this question, we can better understand health and healing, so let's go back to the very Beginning: Everything is in motion, vibrating. Reality is always changing, as it has been doing ever since the Gods started the Wheel in motion. Magick consists of changing the direction of motion, of altering the pattern of alteration. (Permanence is an illusion, although a damned good one.) The original impulses to motion were given by the Deities. So, does it follow that any altering by a human of the natural progression of the motions is what we call Magick? My opinion is, yes, understanding that we can affect low-order natural changes such as machines, chemical processes, brute force. These are not Magickal interventions, just everyday physical adaptations of things that can be, so to say, moved around like furniture. Imagine a stone thrown in water, reflected, creating new patterns of waves (vibrations), then another stone is thrown in, causing changes in the patterns, what a scientist would call second-order changes, that is, changes of the first changes. The waves and reflections caused by the first stone represent the natural world and all its possible developments, the stone that was thrown by the Goddess. The second stone is our Magickal stone that causes the wave patterns to be altered in ways they could never have possibly done without our intervention.
Magick, then, is a willful alteration of natural progression, using rituals, runes, chants, spells, invocations, and other means to accomplish the change. The force of Magick is the same as the force of Creation. Whatever was going on in the moment before Creation, it was a transcendent, or Magickal, moment in which, as in an inhalation, all the potential for existence is gathered and in an exhalation, all existence is realized, blown into being. The energy of realization, which goes on to propel the original materia, and forms and changes it (by evolution or explosion, to name two common paths), can easily be called Magickal energy, the manifest Divine will in action. This force is a constant that cannot be attenuated or diluted, and is as powerful now as it was when it first appeared; it is as if this moment, now, is still the instant of Creation. This primordial Magick is the basis of our own, which we perform by conscious thoughts and acts to redirect the energy (second-order changes), in a sense laying hands on the Divine intention and diverting it to our own purposes - which is why we must be extremely careful not to misuse it. Unlike the intentions of prayer, in which the prevailing attitude is "not my will, but thine, be done," in Magick it is expressly our will that we seek to be done. One of my favorite vignettes on the subject of prayer (or prayer vs. Magick) comes from the movie Patton, in which George C. Scott, as the General, prior to a major battle (I think to relieve the siege of Bastogne), orders the military chaplain to write a prayer for good weather. He expects this to be effective because he, Patton, enjoys an "intimate relation with the Almighty," and can assure the chaplain that "if you write a good prayer, we'll have good weather." The chaplain is amazed by this unusual use of the chaplain service, but obeys, and coincidentally or not, there is good weather.
Why do rituals, invocations, etc., work? I think it goes back to the essential relationship that the classical scholars called causality, which they saw as connecting past, present and future. However, although they were conceptually able to bridge the gap between cause and effect, and say cause A has effect B, they didn't focus on what there was existing in the gap between A and B. Their arguments sound something like this: "Causes are the causality of causation. A cup is smashed on the floor because it fell. It fell because it was displaced off the shelf it was on. It was displaced because the shelf broke loose from the wall, because somebody put too much weight on it, etc., etc. Every cause has a prior cause, and the classical argument says, either this chain of causality goes infinitely into the past or there is a first cause that has no priors." But just to say that a cause causes effects doesn't explain anything, least of all the relationship between the causer and the affected. It would be like trying to explain what a dog is by saying it is a creature that has dogginess. It's hinted at in the argument that leans to a first cause, as if First Cause was sitting there (figuratively speaking), wondering what to call His/Her first command: "Should I say, START UP!, or BE CREATED!, or I ORDER YOU TO BE!, or I CAUSE YOU TO BE!, or maybe LET THERE BE!...?" Then, He/She imagined all things to be, then and forever after, and everything that was, is or will be was created in that one first instant (again, every moment is the moment of Creation). Everything is a reflection, or a symbol, of the Deity; the energy of that act of imagination continues to flow forever, and is the Magick of our universe.
Causality is one way of explaining how the universe works; Magick is the other. Causality's explanation is Divine Cause - natural effect. Magick's explanation is Divine Reality - natural symbolism. The entire universe, all of its creatures, you and I, are symbols, nothing more, of the Utter Reality of the God and Goddess (and, yes, I realize that this is absolutely the reverse of the concept that the Deities are our thought- forms). The moon, its phases, its influences, are symbols of the Goddess. The sun is a symbol, or metaphor, of the God. In this we find the explanation for rituals and invocations, because as symbols ourselves, we accomplish change Magickally by aligning ourselves, our intention, our target and our actions with the symbols of our Deities as we understand them and ourselves. In a crude sense, we invoke the Deity's powers, but in a deeper, more occult sense, we embed ourselves in the symbol complex that we construct around ourselves, around our Goddess, around our target, to make a change happen. It follows that one of our most important tasks in this life is to discover the meaning of our own personal symbolism in order to be able to handle it and use it. And in this, we can divert back to an understanding of the original question of how the body keeps healthy. But first, where does sickness come from?
If Nature is a reflection or symbolic representation of the Gods/Goddesses, then they logically have their ups and downs in some sense, too. All the myths agree on this, as far as I know. Our (or at least, my) concept of the Gods/Goddesses is not of a group of omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, omnibeneficent, perfectly good but eternally static beings. I think they have limits, depending on their positions in the hierarchy of the Utter Reality. They have what has been symbolized in our lower reality as personalities: emotions, impatience or frustration, anger, happiness, love, tenderness, self-interest, changeability, and so on. They can be different from day to day. They can have flaws that they do or try to correct, although in some mythologies, there are mischief-makers or Gods of Chaos who live to do what they do, sort of like hackers of the divine Internet. All this, as I said, is reflected in Nature, and is also reflected in our health status. And this, to me at least, seems a more realistic, understandable vision of the Deities than the one which has one God who is all-powerful, all-good, and so on. In order to accept that absolutely good God, it was necessary to invent a source of absolute evil, otherwise there is no answer to the question of why bad things happen to good people. Not only that, but one's concept of divinity obviously affects how one communicates with Him/Her/Them: communication to the one omnipotent God can only be a refined form of begging, whereas communication with the Gods/Goddesses can take on the aspect of negotiation, being sure to give all due respect, honor, and reverence to the Deity. With the one who is all-powerful, Magick is impossible, and rituals of cleansing, forgiving, exorcism, healing, and so on, are all done in His name by authorized representatives who supposedly manipulate his power, not their own. With the Gods/Goddesses, Magick is not only possible, it is acceptable, and I dare to say, encouraged (subject to all the standard precautions!). After all, if we understand these truths about Nature, the Deities, Creation, etc., then the next logical step would be to interact, to assume our roles in Nature, specifically in the topic under discussion, as healers.
To conclude: a healthy, whole body is a symbol of the Deities who created it. Every molecule attests to this. There are two basic principles that help to understand the dynamics of health: the principle of correspondence, "as above, so below," which I have just covered ad nauseam; and the microcosm-macrocosm principle, which states that phenomena which exist at the micro level are reiterated in the macro level, or "as little, so large." This is elaborated in Dr. Weil's book, in which he gives as examples the self-repairing abilities of DNA, of cells, and of the larger structures of tissue, bone, and so on. When the body becomes ill, the systems try to revert to the healthy status, in which they were in correspondence with the Divine, and the body is capable of attacking the problem of illness at every level necessary. And just to point out a correspondence, just as the body has two immune systems, as I described at the start, so there are two varieties of Magick at work in the picture: the more ancient innate Magick, which maintains the stability of the body's health, and the disease-specific Magick to which we resort when there is an illness that won't go away.
Illness itself is a phenomenon of Nature, probably caused by the elements of mischief and chaos, the Divine Hackers. There is nothing evil in this; it is simply a question of balance and loss of balance. In other respects, illness is necessary for the cycle of life-death-rebirth. If we are shoved, we react spontaneously to maintain or regain balance; if we fall ill, we spontaneously try to regain our healthy state. When this does not happen, we may resort to "standard" medical treatment, alternative medicine, or Magickal means, these means being the rituals, writings, and Magickal substances employed as our symbology for the intervention that we take upon ourselves to perform.
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