The Word Foundation



Vol. 23 SEPTEMBER, 1916. No. 6

Copyright, 1916, by H. W. PERCIVAL.


Sympathetic Healing.

HEALING and hurting by sympathy is accomplished through using principles and correspondences of the occult science of sympathy and antipathy. This healing and injuring is done by making and placing a magnet through which elemental influences are caused to contact and so affect elementals which compose the body or part to be healed or to be afflicted. In the cures and mistakes of medical practitioners the same class of elementals are used or permitted to work as in sympathetic cures, whether the practitioners know of it or not.

Shamanism, voodooism, the legends and customs of the North American Indians, and the hidden practices of gypsies and of many peasants, shepherds, and fisher-folk in lonely lands, all have to do with prayers, benedictions, exorcisms, incantations, amulets, charms, brewings, sacrifices, and strange operations, which are intended to bring on the magnetic working of nature ghosts, which is commonly called sympathetic healing and bewitching.

Insight into sympathies and antipathies of things was not limited to alchemists of the Middle Ages. Many persons were aware of the results at least, which could be obtained by the use of this subtle magic, even if they did not know the doctrines. Sympathy is still relied upon by certain country folk, gypsies and nomadic tribes, and in Europe more than in America. For in Europe the local conditions make rural people and wanderers on the highways live closer to nature than do those who dwell in the cities. While in America, even in country districts, people are surrounded by many of the products and by the atmosphere of modern civilization and to that degree are away from solitude and nature. Yet even so the touch of civilization is not quite able to prevent some people from sensing certain influences of “nature” ghosts. In the past the American Indians knew, and some of them still know, of ghosts in the air, the woods and rocks and trees and water. Wide stretches of moorlands and heather, woods and mountain chains, where few people are found, fields and meadows, where none but the dwellers labor and pass even in the quiet day, and the cattle and other animals live in their own worlds; the plant life in dim forests, meadows and bogs, the sounds of torrents, waterfalls, low rippling brooks, the ocean and tempests, all this in green and white seasons under turning constellations and under the changing moons, are conditions which allow people to feel sometimes the influences of nature ghosts.

In primitive life it is easy to feel these powers. There people know that wood cut at one season and one phase of the moon rots more quickly than if cut at another time. There people appreciate the value of gathering herbs at seasons and hours when certain planets rule the heavens in certain houses. It is known that certain ghosts preside over certain localities, and that these ghosts make themselves known on certain occasions, though the conditions under which these ghosts become visible are not generally known. From such appearances legends often arise. People know that certain stones or other objects bear certain relations to the presiding genii, and often such objects are used in curing a disease or bringing on trouble. Some among these simple people are so constituted psychically that they see and hold converse with elemental beings and often receive instructions and advice, among other things, concerning sympathetic actions of objects. The closer they are in touch with nature the more sensitive will they be and the better will they understand how the same thing can be made to cure or to injure, depending upon the time of its gathering and the manner of its preparation and use, and the nature of its symbolic import. So it is known that certain signs and symbols have a definite value in calling, reaching and directing nature ghosts, just as written or spoken words have a similar effect on men. Curves, straight lines and angles arranged in set forms command obedience and produce certain results. Hence the use of such things as circles inscribed with figures, of eggs, daggers, seashells, as amulets to protect.

That body of knowledge is occult, dealing as it does, with the true nature of the beings which build up, maintain, and destroy all bodies and things in the mineral, vegetable and animal and human kingdoms. Their true nature is invisible and intangible and is magnetic. Every object either attracts or repels every other. These subtle influences, unobserved by the physical senses, are founded on laws of sympathies and antipathies. Below the mineral and above the human, the laws which govern sympathy and antipathy act too, but the workings are so far removed from anything that can be observed by the senses that the records thereof are scanty and doubted. The sympathies and antipathies of elementals when bound in the objects of the four kingdoms, for and against the free elementals in the elements, is the foundation of the science of sympathy and antipathy between objects in the physical world.

Metals, stones, and plants, and the roots, seeds, leaves, bark, flowers and juices of plants, living animals and parts of dead animals, liquids like water, blood, and secretions of animal bodies, and compounds of such things in certain proportion, were used so as to produce results by the action of the free elementals, which were led by the magic object to the part or body which was to be healed or afflicted.

Cures of existing ailments could thus be effected and ailments brought on by the employment of certain objects which under ordinary conditions seem to bear no relation to the peculiar use to which they were thus put. The cures were called sympathetic cures, the afflictions witchcraft. No one acquainted with the working of the underlying principles would ever doubt the possibility of witchcraft. Of course, many who claimed to know witchcraft—and many who were believed to know it or to practice it or who were therefore persecuted—were ordinary persons possessed of no knowledge or power whatever, along these lines of affecting persons or animals or crops by adverse or favorable magnetic influences exerted by the contact of nature ghosts.

Many of the so-called superstitions concerning healing by sympathy and affliction by witchcraft appear to be without sense, and they arouse the antagonism of people who think in an orderly manner. However, many of the formulae handed down are absurd, largely because they are incomplete or because they contain words, substituted or added, which make the formulae senseless. There are often grains of truth in such traditions. Nothing that grows, but what can be used to advantage in causing or relieving ills, if people only knew how to make use of its magnetic properties. The magnetic virtue does not lie in the thing itself, but it lies in its value as a means to connect that which is to be healed or afflicted with elemental influences which produce the magnetic cure or affliction. The meanest plant or whatever object it may be, will be effective or otherwise, according to the time and place of its selection and preparation and the time and manner of its application. Seasons and hours of the day or night have vastly differing magnetic influences upon the same means, and so the means will produce different effects according to the times when prepared. Moreover, the application reaches different conditions according to the season and the hour when it is brought into action.

Not a few of what were called senseless superstitions, such as injuring an enemy’s horse by driving a nail in a footprint of it left clearly marked on the ground, protecting cattle against flies, and plants against birds, bugs and field mice by hanging herbs in the neighborhood of that which was to be protected, removing moles and warts by the touch of the hand of a dead man, connecting a disease of a person with a plant to have the disease absorbed by the plant or with a stream to have it washed away; all have a sound basis of healing or afflicting by sympathy. The beating by American Indians of drums to drive away a spirit causing a disease, and many practices of obeahmen in the West Indies and in Africa are not as ineffective as might be believed by civilized men who are burdened with a knowledge which does not permit them to be natural. All this sounds ridiculous to those who do not understand the principles involved and to those who are impressed by the fact that these practices are not the customs today.

As much can be done today by the action of nature ghosts as was formerly done. Cures can be effected today by sympathy as well or better than by medicine. Today the principles are not known and it is not regular to cure by sympathy, and those who sometimes attempt the practice are illiterate, “odd,” “queer,” and hence people have no faith in it. However, any one mentally fit and having the proper psychic organization, who would give as much time to the study and practice of sympathy as physicians give to their profession, would have better results than the doctors now get.

To mention a few examples. It was the belief that if a nail was driven into the footprint of a horse, the animal would be lamed or injured. This could not be done by everybody, but only by one who was sufficiently in touch with nature ghosts to connect certain elementals with the elementals of the nail so that they would act on the astral foot of the horse through the astral impression left on the moist soil; in this manner the horse would be lamed. Cattle were protected against flies and vermin by placing in the stable certain herbs gathered at a certain time. The elementals in the structure of the flies or vermin disliked these plants and therefore remained away from the cattle. In the case of the moles and warts, if the hand of a dead woman or man was placed on the blemish until the hand became warm, then the destructive elementals in the hand of the dead man or woman would be impressed on the mark and attack it until it disappeared. But in order to do this it was necessary that the one who placed the dead hand on the blemish, should have somewhat of the intent to make the connection between the decaying and the wart or mole to be affected. The heat of the hand fused the astral bodies, one full of vitality the other having the destructive influence of decomposition. Where a fever or disease was to be taken away by an animal, a plant or a stream, a connection was made with the sick person through some fluid, such as blood or saliva or urine, taken from the person and imparted to that which was to draw it away. Where the fluid was on a cloth or paper put among other things in a bundle and that was picked up by one whose curiosity led him on, he got the disease. The ceremonies, frequently fantastic, which may have accompanied the preparation of the bundle were not the efficient cause, but served to impress the thought and the intent. The noise which Indian medicine men make to cure disease by driving away the spirit which causes it may act on the astral body of the part affected and disconnect it from the influence which is the cause of the ill, or the sounds made by the medicine men break up the elemental form, and so these healers restore the body to its normal action.

These practices often accomplished and do accomplish the results desired. Attempts to heal by sympathy, may today not give the same results because the would-be practitioners do not know how to work properly. The same results may be had by other means. So wounds may be healed in one way or another. However, by whichever way the healing or injury is done, one thing is certain, namely, that the same class of elementals have to be used to bring about a particular result.

The principle of curing by sympathy can well be illustrated by the grafting or budding of branches on fruit trees. Not every twig can be grafted on any kind of tree. There must be sympathy to make the contact. For instance, a peach can be put on a plum tree, or an apricot on a peach tree, or one kind of peach on another peach, but not an apple on a peach nor a pear on an apricot, but pears can be budded on quinces. The bound elementals connected with the little bud of the peach, carry with them certain free elementals, or magnetic influences, which will follow into the plum tree, so that the whole force of the plum trunk will run into the engrafted peach branch and the plum life is led into the peaches.

If a basin of stagnant water is connected with a stream of flowing water, then the channels of the stagnant water are cleaned out and the stale becomes flowing water. The bound elementals of the magnet are the form or channel through which the free elementals are drawn into and act upon the bound elementals in the diseased object which is to be affected.

Healing by sympathy is a science which even in the Middle Ages hardly ever left the state of superstition and infancy. With a better knowledge of the principles of sympathies and antipathies of which this attempted healing touches only a part, an occult and fundamental law of the physical universe will become known and with it the means of making stones, herbs, plants, metals, fluids, and other objects into magnets and placing them to affect objects, improve human bodies, and to cure disease.

To be continued