Medicine, Occult
Nineteenth-century magus Éliphas Lévi observed
‘‘The whole power of the occult physician is in the conscience
of his will, while his whole art consists in exciting the
faith of his patient. ‘If you have faith,’ says the Master, ‘all
things are possible to him who believes.’ The subject must be
dominated by expression, tone, gesture; confidence must be inspired
by a fatherly manner, and cheerfulness stimulated by
seasonable and sprightly talk. Rabelais, who was a greater magician
than he seemed, made pantagruelism his special panacea.
He compelled his patients to laugh, and all the remedies
he administered subsequently succeeded better in
consequence. . . . He established a magnetic sympathy between
himself and them, by means of which he imparted his own confidence
and good humour; he flattered them in his refaces,
termed them his precious, most illustrious patients, and dedicated
his books to them. So are we convinced that Gargantua
and Pantagruel cured more black humours, more tendencies to
madness, more atrabilious whims, at that epoch of religious animosities
and civil wars, than the whole Faculty of medicine
could boast.
‘‘Occult medicine is essentially sympathetic. Reciprocal affection,
or at least real good will, must exist between doctor and
patient. Syrups and juleps have very little inherent virtue; they
are what they become through the mutual opinion of operator
and subject; hence homeopathic medicine dispenses with them
and no serious inconvenience follows. Oil and wine, combined
with salt or camphor, are sufficient for the healing of all
wounds, and for all external frictions or soothing applications.
Oil and wine are the chief medicaments of the Gospel tradition.
They formed the balm of the Good Samaritan, and in the Apocalypse,
when describing the last plagues, the prophet prays the
avenging powers to spare these substances, that is, to leave a
hope and a remedy for so many wounds. What we term Extreme
Unction was the pure and simple practice of the Master’s
traditional medicine, both for the early Christians and in the
mind of the apostle Saint James, who has included the precept
in his epistle to the faithful of the whole world. ‘Is any man sick
among you,’ he writes, ‘let him call in the priests of the church,
and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name
of the Lord.’
‘‘This divine therapeutic science was lost gradually, and Extreme
Unction came to be regarded as a religious formality, as
necessary preparation for death. At the same time, the thaumaturgic
virtue of consecrated oil could not be effaced altogether
from remembrance by the traditional doctrine, and it is perpetEncyclopedia
of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed. Medicine, Occult
1007
uated in the passage of the catechism which refers to Extreme
Unction. Faith and charity were the most signal healing powers
among the early Christians. The source of most diseases is in
moral disorders; we must begin by healing the soul, and then
the cure of the body will follow quickly.’’
Some of these concepts have been revived in the modern
New Age concept of holistic medicine.
Sources
Hartmann, Franz. The Life and Teachings of Paracelsus. London
George Redway, 1887. Reprinted with The Prophecies of
Paracelsus. Blauvely, N.Y. Rudolf Steiner, 1973.
Lévi, Éliphas. Transcendental Magic. London George Redway,
1896. Rev. ed. London William Rider, 1923.
Paracelsus. The Archidoxes of Magic. Translated by Robert
Turner. London, 1656. Reprint, New York Samuel Weiser,
1975.

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