The History of Medicine, Part 2

TRACY LATZ MD continues on from her previous article about the history of alternative medicine. Here she describes THE SEVEN CAUSES AND CURES OF DISEASE according to the 15th-16th century physician/alchemist Paracelsus who wandered through Europe, Africa and Asia in order to find and resurrect, in the West, the ancient Hermetic writings and philosophies on healing. 

The Seven Causes of Disease

1. Evil entities:These were regarded as creatures born of degenerate actions, subsisting on the vital energies of those to whom they attached themselves.

2. A derangement of the spiritual nature and the material nature: these two, failing to coordinate, produced mental and physical subnormality (birth defects).

3. An unhealthy or abnormal mental attitude: Melancholia, morbid emotions, excess of feeling, such as passions, lusts, greed, and hates, affected the ‘mumia’ (a disease germ unit), from which they reacted into the physical body, where they resulted in ulcers, tumors, cancers, fevers, and tuberculosis.

4. Karma, that is, the Law of Compensation, which demanded that the individual pay in full for the indiscretions and delinquencies of the past. A physician had to be very careful how he interfered with the workings of this law, lest he thwart the plan of eternal justice.

5. The motion and aspects of the heavenly bodies: The planets/stars did not compel the sickness but rather impelled it. Hermetic philosophy taught that a strong and wise man ruled his stars/planets, but that they ruled a negative, weak person.

6. A misuse of faculty, organ, or function, such as overstraining a member or overtaxing the nerves.

7. The presence in the system of foreign substances, impurities, or obstructions. Under this heading must be considered diet, air, sunlight, and the presence of foreign bodies.

The Seven Cures for Disease

1. Spells and invocations, by which the physician ordered the evil spirit causing the disease to depart from the patient. (Of note, the Vatican recently retrained a large group of priests in the ritual of exorcism.)

2. Vibration: Disharmonies of the physical and subtle bodies (etheric, mental, emotional, spiritual) were neutralized/rebalanced by chanting spells, intoning the sacred names, playing upon musical instruments, and toning/singing. At times lights, gemstones, crystals, or cloth of various colors were placed nearby or in the sight of the sick, for the ancients recognized the principle of color and sound healing, now in the process of rediscovery. (Acupuncture, energy medicine, and energy psychology are also tools that remove disharmonic blocks in the natural flow of vitalizing energy in the physical and subtle bodies.)

3. Talismans, charms, and amulets: It was believed that the planets controlled the functions of the human body and that by making charms out of different metals they could combat the malignant influences of the various stars/planets. Thus, a person who is anemic lacks iron. Iron was believed to be under the control of Mars. Therefore, in order to bring the influence of Mars to the sufferer, around his neck was hung a talisman made of iron and bearing upon it certain secret instructions reputed to have the power of invoking the spirit of Mars.

4. Herbs and homeopathic remedies/essences: Herbs were used quite often in ancient medicine; that is where the first idea of synthesizing compounds that mimicked nature (modern medication) came from. Each herb was assigned to one of the planets. Having diagnosed by the stars the sickness (different organs in the body were linked to different planets) and its cause, the doctors then administered the herbal antidote. Paracelsus also discovered that by gathering the dew under certain configurations of the planets he obtained a fluid possessing marvelous medicinal virtue, for it had absorbed the properties of the heavenly bodies.

5. Prayer: Calling upon and allowing compassionate intercession of the Deity for the alleviation of human suffering. Paracelsus said that faith would cure all disease. Not all have strong enough faith, however.

6. Prevention: Personal responsibility for regulation of diet and daily habits of life. The individual, by avoiding the things that caused illness, remained well. The ancients believed that health was the normal state of man; disease was the result of man’s disregard of the dictates of Nature.

7. “Practical medicine”: consisting chiefly of bleeding, purging, and similar lines of treatment.

These procedures, while useful in moderation, were dangerous in excess.

Paracelsus used all seven Hermetic methods of treatment, and even his worst enemies admitted that he accomplished results almost miraculous in nature.

Click here for the final instalment, History of Medicine, Part 3.

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Many thanks to Shift Your Life for permission to use an extract from this article.

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