THEOSOPHY, Vol. 10, No. 9, July, 1922
(Pages 280-282; Size: 10K)
(Continued from June)
[Part 6 of a 7-part series]
MODERN medicine, while it has gained largely in anatomy, physiology, and pathology, and even in therapeutics, has lost immensely by its narrowness of spirit, its rigid materialism, its sectarian dogmatism. One school in its purblindness sternly ignores whatever is developed by other schools; and all unite in ignoring every grand conception of man or nature developed by Mesmerism, or by American experiments on the brain -- every principle which does not conform to a stolid materialism. It would require a convocation of the hostile physicians of the several different schools to bring together what is now known of medical science, and it too often happens that after the best practitioners have vainly exhausted their art upon a patient a mesmerist or "healing medium" will effect a cure.
The explorers of old medical literature, from the time of Hippocrates to that of Paracelsus and Van Helmont, will find a vast number of well-attested physiological and psychological facts and of measures or medicines for healing the sick which modern physicians refuse to employ. Even with respect to surgery, modern practitioners have humbly and publicly confessed the total impossibility of their approximating to anything like the marvelous skill displayed in the art of bandaging by ancient Egyptians. The many hundred yards of ligature enveloping a mummy from its ears down to every separate toe were studied by the chief surgical operators in Paris, and notwithstanding that the models were before their eyes they were unable to accomplish anything like it.
"Who," honestly exclaims Pfaff, "what man has ever taken more comprehensive views of nature than Paracelsus? He was the bold creator of chemical medicines; the founder of courageous parties; victorious in controversy, belonging to those spirits who have created amongst us a new code of thinking on the natural existence of things. What he scattered through his writings on the philosopher's stone, on pigmies and spirits of the mines, on signs, on homunculi, and the elixir of life, and which are employed by many to lower his estimation, cannot extinguish our grateful remembrance of his general works, nor our admiration of his free, bold exertions, and his noble, intellectual life."
"The mundane God, eternal, boundless, young and old, of winding form," say the Chaldean oracles. This "winding form" is a figure to express the vibratory motion of the Astral Light, with which the ancient priests were perfectly well acquainted, though they may have differed in views of ether from modern scientists; for in the Æther they placed the Eternal Idea pervading the Universe, or the Will which becomes Force, and creates or organizes matter.
"The will," says Van Helmont, "is the first of all powers. For through the will of the Creator all things were made and put in motion ... The will is the property of all spiritual beings, and displays itself in them the more actively the more they are freed from matter." And Paracelsus, "the divine," as he was called, adds in the same strain: "Faith must confirm the imagination, for faith establishes the will. ... Determined will is the beginning of all magical operations. ... Because men do not perfectly imagine and believe the result is that the arts are uncertain, while they might be perfectly certain."
Both Van Helmont and Paracelsus agree as to the great potency of the will in the state of ecstasy; they say that "the spirit is everywhere diffused; and the spirit is the medium of magnetism;" that pure primeval magic does not consist in superstitious practices and vain ceremonies, but in the imperial will of man. "It is not the spirits of heaven and of hell which are the masters over physical nature, but the soul and spirit of man which are concealed in him as the fire is concealed in the flint."
"O, young girl, a god possesses thee! It is either Pan, or Hekate, or the venerable Corybantes, or Cybele that agitates thee!" the chorus says, addressing Phoedra, in Euripides. This form of psychological epidemic has been too well known from the time of the middle ages to cite instances of it. The Choroe a sancti Viti is an historical fact, and spread throughout Germany. Paracelsus cured quite a number of persons possessed of such a spirit of imitation. But he was a kabalist, and therefore accused by his enemies of having cast out the devils by the power of a stronger demon which he was believed to carry about with him in the hilt of his sword. The Christian judges of those days of horror found a better and a surer remedy. Voltaire states that in the district of Jura, between 1598 and 1600, over six hundred lycanthropes were put to death by a pious judge.
The fact alone that theology dreaded a great deal more the revelations which might come through the mysterious agency of phenomena than all the threatening "conflicts" with science and the categorical denials of the latter ought to have opened the eyes of the most skeptical. The church of Rome has never been either credulous or cowardly, as is abundantly proved by the Machiavellism which marks her policy. Moreover, she has never troubled herself much about the clever prestidigitators whom she knew to be simply adepts in juggling. Robert Houdin, Comte, Hamilton, and Bosco slept secure in their beds, while she persecuted such men as Paracelsus, Cagliostro, and Mesmer, the Hermetic philosophers and mystics -- and effectually stopped every genuine manifestation of an occult nature by killing the mediums.
While many of the mediæval Hermetists were profoundly religious men, they were, in their innermost hearts -- like kabalists of every age -- the deadliest enemies of the clergy. How true the words of Paracelsus when worried by fierce persecution and slander, misunderstood by friends and foes, abused by laity and clergy, he exclaimed: "O ye of Paris, Padua, Montpellier, Salerno, Vienna, and Leipzig!! Ye are not teachers of the truth, but confessors of lies. Your philosophy is a lie. Would you know what MAGIC really is, then seek it in St. John's Revelation. Then let your farces have an end. The Bible is the true key and interpreter. John, not less than Moses, Elias, Enoch, David, Solomon, Daniel, Jeremiah, and the rest of the prophets was a magician, kabalist, and diviner. "If now all or even any of those I have named were living, I do not doubt that you would make an example of them in your miserable slaughter house, and would annihilate them there on the spot, and if it were possible, the Creator of all things too!"
That Paracelsus had learned some mysterious and useful things out of Revelations and other Bible books, as well as from the Kabala, was proved by him practically; so much so, that he is called by many the "father of magic and founder of the occult physics of the Kabala and magnetism."
He was the founder of the School of Animal Magnetism and the discoverer of the occult properties of the magnet. He was branded by his age as a sorcerer, because the cures he made were marvelous. Three centuries later Baron Du Potet was also accused of sorcery and demonolatry by the church of Rome, and of charlatanry by the academicians of Europe.
As the fire-philosophers say, it is not the chemist who will condescend to look upon the "living fire" otherwise than as his colleagues do. "Thou hast forgotten what thy fathers taught thee about it -- or rather, thou has never known ... it is too loud for thee!"
Paracelsus was murdered by some unknown foe at the early age of forty-eight. So firm was the popular belief in his supernatural powers that to this day the tradition survives among the simple-minded Alsatians that he is not dead, but "sleepeth in his grave" at Strasburg. And they often whisper among themselves that the green sod heaves with every respiration of that weary breast, and that deep groans are heard as the great fire-philosopher awakes to the remembrance of cruel wrongs suffered at the hands of his cruel slanderers for the sake of the great truth!
(To be continued)
[Part 7 of a 7-part series]
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