Ancient cultures did not distinguish among medicine, religion, myth and philosophy. Among primal peoples these areas overlapped and merged—i.e. lore intermingled with law. In ancient cultures healing often involved myth mingling with reason. Robert Fripp believes that the modern world has conceded too much licence to science to ride roughshod over other, older ways of approaching healing and medicine.
Spirit as medicine
Healers in ancient societies invoked spiritual force, asking spirits for wisdom, for help in the hunt, for healing in its many forms and for knowledge of plant and animal powers. Healers and shamans were also psychotherapists. They used spirit-powers to treat physical and mental complaints.
The spirit in healing
The spirit is once more finding healing roles in our modern world. For example, the placebo effect is an ancient principle in healing. So is visualisation, when it is employed as a weapon against cancers. And many physical ills, heart attack and cancers among them, may involve psychological causes. Now, at a time when modern technology should guarantee an escape from all things primitive, some ancient ways are returning, offering alternative solutions. Ultimately, this book finds us reaching for, and adopting, ancient Animists’ spiritual and material tools with which to heal the sick—and the biosphere of our planet as well.
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