On the Origins of Diseases and On the Ways of Healing
Man as a Microcosm
As already previously described, man is a microcosm who – analogous to the macrocosm – is organized by the four elements, the twelve signs of the zodiac, and the seven planets 2.
There, each organ corresponds with one of the planets: “The heart is the sun, and as the sun has an effect on the earth and on itself, thus, also the heart has an effect on the body and on itself. Likewise, the moon is to be compared with the brain. The spleen takes the same course as Saturn.
The bile corresponds with Mars. The kidneys are of the kind of Venus. Mercury is a planet, which complies with the lungs, and Jupiter corresponds with the liver 3. You ought to know: if the liver were not there, there would exist nothing good in the entire body (= internal alchemist). Resembling Jupiter, it acts; and like him lessens all hardship by its kindness.”
The seven planetary organs are each understood by Paracelsus as an entity. They are the “noble” organs, which provide the entire organism with energy. “These Seven bestow life on all other Organs.”
Here, each organ is in a specific relationship with the whole organism. “The heart forwards its spirit through the whole body, like the sun does through all stars and earths. In spiritual form, the brain only goes to the heart and back from the heart to its centre. The spiritual movement of the liver only takes place in the blood. The spleen has its passage at the side and in the intestines; the kidneys take their path through the urinary tracts and loins. The cycle of the lungs is taking place in chest and throat. The bile takes its course through stomach and intestines. If they err and take a wrong turn, like for example the spleen entering into the path of the bile, diseases occur.”
Sickness and Remedy as an Analogy to the Cosmos
If the brain (Moon) communicates in a wrong way with the heart (Sun), for example cardiac arrhythmia or sleeping problems occur. If the bile (Mars) meets the heart (Sun), blood pressure problems or heart spasms occur. If the bile (Mars) gets into the path of the brain (Moon), migraine occurs, etc..
From the horoscope, one can obtain further hints with regard to the condition and to the disposition for diseases of the organs, thus, one can recognize the constitution and the disposition of the patient.
Just like the organs are subordinate for the planets, this also applies to all healing agents. The seven planetary metals rate as a pure embodiment of the planets, which are respectively assigned to an organ.
“Metals are in great consistency with the human body as forces that are hidden inside the metal, also exist in man. If like meets like and is used with reason, then nature will be helped.”
If an organ has become ill out of sympathy with the ruling planetary forces (see also Ens Astrale), or if the planets inside the body have left their course, the metal allocated to them is the respective healing agent. The examples in Table 2 clearly show that this knowledge is stall valid even today.
The Elements and Their Counterparts
Besides the planets, the elements play an important role with the Ens Naturale. The invisible fire can be found as a spark of life and as warmth in the entire body; the main organ is the heart – the organ of self-knowledge. The regenerating power of the water can be found in all tissues and body fluids; the main organ is the liver. The air is the basis for metabolism and for all feedback systems (for example the hormone system), its main organ are the kidneys. The earth is the stability of the body and thus forms the physical base. Its main organ are the lungs.
For therapy, e.g., it follows that many remedies which affect the heart, maintain the warmth of life and strengthen the self; those of the liver usually regenerate the entire organism, kidney remedies often have a positive influence on the feedback systems, and lung remedies frequently increase the vital force.
The elements are in analogy to the temperaments and body fluids, which Paracelsus also allocates to the Ens Naturale.
The choleric (fire), is created from too much bitterness, the melancholiac (earth) is of a sour nature, the sweet leads to a phlegmatic nature (water), and the sanguine type (air) is created from too much salt. In their nature, the remedies correspond in their nature as far as possible with the pathological state, for example drugs of bitter substances, like the fiery wormwood, are used as a remedy for cholerics.
The fluids present themselves in the eye as tinting diseases; this means they express themselves in discolourations of the body fluids and in discolourations of the skin. According to the Doctrine of Signatures, the remedies in their colour are likely to correspond with the condition of the sick person; for example celandine or turmeric in cases of liver and bilious complaints. One can see that the homeopathic principle was also known to Paracelsus.
The Ens Spirituale
The statements regarding the Ens Spirituale primarily focus on spiritual diseases, thus on psychology and its mother, – magic.
Under diseases of the spirit, however, Paracelsus does not understand the deception of demons. “In this Ens Spirituale, make sure that this does not conceive any devil, his creation, or his kin because (…) a spirit is what springs up from our thoughts without matter, in the living body.”
Diseases of the Spirit
Diseases of the Spirit can occur in different ways. One root of the evil is the passionate nature of the person, his adhering to sympathy and antipathy, leading to a loss of distinctiveness, which in turn means a loss of the self and disease. A negative view of things and of one’s own personality inevitably leads to a realization of the vision; conversely, this naturally also applies to a positive attitude towards life.
Another possibility to fall ill with the Ens Spirituale is the struggle of the passions in interpersonal relationships, which always leads to the victory of the stronger will. The loser will become ill. With regard to this, homeopathy knows the keyword, “Severe consequences of anger, annoyance or insult” – one possible remedy would be higher potencies of staphisagria.
Beside the application of psychologically effective agents like St. John’s wort or suitable homeophathics, also psychotherapy is indicated in such cases.
“Take care that you do not treat the body with remedies because this is of no avail. But if you treat the spirit, the body will become healthy. For this, one needs a spiritual remedy!”
Magic as the Cause of a Disease and “Spiritual Remedies”
Transporting the will can also take place in a magical way, for example by necromancy (black magic), of whose effect Paracelsus was convinced.
“Most of all it is good for you to know that, as soon as the effigies – which were made of wax against the other hostile will of the spirit – are thereafter buried and weighted down with stones – the same person who applied this will have to carry a heavy burden, namely at those places where the stones are lying. Once the effigy has perished, this person’s life has also come to an end.
If a person makes an effigy which equals a person, and if he draws this on a wall, so knoweth that all stitches and strokes that hit the picture will fall on him, for whom they are meant.”
In our times, this is usually regarded as mumbo jumbo or as a form of suggestion. But lack of conviction does not necessarily mean that magic does not work. Already the cave paintings of the Stone Age men were not aesthetic pastime but an evocation of the animal spirits, for example, in order to have power over the animal during hunting. Magic of the image, nail fetishes or binding-charms.
(Dolls of tree raffia) are nothing else. These methods, however, do not only serve for evil practices but also for healing because an old rule states: magic can only be answered with magic.
One example is the use of nail fetishes in Voodoo magic. Here, nails are driven into a wooden figurine, into places that are painful for the sick person. Somehow such a figure reminds one of an acupuncture doll, studded with needles. This way, the evil spell is to be banned and has to pass over into the nails. As a rule, after such therapy which is always connected with complex rituals, the patient is healed.
As a matter of course, also Paracelsus has used magic for healing. Especially in his book, “Archidoxis Magica 4“, he describes the making of amulets for healing purposes and for magical protection purposes; but also in other sections of his books, Paracelsus shows himself as an expert on the matter.
Besides amulets and banishing rituals, during diseases of the Ens Spirituale, the use of herbs, which help against curses and against the influence of non-human entities is advisable. Most of the time, they are both in one.
The amulet of Paracelsus against brain shrinking and other diseases of the head (from “Die sieben Bücher der Archidoxis Magica”)
The amulet consists of:
One melts the metals together at the time of the new moon and casts them in the shape of a coin of any size. After that, the metal must not be placed in the fire anymore. If now the planet of Jupiter is positioned under the sign of Pisces, carve the symbols on the obverse and on the reverse of it.
At the time of the next new moon, the amulet can be used as a chain pendant.
Examples for such herbs are: mandrake, valerian, angelica, St. John’s wort, mistletoe, or perennial yellow woundwort; some of them are still used as psychotherapeutics today – with only one difference: the demon of melancholia is nowadays called depression. While the transfer of a harmful spell or of a healing spell is always reliant on a medium, (for example on a doll or an amulet), there are – according to Paracelsus – also people who can influence others by their sheer willpower. This takes place via the unconscious mind, which Paracelsus compares with sleep. “When they sleep, their dream is realized and fulfilled in the other person, because there is no dream springing up in the spirit that does not become realized.”
For the healer, too, the unconscious can provide an access to the diseased person. One only has to think of a state of trance during hypnosis. Shamans have also been using similar methods for thousands of years, when they used hypnotic intoxicating drinks 5 for exploring the entangled labyrinth of the soul; it is certain that Paracelsus knew similar recipes 6.
The Ens Dei
According to the conceptions of the ancient world, there existed “four divine roots of existence”. Empedocles of Agrigent (490 to 420 B.C.) called them fire, water, air, and earth. Aristotle (384 to 322 B.C.) added a fifth element to this system, called quintessence (or ether).
Everything existing has been allocated to these elementary forces since ancient times, and thus also the Entia. We find the air in the Ens Astrale, the earth in the Ens Veneni, the fire in the Ens Naturale, and the water in the Ens Spirituale.
The quintessence, the fifth element, is the most mysterious of the creative powers. It is the original element, the undivided root. In terms of spatiotemporal expansion, quintessence surpasses the other four elements, and is invisibly contained in their forms of expression. It is the cause for the hidden forces of nature. This fifth element is the Ens Dei of Paracelsus about the act of God behind all appearances.
As a devout Christian, Paracelsus regarded the final root of all sufferings and all arts of healing in God himself. But also those who follow other religious beliefs will find an answer to the question after the higher meaning of illness in this Ens because at all times and in all cultures, people have been subject to the will of the gods.
“Health and sickness come, as it is known, from God and not from human beings. The diseases of man are divided into the natural ones and into the scourge of God. The former comprise the first to the fourth Ens, the latter the fifth. God has imposed the diseases on us as punishments and as a clear proof that our knowledge in all fields is only a superficial one and does not suffice for truth.”
With this, Paracelsus addresses one of the most important virtues of man, and in particular of the healer: humility, because any kind of healing can only succeed when healing was intended in the plan of creation.
“God sends health and sickness and also the remedy for our diseases.” Likewise, he determines the right moment of healing.
“All diseases are determined to heal in their own time and not when we wish it.” This point in time is only known by God. According to the conceptions of Paracelsus, each disease is a purifying purgatory, which burns all impurity in man. “Therefore no physician can heal if not the purgatory in question is to be ended according to God’s counsel, because the physician should not act against the divine purpose of purgatory.”
Therefore, sickness is connected with suffering. In suffering, man has to overcome himself. Thus, only he can be healed who has the will to do so. But to accept suffering as purification and as a possibility to awareness, is hard for people. Today, we speak of lacking insight into the disease and of morbid gain. Beside one’s own imperfection, these two factors are the worst enemies of any healer.
Disease and Karma
As long as he only falls ill of his imperfection, he can be healed as far as it is his will. There are, however, also such diseases that resist any remedy,- not because the remedies were wrongly selected or without power, but because God himself does not wish the healing. Paracelsus writes about the incurable, “He does not punish man because of his sins but because he wishes to distinguish him. No physician can help those because God wants them to bear his signs.” It is quite often, too, that the healer is marked by God. One could also describe this as a karmic stigmatisation; in particular epilepsy and other “diseases”, which cause “Second Sight” can be included to this.
In order to be a true healer, two possibilities exist: either one goes through the purifying purgatory by oneself or one becomes initiated, in which case an initiation is most of the time with near-death experiences in which contact with the divine powers takes place. In any case, it is not the grade point average which decides about healing abilities, and it is not the exam passed by the public health officer, but solely and exclusively the will of God.
Disease as a Mystery
The causes of the diseases of the Ens Dei are in any case unfathomable. No matter with which illness we are confronted, – it can always have its origin in the Ens Dei, which a therapist will find to be a hard nut to crack.
“Because he (God) folds in his punishing power so secretly amongst the four Entia that nobody can figure it out that one is not involved with one of the four Entia. This explains that some diseases, which apparently go back to one of the four Entia, are definitely not to be healed.”
This is the eternal uncertainty of the healer, his imperfection before God.