In a discussion of magic we most certainly must mention what can and does bring great benefit to humankind. I speak of miraculous healings. This class of phenomena has great importance in all lines and has provoked controversies nowhere near resolution.
If cures have taken place at Lourdes or in any other sanctuary of the church they are undeniably the work of the deity. Other cures that happen in other places have been called the work of the devil. Does the devil hold equal power to heal as does God? Wouldn't those who ask for healing and only profit from the “diabolical” benefit would be wrong to refuse?
One related subject would be the history of Jansenism (a Christian theological movement in France around the 1700’s). Miraculous events are preserved in this engraving by Louis Carre de Montgeron. Francois de Paris was a Jansenist Deacon who died in 1727 and was buried at St. Medard in Paris. His tomb became a pilgrimage and many persons who went there reported miraculous healing, had ecstasies, or went into trances inspired dance similar to convulsions. Among the many cures effected there were blindness, nervous ailments, and paralysis. People flocked to this pale and would lay upon the tomb, crawl under its overhang, or reach through others surrounding it just to touch it. There were often more than 300 Swiss Guards who had much difficulty keeping order. Yet cures were a daily occurrence.
The eighteenth century, so filled with doubt and skeptics also experienced most marvelous events. Decades after the tomb was ordered closed, people flocked to Mesmer’s magnetic tub, this wondrous object was invented by a German physician, inspired by William Maxwell who wrote:
“Material rays flow from all bodies in which the soul operates by its presence. If you make use of the universal spirit by means of instruments impregnated with this spirit, you will thereby call to your aid the great secret of the Images. The universal machine is nothing but the vital spirit repeated in the proper subject.”
Mesmer conducted experiments with magnetism and its effects on the nervous disorders and observed that a magnetic force, similar to that which attracts iron to a magnet, existed in everything. He wrote “a mutual influence subsists between the celestial bodies, the earth, and the living bodies.” Thus he created the magnetic tub and miracle cures flowed from his consisting room in Paris. Were these of the devil?
Mesmer’s tub created controversy. Believers saw powers similar to electricity at work which was then the fashion. Scientific detractors cried quackery, and theologians in their power seats, many vindictive in attitude, saw the work of the devil. Mesmer became known as a sort of magician whose doctrine was neither occult nor scientific, nor religious in nature.
Another miracle healing craze happened earlier in the 1600’s and was centered around the sympathetic powder. This discoverer, Sir Kenelm Digby, was later executed for his involvement with the Guy Fawkes gunpowder plot. The cure was for wounds, most especially from firearms, whereby a mixture of sulfuric acid powder and the victims blood was mixed into a salve and put on the bandage – not on the person but simply on a bandage. It was said to have created a sympathetic union between the treated blood and the wounded person. This treatment became the rage in France. Digby spoke to a group of learned men explaining that “wounds were salved without need of touching them or seeing them...” All that was needed was blood from the wound. This process was published in a book where in it was recorded that when the Duke of Buckingham was wounded very seriously he sent for Digby to treat it.
This miracle seems to be a kind of beneficent spell; action at a distance is experienced, as with the Death-Spell. The blood of the person is considered to be a living part of him – like the principle of vital spirits from the 17th century, and in accord with Rabbinical opinions which place the breath, or spirit of life, in a person’s blood. Affecting one affected the whole, which was in accord with all occult theories from Agrippa to Paracelsus. It is interesting that today scientists observe an extraordinary behavior of atoms in which even at astronomical distances what is done to one affects the other. Again, the devil?
In our literal and scientific culture perhaps we have lost our willingness to see the miraculous. Yet the very universe we live in is, to our finite minds, unexplainable; humans cannot explain anything, we can only observe and describe. Cause and effect. Perhaps this mind-set was prevalent in those who, centuries before, were surrounded by miracle healing.
About Symbologist Michelle Snyder
Books by Michelle, available at Amazon:
Symbology ReVision: Unlocking Secret Knowledge
Symbology: Hidden in Plain Sight
Symbology: My Art and Symbols
Symbology: Fairy Tales Uncovered
Symbology: Decoding Classic Images
Symbology: World of Symbols
Symbology: Secrets of the Mermaids
|A Tale of Three Kingdoms: Book One - The Lost Unicorn|
|A Tale of Three Kingdoms: Book Two - The Lost Mermaid|