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According to Sir William Osler, Imhotep was the real Father of Medicine (2980 BC) –about 4,000 years ago. “The first figure of a physician to stand out clearly from the mists of antiquity,” Imhotep diagnosed and treated over 200 diseases: 15 diseases of the abdomen, 29 of the eyes, 11 of the bladder, 10 of the rectum, and 18 of the skin, hair, nails and tongue. Imhotep treated gout, tuberculosis, appendicitis, gallstones, and arthritis. In addition to performing surgery and some dentistry, Imhotep extracted medicine from plants. He knew the position and function of the vital organs and circulation of the blood system. The Encyclopedia Britannica says, “The evidence afforded by Egyptian and Greek texts support the view that Imhotep’s reputation was very respected in early times…His prestige increased with the lapse of centuries and his temples in Greek times were the centers of medical teachings.”
Imhotep was worshipped as a god and healer from approximately 2850 B.C. to 525 B.C., and as a full deity from 525 B.C. to 550 A.D. He lived during the Third Dynasty at the court of King Zoser in Egypt. Imhotep was a known scribe, chief lector, priest, architect, astronomer and magician (medicine and magic were used together in that era). For 3000 years he was worshipped as a god in Greece and Rome. Early Christians worshipped him as the “Prince of Peace.”
When the Egyptians crossed the Mediterranean, becoming the foundation of the Greek culture, Imhotep’s teachings and philosophies were absorbed there. The Greeks equated him with Aesculapius (Hermes). He was regarded as the god of study and in later times took on some of the attributes of Thoth or Tehuti as the scribe of the gods. In the time of Imhotep, healing was considered one of the secret sciences of priestcraft. Candidates aspiring to be trained in the healing tradition underwent severe tests or initiations to prove their worthiness at various stages of their training. Among the ancients, philosophy, science and religion/spirituality were never considered as separate units- they comprised a balanced whole- and this concept was considered integral to healing modalities.
The story of Imhotep disappeared in Greek mythology over time and was forgotten for thousands of years, A legendary figure, Hippocrates, who appeared 2000 years later in 5th century BC, became known as the Father of Medicine. Hippocrates segregated the healing art from the other sciences of the medical training and established a precedent for scientific separateness, incomplete healing, and materialism present in current modern-day medicine. Doctors began to be trained to only accept that which can be experienced through the concrete perceptions of the 5 primary human senses. This is why physicians today take the Hippocratic Oath.
It was the physician/alchemist Theophrastus Paracelsus (1493-1541) who wandered through Europe, Africa and Asia in search of the ancient writings and philosophies on healing who resurrected and preserved for us the true Hermetic Principles of healing and disease. However, Paracelsus was widely ridiculed by his peers of his time as well as many physicians today. It is only a matter of almost humorous historical interest that ALL modern-day medical students are taught the Paracelsus’ Hermetic Principles of Disease and Cures during a required History of Medicine class in the first semester of medical school.
The Seven Causes of Disease According to Hermetic Medicine:
1. Evil spirits. 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 According to Hermetic Medicine:
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.
The so-called “new discoveries” of modern science are often only rediscoveries of secrets well known to the healers, priests and philosophers of ancient “pagan” times. Man’s inhumanity to man has resulted in the loss of wisdom, records and formula: which, had they been preserved, would have solved many of the greatest problems of this civilization. With sword and firebrand, conquerors obliterate the records of their predecessors, and then inevitably meet with an untimely fate for need of the very wisdom they have destroyed.
Modern healthcare is often symptom-focused and reactive, rather than prevention-focused and proactive. We have truly taken a separatist rather than a holistic view of medicine- separating out various medical specialties to deal with different physical body parts or systems and relegating anything that has to do with the astral (emotional/thought) body to the psychiatrists and psychologists. Spiritual issues have been relegated to spiritual advisors and the clergy of the church, temple or synagogue of the patient’s choice. Patients and physicians rarely discuss nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle change, and instead focus mainly on physical diagnosis and treatment of physical disease that has already manifested. Many clinicians feel unprepared to discuss the safe and effective use of dietary supplements or herbal medicines, or how to help patients incorporate relaxation, spiritual, or mind-body practices into their lives.
In addition to the traditional Western medical school courses of anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, microbiology, physical examination/diagnosis, medication/therapeutic treatment of disease, and medical ethics, a holistic approach to medical training in the new era will necessitate inclusion of nutrition, herbal remedies, homeopathic remedies, mind-body medicine, energy medicine (based on Traditional Chinese Medicine), energy psychology, the responsibility and power of personal choice of the patient, as well as a metaphysical education of students in the ancient wisdom of spiritual/intuitive development, astrological medicine, spiritual anatomy/energetic subtle bodies (chakras; and etheric, astral and spiritual), spiritual healing, color and sound healing, other vibrational healing modalities (toning, sacred names/chants, tuning forks on meridians, crystal use), soul logos, and reflective etheric healing. In short, medical students and physicians would once again become initiates into a sacred healing path for both their self and their patients. The soul of the healer thus trained to reach a state of high vibration (with awareness of the whole person- body, mind and spirit) would then connect with the soul of the patient who had a true desire to return to or maintain a state of vibrant health. With Love all things and all healings are possible- and in this new era of medicine complete healing will be possible in body (physical and etheric), mind/emotion, and spirit.
Here’s to a future of whole person healing…
Loads of Light!
Tracy Latz, M.D.
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