THE CRAFT AND THE HEALING ARTS Pagans/witches have a wide variety of healing techniques in

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THE CRAFT AND THE HEALING ARTS Pagans/witches have a wide variety of healing techniques in their arsenal. The healing arts encompass the magical and medicinal herbalisms, shamanistic practices (roughly speaking, using the powers of a spirit guide), the raising of energy directed towards the patient (cone of power, creative visualization, etc.), "direct" intercession with the gods, and standard medical practices (Western medicine, Oriental medicine.) An effective healing may be any combination of the above, depending on circumstances. Several rules of ethics govern the use of the healing arts. These follow, along with a few suggestions that may prove useful to the practicioners of the healing arts: *If a circumstance calls for standard Western medicine, do not ignore this in favor of other methods of healing. Any "witch" who tells you that his/her treatment is only valid if one stops taking prescribed medicine, or forgoes recommended surgery should be reported to the local Better Business Bureau, post haste. Either they do not realize that the magical methods can complement "modern" methods, or they are (more likely) con artists. Stop them before they hurt someone else, in some cases, fatally. There is a case in New Jersey of someone who halted her insulin treatments by the order of a "witch", as proof that she had "faith" in that "witch's" treatment. Those pagans who are M.D.'s see no substitution for standard medical practices. Rather, other workings may be seen as supplementations. This cannot be stressed enough. *Avoid charging for healings. Certainly, reimbursement for equipment used is valid, but charging for healings is both unethical and can get one in trouble with the law, for practicing medicine without a license. Now, there is much debate within the Pagan community over charging for magical services of whatever kind; but it seems to me to be a cheapening of the gift to charge for it. *Never heal someone without their consent. Reasons a person may not give his/her consent are varied, and must be considered. Respect the wishes of others. One may, however, heal those for whom there is no way to ask consent -- if someone is in a coma, it is permissible to work a direct healing upon that person. I find that, for people I cannot mention Craft healing work to, for one reason or another, that sending healing energy to the VICINITY of that person is ethical. The person is then free, on a lower or subconscious level, to take in that energy (in whatever form they can use it) or to reject it. The energy is simply made available for their use, interpretable by their psyches, and usable according to their own Will. To force healing upon someone, whatever your intent, interferes with the other person's freedom of choice, unethical in itself, and will have unfavorable repercussions both for you and for that other person. You might, for instance, become the sort of person who Presumes to know what is Good For Everyone Else, and you might have a good future as a book-burner (at least in spirit). *Some people seem to have more of a knack with the non-standard healing arts than others. Those people who are the best healers are not necessarily in the best graces with their god/goddess. Just because a person can heal does not imply that their theo/a/logy is the best. Much of non-traditional haling may tap into some of the same wellsprings, but healing in and of itself does not guarantee religious correctness. Some healers, indeed, are only marginally religious. (Obviously, the same applies to MD's.) *A healer using herbs has the responsibility of knowing about the herbs he or she uses. There are many contradictory statements in the literature, and there are some herbs that should not be taken in large concentrations; and there are some herbs that should not be taken by pregnant women or nursing mothers. A herbalist should learn the literature, and learn to distrust literature that does not list contraindications. Some herbs recommended in the literature are, frankly, mere superstitions. Others have indeed proved effective, and some of these have even passed on to Western medical practice (digitalis, for instance). *Those using creative visualization are advised to visualize the patient as being healthy and happy. Avoid, while doing the working, visualizing the patient in his current sick or unhealthy state. Sometimes it helps to imagine the patient doing something he or she enjoys doing. *In creative visualization/cone of power methods the patient may be present, or may be absent. It helps, if the patient is present, to touch the patient directly and gently. *Those using shamanistic techniques should be well-grounded in such techniques. They should have gone on various shamanistic journeys themselves, and have overcome obstacles on such journeys. This is in order that one might be confident and capable during the ordeal of shamanistic healing. *After doing energy raising and/or shamanistic techniques of healing, be very certain to "ground out". Shamanism has some of its own techniques, but after Craft-style healings one method is to lay one's hands forcibly on the ground (or floor), exhaling deeply, feeling the excess power returning to the Earth. *As a healer, remember that a person's sickness is not some sort of supernatural punishment for something he has or has not done. It is not your position as healer to cast that sort of judgement. There are some who would disagree with me on this, but these are the same sorts who would reckon AIDS to be a karmic punishment, or who would reckon the starvation in Ethiopia to be another sort of karmic punishment. *Know your level of competence. If you are asked to do a healing, and you are competent, and the person is sensible about seeking standard medical help if appropriate; and/or if standard medical help is not helping, it is in your position to render such aid as you are competent to render. *No matter how you do whatever it is that you do concerning healing, a proper "bedside manner" must be more than cultivated; it must be believed. *Western culture is beginning to realize that standard medicine cannot solve all illnesses. Hence, the advent of hospices. Non-standard healing practices are (or should be) well-grounded in the notion that not every ailment, disease, or illness can be cured. It is a heavy responsibility upon the healer to deal with this realization. The pagan religions see birth, life, and death as an acceptable and natural cycle. At some time, a pagan healer will likely come face to face with the notion of mortality; with the notion that there are patients, despite all skill and caring, that cannot be cured. Depending upon the ailment, the healer must know how to react. This is true, of course, for even standard MD practice. At a certain point, the wholistic/pagan healer must accept the inevitability of failure; possibly even the inevitability of death. At such point, whatever techniques the healer knows for bestowing a sense of tranquility to the patient are appropriate. Healing energy may be sent; sent to comfort and confer the peace of mind essential for a good transition between life and death. It is also beneficial if people close to the patient relate to the patient on a day-to-day basis of support and encouragement, allowing that person to express whatever he or she needs to express. Similar energy and support, sent to a person to help them deal with a permanent but non-fatal disability, is also appropriate. Patients require confidence and strength in such situations, and these may be reinforced in a number of ways, both magical and day-to-day. *Remember, take a lot of healing practices with a grain of salt. Filipino spirit surgery I'd take with a whole bushel. *One should also be aware of the values of preventative medicine.

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