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The Daemons – A Brief History of Ancient Healing Part II

The Daemons – A Brief History of Ancient Healing Part II

Evil is the shadow of angel. Just as there are angels of light, support, guidance, healing and defense, so we have experiences of shadow angels. And we have names for them: racism, sexism, homophobias are all demons – but they’re not out there.
~Matthew Fox

From Daemon to the Devil and Demons

DaemonLater, under the tutelage of the Roman Empire and the rising Catholicism, these worldviews and lifestyles were persecuted as evil pagan sects. After the fall of the Roman Empire in 476 AD and without the presence of a strong central and authoritarian power, these beliefs came back into existence at full force.

And that is where our story the devil/demons begins.

When the Middle Ages was beginning to show signs of weakness around the 1600, the famous astronomer and mathematician Johannes Kepler’s elderly mother[1] Catherine Guldenmann, a natural healer, was arrested and threatened with death because she used to prescribe herbal healing teas. The indictment of the progenitor of the woman scientist was based on the fact that the torturers of the Inquisition found on the shelf a book Kepler’s childhood, written by himself as a boy, in which he asserted as a joke to have traveled to the moon after taking a tea made by his mother. Even with their explanation, Kepler’s mother was arrested.

The Inquisition[2] as an institution refers to the elimination of heresies and pagan sects. From 1184 1542, “the elected offender” was held accountable for the social diseases and collective miseries. They were handed over to state authorities to be punished. The penalties ranged from confiscation of property, loss of freedom, and physical torture to death at the stake.

What was happening was that the nascent religious institution of the original church was not able to consistently grow their base of supporters because, generally, the people insisted on seeking the advice of the pagan women healers that abounded in Europe.  After an avid pursuit, these women were called witches and sentenced to death. Moreover, these views were pursued with the accusation that they were guided by the Devil or Daemon.

When the common people began to ask what was the form of this demon, the authorities created the notion that the Devil took the form of a famous figure of ancient Greece, the god Pan.

In Greek mythology, Pan was the god of the woods, of flocks and shepherds. He lived in caves and was represented with ears, horns and goat legs.  A fear of crossing through the forests at night because the darkness or a sudden was fright attributed to Pan, hence the name Panic.

Introduced to a consistent fear of Pan, that made natural healing to turn to scary, sinister and dangerous practice, people moved away from the healers and their counsel. They then slowly started to forget how to plunge into themselves discovering their passion for life. The origin of the word passion (pathos) for instance, would later become synonymous with disease (pathology).

Since then, everything that came from the inner motivations of the people was immediately associated with sin, evil and damnation. Even smile and laughter have been banned for centuries of human contacts. Women, which in antiquity were symbols of sacred creative powers, fertility, religiosity, were expelled from their sacred functions by the new male priests.

With the ease manipulation of fears infiltrated for centuries into our collective consciousness, mankind entered into a period of estrangement and detachment from the natural connection with the sacred. This extends to today, where we have lost the contact with the inner spark and in consequence, we expanded ourselves abnormally.  We can become superficial, empty and overwhelmed by panic, dogmas, and in a vain pursuit of happiness outside of ourselves.

We lose ourselves again in an abstract rationalism that gave us intelligence enough to collect explanations and arguments for justifying not being who we really are. Thus, we would be again victims of the nascent industrial age in which we become docile and obedient disciples of machinery, their products and big system of interests. Finally, resigned to become servants of an economic system that manipulates, submit, alienated and exhausts our natural abilities, we are incapable of allowing or following a true and healthy interior meeting within ourselves and with the accurate origin of our inner wisdom and healing.

 


[1] His mother collected herbs and made potions which she believed had magical powers. She was raised by an aunt who was burned at the stake as a witch, and Kepler’s mother narrowly escaped a similar fate herself.

[2] The Inquisition, Inquisitio Haereticae Pravitatis (inquiry on heretical perversity), was a group of decentralized institutions within the justice system of the Roman Catholic Church whose aim was to “fight against heretics”.

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