Every Branch in Me: Essays on the Meaning of Man (The by Barry McDonald

By Barry McDonald

Prime perennialist authors direct the readers to their intrinsically religious nature.

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4 If the medicine of the traditional civilizations knows nothing analogous to modern psychotherapy, this is because the psychic cannot be treated by the psychic. The psyché is the realm of indefinite actions and reactions. By its own specific nature, it is essentially unstable and deceptive, so that it can be cured only by resorting to something situated “outside” or “above” it. In some cases one will act favorably upon it by re-establishing the humoral balance of the body, commonly upset by psychic affections;5 in other cases it is only by the use of spiritual means, such as exorcism,6 prayer, or a sojourn in holy places, that the soul can be restored to health.

Usually a vicious circle ensues, with the psychic imbalance engendering a physical intoxication, which in its turn causes the psychic imbalance to worsen. 6. Cases of diabolical possession, such as manifestly call for the application of the rites of exorcism, seem to have become rarer nowadays, doubtless because demonic influences are no longer “compressed” by the dam of tradition, but are able to spread more or less everywhere in forms that are in a fashion “diluted”. 43 Titus Burckhardt through believing in the illusory projection of its own preoccupations, whether individual or collective.

That is what we were told by prophecies before the time of settlement on the reservations. Many medicine men who had had good medicine, good powers, lost them. This all happened gradually over the last one hundred years, until today there are fewer men with less spiritual power and understanding. Those who still have spiritual gifts or medicine—and there are a few left—don’t have as strong a power as in the days when the Indians were still free to roam the country and live in the traditional manner.

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