“Foolish the doctor who despises the knowledge acquired by the ancients.”
Father of Medicine, Hippocrates 460 BCE to 375 BCE
Article by Dr. Chuck Crisco
Though spirituality and healing have always been intertwined, not everyone makes the connection today since we tend to separate out physicians for physical healing, psychiatrists/psychologists for emotional/mental healing and spiritual guides, pastors, shamans and priests for spiritual healing. But throughout history this was not always the case.
Pythagoras, which today is known primarily as a mathematician was known as a flamboyant charismatic sage who traveled around healing the sick and is even said to have raised the dead. They say he traveled to Egypt where he studied in the temples for 22 years learning the Egyptian Mysteries. From them he learned geometry and math but also learned spirituality, the wisdom of healing the sick and performing miracles. His followers were long haired strict vegetarians who preached love and non-violence which sounds very much like the hippies of the 60’s did here in America. According to author Tim Freke, his disciples were responsible for taking the Egyptian Mysteries and reinventing them within the context of the wine god Dionysus to help create the Greek Mysteries. Healers and worshippers were one and the same.
Asclepius was the Greco-Roman god of medicine. As the son of Apollo, they said he was taught healing by the Centaur Chiron. Yet, in the Iliad he is mentioned as a skilled human doctor who had two children who were physicians as well. So at some point the fame of this man became so widespread that he was transformed into a god to be worshipped. It is also said that he healed best through dreams and so it was common to find people sleeping in his temple. Healing and religion were intertwined.
My educational background (B.S. Bible, MDiv, DMin) was with the Christian religion, and while I now believe it is a truth among many truths, it is filled with valuable lessons and reflections of the beliefs of the ancient world. So let me turn to a word many people assume means the same thing in every context as we talk about healing. It is the word “saved.” The Greek word ‘sozo” meant to be healed, delivered, saved from death, preserved or set free.
We are accustomed to hearing a preacher say we need to “get saved” and by that he means believe in his message so we can go to heaven when we die. As an interesting side note there actually isn’t a place in the New Testament that explicitly connects “saved” with going to heaven. But… that is another story for another day. Instead, we see most of the time saved meant a physical here and now deliverance!
The woman who experienced an ongoing flow of blood for many years, was healed through Jesus in Matthew 9:21, “for she said within herself, `If only I may touch his garment, I shall be saved.’” Saved here meant physical healing.
The story is told in the Gospel of a man filled with a legion of (2000) demons who was not in his right mind but experienced the miracle of being set free by Jesus. In Luke 8:36 it says, “and those also having seen [it], told them how the demoniac was saved.” In what way was the demoniac saved? He didn’t answer an altar call and shake a preacher’s hand while getting “saved” for heaven. He was delivered from what they believed was the demonic right? But he was also saved from the physical and mental effect they were having on his life, which included the torment of cutting himself. Saved meant making him mentally and emotionally whole.
(Another interesting side note is that it says that Jesus cast the demons into pigs that all leapt into the sea. In the Mysteries of Eleusis, where it is believed that psychedelic medicine was used in their ceremonies, one of the rituals for about 2000 initiates was to bathe in the sea with pigs as a symbol of their evil being cleansed.)
What about the salvation of the soul? 1 Peter 1:9, “obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.” The salvation of the soul in this verse does not mean going to heaven when you die. It meant that they believed if one trusted Christ, they would find deliverance from the problems that arise in the realm of the soul: addictions, thoughts that are compulsive, depression, anger, etc.
Why am I saying all this? I just want to point out that at the Church of Psilomethoxin we, just like in traditions like Christianity, don’t believe that healing is a one-dimensional experience. It is quite the opposite. It is about the body, the mind, the emotions and limiting beliefs! In other words, saved back then meant wholeness and wholeness is that for which we are aiming. Healing therefore ought not be exclusive to one branch nor separated out from its roots, but an essential domain of spiritual practices.
Dr Chuck Crisco