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
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
*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
*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
*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.
– Jehana. Distribute freely if copied in entirity –
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