Because of its magnitude and importance in the New Age tradition, it is very hard to keep track of all the different forms of alternative medicine and healing techniques that currently are applied by its adherents. I will only address some parts of this subject, which has gained my attention and which probably constitutes the most popular and most heard of. Looking into this mix we will find traditional applications, such as Taoist Chinese medicine, which has been presented in a more or less original format, perhaps because of the relatively large contingent of Chinese immigrants living in the West and who has always practiced these remedies but limitedly confined to their own people. Thanks to the New Age it has shown its benefits also to the indigenous population of the West. But there is also several different types of typical New Age applications of “healing” which is not founded upon older tradition and merits, such as the use of crystals in chakra balancing and aromatherapy, and the likes.
Even if both the use of crystals and aromatics of essential plants have seen its application in remedies since antiquity, the particular application as seen in the New Age is quite a new phenomenon. What is typical of the New Age is also to combine different traditions and applications together to create new and unique forms, such as the above mentioned combination of crystals and the Tantric concept of the chakras. This has absolutely nothing to do with Hermetic or Rosicrucian medicine and healing. However, the concept of the “chakras” alone also has a traditional western standing and application with a slightly different spin, focusing on the concept of the microcosmic Planetary spheres instead of the Elementary as in Tantrism. So the use of energetic spheres in the subtle body has strong ties with both the Rosicrucian and the Alchemical traditions of the occident. This is however a quite well guarded secret amongst initiates and only some traces of this can be found in published literature, such as the works of Johann Georg Gichtel, the pupil of Jacob Boehme. However, the use of crystals in this context has never been heard of prior to the advent of the New Age, and thus may be dismissed by the hermetic initiate.
While we are on the subject of energetic healing I also must address the issue of the peculiar form of healing called “Reiki”, which has become quite popular amongst New Age followers and occultists alike. It was developed by the Japanese Buddhist monk Mikao Usui in the early 1920’s. It is based on traditional Chinese applications, such as Qi-Gong, even if its particular form was developed by Usui himself after certain revelations while being in a meditative state. But it has a strong oriental foundation that has been somewhat adapted when it became westernised after the Second World War. There are several schools of Reiki but all are based upon an initiatic scheme, the most common based on three degrees. The initiations are mainly energetic and cannot really be compared to traditional Rosicrucian initiation, which has been based upon Freemasonry since its reformation in 1777. Although there is a strong energetic component of healing in all true Rosicrucian initiation, it also places much emphasis on the ritual drama and occult instruction.
In my opinion Reiki is a highly effective formula of energetic healing that I recommend for study to all occultists and initiates of the Western Esoteric Tradition. I know of several initiates that has benefited greatly from being initiated into Reiki. Thus I don’t doubt its efficiency. However, in its second degree the initiate is introduced into the concept of distant healing. This in my opinion has been the source of much misuse when put into the hands of New Age adherents. Today you may get Reiki healing through the telephone or after writing an e-mail order. This latter application has nothing in common with traditional occult healing in the Western Esoteric Tradition, which either has the patient in close proximity to the healer or uses some kind of material medium (called “talisman”). Only in extreme cases is distant and astral techniques applied. But in the hands of New Age practitioners, which often hold an extreme pragmatic view on occult application, this has turned into a preferred mode of working as it gets a fast buck. Unfortunately this “laissez-faire” mentality has also infested the occult movement and most probably laid the foundation to more recent concepts such as “astral initiation” and the likes. And as I have said repeatedly on this blog, the concept of distant astral initiation has absolutely nothing to do with traditional Rosicrucian initiation.
There is also the concept of “Pranic Healing”, quite recently developed by Choa Kok Sui but, as it seems, loosely based upon traditional Hindu Yogic tradition. It seems to aim at energetic healing of the aura and also of the chakras. This goal it has in common with Reiki, and both systems share the concept of distant healing. Thus Reiki has incorporated also the Tantric view on the energy centres or wheels, referred to as “chakras”. This eclectic nature of Reiki has probably been one of the reasons of it being adopted so readily by the New Age movement. It is also interesting to note that Pranic Healing is a quite recent invention from the 1980’s and is referred to by its adherents as “non-traditional”. It seems to be a quite commercialised form of Yoga, which even uses crystals in its healing techniques. Thus it shouldn’t surprise me if New Age finally has started to have something of a feedback effect on the oriental traditions. In my opinion, this is a sad development as it may endanger the purity of the traditional teachings.
Be there as it may, but I have yet to encounter anything that resembles Reiki or Pranic Healing in the Western Esoteric Tradition or the Rosicrucian teachings. Thus neither Reiki nor Pranic Healing can be regarded as a traditional Rosicrucian healing formula; it must be regarded to be a complementary application of energetic healing which may have great benefits in the hands of an occidental initiate, but nevertheless should be learned through existent schools outside of the traditional lodge format. Rebranding the oriental word Qi or Ki (“vital life energy”) with western equivalent designations, such as “pneuma” or “ruach”, doesn’t make energetic healing of this kind more Rosicrucian or Qabalistic than it was before, especially when being sold to the public in the same manner as is commonly found in the New Age market. Hermetic or Rosicrucian principles simply cannot be learned in weekend workshops and certification being handed over only through attendance of a course.
Through my own research I have come to the conclusion that Rosicrucian healing, that is Hermetic medicine, most of all resembles Hindu and in particular Tantric tradition. The goal of any Rosicrucian is to become an Adept, meaning someone who has succeeded in the Great Work of making the Philosopher’s Stone. This is the Universal Medicine which is said to cure all ailments of the body and the soul, and furthermore grant immortality. In Tantric Alchemy transmutation of base metals into silver or gold is only a preliminary stage before the Elixir of Life being used to transmute the body of the Alchemist into the so-called “diamond body”. This last process is referred to as sarirayoga or “transubstantiation”. In this Tantric Alchemy, in Sanskrit referred to as Rasa Shastra or Rasayana, shares a common goal with Adepts of the Western Alchemical Tradition. Thus energetic healing using hand-laying techniques, such as in Reiki or Pranic Healing, isn’t the main focus of Hermetic medicine. Instead, source texts inform us that Alchemical and spagyrical preparations forms the main focus of Rosicrucian healing. Elixirs and tinctures may also be used to remedy local ailments, using spagyrical preparations of plants or minerals.
Thus Paracelsian medicine is much more true to the original Rosicrucian notion of healing, which is also Hermetic in its aims, that was even addressed in the 1614 manifesto Fama Fraternitatis. Homeopathy partly stems from Paracelsian medicine and thus has more in common with traditional Rosicrucian healing than does Reiki or Pranic Healing, or any other concepts of healing in the New Age. The Hindu equivalent of Paracelsian spagyrics is the Ayurveda, another ancient tradition popularised in the New Age and in the process transformed into but a form of dietism. In its original form it constitutes an entire field of medicine, originating from the Rasa Shastra in the same manner as spagery comes from Alchemy, sharing a common goal – that of bodily regeneration and prolongation of life. So, if anything appropriated by the New Age, the closest equivalent to Rosicrucian healing is the Ayurveda.
However, neither spagery nor its parent Alchemy is all about physical remedies. On the contrary, Alchemy is another form of energetic healing as it directly affects the energetic and subtle bodies, not only the physical. Thus the Stone of the Wise is a Universal Panacea that heals all levels of man, or it wouldn’t be universal. Likewise, as I said previously, initiation is also energetic healing and involves the transmission of energy from the initiator and the initiate. In the traditional Hermetic view on initiation, the concept of the “yeast” is important, meaning the initiator serving as a catalyst in the energetic and spiritual progression of the initiate. Ceremonial Magic also involves energetic healing, for obvious reasons. And in my opinion Ceremonial Magic has lots in common with Taoist formats of internal alchemy, such as Qi-Gong, as it involves the setting in motion of the vital life energy (in the Rosicrucian tradition referred to as the L.V.X.; “light”) through the subtle bodies. But as with the internal alchemical traditions of the Dao and Tantra, as well as Tibetan Buddhism, it is primarily a formula of self-healing.
These energetic formulae of internal alchemy may be used also to heal others, but only after the Adept sufficiently has developed an adequate vehicle for it to be able to transmit truly healing energies. In the common New Age movement, anyone may become initiated into Reiki or Pranic Healing, just like that. In Sweden I have heard some stories of patients experiencing unwanted and sometimes disastrous “side-effects” of wrongly applied energetic healing. This, I am convinced of, is mainly due to the fact that an unprepared healer (having an unbalanced energetic body) with transmit unbalanced forces into the aura of the patient. I strongly believe that even if the true healing agent is transpersonal the person doing the healing and acting as a conduit is still filtering the L.V.X., altering its “frequency”. Healing is not for the dilettant; it should be solely reserved for the Adept. It takes several years of hard study to become a physician, but only a weekend to become a Reiki healer. Thus the thought of such advanced formulae of healing, which requires a high level of responsibility from the therapist, not to mention the possibility of bearing the karmic burden of the patient, simply being taught at weekend workshops is quite barouche. It has absolutely nothing in common with any traditional esoteric teachings of both the occident and orient, and definitely not with anything remotely Rosicrucian or Hermetic.