Origin: Germanic Dated: 2nd – 8th century Type: Oracle Number of Runes: 24 Traditional Format: Wooden disks or tiles Traditional Size: ~ 3 mm diameter
The Elder Futhark is a set of 24 Germanic alphabet discovered in Gotland (1903) on the Kylver Stone that dates back to 400 AD. They represent one of the earliest writing scripts. It is postulated that they were inspired by the natural surroundings and life histories of the people during that time. The exact script usage and meaning of each letter has been lost to time.
The Old English Rune Poem is of Anglo-Saxon origin, dating (8th – 9th century) well after the Elder Futhark and is used as a proxy for the rune meanings. Therefore, clear linkage of the Elder Futhark to the Rune Poem is lacking and there is much scholarly debate as to the translation of both the script and the poem. The Elder Futhark was recorded throughout history by hand, usually carved with a knife, hence the linear and angular properties of the script. The first edition of the Rune Poem was contained in a historical manuscript, the Linguarum veterum septentrionalium thesaurus grammatico-criticus et archæologicus by George Hickes during 1703. The original manuscript (MS Cotton Otho B. X) perished in the Cottonian library fire of 1731, thus George Hickes’ edition became the only copy of the Rune Poem. Similarities of the Thesaurus to the MS Cotton Domitian A. IX sparked scholarly debate as to whether the Rune Poem was recorded in the original manuscript. Additional oddities arose due to hand-copying, translation efforts and comparisons of the Elder Futhark with the reduced Younger Futhark (9th century, Scandinavian origin, 16 runes) and expanded Futhorc (5th century, Anglo-Saxon or Anglo-Frisian origin, 33 runes). Therefore, it is postulated that both copying error and translation errors could have crept into the (re)documented versions of the Rune Poem. As such the both the translations and interpretation of the Rune Poem is very subjective.
As such, I believe it is best for anyone interested in learning this system to acquire a translated version of the Rune Poem, which resonates with you and to interpret its exact meaning for yourself. You can use the ‘traditional’ interpretations as a rough guide (such as those in Ref 2 below are a good starting point), but you will find that some of your own interpretations start to deviate from the widely used norm. This is a natural progression and personally links you to your runes. Here are my sets:
DIY Seed Runes:
Cost: R 0
Traditionally, one should make a set of runes for yourself. I have made myself a set using palm seeds, which symbolises fertility and new beginnings. I painted the runes on them, traditionally they would be carved or pyrographed – but I opted for painting so that I do not damage the seeds. These cost me near to nothing as I found the seeds, already had the paint and painting equipment. They are a great set to cast with, but their transportability is limited and also nobody would want you to fly around with them lest they carry a plant disease. Thus, I wanted for finding a card set as well.
Elder Futhark Travel Rune Cards:
Cost: R 42
Size: 4.5 cm x3.5 cm – fits into a matchbox even after lamination
These are a set of 24 printable cards available as both a PDF and JPEG file from TheCatHatter (@ US$ 1.5) or from my Online Store (@ R 25 ~ US$ 2.5). Therefore, the cost breakdown is: 1x R 25 for the digital files, 1x R 10 for printing on A4 300 mg card stock, 1x R 7 lamination of A4 page = R42. To preserve historical authenticity the set contains Proto-Norse writing, with Proto-Germanic names and English transliterations. I will also summarise the card set review with a few considerations, which can be advantageous or disadvantageous depending on personal opinion.
Inexpensive (@ R 42 for South Africans, likely less than US$ 5-15 all in)
Spreads take up a small amount of space
Caters for reversals
No artwork on card back
Manual printing, lamination, cutting and optional gilding of cards (in South Africa at least, overseas POD companies are available to produce the cards for you, for example: MakePlayingCards).
The runes are my go-to system, since they can be used as both a divinatory (passive) and magickal (active) tool. I personally use them for the latter, where I actively participate in setting the intention that I seek. I use the runes extensively for my shadow work, creative problem solving and spiritual rituals. Hence they have become a spiritual tool which I use to explore the depths of soul and to introduce some light and magick into my everyday hum-drum life.
Today is the spring equinox – it is the day of the year where the hours of darkness and daylight are equal for both the Southern and Northern Hemispheres. Countries in the south are experiencing a quickening as we witness the coming of spring with renewal and rebirth from the earth.
The spring equinox is aligned with Earth, a solid and comforting mass beneath our feet. The soil harbours the most abundant life on earth (the microbes!) and through working in harmony it provides nutrition that sustains all life. If we start to cultivate our souls as we cultivate the soil we will be able to renew our perspectives and live according to our most authentic selves. We are gifted with choice, which comes at a price. When our own earth becomes unmovable, shutting out parts of our psyche; it can bring spiritual dis-ease (shadow aspect). When we cultivate acceptance of every facet of our being we grow and unlock truth, happiness and harmony for ourselves and ultimately for others (light aspect). Thus, this leads to the main theme of today’s article.
From the moment we are able to process information in an intelligible way, we become conditioned with dualistic thinking: Good vs. Bad, Happy vs. Sad, Black vs. White, Wrong vs. Right, Past vs. Future, Negative vs. Positive, Matter vs. Spirit, Psyche vs. Physical, Mind vs. Body, Wave vs. Particle, and the list goes on. Yet what we do not realise is that there is a lot of falsehood in this way of thinking and that it not only restricts our opinions, tolerances and ideas – but it causes spiritual dis-ease, which manifests as physical illness and aberrant behaviours. For instance, many of us are conditioned either by society, our parents, and the community at large or even religion that the expression of emotion equals weakness (especially by men) and that crying is only reserved for hysterical women. This leads to us locking up the flow of our emotions (originating from the sacral chakra) within an unmovable cage. They become swallowed within our most basic element, the earth (at the root chakra). This is unnatural and blocks the flow of energy within the body (and ultimately to the spirit). In the dark, cold earth our emotions start to fester, they become a septic wound – much like the symbolic imagery of the Moon card from the RWS tarot. As the emotions twist and churn within this place they build up pressure and then finally one day we ‘lose it’ in either a fury of rage, falling into a depressive state of shame or become petrified with fear. This ‘break down’ further reinforces our belief that emotions are bad and must be controlled with an iron fist. So the cycle of dis-ease continues, likely leading to more physical problems such as the additions to drugs, alcohol or even food.
Another example would be the belief that everything must be categorised – a view-point that comes from our materialistic or physical world, since labelling thinks makes it easier to comprehend our world. But this leads to other problems, when we start to place labels upon things that are not wholly physical (such as living beings, including humans). This leads to an ‘Us vs. Them’ mentality where groups deny each other basic rights and privileges based on trivial things such as financial status (poor vs. rich), religious affiliation, intelligence or ethnic background. It breeds judgemental, intolerant and non-compassionate behaviour towards ourselves, other people and even other living things, such as plant and animals. It cultivates hate within the soil of our soul’s foundation and the results is that your heart (chakra) turns to stone. Unable to realise our own hate for another being by looking at the world through dualistic lenses, we become deluded as the third eye becomes turbid with self-generated and synthetic falsehoods. We no more see a problem in discriminating against one another; our society becomes ill as our spirits fall into dis-ease. It manifests itself in society as crime, road rage, bureaucratic tick boxes based on age, gender and race. We begin to allow or deny each other benefits (or even manners and decency) based on this restrictive thinking. This only serves to cultivate more hatred and ‘Us vs. Them’ mentality. An escalating spiral of violence in all its forms, physical, emotional, mental and spiritual against ourselves and each other.
Breaking this cycle is not easy, there is much resistance, because it suits some people to stay in this place. Others find it comfortable, because it is a conditioned and familiar environment (even if it doesn’t serve them). Therefore, many people may never see past the illusions that we create for ourselves or see the problem with the boxes that we create around our ideas and emotions. The bad is locked up in an attempt to only experience the good, when in actual fact nothing is neither good nor bad it is only our judgement that deems it so. It is also because we do not allow ourselves to live in the present enough, to fully embrace the moment and life as it is now, regardless of where we are on our journey. We are always guilty because of past behaviour or angry about past transgressions inflicted upon us directly or indirectly. We worry about the future, trying to control every stone we find upon our life’s path. I suggest this: instead of focusing all our energy and wasting our lives on these distractions, merely noise that only serves to prevent us all from reaching our potential, we must start to cultivate acceptance and mindfulness in our soul’s earthly foundation.
Therefore, lifting the lenses of dualistic thinking is greatly advantageous to us as a society. We should also learn that emotions are neither good nor bad, it is clinging to them that enslaves us, but momentary expressions are part of simply being present, being human and experiencing life in all its aspects. Also, when we stop thinking about one another as different and opposing teams, genders, ages, skin colour or even countries – we will experience a true sense of freedom and start to achieve miraculous things that we would not have deemed possible before. We simply are not in opposition with one another, because we are all of the same spirit. Similar to my left and right hand not being in opposition with one another, since they both are an unique extension of me and when they work together in harmony, I am able to achieve, create and grow as a person – just as life requires both day and night as a function of light in order to prosper. We must learn to view each other as equal physical extensions of the same spirit, each unique and independent. Obviously working together will have some challenges, but we are creative and intelligent beings – I am sure we can figure it out, much like we figured out how to cultivate the earth in order to sow and harvest food even when unpredictable factors influence the process (such as mother nature’s whim). Cultivation of the soul I believe is the true purpose of human life on earth. By being present within your own life (not comparing it to others, the past or future) we learn to accept ourselves in all our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual identities as well as accepting where we are on our journey. This leads to harmony of the spirit and true lasting happiness of the soul.
“This quantum view of a holistic reality is in perfect agreement with one of Jung’s most important seminal ideas; that is, the archetypal idea of Unus Mundus, which Jung  and Marie-Louise von Franz  derived from characteristic medieval views of the world. In Jung’s words:
“Undoubtedly the idea of the Unus Mundus is founded on the assumption that the multiplicity of the empirical world rests on an underlying unity, and that not two or more fundamentally different worlds exist side by side or are mingled with one another. Rather, everything divided and different belongs to one and the same world, which is not the world of sense.” (, para. 767).
Ontologically, this archetype means that there is a reality that must be united, “apparently” divided, opposed, but beyond the illusion of matter, it is One. The reader will note the agreement of Jung’s views with the quantum view of the world…”
“Abstract: We describe similarities in the ontology of quantum physics and of Carl Gustav Jung’s psychology. In spite of the fact that physics and psychology are usually considered as unrelated, in the last century, both of these disciplines have led at the same time to revolutionary changes in the Western understanding of the cosmic order, discovering a non-empirical realm of the universe that doesn’t consist of material things but of forms. These forms are real, even though they are invisible, because they have the potential to appear in the empirical world and act in it. We present arguments that force us to believe, that the empirical world is an emanation out of a cosmic realm of potentiality, whose forms can appear as physical structures in the external world and as archetypal concepts in our mind. Accordingly, the evolution of life now appears no longer as a process of the adaptation of species to their environment, but as the adaptation of minds to increasingly complex forms that exist in the cosmic potentiality. The cosmic connection means that the human mind is a mystical mind.”
Here is an infographic on how to do a daily walking meditation. Daily walking meditations, especially during the week outside in a garden or natural environment assists with refreshing the mind, providing a break to daily schedule and promoting well-being. It is a flexible tool that can be done anytime and will fit into any busy schedule plus it increases overall productivity!
Tip: Hold onto your mala beads or other focus tool during your walking meditation to keep your hands from fidgeting!
21 June 2017, 06h25:
Winter Solstice for the Southern Hemisphere
Today is the winter solstice – it is the day of the year with the longest hours of night for the Southern Hemisphere, whereas the Northern is experiencing the longest hours of daylight.
The winter solstice is aligned with Water, a free flowing and reflective element necessary for all life on earth. Winter is a time of rest when many plants have become dormant, yet southern countries rarely receive snowfall such as our northern counterparts and thus many animals remain active during the colder months. The lower levels of activity, clear skies and dull landscapes are an ideal environment for some self-reflection and contemplation. Here, water assists greatly with inner searches of discovery when we review our behaviour and thoughts, sometimes coming face-to-face with inner demons (shadow aspect). With great effort we are able to see the value of such darkness in times of need when they are brought to bear during struggles for survival. We are also able to cultivate new skills and use them as gifts for ourselves and for others during times of need (light aspect). [Music: Anywhere Is – Enya] Thus, this leads to our main theme of today’s article.
The greatest gift one can learn for oneself and to teach others is that of meditation. Conscious focus on one’s breath is a very simple act, but our minds are easily distracted and soon thoughts invade, leading our concentration elsewhere and hindering our journey towards stress relief (and later self-discovery) [Benefits of Meditation]. In general, meditation also involves little-to-no human interaction and a great deal of solitude. Many people avoid and even fear solitude. Modern day society will tell you that you are ‘introverted’, anti-social or socially incompetent when you actively seek out solitude. It is because of the fact that during times of silence; your inner most being, your deepest desires and fears speak the loudest. It is easier to avoid such scenarios, because we are much too often reminded of the ‘could haves’, ‘should haves’ and ‘would haves’ when we sit in solitude [The Lost Art of Solitude&What’s Great about Solitude]. We are duped into believing that the distractions of money and material things can bring us everlasting comfort and happiness without having to face your inner self.
“At the start of our practise, we have to recognise the nature of mindfulness, which we have to develop for as long as we are alive. The presence of mindfulness is what really makes the difference between true happiness and false happiness… True happiness is when we really have peace of mind. False happiness is when greed and excitement overcome the mind – the mind is agitated.”
Venerable Sujiva (2000), Essentials of Insight Meditation Practice.
“The perfect man employs his mind as a mirror. It grasps nothing; it refuses nothing. It receives, but does not keep.”
Chaung-tzu as quoted in The Way of Zen, 1957 by A. W. Watts.
Material distractions form the basis of modern society. When we refuse to face the truth of our inner self we will never reach a state of contentment and harmony, because we are always rushing and running after the next big pay check and the next shiny car. I am not saying that money is evil or unimportant and that all material things are distractions – no, we all need to eat sometime during the month and certain material things are needed in order to function properly in society. What we do need to realise is that we actually require a lot less from the outside world and a lot more of the inner world. Happiness and contentment are not external, both are generated from within. Also, it isn’t easy, it isn’t instant and it takes constant effort to create your own happiness. Especially in a world that doesn’t believe such a feat is possible. This is where a constant meditation practise (even of 5 minutes a day) can assist with gentle guidance towards the inner self and impactful stress relief. The effects and personal journey that meditation leads one through is hard to describe partly because our language is quite inadequate to describe such explorations of the spirit.
“The difficulty is not so much in the language as in the thought-patterns which have hitherto seemed inseparable from the academic and scientific way of approaching a subject.”
A. W. Watts (1957), The Way of Zen.
“Only when the veils of the old, overconditioned personal self drop away do we liberate the innate capacities of our ‘‘original self’’ to see deeply into the reality of this outside world. Only at the deeper levels of such an emancipation can our true nature register objectively. The result is an extraordinary, fresh impression: things as THEY are, not what they had always seemed to be in our overconditioned imagination.
What we see then are the ways individual things complement one another, as do yin and yang. But these words, like other language functions of the left side, are then no longer in the picture. Indeed, as Paul Valery phrased it, “Seeing begins when you forget the name of the thing you see.” ”
J. H Austin (M. D) (2006), Zen-Brain Reflections.
One of the most striking descriptions that I have come across for the process was the comparison of the mind during meditation like the waves upon the ocean:
“Even though waves arise, the essence of your mind is pure; it is just like clear water with a few waves. Actually water always has waves. Waves are the practice of the water. To speak of waves apart from water or water apart from waves is a delusion. Water and waves are one.”
Shunryu’s analogy lets me understand that the mind is like an ocean, where the thoughts are its waves generated from far in the subconscious (or unconscious). Some thoughts crash onto the shores of consciousness. Then the aim of meditation is to let them pull back, returning to the subconscious once again. Therefore, one cannot have an ‘empty’ mind, which is a common misconception. One cannot empty the mind as thoughts are inherit to it. Shunryu also continues his teachings by noting that:
“When you are practicing zazen, do not try to stop your thinking. Let it stop by itself. If something comes into your mind, let it come in, and let it go out. It will not stay long. When you try to stop your thinking, it means you are bothered by it. Do not be bothered by anything. It appears as if something comes from outside your mind, but actually it is only the waves of your mind, and if you are not bothered by the waves, gradually they will become calmer and calmer. “
Here, Shunryu illustrates that we can objectively face our subjective reality and the thoughts that come with it. We must learn to accept what we have done and realise how we currently think without judgement or reaction. With this realisation we will be able to chart a new way of thought, which will eventually lead to a new way of action. A spirit-to-mind-to-emotional-to-physical cascade of sorts, one flows into the other and cannot be separated from the former.
When one comes to think of the mind as a flowing entity, capable of steering its own course of energy, you quickly find yourself in the world of quantum physics [Quantum Physics & Quantum Metaphysics]. The laws of quantum physics are universal, unlike classical physics, and are able to influence any part of our reality, even our minds. Quantum physics has even demonstrated that an observer of a quantum event can influence its outcome. Thus the question becomes, if we step back from ourselves, our behaviours, thoughts and feelings – when we become mere observers of our life’s events: how much would we be able to influence what we have experienced and what we have learned from our lives? Ourselves?… We would, in-fact, be able to re-remember and to re-learn an entire lifetime’s worth of lessons. We would even be capable of re-writing experiences and memories. Such revelations would come to use like mind waves upon our own quantum ocean. It has the potential to become a deep and endless source of inner truth, ultimately leading to lasting happiness and contentment through all of life’s challenges and tribulations. The best of all is that: All of these valuable lessons lie within each and every one of us, we merely need to start listening and let the waves of wisdom crash upon the shores of our consciousness. Allow them effect upon our realities every day as we presently carve the path to ourselves and move towards a better future. I end off with phrases from the Venerable Sujiva, who gives us a practical approach to building on these memories and experiences, whereas Carl Jung gives an indication of its consequences:
“This means that a proper base of the lower experiences must be developed further before the higher levels can grow. For example, your concentration must last longer and deeper, before you are able to watch more phenomena. Therefore, when you watch certain new experiences, you have to watch it longer and clearer before you can watch deeper ones. For the third level to become stronger, the first and second level must become stronger too. You do not forget the lower levels. This means that there will be a constant repetition of the earlier experiences for some time, before a new experience comes. The lesson to be learned is that you must have patience.”
Venerable Sujiva (2000), Essentials of Insight Meditation Practice.
“The recollection of infantile memories and the reproduction of archetypal ways of psychic behavior can create a wider horizon and a greater extension of consciousness on condition that one succeeds in assimilating and integrating
in the conscious mind the lost and regained contents. Since they are not neutral,
their assimilation will modify the personality, just as they themselves will have to undergo certain alterations. In this part of what is called “the individuation process” (which Dr. M.-L. von Franz describes in a later section of this
book), the interpretation of symbols plays an important practical role. For the symbols are natural attempts to reconcile and unite opposites within the psyche.”
C. G Jung (1964), Man and his Symbols.
Thus, the Final Symbolic Message for the Winter Solstice:
– Meditating on the Shore of my Quantum Ocean –
All Natural Spirit
A Critical Review of ‘Crystal clear: Paranormal powers, placebo, or priming?’ and ‘Hypnotic susceptibility, paranormal belief and reports of crystal power.’
I am currently a PhD Biotechnology student and crystal enthusiast. As such I am always on the lookout for scientific studies based around alternative healing, especially what is known as ‘crystal healing’. The general logic behind crystal healing is that crystals facilitate healing through various techniques, which include the placement of stones on chakras of the body, combinational therapy with Reiki or simply by wearing or having them in your environment where they act as potent symbols of positivity and spiritual well-being (Ref 1). Crystals are used as healing tools, but the descriptions and definitions of exactly how crystals leads to healing are often not well expressed. I will discuss the following concepts relating to crystal healing:
Belief-based healing with reference to the power of suggestion and placebo effects,
Observed results can exist scientifically before understanding,
Known benefits of alternative healing disciplines and its applicability to crystal healing; and
Logical limitations of crystal healing given current knowledge (just as one would not use cancer medication for a headache – so cancer medication has limitations in the treatment of headaches)
The scientific community has generally dismissed crystal healing as a form of pseudoscience (Ref 2). It is viewed as a belief-based healing system working with the power of suggestion that generates placebo effects (Ref 2). It is clear that any person with a science degree would surely be ridiculed for promotion of crystal healing or any alternate version of energy healing (hence me writing this under my alias). As a scientist and agnostic atheist I have a slightly different view on the matter and would like to discuss the scientific knowledge and scientific gaps surrounding such forms of healing. There are actually no reliable scientific studies on crystal healing, probably because of the stigma associated with it and there is no scientific authority to say what crystal healing actually is or could achieve.
“Definition of healing (noun) in English: The process of making or becoming sound or healthy again.” – Oxford Dictionaries
One of the most cited information critiquing crystals healing is that of Drs French, O’Donnell and Williams. The research was presented at two international conferences (Ref 3 and 4), but has not been published in any peer reviewed journal. Information straight from the source is lacking as well and thus I had to make do with second and third-hand information (Ref 2, 5 and 6). The study looked at whether crystal healing believers and sceptics could ascertain the ‘energetic’ differences between real and ‘fake’ crystals when held in their hands and meditated upon for 5 minutes. It was found that both groups reported similar impressions regardless of the crystal being real or a glass substitute or whether they were paranormal believers or not. Primed participants reported crystal-induced sensation more often than non-primed participants and believers were twice as likely to report sensations due to their increased susceptibility towards hypnotism and suggestion. Feedback regarding sensation included tingling in the body, improved attention, balancing of emotions, a rise in hand temperature, an increase of energy levels, an improved sense of wellbeing, relaxation of the forehead, stimulation of the brain, an increased swallowing reflex and the “activation of all levels of consciousness”. Six participants (of 80, 7.5%) reported no sensations. Apparently, the most reported sensations were that the participants’ hands warmed during the session or that they felt an increase in concentration (sensations involving the head).
“The power of suggestion, either explicit or implicit, seems to be the not-so-mysterious power that may convince many that crystals have the potential to work miracles. The data presented are consistent with the idea that believers in the paranormal are more susceptible to this power.”
– Dr C. French.
These results have been widely portrayed as evidence that crystal healing ‘does not work’. I would like to point out a few things regarding this study:
1. It has been scientifically shown that;
a. One’s body, especially one’s hands, heats up during meditation (Ref 7),
b. Meditation alters brains waves and increases concentration (Ref 8),
c. Meditation improves your mood and psychological well-being (Ref 9 & 10),
d. Several breathing techniques including yoga, meditation and chanting restore optimal homeostasis in the body by reducing allostatic load in stress response systems (Ref 11).
2. There is no difference between glass and crystal at a chemical level (i.e. silicon dioxide, SiO2) and various amorphous minerals (without crystalline structure such as glass) form staples of crystal healing. For example: obsidian (volcanic glass), opal, tektite, amber (organic resin), chert, jet and moldavite (Ref 12 & 13).
The bias of the researchers is apparent with their statement “potential to work miracles”, which is aimed at ridicule and not to establish whether there is a scientifically measurable benefit. Using the same logic as these researchers one can ridicule cancer medication if a researcher tried to apply it to curing headaches or AIDS, because it will also not have the “potential to work miracles”.
Allowing subjects to meditate during the study introduces noise into the results and conflates the apparent effect of the crystals with the known effect of meditation – the two essentially become inseparable as the sensations investigated during the study can all be attributed to meditation alone. Hence, this study did not measure the effects of crystals, but rather the effects of meditation – or their combination, which equates to an inconclusive result. Also trying to determine whether candidates could feel ‘crystal energy’ is not a well-defined question and is laced with subjective bias (as indicated by ‘the power of suggestion’). The observations in the study are basically irrelevant with regards to any test of crystal differentiation let alone to establish if crystals have any contextual healing or benefits for patients.
Additionally, this apparent ‘crystal energy’ is not defined nor can it be measured (this can be either due to its non-existence or due to the fact that we do not possess the necessary equipment of measurement). Thus, the question posed is one of pure psychology and personal beliefs. The researchers want to rely on the subjective responses of the participants rather than hard scientific measurements. What exactly was the null hypothesis in this case? What where the researchers trying to establish? The whole environment surrounding this experiment was contaminated with bias and subjectivity right from the start and therefore, no conclusions of substance can be obtained from such work.
Next, to contrast the effects of crystal and glass, which are both tools of crystal healing, is akin to comparing water and ice in the preparation of beverages and asking patrons to ‘taste’ the difference – it is effectively the same thing and logic holds that should crystals have a ‘spiritual energy’ this energy should technically be very similar in nature to that of glass because it has the same origins in this instance. Therefore, I do not deem this research as evidence to the ineffectiveness of crystal healing, since it has conflated its variable factors and also shows a lack of clarity on the part of the authors on the subject their investigation.
An experiment which does not comply with a proper scientific method will not yield any informative results. The worst form of science-abuse is when an experiment serves only to facilitate the satisfaction of ego behind a veneer of scientific method for an already prejudged outcome.
I would also like to draw your attention to the fact that sometimes treatments work, but we don’t necessarily know why, for instance a recent study reported that a hysterosalpingography treatment with poppy seed oil increases the rates of on-going pregnancy and live births in seemingly infertile women. It was reported that on-going pregnancy occurred in 39.7% out of the oil-contrast test group of infertile women within 6 months of the treatment and that oil-contrast had a higher efficacy (10.6%) than water-contrast methods (Ref 15) (yet nobody knows why and the effects of poppy seed oil on female fertility have long been suspected, since 1917, but no-one had investigated it properly until now). Factually we see that medical science includes treatments which work but “why” it works is unknown. Yet few would extend the same courtesy to alternative healing disciplines such as crystal healing in the correct context. Truth be told the poppy seed oil treatment overlaps with herbalism and if the herbalist had prescribed the poppy seed oil treatment for infertile patients would it also have been ridiculed?
I would like to make a few suggestions on possible methods to study the effects of crystal healing. One would be the direct investigation of the placebo-effect of crystal healing by giving people crystals to wear or have in their environment, opposed to those receiving (for instance) a block of wood instead and determining the physical as well as psychological effects of each. It could be done in a double-blind investigation where on the one hand patients are not made aware of the apparent effects, while on the other hand one where they are. The results must be measured in a scientific manner such as measuring the levels of hormones in the bodies of participants which are associated with an expected result. This would include the measurement of cortisol or endorphin levels of patients receiving long-term alternate healing or stress management treatment as opposed to those that do not, such studies have been already been conducted on meditation with favourable outcomes (Ref 16). Studies could also include analyses of brain behaviour, such as those done for acupuncture (Refs 17 & 18), another alternative healing discipline which has also been ridiculed and labelled as pseudoscience despite studies to the contrary.
It is known that stress induces illness through the release of corticosteroids in the body (Refs 11 & 16), which predisposes people to infection and inflammation (Ref 19). Stress exacerbates disease, including the leading causes of mortality in the US namely; heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes, as well as morbidity disorders, such as depression, anxiety and chronic pain (Ref 16). Lowering of stress levels therefore aids in the prevention of disease and lessens the symptoms of pre-existing diseases or ailments (Ref 11). This falls right within the scope of crystal healing, which aims to provide a relaxing (non-judgemental) environment for the client with the use of non-invasive, highly symbolic and chemical free tools.
How or why exactly many people have benefitted from crystal healing we cannot yet conclusively answer, much speculation still exists and I have yet to see definitive results that show that people simply cannot benefit from such treatments in any possible way. I would like to state that it is highly doubtful that crystal healing (or any other alternative healing) will cure cancer or AIDS. Furthermore, both practitioner and client should realise and be responsible about it when an ailment has moved beyond the exclusive assistance of crystal healing (the same goes for crystal healing on animals). However, I do feel strongly about the fact that our society relies too heavily on substance abuse (such as pharmacological and recreational drugs, nicotine and alcohol) for every perceived problem, especially for minor and stress-induced ailments, where holistic healing provides a safer, long-term and generally less expensive alternative. There is a context for crystal healing where a properly defined and designed study can evaluate its benefits beyond the simplistic subjective observations of participants.
Crystal healing forms part of what is known as Mind-Body medicine based on psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) (Ref 19 & 20), where “PNI provides biochemical evidence for the communication interface among emotions, thoughts, perceptions, and the neuroendocrine and immune systems.” Mind-Body medicine or alternative medicine can provide support to conventional biomedical based models of healing (Ref 21 & 22) and together they have the potential to heal patients on physical, emotional, mental and spiritual levels as well as preventing disease through the enhancement of an individual patient’s innate healing capabilities. There are even discussions surrounding Mind-Body medicine effects at a quantum level (Ref 23)! So perhaps the patients of crystal healing or crystal healers themselves feel the energetic differences at a quantum level through the use of crystals as quantum tools? It would most certainly complicate any scientific measurement, but as long as both parties still remain reasonable as to the limits of crystal healing– then I say let them be and let them enjoy the experience for what it is. In this world rampant with stress and a never-ending rush towards the next item on the to-do list, we far too often forget to let ourselves simply be and to create a supportive environment where our bodies can heal from the demands we place upon it and where we can reinvigorate our immune system. Crystals and crystal healing seem to hold some of the answers to creating such a beneficial environment. Perhaps the next scientists will focus on designing a solid scientific study with measured scientific results to evaluate the benefits of crystal healing even when science does not know “why”.
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