Printed in the Summer 2016 issue of Quest magazine.
Citation: Amao, Albert, "Kabbalistic Methods of Treatment" Quest 104.3 (Summer 2016): pg. 124-127
By Albert Amao, Ph.D.
One system of healing without medicine comes from the Kabbalah, an esoteric tradition originally found in Judaism. Paul Foster Case (1884–1954) was the founder of the Builders of the Adytum (BOTA), an American offshoot of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, a late nineteenth-century occult order whose members included S.L. MacGregor Mathers, Aleister Crowley, and William Butler Yeats. Case wrote extensively on Kabbalah, esoteric Tarot, alchemy, and Rosicrucianism.
Case delineated a system of healing through sound, color, and meditation on the Tarot keys. The principle behind this system is that sound and color are vibrations, each operating at different rates; thus each color and sound is associated with different parts of the body according to their astrological correspondences. Once the part of the body is identified, one meditates on the corresponding Tarot key utilizing the associated sound and color.
Unfortunately, very little information can be disclosed about this method because these teachings are restricted to BOTA affiliates, who are bound by oath not to reveal them publicly. (People who want information about BOTA’s teachings should visit its website, www.bota.org.) Indeed Case is not well-known because most of his writings are imparted solely by correspondence lessons to BOTA members.
Israel Regardie (1907–85) was the leader of the American revival of the Golden Dawn. Despite the opposition of members, Regardie was not reluctant to publish the rituals and writings of this order, which had been entrusted to him under severe oaths of secrecy, under the title The Golden Dawn. Regardie also wrote extensively on the early pioneers of the New Thought movement and was knowledgeable about mind healing and suggestive therapies, as we can see from his book The Romance of Metaphysics, published in 1946.
In 1932 Regardie, who was a psychotherapist, published The Art of True Healing, which is part of his book Foundations of Practical Magic, based on the teachings of the Golden Dawn. The kind of therapeutic treatment he describes can be seen as a form of energy medicine.
This method is based on the Kabbalistic Tree of the sefirot (stages of emanation of the life power or Cosmic Consciousness; singular sefirah), also known as the Tree of Life. The technique makes use of rhythmic breathing, meditation, and visualization of the sefirot of the Middle Pillar of the Tree. The Middle Pillar corresponds to the spinal column, where the seven chakras, or psychic energy centers, are supposedly located. Meditation on and visualization of the chakras activate the flow of the universal life force through these psychic centers. This in turn releases negative emotions trapped in the body. This technique also utilizes the visualization of color and the use of sound to stimulate the energy centers of the body, and, finally, includes prayer and the use of religious mantras. Regardie describes the principle behind his method:
Within every man and woman is a force which directs and controls the entire course of life. Properly used, it can heal every affliction and ailment to which mankind is heir. Every single religion affirms this fact. All forms of mental or spiritual healing, no matter under what name they travel, promise the same thing. Even psychoanalysis employs this power, though indirectly, using the now popular word libido. (Regardie, 1; italics Regardie’s)
This is a departure from the concept of healing that Regardie portrayed in The Romance of Metaphysics. At that time he flirted intellectually with New Thought and believed that illness arose from a negative frame of mind. Now sickness was seen as arising from the depletion and incorrect use of the life force energy. Regardie said that a lack of proper breathing and a failure to understand the fact that we are surrounded by the life force is the reason we become ill. Nevertheless, this theory can be seen as complementary to New Thought, since we direct this life force by means of our thoughts and emotions. Regardie further states:
In the ambient atmosphere surrounding us and pervading the structure of each minute body-cell is a spiritual force. This force is omnipresent and infinite. It is present in the most infinitesimal object as it is in the most proportion-staggering nebula or island universe. It is this force which is life itself. (Regardie, 1)
The root of this concept is found in the Hindu school of philosophy known as Vedanta, with which Regardie was well acquainted. Vedanta holds that there is one indestructible substance pervading the whole universe, from the remotest star to the most minuscule atomic particle. Regardie equates this universal life force, known in the yogic philosophy as prana, with God. “This Spiritual force constitutes man’s higher self; it is his link with God in man. Every cell in the body should be soaked with its universal energy.” Disease, Regardie concluded, is fundamentally due to a depletion of the life force.
The Kabbalistic Tree of Life. Each circle represents one of the sefirot or principles. The five sefirot on the Middle Pillar are connected (from the top) to the crown chakra; the throat chakra; the chakra at the solar plexus; the chakra at the genitals; and the chakra at the feet. The side columns represent the polarity of positive (white) and negative (black). The Hebrew letters bet (left) and yod (right) stand for the names of the two pillars in front of Solomon’s Temple, Boaz and Jachin (1 Kings 7:21).
According to Regardie, the ordinary individual puts up so much resistance to the free flow of this universal energy in his body that he becomes tired and ill. Regardie contends that man has “surrounded himself with a crystallized shell of prejudices and ill-conceived fantasies,” which act as a shield preventing the free flow of the life force. Therefore, man should practice honest self-examination of his value system. Regardie also recommends conscious relaxation as a preliminary step, then loosening up the neuromuscular tensions of the body to the degree that all the cells and muscles are brought within the scope of awareness.
Regardie lays out two basic principles for well-being. First, we should consciously realize that we live in this vast spiritual reservoir of life force energy. Second, we should employ regulated or rhythmic breathing, similar to the breathing exercises of yoga, in order to vitalize the body.
These ideas accord with Hermetic and yogic philosophies, which hold that the entire universe is a living organism and moves according to an immutable of law of rhythm and cycle. Therefore rhythmic breathing keeps our bodies in a healthy condition. In every breath, we inhale prana, the life force that vitalizes the body and mind. Regardie argues that an inability to grasp this principle is the reason for the failure of many mental and spiritual healing systems.
Regardie further recommends meditation on the psychospiritual centers that are located along the spinal cord. These centers of energy are known in yogic philosophy as chakras and in the Kabbalah as the sefirot of the Middle Pillar (which is associated with the spinal column). They are vortices of energy through which the life force flows. Although the yogic philosophy says there are seven of these centers, Regardie uses only five.
Regardie recommends concentrating the mind on these centers. Then one should intone and vibrate the names of God associated with them in the Kabbalah: Eheieh, Jehovah Elohim, Jehovan Elohim va-Daas, Shaddai El Chai, and Adonai ha-Aretz (going from top to down). “Finally, each centre is to be visualised as having a particular colour and shape. Slowly they become stimulated into functioning each according to its own nature, pouring forth a stream of highly spiritualized energy and power into the body and mind” (Regardie, 4). At this point the individual can direct the resulting spiritual power to heal various ailments and diseases of both a psychological and a physical nature.
This energy can also be transmitted by the laying on of hands. Thus Regardie, like Franz Anton Mesmer, founder of mesmerism, believes in the transmission of energy from one person to another. Moreover, Regardie believes that healing energy can be sent telepathically to another person who is miles away. This is known as absent treatment or distant healing.
Like Case, who said that the subconscious is the propulsive factor in the individual, Regardie argues that this method of healing can cure even psychogenic eruptions, because the “currents of force arise from the deepest strata of the unconscious, where these psychoneuroses have their origin and where the [sic] lock up the nervous energy, preventing spontaneous and free expression of the psyche,” thus impeding health (Regardie, 8). Unlike Christian Science, which prohibits its members from receiving medical assistance, Regardie does not exclude the use of a physician:
Where organic disease is the problem to be attacked, the procedure to be followed is slightly different. (One should still be under the care of a competent physician). In this instance a considerably stronger current of force is required such as will dissolve the lesion and be sufficient to set in motion those systemic and metabolic activities to construct new tissue and cellular structure. To fulfill these conditions in an ideal sense a second person may be requisite so that his vitality added to that of the sufferer may overcome the condition. (Regardie, 8)
As with any kind of healing, conventional or unconventional, the participation of the individual is extremely important. For a successful treatment with this method, the patient has to be totally receptive and must maintain an attitude of acceptance toward the incoming force.
Regardie recommends prayer or contemplation as the final step of his healing method, because they also activate these psychospiritual centers. Indeed, most genuine esoteric schools and religious organizations strongly advocate meditation and prayer as means of attaining a higher state of mind as well as of stimulating emotional fervor toward the awakening of the spiritual centers. From time immemorial, mystics have given such injunctions as “Inflame thyself in praying.” Ceremonial rituals can also be used to awaken the inner mechanism of healing.
Regardie contends that his system of treatment can be used not only for healing but also for solving a variety of problems in life, such as enhancing human potential, eliminating negative aspects of our personalities, improving relationships, and resolving marital difficulties.
Israel Regardie, The Art of True Healing, in Regardie, Foundations of Practical Magic (Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, U.K.: Aquarian Press, 1979); www.hermetics.org/pdf/TheArtofTrueHealing.pdf; accessed March 14, 2016.
Albert Amao, Ph.D., is a clinical hypnotherapist and holistic counselor. His books include Beyond Conventional Wisdom and The Dawning of the Age of Aquarius. This article is adapted from his book Healing without Medicine: From Pioneers to Modern Practice (Quest Books, 2014). Reprinted with permission.