Paracelsus: This month's Missal takes another look at the alchemist, physician, and healer known as Paracelsus (1493-1541) . Once referred to as the Grand Paradoxical Physician, Paracelsus was to change the course of conventional medicine in his lifetime. He was born in Einsiedeln, Switzerland, near Zurich, the only son of a poor German physician and chemist, William Bombast, who taught the boy his early education. Born as Philippus Aureolus, he later took the pseudonym of Theophrastus Bombastus Von Hohenheim, and the name Paracelsus, meaning "greater than Celsus", a Roman physician.
He began his studies at the young age of sixteen at the University of Basel, graduating at seventeen. He was afterwards taught by Trithemius of Spanheim, a great adept of magic, alchemy, and astrology. He then was tutored by Sigismund Fugger, a mineralist, physician, and mine owner. Here, Paracelsus gained much he was later to use in healing with minerals.
After these years of formal training, he began a life of wandering. His travels took him through Germany, France, Hungary, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, and Russia. In Russia, he was taken prisoner by the Tartars and brought before the Grand Cham at whose court he became a great favorite. Through this connection he was said to have even traveled to India, learning many secrets of the age. He reappeared in Europe in Italy around ten years later, working as an army surgeon. Making his way back to Germany, he became well known through the many and seemingly miraculous cures he performed. He was appointed to the staff of the City Council of Basil as a professor of medicine and surgery, but was not to hold the post for long. His methods were contrary to the methods of the time, and his insistence on teaching them in opposition to the medical establishment, despite his obvious success in healing incurable cases, led him into trouble. He publicly burned the texts of Galen, the accepted medical authority of the day, and succeeded in antagonizing the medical faculty, infuriated that their authority and prestige were being undermined by Paracelsus' original teachings and successful healing's. He was forced out of his position and exiled from the city.
We should do that which our conscience teaches, for no other reason but because our conscience teaches it. To learn from others, to accept the opinion of others, to act in a certain manner because others are acting in that way, is temptation.
He began his second period of wandering, popping up in cities from time to time, but always succeeding in turning the medical establishment against him, despite his superior treatments. He is credited with the introduction of opium and mercury into the arsenal of medicine, and has been called "the precursor of chemical pharmacology and therapeutics and the most original medical thinker of the sixteenth century." By this time he had a small but faithful following, who copied down his teachings. He wrote little, but dictated his knowledge to his students. His life of wandering came to an end when he was taken in by the Duke Ernst of Bavaria. His time there was not long, as he became sick soon after, and passed away in September of 1541.
The legacy Paracelsus left was great. He changed the course of medicine by insisting that disease was caused by the invasion of the body from outside, by sickness or poison, and should be treated by attacking these invaders, a radical idea in his time. He claimed that the true method of learning the art of healing was done through hands-on experience, rather than through lectures and books.
Reading never made a physician. Medicine is an art, and requires practice. I began to study my art by imagining that there was not a single teacher in the world capable to teach it to me, but that I had to acquire it myself. It was the book of Nature, written by the finger of God, which I studied - not those of the scribblers.
Paracelsus claimed to receive his knowledge directly from Nature, by emptying himself of all opinion, and thus being able to see the true essence of things. The value of insight and revelation as true knowledge is his most important legacy to us, for his success in curing the incurable gave proof to his claims that direct insight is of greater value than mere rote learning. He taught that if we first know ourselves, all other knowledge can flow to us from the Source within.
A knowledge of spiritual things cannot be obtained by merely reasoning logically from external appearances existing on the physical plane, but it may be acquired by obtaining more spirituality, and making one's self capable to feel and to see the things of the spirit.
All Quotes from Franz Hartmann's Paracelsus: Life and Prophecies
- Related Sites -
FranzHartmann.org is created as a tribute to the life and works of Dr. Franz Hartmann, a Bavarian-American, translater of many esoteric writers including Paracelsus, physician, theosophist, occultist, geomancer, astrologer, and author of numerous esoteric works.This web site will be a work in progress, with the goal of providing information about his remarkable life and to provide his writings to the general public.
Tricks and Traps
Trap: Irrational fear of making a mistake, brought on by taking our 'selves' too seriously, can turn into a pattern of mind, keeping us bottled up and afraid to move. This blocked energy could be put to better use, and our mind would be better off not constantly chewing on fake problems. One way of breaking the spell of fear, leading to a clearer mind and better energy use, is the
Trick of Humor: Being able to laugh at ourselves when faced with our faults and misgivings. This humorous point of view helps us to accept ourselves as we are. Fear hides the joy within, and separates us from our friends and helpers. Also, since we are all One, helping others to face themselves and release tension through humor, helps us.
"Man is not body.
The heart, the spirit, is man.
And this spirit is an entire star,
out of which, he is built.
If therefore a man is perfect in his heart,
nothing in the whole light of Nature is
hidden from him."
On Learning to Listen
"It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." - William Shakespeare, Macbeth
Paracelsus was known to be able to look at anything, an herb, plant or mineral, and divine its essence, and thus its purpose and use. A direct knowing, given by the Universal Intelligence, to one who had ears to hear. How might we tap into this direct insight of the universe? Most of us are trapped with only a very limited 'knowing' which is basically the description of opinions derived from an arbitrary point of observation; a fixed pattern, based only on the recalled past. This 'knowing' or ego/mind, is hardly capable of knowing itself, much less the essence of an herb, plant, or our Source. This ego is derived from the experience of a character in a story, who is basically unconscious; a scripted unwitting idiot telling a tale, ultimately signifying nothing. To know directly, as Paracelsus, we would have to leave our story-drama and its trap, and become something wider, deeper. We are capable of hearing more than the mind's obsessive chattering about our personal character's recalled experiences. We may begin to wake up, and feel as Arthur Dent in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: "Did I do anything wrong today, or has the world always been like this and I've been too wrapped up in myself to notice?"
Only something which has no vested interest in the drama can look outside of the character in its tale, and see the universal reality behind the dream of life. This is a very scary proposition, it threatens the very system of the drama, for we derive our identity from our character and story-line, each defining the other. The drama is seldom questioned, for this can only happen by stepping outside of it; a paradox. We refuse to listen to the voice of the silence within, because that would imply we don't know it all already. How can we learn to turn to this inner listening, to hear the voice of intuition, of insight?
Spending time alone is one way. We take a break from the distractions of our electronic age with its cell phones, computers, TV's, etc., plus the well meaning but distracting voices of our friends and family. This can give us time to learn to appreciate silence, and to listen. Perhaps we'll reacquainte ourselves with a long lost companion deep within: our own heart. Time spent alone removes the relentless pressure imposed on us by society to conform to its standards, and allows our mind to clear and become quiet. Another pressure is the ego's defense against its main fear, the unknown. This also requires much time and energy, and blocks out anything that doesn't fit the storyline. Nothing from the higher power within is allowed to get through.
Another way is to spend time with those who value listening within, and have found their connection to the inner voice. These fellow seekers can save us time and energy, having been down the long road to their inner self and thus able to help us along our path as well. The higher energy fields of these companions will give the inner self a taste of its own potential. Their inner calm and quiet are a stark contrast to the tale of sound and fury we have been dreaming so hard, without question.
The world of dreams is similar to this drama we call our life. When in a dream, we take it for real, and the experiences of the dream as telling us a true 'knowing' about the dream-world. But when interpreted upon awakening, we see it as only a story of our character's mind, and this 'knowing' as being simply a description of this mind that made the dream-world. The individual pattern or view-point is what's known. Nothing is objectively known about the so-called things, inhabitants, or possible reality of the dream.
To find the reality behind the dream, and possibly behind the dream character, we must find something higher. This universal intelligence is constantly speaking to us, always trying to get our attention. This voice of insight or intuition is drowned out by the voices of the characters in our drama. Look bravely at the plots of the dramas in life you've seen. They all end the same, and nothing is gained. Death conquers all, and the story with all its sound and fury, endlessly repeats. Question the character you've been lost in, and the drama of your own so-called life and its significance. Search fearlessly to find the nameless Something behind the play; the calm, clear reality beyond the dream, where nothing is done, nobody's there to do it, and all is perfect in silence.
" The exercise of clairvoyance requires a passive state. " - Franz Hartmann
- Quotes -
" I went in search of my art, often incurring danger of life. I have not been ashamed to learn that which seemed useful to me even from vagabonds, executioners, and barbers. We know that a lover will go a long way to meet the woman he adores: how much more will the lover of wisdom be tempted to go in search of his divine mistress!
" Men do not know themselves, and therefore they do not understand the things that are in their inner world. Each man has the essence of God, and all the wisdom and power of the world (germinally) in himself; he possesses one kind of knowledge as much as another, and he who does not find that which is in him cannot truly say that he does not possess it, but only that he was not capable of successfully seeking for it.
" That which the dream shows is the shadow of such wisdom as exists in man, even if during his waking state he may know nothing about it... We do not know it because we are fooling away our time with outward and perishing things, and are asleep in regard to that which is real within ourself."
" Thus, the cause of the disease chorea lasciva is a mere opinion and idea, assumed by imagination, affecting those who believe in such a thing. This opinion and idea are the origin of the disease both in children and adults. In children the case is also imagination, based not on thinking but on perceiving, because they have heard or seen something. The reason is this: their sight and hearing are so strong that unconsciously they have fantasies about what they have seen or heard."
" If the followers of the Christian Church or the modern 'theosophists' were to realise these truths, they would cease to kneel before external Christs or run after strange 'mahatmas', and every one would try to know the Christ or 'Mahatrna' within himself." - Paracelsus
" Magic is a science which teaches the true nature of the inner man as well as the organization of his outward body." - Franz Hartmann
" Pain is inevitable, but misery is optional. We cannot avoid pain, but we can avoid joy. " - Tim Hansel
" Liberalism is part of a religious disorder that demands a belief that life is controllable." - Ann Coulter
" What we accept as everyday consciousness is thoroughly sub-normal." - Colin Wilson
" The aim of art is to prepare a person for death." - Andrei Tarkovsky
I wonder how the high colleges managed to produce so many high asses. - Paracelsus
Sacred cows make the best hamburger. - Mark Twain
Love: a temporary insanity curable by marriage. - Ambrose Bierce
Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After 'enlightenment', sell books, go on Oprah." - John Small
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Copyright 2011 - Robert Fergeson. All Rights Reserved.