Land of the Mad Lupin Lovers

Ramblings from a geek

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The power of Christ compells you!!

So American Bishops are looking for more exorcists. In the words of Mr Burns: "iiiinteresting..."  

Somewhat related, I visited a conference/fair for (paranormal) therapists and practitioners, for example people who do various types of massage, acupuncture, reiki, astrology, reading palms, working with gem stones, etc. I was there to look for inexpensive (well, less expensive!) healing chrystals because I'm interested in them and my kinesiologist had recommended I go to the fair to look for them there. Yes, I'm pretty New Age-y sometimes (and I did score a lot of awesome chrystals).
I had taken my friend and roommate Kim, since she's also interested in alternative therapy. There were also some lectures, of which we attended two, one about ADD/ADHD and one held by a guy named Roy Martina, who is apparently a semi-famous healer person whom I didn't know but Kim did, and she really wanted to see and hear him speak. So fair enough.

The ADD/ADHD lecture was fairly interesting, but it was RM's lecture that really tickled my Religious Study interest. He did an exercise where we all had to visualise that our palms were covered with glue, then we had to clap our hands together, and then after a short while we had to take them apart again. Some people were unable to do that: they had trouble letting go of something, so their mind did not let them take their hands apart. Those people were called to the front of the room (the 'stage'). Roy Martina talked to these people, asking them what they had trouble letting go of and that he was going to help them. He took one woman as an example of sorts: he led her to the front, asked her what she had to let go of, then he started talking 'to her subconscious', in rapid sentences that she had to let go, that everything was fine, that she was good as she was, etc. Then at one point, he counted to three and she had to let go of everything and completely relax. He counted to three, tapped her sides (somewhat hard, it seemed), and she just relaxed all her muscles and fell backwards into her arms. He laid her down on the floor, continuing his stream of confirmations/encouraging sentences, then after another short while he counted to three again. She opened her eyes and he helped her up. And the audience applauded.

It was pretty impressive stuff, honestly. They honestly couldn't take their hands apart (some of them had arms trembling with the effort). And Roy Martina's rapid speaking was pretty damn hypnotic. And then I sat there: wait a minute, I've seen something similar before. How is this different from faith healing? Well, there are Angels and Spirit Guides rather than Jesus and God, but otherwise... I guess I'm just a sceptic. Or I've seen too much of this already, I dunno. I've had too many classes on the psychology of religion. XD But I found it interesting how it was done, how he worked. He had a very easy-going, comforting stage presence: he made jokes, sometimes at his own expense, and he engaged the audience. Then there was the 'healing' (I can't and won't say if it was true or not: the people on the stage certainly felt it was, so who am I to judge?). The rapid, fairly monotone speaking is pretty much a classic. I even felt myself get under its sway somewhat: dreamy, with an urge to sort of swing back and fort in the rhytm of his speaking. Just look at the Jewish practice of Shuckling, or swaying back and forth while praying. It's the same hypnotising behavior. People also sometimes unconsciously do it to lull themselves to sleep, or at least relaxation. And it's the classic behaviour of psychologically distressed people! It's comforting, it calms your mind. Same with the rapid speaking: when praying, people sometimes mutter the prayer really quickly under their breath (you seriously don't want to know how fast my Catholic-raised mother and aunts and uncles can mutter the Virgin Mary's prayer! Years of practice), and of course, again, the classic mentally disturbed person muttering all kinds of things (Two by two, hands of blue, millenium hand and shrimp!). Repetitive, monotone, dull: it guides the mind into a certain rhythm, calming it down, hypnotising. What makes you fall asleep? Music with a gentle, steady rhythm. I'm currently trying to get into poetry (it's been hard - perhaps I shouldn't have started with John Keats!) and I've found that, after a certain while, my usually enormously fast reading slows down and I start to really pay attention to the words and how to read them as I get into, yes, the rhythm of the lines. It's meditative, honestly.

So this spiritual healing actually uses pretty basic, classic mental stuff that has been used by religions through the ages. :) And I find it pretty damn interesting to realise and observe that! :D


Other news: Dorian has completely settled in. ^^ He's still pretty shy though: he is weary of everything he doesn't know, and when I get home after an absence he first peers out from under the bed and watches me take off my coat and stuff before coming to greet me. He's also almost grown enough to truly be strong enough to jump, so I'm hoping that soon he won't need to climb on the couch using his nails. ><
He went to the vet last Wednesday and got his first vaccinations, which he wasn't happy about at all. :p When we got home he was being pretty pathetic, so he spend most of the afternoon on my lap, cuddling and sleeping, aww. :) He also sleeps next to me at night (he used to sleep on me but doesn't anymore), and we usually have some cuddle/tickle time just before I go to sleep. He trusts me enough now to let me tickle and stroke his belly, and his reaction to that is honestly too cute for words. He stretches out all his paws - it makes him look like the surprised kitten! XD
I'm now fattening him up as he's really small for his age (only weights 700 grams while a 4-month old kitten should weight 1200 - admittedly, he has the size of a 2 or 3 month old kitten) and trying to teach him to stay out of my yarn boxes...

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swaying back and forth I do that when my bowels hurt ;-)

I'm not surprised to see them using tried and tested methods of psychology. I hope you won't hold it against me, but I think very badly of these practices. Or rather: not so much of the practices themselves (which are intended and do help, to some degree or other). It's the people building up a cult around themselves, pretending they're special and all you sick people need me and most of all need to pay me to get better. Instead of being honest and explaining that this is how our minds work and this is how you can use it to cope with your ailments, they dress it up with angels and demons and put themselves in a position of power by posing as some sort of saviour. But of course, otherwise there wouldn't be anything to gain for them, now would it?

I've never read any Keats, but maybe Percy Shelley is more to your liking, or some of the poems in Neil Gaiman's collected story books? They're odd (this is Neil we're talking about) and you wouldn't immediately identify them as poetry, but reading them out loud is very satisfying :)

Haha, well, it ís comforting. ;)

Yeah, I was getting pretty sceptic and wary of Mr Roy Martina myself after I saw the whole, hm, imperium he has build around himself with cd's and dvd's etc. He's a nice enough guy but I prefer a more... downscaled and personal approach, and not having to pay upwards of 600 euros for a series of seminars.

I should look up Shelley then, and I didn't know Neil had written poetry! And yeah, Neil isn't exactly normal. :p
I'm currently also reading Stephen Fry's Ode Less Travelled, but it's a bit technical (it's about how to write poetry yourself) so it's not exactly a book to rush through.

There's at least a few poems in Smoke and Mirrors. Don't be fooled by their length or the lack of rhyme :)

Iiinteresting indeed. I think Jaqcues commented on something similar in one of the colleges, about those 'paranormal therapists' using techniques that are known to work and mixing them with a lot of well... mystique.
Why does this suddenly remind me of Discworld?

Not adding anything about the poetry discussion though... Or hey, I think I bought a book with a couple of Poe-stories a while back.
"They range from the poetic to the mysterious to the darkly comic, yet all posess the genius for the grotesque that defines Poe's writing."
Mostly stories though. Wannaborrow? (As soon as you finished Magician).

teresting indeed. I think Jaqcues commented on something similar in one of the colleges, about those 'paranormal therapists' using techniques that are known to work and mixing them with a lot of well... mystique.
Why does this suddenly remind me of Discworld?

Now I'm picturing Moist pretending to be a paranormal healer. XD
Or Granny doing her Headology. :)

(As soon as you finished Magician).
You forgot HINTHINT. ;)
Sure, sounds interesting. :)

Hee hee! It's tough to be a skeptic sometimes, isn't it? You start second-guessing EVERYTHING.

I KNOW. I can barely join my parents at church anymore, everything makes me go "hmm, weeeelll..." XD

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