“Knowledge gives life to the soul.” ~ Ali Ibn Talib (a.s)
It is interesting how words are made and how words are lost. It is through the lecture of German science historians such as Arthur Imhof and Robert Jütte that I un-earthed the words Iatro-Science, Iatro-Theology, Iatro-Magic and Theurgian Medicine. They give semantic criteria to various practises that were also part of European healing cultures and traditions but got lost over time.
Iatro stands for medicine/healing.
Iatro-Science is curative medicine approved by fact based science.
Iatro-Theology is divine medicine. It is healing through spiritual sensitivity, prayers, devotion, repenting from sin aso. It works in many cases of both physical and psychological unwellness, and there is a growing interest amongst Psychiatrists and Psychologists in why it works. So much can be agreed on: The mind is a wonderful organism with many unexplored dimensions, doors and secrets.
Iatro-Magic is healing through ritual magic. For example, the Swiss magus and healer Paracelsus recommends the burning of images, little dolls and similar that depict what afflicts us to ban ailments. Imago, metaphor, meaning and magic are deeply related – they all co-exist and interweave in the realm of the imaginary and imaginal, within the deep layers of the mind. Please note: Ritual magic is widely considered to be haram (forbidden) in Islam. I believe that warnings are attached for understandable reasons. While the burning of images to ban ailments and problems out of our consciousness is relatively harmless in comparison, the line where ritual Iatro-magic crosses over into dark (goetic, that is Jinn, spirits based) occultism is thin. There are great dangers in goetic rituals for mental and social as well as physical well-being. The subject deserves it’s own post, but in summary, most people who engage in goetic occultism stay inmature as personalities and almost always struggle with self-glorification issues and mental darkness. There is some research how goetic occultism intersects with mental illness and psychosis, and it is a field worth of more study. It does explain why also much of the old literature warns us of goeticism as a potential path into madness and evil.
Theurgian medicine is medicine that primarily is centred in Iatro-Theology (healing through prayers and devotion). In it’s pure form Theurgy is the act of becoming the “mirror of the God head” or fusing with God (which is called Henosis). Theurgy was described many times through the ages. The neo-platonist Proclus allegedly said: “(Theurgy is) a power higher than all human wisdom embracing the blessings of divination, the purifying powers of initiation and in a word all the operations of divine possession.” Theurgy is at the heart of Sufi-existence but is considered by orthodox Theologians (Islamic, Christian and others) to be a form of magic.There is little medical and psychological research into Theurgy yet it deserves much more attention and to be taken out of the hands of religious obscurity. Some Christian healer circles claim that Theurgy was also practiced by Jesus (Isa).
For the Muslim, and in particular Sufi and Shi’i Muslim acts of Iatro-theology and Theurgian medicine are expressed through sakat and sadqa (charity) , the salat and prescribed prayers, and through the zirk (dhikr), repeated callings of God’s attributes through his different names. They can be from the 99 names of God or are special names that are often kept secret. In some Christian healing traditions similar acts of calling upon God’s sttributes are known, but many of the original names and attributes got lost in Western Christian traditions. The “Theurgian-Medical” secret within some Christian healing traditions is the experience of perfect (mental and physical) health within the image and likeness of God. By knowing that one is part of God and God is part of oneself, one can repeat inwards that “God is calm”, “God is good”, “God is sanity, God is love, God is health” etc. The same can also be done in Arabic (“Al Haqq, Al Hayy” etc). I have had many times the experience that I was through these recitations able to gain control over headaches, viral infections, panic attacks, stressful situations and similar. Scientific minded people will of course argue that a cure (or a relief) would have happened with or without calling upon these attributes. 🙂
“Each letter of the Arabic alphabet has a numerological value and is said to be associated with an angel. The letters are embodiments of cosmic energies.”
With both prayers and Dhikr many aspects are at work and it gets certainly very wonderous. For example, it is said that each of God’s names has an angelic guardian attached to it. Each letter of the Arabic alphabet has a numerological value and is said to be associated with an angel. The letters are embodiments of cosmic energies. The combined letters forming the Divine Names are in turn associated with angels or classes of the angelic hierarchy (archangels for example). Having numerical values, the combined letters of the Divine Names represent metaphysical structures mathematically-based that possesses esoteric significances. Practitioners normally chant the Names the number of times in accord with its total value. The numerical value of a Name resonates with the power that it represents. Thus chanting the value of a Name or one of its expression mathematically derived therefrom, invokes the power, grace and virtues of the Name into the chanter’s consciousness, with the aid of an angel.