Spiritual Signatures in Illness and Remedies to Counter Them

“Typhus has a part in Spanish history. The old Spanish name for it was Tarbardoillo, from the word for a red cloak, inspired by the crimson red rash which is one of the symptoms of epedemic typhus fever (…)”~ Spanish Mountain Life, Juliette de Bairacli Levy

The disease was brought to Spain as long ago as the 13th century, by soldiers returning from Cyprus. At the siege of Granada later in the 15th century, typhus was an important factor in aiding Spanish victory, as the fever became epedemic amongst the Moorish defenders and slew more of them then any other weapon of war.” ~ Spanish Mountain Life, Juliette de Bairacli Levy

Having spend the last months with art work and study I want to briefly return to this blog to talk about spiritual remedies that can aid to heal even severe illnesses such as typhus.

The wandering herbalist Juliette de Bairacli Levy describes in her book Spanish Mountain Life, which she wrote in the 1950s during her time in Spain and Andalusia, the mental and spiritual character of Typhus fever  that came over herself and her small children (Spanish Mountain Life: the Sierra Nevada, London: Faber & Faber, 1955).

I want to briefly describe the scientifically identified common symptoms of typhus:

“Typhoid fever, also known simply as typhoid, is a very serious bacterial infection due to Salmonella typhi . Symptoms may vary from mild to severe and usually begin six to thirty days after exposure. Often there is a gradual onset of a high fever over several days. Some people develop a skin rash with rose colored spots. In severe cases there may be mental confusion and delirium when the bacterium invades the spine. Without treatment symptoms may last weeks or months.

The cause is the bacterium Salmonella typhi, also known as Salmonella enterica serotype typhi, growing in the intestines and blood. Typhoid is spread by eating or drinking food or water contaminated with the feces of an infected person. Risk factors include poor sanitation and poor hygiene. Typhus can be fatal. Another common name for typhus is Red Plague.”

In Bairacli Levy’s case she contracted severe typhoid through contaminated water. Always of good health she was weakened after having just given birth to her daughter after a difficult pregnancy. She experienced high fever, limp swelling, loss of all hair, mental blackouts and delirium. Doctors told her she would die. She held on to life to the sake of her children. She treated herself with the folk medicine she learned from the wandering people of the Middle East and Europe, the Nomadic Arabs, Berbers and Gypsies. She was able to find fresh, clean water which she bathed in and drank gallons from every day, following her craving for it. Further she set herself on a three week long fasting diet of lemon, honey and garlic only and drank on occassion a fever drink native to Andalusia made from Walnut leaves, Eucalptus and Altabacca  (a small flower native to the plains of Andalusia). The fasting allowed her body to detox. Nomadic people all over the world fast when they fall ill.

“The robber was for me a repulsive figure, with his bald head and carvenous face, a blood red cloak hanging in folds around his skeleton like a body and reaching to his feet that were swollen.”

In her delirium states Juliette saw her spirit leaving her body and a red demon ravaging her body and dragging her away from life. She experienced also severe rages which is a common symptom of typhus.

A Yellow Flower, 2019

She wrote: “The robber was for me a repulsive figure, with his bald head and carvenous face, a blood red cloak hanging in folds around his skeleton like body and reaching to his feet that were swollen.”

Many illnesses, including common flus and colds bring with them dark moods.Those trained in spiritual self-awareness and focus are able to fight off illness more effectively. Within spiritual focus lies not only fighting spirit, but also the ability to listen to one’s body and identify it’s needs. The source of the mood swings and mental changes coming with illness are the invading viruses and bacteria with their poisonous encyms that affect our metabolic system and our mind. By keeping control over our spiritual center and self-hood we can fight more effectively. Aim to be in unison with the body to fight off the invaders instead of getting dragged down by their poison. Theurgian practises in both Islam and Christianity teach us about our perfect self, in the image and likeness of God. I find prayers of “perfect health in the image and likeness of God” very helpful –  when it comes to recovering and maintaining physical health and being of a stable and sound mental constitution even when things are seemingly dreary, depressing or stressful.

“I suddenly bethought myself of a group of white opium poppies which I had seen in flower (…) they never came back again while I was at the water mill and never remember seeing them in flower before.”

In Bairacli Levy’s case her astute mind found poppy flowers while she had her deadly sick baby in her arms, who had also contracted typhoid after she herself was cured. These poppies caught Juliette’s attention, and gave her opium which aided her baby to sleep and helped the child to recover.

“I suddenly bethought myself of a group of white opium poppies which I had seen in flower (…) they never came back again while I was at the water mill and never remember seeing them in flower before.”

Over the last months I encountered death a couple of times in different forms. Friends died suddenly and we had to fight off plenty of illness during this long past winter. I am certain that it was our spritual practise that helped us to stay strong and recover and not fall into the mental traps that so often come with illness.


Juliette de Bairacli Levy was a Jewish woman of Turkish-Egyptain descent who trained as a veterinarian and travelled with the nomadic people of Europe and the Middle East and collected their herbal knowledge. She wrote many wonderful books that are filled with old knowledge on many diseases that can afflict humans and animals. She is also noted for her wonderful work and many adventures at the side of the Arab population of Palestine.

More on Juliette de Bairacli Levy:

Be like the Bees – On the Natural Care of Bees





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