At first sight the therapy market makes an incoherent impression. However, behind the vast offering of health and greater comfort you find a distinct world view determining the basic concepts of alternative healing. This world view has decisive traits in common with ancient Asian religions, particularly Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism.
The individual healer very often is unaware of this connection because he or she has only mastered part of the whole. But if you want to understand the meaning of healing and therapy, you better acquaint yourself with the cosmology of energies.
There is a recognized conflict between chaos and cosmos in most religious systems. This holds true also for the Biblical world view. Cosmos is a meaningful coherence that has come about in creation, which comes into being by subduing the powers of chaos.
In the New Testament the powers of chaos are understood as demonic powers that are being subdued by the new creation at the arrival of the Kingdom of God. This is the basis of healing in the Bible.
The task of the Kingdom of God is to drive away the chaos-powers from cosmos and to oust them again, if they have returned. This cosmology (a word meaning "knowledge of the universe") is the frame of reference for the entire biblical preaching of God and His Kingdom. It gives the very circumference for the comprehension of the necessity of salvation. Cosmos itself is at stake in salvation as nothingless, and salvation reaches man both in the preaching of the Gospel and in the healing from disease, and guilt.
So cosmology is a necessity, for without cosmology salvation is reduced to individual salvation out of this world. Salvation becomes the salvation of my soul, out of my body and away from the world. But the goal of God's Kingdom is to save the world. The goal is "the rebirth of the world", as Grundtvig sings in No 205 in the Danish hymn-book: "The rebirth of the world causes the joy to be born anew..."
When modernistic and conservative sections within protestantism agree that salvation certainly concerns the individual and the soul of the individual in particular, but not the world and the bodies of men, a serious decay of Christian belief has taken place. This decay is the background for the present-day interest in occult healing, for such a onesidedly individualistic Christianity cannot communicate the Christian tradition of healing, even if this is a decisive element in numerous Bible texts.
Behind most alternative healing performed today is a world view quite different from the Biblical one. In short, you can term it the micro-macro cosmology.
According to this world view, there is a close relation between the great outer world and the small interior world. For instance, it is taken for granted that there is a connection between the heavenly bodies and the individual bodies. Likewise there is a connection between the course of a person's life and the lines in his palm. Many such analogical examples could be mentioned.
Within the frame of micro-macro cosmology it is an obvious thing that you can manipulate one level by means of the other. You can gain power in the great outside world by changing the small interior one. And the other way round, for you can also win inner power by means of outer manipulations.
"All of nature is to be found in the smallest things" is the motto for the micro-macro cosmology, and it means that you draw analogical conclusions from one level to the other. By studying the iris of the human eye you can gain insight into the medical history of the same person, just to mention an example. But since the goal is transformation rather than cognition, the analogies are, first of all, used as a basis for manipulations.
In this way man becomes fully embedded in the world. There is really no room for anything unique in the small which isn't also present in the big. This "naturalization" of man probably is the most questionable consequence of the micro-macro cosmology. In this way there is no real room for such phenomena as freedom, conscience, and responsibility. In this way man's nature as a person is lost, because man as a personally responsible and active being merge with man's cosmic nature and it's processes.
From a Christian and theological perspective the micro-macro cosmology is unacceptable for two reasons: partly because it is manipulative and partly because it is naturalizing.
If you are looking for a common religious language you should be aware of the importance of the elements. Apart from China the same interpretation of the elements is dominant in Asia and Europe. Four material elements are taken into consideration: earth, water, fire, and air (often named wind). These elements take you to a fifth element, ether. Sometimes a sixth element is present in the occult tradition, which is understood as consciousness or mind, in the form of "clearsightedness" (clairvoyance) and "clearness of hearing" (clairaudience) and other supernatural abilities.
Each element corresponds to a sense, so that "the sixth sense" is analogous of the sixth element, consciousness. The fifth element at times is called "the quintessence" (quint is the number five in Latin), designating that the dimension of this element sums up all the lower rungs of the ladder.
Each element has its own color. In spite of the fact that the colors are not quite alike in all traditions, they still do correspond rather well with the elements. The earth-element is yellow (or brown or green), water is blue (or grey-blue), fire is red, air whitish blue, and ether is white.
The rainbow includes all colors and is a well-known symbol in large parts of the new religiosity, and summarized in the New Age.
Furthermore each element has its geometrical form. Earth is square, water is circular, fire a triangle pointing upwards, air is a horizontal crescent, and ether is drop-shaped (or a pearl, a diamond, a jewel, etc.).
Each element has a corresponding vice and wisdom, both of them in mutual correspondence, and there are numerous other analogies built into the system.
Each macro-cosmic element corresponds to a micro-cosmic chakra. The term "chakra" derives from the Yoga tradition of India, and it means actually "circle" or "discos", but are also padmas, i.e. lotus flowers.
The idea is that there are series of "wheels" in the human body. They are six in number, and are placed above each other along the middle axis of the body. Different traditions are not in complete accordance on the precise location of the chakras, but by and large they are found in those areas of the body that are known to lovers and torturers: the rectum, the genitals, the diaphragm, the solar plexus, the throat, and the eyes.
Even more confusion surrounds the true nature of the chakras. In some new religious books they are described as physical realities, in others as organs in the ethereal or astral bodies, and in still other books they are seen as concepts or symbols without actual reality. But most of the time chakras are described as a little bit of it all, that is, as dim postulates, a sort of imagination creating an occult body-consciousness, but somehow related to physical realities in the glands.
Each chakra thus corresponds to an element, and it is this analogy that gives significance to the chakra theory, which is the fulfillment or the realization of the micro-macro cosmology.
The lowest chakra by the rectum corresponds to the earth element. The sex chakra corresponds to the water element. The belly chakra belongs to fire and the digestion system. The heart chakra (close to the lungs) relates to the element of air and breathing. The throat chakra matches with ether, speech and words. And the eye chakra ("the third eye") relates to purified consciousness and light.
Since each chakra corresponds to an element it also - as mentioned already - has its own color. The exact color of the individual chakra varies because different cultures have differing perception of colors.
But the basic idea is this, that each chakra shines in its own particular color, visible, however, only to persons capable of clear-sightedness (clairvoyance). As a logical consequence clearsighted people must have their "third eye" opened by activating the eye-chakra. This is the special task of a guru.
If the color of a chakra has a wrong shade, disease is the cause. Accordingly healing uses techniques of changing the aura so as to become normal. These techniques often are composed of strokings and different kinds of body massage. But most important is the influencing of the chakras by means of yogic manipulations, such as breathing exercises and prolonged repetition of mantras.
This is self-evident, and the influencing of chakras is the very essence of yoga. Yoga-techniques are exactly made up of manipulations of chakras in order to bring man's microcosmos in accordance with macrocosmos. The state reached by the yogi thereby often is termed balance and harmony.
Considerations of time and space will not permit the different ways of yoga to be described here. They have been thoroughly dealt with in the educational material published by the Dialog Center under the title "New Religiosity and Christianity". This can be ordered from the secretariat in Aarhus.
In Hindu and Buddhist and Occult religiosity it is not God who is the active subject as creator and savior. It is man himself who is the world creator and the world savior by means of the life force. In these religions the divinization of man is the center.
The decisive thing therefore is that man turns into god, and becomes a superhuman. He - or she - is the present godhead. The enlightened master, the guru, has replaced god, because the guru has realized the possibilities which are latent in all humans in the shape of the sleeping life force, Kundalini, which means "the coiled one" in Sanskrit, - the Snake Power.
It is this Snake Power which is referred to by the term Energy, one of the most characteristic expressions in the literature of healing and therapy. The original term behind the prevalent talk of "energy" and "energies" is Shakti, another Sanskrit word which denotes the primal power of the world, the creative, cosmic mother-force. Kundalini is also called "Kundalini Shakti" because the Snake Power is identical with this Cosmic primary power. Kundalini is "Shakti in me", as is Prana, the power that breathes.
With ordinary people the Snake Power (Kundalini) resides in a dormant state in the lowest chakra. By means of yoga techniques it is made to rise up through the series of chakras to the crown chakra. Man becomes divine and powerful, but gradually and dependant on how many chakras the Kundalini penetrates.
Everyone should be able to understand that it leads to confusion and fatal misunderstanding if you, inside this system, mistake the divine Energy and human energy. The idea is absolutely not that people should be made a little more "energetic" and active inside this system. The idea really is that people should be awakened by the great Energy, the Force, the Power, the Godhead, th.at will lead them beyond the borders of normal human existence and make them divinities.
In the end this is not healing and therapy at all, but growth and development away from the human world and into the imagined sphere of the superhuman.
The different healing-systems have this in common that they presuppose a certain life force which in one way or another is linked with two vital functions in man: the life-breath, respiration (named Prana in Sanskrit), and sexuality (the above mentioned Kundalini).
Prana actually means "that which breathes", hence not breath itself but the force or the energy behind breath. And likewise Kundalini is not sexuality itself, but the force behind it, symbolized as a snake.
This basic motive is recurrent in most Asian religions and cultures. In China and Japan the life force is termed chi (in Chinese) and ki (in Japanese) and its symbol is not so much the snake as the dragon, but the nature of the symbols are identical.
Basically the aim is not really health and healing, but immortality and divinity. Health and healing are, so to say, side-effects of the system itself. According to this "energy" view of life, it is inescapable that you become still more healthy the more divine you become.
On his way to final divinization the yogi acquires a number of supernatural abilities, named siddhis in Sanskrit, thereby breaking all human limitations. A yogi who has acquired siddhis can float in the air in spite of the law of gravitation; he has clear sight and sees the invisible; he has clear hearing and hears the music of the spheres; he can make himself as big as a mountain and as small as a mouse, etc. The siddhis are described in Patanjali's "rajah yoga" sutras.
The obtaining of siddhis is a side-effect of the rising of the Kundalini (the Snake Power) and of the manipulations of Prana, which has activated all the chakras of the yogi. In them the supernatural powers are deposited and can be liberated.
As already said, the yoga techniques are decisive for the methodology of healing. These techniques are decisive for the formation of healing, which happens as a byproduct of the entire yogic game. Healing techniques and yoga techniques are thus very closely related.But many healers are not aware of this relation. Most of those who exercise healing and therapy, however, know in part the meaning of their own systems. Therefore their techniques function, not because of their factual reality, but in spite of their factual reality. Their effects are as a whole dependant on the religious and spiritual dimensions of the people engaged in the game.