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Mesmerism

Usually whenever one hears the term mesmerism one turns off, especially those associated with scientific and psychological fields of knowledge. This is because in many if not most of these fields the mesmeric theory has been determined to have no validity. This determination has overshadowed the whole concept of mesmerism with a bad connotation. Since many say modern occultism stated with mesmerism it seems the term should be briefly examined. The mesmerism technique was introduced by the Austrian physician Franz Anton Mesmer .

Mesmer understood health as the free flow of the process of life through thousands of channels in our bodies. Illness was caused by obstacles to this flow. Overcoming these obstacles and restoring flow produced crises, which restored health. When Nature failed to do this spontaneously, contact with a conductor of animal magnetism was a necessary and sufficient remedy. Mesmer aimed to aid or provoke the efforts of Nature. To cure an insane person, for example, involved causing a fit of madness. The advantage of magnetism involved accelerating such crises without danger.

Now when viewing the previous statement that modern occultism started with mesmerism one wonders if the opposite is not true. Perhaps Mesmer and those following him only discovered what others knew for centuries. For instance a portion of Mesmer's theory, as previously mentioned, was that all animated bodies including man were affected by a magnetic force which also mutually influenced the celestial bodies and earth. This portion of mesmerism had been emphasized by astrology for centuries since it studies the positions and movements of astronomical or celestial bodies, especially the sun, moon, and planets, and their effect upon the life and events on earth. The origins of astrology are credited to the Chaldeans of Babylonia about 3,000 BC. The study was also known to the ancient Etruscans, Hindus, Chinese, and Egyptians who also believed the celestial bodies, particularly the significance of the sun, determined the seasons and crops as well as the fate of man. Astrology was studied in Greece around the 4th. century BC and gradually its companion study astronomy developed. Presently astrology is still ardently studied among the occultists who strongly believe that the locations and movements of the planets do effect personal temperaments and events.

Ancient cultures such as the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans had their sun gods, and other gods of nature who they invoked for help and protection. In the light of all of this it is not surprising such a theory was embodied within mesmerism.

The idea of magnetizing a tree was new, but the belief in receiving powers from a tree is not. Previous cultures have honored trees and thought they were beneficial to their people.

Procedure

Mesmer treated patients both individually and in groups. With individuals he would sit in front of his patient with his knees touching the patient's knees, pressing the patient's thumbs in his hands, looking fixedly into the patient's eyes. Mesmer made "passes", moving his hands from patients' shoulders down along their arms. He then pressed his fingers on the patient's hypochondrium region (the area below the diaphragm), sometimes holding his hands there for hours. Many patients felt peculiar sensations or had convulsions that were regarded as crises and supposed to bring about the cure. Mesmer would often conclude his treatments by playing some music on a glass armonica.

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