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Archive for the ‘Spiritual Evolutionary Training’ Category

How To Support Racial Justice, Diversity and Activism This Week In Louisville (8/24) – Louisville Eccentric Observer

Posted: August 27, 2020 at 3:53 am

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MONDAY, Aug. 24

#BreonnaConVarious LocationsFree | Times varyBreonnaCon, by the national social justice organization Until Freedom, continues with a full day, including an Organizing Bootcamp and Breonnas Law Policy Roundtable at Simmons College, starting at 11 a.m. And, a Praise in the Park mass spiritual revival at Waterfront Park at 7 p.m. Tomorrow, Until Freedom is hosting a march on the LMPD Training Academy at 2 p.m., starting at South Central Park. LMPD is aware of the demonstration. Some local organizers and leaders have criticized BreonnaCon. You can read about why there is tension between local and national organizers here.

Lunch with Louisville Evolutionary Ricky Jones ZoomFree | NoonRicky L. Jones, the chair of UofLs Pan-African Studies Department and a former LEO columnist, joins Jud Hendrix, the executive director of Louisvilles Interfaith Paths to Peace for an insightful, lunchtime conversation.

Racial Justice Virtual Programming: Youth Should be Seen AND Heard OnlineFree (or $10 donation) | 5 p.m.I Am America is a new virtual program from the Muhammad Ali Center generating conversations about pressing racial justice challenges. This iteration is about amplifying youth voices and leadership in social movements. Panelists are senior fellow with the Youth Violence Prevention Research Center Jailen Leavall, One Love Louisville Youth Implementation Team member and Youth Coalition Louisville organizer Imani Smith and Muhammad Ali Center Council of Students alum and youth organizer Aubri Stevenson. Registration is required.

Open Air Yoga Bicentennial Park, New Albany$10 | 7 p.m.You might have a case of the 2020s if youre feeling anxious and exhausted by life. Luckily Heart 2 Heart Wellness Center, a Black-owned business in New Albany, has a salve: outdoor, healing yoga on Wednesdays and Saturdays through the month of August. Come restore balance & inner peace with our yoga classes that are designed to reduce anxiety, strengthen your mental wellness and your body, organizers say. On Wednesday, Robin leads a traditional flow yoga class at 7 p.m. at Bicentennial Park.

No Fascist USA! Talk #4 ZoomFree | Noon-1:30 p.m.This is the final of four talks about anti-fascist movements, sponsored by City Lights Booksellers, Carmichaels Bookstore and Louisville Showing Up for Racial Justice. Hilary Moore and James Tracey, the authors of No Fascist USA!: The John Brown Anti-Klan Committee and Lessons for Todays Movements, are among those leading the discussion. Susan M. Reverby, the author of Examining Tuskegee: The Infamous Syphilis Study and Its Legacy and Co-conspirator for Justice: The Revolutionary Life of Dr. Alan Berkman will also be there. Register beforehand to participate.

Reparations Roundtable ZoomFree | 9-11 p.m.Louisvilles Reparations Roundtable group continues to collect donations from and educate white people who want to give back to American descendants of slavery on their own instead of waiting on the government. This is one of the organizations monthly learning meetings.

100 Years Later: The Collective Power of Women Muhammad Ali Center/Facebook LiveFree (or $10 donation) | 10-11 a.m.Every year, the Muhammad Ali Center honors female leaders of social change, activism and pursuits of justice with its Daughters of Greatness program. In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment (granting women the right to vote), the Ali Center and Metro United Way are hosting this virtual (and in-person) conversation on the collective power of women, the systems that divide us, and the imperative for true unity. A diverse group of past Daughters of Greatness will lead the talk, including founding Daughter Ambassador Shabazz (the oldest daughter of Malcolm X) and Cate Fosl of the Anne Braden Institute.

Black Breastfeeding WeekAnywhereDonation based | Any timeIn celebration of Black Breastfeeding Week, the Kentuckiana Lactation Improvement Coalition is collecting donations to help Black women, including for photo sessions for Black mothers, scholarships for Black lactation education and female Black-owned businesses. Black Breastfeeding Week exists because Black infants have higher mortality rates than white babies, and these Black children could especially benefit from the immunity and nutritional benefits of breast milk, organizers say. You can donate via PayPal to

Black Market KY AnywhereDonation based | Any timeIf you missed it, Black Market KY, a Black-owned grocery store with plans to open in The West End, raised $10,000 in one day this weekend by asking 100 people to invest $100. But, you can still contribute your share by sending money via CashApp or Venmo.

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How To Support Racial Justice, Diversity and Activism This Week In Louisville (8/24) - Louisville Eccentric Observer

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August 27th, 2020 at 3:53 am

Japan’s office worker struggles to adjust to a ‘new normal’ – The Japan Times

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New normal is an old phrase, traceable to science fiction author Robert Heinleins 1966 novel, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Its 2075; the moon is a penal colony; the inmates revolt and look forward to a better future, when life can get back to normal, a new normal free of the Authority, free of guards free of passports and searches and arbitrary arrests.

The crisis-ridden 21st century has given the expression new life and a lurid cast. The Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States; the 2008 Lehman Shock; the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and subsequent nuclear meltdowns; worldwide weather events of unprecedented violence; and, now, the COVID-19 pandemic, all spawned warnings of a new normal, more sinister by far than the old, in which anything can happen and much that does is ghastly hitherto unthinkable, now commonplace.

A book published in June by investment company CEO Masakazu Mito bears the title, The New Normal: Can You Live in a World in Which the Salaryman is Extinct?

Were going to have to, it seems. COVID-19 didnt kill the distinctive Japanese type known as the salaryman. Its been an endangered species for years. Globalism stunned it, information technology outpaced it, career women challenged its masculine exclusivity even before artificial intelligence threatened it with terminal redundancy. Then came COVID-19, with its frontal assault on the office culture. Social distancing, remote work, officelessness can salarymen breathe this air?

They cannot, Mito argues. Only entrepreneurs can, he fears. Thats good and bad good insofar as the vigorous entrepreneurial spirit is; bad because, after all, the salaryman had his virtues as well, whose extinction would be societys loss.

No figure typifies postwar Japan better than the salaryman. He was born prewar fathered, as it happens, by one of the nations most remarkable entrepreneurs. Konosuke Matsushita (1894-1989) founded Matsushita Electric in 1918. We know it today as Panasonic Corp.

He was a round peg in a square hole, a visionary among realists a realist himself, however, one of whose visions, the salaryman, was realism personified to subsequent generations. When the 1929 depression hit and unemployment soared, Matsushita, spurning conventional wisdom (as journalist Mark Weston tells us in Giants of Japan: The Lives of Japans Most Influential Men and Women), laid no one off. Lifetime employment was his unspoken commitment; company loyalty, the anticipated payoff.

Matsushita didnt stop there. Next came garnishes like the company song, the daily morning assembly eccentricities then and quaint now, but in their time a new normal. It molded the salaryman ethos.

When I joined Matsushita in 1937, I hated the daily ritual of morning assembly, Weston quotes Toshihiko Yamashita as recalling in later years as Matsushita Electrics president, everyone reciting the company creed and singing the company song.

The creed consisted of seven principles: Service to the public; teamwork for the common cause; courtesy and humility; and so on platitudes that smack embarrassingly of a return to nursery school; and yet, Yamashita continues, by daily repetition of these laudable ideas you gradually take them to heart.

You had to. Company officials do their best to reinforce employee identification with the company, wrote scholar Ezra Vogel in his 1979 classic Japan as Number One. They provide elaborate annual ceremonies for inducting the new employees. For spiritual and disciplinary training, the employee may go on retreats, visit temples or endure special hardships. To strengthen the bonds of solidarity, the new employee may be housed in company dorms even if it means being separated from his spouse or parents.

Patronizing? Stifling? Some found it so, but for the rest of the 20th century, lifetime employment in the protective environment provided by major Japanese corporations was what college graduates most aspired to an aspiration far from dead even now. A lost generation now in its 40s and 50s, victims of the hiring freeze of the 1990s and 2000s, have ample reason to envy the prosperous stability their fathers and grandfathers took for granted.

Such stability is gone. Society has moved on, the economy has moved on, technological change demands faster responses than traditional corporate consensus-based decision-making can muster. Men want private lives and family lives; women want out of the kitchen and nursery. And now, COVID-19. Company spirit masked is company spirit smothered.

Mito draws our attention to an emerging phrase: bunsan shakai (the dispersed society) the dissolution, in effect, of the bonds of solidarity. If revolution suggests speed as opposed to evolutionary slowness, COVID-19 is a revolution. What it has given us masks, telework, online socializing, takeout-only ghost restaurants is summed up by two old words newly coupled: social distance. Japan had less of it than other developed societies. Its catching up fast. Not fast enough, if rising infection rates are indicative.

Will we ever relate to each other again as we did pre-COVID-19? If dispersion brings out the latent entrepreneur in us, so much the better, says Mito. The economy will be the richer for it, and so may we all be, in ways not merely economic. It could make us stronger and more self-reliant. It could also, he adds ominously, turn us inward to a degree not necessarily conducive to emotional well-being.

Humans, he points out, are communicating animals. As infants we crave skinship. We grow into words and sentences, simple at first, increasingly complex and nuanced as we mature. Children deprived of communication are prone to development problems, he says, and, as adults, no pleasure is complete and no sorrow unrelieved without telling someone about it.

New communication devices in the 20th and 21st centuries have driven us from one new normal to another, making face-to-face communication less and less necessary, more and more irksome. Before COVID-19, it was already possible to live without ever leaving the house. During COVID-19, we are encouraged to in some places, required to. After COVID-19, what then?

Well know eventually not soon, barring unforeseen sudden good news on the medical front. The longer COVID-19 endures, the farther its new normals are likely to take us from old ones.

Big in Japan is a weekly column that focuses on issues being discussed by domestic media organizations. Michael Hoffmans latest book, now on sale, is Cipangu, Golden Cipangu: Essays in Japanese History.

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Japan's office worker struggles to adjust to a 'new normal' - The Japan Times

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August 27th, 2020 at 3:53 am

The 7 Stages of Spiritual Development | The Chopra Center

Posted: May 17, 2020 at 10:44 pm

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You are a spiritual being and have the potential to fully embrace your spirituality. However, like everything in life, embarking on your spiritual path is a choice.In life you are presented with several choices leading to new stages of development. Initially, most progress along the same path but, at certain points, you have choiceswhether to stay immersed in the status quo world or to explore the splendors of your spiritual journey. These choices can appear at any time during your life; the key is to stay alert and listen to the wisdom of your heart.

You are born into a material world, where your life is dominated by your lower three chakras. You enter the world in a state of innocence and as long as you are healthy and have a loving family, you live in a world of joy and bliss. You still have a strong connection to the Divine and the field of the Absolute from which your consciousness just emerged. The spiritual being is still very much awake. However, for most this memory begins to fade as you are taught how to fit in and you become distracted by the world around you. A rare few manage to maintain their Divine connection and enjoy spiritual greatness.

As you grow, the ego emerges and soon you realize that you are completely at the mercy of all around you. The pure love you have experienced up until now begins to be overshadowed by fear and its corresponding emotions. You find that to get what you want, you have to please those in charge. You develop your personality and begin creating all the stories that will shape and define your life.

In your desire to overcome fear, you create success in your life. You become educated, start your careers and family. You want to have control to eliminate fear. You accumulate things to give you a sense of security.

For many people, further growth and spiritual development ends here. You choose to continue to be consumed with material desires, you seek more and more power and control. Your life becomes self-centered and you remain at Stage 3.

For others, a feeling that there is more to life begins to dawn. Rather than just accumulating possessions and power, you look for a deeper meaning to life. You start to awaken spiritually and continue to Stage 4.

In this stage, you begin to realize that there is more to life than personal power and material gain. You ask yourself how you can help others, how can you serve the world around you. You become comfortable with giving as well as receiving.

However, giving can also create a sense of power. At this stage, giving can often still be ego driven. You give because you expect some form of recognition or because it makes you feel good about yourself.

You can continue to give from the level of ego, always expecting something in return for your giving. This obviously can have a lot of merit, and you can do many good things in the world. However, it leaves a constriction to your full spiritual growth.

The opportunity of your second choice is when you begin to give from the level of love and compassion without any concern for recognition or reward. Your giving becomes selfless and your true spiritual journey begins.

Now you begin your regular spiritual practices. The longing for Enlightenment grows within you. Your decisions now come mostly from the fourth chakra, the heart center.

You begin to look for the deeper meaning of things. You try to understand why you are here and how you can make your life more meaningful. You may study with teachers and gurus. You read books and practice techniques. You have glimpses of the goal that encourages you to remain on the path.

The throat chakra opens as you express the qualities of the heart in your life.

Cosmic Consciousness dawns. Your mind fully awakens. You become the witness of your actions and realize that you are the role player in the multitude of roles you play. The fear of death dissolves as you realize that life is just another role. Simple yogic powers become available to us.However, there is still a separation between the giver and the recipient.

You have now reached another critical junction point in your journey. Your mind is fully awake but some ego is still present. The choice or mistake here is to believe that you are something special. You mistakenly think you have reached the goal and may promote yourself as such. The end is in sight but you have allowed the ego to hide it from view and you remain stuck in a false sense of spiritual attainment.

The alternative choice is to recognize the ego but not succumb to it, to allow it to find its place harmoniously within the whole. You continue your journey with humility and devotion. Giving is done purely for the sake of giving. Whats in it for me becomes How can I serve?

Insight and spiritual inspiration begin to grow, you hear the voice of the inner guru as the sixth chakra opens.

Your heart now fully awakens. You experience Divine and Unity Consciousness.

There is no longer any separation. No giver, given, or giving. No sense of I or me, just an awareness of Oneness. You still live in the world, but are no longer of the world.

Your spiritual practice is Pure Joy. All the chakras are open, spiritual energy flows freely.

When you reach the seventh stage there are no longer choices. You function totally in harmony with nature. Everything is provided exactly as needed, at exactly the right moment. You are the Totality.

As you progress though these stages, the material world seems very attractive at first while the spiritual might seem empty and hard but, if followed, it eventually leads to the experience of the True Self and eternal bliss.

There is nothing lacking in the life of a great yogi. He or she doesnt feel that anything has been given up. In fact, its the reversegreat yogis feel that by not following a spiritual path, eternal bliss has been renounced for the sake of a few passing moments of happiness. The material world is like a dry garden waiting for knowledge of the Divine to make it bloom. In the material world you only have the energy of the body, on the spiritual path you tap into Divine Consciousness, Cosmic Energy. The material world is a prison, the spiritual path leads to unbounded freedom.

You are always at a junction in your path, Truth or illusion, material or eternal. The ego will constantly try to keep its limiting hold on you. Choose wisely. Everything you do is a spiritual act if you do it with awareness. Find your path and inner peace.

Be regular and disciplined with your spiritual practice. Dont be disheartened if you wander off. Ultimately your spiritual journey becomes your way of life, like a lush oasis in the desert of mundane living.

Embark on the path to self-mastery with Deepak Chopra and Roger Gabriel in our Primordial Sound Meditation Online Course. Learn More.

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The 7 Stages of Spiritual Development | The Chopra Center

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May 17th, 2020 at 10:44 pm

Psychics Arent Therapy But They Can be Therapeutic – SF Weekly

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Astrologer Joyce Van Horn might have predicted the novel coronavirus pandemic in vague terms, at least. First it will cause a massive separation, but then it will cause a co-joining, Van Horn says, explaining that she and others in her field saw that a major global event was on the horizon.

But forecasting global catastrophes isnt necessarily in Van Horns wheelhouse. Shes an evolutionary astrologer, someone who reads birth charts for individual souls. And shes one of many psychics in San Francisco, a blanket term used by a 2003 city law to categorize astrologers, along with numerologists, tarot card readers, fortune-tellers, seers, and other such metaphysical practitioners.

In San Francisco, psychics are revered by young startup CEOs seeking their spiritual business acumen, or sought out by believers needing advice about love, family, or their personal crossroads. In troubling times, such as a global pandemic, they can offer comfort in the form of mystic wisdom, or provide tools to help their clients cope with the chaos. Some recognize how the relationship between psychics and their clients can mimic that of therapists and their patients though they arent the same.

Thats what Chris Branson realized when he spoke to Van Horn for the first time. Six years ago, Branson found out his girlfriend, who lived in San Diego, was pregnant.

She planned on moving to San Francisco, Branson says. The promise of a child conjured a vision of their shared future, and motivated his girlfriend to make the move so they could be together.

But just a few weeks before she was set to arrive, the couple found out some troubling news. She wasnt able to keep the baby, Branson says.

Confused, Branson went to Van Horn looking for hope a reason to why things were happening. Van Horn read Bransons birth chart and used a deck of cards to provide some clues. From what Im seeing, Van Horn told him, this is setting you up for the life you really want.

And that was true, as far as Branson is concerned.

We got married, and we had a family, he says. But it wasnt just the prediction that reassured Branson. The conversation itself helped him walk away from the session feeling more confident in his and his partners future together. I didnt see it at the time that it was part of a bigger picture. Years later, while raising a family in Maui with his wife, he would see it as a turning point.

Nicki Bonfilio, a clairvoyant and clairaudient intuitive counselor, hasnt bought into the Zoom frenzy.

Theres that barrier of electricity, says Bonfilio. Shed rather her clients look into themselves, rather than their mirrored image on a laptop screen. Thats why all her pandemic sessions have been conducted over the phone, where she teaches her clients an internal calming monologue.

What Ive been guiding clients through is just to ask some simple questions within themselves, and to create an internal practice, Bonfilio says, which is about telling themselves, I am happy, I am safe, I am secure.

Its particularly useful as shes seen a spike in anxiety and fear in her clients, especially from those who are concerned about the health of their loved ones. Bonfilio says she can see or hear things the average human eye might not. For example, she might be able to tell that youve been eating too much sugar, or that you need to reduce your screen-time, or that youre in need of some fresh air. Once, she saw that her friend had a brain tumor after he fainted. That prediction was what encouraged her to abandon her previous profession accounting to become a full-time psychic.

But Bonfilios gift is most useful when combined with the techniques shes learned from other jobs. I was very much in the birthing community at one point, Bonfilio says. Im actually a certified labor and birth coach, or a certified doula.

One of her long-time clients, Courtney Wilson, believes that Bonfilios breathwork (along with meditation classes and a holistic chiropractor) helped her survive April.

After I do it for ten minutes, Im way more grounded, Wilson says. And I just dont have that anxiety.

Wilson started seeking out psychics after she moved to San Francisco from the Midwest, in Des Moines, Iowa. I grew up Catholic, so it was always super strict, and there were all these rules, Wilson says. And I just knew in my gut that there was more out there a bigger universe, a bigger spiritual realm.

She went to an astrologer and a medium, but none of them were as good, or as accurate, as Bonfilio, who she found on Yelp. That was ten years ago, and shes been seeing Bonfilio four times a year ever since.

Shes like this big sister. She makes you feel that way, Wilson says. Going to her, I ask her questions, she tells me where her intuition lies, how she feels about things, and then I feel better.

Wanugee Kanagaki of Golden Dragon Fortunes has experienced a similar relationship with his 600 clients. Wanugee, who prefers to be addressed by his first name, is a fortune teller who uses mahjong tiles to discern energies.

For Wanugee, its more about appearing as a friend or a trusted confidant perhaps thats the therapeutic aspect people pick up on: You can share your worries and hopes with a person, and theyll listen, and try to offer some guidance.

He emphasizes that he isnt a licensed therapist. His clients are rarely ever deciding between seeing him or a trained mental health provider.

I try to help my clients when I can, Wanugee says. Some people are adapting with the shelter-in-place. Some people deal with it well. Some people dont.

Recently, one of Wanugees clients struggled with social isolation. All her roommates went back home and she was all by herself, Wanugee says. She was in a bad place. I gave her a reading, and offered her some tools.

These tools are available for free on his YouTube channel, where Wanugee sits in front of a green screen upon which he superimposes a looping video of a sunset-painted lake. On his right is a pillow stitched with the words I Love You.

Welcome seekers, he says, raising his hands as geese float in the recorded water behind him.

Theres no reason why you cant continue seeing your astrologer or fortune-teller, Dr. Davina Kotulski, a clinical psychologist and former client of Van Horns says. But if you have a mental health concern, you should go see a therapist.

Dr. Kotulski herself is a believer in astrology and numerology, and Van Horns services have been life-changing for her. But there is still a necessary disclaimer to be made. If youre struggling with mental health and addiction, Dr. Kotulski says you should see a licensed therapist a mental health provider whos trained specifically for this purpose.

Something can be helpful, but it doesnt mean its curative, Kotulski says. Massages can be rejunative, but theyre not the same as physical therapy.

Psychics and therapists may have similar goals to improve the well-being of their clients. But they serve different functions, and psychics wont be covered by your health insurance. (And they can get pretty pricey: Wanugees individual readings range from $77 to $149; Bonfilio charges $210 an hour; and Van Horn is currently working on a sliding scale during the pandemic, though her rate is normally $200 an hour.)

However, there are people who blend the practices. Berkeley-based Dr. Greg Bogart is one of them.

I became an astrologer at age 23, and did that for a number of years, but realized I needed more training to be able to do more emotional process work, to understand family issues, to understand development stages, Dr. Bogart says. Becoming a therapist gave me a whole new set of tools to make astrology beneficial. Sometimes he practices therapy and astrology as separate entities, other times, he blends the practices, depending on what the client wants.

He rejects the term psychic for astrologers, despite San Franciscos umbrella categorization. Astrology, specifically, is about finding life patterns on birth charts to identify present and current issues, recurring themes and relationship and career challenges.

That might offer reassurance and guidance explanations to why transformative events are happening, or illuminations on pivotal pathways.

But Dr. Kotulski wants everyone to know to be on guard when seeking answers.

If you work with healers of any kind be they therapists, psychics, or astrologists make sure that they have your best interests in mind. There are predators out there, Dr. Kotulski says. She cites an example from a client, who had $6,000 extorted from them after they saw a psychic who told them they had been a horrible person in a past life, and now had to pay the price.

If someones trying to scare you into working with them, Dr. Kotulski says. thats a predator.

Wanugee also warns against those who try to frighten emotionally vulnerable people. Theres a neon sign in every neighborhood, Wanugee says. But if the psychics behind them are asking for large sums of money to break a curse, they might not have your best interest in mind.

Aquarius is a wild card, Van Horn says. Thats the sign that Saturn is currently in.

Saturn is saying its time to mature into a new this is the Aquarius part a new way of collectively building something together that will support us as a worldwide community, Van Horn continues.

And if Aquarius is the sign of technology, and Saturn is the planet of innovation, then perhaps this means its time to get creative with connecting while social distancing.

Aquarius is saying this is a collective. Were in a pandemic, were in this together. What is the truth? Van Horn says. How do we liberate ourselves from saying other cultures are wrong? She warns against ethnic or religious discrimination.

Thats what Van Horn has seen in the stars. At ground level, shes noticed that the pandemic might have forced everyone into a mental reset. People are starting to recognize its more about family, and more about connection, and its less about stuff, its less about impressing people, Van Horn says.

Bonfilio, on the other hand, has noticed an environmental reset. Two years ago, she remembered feeling like the city was getting more and more congested. There were more buildings, more traffic, and more tech companies.

I remember recalling back then, that things were going to need to change drastically in San Francisco in order for there to be more harmony and balance and more ease, more peace, Bonfilio says. because things were getting way too aggressive.

But just recently, Bonfilios friend spotted a whale in the Bay, a sign that Bonfilio interpreted as nature returning to spaces where humans use to windsurf or travel.

Were all just little specks here on the earth. Were just one person on the earth with billions of people and so many other natural animals, fish, birds, bees, trees, everything, Bonfilio says. With humans mostly inside and sheltered in place, its given a chance for the earth to come back into balance.

Now the challenge is to keep it that way, even after the shelter-in-place is lifted.

Be afraid, Van Horn says. But dont get paralyzed by the fear.

Astrology is a practice that a lot of people dont believe in, Van Horn says. The same can be said of fortunetelling or clairvoyance. Skeptics like to poke holes in their practices, citing vague predictions or personality measures as tricks psychics use to fool naive participants.

But believers have found solace in looking for celestial or otherworldly guidance. I think what a lot of psychics and fortune-tellers can do [is] help you see things that are coming up and possibilities, Dr. Kotulski says. That doesnt mean you dont have free choice and you cant change some of the things that can happen. You always have free choice.

The goal of a psychics prediction isnt to prescribe, its to guide. They may not be able to help their clients work through cognitive distortions or substance abuse disorders that is work for trained mental health providers. But they can certainly provide some comfort in times of trouble.

Its like Hey, theres a divine plan going on, says Branson, who was raised in a religious household and finds some similarities between the way one feels walking out of a session with a psychic and heading home after church. Its not saying this is going to happen or thats going to happen. Its about getting better insight and clarity, so you can make decisions.

For some, its about finding hope. For others, its about talking to a friend.

She knows so much about my family. She knows so much about the things Ive been through. No ones seen my growth like her, Wilson says of Bonfilio. Going to a therapist, I would have to start all over.

Grace Z. Li covers arts, culture, and food for SF Weekly. You can reach her at or follow her on Twitter at @gracezhali.

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Psychics Arent Therapy But They Can be Therapeutic - SF Weekly

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May 17th, 2020 at 10:44 pm

1 thought on Freethought for the Small Towns: Case Study – News Intervention

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Liberty University in the United States closed down its philosophy department, recently. The Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy over sex abuse lawsuits. Nones became part of common academic discourse. Movement atheism rose, failed, has begun to change, to adapt internal pressures, and incorporate wider needs and represents another part of a common trend in the hobby-ing of religion in our societies. Canada comes out no different. The fear discourse towards the formally, institutionally non-religious continues apace and the surrounding magical thinking, gullibility, superstition, pseudoscience, fake medicine, and more, co-exists with us, nonetheless. I note a mutual reinforcement, too. If magic can happen from the pulpit, why not from a local clinic or a home remedy sold on the shelf? It would harbour more a sensibility of humour if not for the tragically awful impacts derived in some domains on so many peoples lives. Liberty Universitys replica, in part, can be found in the largest fundamentalist Evangelical Christian university in Canada called Trinity Western University with some controversy in its history and in the formulation of community culture in the Township of Langley, British Columbia, Canada. Those students live in its surrounding Fort Langley environment in reasonable numbers. Some times falsely advertised by Trinity Western University marketing as the Trinity Western University village or town, as if an official designation, as in the YouTube clip entitled This is Fort Langley TWUs university town. Thats a lie. Its a National Historic Site.

Small towns all over Canada mirror many of the dynamics, magical thinking, and reliance on false or pseudo-medicines in place of (actual) or efficacious medicine. Among the local churches in the area, (e.g., Fort LangleyEvangelical Free Church, Living Waters Church, Fraser Point Church Meeting Place, St Georges AnglicanChurch, United Churches ofLangley St. Andrews Chapel, Vineyard ChristianFellowship, Fraser Point ChurchOffices, Jubilee Church, and Fellowship Pacific) different interpretations of the Gospels may be taught, but the community retains its Christian spirit in spite of a scuffed, mind you, rainbow crosswalk one can find the in the town business center with many of the 100+ local businesses hiring many, many Trinity Western University students. The economy is integrated with the institution, in other words. Its an expensive private Evangelical Christian university with extensive fees, where students pay international student prices as domestic students. Students need to make their way through education without substantial governmental assistance, somehow. In this context, highly educated and well-to-do fundamentalist Christian culture and a local town converge into a strange admixture. A town with a large number of community organizations including Kwantlen First Nations,Seyem Qwantlen Business Group,Fort Langley Youth Rowing Society,Fort Langley Community Rowing Club,Fort Langley Canoe Club,History of Fort Langley,History of the Albion Ferry, The BEST of Fort Langley,Langley Weavers and Spinners Guild Biodegradeables ~ Organic Recycling,Fort Langley Community Association, Langley Heritage Association, andFort Langley BIA. Indeed, many towns across the country replicate this with different inputs and similar outcomes.

In its recent history, as a starter example, there has been some predictable commentary flowing in the pens and notifications. One from Derek Bisset exhibited a particularly interesting article entitled There Are Atheists in the Church as recent as August 4, 2015. Not necessarily a rare view, its more a common sentiment based on the trend line of history and the adaptations for the modern world with Liberal Theology and the tenuous status of some foundational tenets with the continual onslaughts of modern empiricism. This was formulated around a somewhat critical commentary about the welcoming-everyone attitude of the church to the general membership of The United Church of Canada. He stated:

It shouldnt come as much of a surprise that after years of saying All are welcome in this place that the result is a range of views within the church about the existence of God, especially as we seem to live in a society becoming ever more secular and inclining to require evidence for what we are willing to believe.

I suppose a space journey through emptiness four and a half hours away at the speed of light should have some bearing in putting early concepts of the Heavens to rest. Now I think we will have to stick with a range of ideas about a Godwho is here on Earth, interventionist or metaphorical, according to our personal views about what we need as individuals or what is needed to make the world a better place for all.

These amount to intriguing propositions about the reasons in which evolution for the church ideology become necessities within a secularizing/de-churching culture rather than true rebukes. The reason for the theological changes come from the empirical revolutions and educational improvements with the churches harbouring less tenable propositions about the nature of the world. Many propositions some deem outmoded, comical, or equivalent to others requiring fewer personal sacrifices of individual and communal wellbeing. The implication of a rejection of the modern views would be a return to more primitive mental constructs, models of the world. Is the concern the truth or the retaining of members? As it turns out, the most worrying development came not from a more reality-based church, but the loss of a member to a rival church. This tells the tale of the tribe.

Indeed, the reasons provided for leaving the local church from the member who left: the hot-wax nature of the beliefs rather than the rigid stone pillar faith. Probably, a rigid faith where men have a defined active role. Women have a defined passive role. God intervenes in the world. Prayer can aid in healing ailments. Homosexuality is a sin. The Bible is the literal truth, God-breathed Word of the Lord. And Jesus rose from the dead after 3 days. And evolution is the work of He down Below. If one wants to move back the civilizational lens in the West several centuries, I suppose one could upgrade or, rather, retrograde the theology and the worldview. Of course, the personality focus for the critical examination of a local United Church of Canada congregation came around some of the beginning of the controversy for Rev. Gretta Vosper. Bisset continued:

When a minister of the United Church of Canada declares herself for atheism in the Church and still retains her position with her own church and a sizeable congregation things appear to be coming to a head. That Gretta Vosper has changed the practicing of religion in her church drastically and has been on a personal speaking crusade to persuade Christians that more change is needed has brought her into conflict with those responsible for allowing her to act as a United Church minister. She may require to be defrocked and no longer allowed to preach her heretical doctrine

A woman on a personal speaking crusade to persuade Christians who has been brought into conflict and may require to be defrocked and no longer allowed to preach her heretical doctrine. Although, the bias is obvious. The larger, more interesting point is the focus on having to snuff out dissent and retain membership. Its not about the ideas, except as derivative, inasmuch as it is about the numbers of the followers, the flock, for which the local church is bound to shepherd. This is relatively marginal and isolated talk or idle public conversation within an individual church. Behind the closed doors of home & hearth, and church on Sundays, the discussions, rumours, and insinuation & innuendo will be much the same. Only some retain the gumption to speak in this manner in public. He leaves off a nice skeptical note, After all, if you cant have a good argument about religious beliefs within the Church, where is there a better place to have it, and deserves kudos for it. In general, though, the undercurrent probably replicates in events with different churches and similar phenomena. Demographic decline and theological liberalization seen as watering down concern significant sections of 2/3rds of the population of Canada.

As noted in Issue 48 of the Fort Langley Evangelical Free Church from 2017, they describe an event with The Canadian Scientific and Christian Affiliation. An organization The Canadian Scientific and Christian Affiliation, akin to the Templeton Foundation, devoted to strange attempts at bridging religion and science. Although, the Templeton Foundation comes with a huge cash prize. Thats motivation enough for some. The Canadian Scientific and Christian Affiliation focuses on science and a life-giving Christian tradition with a statement of faith (common in Christian organizations throughout the country):

As implicitly admitted in the Commission on Creation of the American Scientific Affiliation taken by The Canadian Scientific and Christian Affiliation for presentation to its national public, some members of the affiliation will adhere to a Young-Earth (Recent Creation) View, Old-Earth (Progressive Creation) View, Theistic Evolution (Continuous Creation, Evolutionary Creation) View, or Intelligent Design View. Theres the problem right there. Only one real game in town, evolution via natural selection. This becomes four wrong views plus one right position with the four incorrect views bad in different ways or to different degrees, i.e., four theological views and one scientific view. In other words, the Canadian Scientific and Christian Affiliation, by its own claims and standards, amounts to a theological affiliation, not a Scientific affiliation. Its false advertising if not outright lying by title and content.

Anyway, the Issue 48 newsletter of the Fort Langley Evangelical Free Church presented the event entitled Science, Religion, & the New Atheism, by Dr. Stephen Snobelen, who is an Associate Professor of the History of Science and Technology Programme at University of Kings College, Halifax. This is common too. This is, based on extensive research in Canadians and Others Convictions to Divine Interventionism in the Matters of the Origins and Evolution, the trend for years now. (Any commentary considerations for creationism and Intelligent Design can be considered there, as the rest would be repetition.)[1] In short, the only places, or the vast majority of places, to present these ideas are churches and religious institutions. Outside of those, these theological hypotheses posed as scientific arent taken seriously or, generally, are seen as a hysterical joke when posed as science rather than theology. Some, like Zak Graham in Atheism is simply a lack of belief, get the point published in The Langley Times. That seems like an uncommon stance in the wider community.

As Brad Warner notes in a short confessional post in Fellowship Pacific, he came to the Christian religion in university. Its a sweet confession, which tells a sociological tale. The personalities are landmarks or guideposts, so largely irrelevant, not the main points in this article. Either someone is indoctrinated into faith or religion with specific thou shalts and thou shalt nots before critical thinking becomes a real possibility, or the individuals, typically, attend a Christian or private university and become suffused within a Christian ethos in a vastly dominated-by-Christianity culture in Canadian society with 2/3rds of the general population identifying as Christian. Even in some indications of the counselling professionals in the area, as an individual case study, statements emerge as in Alex Kwee, Ph.D., R.Psych. stating, A distinctive of my approach lies in the fact that I am a Christian. The practice of psychotherapy is never value-neutral; even the most ostensibly objective of counsellors must possess certain irreducible value propositionseven atheism or secular humanism are value systems that cannot be proven right one way or another. Note, he makes Christianity or Christian identity as part of the approach, as I am certain of the same for countless others in the area and around the country. Also, the conflation or dual-linkage between atheism and secular humanism alongside value systems. Its a quaint proposition and half-false. In the instance of atheism, it does not posit values, but it proposes a lack of belief in gods not values. (Hence, half-wrong, Q.E.D.) Coming from a Christian worldview with the good coming from God, the denial of such can only seem as if this. Its not. What does propose values? Secular humanism, certainly, proposes values; Christianity asserts values too. Why bring atheist and secular humanism into the equation? Does this come from a pre-emptive defensive posture for the inevitable conflict of professional ethics and the introduction of theological constructs into psychotherapeutic processes with clients? Indeed, the potentially inevitable, seemingly incurable prejudice and bias in practitioners bringing their religious faiths with supernatural structures may bleed into the therapeutic process. Mr. Kwee states:

As a Christian, I contextualize my approach and strategies within a spiritual and faith-affirming framework, which is important for many of the Christian clients with whom I work. I firmly believe that therapy cannot be done in an existential or spiritual vacuum, but that the most effective therapy contextualizes evidence-based techniques to a clients system of personal meaning to help them to create a life that is rich with meaning and purpose, not just devoid of psychological pain. Because most people are in search of greater meaning and appreciate a more ultimate frame of reference, I find that clients of many walks and backgrounds are comfortable working with me even if they do not share my worldview.

One can come as a non-religious person, but one should be wary as has been commonly reported by prominent secular therapists as Dr. Darrel Ray of Recovering From Religion and the Secular Therapy Project. Furthermore, some of the peer-reviewed research presented on the professional website for Mr. Kwee amounts to assertions of sexual addiction or sex addiction. This is a pseudoscientific view or a theological assertion, not a psychological construct viewpoint. Take a counselling psychologist, Dr. Lloyd Hawkeye Robertson, in an interview with me entitled Ask Dr. Robertson 13 A Hawks Eye on Counsellors Professional Ethics and Morals, stated:

When an ideology or religion is used to modify terms like psychology, counselling or psychotherapy, I become wary. For example, how does Christian Counselling differ from counselling? Christian counsellors I have talked to define their religion as having certain superior attributes with respect to love and spiritual fulfillment. But a secular counsellor, on finding that a client believed in prayer, for example, might invite the client to pray as part of his or her therapeutic plan. A difference might be that if the prayer does not work to the clients satisfaction, the secular counsellor might be more willing to explore other alternatives while the Christian counsellor might be more prone engage in self-limiting platitudes such as, Maybe God does not want this for you. Counsellors employed by Catholic Family Services are routinely required to sign a statement stating they will respect the Churchs beliefs regarding the sanctity of life. This is regularly interpreted to mean that counsellors in their employ may not explore the option of abortion with pregnant clients, and if a client chooses that option, she will do so without the support of her counsellor or therapist. Counsellors from a variety of Christian denominations actively discourage people who are non-heterosexual. A particularly unethical practice is encapsulated in the oxymoron Conversion Therapy. Conversion implies a template outside of the individual to which the individual converts. It is, therefore, the opposite of therapy where the client defines his own template. Overall, Christian counselling does not add to the professional practice but is subtractive, limiting the options permitted clients.

The notion of limiting psychologys ability to increase to individual choice and volition is pervasive

Scott, you asked me about professional codes of ethics. Codes of ethics are written by those with the power to do so. Conversion Therapy as practiced by some Christian groups has been ruled unethical. The feminist version has not. I believe that freedom of conscience involves a duty to conduct oneself to a higher ethic, and in my case that ethic involves supporting individual volitional empowerment. Individual volition operates within the constraint that there is a reality outside ourselves and if we stray too far from that reality we will harm ourselves and others. We cannot gain empowerment by feeding a delusion.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)-5 or the DSM-5 rejected sex addiction for inclusion in 2013. Theres no such thing as sex addiction as a formal psychological construct; sex addiction is a theological construct, i.e., a pseudoscientific and worldview construct posed as psychological. This seems like bad science and, thus, leading to the potential for a bad theoretical foundation for praxis, for practice. Could purity culture from Christian doctrine and worldview be influencing this particular academic output? Could these views influence the meaning and purpose of those coming to the Kwees of psychotherapy or counselling psychology? Its an open question; I leave this to clientele, while I intend this as a case study of a larger issue within the therapeutic practice culture. As Dr. Darrel Ray in Extensive Interview with Dr. Darrel Ray on Secular Therapy and Recovering From Religion stated:

So, #2 behind the fear of hell are issues around their sexuality and things like, I know its not wrong to masturbate, but I still feel guilty, I am a sex addict because I look at porn. Theres tons of evidence that the most religious people self-identify the most as sex addicts. Not to mind, there is no such thing as sex addiction. Theres no way to define it. I have argued with atheists that have been atheists for 20 years who say that they are sex addicts. Help me understand, how did you get that diagnosis? My mother-in-law diagnosed me [Laughing]. I look at porn once or twice a week. I do not care if you look at porn once or twice an hour. You are still not a sex addict. So, get over that. You may have other issues. You may have some compulsions. You may have some fear of driving the issue. But it almost always comes down to early childhood religious training, as we spoke about earlier. So, people are simply responding to the programming. Even though, they are atheist, secular, agnostic. I do not care what you call yourself. You are still dealing with the programming. Sometimes, you can go an entire lifetime with a guilt, a shame, a fear, rooted in religion.

If you do not believe in the Christian influence on the research and views, please review the articles in the most superficial of ways with articles entitled Theologically-Informed Education about Masturbation: A Male Sexual Health Perspective, Sexual Addiction: Diagnosis and Treatment, Sexual Addiction and Christian College Men: Conceptual, Assessment and Treatment Challenges, Constructing Addiction from Experience and Context: Peele and Brodskys Love and Addiction Revisited, and even a society entitled Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health (SASH). Its like this on issue and after issue. Fundamentalist Christian universities and theological beliefs in areas infect towns, attract similarly minded individuals from around the fundamentalist Christian diaspora, and reduce the amount of proper science in professional lives and the critical thinking in the public. People are part of the culture in some framings. Then these connect to academic formalities around pseudoscientific views with societies and groups built around them too, e.g., SASH, as the Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health (SASH) was founded in 1987 by Patrick Carnes, Richard Santorini and Ed Armstrong, SASH began as a membership organization for people concerned with sexual addiction problems. [Emphasis added.]

Again, the point isnt the individuals inasmuch as trends in culture with representative case studies as important for this. In those cases of the Bissets with a marginally skeptical view, its not about factual accounts of the world. It is about maintenance of numbers. In the cases of the Kwees, its not about factual and empirical all the time, but its about selective factual-and-empirical, and buttressed and warped by theological pseudoscience (by the most up-to-date standards of the professional diagnostic and statistical manual for psychologists or the DSM-5 with lack of inclusion on one theological theory of sexual dysfunction in sex addiction). It should be noted. In the United States of America under the American Psychological Association, any imposition by an American-trained counselling psychologist can be called out on ethics violations. Slippery language should not be a basis upon which for a tacit claim for circumnavigation of A.4.b. Personal Values of the ethics code for American counsellors, which stipulates, Counselors are aware ofand avoid imposingtheir own values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours. Counsellors respect the diversity of clients, trainees, and research participants and seek training in areas in which they are at risk of imposing their values onto clients, especially when the counsellors values are inconsistent with the clients goals or are discriminatory in nature. However, this is in Canada. If one sees presentations crossing the line in an explicit manner in a local or national context, one can express appropriate concerns with formal channels to act on it, whether non-Christians in general or the non-religious in particular. I doubt in this case on some levels, though, as the statements are reasonably carefully worded and is grounded in psychotherapy as opposed to counselling psychology.

Fort Langley culture follows from the culture of Trinity Western University on a number of qualitative-observational metrics. A university that failed to attain a law school status based on the bias and prejudice stemming from a Community Covenant with statements deemed repeatedly and nearly unequivocally as biased and prejudiced against members of the LGBTI community. They overwhelmingly lost the law school case 7-2 in the Supreme Court of Canada with denial of status as a law school as reasonable by the judgment of the Supreme Court of Canada. It was June 15, 2018; the decision where the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in favour of the British Columbia and Ontario law societies in a 7-2 collective decision for Trinity Western University v Law Society of Upper Canada and Law Society of British Columbia v Trinity Western University.Shortly thereafter, they retracted the mandatory nature of the Community Covenant for the students, but, as I have been told, not for staff, faculty, and administrators. A faith needing community legislation appears weaker than one strong enough as written on the heart and lived out in ones life. Bearing in mind, Christ never wrote anything down on paper. Perhaps, there has been some wisdom in this fact worth retaining in this case. Dissenting views exist on the campus and in the community. One TWU is one LGBTI community group around campus without formal affiliation (*We are run completely independently from and bare no formal affiliation with Trinity Western University), though small, for individual students who may be struggling on or around campus. While others outside the formal TWU community, and in the extended fundamentalist Christian community, and taking the idea of think differently differently as in think the same, as always, Richard Peachey is as fast as proclaiming the literal Word of God Almighty with homosexuality as an affront to God and fundamentally a sin in His sight. In spite of this, at one time or another, based on Canadian reportage and some names in the current listings, Matthew Wigmore, Bryan Sandberg, and David Evans-Carlson (co-founders of One TWU), and Nate/Nathan Froelich, Kelsey Tiffin, Robynne Healey, and others in the current crop Kieran Wear, Elisabeth Browning, Queenie Rabanes, and Micah Bron stand firm against some former mandatory community covenant standards either as supports for themselves or as allies who have been negatively impacted by the Community Covenant. A minority gender and sexual identity is completely healthy and normal. If the theology rejects this, then the theology is at odds with reality, not the students sense of themselves, who they love, and their identities, or the science. I agree with them and stand far more with them. When the Community Covenant was dropped as a mandatory requirement for students, many were excited and thrilled. Although, some questions arise about the reaction of excitement and thrill about some who left the university and see the change in the mandatory nature of the Community Covenant.

Why excitement? Why thrill? Arent some of these students gone? Wouldnt this leave the concerns behind them? Arent others graduated at this point? Havent others already signed and suffered in the past? In short, isnt it history? Insofar as I can discern, its a grounding of common suffering across academic cohorts at Trinity Western University for compassion and empathy for a sense of no more and not to you, too in the community of the fundamentalist faithful. These students, many of them, went through hell by the attitudes and behaviours reflected in a Community Covenant and selective literalist reading of purported sacred scripture of a larger sex and gender identity majority who, sometimes, treated them with suspicion, pity, or contempt grounded in theology and legislated in the Community Covenant. I feel a similar sentiment around the denial of same-sex marriage by some fundamentalist Evangelical Christians. The proportional response: I dont believe in heterosexual marriage between a man and a woman for those particular fundamentalist Evangelical Christians. It sounds absurd because the former is outlandish, too.

Anyhow, continuing, why make others experience hell here-and-now in the belief of ones personal near guarantee to hypothetical heaven there-and-then when ones corpse is ash, ice, or six feet under, regardless? Does it matter? That is to ask, if God has a Divine Will and is the source of the Moral Law, the Good, and all in, of, and under Creation, why not let Him deal with it, not you? Its obvious as to the implications here. All this is not due to the Devil, to demonic forces, to non-literalist Christians, to secular humanists, to atheists. This is entirely mundane. It is due to community attitudes and beliefs leading to actions making vulnerable members of the community feel wrong by the nature, not of what they believe or their moral character but because, of who they are; that which they cannot change and are born with as human beings with minority sexual and gender identities. Thats bigotry. A nativist sensibility for negative presumption of an individual based on, more or less, inborn characteristics with thin disguises in the form of dont hate the sinner, hate the sin. Does anyone seriously buy this outside of the informational, emotionally, and theologically confined and constricted fundamentalist walls where A Might Fortress Is Our God? These are human, all-too-human, follies and foibles wrought forth on the lives of the few by the many in the hallowed halls of the largest Christian university in the country. The relief felt was less for themselves and more for others who would not have to endure as much next time around. I consider freedom of religion, belief, and conscience important for a secular democratic and pluralistic state. Thus, the students may feel healthier in a non-Christian or public university. However, if they choose a Christian university, or if they are pressured into this by parents, community, friends, church, and theology, then they have personal respect to choose, and in making the choice, to me, because, based on the readings, the reactions, and the sensibilities expressed, theyre entering hostile territory.

Congratulations for making it this far, but freethought extends into other areas too, of the local culture, as with hundreds of towns in this country, whether colonics/colonhydrotherapy, aromatherapy, chiropractory, acupuncture, reflexology, naturopathy/naturopathic medicine and traditional Chinese medicine, or simply a culture of praying for help with an ailment (which is one overlap with the religious fundamentalist community and the reduced capacity for critical thought). Colonics/colonhydrotherapy is marginally practiced within some of the town in Fort Langley Colonics. Dr. Stephen Barrett, M.D. in Gastrointestinal Quackery: Colonics, Laxatives, and More stated rather starkly:

Colonic irrigation, which also can be expensive, has considerable potential for harm. The process can be very uncomfortable, since the presence of the tube can induce severe cramps and pain. If the equipment is not adequately sterilized between treatments, disease germs from one persons large intestine can be transmitted to others. Several outbreaks of serious infections have been reported, including one in which contaminated equipment caused amebiasis in 36 people, 6 of whom died following bowel perforation. Cases of heart failure (from excessive fluid absorption into the bloodstream) and electrolyte imbalance have also been reported. Direct rectal perforation has also been reported. Yet no license or training is required to operate a colonic-irrigation device. In 1985, a California judge ruled that colonic irrigation is an invasive medical procedure that may not be performed by chiropractors and the California Health Departments Infectious Disease Branch stated: The practice of colonic irrigation by chiropractors, physical therapists, or physicians should cease. Colonic irrigation can do no good, only harm. The National Council Against Health Fraud agrees.

In 2009, Dr. Edzard Ernst tabulated the therapeutic claims he found on the Web sites of six professional organizations of colonic irrigations. The themes he found included detoxification, normailzation [sic] of intestinal function, treatment of inflammatory bowel disease, and weight loss. He also found claims elated to asthma, menstrual irregularities, circulatory disorders, skin problems, and improvements in energy levels. Searching Medline and Embase, he was unable to find a single controlled clinical trial that substantiated [sic] any of these claims.

On aromatherapy, this one is a softball. One can find this in the True Aromatherapy Products and Spa (TAP) store. As William H. London, in an article entitled Essential Considerations About Aromatherapy in Skeptical Inquirer, describes the foundations of aromatherapy as follows, The practice of administering plant-derived essential oils on the skin, via inhalation of vapors, or internally via ingestion for supposed healing power is commonly calledaromatherapy. Theoils for aromatherapy are described as essentialto refer to the volatile, aromatic components that some people describe as the essence of the plant source, which represents the plants life force, spirit, or soul. Aromatherapy is thus rooted in vitalism RationalWiki states:

Like most woo, aromatherapy starts with observable, real effects of smells on humans, and extrapolates and exaggerates into a whole range of treatments from the effective, to the banal, to the outright ridiculous

As well as the inherent problematic practice of wasting money on useless medicine and potentially substituting useless concoctions in place of conventional medicine, the essential oils in aromatherapy may be a skin irritant. It is also poorly regulated, as the claims that scents having any beneficial effects are regulated as a cosmetic claim, and it thus does not require FDA approval. Combined with the lack of evidence it really is a waste, but for you, not for those that sell the products. According to Quackwatch, Health Foods Business estimated that the total of aromatherapy products sold through health-food stores was about $59 million in 1995 and $105 million in 1996.

To chiropractory, it is widely regarded as a pseudoscience with either no efficacy or negative effects on the patient or the client.Fort Family ChiropracticandEvergreen Chiropracticare the two main businesses devoted to some practice of chiropractory. AsScience-Based Medicinein its Chiropractic entry states:

Chiropractic was invented by D. D. Palmer, Sep 18, 1895 when he adjusted the spine of a deaf man and allegedly restored his hearing (a claim that is highly implausible based on what we know of anatomy). Based on this one case, Palmer decided that all disease was due to subluxation: 95% to subluxations of the spine and 5% to subluxations of other bones.

The rationale for chiropractic hinges on three postulates:

There is no credible evidence to support any of these claims

In over a century, chiropractic research has produced no evidence to support the postulates of chiropractic theory and little evidence that chiropractic treatments provide objective benefits. Research on spinal manipulation is inherently difficult, because double blind studies are impossible and even single blind studies are problematic; a placebo response is hard to rule out

There is no acceptable evidence that chiropractic can improve the many other health problems it claims to benefit, from colic to asthma. There is no evidence to support the practice of adjusting the spines of newborns in the delivery room or providing repeated lifelong adjustments to maintain health or prevent disease.

Up to half of patients report short-term adverse effects from manipulation, such as increased local or radiating pain; and there is a rare but devastating complication of neck manipulation: it can injure the vertebrobasilar arteries and cause stroke, paralysis, and death. Some chiropractors do not accept the germ theory of disease and only about half of them support immunization.

Acupuncture is another issue. Hardman Acupuncturist & TCM,Integrated Health Clinic, devote themselves, in part, to this. Dr. Steven Novella ofScience-Based Medicinein Acupuncture Doesnt Work stated:

according to the usual standards of medicine, acupuncture does not work.

Let me explain what I mean by that. Clinical research can never prove that an intervention has an effect size of zero. Rather, clinical research assumes the null hypothesis, that the treatment does not work, and the burden of proof lies with demonstrating adequate evidence to reject the null hypothesis. So, when being technical, researchers will conclude that a negative study fails to reject the null hypothesis.

Further, negative studies do not demonstrate an effect size of zero, but rather that any possible effect is likely to be smaller than the power of existing research to detect. The greater the number and power of such studies, however, the closer this remaining possible effect size gets to zero. At some point the remaining possible effect becomes clinically insignificant.

In other words, clinical research may not be able to detect the difference between zero effect and a tiny effect, but at some point it becomes irrelevant.

What David and I have convincingly argued, in my opinion, is that after decades of research and more than 3000 trials, acupuncture researchers have failed to reject the null hypothesis, and any remaining possible specific effect from acupuncture is so tiny as to be clinically insignificant.

In laymans terms, acupuncture does not work for anything.

This has profound clinical, ethical, scientific, and practical implications. In my opinion humanity should not waste another penny, another moment, another patient any further resources on this dead end. We should consider this a lesson learned, cut our losses, and move on.

Many of these practices are swimming in the, or have a foot in the, waters of pseudoscience practiced as if medically or physiologically feasible, but, in matter of fact, remain a drain on the publics purse based on taking advantage of public confidence in medicine in Canada while having givenzero benefit while failing to reject the null hypothesis.

Another issue practice is reflexology, as seen in Health Roots & Reflexology. Quackwatch concludes, Reflexology is based on an absurd theory and has not been demonstrated to influence the course of any illness. Done gently, reflexology is a form of foot massage that may help people relax temporarily. Whether that is worth $35 to $100 per session or is more effective than ordinary (noncommercial) foot massage is a matter of individual choice. Claims that reflexology is effective for diagnosing or treating disease should be ignored. Such claims could lead to delay of necessary medical care or to unnecessary medical testing of people who are worried about reflexology findings. Health Roots & Reflexologyappears to be one business devoted to thus. As Dr. Harriet Hall in Modern Reflexology: Still As Bogus As Pre-Modern Reflexology said, Reflexology is an alternative medicine system that claims to treat internal organs by pressing on designated spots on the feet and hands; there is no anatomical connection between those organs and those spots. Systematic reviews in2009and2011found no convincing evidence that reflexology is an effective treatment for any medical condition.Quackwatchand theNCAHFagree that reflexology is a form of massage that may help patients relax and feel better temporarily, but that has no other health benefits. Our ownMark Crislipsaid, The great majority of studies demonstrate reflexology had no effects that could not be replicated by picking fleas off your mateAnd it has no anatomic or physiologic justification.

A larger concoction of bad science and medicine comes from the Integrated Health Clinic devoted, largely, to naturopathy/naturopathic medicine (based on a large number of naturopaths on staff) and traditional Chinese medicine with manifestations in IV/chelation therapy, Neural therapy, Detox, Hormone Balancing & Thermography, Anthroposophical medicine, LRHT/hyperthermia, Bowen Technique, among others. Well run through those first two, as the references to them are available in the resources, in the manner before. Scott Gavura in Naturopathy vs. Science: Facts edition stated:

Naturopaths claim that they practice based on scientific principles. Yet examinations of naturopathic literature, practices and statements suggest a more ambivalent attitude. neatly illustrates the problem with naturopathy itself: Open antagonism to science-based medicine, and the risk of harm from integrating these practices into the practice of medicine. Unfortunately, the trend towards integrating naturopathy into medicine is both real and frightening. Because good medicine isnt based on invented facts and pre-scientific beliefs it must be grounded in science. And naturopathy, despite the claims, is anything but scientific.

The Skeptics Dictionary stated:

Naturopathy is often, if not always, practiced in combination with other forms ofalternative health practices.Bastyr University, a leading school of naturopathy since 1978, offers instruction in such things asacupunctureand spirituality. Much of the advice of naturopaths is sound: exercise, quit smoking, eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, practice good nutrition. Claims that these and practices such as colonic irrigation or coffee enemas detoxify the body or enhance the immune system or promote homeostasis, harmony, balance, vitality, and the like are exaggerated and not backed up by sound research.

As Dr. David Gorski, as quoted in RationalWiki, stated, Naturopathy is a cornucopia of almost everyquackeryyou can think of. Be ithomeopathy,traditional Chinese medicine,Ayurvedic medicine,applied kinesiology,anthroposophical medicine,reflexology,craniosacral therapy, Bowen Technique, and pretty much any other form of unscientific or prescientific medicine that you can imagine, its hard to think of a single form ofpseudoscientificmedicine and quackery that naturopathy doesnt embrace or at least tolerate. The Massachusetts Medical Society stated similar terms, Naturopathic medical school is not a medical school in anything but the appropriation of the word medical. Naturopathy is not a branch of medicine. It is a combination of nutritional advice, home remedies and discredited treatments Naturopathic practices are unchanged by research and remain a large assortment of erroneous and potentially dangerous claims mixed with a sprinkling of non-controversial dietary and lifestyle advice. This is the level of qualifications of most of the practitioners of the IHC or the Integrated Health Clinic.

Now, onto Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM, or Chinese Medicine or CM, also coming out of the Integrated Health Clinic, RationalWiki notes some of the dangerous, if not disgusting to a North American and Western European palette, ingredients:

CM ingredients can range from common plants, such as dandelion, persimmon, and mint, to weird or even dangerous stuff. Some of the more revolting (from a Western standpoint) things found in TCM include genitals of various animals (includingdogs, tigers, seals, oxen,goats, and deer), bear bile (commonly obtained by means of slow, inhumane extraction methods), and (genuine)snake oilUrine,feces,placentaand other human-derived medicines were traditionally usedbut some may no longer be in use.

Some of the dangerous ingredients includelead, calomel (mercurouschloride), cinnabar (red mercuric sulfide),asbestos(including asbestiform actinolite, sometimes erroneously called aconite) realgar (arsenic),andbirthwort(Aristolochiaspp.).Bloodlettingis also practiced. Bizarrely, lead oxide, cinnabar, and calomel are said to be good fordetoxification.Lead oxide is also supposed to help with ringworms, skin rashes, rosacea, eczema, sores, ulcers, and intestinal parasites, cinnabar allegedly helps you live longer, and asbestos

Dr. Arthur Grollman, a professor of pharmacological science and medicine at Stony Brook University in New York, in an article entitled Chinese medicine gains WHO acceptance but it has many critics is quoted, on the case of TCM or CM acceptance at the World Health Organization, saying, It will confer legitimacy on unproven therapies and add considerably to the costs of health care Widespread consumption of Chinese herbals of unknown efficacy and potential toxicity will jeopardize the health of unsuspecting consumers worldwide. On case after case, we can find individual practices or collections of practices of dubious effect if not ill-effect in the town. Indeed, this follows from one of the earliest points about the infusion of supernatural thinking or pseudoscientific integration of praxis into the community, whether fear of liberal theology, encouragement of pseudobiology, prejudice and bigotry against the LGBTI members of community, pseudo-psychological diagnoses passed off as real psychological and behavioural issues while simply grounded in theological bias and false assertions as psychological constructs, or in the whole host of bad medical and science practices seen in colonics/colonhydrotherapy, aromatherapy, chiropractory, acupuncture, reflexology, naturopathy/naturopathic medicine and traditional Chinese medicine.

This isnt a declaration of what to do, but if done, be, at least, informed about bad science, bad medicine, questionable theology, etc. As noted about the right to freedom of belief, religion, and conscience (and expression and opinion), people are free to lose money on dubious treatments or otherwise. Freedom seen throughout Canada on the basis of what people, in fact, do anyway; whereas, at a minimum, the critical thinking of the culture should rise to the bare minimum standard of if done, be, at least, informed about bad science, bad medicine, questionable theology, etc.

[1] Canadians and Others Convictions to Divine Interventionism in the Matters of the Origins and Evolution states:

Canadian Mennonite University invited Professor Dennis Venema from Trinity Western University as the Scientist in Residence. Venema, at the time, stated, Im thrilled to be invited to be the Scientist in Residence at CMU for 2019. I think its a wonderful opportunity for students, and I am honoured to join a prestigious group of prior participants I hope that these conversations can help students along the path to embracing both Gods word and Gods world as a source of reliable revelation to us. Venema defends the view of evolutionary theory within a framework of evolutionary creationism, which appears more a terminologically diplomatic stance than evolution via natural selection or the code language within some religious commentary as things like or almost identical to atheistic evolution or atheistic evolutionism. He provides education on the range of religious views on offer with a more enticing one directed at evolution via natural selection. The Canadian Scientific and Christian Affiliation provides a space for countering some of the young earth geologist and young earth creationist viewpoints, as with the advertisement of the Dr. Jonathan Bakers lecture, or inpamphlets produced on geological (and other) sciences.

He works in a tough area within a community not necessarily accepting of the evolution via natural selection view of human beings with a preference for special creation, creationism, or intelligent design. Much of the problems post-genetics as a proper discipline of scientific study and the discovery of evolution via natural selection comes from the evangelical Christian communities sub-cultures who insist on a literal and, hence, fundamentalist interpretation or reading of their scriptures or purported holy texts. Another small item of note. Other universities have writers in residence. A Mennonite university hosts a scientist in residence. Science becomes the abnorm rather than the norm. The Kings University contains one reference in the search results within a past conference. However, this may be a reference to creation rather than creationism as creation and more creation speaking to the theological interpretations of genesis without an attempt at an explicit scientific justification of mythology.

By far, the largest number of references to creationism came from the largest Christian, and evangelical Christian, university in the country located in Langley, British Columbia, Canada called Trinity Western University, which, given its proximity and student body population compared to the local town, makes Fort Langley in one framing and Trinity Western University the heart of fundamentalist evangelical Christianity in Canada. Trinity Western University teaches a SCS 503 Creationism & Christainity [sic] (Korean) course and a SCS 691 Creationism Field Trip course. They hosted a lecture on Stephen Hawking, science, and creation, as stated:

In light of Steven Hawkings theories, is there enough reason for theists to believe in the existence of God and the creation of the world?

This lecture will respond to Hawkings views and reflect on the relationship between science, philosophy and theology.

Speaker:Dr. Yonghua Ge, Director of Mandarin Theology Program at ACTS Seminaries(Ibid.)

They hosted another event on evolution and young earth creationism:

All are welcome to attend, Public Lecture, hosted by TWUs Science, Faith, and Human Flourishing: Conversations in Community Initiative, supported by Fuller Seminary, Faculty of Natural and Applied Sciences, and the Canadian Scientific & Christian Affiliation, Evolutionary and Young-Earth Creationism: Two Separate Lectures (Darrel Falk, Evolution, Creation and the God Who is Love and Todd Wood, The Quest: Understanding Gods Creation in Science and Scripture)

Dirk Bchner, Professor of Biblical Studies at Trinity Western University, states an expertise in Hebrew Bible / Old Testament, Hebrew, Aramaic and Syriac (grammar and syntax), Hellenistic Greek (grammar and lexicography), The Septuagint. Of more popular interest: The Bible and Social Justice, and Creationism, Scientism and the Bible: why there should be no conflict between mainstream science and Christian faith. Professor Bchner holds an expert status in creationism. A non-conflict between mainstream science and the Christian faith would mean the significantly reduced status of the intervention of the divine in the ordinary life of Christians. He remains one locus of creationism in the Trinity Western University environment. Dr. Paul Yangs biography states, Paul Yang has over twenty years teaching experience, lecturing on physics and physics education, as well as Christian worldview and creationism. He has served as the director of the Vancouver Institute for Evangelical Wordlview [Sic] as well as the Director of the Christian. Yang holds memberships or affiliations with the American Scientific Affiliation, Creation Research Society, and Korea Association of Creation Research. Dr. Alister McGrath and Dr. Michael Shermer had a dialogue moderated by a panel with Paul Chamberlain, Ph.D., Jaime Palmer-Hague, Ph.D., and Myron Penner, Ph.D. in 2017 at Trinity Western University.

All exist as probably Christian front organizations with the pretense as scientific and Christian organizations. One can see the patterns repeat themselves over and over again. Christian science amounts to creationism, as noted before. Yang, with more than 20 years, exists as a pillar of creationist teaching, thinking, and researching within Canada and at Trinity Western University

Other cases of the more sophisticated and newer brands of Christianity with a similar theology, but more evolutionary biology proper incorporated into them exist in some of the heart of parts of evangelical Christianity in Canada. Professor Dennis Venema of Trinity Western University and his colleague Dave Navarro (Pastor, South Langley Church) continued a conversation on something entitled evolutionary creation, not creation science or intelligent design as Venemas orientation at Trinity Western University continues to focus on the ways in which the evolutionary science can mix with a more nuanced and informed Christian theological worldview within the Evangelical tradition. One can doubt the fundamental claim, not in the Bible but, about the Bible as the holy God-breathed or divinely inspired book of the creator of the cosmos, but one can understand the doubt about the base claim about the veracity of the Bible leading to doubt about the contents and claims in the Bible fundamental and derivative

A more small-time politician, Dr. Darrell Furgason, ran for public office in Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada. Furgason lectured at Trinity Western University and earned a Ph.D. in Religious Studies. Dr. Furgason claims inclusivity for all while ignoring standard protocol in science, i.e., asserting religious views in written work, Theistic evolution is a wrong view of Genesis, as well as history, and biology. Adam & Eve were real people.who lived in real history.around 6000 years ago...

The main fundamentalist Evangelical Christian postsecondary institution, university, found in Canadian society is Trinity Western University, where Professor Dennis Venema was the prominent individual referenced as the source of progress in the scientific discussions within intellectual and, in particular, formal academic discussions and teaching. Trinity Western University operates near Fort Langley, British Columbia, Canada in Langley. The main feature case for Story comes from a city near to Trinity Western University in Abbotsford, British Columbia. Story considers this the single most controversial case of creationism in the entire country

John Sutherland, of Trinity Western University, chaired the Abbotsford school board of the time, which, potentially, shows some relationship between the surrounding areas and the school curriculum and creationism axis as you may recall Trinity Western University sits in Fort Langley, British Columbia, Canada, next to the city of Abbotsford, British Columbia as an evangelical Christian university. The Minister agreed with Goodman and the Teachers Association and sent a letter requesting assurances from the board that they were adhering to the provincial curriculum, Story explained, The Ministers requests were not directly acknowledged, but Sutherland was vocal about the issue in local media outlets. He accused the Minister of religious prejudice by attempting to remove creationism from the district.

See Canadians and Others Convictions to Divine Interventionism in the Matters of the Origins and Evolution:

Photo by Krista Joy MontgomeryonUnsplash

Assistant Editor, News Intervention, Human Rights Activist.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He focuses on North America for News Intervention. Jacobsen works for science and human rights, especially womens and childrens rights. He considers the modern scientific and technological world the foundation for the provision of the basics of human life throughout the world and advancement of human rights as the universal movement among peoples everywhere. You can contact Scott via email, his website, or Twitter.

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Working from home the next revolution, now happening – Fabius Maximus website

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Summary: Industrial revolutions are not one big event. They are many incremental changes with giant effects. Wars and pandemics often accelerate them, changing society unexpectedly with fantastic speed. The shift to working at home is one such change, forced by COVID-19 changing everything.

There are decades when nothing happens; and there are weeks when decades happen. Paraphrase fromMarxs letter to Engels, 9 April 1863.

Male fantasy image of a woman working at home.

A crisis can spark a jump in a societys evolution. America after WWII was drastically different than before it. Technology leaped forward, the shift of population and vitality to the West coast accomplished in a few years what might have taken a decade otherwise. The power and reach of the Federal government expanded to a revolutionary degree. Social patterns also changed, as millions of people left their homes to travel across the nation or the world and millions of women went from homemakers to industrial workers. The effects of these changes took decades to fully play out, but were irreversibly set in motion by WWII.

COVID-19 might have some similar, albeit smaller, effects. The economic and political changes can only be guessed at now. But one is big, with effects gigantic if as yet unseen: the shift of work back to homes. The shift to telecommuting was an obvious and early prediction after the popularization of the Intenet. It began to accelerate after 2004 from small numbers (graph from a Fed study). COVID-19 has taken this trend and shifted it to warp speed.

I think this is a watershed moment in terms of wider acceptance and implementation of work-from-home. Employees that have tasted the benefits of more freedom and autonomy are going be hard-pressed to let it go. Philippe Weiss, president of Seyfarth Shaw at Work, a Chicago-based workplace training firm. From Chicago Tribune.

Gallup Research found that in 2016 43% of workers sometimes worked remotely (not necessarily from home). Their 2014 survey found that 76% of workers said that the ability to work remotely was a positive development. Their 2020 report found that a large fraction of workers preferred remote working the more the worked remotely, the better they liked it. Less time and expense commuting. Less time preparing for work. Less need for a work wardrobe. Often (not always) a better work environment and sometimes, using better technology.

Improved productivity, happier workers, fewer absences are benefits businesses immediately report when shifting employees to at home work. But this change is a gift that keeps giving. Employees usually pay for their own IT equipment, repairs, and communications. The increasing burden of monitoring workers interactions the cost and time spent in annual training, the managers time spent, the big HR staff, the liability insurance, the bills are reduced, melting like last years snow.

Eventually, businesses will need less square footage. That means less expense for rent, taxes, maintenance, and insurance. The prospect of bigger profits at each step on the road will be an irresistible inducement for businesses.

Those benefits to workers and businesses mean fewer jobs. That picture of a happy woman working at home is a fantasy. Shell be in jeans and a t-shirt. Her budget for cosmetics, nice clothes, and hair products will be slashed. The people who sold her lunch, the janitors, the painters many of these will be unemployed. That is an inevitable side effect of increasing national productivity. In the past, new jobs were eventually created to replace those lost. But that is not a law of nature. As discussed in other posts, this industrial revolution might be like the Horse Revolution. Their jobs were lost, without new ones being created for the unemployed horses.

Niagara Falls in 1904. Every factory with its own hydropower! It wasnt ideal.

Industrial revolutions introduce new technology and methods that can drastically boost productivity. But it does not happen immediately. It takes time to develop new ways to make the most of these innovations. At first, they are seen as news ways to continue the old ways: artificial writing (the printing press), the horseless carriage and iron horse, the wireless telegraph (radio), glass teletype (early computer terminals). Only when people break free from old models can the full potential of innovations flourish.

The psychology of working from home requires changes by both managers and employees. Managers fear losing control and an inability to build team spirit. Employees lose the comaradary of work and must develop self-discipline. New e-tools monitor productivity and allow remote interactions. None of this comes quickly or easily. The Chicago Tribune describes how companies are adapting, such as this.

Thats been a sea change for managers, {Weiss} said. Manager myths are falling by the wayside because their people have had to come front and center. Weiss said Seyfarth at Work has been getting a lot more training requests recently on how to supervise remote employees, which requires a different approach than when they are sitting in a nearby cubicle or when casual conversations can be had en route to the elevators. Managers must set clearer expectations, offer more frequent praise and have more purposeful check-ins on progress when their workers are remote, he said.

This article in The Atlantic also describes these challenges.

As businesses concentrate into giant mega-corps located in a few regions, the rest of America empties out while living expenses skyrocket for workers. They live in areas like NY City and the San Francisco Bay Area where everyting is more expensive. And housing prices are high and climbing. A shift to work at home can break this emprisonment, allowing people to work in nicer and cheaper areas. It might be the shift to suburbs after WWII but on a different scale.

Our social lives also will change. As Americas intermediate institutions such as churches, fraternal organizations, and social clubs have faded, work remains the major focus of many peoples lives. Where they have personal contact and meet people of other kinds and classes. That goes away when working from home. Perhaps the next generation will have a large fraction of people who work and play remotely from other people, as science fiction author Isaac Asimov described in his 1956 novel The Naked Sun

These and other wonders await us in the 21st century as a new industrial revolution unfolds. See my posts about it.

Ideas!For some shopping ideas see my recommended books and filmsat Amazon. Also, see a powerful and disturbing story about Birth of a Man of Steel for the Soviet Union.

If you liked this post,like us on Facebookandfollow us on Twitter. See all posts about singularities, about robots, how the 3rd industrial revolution has begun, andespecially see these

By Ray Kurzweil. See his website.

From the publisher

At the onset of the twenty-first century, humanity stands on the verge of the most transforming and the most thrilling period in its history. It will be an era in which the very nature of what it means to be human will be both enriched and challenged, as our species breaks the shackles of its genetic legacy and achieves inconceivable heights of intelligence, material progress, and longevity.

For over three decades, the great inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil has been one of the most respected and provocative advocates of the role of technology in our future. In his classic The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence

That merging is the essence of the Singularity, an era in which our intelligence will become increasingly nonbiological and trillions of times more powerful than it is today the dawning of a new civilization that will enable us to transcend our biological limitations and amplify our creativity. In this new world, there will be no clear distinction between human and machine, real reality and virtual reality. We will be able to assume different bodies and take on a range of personae at will. In practical terms, human aging and illness will be reversed; pollution will be stopped; world hunger and poverty will be solved. Nanotechnology will make it possible to create virtually any physical product using inexpensive information processes and will ultimately turn even death into a soluble problem.

While the social and philosophical ramifications of these changes will be profound, and the threats they pose considerable, The Singularity Is Near maintains a radically optimistic view of the future course of human development. As such, it offers a view of the coming age that is both a dramatic culmination of centuries of technological ingenuity and a genuinely inspiring vision of our ultimate destiny.

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Praise for Wendy De Rosa & the Intuitive Healer Training Program

Past students RAVE about the Intuitive Healer Training Program. This is the most in-depth, evolutionary, supportive, and powerful training and certification course of its kind. But you dont have to take our word for it

Im weaving the tools into my therapeutic work with my clients.The tools Im learning within the program are helping to heal me at such deep levels. And, Im weaving them throughout my therapeutic work with clients. I appreciate your work and your teachings! Meryl Fields, MFT, California

A commitment to my intuitive knowledge.As a result of taking the Intuitive Healer Training Program, I see the importance of connecting to Divine source throughout the day. I seal myself (energetically) when I am about to spend time around draining people or in negative situations. I take care of myself and remove myself as a way of getting what I need. I have much gratitude for my gifts, commitment to my intuitive knowledge. I have gotten to know my body energetically and have a deeper appreciation for the support I can feel and sense in the universe Beth DeGennaro

Im connected to the Divine and to my light.I feel like I am a better, healthier, kinder, more gentle and compassionate person having gone through the training program. I am connected to the Divine, to grace, to my light. Wendy, I have so much gratitude for you. You are such a light! Such a gift and I feel so deeply blessed and honored to have you in my life. Meryl, Connecticut

I own my emotions, energy and power, now.I feel so peaceful in my skin compared to what I used to be. I own my emotions now. I can feel extreme anger and within a few minutes, let it go. I also own my power. I used to avoid challenging and difficult conversations. I also own my energy and I can tell what is not mine. Yvette Herbert

I have the tools now to establish energetic boundaries.Im owning my voice much more. Though my family of origin canand doesstill trigger me, Ive now got tools to help me establish energetic boundaries.. Im owning my power to choose how much to give to others.. I have acknowledged, cried, and worked to release past wounds that got completely overlooked in the pasteven though Ive done decades of therapy. My intuitive sense can be harnessed, instead, as a gift and I can learn how to protect my energy. Anonymous

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AGNES PELTON was fifty years old when she left New York for the village of Cathedral City, six miles southeast of Palm Springs in the California desert. By 1932, a conspiracy of sun, sand, and settler-colonial ideology had made the state a mecca for visionaries and seekers, attracted by landscapes seemingly unspoiled by human intervention, temporalities seemingly unburdened by the past. In Peltons 1941 painting Future, obscure shadows part to reveal two stone towers. Suggestive of those that marked the towns entrance, they float just above the horizon and flank a distant lavender hill. Overhead, four little portals arranged in a cruciform pattern perforate the bleached sky. Pelton wrote that the work represented a kind of Pilgrims Progress. Through darkness + oppression, across a stony desert and through a symbolic arch is seen a mountain of vision, above which open by degrees, windows of illumination.

The first solo show devoted to Pelton in about a quarter century, Desert Transcendentalist opened last year at the Phoenix Art Museum (where it was organized by chief curator Gilbert Vicario) and on March 13 travels to the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York (where it will be overseen by curator Barbara Haskell). Its arrival in Manhattan has been prepared by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museums record-busting 201819 retrospective of Swedish painter and mystic Hilma af Klint, to whom Pelton will likely be compared. Both artists put their academic training to work in accomplished yet conventional landscapes, reserving abstraction to convey their vision of a reality beyond the material world. They also drew on overlapping occult sources and shared a decentered view of their authorial agency, seeing themselves as conduits for spiritual forces rather than as autonomous creators. Their contemporary reception has coincided with a surge of institutional interest in underknown women artists and with a broader cultural mainstreaming of astrology, witchcraft, and alternative spirituality (a phenomenon not overlooked at the Guggenheim gift shop, which stocked Ouija boards, tarot cards, and other esoterica during the run of the af Klint show). That said, Peltons organic language of evolutionary processes differs from the diagrammatic tendency of much of af Klints work, and each artist deserves to be considered on her own terms (one shudders at the prospect of cringey epithets like the Coachella Hilma af Klint). The comparison is nonetheless instructive. While af Klint and Pelton were steeped in the heady arcana of their historical moment, their contemporary reception is very much a symptom of our own, speaking to an exhaustion with the art-historical canon and a hunger for meaning outside the domain of empirical data and official institutions.

Born in 1881 to American parents in Stuttgart, Germany, Pelton moved with her family to Brooklyn when she was seven. Timorous, shy, and plagued by neurasthenic episodes and mysterious ailments, she grew up in the long shadow of the nineteenth centurys most notorious sex scandal. In 1872, free-love advocate, spiritualist, and presidential candidate Victoria Woodhullrunning on the Equal Rights Party ticket with Frederick Douglassrevealed that renowned pastor and social reformer Henry Ward Beecher was living in concubinage with Agness grandmother Elizabeth Tilton, who was married to a prominent newspaper editor and abolitionist. The ensuing adultery trial rocked progressive Brooklyn and ruined the Tilton family. Agness mother, Florence, was sent away to Germany, where she married William Pelton, the expatriate failson of a Louisiana plantation owner. He died when Agnes was nine, and Florence gave music lessons and took in boarders to make ends meet. From the time of puberty, Pelton recalled, I was much inclined to melancholy and tears, which was probably aggravated by being the only child in a household of deeply religious and perhaps unnecessarily serious people.

Pelton began her formal study of art in 1895 at the Pratt Institute. Among her instructors was painter and educator Arthur Wesley Dow, who espoused the Japanese value of notan (the harmonious contrast of dark and light) and encouraged intuitive expression over mimetic verisimilitude. In the 1910s, his students Georgia OKeeffe and Max Weber would radicalize his ideas in adventurous abstractions, while Peltons output from this timecrepuscular idylls of willowy maidens adrift in grottoes and wooded landscapesclung to the late-Symbolist manner of Louis Michel Eilshemius, Albert Pinkham Ryder, and Arthur B. Davies. These Imaginative Paintings, as the artist called them, were congenial to the tentative modernism then emerging in New York. They were exhibited at the 1913 Armory Show, among other venues, and attracted patrons including Greenwich Village salon-nire Mabel Dodge Luhan, who would expose Pelton to the desert when she invited her to stay at her estate in Taos, New Mexico, in 1919.

A few months prior to this trip, Pelton wrote in her journal that her Imaginative Paintings were beginning to feel insincere, not real. She wanted her art to reflect perfect consciousness and Divine Reality. As art historian Erika Doss points out in her contribution to the Desert Transcendentalist catalogue, these words were lifted from the writing of spiritual leader Helena Blavatsky. Famed cofounder of the ancestral New Age faith theosophy, Blavatsky held that the worlds many belief systems were based on an atavistic religion organized around a single, metaphysical Absolute. Synthesizing elements of Neoplatonism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Kabbalah, and other traditions, theosophy aimed to elevate and enlighten humanity by retrieving this forgotten universal knowledge. Like af Klint, Wassily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian, and other moderns, Pelton was drawn to the creeds idealist teleology of human perfectibility, finding in it an exotic alternative to scientism, materialism, and mainstream Christianity.

When her mother died in 1921, Pelton, now forty, moved to the abandoned Hayground Windmill near Water Mill, Long Island. There she painted The Ray Serene, 1925, a gestural, Kandinsky-esque churn of psychedelic vapors and whiplash curves, designating it My First Abstraction on the back of the canvas. Two works from the following year cathect on the form of a luminous sphere, enveloped in a tornado of gesture in Being and embubbled by nacreous globules in The Fountains. In the latter work, the multiplying rondures and the yellow solar disk overhead suggest Blavatskys successor Annie Besants description of the cosmos as a mighty solar system, the sun representing the LOGOS and, coming outwards, orb after orb, each orb representing a plane of the universe. Cowritten with self-styled clairvoyant Charles Webster Leadbeater, Besants 1901 treatise Thought-Forms: A Record of Clairvoyant Investigation provided Pelton with a symbology of colors and shapes believed to possess transhistorical meanings. As scholar Nancy Strow Sheley noted in her dissertation on Pelton, her 1928 painting Ecstasy features the symbol of the curving hook, identified by Besant and Leadbeater with selfishness and greed. The artist explains in an accompanying poem that the cluster of yellow tendrils represents a blooming flower harassed by the ugly hook of darkness, the scythe-like form lurking near the compositions bottom edge.

The same year she painted Ecstasy, Pelton traveled to California for eight months and became immersed in a South Pasadena spiritualist colony called the Glass Hive. She sketched lotuses, symbols of self-renunciation, at the Huntington Botanical Gardens. The flower would eventually mature into the golden inflorescence presiding over Ahmi in Egypt, 1931, a delirious nocturne replete with a white swan, strange conical mountains, and swirling celestial activity.

On her return to New York, Peltons style, which had gurgled with Heraclitean flux and painterly incident, became more serene, hard-edge, and resolved. Symmetry, horizon lines, and landscape elements returned to her compositions, which began to suggest illusionistic depths and expanses. In Star Gazer, 1929, a pale-green chalice shelters a purple ovate form that evokes a schematic standing figure or budding flower. High above in the evening sky, a tiny six-pointed star represents Venus, a planet of antipatriarchal and anticlerical significance in theosophical cosmology. According to Blavatsky, Venus, the sister planet of our Earth, was sacrificed to the ambition of our little globe to show the latter the chosen planet of the Lord. She became the scapegoat, the Azaziel of the starry dome, for the sins of the Earth, or rather for those of a certain class in the human familythe clergywho slandered the bright orb by associating it with satanism.

Pelton labored to reconstruct her interior visions on canvas, realizing numinous tissues and lapidary volumes through successive glazes over months or even years.

The allure of the arcane was central to the af Klint cult that flourished across Instagram feeds last year, but the Swedish artists recourse to extrinsic systems of meaning posed a problem for some critics and historians. Taking af Klint seriously as an artist, in my view, actually requires us to take some critical distance from the mysticism that might have enabled her to make such innovative work, Briony Fer wrote in the Guggenheim catalogue. To focus only on the occult symbolic meanings of her work leads to an interpretive dead end. Like af Klints abstractionswhich Guggenheim visitors could experience on psychic tours where they practice[d] receiving spirit messages through select paintingsPeltons court para-aesthetic modes of reading that might open up meaning for some and close it down for others. In an effort to explore a wide range of possible responses to the artists work, Sheley showed the painting Challenge, 1940, to an expert in occult imagery, who decrypted the picture sign by sign, identifying the star flower as an indication of good character, the milky, pod-like form as a symbol of maternity unrealized, and each inky stipple as a cipher for a decision influenced by men in [Peltons] life. Such literal iconographic correspondences are, of course, anathema to modernism, with its emphases on subjective expression, self-criticism, and hermeneutic indeterminacy. For Pelton, the final significance of her art ultimately lay neither in the sensuous matter of the paintings themselves nor in any hermetic doctrine encapsulated within them, but in telegraphing between the phenomenal world and an empyreal nonsite at the edges of representation and consciousness. I feel somewhat like the keeper of a little lighthouse, Pelton wrote, the beam of which goes farther than I know, and illumines for others more than I can see.

Pelton labored to reconstruct her interior visions on canvas, realizing numinous tissues and lapidary volumes through successive glazes over months or even years. She eschewed improvisation and seriality. With the exception of her last work, Light Center, a luminous egg form veiled in a purple penumbra (painted first in 194748, then again in 196061), she never repeated a composition. She did, however, draw on a consistent body of images that included orbs, urns, mountains, and, perhaps most important, fire.

In 1930, Pelton befriended composer and astrologer Dane Rudhyar (n Daniel Chennevire), who became her spiritual guide and sympathetic critic. Steeped in Bergsonian vitalism and Jungian analysis as well as theosophy, Rudhyar was a principal theorist of what he called humanistic astrology, which strove to reconcile star divinations deterministic conception of human agency with depth psychology. It was likely through him that Pelton, who had been fascinated by the eruption of the volcano Klauea when visiting Hawaii in 1924, became a devotee of Agni Yoga, a neo-theosophical discipline devoted to the cosmic, purifying energy of fire. In two works from 1930, she imagines its essence as incandescent heat, manifested as an acanthus of flames in The Voice and as a shaft of Promethean radiance in the formidably minimal White Fire. Fires in Space, 1938, one of her most visceral compositions, scatters twelve conflagrations across a field of unstructured darkness, flickers of illumination in the abyss.

If Peltons fantasias at times seem as much in dialogue with Disney as with Kandinsky, its not disparaging her to say so, any more than its disparaging Kandinsky or af Klint to note their engagements with occultism.

When Peltons landlord sold the Hayground Windmill in 1932, she headed for California. Two years earlier, writes Doss, Time magazine was already reporting a flourishing of cults, of religious novelties, and new fashions in faiths in the state. Initially planning on a brief trip, Pelton stayed for the rest of her life, seeking painterly forms through modes of heightened consciousness like trance, prayer, and meditation. In Messengers, 1932, her first Cathedral City abstraction, a blue moon rises over a desert horizon and progenerates a shimmering urn crowned by stylized palms, evoking the thatched structures of the areas indigenous Cahuilla people. Like the glassy vessel of Star Gazer, this central motif appears to levitate from the bottom of the canvasa transcendent motion Rudhyar described as upward rush or upward aspiration.

Peltons asceticism, spiritual intensity, and isolation from mainstream centers of cultural production might tempt one to romanticize her as a hermit. In fact, she made lasting friendships with her neighbors, hosted studio visits and art exhibitions, and continued to show her work in New York and other US cities. Through Rudhyar, she began a correspondence in 1933 with Raymond Jonson, cofounder of the Transcendental Painting Group, a circle of southwestern artists committed to carry[ing] painting beyond the appearance of the physical world. The same year, she lent fourteen paintings to an exhibition Jonson arranged at the Museum of New Mexico in Santa Fe. Also included was the work of OKeeffe, to whom Pelton was often and unsurprisingly compared. Pelton, likely aware that their overlapping social networks, shared inspiration in nature, and midlife relocations to the western desert might invite conflation, teased out the differences between them in her journal: [Her] source is not the [same] source as AP [Agnes Pelton] . . . they are not seen primarily inside, in the realm of Ether (as I call it). . . . The joy [of OKeeffes work] is her own subjective reaction, the joy of spreading its rebound over the canvas for her external eye.

Whereas OKeeffes biomorphic forms were overdetermined by the sexualized framing (one that the artist unequivocally rejected) imposed on them by her partner Alfred Stieglitz, Peltons work seems less available to carnal interpretations. She never married; her sexuality remains a matter of speculation, and her squeamishness on the subject reflected the Victorian attitudes with which she was raised. The physicality and violent thrust (per her description) of Seeds of Date, 1935, one in a series of commercial painting she made for a fruit farm in California, caused her some retroactive distress. Pelton resolved to avoid sexual imagery in her abstractions. When a form appears to have a phallic resemblance, she wrote, use the force it represents without the form. (For the most part, her sublimations were successful, with the exception of the conspicuously erectile Ascent [aka Liberation], 1946.)

Even in Cathedral City, one could not live on divine inspiration alone. When the death of an uncle, who for years had helped her out with regular checks, left her in precarious financial straits, Pelton began painting plein air desert scenes for the tourist trade. Letters to her friends speak of chronic illness, money problems, and creative frustrations, particularly the strain of balancing her commercial production with her abstractions. In 1932, she painted two mountain pictures, San Gorgonio in the Spring, a picturesque view of flowering cacti and a distant snowcapped massif, and Mount of Flame, a hieratic peak scaled by little tongues of flame, its summit erupting in a spray of white mist: a symbol of the transformation of heat into Light. To return to such abstractions after her landscapes, she once wrote, was like painting with a moths wing and with music instead of paint.

Was the boundary between picturing the material world and her inner vision as hard as Pelton imagined? Not so in Winter, 1933, a bizarre, almost clumsy sublation of abstraction and figure painting, with its poshlost doves foregrounding an astronomical pink corolla blossoming from the sea. The work epitomizes the alluring wrongness of Peltons paintings, which look like modern art but also like design, advertising, and pop culture. There is something distinctly Moderne in her line, her bulbous yet tensile contours, while her curlicues and fronds and wings are reminiscent of interwar textiles and wallpaper. The glowing ovoid form in Light Center could be a sconce on a bathroom wall; the swan in Ahmi in Egypt could have been cut out of a magazine. Her polychrome hazes suggest neon on a rainy night. To a contemporary eye, works like Idyll, 1952a desert landscape brightly detourned by two translucent parabolic forms that refuse to quite make sense either as objects in pictorial space or as gestural marksmight register as virtuosic exemplars of good bad painting, but the elements of badness dont collapse into kitsch, at least not entirely, nor do they make her pictures any less compelling as explorations of inner worlds and esoteric visions.

If Peltons fantasias at times seem as much in dialogue with Disney as with Kandinsky, its not disparaging her to say so, any more than its disparaging Kandinsky or af Klint to note their engagements with occultism. Theosophy is one of modernisms limit concepts; so is kitsch. (And these two limits might not themselves be cleanly distinct. With its baroque eclecticism and spiritualist trappings, theosophy, one might say, was already kitsch.) Peltons paintings are gorgeously weird explorations of these limitsperhaps none more gorgeous, weird, even destructive than Day, 1935, painted after her exposure to the geometric work of Jonson and the Transcendental Painting Group. A vertical rectangle, scandalously Euclidean and infilled with a cool blue fade, establishes itself on a misty starlit mountain, canceling its illusionism. Although this is the closest she would come to true geometric abstraction, writes the late Michael Zakian, who curated Peltons first retrospective in 1995, the central rectangle is not a pure, autonomous form. A flow of pearly, Peltonian fluid bursts from its side, concluding in plumes of filmy opalescence. The artist called the shape the fountain with the open door. Its negative metaphysics is an invitation inside, to the realm of Ether.

Agnes Pelton: Desert Transcendentalist is on view at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, March 13June 28.

Chloe Wyma is an associate editor atArtforum.

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March 5th, 2020 at 12:46 pm

Ancient solutions: The shamanic view of mental illness – The Vermilion

Posted: February 4, 2020 at 9:55 am

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Disclaimer: This article does not attempt in any way, shape or form to diagnose or recommend treatment for any emerging mental illnesses or symptoms of mental illness, nor is the goal of this article to discredit any form of treatment. If you are experiencing severe symptoms or struggling with a mental illness, talk to your friends and family about the issue and find a doctor, hospital or treatment plan that works best for you. Never ignore your symptoms.

The world of medicine is an ever-evolving practice. While today we have relatively secure access to hospitals and a plethora of refined drugs at hand, many of these found their origins in home remedies, sometimes referred to as folk medicine." Tradition and cultural knowledge set important precedents, while the scientific evidence arrives much, much later. Here in Acadiana, you may have heard of the existence of traiteurs: healers who utilize a combination of prayer, knowledge of herbal medicine and a gift passed down through their bloodlines allowing them to interact with illness on a physical and metaphysical (or spiritual) level.

There is evidence of this phenomenon of emerging healers all across the world, finding roots in the most ancient and ancestral parts of various civilizations. Names differ across the globe, but many are described as shamans: individuals who are able to connect to the physical and spiritual worlds. Honing these spiritual abilities is often a traumatic experience, and without the proper guidance and training, it may result in insanity.

Common symptoms of individuals who may eventually claim to have these gifts are strange visions and dreams, hearing voices and unusual behaviors, often defined by Western medicine as schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder or psychosis.

These very symptoms are similar to those exhibited by various religious figures throughout time. For example, Jesus is said to have fasted for 40 days in the desert, and now extreme fasting may have links to episodes of psychosis.

One man committed to aiding the emergence of these gifts and changing the perception of them in Western medical practices, Malidoma Patrice Som, Ph.D., a West African shaman.

Som first came to the United States in 1980 for graduate study, and has since gone on to earn three masters degrees and two doctorates from the Sorbonne and Brandeis University. When a fellow student was sent to a mental institute due to nervous depression, Som went to visit him. He was shocked with how mental illness was treated. In an email to Jayson Gaddis, who compiled some of Soms expertise in an article titled The Shamanic View of Mental Illness," Som writes:

I was so shocked. That was the first time I was brought face to face with what is done here to people exhibiting the same symptoms Ive seen in my village.

It didnt make sense to Som that treatment plans were based on pathology, the idea that the symptoms of the condition need to stop, the complete opposite of how his culture views such a situation. The patients in straitjackets zoned out on medications and screaming disturbed him. Som thought to himself:

So this is how the healers who are attempting to be born are treated in this culture. What a loss! What a loss that a person who is finally being aligned with a power from the other world is just being wasted.

According to Som, a healer has high-voltage energy.

When it is blocked, it just burns up the person. Its like a short-circuit. Fuses are blowing. This is why it can be really scary, and I understand why this culture prefers to confine these people. Here they are yelling and screaming, and theyre put into a straitjacket. Thats a sad image.

In the tradition of the Dagara people, Soms native roots, treatment involves integration of these energies so that the healer is able to accept their gift or charge. Som has observed that a commonality amongst patients with mental disorders in the West is a very ancient ancestral energy that has been placed in stasis, that finally is coming out in the person. Ritual plays an important role in this integration.

One ritual that Som describes entails making a bonfire, and then putting into the bonfire items that are symbolic of issues carried inside the individuals It might be the issues of anger and frustration against an ancestor who has left a legacy of murder and enslavement or anything, things that the descendant has to live with.

Ancestors play an important role in the emergence of a spiritual healer; the West suffers from what Som details as a mass turning-of-the-back on ancestors. Some of the spirits trying to come through may be ancestors who want to merge with a descendant in an attempt to heal what they werent able to do while in their physical body.

Soms approach has gone on to help numerous people. In an article published in the Washington Post by Dick Russel entitled How a West African shaman helped my schizophrenic son in a way Western medicine couldnt," Russel describes the journey of his son Franklin, who began exhibiting an increase in psychotic symptoms that were associated with the onset of schizophrenia. After trying numerous medications and hospitals for his son, Russell found himself reading a book by Canadian evolutionary psychiatrist Joseph Polimeni, Ph.D., called Shamans Among Us, which theorized that schizophrenics are a modern manifestation of prehistoric tribal shamans. Russell details in his article: This spoke to me because, amid what appeared to be delusional ramblings, Frank had an uncanny ability to tune in to what I was thinking.

After a trip to Africa to undergo various rituals and later receiving advice and assistance from Som, Franklin went from having difficulty emerging from his room to going back to technical school for mechanical engineering, taking classes in gymnastics, boxing, skating, and participating in music and art therapy.

Russel writes: Franks mother and I have kept seeking connection with our ancestors through meditative rituals, which has made a difference in our own lives as well. These experiences, rather than taking Frank further out there, have had a grounding effect.

Franklin still lives in a group home and takes medication, but the improvement cant be ignored. Russell also cites studies done by the World Health Organization comparing schizophrenia outcomes in the U.S. and Europe with poorer nations like Nigeria and India, where only 16% of patients regularly take antipsychotic medications.

He writes: In one study, nearly two-thirds of patients diagnosed with schizophrenia in developing countries had good outcomes after two years, compared to only 37 percent in wealthier nations where drugs are the standard of care.

Scholarship regarding this phenomenon isnt limited to Som or Polimeni. A journal published through the Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology of Adam Mickiewicz University by Danuta Penkala-Gawecka called Mentally ill or chosen by spirits? Shamanic illness and the revival of Kazakh traditional medicine in post-Soviet Kazakhstan describes these very same symptoms amongst people who are revered as healers there.

Like Som describes, the article details that these symptoms of shamanic illness represented a person chosen by the ancestor spirits to act as a bridge between earth and heaven.

The things they were feeling and hearing were entering the liminal phase of the rite of passage. Like the traiteurs of Acadiana, older folk beliefs were combined with newer ones; the shamans and spiritual healers of Kazakhstan utilize prayers from the Quran and supplications to Allah and saints in their practice.

Despite what you may believe about the supernatural and the otherworldly, the evidence that there are other, older ways to help people exhibiting these symptoms has been seen throughout history. There is a growing resurgence of folk remedies and treatments. People, especially black people, have been wanting to return to these ancient ways to reconnect with their ancestors, history, and in turn, themselves. With Latino Americans (24%) and African American (25%) persons diagnosed with psychotic disorder in significantly higher rates as compared to White Americans (18%), maybe its time to reframe how we think of these mental illnesses and perhaps even allow these emerging healers to answer the call.

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Ancient solutions: The shamanic view of mental illness - The Vermilion

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February 4th, 2020 at 9:55 am

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