Mankind has always been looking for ways of knowing what will happen in the future and trying to find ways to explain and classify their world. Religion and rituals have been part of our human development all along history. Even in our modern times we still try to find explanation in the “meta-world” for things that happen to us.
There are the complex philosophical currents that guide you through the unknown world, religious beliefs from the more established and traditional religions and there are other unorthodox methods that try to give us an orientation based on esotericism and paranormal phenomena. Some movements or may I call them disciplines include alchemy, spiritualism, numerology and astrology among others.
Can you imagine nowadays going to consult the alchemist? Not for sure! I have never even heard of one practicing… Have you? The only ones I’ve seen are depicted in movies or exist only as a book character. However, it would have been an exciting thing to do… Let’s go and ask Merlin! What was an alchemist’s job? Their main goal was to pursue the creation of the “philosopher’s stone”, which wasn’t really a stone but was an alchemical substance that would have been capable of turning base metals such as lead into gold or silver, besides that they were engaged in astrology, chemistry and medicine. Now I’ve used a definition like the ones I hated in school, a definition that includes again the word to define: alchemist and alchemical. Let’s give it another try. Alchemy: it differs significantly from modern science because it includes Hermetic principles and practices related to mythology, magic, religion, and spirituality. Alchemy was the precursor of modern chemistry and medicine.
Next question what does Hermetic mean? It is the adjective of Hermeticism, which is a religious and philosophical tradition based primarily upon the writing attributed to Hermes Trismegistus or (“Thrice Great”). As you may have also noticed, trying to define a term in this area leads to another definition full of other unknown terms… In case that you’d like to read more about hermeticism, take a look at the Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermeticism Hermeticism was only open to the initiated and their knowledge was not to be disclosed by any means, it was a closed society. Mmmm, is that why we call our Tupperware recipients hermetic? 😮
This kind of knowledge that we cannot really grasp or define, that stays kind of obscure and vague, but that requires a profound belief and sometimes a deep knowledge belongs to the area of esotericism. Let’s return to the definition in Wikipedia: “signifies the holding of esoteric opinions or beliefs, that is, ideas preserved or understood by a small group of those specially initiated, or of rare or unusual interest.The term derives from the Greek ἐσωτερικός (esôterikos), a compound of ἔσω (esô): “within”, thus pertaining to interiority or mysticism…” Now we all know! They did it again, the defined term is in the definition… Grrr… Let stick then to the idea that esotericism emphasizes secret or hidden knowledge and includes a vast array of disciplines and movements.
What’s interesting is that all religions have a lot of esoteric elements that may have lost their meaning with the passing of time and the advance of technology… or who knows why…
I was mentioning before that we sometimes try to find an esoteric explanation to events in our lives or try to find guidance in the afterlife, if there is one… Maybe some of us would then go to a spiritist, others to a fortune teller while others would rather write a letter to Santa Claus and send it to the North Pole waiting for an answer that will never arrive 😉 Those would be the ones who don’t believe in anything at all…
Can people with an extra sense really communicate with the afterlife or can they “sense” your sorrows and worries without knowing you? Some maybe very skeptical and may attribute everything to common sense, for example. a young woman who looks for the advice of a card reader is for sure having “love” problems, an older one, is for sure having health problems, etc.
How do you call people who can communicate or channel with the “other” world? They are called psychic. This time lets take a look at Merriam Webster dictionary. Psychic is: “used to describe strange mental powers and abilities (such as the ability to predict the future, to know what other people are thinking, or to receive messages from dead people) that cannot be explained by natural laws. And of a person : having strange and unnatural mental abilities : having psychic powers lying outside the sphere of physical science or knowledge : immaterial, moral, or spiritual in origin or force. Someone psychic is then a person who’s sensitive to nonphysical or supernatural forces and influences, and is marked by extraordinary or mysterious sensitivity, perception, or understanding…
We now know what alchemy is, but what is spiritualism? Does it have to do with faith? With spirits? With religion? This time, a clear definition: a belief that the spirits of dead people can communicate with living people. Mmmm, by what means? Modern media like e-mail, telephone or as they have been maybe long dead only by ouija or cards or other older methods? Can spirits communicate with us if we don’t believe in them? This reminds me of many horror movies…
However, people with an open channel able to communicate with the dead are called mediums. They are the medium or channel that manage communication between this and the supernatural world.This phenomenon is a well known one and has been exploded in films, books and even a TV-show, called “Ghost whisperer”.
Do you know or have known someone like that? I’ve personally known two or three who have really impressed me. I’m a rather pragmatic and skeptical person, but in those encounters I couldn’t find a “logical” explanation to the experiences I had.
In the movements I was mentioning there is also the divinatory science of numerology. You may be already guessing… Let’s take Wikipedia: “Numerology is any belief in divine, mystical or other special relationship between a number and some coinciding events… Numerology and numerological divination were popular among early mathematicians, but are no longer considered part of mathematics and are regarded as pseudomathematics or pseudoscience by modern scientists. Today, numerology is often associated with the paranormal, alongside astrology and similar divinatory arts. “ So don’t blame a bad combination of numbers if your bank account shows a negative sign in your monthly balance.
The other discipline mentioned above is astrology. Is it a science or a pseudoscience? It offers more feasible data, if you want to calculate your astral chart. This mathematical calculations are based on the position of the planets the day you were born. It requires the birth date with the exact time of your birth, the place you were born with the geographical coordinates. In this way the astrologer can locate the exact position of the starts at that time and can then calculate the birth chart. This is a very time consuming task and although this other alternative my not be as a exact as a handmade one, you may want to try the birth chart page on http://astrology.about.com/library/bl_freeAstrochart.htm. I was amazed at the results I got, quite true!
There is also the “newspaper” or “Cosmopolitan” astrology, the one you find in magazines or internet pages. I imagine that it isn’t difficult to find a software program or more modern app that can “predict” your day. Would you believe in such a prediction? Some centuries ago in Greece, we would consult the oracle… Nowadays we sometimes also have to consult THE Oracle to get the prices, the address data or the description of items in our company’s database.
Back to astrology, you may know your zodiac sign, but in case you don’t, you haven’t missed anything at all 😉 My sign is capricorn and I find that some of the sign’s characteristics apply to me while others don’t… But the interesting thing is that many of the characteristics also apply to persons who aren’t capricorn… So it’s up to you to believe or not.
I do believe in positive thinking and wish you a nice week!