Spiritual Insights

Had my first contact with cancer been different, I imagine my views would be also. The very first person I can remember who had cancer was a friend of the family, a quite aristocratic Swedish man who worked for the museum. He had been asked to recreate some tiki gods for the World Expo and had to make them look ancient. To do so, he took chains and beat the gods, something the Hawaiians strongly advised him not to do, not even on the imitation statues. Almost immediately, he developed cancer, a galloping cancer that was predicted to kill him within two weeks. I was young and it didn't occur to me to ask the kind of cancer, but Karl Axel did not even live the forecasted two weeks.Obviously, I developed some superstitions around the powers of invisible beings, but the next person I met had a similarly inexplicable development, albeit with a somewhat happier ending. She was told, also very suddenly, that she had cancer in both breasts. A double mastectomy was scheduled. As an astrologer, I had been asked to help select a surgery date and to comment on the horoscopes of the two surgeons who would be heading teams on either side of her body. I did not like the way her chart looked with the one doctor and advised her to seek another, but I had no influence at all over the surgery election since this was arranged to suit the hospital rather than stars. This poor woman did not heal on the side of the body where the doctor I had been wary about operated.

Logically, the same blood circulates on both sides of the body, the same foods nourish both sides — in other words, if diet, coffee enemas, or any of a hundred other "sensible" therapies were the begin all and end all they are often claimed to be, this patient would have had the same healing response on both sides. In fact, nine months after the operation, the one side was perfectly healed and the other looked like raw hamburger.

The third was a young man who had been given three months to live unless he would submit to having his spleen removed, in which case he would be expected to live six months but to spend most of that time in a wheel chair. He went to Mexico to obtain laetrile and was arrested on his re-entry into the States, arrested and jailed for possession of a vitamin upon which he thought his life depended.

Deprived of his one hope, he began processing his life. Federal agents offered him a break if he would provide state's evidence leading to the conviction of other patients. Counting down the days left in his life, he refused to compromise anyone else. He made a lot of other difficult decisions and went into total remission. That was almost 30 years ago, and I am happy to sayt that he is very much alive and well today.

Since no treatment was administered to this friend of mine, his cure was technically what is called a spontaneous remission, one of the most curious and inexplicable phenomena in healing. Mystics insist that these cures occur as a result of intense faith or divine intervention, grace offered by a loving God or saintly intermediator. Scientists try to discredit as many of these cures as possible. They can do this if they determine that chemotherapy was administered years earlier and finally kicked in to cure the patient or if the diagnosis could be disputed on the basis of insufficient evidence.

I'm a listener not a scientist. From what I have heard and witnessed, spontaneous remissions occur when patients have insights that transform their understanding of their lives. They literally get a new lease on life.

The easiest way to understand this would be to take the case of near death experiences, now abundantly reported in the literature. In a NDE, the patient is "out of body," often as a result of an accident: lightning shock, traffic accident, suicide attempt, etc. The attending physician often determines that the patient has died and the patient hears the doctor pronounce him dead and is confused because the patient does not "feel dead."

The patient then goes on a life altering journey through a tunnel of light where he usually meets people he knows who have passed on. Then, and this is the common denominator of all near death experiences, he meets a very holy being who understands and accepts him exactly as he is. The patient gets a quick tour of heaven and then is shown what life would be like if he returns to earth. Most people do not want to leave because heaven is obviously so much nicer than earth; but the patient is shown unfinished work, often revolving around relationships with others that need to be more loving. Some are shown destinies as persons who can help relieve the world of its fear of death or who can explain heaven to those who lack faith. In any event, NDEs are always deeply transformative and they end the fear of death for everyone who has had such an experience.

What we learn from NDEs is that what seems to be is not necessarily the whole story. One can seem to be very ill, perhaps terminally ill, but the disease can go into remission in an instant. In my career, I have seen quite a number of spontaneous remissions, mostly with paralysis and only somewhat more rarely with cancer. Still, I have had the great good fortune and blessing to have seen a few cancer patients who were literally at Death's door turn around and go on to live meaningful lives.

Each such experience is intensely personal and usually quite private. What I tell patients is that the soul creates life and soul takes it away. Sometimes I go one sentence further and say that disease never killed anyone, only the soul can snap the silver cord and plunge us into another dimension of awareness.


Permanent cure entails the discovery of the magic and mystery that make life inspiring. As I reflect on the people I know who have been truly cured, not people who have survived or experienced long remissions but people who are really free of cancer, I see that all are functioning at a higher level of insight and creativity than before their illness. Many achieved their breakthroughs suddenly as a result of what might be called revelation; others achieved this gradually through spiritual practices that raised their focus from, to quote another author, "the mundane to the magnificent." I personally believe that there is a transcendental aspect to these quantum shifts of consciousness and that the focus entails a shift from overabsorption in the self to a greater level of selflessness.
Future topics:
Meaning and purpose

Cancer Salves: A Botanical Approach to Treatment



Material on Body-mind Connection




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