Reaching into the realm of archetypes, those underlying energies and indwelling universal patterns, has been indispensable for me as a heart patient. The capacity of healing imagination has been essential in facing the challenges of modern medicine and has helped smooth and sooth my way in dealing with invasive technology. After writing from a mythic perspective about my experience in surviving a cardiac arrest and multiple surgeries, people in similar situations began reaching out to me. As a result, I have become a surgery doula, as it were, to support people facing medical crises to cultivate inner resources.
To honor the realm of the psyche as we undergo medical interventions we can follow potent stories that correspond to the journey we unwittingly embark upon after diagnosis. Alongside these, there are a plentitude of healing beings to call upon as allies to work with consciously as we navigate medical crisis or chronic illness.
These healing beings range from deities from many spiritual paths, to animals and even plant spirit guides in indigenous traditions. There are beings of compassion, nurturing, protection; There are guardians, healers, medicine people, dream mothers, magicians, guides, messengers and shape-shifters—and more.
Vajrayana Buddhism, Sufism, Kabbalah and other mystical paths all have strong traditions of sacred visualization along with prayer or mantra to invoke healing deities. Even without formal training, you can call upon archetypal healing beings to accompany you on your healing journey. There has been much research in the past 30 years about the efficacy of creative visualization to bring positive outcomes in surgery and illness.[i] Bellaruth Narparstek[ii] identifies eight types of guided imagery that can be used in healing. To visualize healing beings in the way that I propose falls under her category of Spiritual Imagery, which she defines as fostering a sense of oneness and connection and opening of the heart.
We have within us inner imaginal sources of comfort and healing to draw upon. With the needs that arise during illness, surgery and recovery, there is often a corresponding being to connect with inwardly through imagery. To that end, I am developing a Repertory of Healing Companions, to look up whom to call on in varied medical situations. I am eager to share my contemplations of these beings with others who are interested in this realm. I will be offering an introductory session on January 28th that will lead into a course that will be held once a month, February through June.
There is within us a pantheon of healing companions. The structure of my renderings follows a process I employ in assisting people as they face surgery or other invasive procedures. I trust their native wisdom of and encourage them to conjure their own images, thus putting into practice healing image-ination. In tandem with healing imagination visualization exercise there is Healing Word, creating invocations or prayers to ground healing images and call upon them.
The more dire the outer medical situation, the more urgent the need is to counter it by participating in a conscious and creative way. As we live with chronic disease or face medical crisis or interventions, may we find a wealth of inner resources and creative approaches. May we become familiar with ways to be buoyed by the realm of healing imagination. May we conjure images that we can draw upon to bring comfort, courage, resilience and restoration as we each follow our path of healing.
Healing Image, Healing Word: A Mythopoetics of Medicine
Free Introductory Session
January 28th 1:00- 2:30
This is an invitation to a way of working with the healing power of creative imagination. Drawing from various cultures and traditions, I will share ways to access healing deities and archetypes. Immerse yourself in healing imagery through contemplation and guided visualization and create a means, through invocation, to activate that energy.
This session will introduce Healing Imagination as expressed in image and Healing Word through various forms of writing: poetry, blessing, affirmation, prayer and story.
My hope is to find a circle of people who are drawn to develop a resource of creative imagination for healing, for both themselves and for others. This introduction will give an opportunity to see if this work resonates with you enough to commit to a monthly course that will run as soon as February or else start in March and go through June.
Please reserve your place by calling me at 206-523-6279.
[i] For more on creative visualization as a healing resource see the works of Bellaruth Naparstek, Peggy Huddleston, Carl Simonton, Gerald Epstein and Catherine Shainberg.
[ii] Narpastek, Bellaruth, “Staying Well with Guided Imagery” New York: Warner Books, 2004 (228 pp)