Accepted Paper:

Astrals, spirits and etheric bodies: concepts of the body in a New Age religious healing system  

Author:

Judit Kis-Halas (University of Ljubljana)

Paper short abstract:

The paper introduces a relatively new method of alternative healing, called psychotronics, as a typical manifestation of contemporary New Age medicine. I focus on the interconnected system of body, soul and spirit concepts and their symbolism within a holistic interpretation of health and therapeutic issues.

Paper long abstract:

In the paper I will introduce a relatively new method of alternative healing, called psychotronics, also a typical manifestation of contemporary New Age medicine. I examine the phenomenon in its complexity, since it is not only a healing practice (=effecting a physiological change), but also an ideology that reshapes the practitioner's (and occasionally the patient's) entire worldview and reprograms his life. First I give a brief summary of New Age spirituality, and ideas of healing, because they form the ideological background of the method.

In the second part I refer to the different roots, the basic concepts, and the actual practices of psychotronics in Hungary. My introduction is focusing on the particular concepts of body, soul and spirit, and their tightly interconnected system and symbolism within a holistic interpretation of health and therapeutic issues. According to psychotronics, all kinds of illnesses are rooted in impure morals. Immoral life and sins destruct the body's self-defence system and opens it to evil spirits. Thus therapies imply different forms of exorcism and purification. At the same time, healers not only fight and conquer demons but carrying out spiritual surgery, which means that they are operating the patients' spiritual bodies.

Primary data for the study draw on several semi-structured interviews with practitioners, patients and their families that have been collected during my on-going field research in rural South-West Hungary. Additional information has been gained both from print and electronic media.

Panel P17
Body, corporeality and configuration: the affective body in the vortex of culture, identity and communication