Healing in New Religions Review


The material world seems more increased when people began thinking about and dealing with the spiritual side of the Universe. The issue of man’s interest in the sphere of inner, non-material and non-scientific fields of engagement is always wider and wider. The quest for cure is of great significance for many human beings. This need goes outer the borders of rational reasoning about healing and ignores somehow the science and fundamentals it stays on. New religions being popular are still excite people of a definite region of the world, others join such cults or sects to fulfill the entire desire of a man to become a part of mysterious Universe.

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When one mentions about non-traditional way of healing it is obvious that at once pictures of different sects appear in mind. Several cults are discussed to be dangerous and unexplainable for the rest of people. Voodoo, Rites of Passage, Healers, Heaven’s Gates, Falun Gong etc. are the nowadays cults which tend to be the way out for every one who joins them. The most imposing advertisement for each of the mentioned religions is a so-called transcendence, serving the purpose to manage the urge of the leader who stays as a medium between the members of the cult and the Higher Power or idea and many rites which are directed to heal people.

The question of why people address to spiritual methods of solving current earthy problems and in order to heal their bodies is clear enough. The answer, as it may be seen, falls into two variants: first, many people, especially ones of Central and South Africa, practice spiritual rites simply because they do not have proper services of Medicare; second, it is a result of when a man tried every means of rational cure and it has not worked. Nonetheless, scientists are deeply convinced that healing as a fact within society is “a complex of beliefs”. (NatGeo) When realizing that the only way to be healed is outer the opportunities of the traditional medicine a man goes into the taboo territory of non-traditional ways of treatment.

Many rites are based on the work of spirits. This tradition is as old as the Earth and history of mankind. People distinguish two types of spirits: good and evil. The only way to make spirits condescend and resolve current problems of people is to pray to them and make sacrifices. It is so because people still believe that without giving something one will not get in return. Sacrifices are usually presented with animals. The most important and grave part of every ceremony is spill of blood. It is believed in many cultures that in blood of every live creature either a man or an animal incorporated soul. Among the believers in many cultures the animal is ‘the way to restore a balance between people and spirits/gods” (NatGeo). After processing the rite of offering sacrifices blood and meat of an animal embodies the power to heal as a so-called tool. The value of such ceremony is too symbolic for the believers in small societal groups. It is required to prevent people from fear to be unlucky. They do this for peace, healing, and protection.

Different therapies to achieve healing

So many people so many views. Many of non-traditional therapies are closely connected with the usage of some waste products, but the really astonishing practice is implemented in use of body wastes and urine, in particular. From medical point of view and logically the urine contains only useless extractives and cannot treat diseases. As the National Geographic program “Taboo” claims, urine is used in many cultures, namely Indian and others to gain “physical as well as spiritual benefits.” (NatGeo) Such human beings who believe in this method as a rule live by their own prescriptions omitting the reproofs from outside. It is too hard to rely on common sense when your “spirit is willing but your flesh struggles.” (NatGeo)

Thus, among people there always will be those who insist on their healing ability and the power to make people healed. This theme is a taboo in many civilized countries and cultures, but with the historical flow of social development on earth people still do not stand against ancient cults of serving to spirits. Too many new religions occupied new territories to maintain new ideas based on new practices, for instance, in Africa. “Sub-Saharan Africa has been home to thousands of individual new religions since the mid-1800s, most of which have sprung from contact between traditional religions and the introduced forms of Christianity.” (New Religion, 775)

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Voodoo composed with healing

Having a look at voodoo cult, first, it is clear that its origin goes to Africa and black people who nurtured their traditions and beliefs to keep safe and alive from outer factors. Enslaving process gave unnoticeable for Europeans spread of this cult on American continent, namely in Haiti. First, it is necessary to make out the meaning and main idea of this religion. “Voodoo, or Vodou, is the African-Christian new religion born in Haiti, whose followers “serve the divine spirits” in life and rituals and accept possession by those spirits for healing and spiritual guidance.” (New Religion, 1125)

The shamans or voodoos follow a special sequence of procedures to manage the mysterious as well as terrifying process of healing, which is performed as a deep tradition not to lose roots of predecessors. Health is the better way to provide a great life full of joy, pleasures, material and spiritual benefits. Life with illnesses is known to lead to martyrdom and cannot but make a man think over the reasons and the means to prevent such troubles. People of Haiti address in this case to lwa (different spirits of ancient relatives serving to bring health and other aspects of everyday life), who are expressed by virtues of a shaman to give messages or result in some things causing good or bad effects to people. “The spiritual leaders in the Voodoo community are the male hungans and female mambos; in their religious roles, they perform divination and healing ritualsfor individual members, as well as oversee all training and callendrical ceremonies.” (New Religion, 1126)

That is why to be involved in the ceremonies of healing is very important for members of the such religion community not to be abdicated. Healing for the people of Haiti and other members of voodoo cult is a “calling card” of its magnificence and power. The rituals of voodoo amaze with a possession drama when spirits become embodied in hungans with different types of behavior. In this time one, especially a nonbeliever should figure out that such rites are predominantly present in every voodoo ritual. “Possession is an integral pert of Voodoo ceremonies. It is a cultural phenomenon that must be understood within its cultural context.” (Voodoo Heritage, 163) With such features as physical effects during and after various rituals made voodoo one of the taboo religions in many civilized countries, so that to underline its evil not divine nature for people. All of the rites cannot get along without specific attributes with a special prescription of each. Of course, it will cost man money, but in this case there is know reference about “healing business”, but be sure to cope with “blessing business” instead.

Rites of Passage maintaining healing to attract

Speaking about contemporary religions it is necessary to make emphasis on their ideas of what ancestors want us to do now. This statement inspires people and the rituals of healing are used to expand larger audience of adherents. In case with Rites of Passage the same ideas are used and the affirmation that this organization is an approved and “unbreakable bond between the human and the natural world.” (Rites of Passage) Its not-so-long-ago emergence soon made people think like and do like Rites of Passage teach.

The conclusion with tints of common sense

To make a conclusion, after all information cited it is clear now that the roots of many modern religion came from ancient times. The main characteristic feature of all new religions is their symbiosis with other introduced religions such as Islam and Christianity. Their main background is based on learning of ancestors with an influx of some modern patterns for an additional attraction. Spiritualism is a feature of many of them to provide rituals on healing and contacting with spirits. The role of healing is one of the major trends within every spiritual organization. It is aimed to resolve hopes of people as well as their problems with health. The only thing is that it will cost, as usual, a pretty penny, even if it is a non-profit organization, and leads to more increase of sect’s fundamentals to provide other influenced people with spiritual rituals of healing which are mostly based on the complex of beliefs and faith on the whole. The symbolic value of each ceremony helps people in their troubles even if there is no positive feedback. This is supported by the cut and dried impact of various cultures and some peculiarities of definite social groups. The more one is involved in the direct process of rituals, the less alternative variants one has on the morrow of the rite. This truth can be judged both positively and negatively: on the one hand, when having been for a long time in despair people get the long hoped-for healing; on the other hand, this is ministerial to attract as more people in rows of followers as it is possible providing activity spread of a definite cult.

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National Geographic. Taboo.: Web.

Laguerre, MS. Voodoo Heritage; U.C.D. Library, 1980.

New Religions. Encyclopedia article, 1982 pp. 775-1126.

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