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If mortals prefer to wrangle over debits and credits in a universe filled with life and beauty, their rewards will be according to the demerits of their works. The principal phobias of the modern man are closely related to the false belief to which he is addicted.
Prominent among the popular phobias are: fear of poverty, fear of old age, fear of war, fear of financial failure, fear of sickness, and fear of death.
All of these fears are closely related to the financial state. We fear poverty because it threatens the survival of everything that is important to our outward lives; we fear old age because it results in unemployment and consequent dependence; we may fear war for a number of reasons, but one of them is the resulting economic upheaval.
We fear financial failure as one of the greatest disasters possible to an individual. We fear sickness because it endangers our economic productivity. And we fear death because it may leave our loved ones without adequate provision.
All too many of our fears are interpreted in terms of money, and life itself is measured in years of earning power. The result is the great American disease -nerves.
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A great East Indian scholar, whom I knew in Calcutta, made several pertinent remarks on the subject of nerve tension. He said, in substance: It is impossible for the mental life of man to unfold naturally and normally toward a state of enlightenment unless the physical environment be simplified in every possible way. Creative thought must come from an environment which does not interfere with the sensitive impulses, which flow from the mind through the ethers and into the brain.
Confusion, stress, tension, interruption, noise, the constant vibratory agitation present in the surroundings of the average Occidental, make it practically impossible for him to think in a manner solutional to his personal problems. When I suggested that this wise old Asiatic should visit America, the kindly gentleman was horrified at the prospect. To think is to live; and to exist without thinking is to be less than an animal; I will remain where I am, where I can sit quietly under my favorite tree and commune with nature.
The more obvious disorders can be diagnosed with reasonable accuracy, and a number of baffling symptoms are summed up under the general term, nervous break-down.
Unfortunately however, nervous exhaustion and extreme nerve over-stimulation, are quite likely to work out through a series of obscure and extremely complicated mental and emotional abnormalities. Once the nerves have been whipped by the tension of their environment, the whole personality loses the power to relax into a normal rhythm of living, and the result is revealed through dispositional peculiarities.
Among Western peoples there is a popular belief that a bad disposition is a normal and proper thing to have. Excitability, irritability, and violent outbursts of temper are summed up under the term, temperament. It seldom occurs to a person suffering from temperament that there is anything that he can do to correct his own faults.
Persons who have come to me for help become aghast at the prospect of attempting to practice selfcontrol. When told that a bad temper is the cause of the trouble, they will invariably answer, "I know I shouldn't have such spells, but I can't help it.
It is impossible for any person to escape the consequences of his own attitudes, as these attitudes affect his bodily harmony. In early life, the human being is sustained by a powerful reserve of physical energy. This is especially evident in children, who are never still and bubble-over with an apparently inexhaustible supply of vitality.
Mental and emotional habits acquired in youth are not usually obvious in their consequences until after middle life. Gradually, as the supply of vital force diminishes, the body begins to exhibit the rewards of the various mental and emotional intemperances with which it has been afflicted.
Chronic dispositional tendencies result in chronic physical ailments. The peculiarities of disposition, as we nurse them through the years, set in upon us as bodily ailments, afflicting our later years with innumerable misfortunes which destroy our happiness and peace of mind.
Nowhere throughout nature is the working of the law of cause and effect more evident than in problems of physical health. Take cancer for example. I have been able to assemble a large number of case histories which indicate that cancer is a grief disease. It is most likely to arise in the individual who has locked his disappointments, sorrows, and hurts within himself.
Grief eats up the normal optimism of human nature, producing in the consciousness a condition identical with that which cancer sets up in the body. As women are more likely to nourish in silence the grieving of their hearts, the ailment is particularly prevalent among them.
In three cases that I know of, a deep self-censoring remorse was followed within a year by cancer of the breast, and in each case history no cancer was known in the heredity. Diabetes, in my experience, is often associated with a hypocritical reaction to the circumstances of life. The individual who demands of others a degree of perfection totally absent within himself, and then builds up from his disappointments a negative and cynical disposition, is an easy victim of both diabetes and chronic kidney trouble.
Rheumatism and arthritis are present in personalities incapable of adjusting to change. Several cases are known to me in which severe attacks of these diseases have been quickly improved by releasing the mind from the tension of trying to preserve a status quo in an ever changing world.
As late as this quaint character refused to ride in street cars, would have neither electric lights nor a telephone, and dressed in the fashion of She would have no part in that motion of progress which she was convinced was leading the world directly to perdition. The orthodoxy of her religious viewpoints was unassailable, and she crept about town suffering with rheumatics in every joint.
At last through a series of curious circumstances this old lady was rejuvenated. Near her 80th year she gave up the fight to preserve the old way of life, and blossomed forth with a progressiveness of spirit that startled the entire community. Six months later the rheumatism was gone, and she enjoyed the best of health until her 94th year. Chronic stomach trouble is most frequently found among the worriers and those whose delicate egos are easily bruised.
Nervous stomach trouble is a difficult ailment to bear gracefully, but if the mind can be directed to become less critical of others, more tolerant in its viewpoints, the digestion will immediately show a marked improvement.
While all sickness cannot be traced to disposition, it can be said with accuracy that all persons with bad dispositions are sick. A bad disposition is one of the heaviest burdens that the flesh can bear.
Our nervous folk often build up destructive tension around the simplest processes of their living. This tension distorts and deforms otherwise useful and noble beliefs and convictions. Religion, for example, must be approached with a normal optimist's attitude, or the believer soon finds himself in serious trouble.
Most of the fanaticism, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, so obvious among those addicted to religious convictions, are the result of nerve tension manifesting in the sphere of spiritual beliefs. Religion is extremely dangerous for the neurotic, for it will set their neurosis in a peculiarly disastrous channel.
Yet, it is the neurotic who is most likely to seek consolation in religion. It is an old philosophical truth that the human being must bring normalcy to any subject which he wishes to consider, or he will fail in that subject. In our Western theory of education we have overlooked the part that the individual himself plays in the arts or sciences which he is studying. For example, medicine is more than a science; it is a way of living; and only the man who lives according to the philosophy of medicine can become a great doctor.
Music is not merely a technique; a musicologist, one who is experienced in the whole theory of music, must live the life of music to gain the full 14 Healing: The Divine Art benefit of musical education. We cannot bring an old way of life to a new art without destroying that art by the limitations of our own consciousness.
Of all the arts and sciences, life itself is the greatest and most profound. It takes many years to train a physician, or a lawyer, in the particulars of his profession; but it requires many lives of experience and thoughtfulness to bring a human being into the fullness of his own humanity. In order to be a successful human being, a man must study the laws which govern his development, and then apply those laws to every aspect of his living. Only when a man lives intelligently, simply, efficiently, and with gentleness of spirit can he be mentally wise, emotionally happy, or physically healthy.
To the degree that he compromises truth, to that degree he will be sick. Philosophy, therefore, is preventive medicine. Philosophy teaches thus of health, and how it can be preserved, and if lost, how it can be regained. The beginning of health is the discovery of the gods. Our personal living is based upon our conviction concerning the nature of Eternal Being.
When we can perceive behind visible nature a Universal Principle of good accomplishing all things through wisdom, strength, and beauty, we free our minds from those several doubts concerning providence. These inwardly discovered certainties bestow the courage necessary for right action, thus establishing the mind in harmony and peace.
The second necessary element in a normal philosophy of life is the realization of the eternity of the self, and the understanding of the great law of evolution through which all lives are growing up toward perfection.
There must be a sense of participation in the growth and unfoldment everywhere visible in nature. The purpose of life is growth. And a man is successful to the degree that he develops character in harmony with the laws of the world of which he is a part.
The third consideration involves the sharing of what we are, and what we have, with others of our kind. Cooperation, friendship, and the constructive emotions which bring human beings into a closer concord are important as elements in a philosophy of health. The last consideration is that of leisure; haste and stress must be eliminated from the technique of living. The civilized human being is one who has discovered the dignity of leisure, and it is this discovery which made the Greeks, Hindus, and Chinese great in philosophy, art, and literature.
There must be time, rescued from less important pursuits 15 Healing: The Divine Art to be devoted to the culturing of the self. It is this freedom from tension that brings with it non-resistance to ideas, and those seasons of contemplation which are a part of true maturity.
If we would be well in mind and body, we must free ourselves from the delusion of a materialistic civilization and renounce as unliveable the prevailing custom of haste, ambition, avarice, and competition. Each man must suffer his own pain, and we will be afflicted by the sins of our world to the degree that we permit ourselves to cooperate with the pattern of the world's mistakes.
Health is precious to every human being, for without it even the noblest of ambitions are difficult of realization. But nature, always scheming toward the right, reserves health as a reward for those who do other things well. Health cannot be achieved by direct effort alone; it must be a consequence of action -- the result of an adequate cause.
The secret of healing is to cause health by removing those artificial obstacles which impede the natural flow of life. His power over evil forces was conceived in a veneration for age, which was fundamental to primitive religion -- it is reasonably clear that all religion originated with veneration for the old -- and an encompassing belief that all forces invisible to the eye or beyond average mind comprehension were supernatural.
But this is not all that is known about the Witch Doctor; clear traces of his influence remain in our healing methods today. He is thus entitled to our respect, and our worthy purpose of seeking a better understanding of his methods, his place, and his position in the advancing march of civilization.
It is a mistake to assume that our remote and savage ancestors enjoyed the boon of good health. The aborigine lived a hazardous and afflicted existence. All about him were huge animals whose strength vastly exceeded his own, and smaller reptiles and insects whose cunning he could not match.
The anthropological Adamite man who was to become so great in his latter times was the weakling of the prehistoric world, with little to be thankful for, and not much to be thankful with. He was entirely without knowledge of the natural causes of disease. No reasonable connection had been established between his mode of living and the condition of his health.
And so, to him, all sickness was of supernatural origin. He could see that the good and the bad were stricken together, the old and the young knew the same pain, the rich and the poor wasted away side by side. He did not know why.
It was fear of everything, of everyone; fear of the great animals which roared in the jungles; fear of the little shining things that buzzed in the swamps; fear of the thunder that rumbled in the sky, and the lightning that filled the heavens with greenish fire; fear of floods and of droughts; fear of earthquakes and tidal waves. Most of all, fear of darkness, that strange and fatal gloom that covered the earth for a part of every day.
Night had a thousand terrors for shivering creatures huddled in their caves and huts through the long hours of darkness. Outside were strange sounds; and if one of the bravest went forth to seek the origin of the sounds he returned no more. In the morning the others found him, dead, and usually partly devoured. Darkness was filled with life that struck and destroyed, that slunk on padded feet, and had green eyes that shone in the darkness; it was life that barked, and grunted, and whined, and hissed, life ever waiting, always to do harm.
Fear, oldest and cruelest of man's emotions, heartless and senseless in itself, is the source of endless pain and misery.
In a fear-ruled savage world, courage was but an instant of resistance followed by disaster. The more men fought against the unknown the greater was their fear, for nature opposed each time became more terrible than before. The venturesome and courageous crept back to their dens like whipped curs, to ponder with untutored minds the misfortunes of their state.
We have no record of the origin or of the processes that produced this fantastic hierophant of the earth's first healing cults; the first priest, the first physician, and the first psychologist. If to our more sophisticated minds the Witch Doctor was a horrible monstrosity, he was to the savage world that produced him the beginning of hope, the first of the long line of adventurers who have dared to shape inevitables to meet the human need.
Many scholars, who have deeply pondered old peoples and their lores, have tried to explain the Witch Doctor; of these the psychologists appear to be the most successful, for they have recognized their distant kinship with him and with his methods. But psychology opens only on a small part of the broad vista of philosophy, and a better look at the Witch Doctor can be had from philosophy's wider perspective; its viewpoint 18 Healing: The Divine Art should enable us to discern more clearly the forces that fashioned him, the larger motions that directed his course.
The physical origin of religion, to my mind, is the veneration for age. Those who have lived long have experienced the most. Tradition is the record of the long-lived. Not many reached to great age in primitive times and among savage peoples, there were too many hazards in the way; so most of the races respected the old, and accorded them dignities and honors equal with the gods and spirits.
For, in the first state of human society, those who reached fullness of years excelled in simple thoughtfulness -- the survivor was the superior man.
The savage has never been one to preserve the useless. It was not love for his fellow kind that induced him to feed and protect the old warriors who could no longer provide for themselves; the considerations were entirely utilitarian. These old men knew the ways of the jungle and the hill. They had been to far places, they had hunted the forests and crossed the rivers on floating logs.
They had known heroes of previous generations, and they were the custodians of words of wisdom spoken by men long dead. In the beginning man honored only strength of arm, but slowly this changed. Another kind of strength had proved that it might have the tribe when valor failed; this other strength was wisdom. And wisdom belonged to the old ones who had lived long. The hereditary chief, young and in the fullness of his powers, honored for his strength, had behind him the old ones, venerated for their wisdom; and it was of greatest benefit for the young chieftain to consult with them and profit by their counsel.
Thus came into being the dual form of government that existed throughout antiquity; it came to full flowering in the Egyptian culture -- the government of the priest and king. Thus had the fathers become the priests by long and mysterious processes of veneration and tradition -- as even today, it is the custom of the Catholic to call his priest "Father.
It is well known to psychology that the small child bestows upon its parents -- if they do not disillusion it too young -- the same veneration that the child will transfer later to its concept of God. Father is God, and God is Father. How many parents realize that when their small boy bumps his knee and comes running to them for sympathy and help, he is expressing the primary religious instinct of mankind?
In later life, when tragedies disturb the soul, the afflicted person takes his 19 Healing: The Divine Art pain to God through the ritual of prayer, with the firm belief that he will find comfort and strength. Primitive man had no way to perpetuate his knowledge and the records of his deeds except by oral tradition. In time he learned to draw crude pictures on the walls of cliffs; but long before that the Witch Doctor was an institution.
Likenesses of him, variously garbed in the skins of animals, are included in the earliest form of art. So the old ones, when they felt that they had not much longer to live, sought for others that they could instruct in their lore and history.
Thus it came about that the neurotic became the savior of his tribe, later, of his race. The old men, seeking suitable disciples, turned to the quiet and more thoughtful youths, because their minds were better suited to the perpetuation of tradition than the lustier and more belligerent types. Having discovered someone to his liking, the old man then devoted his closing years to the task of transferring his knowledge, and with it, of course, an ample description of his own personal exploits.
When the old teacher joined the ghosts of his fathers, the young disciple was, so to speak, ordained to carry on his wisdom, and probably in the name of the older man rather than in his own.
A new condition now presented itself. Veneration was no longer merely a respect for years, it was directed to a person of any age who had the knowledge of the "olds. This was the next step in the development of the priesthood, when the ones who knew received special privileges. They sat with the warriors when matters of importance were discussed, these wise men who were too valuable to be exposed in battle and whose pursuits did not equip them for warlike exploits.
They wore various distinguishing marks and badges. Their advice was sought in all things pertaining to the happiness and security of the tribe. It was inevitable that sickness should be brought to the consideration of the wise ones; for there was no other direction in which the sufferer could turn. From the wise ones the sick learned of the experiences of their ancestors under similar conditions.
Whatever means had helped in the past were repeated, and faith in the old ways undoubtedly brought a measure of relief. Memory kept such records as it could, 20 Healing: The Divine Art and being a faculty closely linked to imagination, these records grew and flourished in many curious ways.
Metaphysical elements were most certainly present in this old pattern, for the psychic sensitiveness of primitive people is established beyond intelligent dispute. The savage is very close to nature, and close to the animal life about him, and most animals possess a higher development of instinct than does man; instinct may have been the beginning of mysticism. And it is not at all impossible that some of the "olds" were natural spiritists and had a crude form of mystic vision.
Then at some very remote time it was discovered that this sensitiveness could be increased by fasting and vigils that exhausted the physical strength. Those who have lived the longest close to savage tribes are the most convinced that not all the powers of the Witch Doctor are psychological or imaginary. The mysteries of the dream life never have been fully explained, but it is well known that a person is most likely to dream about those things that are uppermost in his mind.
It is thus quite possible that the tribal prophets were visited in their dreams by the "olds" who had been their teachers. If these dead did not actually appear, they could seem to come in dream consciousness, thus linking the past with the present through the mystery of sleep.
Trances are but artificial sleep, induced by drugs, suggestion, or autosuggestion; and their avowed purpose is to give easier access to the dream state and its phenomena. Here then, are all the elements necessary to produce the Witch Doctor.
Time perfected the process. Fainter and fainter in the distance of untrained memory grew the "olds"; they became the great spirits who had lived in the long ago, who now dwelt in some strange ghost land where the seer could seek them in his dreams and trances. And the lore of the tribe thus became its religion, and the faith was as cruel and primitive as its believers.
It is impossible to understand the Witch Doctor in the terms of our present standards of right and wrong. He was part of his world as we are part of ours, and they are two worlds that have little in common. In sleep we come closer to the old one, but even our dreams have been largely conditioned by our conscious thinking.
We cannot appreciate his healing methods, without understanding the religion of the Witch Doctor. In its theological aspect, a religion is an attitude toward life, a series of beliefs and conclusions bearing upon the relationship of the individual to the spiritual world and its creatures.
On the moral, or ethical side, religion is the rule of conduct -things that can be done, and things that cannot be done. In primitive society those actions which violated the tribal law were punished in proportion to the magnitude of the offense. And so we can readily understand that the first religious ethics were mostly taboos, and only after thousands of years of refinement was ethics evolved into the dignified standards of today.
Gradually, certain distinctive practices began to appear, bearing witness to specialized attitudes and convictions.
Savage theology had this basis: All that is invisible to the untrained eye or is beyond the understanding of the untrained mind is supernatural. Disease, therefore, was a spiritual mystery, one to be approached only by those who had power over spirits and their evil force. So far as we know, these were the tribal convictions as they applied to sickness and disease: Disease itself is a spirit, without form or body, existing in the air and attaching itself to man with or without cause.
This spirit, at will, may take on any number of appearances, and may attack man in any of these forms, animate or inanimate. A person possessing magical knowledge, or some powerful fetish, may direct the spirit of disease against his enemies to destroy them. Disease may be caused by angry spirits, either of the human dead, or of animals, or of plants; even of minerals.
Any indignity or neglect to the tribal dead may cause their spirits to send sickness or other misfortunes. Whether possessing, or not possessing, special occult powers, evil persons may communicate disease by a glance evil eye , or by touching some article belonging to the victim. The Witch Doctor himself may cause sickness to anyone doubting his powers or resisting his authority. It is to be noted that no mention has been made of gods as causes of physical misfortunes.
This is because in those remote times there was no clear concept of superior deities, nor was there the conception of disease as retribution for sin. The nearest approach was the fear of offending powerful spirits; but no ethical motives were imputed to the spirits, and ethics had little to do with appeasing their wrath.
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Some writers refer to the practices of the Witch Doctors as Black Magic. This is incorrect, for there can be no perversion of power so long as no standard of right exists. Witchcraft became a negative and perverse force as civilization developed standards of integrity which it violates. The term Witch Doctor therefore is incorrectly interpreted as one inferring evil; it applies only to a savage, or primitive magician. Masks always played an important part in the Witch Doctor's rites.
What was the origin of these weird masks? I believe they were originally the likenesses of the "olds. If then, the Witch Doctor put on the face of the "old" he became the embodiment of the "old," spoke with his voice, and possessed his authority.
The animal heads worn by the Egyptian priests had the same meaning, and may have originated in totemism -- the priest wearing the mask of his spirit-animal. The Witch Doctor increased his prestige immensely by changing his appearance into something unearthly. The natives knew of course that a mask was used, but still it produced considerable emotional reaction. Years ago, at Darjeeling in Northern India, a number of Devil Dancers wandered up to our hotel to stage a performance.
Among them was a little boy, about eight years of age, who soon became the darling of the resident tourists. In the evening when the dance was given, all of the performers, including the youngster, were masked to represent Tibetan demons. In the midst of the dance the young boy, wearing the papier-mache head of a bull, rushed toward the crowd, which broke and ran with cries of alarm.
All knew the boy, and many of them had been feeding him candy during the afternoon, but in the scramble the educated whites outran the natives.
It was primordial logic to suppose that if the mask frightened mortals it would have a similar effect upon evil spirits. These, terrified by the awesome spectacle, would depart in haste and remove their evil forces from the village. This belief is at the root of some of the Tibetan ceremonies, and is recorded in many accounts of Witch Doctors and their methods. The savage saw no reason to suppose that spirits were any more intelligent than himself; what frightened him should also frighten ghosts.
Their designs come out of the unconscious, or deeply subconscious parts of the human intellect. Possibly the designs were brought over from dream life and are evidences of strange impulses locked in the further recesses of the mind. The religious art of savage peoples has a dramatic integrity that should give the psychologist much to think about. The mask was an escape from self. The wearer became someone else, and in many ways lived another life, with all the implications of such new identity.
In some American Indian tribes persons who have suffered from a long series of misfortunes change their names to escape further misery. A new name means a new personality; the Indian becomes someone else; and the spirits who disliked the previous name will have no cause to plague the new one.
Any stage or screen actor who uses make-up will understand this psychology. When costumed and be-whiskered to look like King Lear, he should feel like King Lear; and if he does not, he is a poor actor. If then, some crepe hair and a little grease paint can 24 Healing: The Divine Art make a man feel like Lord Beaconsfield, why cannot the mask of a superhuman make the wearer feel a little more like that superhuman being? Analytical research should be done in this direction; it is a most provocative subject.
Various types of noise-makers have always been part of the Witch Doctor's paraphernalia. His rattle, another means of frightening spirits, or of commanding their attention, also aroused the sick person, made him aware of the presence of the magician, thus focusing his mind on the treatment he was receiving -- a process important in what is called suggestive therapy, or healing by suggestion. Many of these rattles were ornamented with symbols resembling streaks of lightning; in this is a possible indication that the sounds they made were intended to represent thunder.
The savage is always profoundly impressed by loud sounds, and to his sensitive ears the noise is much louder than it would seem to us. An experiment made a few years ago proved that a certain American Indian could hear the ticking of a watch in a man's pocket more than fifty feet away. Drums, flutes, and other primitive instruments also served the Witch Doctor in his rituals. Different tribes evolved their own special practices, but in principle all were the same. The antiquity of the Witch Doctor is registered in the universal distribution of his methods.
There are no primitive peoples in the world today among which he does not flourish, and there is no civilized race whose spiritual culture docs not bear witness to his original presence. It is more than a possibility that both music and the dance began with him, used as means of frightening away evil spirits, or conjuring up benevolent ghosts.
After the Witch Doctor had put on the mask of some creature, it was part of the procedure that he should imitate the sounds made by that creature.Preview — Ascendentes en Astrologia by Eugenio Carutti. Many scholars, who have deeply pondered old peoples and their lores, have tried to explain the Witch Doctor; of these the psychologists appear to be the most successful, for they have recognized their distant kinship with him and with his methods.
Disease, therefore, was a spiritual mystery, one to be approached only by those who had power over spirits and their evil force. Jakkoli nzev jim dme, vdy vme jedno Mohou bt obrovskm pnosem pro n ivot. All sacrifices were originally made to appease the wrath of spirits and ghosts. The human mind is very sensitive to phobias and fixations, even when the beliefs are against every conviction of the conscious intellect.
In this we find the true explanation of idols and sacred images. And we fear death because it may leave our loved ones without adequate provision.