I Ain't Afraid of No Ghost!

The ancient roots of Chinese medicine source back thousands of years ago to shamanism. The underlying philosophy of shamanistic medicine is intentionality- directing consciousness into personal growth and spiritual development through the use of intuition and plant medicines. Rituals are an integral part of the medicine itself, as healing relates to an invocation designed to illuminate consciousness.

From the shamanistic perspective, disease can be caused by one of three things. Wind refers to external factors that we cannot control, such as weather patterns and environmental conditions. Qi refers to internal factors that we can control, such as thought patterns and emotional conditioning. The third category, Gui refers to ghosts, which in modern scientific parlance is called parasitism- a non-mutual relationship between species, where one species, the parasite, benefits at the expense of the other, the host.

In Chinese Medicine, we always approach the body, mind, and spirit as inseparable, integral parts of a whole being. In the physical realm, parasites are a broad category of invasive creatures that take the form of insects, worms, viruses, bacteria, spirochetes, and “bad” gut flora.  In the psycho-emotional realm, parasites can be seen as a formless version of invasive creatures, such as repetitive thoughts, conditioned emotional reactions, habituated behaviors, pain-bodies, and distorted belief structures. Whether these parasites have physical form or are formless, they all prey upon their host, draining their life force and stifling their potential as a mechanism to make themselves stronger, bigger, and more powerful.

In everyday life, we experience so many things that hold us back from freedom, joy, and unity. In real life, a “ghost” is a wandering spirit that is fixated on a past memory or a longing for a desired outcome in the imagined future. This ghost is the part of us that is unable to live within the present moment and haunts us through its unwillingness to let go. Ghost possession is a psycho-spiritual state that obscures the authentic self. It is the state of losing touch with ourselves when our beings are temporarily ruled by pain-bodies, addiction, obsession, doubt, anxiety, worry, rage, or fear.

Today is the day to acknowledge the ghosts around you and within you, see what is possessing you, and set yourself free from the things that haunt you. Channel your inner shaman and send them off in a compassionate farewell ritual that involves burning incense, little a candle, and settling down with your true self for a nice, warm cup of tea. Happy Halloween!!