Faced with a painful set of unusual physical symptoms we land in our doctor’s office anxious and afraid. We feel our mind-body-spirit is not our own. Whether it is invasion by an environmental toxin, our Central Nervous System (CNS) menaced by an unknown source, or a new disease which our doctors are puzzled by, we wear incredibly thin wrestling with the dilemma of a healing crisis. Repeatedly telling our health story and finding no real resolution re-traumatizes our psyche when there is no clear outcome. We get stuck in medical limbo, awaiting results, hoping for a diagnosis, and getting let-down when there is no clear healing path forward. A vicious cycle begins riding between the confusing worlds of modern medicine and spiritual meaning.
Viewing a healing crisis through a spiritual lens means learning the ancient art of divining an illness’s purpose. This knowledge has been lost or buried through the sands of time with the extinction of traditional and spiritual healing. Modern medicine and science won’t be able to identify the meaning of a soul’s purpose through an illness, because it may be a spiritual calling. Often, a healing crisis is an indication of a deeper awakening of consciousness. If this is the case, there are three distinctive signs: initiation, true identity and acceptance (or reconciliation). These stepping stones will inform and guide us through the labyrinth of our healing journey.
Initiation, True Identity, and Acceptance
In modern medicine doctors look at a set of symptoms like a constellation and decode a diagnosis, very rarely do they consider the existential reasons for a debilitating illness. When a diagnosis remains elusive, has been called a ‘mystery illness’, or doesn’t respond to treatment this may be an early sign of an initiation into the spirit world. Symptoms may be sudden, due to a trauma, accident, or connected to a childhood event. Metaphorically, the call to awaken is an opening of a psychic portal into a new mysterious spiritual world where there is an undercurrent of healing waiting for exploration. It may feel like a deep identity crisis and that we are on the cusp of madness.
Depending on one’s individual initiation, this marks the beginning of a spiritual journey. Initiation is experienced through a visionary dream, synchronicity, or other alchemical signs such as powerful archetypes. Psychiatrist Carl G. Jung spoke extensively about universal symbolism and the collective unconscious which holds archetypal imagery from our own imaginal realm and connects to a universal symbolic language which can be found cross-culturally. Archetypes in Jung’s methodology served as an intra-psychic instinct infused through images. These images are hidden within the psyche, but were also connected to the universal mind. During a healing crisis they may bubble up through the subconscious to help us realize our true potential. The initiation serves as a call from our spirit to dive into the healing waters of our soul life and learn who we truly are.
When we are born into our family there are expectations about who we should be and how we should act. While these aims are mostly positive in terms of our parent’s love, sometimes we are taken off our soul’s true path. When the soul is buried deeply in our day to day life, we miss the opportunity to learn a deeper truth of who we really are. In this light, the healing crisis serves as a communication portal to open our hearts and minds to learn about our soul’s mission and purpose through this lifetime.
Once we lean how to decipher our soul’s language, which is a rich tapestry of symbolism infused with meaning, we can accept the spiritual facts. Below the surface of our logical analytical mind there is another form of processing which is less understood by science. Often referred to as right hemispheric thought, this form of mental processing is deeply connected with our emotions and serves to wake us up to a spiritual world that is waiting for us to delve into our soul’s purpose. When we have departed from our inner selves and become dependent on social norms, our parent’s intentions for us, or living through a mistaken identity sometimes it our soul’s only option to create a healing crisis in order to communicate with us.