Chakras: ‘New Age’ or Old? (re-visited)

LatChakrase last year I received a comment from a reader (Sarah) in response to a post I put up on the subject of Chakras – Are Chakras ‘New Age’ or old? The post was actually a re-print of an article by Dr David Stewart (Raindrop Messenger). This was what Sarah had to say:

You outta be ashamed of yourselves! Chakras ARE promoting NEW AGE. Your article in which you say Chakras are biblical is so OUT OF CONTEXT of biblical exegesis that it is almost unbelievable. If you wanna do what you are doing, which is delving in the New Age, then fine, but don’t twist scripture and call it Christian. All you are doing is leading people astray. You are a false teacher [a wolf in sheep’s clothing] I pray The Lord convicts you!

Initially I gave this comment short shrift, but since then I’ve given her remarks some thought and the following post is what I probably should have written to her. I know some of my readers would probably say, “why bother?” Fair point, as I suspect the following would probably not convince Sarah. However what I penned may clarify a few concepts and ideas for other people, so for what it’s worth here it is:

Dear Sarah,
the label “New Age” is one of the most bandied around in the last 50-60 years. Initially it was probably directed at elements of the 60’s and 70’s counter-culture, but by the 80’s it became a label given to almost anything that’s strange or out of the ‘normal’. You have subjects as diverse as reincarnation, channeling, meditation, Wicca, environmentalism, UFOs, homeopathy, crystals, herbal medicine and even essential oils, being thrown into the one mish-mash. But what do UFOs have to do with herbal medicine? Or crystals with environmentalism? And when we come down to it, what’s ‘new’ about many of these subjects? Let’s use chakras as an example, seeing that you insist they ARE New Age.

The word Chakra is Sanskrit for ‘wheel’. There are references to the chakras in the Hindu Vedas which go back at least 4,000 years. Hardly new. And nor is this just a Hindu idea or doctrine. In his landmark study of the Ancient Egyptian temple of Luxor (The Temple of Man), the French scholar R A Schwaller de Lubicz, was able to convincingly show that the Egyptians knew of and understood the functioning of the human chakra system. And much, if not all, of Ancient Egypt,s knowledge was passed on to the Greeks. And if the Ancient Egyptians knew of it, you can bet your bottom dollar, the Hebrews would have learned of it. Hardly ‘new’ is it?

You claim that I (and Dr Stewart) are twisting scripture and calling chakras Christian. I’m sorry if we gave you this impression. This wasn’t the intention. What Dr Stewart was trying to demonstrate (and what I’ve just highlighted above) is that the Chakras are referred to in all the major cultures of the world, going back thousands of years. Including the Christian and Judaic scriptures. Dr Stewart even pointed out that one of the oldest Christian churchs – the Eastern Orthodox – are aware of and understand chakras.

The Old and New Testaments are full of symbology. Dr Stewart gave the example of the Jewish menorah of seven candles, symbolising the seven chakras. He also quoted the Book of Revelations (1:10-15) “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet . . . And I turned to see . . . and being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man . . .and his voice as the sound of many waters.”

You appear to speak as if you are some authority on the scriptures. Perhaps you are. But you are by no means the only human who has extensively studied the bible. Dr David Stewart, in addition to having qualifications in science and biology, studied theology and philosophy at Central Methodist College in Fayette, Missouri…and was a pastor in Missouri. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Dr Stewart once when he came to Australia and have corresponded with him on occasions. He is a person of good character. In fact I found him to be a very decent, kind and humble person. He’s certainly not some con-man (or “false teacher” as you would refer to him).

If you wish to disagree with another person’s interpretation of scripture, that’s fine Sarah; but please spare us your sanctimonious and self-righteous language. As for your last sentence where you “pray The Lord convicts” me. Convicts me?? Say what? I wasn’t aware God did such a thing. Humans convict other humans Sarah – humans.

 

Till next time

Cheers

Anthony

Use only Therapeutic Grade Essential oils

In the last two posts, we looked at what might make an essential oil toxic. I concluded by saying that if you’re not using an essential oil that is pure, unadulterated and therapeutic grade, then it could be very toxic.

So what is a therapeutic grade essential oil?

A therapeutic grade essential oil should have the following qualities:

  • The plant from which the oil is distilled or extracted should be organically cultivated and grown.
  • The land on which the plant is grown, should itself be free of herbicides, pesticides and other toxic residuals.
  • The oil needs to distilled at the correct temperature. Very high temperatures may extract the most oil from the plant, but in the process damage the quality of the oil.
  • The oil must be pure and undiluted. And it most certainly should NOT be mixed with synthetics.

In an age where plants and their constituents are being heavily synthesized, and where most farmlands are contaminated by either heavy metals, pesticides or herbicides, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find a producer of essential oils that adheres to such a strict regimen.

To date, I have only found one – Young Living.

Dr David Stewart goes a lot further than I do. He puts forward the following questions to those who claim to match or better Young Living’s Therapeutic Grade (TG) essential oils: [1]

  1. Does their company own any farms on which to raise herbs for oils? And if they do, are they new farms on land formerly polluted with herbicides, pesticides, and chemicals that contain residuals from the past, or are they farming land that is clean, which has never been cultivated or has been untilled for at least the last 50 years?
  2. Does their company have their own fully equipped testing laboratory to verify an oil’s composition?
  3. Do they have anyone on staff with a trained nose who can analyze oils by their smell? (There are less than 200 people in the world with noses sufficiently trained to discern the chemistry of a fragrance.)Gary Young can.
  4. If their company purchases oils from outside suppliers, do they visit the distilleries and farms of those suppliers periodically to observe if the herbs are grown organically, i.e. without pesticides, herbicides, or chemical fertilizers?
  5. Do they know if the grower has a testing laboratory on the farm to determine when the crop is at its peak for oil harvesting?
  6. Do they know if the crops were actually harvested at their peak time and, if so, was there an inordinate delay in taking them to the still and into the cookers?
  7. Do they know if their distillery personnel understand the art and science of distilling, exactly how to pack the cookers, how to administer the steam, how to maintain minimum temperatures and pressures throughout the cooker, and how to continuously monitor the process throughout distillation to make sure the oil produced contains all of its components in the proper proportions?
  8. If their supplier makes a mistake in the distillation or harvesting processes that results in an inferior grade of oil, does that supplier sell the oil anyway or do they discard it?
  9. Do they know if the cookers in the distilleries of their suppliers have domed lids or cone shaped lids? Most stills use dome-shaped lids. Cone topped cookers deliver a better grade of oil than dome tops.
  10. Do they know if their suppliers supplement the distillation process with solvents to extract additional oil from the plant matter?
  11. Do they know if their suppliers bottle their oils directly from the distillery without modifying the composition of the natural oil by adding anything or taking anything away?
  12. Do they know if their company has tested their company’s oils side by side with Young Living oils in the same lab to make a fair comparison? And if so, where is the data?

As Dr Stewart points out, if the answer to these questions is “No” or “I don’t know” then how can one say for sure their essential oils are better than Young Living’s or for that matter therapeutic grade in quality?

Till next time

Cheers

Anthony

Disclaimer: Please remember that anything discussed here does not
constitute medical advice and cannot substitute for appropriate medical care. Where essential oils are mentioned, it’s recommended you use only pure, unadulterated therapeutic grade essential oils and follow the safety directions of the manufacturer.

[1] The Raindrop Messenger, Official newsletter of C.A.R.E. (Center for Aromatherapy Research and Education) Vol 6, No 4 Jul-Aug 2008. To subscribe