Demeter, Buddha and Bears
The Ancient Roots of
Contemporary Spiritual Healing
Michael Samuels, M.D
Institute of Holistic Studies
San Francisco State University
Art as a Healing Force, Bolinas
Changing the Consciousness of a
Whole Culture
The Eleusian Mysteries was the most
important consciousness transformative ritual
in history
The Artistic Emanation Body of
The Buddha Bodies were
the high point of body,
mind, spirit technology
for thousands of years
The Bear Dance
The Bear Dance has
healed the Chumash
people for thousands
of years
Towards a Contemporary Spiritual
These three rituals help us
understand how we can use
spirit with patients in
contemporary medicine.
I am currently working with all
three forms to help develop a
contemporary spiritual
My journey
Brown: Research and Yoga
NYU Medical School:
Immunogenetics research
Hopi Indian Reservation
Photography= art making
Headlands clinic, holism
Guided imagery practice
Art As a Healing Force
Shamanism, Bear dance
Eleusian Mysteries
My Lifelong skills from education
Guided imagery
Spirit Guides
Art and healing
Some of
my Books
Nancy Samuels
How do you actually use spirit to
We talk about
healing the whole
patient, body,
mind, spirit..
But what do
YOU actually do
Why bother?
Anatomy and Physiology 101
Body, mind, spirit are real and are our anatomy
99% of cultures in Ford file at Yale believe spirit
heals; We are the only culture that does not
Carl Jung- “You can’t prove there is a God, but
my patients who believe- do better than my
patients who don’t”
The research mandate- you have to
Spirit makes us live longer
Helm, H., Hays, J.C., Flint, E., Koenig, H.G.,
Blazer, DG (2000). Effects of private religious
activity on mortality of elderly disabled and
nondisabled adults. Journal of Gerontology
(Medical Sciences)
A random sample of 3,851 community-dwelling
adults aged 64-101 years residing in the
Piedmont of North Carolina was surveyed
During a median 6.3-year follow-up period, 1177
subjects died
Persons with no disability and little or no private
religious activity in 1986 were 63% more likely
to die during the follow-up (HR [hazard ratio]
1.63, 95% CI 1.20-2.21
Do you tell your patients to wear seat
Of the subjects who attended religious services once a
week or more in 1986 (frequent attenders), 22.9% died
compared to 37.4% of those attending services less
than once a week (infrequent attenders). The relative
hazard (RH) of dying for frequent attenders was 46%
less than for infrequent attenders (RH 0.54, 95% CI
This effect on survival was equivalent to that of
wearing vs. not wearing seat belts in auto accidents.
Do you tell patients to stop smoking?
This effect on survival was equivalent to that of
not smoking cigarettes vs. smoking.
Investigators concluded that older adults,
particularly women, who attend religious
services at least once a week appear to have a
survival advantage over those attending services
less frequently. For more information, contact
Harold G. Koenig ([email protected]).
Now you have a mandate :
If you tell people to stop smoking
If you tell people to wear seat belts
You are now mandated by research – to help
people to heal with spirit
And, exactly how will you do that with patients.
Especially those who don’t go the church ?
The 100% Effect
As we move towards a futuristic
medicine that will heal the whole
patient- we will need to incorporate
spiritual technologies such as art
and healing and guided imagery
that can directly address spirit with
intent. If spirit is not addressed,
healing is incomplete and not as
effective and patients may not live
as long.
Lee Kaiser: Health Futurist
Associate professor, Health
Administration, University of
We are at a breaking point in
medicine. Convergence of
Arts, spirituality, and Medicine
Take into consideration the
contribution of spirituality and
art or miss ¾ of patient care
You have a body not are a body
The placebo effect = plus
100 effect
Most potent
methodology= patients
belief system
Spirits vs. attitude
What avenues of soul open to patient
What we are doing is soul
based- not body basedintuition as important as
Every caregiver has two
Vertical how plugged in, how
access soul
Need connect in vertical levels
We need a healing temple that
merges science and spirit with no
Is illness a soul change opportunity?
Cultural creatives want to be
healed as well as cured
We have a new kind of
patient who is a new kind of
The future healthcare
organization integrates
science, spirituality, and
Ceremonies make space powerful
my job = patient becomes who he or she is
open avenues of soul
call on genetic strengths
modify the environment
Arts are the bridge between inner
space and outer space
simultaneous soul frequency of
patient and healer
stimulate patient to simultaneous
soul frequencies
incorporate preconscious, super
consciousness symbols
Core spiritual values complement
marketplace values currently
driving our industry
Spiritual DNA, mental DNA,
emotional DNA
call on ancestors
use arts to stimulate ancestors jumps generations
brings past produces healing
Ceremony, song important to someone coded
into spirit DNA unlock power holograph
healed from past
ancestors coded in healing from the illness you
have frees it and heals
Inscription found at Eleusis
"Beautiful indeed is the mystery given us by the
blessed gods: death is for mortals no longer an
evil, but a blessing."
Eleusis: the most important art and
healing ritual of all times
The Eleusinian Mysteries were the most sacred of all
the ritual celebrations of ancient Greece. They were
conducted in the Eleusis, fourteen miles west of
Athens, for about two thousand years. The Mysteries
were based on a legend about Demeter, the goddess of
life, agriculture and fertility. Demeter's daughter
Persephone was gathering flowers when she was
kidnapped by Hades, the god of death and the
underworld and taken to his underworld kingdom.
Demeter searched for her daughter and goes to Eleusis.
Demeter causes a drought and Zeus asks Hades
to release Persephone to bring back rain. But on
the way up, she ate pomegranate seeds and had
to remain in the underworld for three months
of the year. The Eleusinian Mysteries were
given to the people of Eleusis by Demeter to
celebrate Persephone's return.
The celebration of the Mysteries at Eleusis took
place over nine days in the month of September.
For each day, there was a series of rituals that
initiates followed. First there was the invitation,
then the purification and sacrifice. Next the
procession from Athens to Eleusis. Then, the
initiates would rest, purify themselves, and fast.
They would break their fast by drinking
"kykeon," meal and water mixed with fresh
pennyroyal mint leaves.
What next happened remains a secret. There may have
been a ritual reenactment of the story of Demeter and
Persephone, including the abduction by Hades;
Demeter's grief; her search and the famine and death
that followed.. There was finally, a sudden blaze of fire
and light, the joyous moment of Persephone's rebirth
as she came back from the underworld and returned to
her mother. The intensity of this ceremony with
drumming, music and chants was said to be aweinspiring and life changing
The Mysteries may have led the initiates through dark
infernal regions with horrible images and frightening
shapes to recreate a foreshadowing of what awaits the
death for the uninitiated then, light represented a
blissful afterlife in the company of the goddesses with a
sense of great relief and spiritual rebirth
Yet with all that has been written, the truth about what
happened in the Mysteries remains secret of the oath
of secrecy and the capital offense of telling anyone
what occurred.
3 Bodies of Buddha
The first is the Truth Body, which is the
experience of wisdom.
The second is the Beatific Body, which is the
experience of bliss.
The third is the Emanation Body, which is the
way bliss and wisdom are communicated to
The Emanation body is divided into
three bodies
The first is the Supreme Emanation Body of the
Buddha’s to help others.
The second is the Incarnational Emanation
body of teachers to help others.
The third is the Artistic Emanation Body made
up of anything that represents enlightenment.
The Artistic Emanation Body
Is made up of all the sacred art and the artists
who create it.
Literature, visual arts, sculpture that represent
the sacred life of the Buddha are all crucial in
helping people attain liberation
Art is crucial to the whole structure
of Buddhism
It is nothing less than the way a person can see,
hear, listen, understand, and know how a new
reality of enlightenment is possible for them in
their life.
Art is the way wisdom and bliss are
communicated to others.
Your life is healing art
Your Artistic Emanation Body is the most
powerful art form, the most powerful artistic
For your life to be healing art, you must live with
the intent to heal in every breath
The second most important art is literature. Songs, epics, poems,
tales, and legends, are believed to be a direct path to your
imagination, a way to let you picture enlightenment directly.
Next in importance is music. Tibetans believe that harmony and
vibration affect your heart directly. Chants are believed to open
the heart, to heal and inspire.
Architecture is also important. It can create sacred geography,
sacred space. It designs mandalas which convey delight, security,
and exaltation. Deities are seen at precise places within the
architecture, the sacred building serving as their home. Of
course, the most elaborate structures that can ever be built are
those we create in our minds with guided imagery. They are
incredible intricate and exact representations of heavenly abodes.
Sculpture is a way to embody
yourself as a god.
As you picture the icon, you
energize the mental image until
you are merged with it and become
The Tibetan Buddhist first pictures
the deity in his or her mind and
then in the icon
Buddhists visualize
themselves being made
anew, being born, as it
were, as the deity.
It takes the utmost
discipline and practice to
manifest as an
enlightened being
In Tibetan Buddhism, art is a direct flowing out
from the enlightened spaces of Buddha.
It gives a person a way to be embodied as an
enlightened one, and that is how healing occurs.
As you are enlightened, you are healed.
Healing was not always curing
This did not always involve curing, since
everyone dies, including Buddha and the Dalai
Death in Buddhism is a doorway to
enlightenment and the gateway to the next
reincarnation so it is not in itself frightening or a
thing to be avoided.
The Bear Dance
Probably 10,000-80-000 years
old in Europe
Thousands of years old in
Held by several tribes 3 times
a year
For healing the people
The explanation
Illness goes from the person
To the bear
To the eagle
To the fire
To Great Spirit
The Dancer is bear spirit for
the dance
Who is the Bear Dancer?
a healer who is uses spiritual
and visionary tools.
Mircea Eliade, defined
shamanism as the technique of
Eliade defines shamanism as
going into a trance to heal
Characteristics of sacred space
Sacred space is visionary space
non-ordinary reality
space that is full of meaning
pregnant with power
To be a shaman is a choice of
commitment and life sacrifice
Being fully present
Art and creativity as shamanism
The first healer and the first artist were
one person, the shaman.
The first art was transformative, the cave
painter made art to bring animals to
them in the hunt
The artist uses writing, art, music, dance
to change reality
Lewis Mehl-Madrona, M.D.
Only the creator, the spirits, and the patient take
credit for healing, the shaman is only with them.
Native Americans won’t say they are shaman or
they do the healing, we need to be humble or
the spirits leave us. The patient does 70% of
the work to get well, the creator does 20%, I do
10% which is barely worth mentioning. Most of
what the patient does to get well, is make the
firm decision to be well
Dr. Lewis Mehl-Madonna
“The underlying ideas of complementary and shamanic
medicine are identical. Native American healing uses
herbs, manipulation, and massage, but the most
important part is spiritual healing. The shaman uses
spiritual energies to facilitate the healing of the body.
True healers express and live out heartfelt compassion.
They prepare properly for ceremony. Relationships are
key to healing, healing grows out of change of
relationship to patients own self, relationship with
healer and with spirits.
Enhanced Practice
Demeter, Buddha and Bears
The Ancient Roots of
Contemporary Spiritual
Michael Samuels, M.D
Eleusian Mystery Pilgrimage
Guided imagery For patients with
life threatening illness
Bear Dancer