|Reference code: ||PT/FB/BL-2010-128.02|
|Location: ||Arquivo PCA - Pasta 24/2010|
|Testing the pagan prescription: using a randomised controlled trial to investigate pagan spell casting as a form of distant spiritual healing |
|Publication year: ||2015|
The aim of this paper is to present on-going research investigating the effects of Neo-Pagan healing spells as a form of distant spiritual healing. Neo-Paganism is an umbrella term for a number of different ‘traditions’ with nature worship, magical beliefs and individualism at their core. It is a fast growing belief system in the UK with numbers of people identifying as Pagan on the UK census doubling between 2001 and 2011 from 42,262 to 80,153 (Office for National Statistics, 2012).
When defining Wicca, one of the larger traditions in Neo-Paganism, Janet and Stewart Farrar (1981) state “as a Craft, its purpose is to achieve practical ends by psychic means for good, useful and healing purposes” (p. 12). When Willin (2007) studied Wiccan spell craft he noted that healing was considered to be an important aspect and when questioning practising Wiccans he found that 50% of respondents used the word healing in answer to the question ‘What form does it (magic) take?’, Willin also found the word healing was mentioned by many respondents in answer to other questions. In spite of this importance of healing in Neo-Paganism, no scientific studies have been conducted to look at its effects. However, previous research investigating the efficacy of spiritual healing practices has been sufficiently successful to warrant further study (Astin, Harkness & Ernst, 2000; Byrd, 1988; Roe, Sonnex & Roxburgh, 2015; Sicher, Targ, Moore & Smith 1998).
A double-blind randomised controlled study is currently being conducted to ascertain if there is evidence of healing effects as a consequence of being treated by experienced Pagan practitioners as they conduct distant healing rituals for specified persons. Various aspects of the design of the study were informed by previously conducted interviews with Neo-Pagan Practitioners. The trial utilises an interrupted time series design in which participants attend sessions at the University weekly for four weeks. Participants are randomly assigned to either group A or group B, with group A receiving healing in week one, after the initial session to capture baseline measures and group B receiving healing in week two after the second session.
The experimental design was informed by an earlier interview phase of the project in which practitioners were asked about their practice with particular focus on necessary or sufficient conditions, how effective spell work manifests and limits, etc. From these interviews it emerged that practitioners required some form of representation or symbol of the ‘castees’ as well as some indication of the issues they would like to see resolved. Thus participants were asked to provide a picture and a personal item that was passed to the practitioner along with a ‘spell request’ in which the participants indicated the changes they would benefit from. Practitioners indicated in the interviews that the belief of the castee can have a mediating effect on the efficacy of the spell and so in the first week participants were asked three questions to establish their level of belief.
Practitioners also explained that although spells have specific targets, holistic effects are often evident therefore the WHO Quality of Life Scale (WHOQOL) is being used as an outcome measure. The WHOQOL comprises 26 items, which measures quality of life across four broad domains: physical health, psychological health, social relationships, and environment and is thus able to capture any holistic effects.
|Accessibility: ||Document exists in file|
|Secondary author(s): |
|Roe, C. A., Roxburgh, E. C.|
|Document type: |
|Sonnex, C., Roe, C. A., & Roxburgh, E. C. (2015). Testing the pagan prescription: using a randomised controlled trial to investigate pagan spell casting as a form of distant spiritual healing. Abstracts of Presented Papers 58th Annual Convention of the Parapsychological Association Joint with the 39th International Annual Convention of the Incorporated Society for Psychical Research Greenwich University (pp. 74-75), United Kingdom, July 16-19, 2015. |
|Indexed document: ||No|
|Keywords: ||Distant healing / Experimental design / Neo-Paganism|
Testing the pagan prescription: using a randomised controlled trial to investigate pagan spell casting as a form of distant spiritual healing