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To Heal or Not to Heal?
by Link

When we help heal another, are we truly helping them?  The question is hypothetical, and the answer will surely differ case by case, conscience by conscience.  But this is an important question to ponder.

 Magical healing usually involves sending energy to speed the recovery of an illness or injury.  It can be a gesture of love and support.  When we help heal someone, we help make their life a bit more comfortable.  But are all the lessons of life comfortable?  Many important growth steps involve some type of pain.  The pain of childbirth brings new life; the pain of adolescence brings adulthood.  Perhaps the pain of illness is a difficult part of the human experience, the lessons of the flesh that we are all born to learn.  When we work magic to ease someone's pain, are we cheating them out of something they needed to learn?

 There are no right or wrong answers here, but before we help heal someone we should consider what is best for the patient.  (They usually know better than we do!)  Did the patient ask for our help?  What are their beliefs on the afterlife?  Do they welcome death as a type of "graduation ceremony" or do they truly wish to live?  While it may not always be possible to communicate with the patient, hopefully we know them well enough to understand their wishes.  It may be wise to discuss these matters with loved ones beforehand.  Many people have a Living Will; does the same concept apply to the use of magic?

 While most Pagans speak of Karma and reincarnation, many of us were born into a society where death is feared, rather than accepted as a natural part of the cycle.  The fear of death may be the root of our desire to prolong life for our loved ones.  A healer should always examine their own motives for wanting to heal.  Is it because we truly want to help, or is it because we are afraid of being alone?

 The desire to heal someone may be a sign that all living things are linked together.  All life has an instinct to survive and to grow, even under painful circumstances.  This is equally true for human life as it is for the straggling weeds poking their way up through a tiny crack in the sidewalk.  Everything wants to live!  Nature gives all organisms the bodily systems to heal itself of many ailments.  Antibodies come running to every cell in danger. 

 But no single organism is ever alone.  What if we defined the "organism" as part of a larger collective -- a loving couple, or a family unit, or even all life as a whole?  Healers become the antibodies of society.  But our bodies sometimes do not heal; they seem to know when to keep trying and when to quit.  They eventually let us go in peace.  As healers, perhaps we can learn from this lesson as well.  

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