Sunday, August 8, 2010

Strange Medicine

Yesterday, one of my students gave me a gift. It was a peculiar rubber bracelet with a metal bar in the center, engraved with the product's name. It could be adjusted to your wrist by merely pulling the rubber through one part of the clasp, and trimming to size.

The purpose of this little miracle was to improve strength and balance. Well, Huzzah! For someone with Charcot foot disease, walking around in a CRO with a rocker bottom (Charcot Restraint Orthotic Walker – think big plastic boot), balance is a prized commodity. It took me nearly a year to function comfortably in a CRO, and I still use a cane when walking outside. So, I happily accepted my gift, played with the rubber band, and said, “Weird little bracelet – do your thing!”

My CRO - or part of an Iron Man costume...

I was sitting on the couch at the time. When next I stood and walked I a) tripped on a squeaky toy b) got my CRO tangled in a throw rug and c) slipped on the kitchen floor. In short, a typical stroll through my environment. No extra strength, no improved balance – just me and an odd choice of jewelry.

People fall for gimmicks all the time – even me. For a moment, when my student handed me this rubber band with a metal clip “using biotechnology” I though ..well, why the hell not? Maybe it DOES work. I would have been better off carrying an amethyst in my pocket.

It's not just the infomercials that prey on the hopeful. Years ago, I was involved in a case where local “Wiccans” (with a history of animal cruelty and other nefarious doings) told a diabetic they could cure her with magic – for a price. The price she paid was time spent in the critical care unit. The price the “Wiccans” paid was time in the hoosegow.

The lesson here is: don't feed on the hopes and – often desperate – dreams of others. If you offer magical aid to those who request it – be it a healing Circle, a spell, a pouch utilizing herbs and stones – make sure it is one in which you believe. Research the properties of your ingredients. Put your entire being into your Spellcraft. Create the best Circle you can.

In the Commercial world they would say “Back your Product”. In our world we say “Harm none”, even by insincerity. Otherwise, we may as well be hawking tonic waters from the back of a wagon...
or selling ugly rubber balance bangles on TV.