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Much of the money made in the paranormal and the bizarre is based on the complaint that medecine is not as effective as we would like it to be. Who wouldn't like to take control of the healing process and effect miraculous results on himself ?
Unfortunately, we are now crossing the line that separates hope from delusion. Petrene Soames is a woman who has a web site that looks like a mess of pastel colours, with articles like "Rebirthing - Removing Negative Blocks and Patterns" and "Developing your own psychic abilities", and she's a "professional".
What is self-healing ? According to her front page, "self-healing is not something new. It's so simple, basic and fundamental, you will be amazed". The latter may be true, but not for the reasons she thinks. I am mostly amazed at the entertaining way in which she comes to believe any New Age claptrap she reads. She believes in psychic powers, crystal skulls, rebirthing, colour therapy, UFOs, regression therapy and progression (?) therapy, and so on and so forth.
Soames' basic stance about self-healing seems to be - if you concentrate and think happy thoughts, you can do anything. Or at least not have any colds. That's the only claim she really makes, anyway. So yea, happy thoughts will prevent you from having colds, and I suppose, make you happier.
I am constantly forced to wonder, why is it that the people who talk about the power of thoughts are the ones least likely to actually have any ?
Soames seems like the kind of person that has weird experiences at the drop of a hat. She has optical trips while looking at herself in the mirror, and tells everyone to do it. It seems that looking at yourself can make you see yourself as another gender, or even as an alien :
Some of the possibilities that you may see as you are looking into your own eyes might include: your face disappearing for moments; your features fading and only an outline of your face and head being reflected back to you; you may notice a face looking back at you that looks familiar to you, but one that is not you as you see yourself everyday; you might see yourself as being very old, or a lot younger than you are presently. Another possibility is, if you are a man, to see a woman looking back at you, and vice versa. This can be both surprising and exhilarating the first time it happens. Just stay calm and deal with any fearful feeling you might have.
This reminds me of Scientology's Training Routines, where you stare at someone else for hours. It breaks down critical thinking. So I think this might be an indication of where she got so crazy.
I decided to work together with the skulls, placing a hand on each.
Everything about me, around me, beyond the room and me was pure gold in color. The audience readjusted and became the pure gold. The middle of the room opened up. A space was created. Many people entered and joined the group. They came from different nations, planetary systems. Many were beyond description. The room was crowded, they stood with us, joining in the moment feeling all that we felt. Then they were dead, still, like a film slide. They ceased to be and exist, instead fusing with all of us. The message was: "Aliens, races, nationalities, creations, all are unimportant, don't waste your time with this, move on." All and everything turned into a mass of color orange, blue, gold, yellow, green, and turquoise... every color you might imagine. The color had density, weight and substance. We were all very beautiful, each and every one. Our colors were amazing. We moved around, we touched each other. And as we touched each other, we touched different parts of ourselves. We all become one eye, one seeing, all seeing eye.
This may be a startling insight on how Lord of the Rings got started, but I don't see the point. Did a prankster coat these skulls with LSD ? Or is she just a raving lunatic ? That's not possible, she's a professional therapist.
"Franc", you tell me, "Franc, she's as much a professional therapist as I'm a child-molesting priest". Well, maybe so - but I don't care about your sexual proclivities, really. But yes, she is a professional. She does the following crap :
Wisely, she does not list her fees anywhere, as I'm sure they are as big as her capacity to believe.
She also hosts workshops, which are called : "Celebrate Your Birthday", "Creative Workshop" and "Self-Healing Workshops". "Celebrate Your Birthday" is a workshop where, instead of the traditional birthday celebration or going to the restaurant, you can celebrate your birthday by coloring, making collages, and telling story, to a crazy therapist woman. It costs 150$ per person. Yes.
Her articles section is equally entertaining. Here are my favourite quotes, straight from one of her "featured articles", about whenever women are mothering their husbands :
1. Are you doing all the cooking, washing, and cleaning in your household to the point that your man would find it hard to look after himself alone for a week? Does he call you "Mother"? If yes, you are mothering your man.
5. Do you take on most of the responsibility around the house and in your life together protecting him from possible painful experiences, choices and feelings? If so, it's clear that you are mothering your man and your little boy has no room to grow.
7. Are you helping him stay physically sick rather than empowering him to get well because you need to feel needed and you are afraid that, if he is his best self, he might move on without you? If the answer is yes, you are mothering him.
This is so wrong on so many levels. Any woman who would answer "yes" and not know that there's something wrong, is probably an intellectual giant on par with Soames.
Her articles are actually pretty varied, but one quickly observes recurrent themes. One of them is the power of colours. In Soames' world, colours can do anything from stopping clinical depression, help you lose weight, and make your life more interesting.
At least her critical approach to our emotional associations with colours is refreshing (given the rest of her site), but superficial. Especially check out "Yes I am a woman of color", where she rambles about melamin and black. Yet all these wonders elicit new questions. Could colours also be used for evil ? If all sorts of colours, even black, are good, then why not evil colours, like Stalin red, or Christian yellow ? This is an area of study sadly neglected by Soames, who prefers to rant on and on about positive thinking instead of confronting the real questions head-on.
To help your colour-related adventures, the web site thoughtfully provides us with two "color rooms". All of the rooms are called "fun rooms", but they are not, in fact, fun in any shape or form. In fact, they are positively tragic. The colour rooms, for example, are supposed to be energizing and revitalizing, by presenting you with pages of colours which you can choose. But the little trouble is that, unless your brightness is way down, having a page full of one colour on a monitor is an instant nosebleed. Yea, great idea miss psychic.
Self-healing being the title of the site, you would expect a wealth of information on it. As a matter of fact, there isn't that much on it. There is, however, an entire article devoted to it, "Pathway to Self-Healing". In it we learn that :
Illness is being unaware. It can go back to different times, places and events in your life. With a little practice, you can get in touch with yourself and discover the roots of the illness.
As much as I hate the FDA, maybe they should investigate : this sounds definitively like a medical claim.
Our friends the chakras come back again. She tells us how there are five important chakras, but does not mention the one at the level of the genitals - telling omission. Anyway, you first need to "become aware" of your chakras, by imagining that your stomach is wide open and figuring out what colour it is. Since our vital organs are coated with protective layers of fat, I would suppose that would be a dull yellow. This somehow makes your chakras irradiate bright light that stops all illness, much like a bizarro nuclear bomb.
Describing the entire site would take a long time - there are numerous gems of illucidity sown across it. But at least she's humble about her work :
As a healer, I have not wished to be seen as a master, Saint or guru, as I realized that this may take away the fact that each one of us is already a Saint, and guru.
She also has a donation page. According to the bromide, "paranormals" who ask for money are crooks, those who don't are just delusional. I will, however, let the readers pass judgment on what category Soames belongs to. Sometimes I am charitable : sometimes I believe I see a little girl, not sure how to make friends, trying to dazzle people with talks about colour and positive thinking. Then we get on therapies, Sainthood and abandoning reality, and I can't believe anymore.
review written by Franc, 08/2002.