I saw my first cancer patient in 1972.
At the time, only two questions were asked of me. In my capacity
of a medical astrologer, would I help select a date for surgery
and comment on the compatibility of the surgeons and the patient.
As it turned out, there were only two dates from which to choose
and only two surgeons. Since the patient was scheduled for
a double mastectomy, there were to be two teams of surgeons,
one operating on each breast.
It was not an auspicious beginning, but I
learned a lot as an astrologer if not as a healer. First, I
had advised against the one surgeon and more or less signed
off on the other. Nine months later, the patient came by my
home. She said, "You don't understand." It's true,
I didn't. She ripped open her blouse and revealed one perfectly
healed surgery site and another that looked like raw hamburger.
Had my entrée into the cancer world been totally different,
I might have become obsessed over blood chemistry and other
objective parts of the healing process, but what I saw was
basically inexplicable except in astrological terms since the
issue was the rapport between the patient and surgeons, not
even electional astrology (the choosing of dates for important
If diet or toxicity or even timing were the
key to healing, then both sides of this patient would have
had the same experience. However, in reality, the two sides
of her had totally different experiences so my attention was
focused on astrochemistry, the subtle dynamics between individuals
that might be karmic in origin. My antennae were busy taking
in information on such variables as the motivations people
have for becoming surgeons, whether they are healers or people
racking up funds in tax sheltered investments. To be absolutely
honest, I wasn't interested in any of the issues on which I
have published in more recent years.
My first major publication on cancer was astrological.
It was based on a series of letters to my cousin who is also
an astrologer. A mutual friend said to my cousin as she was
being wheeled into surgery for brain tumors, "Tell Ingrid
I want to talk to her when I come out of the anesthesia." This
was one of those situations that is difficult to describe to
outsiders. We astrologers have our own vocabulary and we speak
easily to one another because of our shared perspectives. Suffice
it to say that after my first patient in 1972, I had taken
over the research of another astrologer who was trying to determine
predisposition to cancer. I still feel that this work has its
place, but what happened in my life is that from the time of
the publication of that book, my phone never stopped ringing.
For many years now, I have worked with people who are facing
the issues surrounding cancer. My role has been different with
each person. Sometimes, I am the one to help brainstorm the
question of "why?" and sometimes I am just there
to listen, and sometimes I am there to offer suggestions based
on my long experience.
Typically, those who consult me begin with
an account of all they have done since their diagnosis. This
usually includes either the shock of discovering he or she
has cancer or the hesitant admission, "I just knew." Then,
there are accounts of the protocols, those that worked and
those that did not. Since I offered nothing in the way of protocols,
I tended for many years just to make mental notes because I
was looking for the common denominators in the success stories.
This said, I wouldn't like to give the impression of passivity
because I feel I have been the champion for many patients,
the psychic and psychological force that took up the cause
of Life and challenged Death. Though this is an absolutely
invisible part of my work, I feel I have been battling Death
for many decades, perhaps many incarnations.
I'm curious, I think I probe deeper than some. . . and quite
naturally, I have also formed opinions. These can be divided
into many categories: lifestyle, diet, herbs, psychological
forces, and spiritual expression. In my second major book on
cancer, I describe cancer as a disease of congestion in the
experiential realm. It was just a sentence in the preface of
a book otherwise focused on botanical cancer treatments, but
I want to develop this thought on this web site.
As I launch this web site in
late May 2001, I am, to tell the truth, tired of walking on
egg shells, trying to find scientifically acceptable ways to
express my knowledge. What do I mean? If I discuss diet or
herbs, people have a right to know the basis of a claim or
point of view, and they have a million or more web sites to
compare to one another. However, I am not in a position to
comment on anyone else's point of view or scientific conclusions.
I am simply one person with a lot of clinical experience, meaning
I have seen people as a counselor and observed and made notes.
I also read a lot, attend professional conferences, network
with countless other practitioners, and visit other web sites.
I'm well-informed, but it is simply impossible to have consensus
on anything. I hired someone to research some details of a
cookbook I was writing for patients. The book was removed from
my home when I was away, but the person who was doing the research
kept bemoaning, "Why is there no agreement?"
In our scientific world, pseudoscientific world,
we expect a number to become the proof of a proposition, but
the question is always how these numbers are generated, by
whom, and for what purpose. I have never had a vested interested
in the outcome and therefore never had to design a study to
prove what I wanted. I don't sell strawberries or soy milk
or broccoli or tomatoes so the only basis I have for a dietary
suggestion is what I personally have found works best for the
With herbs, it isn't quite the
same. I have sold herbs since 1986 and was interested in them
since 1968. I hadn't been in the "herb business" long
at all before I found out that sales reps can be as obnoxious
as in the pharmaceutical business. They make their livings
on fashions in herbs—and, make no mistake, there are
fashions in hte herb just as in the apparel and automobile
businesses. Fashion is seldom good medicine, and sometimes,
it can be dangerous. It's also really unfortunate when a perfectly
sound herbal tradition with thousands of years of history is
turned upside-down because hype for something we will forget
It's even more dangerous that
the pharmaceutical industry is threatened by natural medicine.
It is buying its way into the herb business and using its methodology
to monopolize medicine. It is making standardization and potent
extracts appear to be superior to synergistic formulae that
have stood the test of time. It is making synthetic drugs with
herbal names and putting fancy packaging and prices on things
that are probably better if picked right in your own garden.
Am I sure about these allegations?
Yes, absolutely! What is happening on the Planet now is very
challenging. Pasteur has
been replaced by the Genome Project and grants to research
microorganisms are redirected to the more promising investigations
of DNA. For the first time in history, drugs are fast-tracked
and approved because they represent a promising new technology;
and even patents are being issued because they, too, are "promising." When
are we going to tire of Madison Avenue's promises?
The fact is that many of these
new technologies are unproven, untested for safety, unregulated
by anything moderately resembling common sense, and unknown
in terms of their consequences. Genetically modified food hit
the market only a few years ago. I remember being alarmed when
canola oil was suddenly the big "it." I had never
seen anything in the health foods industry move with such speed.
So, relying on my formative years on Wall Street (1964-66),
I realized that this "natural" product couldn't possibly
be natural or no one would have invested so heavily in it.
Right I was and now only a few
years later, it is impossible to buy anything off the shelves
in the super market that you can be absolutely certain contains
nothing genetically modified. You can't even be certain that
what you grow in your own garden has not been cross-pollinated
by a GMO species, if it is even a species and not a conjuration?
Science has truly become an idol,
but I personally believe its lofty potential and fundamental
interest in truth has been sold out to industry and the enormous
megalomania that drives our modern world. I have hence become
a detractor. I was born into a family of scientists and respected
their love of knowledge and emphasis on correct understanding.
However, as time has moved on, I have been unable to trust
what passes for science and have, partly as penance for my
own misdirected energies, gone on a quest for the wisdom of
the ages. This has included a tremendous emphasis on organic,
natural, and unprocessed food and medicine; passionate environmental
activism and conservationism; and a new web site in which I
plan to speak plainly and forget about the eggshells.
If questions about the content
of this site arise, please contact your health care provider
and suggest that your practitioner contact the
Copyright by Ingrid
Naiman 2001, 2006
|B.A. in Asian Studies
from the East-West Center at the University of Hawaii,
|M.A. in Development Economics
from Yale University, 1964
|M.D. from Medicina Alternativa
in Copenhagen (should be considered honorary), 1987
|D.Sc. (honorary) from
the Open International University in Sri Lanka, 1995