Like much new age medicine,
iridology makes use of the concept of mystical energy. In fact, the
pupil of the eye is held to be a repository of sorts for the body’s
"energy," according to many iridologists. "Most iridologists agree that
the integrity of the body’s energy is reflected by the quality of energy
in this [pupil] hub, or core."1
But how does one possibly
diagnose the "energy" condition of the body based on the "energy"
condition of the pupil? Clearly one way is through psychic or
"intuitive" methods. Thus, one does not study iridology long before one
uncovers iridologists who claim to diagnose the iris on the basis of
psychic powers or even on the basis of spirit guides.
Iridologist Brint observes,
"Some of the skills involved [in learning iridology] are mechanical, but
others are definitely intuitive."2
When asked whether or not a
psychic ability was involved in iris diagnosis Dr. Carter responded:
Intuitive skills do come
into play here, and whether we want to call this "psychic ability" or
not… remains to be defined. What do we mean by "psychic?" Is that just
a paranormal state? It is very easy to label it as such. We may find
that these skills are just a further progression of the conscious
ability of the individual... a kind of hyperconscious or
In other words, for Carter,
psychic powers are merely normal human "intuition." Nevertheless,
presumably because of the energy connections, Carter has incorporated
the principles of Oriental medicine and philosophy with iridology
One of the leading
authorities in the area of the occult, Dr. Kurt Koch, observes:
Many of our healers and
occult practitioners use eye-diagnosis mediumistically…. That means
that they are only interested in the iris as a mediumistic contact. In
this way the human eye serves a psychometric purpose in much the same
way as hand lines do when a fortune-teller uses them as contact
material or as an "intuition stimulant." When this is the case,
eye-diagnosis becomes a form of fortune-telling. Because of this,
these eye-diagnosticians are often very successful. Indeed, some of
them with little or no medical training can diagnose illness with 100
The occult and spiritistic
potential of iridology can also be illustrated by noting its historic
ties to the occult, in particular astrology. Iridology can ultimately be
traced to Chinese astrology practiced four thousand years ago.6
The occult concept of "as
above, so below" is an ancient hermetic formula expressing a magical
occult principle. The very term "hermetic" is derived from Hermes
Trismegistus, the Greek name for the Egyptian god Thoth, the alleged
inventor of the occult sciences. It refers to a universal principle of
correspondences said to exist between the heavens and the earth.
Just as ancient and modern
astrologers believe that the destiny of the individual below on earth is
dependent on the heavens above, so the ancient Chinese astrologers
taught that the organs of the big world (macrocosm) of man were
reflected in the small world of the eye (microcosm).
The famous occultist,
astrologer, and medieval father of modern new age medicine, Paracelsus,
also regarded the eye as the microcosm and man as the macrocosm.7
A modern astrologer observes, "The eye reflects the cosmos of the human
body from the point of its birth and it registers all changes that have
The supposed interrelatedness
of the macrocosm and the microcosm forms not only the basis of astrology
but a great deal of additional occultism and significant portions of new
age medicine, including general magic, palmistry, acupuncture,
anthroposophical medicine, Ayurvedic medicine, and other practices.
Iridologist Brint notes this
hermetic application of iridology and how it can allegedly become a
means to detect levels of individual consciousness in a new age sense:
From an Eastern point of
view, the eye may be viewed as a mandala…. The mandala links the
microcosm and the macrocosm…. Through the mandala man may be projected
into the universe and the universe into man…. In iridology, the
macrocosm and the microcosm are linked in our eyes…. Iridology may be
summed up as the observation of the change that arises from the
interplay of various levels of consciousness and results in one’s
unique evolution into greater [occult] truth and light.9
This connection between
iridology and astrology supplies one avenue for spiritistic influences
in iris diagnosis. Why? Because astrology is often a spiritistic
practice, as the authors have documented in detail elsewhere.10
Since many iridologists employ astrology, spiritistic contacts are
How do we know many
iridologists employ astrology? For one reason, Dr. Jensen himself does,
and we have already noted his influence in American iridology. He has
even named the spiritistic, astrologically oriented sect of the
Rosicrucians as his "spiritual abode."11
In an interview conducted in the Rosicrucian magazine Rays from the
Rose Cross, he explains how astrology and iridology may be blended:
Because astrology has its
effect on the body. and the condition of the body is revealed in the
iris of the eye, we find that various organs work in harmony with the
[astrological] influences existing at birth—the influences with which
we came into this world. For instance, people who are waterlogged or
who have lymphatic gland congestions tend to hold water in their
bodies. By looking at their [astrological] charts, we see that they
are greatly influenced by the water signs.12
Perhaps the potentially
occultic nature of iridology is one reason why even Jensen occasionally
confesses that iridology is, after all, not really a true science. He
calls it a science that cannot be proven through scientific testing—in
other words, an occult science:
Iridology is based on
scientific observation. [However] It is the kind of science that
cannot be related through scientific tests, for it does not provide
clinical information…. Iridology can only be judged by those who use
it properly. Iridology has not been used properly by those who have
criticized and say it fails the test.13
This is quite a confession:
Iridology only works for true believers and can be properly evaluated by
them only. In essence, to practice iridology "effectively" requires
faith on the part of the iridologist, who must not only know and believe
iridology but have intuitive or psychic abilities as well, and perhaps
knowledge of other occult sciences such as astrology. The iridologist
who is properly trusting and "sensitive" will have favorable results.
The critic and unbeliever will not, and are excluded from commenting on
the practice by definition.
Thus, we find the peculiar
hallmark of new age medicine—a failure to justify one’s practices:
Even though proponents may
have used iridology "properly" since von Peczely published his
theories in 1866, they have failed to publish even one well-documented
study to support the validity of any of the information presented on
their iris charts. Since efficacy has not been established, the
ultimate questions faced by practitioners of iridology is one of
ethics in their relationship with patients.
It is clear from a logical,
theoretical, and clinical perspective that iridology is a
pseudoscience of no clinical value. Unfortunately, the use of
iridology by unorthodox practitioners is all too common today.14
Therefore, iridology is
worthless as a diagnostic technique, and it may involve a person in the
occult. Whether considered from the perspective of logic, scientific
tests, or iridology theory itself, iridology is a pseudoscience of no
value. The practice has deceived both practitioner and patient alike.
1 Berkeley Holistic Health
Center, The Holistic Health Handbook: A Tool for Attaining
Wholeness of Mind, Body and Spirit (Berkeley, CA: And/Or Press,
1978), p. 159.
2 Ibid., p. 161.
3 E. M. Oakley, "Iridology:
Your Eyes Reflect Your Health," New Realities, Vol. No. 3, pp.
5 Kurt Koch, The Devil’s
Alphabet (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1969), pp. 40-41.
6 Samuel Pfeifer, M.D.,
Healing at Any Price? (Milton Keys, England: Word Limited, 1988),
7 Jeffrey Mishlove, The
Roots of Consciousness: Psychic Liberation Through History, Science
and Experience (New York, NY: Random House, 1975), p. 46; Pfeifer,
8 Pfeifer, p. 85.
9 The Holistic Health
Handbook, pp. 155, 162.
10 John Ankerberg, John
Weldon, Astrology: Do the Heavens Rule Our Destiny? (Eugene,
OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1989), pp. 201-256.
11 "Health and
Spirituality: An Interview with Dr. Bernard Jensen," Rays from the
Rose Cross, May, 1978, p. 226.
12 Ibid., p. 227.
13 In Timothy White, "An
Interview with Luisah Teish, Daughter of Oshun," Shaman’s Drum,
Spring, 1986, pp. 176-177 emphasis added.
14 In Worrall, "Iridology,"