Top critical review
Culturally appropriative, ableist, more harm than good
Reviewed in the United States on July 6, 2020
The Anatomy of the Spirit by Caroline Myss is a metaphysical text exploring the nature of the human body and consciousness through the cultural and spirtual lenses of the seven sacraments in Christianity, the seven Chakras in Hinduism, and the Tree of Life in Kabbalah. It should be noted that Myss herself was born and raised a Catholic, and that Kabbalah is a closed cultural and spirtual practice for use within Judaism. Both Kabbalah and Hindu spirtuality are common targets for cultural appropriation by spirtual Westerners. Critics of Myss have also pointed out that although she writes factually and makes bold claims that all diseases are caused through (and can be cured by) the energy system she describes in the human body and spirit, no concrete proof of this exists. The assertion that afflictions can be cured through a means which science does not recognize and cannot prove exists is inevitably ableist, as it puts the burden of responsibility for being sick or disabled on the patient themself, and the tools through which self healing are supposedly possible become moral condemnations, a type of health and spirtuality victim shaming. While there is validity in the cultural lenses of Chakras, the Tree of Life etc as metaphors for the human body, soul, and experience (when rooted in their proper cultural and religious contexts), Myss fails to synthesize them into a useful and valid scientific approach to the human consciousness, and her conclusions about the ability to cure all disease through energy work are troubling at best and offensive at worst.