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Florence Scovel Shinn – Your word is your wand

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Florence Scovel Shinn.

by Justina Hurley 

Latest studies on the placebo effect are trying to tap into what researchers see as a mysterious but powerful force.

In a recent study, patients were actually told that the medication was a placebo and still the medication led to an improvement of symptoms in 62% of the respondents as compared to 30% of the control group.*

Researchers want to know why, but the why has long been known in the application of metaphysics and to take the implications of placebo studies further, researchers might do well to study some of the great metaphysicians of the past.

One of these was Florence Scovel Shinn or Flossie as she was called.

Acknowledged by Louise Hay as an early influence, and so indirectly the real influence behind the modern self-help movement, Flossie (September 24, 1871 – October 17, 1940) self-published her metaphysical books: The Game of Life and How to Play it in 1925. Your Word is Your Wand in 1928 and The Secret Door to Success in 1940.

Her philosophy was largely inspired by her interpretation of metaphysics and what she saw as the metaphysical power that lay behind the teachings of Jesus. In practise, her teaching centered on combining the power of positive thought with practical exercises using verbal affirmations or actions.

It is said that she in turn was influenced by Emma Curtis Hopkins who developed a form of metaphysical teaching known as ‘New Thought’ which had elements from Christianity, Gnosticism, Theosophy and Eastern esoteric teachings.

Flossie was so far ahead of her time that it is only now that we are getting to the point of being able to understand and apply what she taught and surprisingly, it is the placebo effect which could most benefit from her teachings and so science may still have a little further to go to catch up to her.

She had a profound understanding of metaphysics and believed that ignorance of, or carelessness with the application of various ‘Laws of Metaphysics’ can bring about undesirable life events.

People would come to see her and ask her to ‘speak the word’ to help them with their life events. Flossie believed that: “Man’s word is his wand filled with magic and power! Man comes into the world financed by God, with all that he desires or requires already on his pathway. This supply is released through faith and the Spoken Word. If thou canst believe, all things are possible.”

She gives an example of a woman who came for help with financial issues:

A woman came for a treatment for prosperity. She possessed just two dollars in the world.

I said: “We bless the two dollars and know that you have the magic purse of the Spirit; it can never be depleted; as money goes out, immediately money comes in, undergrace in perfect ways.

I see it always crammed, jammed with money: Yellow bills, green bills, pink checks, blue checks, white checks, gold, silver and currency. I see it bulging with abundance!”

She replied: “I feel my bag heavy with money,” and was so filled with faith that she gave me one of her dollars as a love offering. I did not dare refuse it and see lack for her, as it was important that I hold the picture of plenty.

Shortly aferwards she was made a gift of six thousand dollars. Fearless faith and the spoken word brought it to pass.

The affirmation of the magic purse is very powerful, as it brings a vivid picture to the mind. It is impossible not to see your purse or wallet filled with money when using the words, “crammed, jammed.”

The imaging faculty is the creative faculty and it is important to choose words which bring a flash of the fulfillment of the demand. Never force a picture by visualizing; let the Divine Idea flash into your conscious mind; then the student is working according to the Divine Design.

This does explain a little why she was so effective in her day. Her understanding was such that the intention can’t just be an idea or a wish but rather a feeling state where the person moves totally into the feeling of the desire fulfilled. Her clients, by handing over their issue to her and having an absolute belief that her words had the power to effect change, then themselves changed their attitude by believing that she had made the change for them.

Flossie was very aware of why what she did worked. She explains:

“Hope looks forward, Faith knows it has already received and acts accordingly. In my classes I often emphasize the importance of digging ditches (or preparing for the thing asked for) which shows active faith and brings the demonstration to pass.”

In the recent placebo study, where participants knew they were taking a placebo, the improved outcomes may come from this blend of digging ditches and active faith.

If some of the participants held a subconscious belief that medicine works or had trust in the doctor leading the study, then combining their subconscious belief or faith with the twice daily ditch digging action of taking the medication, in itself may be the key to why the placebo worked for them.

When it comes to illness Flossie was of the option that “when man is harmonious and happy he is healthy! All sickness comes from violation of Spiritual Law.

She claimed: “Resentment has ruined more homes than drink and killed more people than war…Resentment, ill-will, hate, fear, etc., etc., tear down the cells of the body and poison the blood.

There can be no happiness where there is fear, apprehension or dread. Anger, resentment, ill-will, jealousy and revenge rob man of his happiness and bring sickness, failure and poverty in their wake.”

So how can active faith and ditch digging help to resolve negative emotions? Flossie would probably say because moving into a positive state of faith in the perfect plan and actively letting go of negative attitudes by speaking the faith based words and taking actions in life to go with the intent of the words can lead to perfect control of the emotional nature.

It’s easier to see what she means by looking at some more examples of Flossie n action:

There are certain words or pictures which impress the subconscious mind. For example: A man called asking me to speak the word for his right work.

I gave him the statement: “Behold I have set before thee the open door of destiny and no man shall shut it!” It didn’t seem to make much impression, so I was inspired to add: “And no man shall shut it for it is nailed back!”

The man was electrified and went out walking on air. Within a few weeks he was called to a distant city to fill a wonderful position which came about in a miraculous way.


Example: A man and woman married and were apparently happy. The man became successful and his tastes improved, but the wife still lived in a limited consciousness.

Whenever the man bought anything he went to the best shops and selected what he needed regardless of price. Whenever the wife went out she haunted the Five and Ten Cent Stores.

He was living (in thought), on Fifth Avenue and her thought world was on Third Avenue. Eventually the break and separation came.


Example: If a man is in debt or people owe him money, it shows that a belief of debt is in his subconscious mind. This belief must be neutralized in order to change conditions.

A woman came to me saying a man had owed her a thousand dollars for years which she could not compel him to pay.

I said: “You must work on yourself, not the man,” and gave her this statement: “I deny debt, there is no debt in Divine Mind, no man owes me anything, all is squared. I send man that man love and forgiveness.”

In a few weeks she received a letter from him saying he intended to send the money and in about a month came the thousand dollars.

If a student owes money, change the statement: “There is no debt in Divine Mind, therefore, I owe no man anything, all is squared. All of my obligations are now wiped out, under grace in a perfect way.”


Example: A woman who lived in a country town wished to sell her house and furniture. It was in the winter with snow so deep it was almost impossible for cars or wagons to reach her door. As she had asked God to sell her furniture to the right person for the right price she was unmindful of appearances.

She polished the furniture, pushed it into the middle of the room and prepared to sell it. She said: “I never looked out of the window at the blizzard, I simply trusted God’s promises.” In miraculous ways people drove up and all the furniture was sold, and the house also, without paying any commission to an agent.

Faith never looks out of the window at the blizzard, it simply prepares for the blessing asked for.


For Flossie, her spiritual faith was deeply linked to her feeling of faith but to apply her teachings a religious or spiritual approach is not necessary. Faith as she applied it in her work was the real ability to step into the feeling of the wish fulfilled and she saw this as a divine but natural thing, inherent in all of nature.

As she explained it: “Just as the perfect picture of the oak is in the acorn, the divine pattern of his life is in the superconscious mind of man. In the Divine Design there is no limitation, only health, wealth, love and perfect self-expression. So on man’s pathway there is always a Divine Selection. Each day he must live according to the Divine Plane or have unhappy reactions.

Additional Information:

Some of the Spiritual ideas Shinn explains in the book The Game of Life and How to Play it:

• The Law of Expectancy: Shinn emphasises the power of the imagination to bring about life events: “Whatever man feels deeply or images clearly, is impressed upon the subconscious mind, and carried out in minutest detail.”

• The power of words: “Jesus Christ taught that man’s words played a leading part in the game of life. ‘By your words ye are justified and by your words ye are condemned’.” [Matthew 12:37]

• The Divine Pattern and Intuition: Shinn says that one must always ask for the “right” circumstance, or the “Divine selection,” and not to ask for specifics.

• The Law of Substitution: According to Florence Scovel Shinn, sometimes our desires are misdirected: “Many people are in ignorance of their true destinies and are striving for things and situations which do not belong to them, and would only bring failure and dissatisfaction if attained.”

• The Law of Karma: the Law of Karma is also known as the Law of Cause and Effect: “Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap.” This means that whatever man sends out in word or deed, will return to him; what he gives, he will receive.

• The Law of Non Resistance: The Law of Non Resistance may be considered a sensible corollary to the Law of Karma, i.e. do not react to a negative situation with more negativity, as that will bring back more harm down the track.

• The Law of Forgiveness: Though Karma is a powerful law, Shinn explains that the Law of Forgiveness or Grace is a higher law. “Christianity is founded upon the law of forgiveness – Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the Karmic law, and the Christ within each man is his Redeemer and Salvation from all inharmonious conditions.”

• The Law of Use: Shinn explains that a gift is a better investment than a savings account. “Many people are in ignorance of the fact that gifts and things are investments, and that hoarding and saving invariably lead to loss.”

• The Law of Love: Shinn quotes Jesus when she explains the importance of love. “Every man on this planet is taking his initiation in love. “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another.”

From wikipedia


Some Affirmations from Florence Scovel Shinn

  • I now draw from the abundance of the spheres my immediate and endless supply. All Channels are free! All Doors are open!
  • I now release the gold-mine within me. I am linked with an endless golden stream of prosperity which comes to me under grace in perfect ways.
  • All that is mine by Divine Right is now released and reaches me in great avalanches of abundance, under grace in miraculous ways.
  • My supply is endless, inexhaustible and immediate and comes to me under grace in perfect ways.
  • I forgive everyone and everyone forgives me. The gates swing open for my good.
  • I call on the law of forgiveness. I am free from mistakes and the consequences of mistakes. I am under grace and not under karmic law.
  • As I am one with God, the Undivided One, I am one with my undivided love and undivided happiness.
  • The light of the Christ within now wipes out all fear, doubt, anger and resentment. God’s love pours through me, an irresistible magnetic current. I see only perfection and draw to me my own.
  • Divine Love, through me, now dissolves all seeming obstacles and makes clear, easy and successful my way.
  • I love everyone and everyone loves me. My apparent enemy becomes my friend, a golden link in the chain of my good.
  • I am at peace with myself and with the whole world. I love everyone and everyone loves me. The flood gates of my good now open.
  • I am now deluged with the happiness that was planned for me in the Beginning. My barns are full, my cup flows over with joy.
  • My endless good now comes to me in endless ways.
  • I have a wonderful joy in a wonderful way, and my wonderful joy has come to stay.
  • Happy surprises come to me each day. “I look with wonder at that which is before me.”
  • I walk boldly up to the lion on my pathway and find it is a friendly airedale.
  • My hearts desire is a perfect idea in Divine Mind, incorruptible and indestructible, and now comes to pass, under grace in a magical way.
  • There is never a slip ‘twixt the right cup and right lip.
  • God works in unexpected places, through unexpected people, at unexpected times, His wonders to perform.
  • Loving your neighbor means not to limit your neighbor in word, thought or deed.
  • God is incapable of separation or division; therefore, my good is incapable of separation or division. I am one with my undivided good.
  • All that is mine by Divine Right is now released and reaches me in a perfect way under Grace.
  • There is no there —there is only here.
  • Hunches are my hounds of Heaven —they lead me in the perfect way.
  • I am undisturbed by appearances.  I trust in God — and He now brings to me the desires of my heart.
  • The decks are now cleared for Divine Action and my own comes to me under grace in a magical way.
  • I now let go of worn-out conditions and worn-out things. Divine order is established in my mind, body and affairs. “Behold, I make all things new.”
  • My seeming impossible good now comes to pass, the unexpected now happens.
  • I give thanks for the Divinely planned journey under Divinely planned conditions with the Divinely planned supply.
  • I deny fatigue, for there is nothing to tire me. I live in the Kingdom of eternal joy and absorbing interests. My body is “the body electric,” timeless and tireless, birthless and deathless.
  • Time and space are obliterated! I live in the wonderful now, birthless and deathless! I am one with the The One!
  • I let go of everything not divinely designed for me, and the perfect plan of my life now comes to pass.
  • What is mine by Divine Right can never be taken from me. God’s perfect plan for me is built upon a rock.
  • I follow the magic path of intuition and find myself in my Promised Land, under grace.
  • I am surrounded by the White Light of the Christ, through which nothing negative can penetrate.
  • I walk in the Light of the Christ and my fear giants dwindle into nothingness. There is nothing to oppose my good.
  • Infinite Spirit, give me wisdom to make the most of my opportunities. Never let me miss a trick.
  • I am always under direct inspiration. I know just what to do and give instant obedience to my intuitive leads.
  • My angel of destiny goes before me, keeping me in the Way.
  • All power is given unto me to be meek and lowly of heart. I am willing to come last, therefore, I come first.
  • I now place my personal will upon the altar. Your will, not my will; Your way not my way; Your time not my time — and in the twinkling of an eye it is done!
  • There are no mysteries in the Kingdom. Whatever I should know will now be revealed to me, under grace.
  • I am a perfect non-resistant instrument for God to work through, and His perfect plan for me now comes to pass in a magic way.
  • I give thanks that this article (or property) is now sold to the right person or persons for the right price, giving perfect satisfaction.
  • There is no competition on the Spiritual plane. What is mine is given me, under grace.
  • I am identified in love with the Spirit of this person (or persons). God protects my interest and the Divine Idea now comes out of this situation.
  • I deny debt, there is no debt in Divine Mind, therefore, I owe no man anything. All obligations are now wiped out under grace in a miraculous way.
  • I deny debt, there is no debt in Divine Mind, no man owes me anything, all is squared. I send forth love and forgiveness.
  • There is no loss in Divine Mind, therefore, I cannot lose anything that is rightfully mine. It will be restored or I will receive its equivalent.
  • Adverse appearances work for my good, for God utilizes every person and every situation to bring to me my heart’s desire. “Hindrances are friendly” and obstacles spring boards! I now jump into my good!
  • As I am one with the Undivided One, I am one with my undivided good.
  • As the needle in the compass is true to the north, what is rightfully mine is true to me. I am the North!
  • I am now linked by an invisible, unbreakable magnetic cord with all that belongs to me by Divine Right!


(Text excerpts from

*Source: Harvard Magazine: The Placebo Phenomenon



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