• Norshaman

Healing and Cultural Context

I wish this were a positive story to relate. A patient referred the wife of a friend and business associate of his to me. She called immediately and said she was suffering from a ”crushing” depression and anxiety and that the usual medications did not appear to be working. Moreover, she knew other patients in the community and wanted me to Work with her son‘s substance abuse problems as well, but felt that firstly, she needed to get cleared and centered.

I hurriedly cleared my schedule for the day and saw her that afternoon after a pretty substantial intake on the phone. She said it went well and she no longer had the abdominal pain- was that caused by the depression? I shared that I’d read of peoples being freed from a variety of pains when depression lifted, so this was not unheard of. She mentioned that my friend had some unusual devices that were supposed to make a person feel good- she’d heard about them. Was I the inventor- crafter of these? I told her that, yes, I had several at my home. Could she come experience them? I agreed and she followed me over to my home form the office.

When we got there, she immediately felt (her words) “elevated mood” from standing on the bengtstroms. After several minutes there, she tried just sitting on the floor with her back to one of a set of Dark Towers with the other opposite the room. She felt mental windows opening and was awed. She excitedly asked questions about beings she saw in the room. I told her, nothing to worry about, just friendly house elves (nissir). She mentioned a vision problem and what had recently been diagnosed as (out of the blue with no prior history nor head trauma) a grand mal seizure with memory and motor impairment in the several months since it happened. She served for decades as an OR and ER nurse and said she was very skeptical of the diagnosis. She asked my opinion. I told her I can’t diagnose her, but when I See into her brain, it appeared to me to be the aftermath of a stroke and I Worked to ask the brain to repair itself, which, in the presence of the energy fields, she felt happening. She asked about some other issues most of us confront in our fifth decade if not sooner and wanted to return.

She also asked about training to become tietaja. She said that, as she felt her sensitivity returning, which she’d had as a child, and with her medical training, she thought she’d be a great shaman. I replied that she should go talk to one of the people already in training here to find out more and talk it over with her husband, who might not approve. She responded that she raced cars and did what she wanted to do, that “no man can control me.” I insisted she should discuss this, as we are not a Christian fundamentalist type of healing system.

It never occurred to me that she had not told her husband, a staunch born-again zealot, that she would be a bit longer than the one hour pastoral shamanic session we’d left at the office. After she was at the house for over an hour, our mutual friend called to say that her husband was irate that he did not know where she was. She told my friend she was leaving and had left her phone in her car on the charger.

About an hour after leaving, she texted, “It was amazing. Where do we go from here?” I reiterated that, in order to train, she needed to clear this at home, and as to the health challenges, we could check back in a couple of weeks and note any interim improvements.

The next day, my friend called me saying that the husband was convinced that his wife had been approached by a “Satanic” cult. He said she was “shaken up” by the session and subsequent visit to the energy fields, which her texts belied. Clearly, contrary to her “I think for myself” stance, Baptist Bubba thinks for both of them.

What this brought out to me was that, no matter how helpful you might be to a patient, no matter how much relief such a person might get from an alternative healer, we’re still operating within the cultural context of the patient and his / her family and society. When my friend had tried to rebut the husband‘s concerns, since he’d grudgingly admitted that his wife felt much better after the visits, the husband responded, “Well, TD, demons can make you feel better also. That’s how they get you hooked into coming to them.” It seemed very out of place in 21st Century Alabama, where Reiki masters, Quantum Touch, and just about any other alternative system you can think of, including a lot of deracinated, alienated Caucasians who think of themselves as American Indians and claim to be Indian shamans, offer their services. This guy was a bit of a throwback, but he illustrates what can go wrong.

She told me of his belief system and hoped I someday would be able to Work with Bubba, who is morbidly obese and suffering from a very marginal gall bladder at the moment. So, we did discuss the discordance between what she claimed to be and almost three decades married to a person with this belief system. She was encouraged to discuss going any deeper into studying our ways at home first. Bubba, she assured me, did believe in energetic healing, but only if it was “the gift of the spirit,” but thought he might change his mind. I told her at that time that I had absolutely no interest in converting anyone to Vainamoinen. I shared with her that I have seen thousands of patients over the years from all religions, and from none, including all the Semitic Mythologies, Hindi, Buddhist, and, yes, a really nice Santeria priest from Trinidad Tobago who came up to be treated, and it was never a problem.

The cultural context that encourages his hatred of Pagan faiths is the same one which makes it unacceptable for a free-thinking person, especially a woman, to share that she has second sight, or is aware of other dimensions. It made her suppress her abilities for a long time and hide from her husband for nearly three decades of high-level nursing that she often “knew” even before the diagnostic tests were completed, often just upon meeting patients in her profession, what their ailments were. She could not discuss it at work due to oligarchic scientific taboos, or at home with Bubba. So, what’s a girl gonna do? Growing up that way, oddly enough, we find the Butterfly - Rock pairing.

She feels unaccepted as she is, and is made to feel unstable or abnormal if she shares any of her native capabilities (and the same is true for sensitive men who marry female rock anchors) and so marries or pairs with the rock who feels nothing, and believes only dogma. By the pairing, she gains a degree of acceptability, as long as the abilities are kept hidden.

It is a rare and beautiful event to meet or know a couple where they are both butterflies or eagles, not looking for someone to weight them down to consensual reality.

As a healer, I know that this could happen again and all I can do to prevent it is the same as I did with Delores: encourage the person to be honest with the spouse about the help which he or she received and explain that nothing weird, controlling, improper, or “Satanic” happened. Hopefully, what happened with Delores and Bubba will not happen again, but, if you are any kind of energy worker not spouting what they call “scripture” (ignoring the hundreds of other scriptures not written in Hebrew or Aramaic...), you could run into your Bubba. If you do, let’s hope his Delores called to explain her longer than expected session, and that he’s not looking for a cloven hoof or pitchfork hidden in every corner. Rationally, I know that this is not South Africa or Iran, but sometimes I wonder how far removed from theocracies we really are. In the meantime, I guess she’ll be walking seven paces behind Bubba and that’s part of the cultural context here for some folks.

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