Friday, January 30, 2015

          More on the "Field" Effect

While a healer can heal someone far away, a sorcerer can create disease and even death from a distance with a hex. White or black magic has been known for millennia, but is only now slowly being validated by science. Although it sounds implausible to the Western mind, in South Africa, traditional healers deal with witchcraft every day. 
These malevolent effects can be local or non local.  
Non-local influences work through the Field without the knowledge of those who are affected. 
Local effects work directly with the knowledge and belief system of the victim through the placebo or the nocebo effect (opposite of placebo).  

Right side of diagram fear based = nocebo & hexing
Left side love based = placebo & healing
There are only two basic emotions; love and fear. Placebo is a love based response, nocebo is fear based. The key to nocebo and placebo is the belief system of the patient and the absence or presence of hope, belief, trust, and faith.  We are all aware of the doctor-patient relationship and how important it is for the "Inner Healer."  Just as some physicians create a feeling of calm, confidence, and reassurance in their patients, others can do the opposite.  Some doctors will engender the healing power of placebo, others, usually unknowingly and unintentionally, the noxiousness of nocebo e.g. delivering a bad prognosis unskillfully and without hope.  Sangomas are masters of the placebo effect; sorcerers and dark witches work with nocebo.  Distant healing or the polar opposite, distant hexing, work through the Field bypassing the belief system of the recipient and affecting the Inner Healer directly. 
The Field, like our Inner Healer, is not impervious to bad morals or evil motivation.

The depths to which these malevolent forces affect the African psyche is illustrated in this story about a black gardener in Johannesburg who thought he was going to die. A witch, he believed, had put a snake in his body that was eating him up. He got thinner and thinner and his employer was most concerned. She had taught him English, how to read, and the ways of the civilized West. She took him to her doctor who examined and tested him. No abnormalities could be found.  She showed him the X-rays. 
"See, Gideon, there is no snake," she said. However, Gideon continued to fade away and wanted to go home to have the spell removed by his own people. His employer arranged his transport, unable to console or convince him with her logic.  Months later she got word from his home that Gideon had died.
Distressed, she said to Agnes, her maid and confidante, "Agnes, I do not understand it. He was an intelligent man why couldn't he see that there was no snake?" 
Agnes replied, "Because, Ma'am, that was a very clever snake. It hid behind his bones where it could not be seen!"
         The combination of nocebo in the presence of a hex can be additive and even fatal. Gideon knew he had been hexed and he had been. If a guilty action on his behalf had warranted placement of the hex there would be further aggravation of this toxic dynamic.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

More on Kundalini, Num or Umbilini

         With the emergence of Hindu texts in English and the West's recent passion for Hatha Yoga practices, many of us have become acquainted with the idea of Kundalini energy. Though we may talk about this mystical force and try to use esoteric Kundalini practices, few of us have mastered it. Bushmen healers and sangomas in Southern Africa have, and they use it regularly in their healing. 
All healing involves four factors: the healer, the patient, the place where healing occurs, and the presence of a universal "Field" which embraces both healer and patient. The best medicine occurs when patient, healer, and place communicate through the "Field," which itself is not localized in space and time. Healer and patient are both within an infinite cosmic Field of potential supported by the spirit world. By achieving balance and guiding their inner energies or life forces, they are able to penetrate deeper into, and harness some of the immense diagnostic and healing capacity of the Field.  Black healers in South Africa would call the hidden potential in the Field the ancestors. They are masters of the Field. The passport to the Field is the Kundalini, Num or Umbilini.

         If one were to visit a sangoma who, without knowing you, could diagnose your health situation in the past, present, and future, you would be receiving information not localized in time. If at the same time he were to tell you about the health of your children living in another country, this would be information not localized in space. These shamans are now politely called "medical intuitives" in the West. The diagnostic information they can provide can be uncannily accurate. This technology has been and is available to all peoples in Southern Africa through the sangomas with the help of the ancestral spirits. The term ancestors is a broad one and can include spirits that are not from your immediate blood line. We all reincarnate in and out of many lifetimes and may have been through a myriad of different cultures or religions in the past. Anyone who loved you in a past life time could become a "foreign ancestor" and this is why some people have exotic spirit guides; e.g. Tibetan, Bushman, Celtic etc.

The competence of our Inner Healer is proportional to the strength of the life force. Any inner practice that augments our life force will not only assist the Inner Healer but will also help us enter the Field. The ability to move Kundalini energy may be a supreme example of this balance and harmony. 
Many cases of "cure" in aboriginal cultures may have occurred because of skill in moving this energy. The sangoma connects with universal healing energy with the help of the ancestors through the gateway of this force.  
The Inner Healer is enabled if we intensify our internal energy, life force or Moya (Zulu), Prana (Yoga), Qi or Chi (Taoist), Ruach (Hebrew.) 
In order to enhance this vital energy and connect more intimately with the Field we need some form of inner practice, such as prayer, meditation, imagery, Yoga, or Tai Chi. Native South African peoples use drumming, dancing, chanting, and singing. Our intuitive and psychic abilities are facilitated when the energy moves up the spine to the crown. 
The Field is non-local, and within it is the universal mind or universal consciousness. Carl Jung, the famous psychiatrist, would have called this the collective unconscious. From a Jungian point of view the sangoma has the ability to access an archetypal world.  It is in this world that the healers encounter profound information from the ancestors.

Schematic rendition of the Yoga Chakra System


Saturday, January 17, 2015

This weeks blog is on the primal feminine force (essentially the Kundalini) that Southern African traditional healers (sangomas and inyangas) use in order to diagnose and heal their clients.

Implicit in the medical profession's symbol of the Caduceus (above right,) is the Chakra energy system (above left) and the Kundalini - the yoga life force principle.  

The Southern African San Bushmen have always said that they are the "first" people and genomic studies have confirmed this. We all have Bushmen D.N.A. within us. The Bushmen who are small of stature and look more Tibetan than African are distinct from their Bantu neighbors as are some of their primal healing techniques. The Kalahari Bushmen call Kundalini energy Num. Because they are hunter-gatherers their healers have a distinctly different mechanism of displaying this energy compared to the Bantu sangomas of Southern Africa. They both access "spirit" information using the Kundalini principle. During the Bushmen trance dance they travel out of body into the spirit world to glean knowledge not localized in space and time. This helps them to heal, hunt and gather, and keeps them whole.

Bushmen rock art depicting "Num" energy vibrating up the spine and causing the dancer to literally fall into trance and travel out of body into the cosmic Field.

Prone Bushmen dancer in a state of deep trance.

All Southern African indigenous people believe in a primal snake like energy  that is feminine and that resides in the lower belly. This feminine energy is key to spiritual power . 

The blog will focus on the sangoma, rather than the Bushmen model.
There are numerous Bantu tribes in Southern Africa and although traditions differ slightly their healing techniques are all similar. Their healers are called sangomas and also inyangas. In Zulu, Umbilini means "the place of the two," that mystical place in the belly where the body and soul unite and become one powerful thing.” Umbilini like Num also seems to be a Kundalini equivalent and is the sangoma's way of controlling this energy for healing. Here the healer becomes "possessed" by the spirit guide who enters the body to give non-local information while the ego of the sangoma temporarily steps aside.  Umbilini (and Num) are induced with clapping, chanting, singing, drumming and dancing. The "possession" of the sangoma occurs not only in trance but  also in dreams and in the throwing of divination bones which are guided by a spirit force. This information from the "Field" is more "seeing" in a quantum way and can be profound and even life saving.

Sangoma Moses Dudlu in trance, channeling his spirit guide

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The topic for the beginning of this year's blog is on ancient Southern African Healing Wisdom

Before starting a little background is in order.

In 1981 after teaching at Stanford and spending a year in Seattle I began a private urology practice in Santa Barbara California. Santa Barbara felt like home but a small part of me was still in Africa. After a mid-life crisis brought on by the hardships of private practice and a deteriorating marriage I took the American part of me back to the Kalahari desert to reunite with its African mate. I spent a precious month with the Kalahari San Bushmen, the last hunter-gatherers of a troubled continent experiencing their intimacy with nature and feeling their untainted spirit. From that experience I began to formulate a theory around the use of wilderness for spiritual practice and with my new-found yoga practice distilled this into a philosophy of the how to’s of “wilderness rapture”. This led to my first book about the "yoga" or healing power of nature. At the same time I founded Inward Bound and began to take people into remote wilderness areas for restoration and self-transformation. I continued my private practice with renewed equanimity and balanced my life with yoga and periodic trips into the big “gun” of self-restoration, the outback.
When I went back to South Africa with groups I began to consult the local shamans or sangomas. I would ask them questions that had to do with the upcoming Inward Bound journey (or about any conflict in my life.) They would throw the bones and answer politely and sagely. However, invariably they would look at me and add, “the bones, they say you should be doing this work, the bones say you should be doing African medicine, your grandmother’s bone is telling you to be initiated, your ancestors want you back here in Africa to complete this!” After the sixth such reading, all of them given by different sangomas, none of whom who knew each other, I began to pay attention. Eventually out of frustration for my reticence the ancestors revealed themselves directly through a woman sangoma who went into a trance. They told me in no uncertain terms that I was ignoring my destiny and needed to be trained or undergo thwasa. She added that until such time as I relented and committed myself my ancestors or thwasa sickness, viz. my severe migraines would not go away (she had no way of knowing I was getting migraines.)
I found an elderly Zulu sangoma in Swaziland who agreed to teach me if the ancestors agreed. He threw the bones and there was no dispute. The training began on the cusp of the millennium. P.H. Mntshali (below) my teacher said to me, “you have to tell the white people that they have lost the way. They need to know that the cause of many of the problems in the West is neglect of the ancestral spirits. This knowledge will help you get back to what we in Africa know.” 
This new blog will be dealing with what this wisdom has to teach the West.




Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The new blog on Southern African Healing Wisdom will start at the end of this week. 

This year's talks begin again in the Schott Campus Auditorium January - Saturday 31st; 2015 from 10-12 noon on what the Ancestors have to teach about death.

Just a few quotes to support the prior blog on 
The Tree of Health from last year