Among the Healers, 2





pp. 25-6 healing power, spiritual energy

p. 25

One might compare a spirit, a separate thing that travels … here. And healing power is …

p. 26

a vibration, and then one feels it as an overpowering effect setting one ashiver, and people call it vibrations. … It is known as ch[>]i or qi in China, or ki in Japan … . … In Malaysia it is known as wind (angin) … . In Malawi …, it is known as vimbuza …, an energy that becomes very hot before it is able to heal.”

pp. 26-7 how the authoress was praeternaturally healed

p. 26

way back in the early 1980s I myself had no understanding … at all. At last, in 1996, I experienced … most dramatically … a {praeternatural} kind of {divine} electricity that {miraculously} healed me. …

I was … sharing a bedroom with my … colleague …, Pam Frese … .

p. 27

In my bedroom …, I contracted a most severe attack of giddiness … . … All night long the trouble became worse … . …

{This affliction was divinely imposed upon the authoress not on account of any sin on her part, but rather in order that by its being miraculously cured, the supernatural glory of the divine world would become manifest, converting her into a true-believeress, able, by publishing her subsequent writings, to spread to multitudes the saving grace of true-faith.}

A little after noon Pam burst into the room. … “Edie, I met that man … …. . … I told him you were sick. … Then – he put his hands on my shoulders. He said, 'Go back to Edie and put your hands on her, right?' So I've come straight to you. ...” … . … Pam placed her arms on my shoulders. Then she cried out, “My arms! ...” …, and all along her arms I could see goose bumps pricking up everywhere. … At that moment I felt a sensation going up my own back like an extremely strong chill, right up my spine and over the top of my head. … We stared at one another. … “A healing!””

{The reason why the curing had to be performed vicariously, was that the anonymous man who empowered the curing would have, if he had then himself touched the authoress, been polluted by the contaminating force of the spirit of unbelief which was at that time occupying the body of the authoress.}

pp. 27-8 conversion by grace to a saving faith in diabolic spirits, instilled via those spirits' jihad invading the hallowed halls of American academe

p. 27

This … energy … must be spirits the healers were talking about and …, those spirits did not … come from the Christian God {but rather, from the Christian Devil?}. ...

p. 28

I felt the energy. … Now I had to try to understand … real spiritual energy, might be the prevailing condition of the universe. Possibly this healing was given to teach me. … Spirits could work miracles … to ... the … context of … invading the halls of academe.”

pp. 28-9 inquiry & reading

p. 28

Subsequently I inquired of other people and did some reading, and found that I was not alone in having the experience.”

p. 29

this parcel of magic power that was passed from hand to hand and delivered to me in my bedroom … certainly fitted with what energy healers were saying. Many of those healed said that they felt the healers' power; they felt their [the healers'] hands to be “real hot, oven hot”; “felt a shock”; and the like.”

pp. 30-3 “a close-up account of her own experience with acupuncture”

p. 30

The sufferer[ess] … was cured by her mother, an American acupuncture healer[ess]. … . [That sufferesss] described her mother's … Tai Chi … : “The … movement of hand-turned-wing though the air, the deliberate steps …, and the keen focus on breathing …, led my mother to become aware of an energy gathering in her hands. The hands feel warm, holding energy. After playing Tai Chi

p. 31

myself, I can feel a slight hum when I bring the palms of my hands together in front of my face in a fluid gesture of prayer. …” …

{This prayer is, of course, directed toward Chinese (Taoist) Deities, who in turn (as acknowledgement of the humble prayer of submission to Their majesty) award to their worshipperess the sensation of a hum.}

Acupuncture can work because the universe is rinsed through with the energy {of the Taoist Deities} … . All things tap into this {Taoist-Deity-engendred} energy. It manifests in different forms like ordinary electricity {of the Cat-of-9-Tails, 9-tailedness being typical of Taoist animal-Deities}, or stormy weather {produced by the Taoist Storm-Deity} … . The Chinese … reckon that inside the body {the body's interior being permeated with hordes of Deities according to Chinese “internal alchemy”} the energy flows in meridians {which are the conduits of the Deities of Taoist internal alchemy}, twelve of them {perhaps the Taoist aequivalents to the Hellenic divine council of 12 deities praesiding atop mt. Olumpos?}, and each is connected or associated with a specific organ {each whereof is reckoned in Taoist internal alchemy as the palace of a Deity-couple together with their Divine retinue}.”

[a verbatim narrative of aforesaid sufferess's being acupunctured by her own mother :] “I have been suffering from a precise, intensely radiant pain … . … Soft music is playing. …

p. 32

My mother … marks the points with a pen. … When she has done, I have marks on my belly, my hands, and my feet. She then places packets of … moxa … on the points on my body to stimulate the points. She lights {ignites} one … for each point. Then she asks if I am ready for the needles. … Then she quickly wipes a point with an alcohol cloth … . … She puts in eight needles in the same way … . … A line of what feels like Christman tinsel has shot up to the inside of my knee. … . … I begin to see some kind of light behind my eyes … . … .

p. 33

there is a kind of string made of light shooting across the needle points, connecting them all across my body from my hands to my belly to my feet. … Something is lifting up and out of my body and I begin to feel very light”.

pp. 34-6 acupuncture & massage in Chinese medicine

p. 34

[quoted from Eisenberg 1985, p. 65] “inserted … and … started to twist the needle to stimulate the point. After this I begin to feel a sensation of fullness, as if my hand were swelling from inside. Then a feeling of distension went up my … arm into my upper back. …

p. 35

[quoted from Eisenberg 1985, pp. 108-9] “Chinese therapeutic massage (shiatsu in Japanese) works on the same principles. … my masseur … as he exhaled … began to apply pressure to … two points, using … his fingertips. Then came a bizarre sensation of pressure and fullness and heat throughout my body.”

[quoted from Eisenberg 1985, pp. 211-2] “the student is taught to “focus” his or her ch[>]i at a point in the center of the body. This point is located roughly two inches below the navel and deep within the pelvis. It is from this vital center that ch[>]i emanates to other parts of the body. With practice, students should sense the presence of ch[>]i at this point in the form of localized heat or warmth. With further practice, they should learn to direct ch[>]i to distant portions of the body.”

[quoted from Eisenberg 1985, p. 218] “We asked for a demonstration of external ch[>]i (projecting one's internal ch[>]i

p. 36

toward another['s] body). Sitting in front of me was Dr. Zhao Jun-Xiang, the teacher of teachers of Ch[>]i Gong. … “Are you ready …?” … Then I felt pins and needles in my shoulders down to my fingernails. The sensations intensified, the pins and needles changed to electrical impulses. … My fingers, wrist, arms, and shoulders tingled and grew numb.”

[quoted from Moyers 1993, p. 297] “Imagine if … Medical School were placed inside a large theological seminary, and classes taught jointly. That's … what Chinese medicine is”.

Eisenberg 1985 = David Eisenberg : Encounters with Qi. NY : Norton.

Moyers 1993 = Bill Moyers : Healing and the Mind. NY : Doubleday.

pp. 36-8 bodily sensations during curing

p. 36

Many people can feel the same buzz of energy … . It is discernable as a tingling in the fingertips of the hand. You hold out the hands with the palms facing parallel to each other … . You draw them together until they are about one inch apart, letting your fingertips “feel” the presence of the opposite fingertips. Then you draw your hands apart …, then slowly near to each other again. What you imagined you felt the first time now becomes a positive tingle.

p. 37

your fingers are feeling energy. The energy … can also be … above another person's head, again like a tingle.”

p. 38

Throughout the world there exists a curious range of metaphors for this phenomenon … . In western Ireland a healer[ess] in the Celtic tradition … calls her gift of healing power “electricity,” and gives a shiver in recognition of it. [Her] patients feel this electricity too. … The patient feels the jolt of it and the pain is gone.

In Malaysia, the healing force is called the Inner Wind of passion inhabiting a person. …

Vimbuza, “energy-spirit,” a spirit especially in charge of energy, is the central element in the healing ritual of the Tumbuka of Malawi”.

p. 41 seeing praeternaturally

[quoted from Katz 1982, p. 82] “During the dance, … when you look out beyond the fire, you see things. It's light, not dark, even though it is nighttime. You see camps … . You see actual … people.”

[quoted from Katz 1982, p. 100] “You can see when the insides of well people are fine. You can predict the sex of a baby in the womb.”

Katz 1982 = Richard Katz : Boiling Energy … among the Kalahari Kung. Harvard U Pr.

p. 41 pleading by the healer for others

[quoted from Katz 1982, p. 100] “the soul leaves the healer's body through the head. The soul goes to encounter god and the spirits of dead ancestors. It pleads for protection for the [!]Kung back at the dance.”

pp. 43-5 [Tumbuka tribe of Malawi] vimbuza & activation of its energy

p. 43

All people have latent energy-spirits in them, called vimbuza, usually benign and friendly. … When a person is sick, … The healers' task is to develop the energy-spirits inside the patient to their full capacity. … The drummers, with an intense heady beat, succeed in heating up the energy to such a pitch that the vimbuzas … become a power in the patient.”

p. 44

[the rite for a female patient, to cure her while empowering her to become a healeress herself :] “The patient is is young woman … . For the ceremony they dress her in a belt with rattles hanging all around her waist … . … . … the song, the dancing, and the clapping go into a crescendo to heat up the energy-spirit past its critical threshold so that it will burst … into the world of the living. … The woman with her ear to the drum suddenly jerks. … She starts to tremble, and she rises. Ah, now she has become the manifestation of a spirit, and she dances before the crowd in the energy-spirit's own dance, the rattles at her waist clashing … . She is in trance. …

For such a one, the body space feels strangely elastic, with the front part of one's body-spirit stretching outward and upward. The energy of the vimbuza causes one's self to expand, creating a space within one”.

From this point on in the dance, the vimbuza energy-spirits and the drums … Together … encourage the …

p. 45

woman's own personal ancestor spirits and … push them to the fore. These ancestors, the spirits of … dead kin, are the generators of the actual gifts of the healer. … now it is the ancestors who are getting through to her … and connecting with her. They now … with their ancient power of clairvoyance, cause her vision to clear so that she can “see.” She is now a diviner[ess] and can she inside the bodies of patients to the roots of their illness. In the future …, … she must be of service to her people for the rest of her life or she will be ill again.” (“In the Vintage Mode”, Friedson 1996)

Friedson 1996 = Stephen Friedson : Dancing Prophets : musical experiences in Tumbuka healing. U of Chicago Pr.

pp. 46-8 vimbuza music & dancing

p. 46

the drummers weave the spirit-net of sound that brings the spirit into manifestation. … . … when Tumbuka healers dance in Malawi, they … are … “equal before the foundation of the world,” that is, they have achieved the sense of equiprimordiality … [Friedson 1996, p. 134]. And in a flash the spirits arrive. … At this point music … pushes healing into existence. … The vimbuza music itself … varies … using … syncopations … in such a way that the very arrangement of the discontinuities, gaps, and stutters in the music is subtle and disturbing. … In Malawi drumming, one is aware of all these things simultaneously – two-beats, three-beats, syncopation … – and

p. 47

furthermore the people know these features as cunningly woven separate threads [Friedson 1996, pp. 136-7, 149-50]. … . … once a person can hear the music of vimbuza whole in its rhythmic depth, then the musical experience is transformed into a kind of multidimensional hearing that transcends acoustical phenomena. … The vimbuza drummers … use the interweaving … of … two-beat, three-beat, and syncopation – which is often unexpected and irregular; and somehow this irregularity … shatters the old and rigid walls {which separate the mortal and divine worlds}, and the soul wriggles through to a strange new world.”

Friedson [1996, p. 161] describes his own experience like this : he says that when he was in the vimbuza dance, “after a while I began to notice that there were moments when I was getting lost in the shifting patterns of the drumming. …

p. 48

I could no longer tell whether the drumming was coming from outside or inside my head.””

p. 48 Voudoun music in Haiti

[quoted from Deren 1953, p. 242] “The drummer can “break” … the monotonous beat … . … He can also use the break … where the break … climaxes it in a galvanizing shock. This … empties the dancer's head … as the drummer “beats the Loa into his head.” … The drumming persists …, and the person lifts his head, seeming to gaze into another world.”

Deren 1953 = Maya Deren : Divine Horsemen : the living gods of Haiti. London : Thames & Hudson.

pp. 50-1 a psychic healer's plucking the healing vibration out of the air

p. 50

[quoted from McGuire 1988, p. 175] “It's like taking a piece of cloud. You can feel it in your hands. … It's ... out there in the universe [such] that you can just just kind of pick it out of the air. … It's not physical. ... So it's a very fine vibration. It's not

p. 51

coarse, it's not dense. … But still when you're working with a very fine vibration, it's just a little less fine than you {thy spirit} are, so it feels like something in your hands. … I've never had a problem finding it. When I need it, I just take it.”

[quoted from McGuire 1988, p. 114] “Healing power is coming from somewhere outside yourself. There's a very strong spiritual-like atmosphere that's there, and if you plug into that or if you let that sort of roll over you, … That's the only way I can locate it.”

McGuire 1988 = Meredith McGuire : Ritual Healing in Suburban America. New Brunswick (NJ) : Rutgers U Pr.

p. 53 method of assessing the human energy-field (according to “Karen Johnson … who has worked with Dolores Krieger on therapeutic energy awareness”)

you move your hands over the body of the other person about three inches away, slowly, pausing for sensations of change in the energy you feel in your hands. … your hands get the sense of … how far out it begins to fade away. … You can locate local imbalances, such as pins and needles, static, a break in rhythm, or confused vibrations. Sweep them away from the troubled area, gatherng them up in your hands and throwing them away. … .

parts will need extra energy. So raise your hands and let energy come to you from above and enter your hands. Pluck it out from above you, pick it out of the air. … Keep it alive and convey it toward a weak spot on the person's body. … When you put your hands on the person's body, the contact helps directly and will penetrate deep blockages. … You pull the energy from the universe and focus it”.

p. 55 cinema movie of the !Kun rite

The movie of the ritual, /Num Tchai, is the most difficult ethnographic film to watch, filled with unearthly howlings, … and people trembling and falling, clutching each other”.


Edith Turner : Among the Healers : stories of spiritual and ritual healing around the world. Praeger Publ (an imprint of Greenwood Publ Grp), Westport (CT), 2006.