“Now, ma’am,” he said to me, “are you a healer?”
“No,” I said, “I am not.”
Would I ever call myself a healer? I would not. The power that came from Ncumu, God, was what healed.
The Language of the Ancestors
Credo wrapped his shawl tighter, his head bent down toward his left shoulder. Softly he began: “The first God worshipped by our people was God the Mother. While people worshipped the Mother God there was no war on Earth. Human beings used to communicate with funny sounds. They also used to communicate with the mind. But today we speak, and we think we are clever. But language brought disunity. Language brought weakness to us. You often hear some religious people making funny sounds. These people who are talking in tongues are actually talking exactly as our great ancestors used to talk.”
“Um hum,” Virginia said, “the language of our ancestors.” Sounds came from Virginia that made the room feel soft, wooly. It was as if the spirit talk was putting me to sleep, or rather putting me into an altered state of consciousness.
“When a sangoma makes the sounds that she makes, she is actually talking. People who talk that way become more ritually powerful than people who talk like we do. There are things, which we can’t express in words, that we can express in thought.”
Credo and Virginia began muttering strange and raucous sounds, teaching me how to do it. I was to use a certain sound when I knew people were in acute physical discomfort. “Because this word is very powerful in driving pain away,” Credo said. I was also given sounds for driving feisty ghosts away and others that cured certain sicknesses. It is not possible for me to translate these sounds into words.
“I know these sounds,” I said. I explained that spirit talk was familiar to me, because they were sounds I made in trance.
“Yes. These are very healing sounds. But you must make them with a number of people at your side.”
Credo made a sound like ululating. “That again is God. God. God. The ancient people spoke this way.”
The Energy of Healing Touch
“Are there questions you want to ask please?”
He wanted to pass another chunk of knowledge on to me, I realized, but I had to ask the right question. Because he had explained spirit sounds and healing, I decided to ask him about healing touch.
“Now, among our healers we have got a way of healing a person, if you touch them gently. You hook your right index finger in the right index finger of the sick person, and by so doing you will feel the power flowing through you. Gently like, like . . . I don’t know like what. You will feel this power flowing into this person. And you will also feel something from this person flowing to you. It is not simply a one-way traffic thing. It is a two-way, or three-way, or four-way traffic thing.”
Credo went on.
“When you are healing you must not merely feel the person’s energy. You must depict it in your mind. Human beings have the power to depict things and so bestow on them something or remove that something. So, if you feel this person has got a something in him, you must ask ‘What is that something?’ ‘What does your mind tell you that something’s like?’
“One way is to depict the thing as a stone, a round stone spinning in emptiness. When you see it you can reach out with your spiritual hand, take out that stone, and throw it out.”
Credo moved his hand as if he were extending it into an invisible whirlpool. He grabbed something I couldn’t see and shook it away from his body.
“What you are talking about is not visualization, where one creates an image in the brain,” I said. “The images generate from their will and place themselves in view. Are these depictions found in a place of manifestation before they are in physical reality?”
“Yes, ma’am. You must increase your awareness and learn to pay attention to the unseen. Listen and feel at a different level,” Credo said.
Knowing What Illness to Keep and What to Throw Out
“Among our people we use the so-called flywhisk. Or, you can use a little broom made of soft flexible grass. You just sweep this thing away from the person and throw it out.
“Always, depiction is important in African healing. But not all illness should be thrown out of the person. You must be able to know which illness should be encouraged to stay in the person and which illness should be taken and thrown outside of the person. There are sicknesses, ma’am, that are beneficial to the human being. There are sicknesses that are not beneficial to the human being. So you must be able to distinguish what is what.
“But you must be careful,” Credo cautioned. “Healers who are good, they give out so much love to the sick people that they cause themselves to have diabetes. Contrary to what some people say, diabetes is not a disease that is caused by people leading a very funny lifestyle, eating too much and so on. It is a disease caused by giving, giving life to others, and holding people’s hands.
“Then there are people who, when they are sick, or even not sick, become vampires. When you heal such people, after they go, you find yourself so weak you are like a bicycle tube that goes ‘chungk, chungk, chungk.’ Always, a healer must, after healing people, make himself a nice bath of salt water and sit in it allowing the steam to reach you, and thus, regain your energy.”
I thanked Credo for these important teachings, noting that I would remember and use what he had taught me.
*subtitles by InnerSelf
©2013 by Margaret De Wys. All Rights Reserved.
Reprinted with permission of Inner Traditions, Inc.
This article was adapted from the book:
Ecstatic Healing: A Journey into the Shamanic World of Spirit Possession and Miraculous Medicine
by Margaret De Wys.
At a gathering in Upstate New York she was spontaneously possessed by a sacred Zulu necklace -- a gift from one of the most powerful shamans in Africa, Vusamazulu Credo Mutwa. Frightening yet exhilarating, the experience set her on a search to understand the depths of ecstatic healing. Called through her dreams to work with Credo Mutwa, she travels to Credo’s Healing Village in Africa, where she discovers her gift as an ecstatic healer and the meaning of true faith. In sharing her journey to reach a profound understanding of ecstatic states and shamanic healing, Margaret De Wys not only gives the reader a direct experience of holiness but also reveals the potential each of us has for miraculous healing.
About the Author
Margaret De Wys is a composer and sound installation artist whose works have been performed at venues including the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum. She has traveled extensively and worked closely with traditional healers throughout the world. Currently working with John of God (João de Deus) in Brazil and at Omega Institute in New York, she also takes groups to the Ecuadorian Amazon to work with the shaman who healed her of breast cancer. The author of Black Smoke, she divides her time between Upstate New York and Southeast Nigeria. Visit her website at www.MargaretDeWys.com