Deep medicine is almost always unexpected. It shakes you from your expectations and desire to control. It asks you to surrender the things that may have made you sick to begin with. To surrender doubt, fear and limited notions of self and others.
Last month, I found myself in New Mexico, the place I received Native medicine a year ago. It was a medicine that cured me of my persistent belief in my sense of separation. Since then, I can barely remember what it was like to have believed that I am separate and alone, like trying to remember the feeling of believing in Santa Claus.
This time, I returned to support a friend with an advanced cancer diagnosis. Along with her daughter, we arrived to New Mexico in search of deep medicine and healing. At midday, we were summoned to the ceremony. The medicine man and his wife arrived in overalls, dusty from working in the fields. He explained they were busy and could only fit us between moving cattle and running errands. I was taken aback. The container I expected was something akin to my last journey--a blanket of ancient darkness, a community of medicine holders, instruments, food, formal dress, ritual. By comparison, this seemed more like a hasty lunch break.
I felt my doubt and concern rise up. I glanced over at my friend, wondering how she was taking everything in. We had been informed that each ceremony was unique and tailored to the needs of the patient, but this was so far from the experience I had described to my friend-- literally and figuratively the difference between night and day.
The sun was shining and the wind was blowing hard. We held on to our skirts as we entered the hogan. After we settled down into our seats, the medicine man began to speak. I could feel a change in my awareness, as if I’d stepped through a portal to another dimension. A healing dimension that is always accessible, but can only be summoned by one who understands its power and who inhabits it with reverence and sincerity. The dimension of Sacred present time, Nature, Truth, Love and the honoring of invisible Forces.
In that Sacred place, I experienced the unraveling of my friend’s story. The medicine man helped her search for the right thread to tug on so the story of the cancer was revealed and laid bare, a thread that connected her ancestors, her mother, her daughter and herself. Sitting next to her daughter, I could feel the power of the medicine man’s words enter her and leave her through tears--connecting dots, turning on lights, affirming and supporting. I felt his words reach back to my own stories of my own life and realized deep medicine connects all of us in healing.
I know enough about Medicine to know it comes in many different forms. But until then, I didn’t really understand Medicine is not a form. Just like Love, Medicine is a force. And like Love, the best response to such a force is to take it in and let it nourish us. The form that the force of medicine takes reflects the culture. In a society that is disconnected from Nature, from Spirit, from Femininity, from Ancestors, medicine will be disconnected, sterile, aggressive, perfunctory and robotic. In a culture that honors all of Life, Nature and the Feminine, Medicine will call upon these powerful forces to reconnect us to Wholeness in a seemingly mysterious way.
In Health and Community,