Monday, April 25, 2011

Wounded Healers

In many cultures of the world the community's healer or shaman must experience a wounding, an illness, a dream-like or hallucinatory spiritual madness, as initiation through a mystical journey to aspects of reality unavailable to other mortals.

According to Holger Kalweit (Dreamtime and Inner Space), shamans experience their illness as a calling to restructure their lives, to hear, see, and live fully in a higher state of awareness.

This speaks so clearly to the nature of the "TaTa Sisterhood." In breast cancer discussion forums, I am continually inspired by the relative absence of fear, by the deep presence in women whose senses are attuned, who appreciate each moment life offers.

No matter how crazy-making the initial diagnosis and attempts to deal with a changing reality may be, the qualities of maturity and wisdom, equanimity and endurance, playfulness and generosity shine through. At every stage of what poet David Whyte calls "growing younger toward death" there is healing, in the community and in the shared stories, whether our journeys are only slightly difficult or quite formidable. 

You, too, dear reader, are on this journey, even if you haven't yet been drawn into Dreamtime. Are you growing younger every day?