Building a fire

Hello from Africa,I thought you all might like to know what a typical day looks like, or did look like before the weather turned so cold. I get up at 5:00 am to go out and start a fire in the dark, over which I boil water that has herbs in it. In the beginning, I thought I could very easily flunk this whole training experience, just because I could not build a fire. It’s not about the dark (although that does add an additional challenge. I make sure I have prepared my materials the night before), it’s just getting the thing going.I have a box of matches, and I have to collect everything else.  I am so very grateful for the box of matches!  Once I finally get the small twigs to take, and then get bigger ones to go, there is no guarantee that I have a fire. Each moment has anxiety for me, until the water boils. I have had the fire go out at every point along the way. I now talk daily to the spirit of fire, and have worked hard to become friends. It has given me some pointers and my fire building has improved, but I am far from being an expert.  Once I get the fire going and the water boils, I take my pot into an outdoor room (it has cement for a floor, and corrugated tin for the walls). There I take off my clothes, sit on a wooden stool, cover myself and the pot with blankets, take off the lid, and steam for 30 to 40 minutes. And do I sweat!  Once the steam is gone, I poor the water from the pot into a bucket, add cold water, and bathe my entire body with it. Then I get dressed, clean up the area, and return to my room.Then it’s time to eat bubbles. I take a pot of muhti (energy infused herbs) outside, kneel on a goat skin facing east, and whip the muhti into bubbles, where I eat the bubbles. The bubbles are the food of the ancestors. I take my muhti back to my room, quickly get something to eat, and I’m off for the bones lesson. That can last from 2 to 3 hours. Then lunch, and reading or beading of power objects until 3:00 pm, when I begin the process of steaming again and eating bubbles, followed by the dancing. Dinner happens afterwards, it I’m not to tired to eat. Then I read email, and go to bed to repeat the whole process over again the next day.Sometimes, I have to go into town on errand for PH or my ancestors.  They sent me out to get a hat for one of them a couple of days ago. I now have my Shaman’s hat. And one day I had to go for beads. When this happens, my lesson doesn’t happen. The last two days have been really cold, and my bowels have been acting out, so the steaming has been forgiven too. I feel like I am on vacation when I don’t have to deal with the fire. Doesn’t matter that I am sleeping on the floor, and taking sponge baths!Yesterday, I had a long bone lesson. On some of the throws, I would get a “gut” reading, and when PH said “talk”, I would just hazard what my gut said.  He was pleased with those, but he wanted me to touch the bones, and have them tell the story, just as I would do for a client.  I sometimes could do that one, and I have a long ways to go.  Then on the rest of the throws, I heard nothing – no gut feel – just silence.  I told PH I was waiting for my ancestors to talk to me.  He said they already had, the bones were their talk. It is up to me to translate it into my own language.  It’s like reading a metaphor, except there is no way the clients can read the bones for themselves. In shamanism, you give the clients the metaphor, but you don’t interpret it for them.  But how is a client to figure out what looks to them like a lot of random objects on a mat?  I guess you could take a picture of it, and send them home with it to let it work silently on their psyche, but they don’t know what the objects represent, therefore, you as the healer, give them a story. The bone readings that I am getting better at, are the questions that have “yes” or “no” answers.  One throw that I made yesterday, the bones asked me a question. And I had to answer it, and throw again for my original answer. I had no idea the bones could ask me questions!  And  the answers to the non yes/no questions are deep. When I chew on the answers, because PH talks in simple English, the answers are really profound, and there is no way he could know the dynamics involved.  Now, I just want to be able to read them the way he does. Never mind that he has been practicing for 51 years!

CASHLast night we talked about the money you earn as a healer. In this Way you are not earning it, your ancestors are, therefore, the money is not yours. A healer needs to put the money in a special place, maybe on your altar. A healer trained in the ways of the Sangoma must ask the ancestors before they spend it. One shares what the money is needed for, and once the ancestors understand, they will let the healer take it. Your ancestors may take one of your cars for himself.  If he does, he will tell you.  Then the healer has to ask him before they take the car places, and you have to make sure the ancestor is in it, before you leave. Otherwise, there will be consequences. Luckily for me, I have been putting the money from my business on my altar for a long time. If you need money, you explain it clearly and carefully to the ancestors, and they will help you get it.  If you use the money unwisely, and not for what you asked, you can lose money just as fast as they found it for you!

Good night from Africa,


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