Monday, July 03, 2006

Healing as spiritual work

Healing = to make whole

What is wholeness? It is the opposite of alienation and disconnection. Wholeness is the integrity of the organism, where integrity is understood as growing, dying, and being reborn within community - human, animal, nature. Wholeness also includes the idea of yoga - literally, the yoking of body, mind, soul, spirit, shadow, Goddess.

Healing comprises the life cycle within the larger cycles of nature. It includes illness and death as part of flourishing. Healing takes place across generations; my teacher's teacher says that the healing work we do in this lifetime heals our ancestors, too, back seven generations. We affect not only the future, but also the past. We bring our gifts to the whole community, and that includes the ancestors. Black currant flower essence supports that work.
I am a student of the Wise Woman tradition of healing. This tradition emphasizes easily accessible, cheap (or free!) simple remedies; sharing information freely; compassionate listening to self and others; renaming weakness as strength; and knowing one's own body as the earth's body and the earth's body as one's own. The focus is on empowerment, responsibility, and self-knowledge. Women's bodies are conceived of as normal - not defective, "different from," or more messy and problematic. (I stopped being a vegetarian when I became convinced that its "moral ideal" was most easily met by a rich, white, young man. The book that makes this argument is Animal, Vegetable, or Woman? A Critique of Ethical Vegetarianism by Kathryn Paxton George.)

Healing is a spiritual project. It's not about curing the sick. (The "New Age," with its emphasis on certain forms of healing work, has been criticized for conceptualizing all humans as sick. For how is that different from believing we are all sinful? But I think this criticism is misguided, relying as it does on a narrow idea of healing.) Healing is about bringing the earth, including ourselves, into balance (which includes a good measure of chaos!). It's a quest, a mythic journey, a kind of midwifery, and a practice of loving attention. Illness of the body, mind, spirit is one means of entry onto the healing path. Environmental activism is another. I believe that Wicca - witchcraft - and other earth-based spiritual practices are also points of entry. And there are many more gates opening onto the road.

(The illustration is "Birth of the Crone" by Durga Bernhard.)

1 comment:

Rubicon said...

wonderful post Inanna-san :)