Sunday, March 15, 2009

Thoughts on healing: caring and bearing witness

It could be a tenet of Wicca (but it's not, since Wicca tends toward tenetlessness) that Witches Heal. Though we often speak as though healing is something we do for another person, as in a doctor healing her patient, in fact we can only heal ourselves. I can care for another person and provide some conditions for healing, but only he heals himself. Similarly, and of concern to many Pagans, we cannot heal the earth; but we can care for the earth and provide conditions under which it will thrive and heal itself.

One of the most important things we can do as healers is to bear witness: to hold a non-judgmental but discerning space for the person or being who is healing. We need to be able to discern what would help them (an action, a holding, a medicine, a clean needle, a kind word, a pointed observation, a touch), but we cannot sit in judgment, for judgment limits and constrains where healing needs room for natural expansion and contraction. Bearing witness means being able to see things as they are, not as we wish they would be, and to "hold space" compassionately for whatever arises. Much of the work of a healer lies in being present to another, not buffeted by or frightened by their emotions, not sucked in, not closed down, not colluding, not withholding. Being with. And in that being, seeing what else might be needed.

9 comments:

Hecate said...

You are v wise

Livia Indica said...

I think that the lack of "being with" is why I dislike conventional medicine so much. Go to the office, wait for half and hour, sit in the examining room for 15 minutes and see the doctor for a grand total of 5 minutes. There's not being with. There's no listening or caring. There's just run in, quick chat, script for pills, run out.

You are so right to make this point.

Scrivener said...

Amen.

ArachneDefiant said...

Fabulous observation - sometimes we tend to focus on healing being projective from the healer, and forget about the importance of being there for the person in need of healing. Thanks for sharing.

Hecate RavenMoon said...

Blessed be.
Sorry I have been away for so long. I am working on a time management table now so that I will be able to keep updated on all my friends etc.

Great post by the way. Very enlightening and insightful. Doctors are too impersonal, and cold. That's why I try to rely on them 'as little as possible' except when I need to get my usual check up...then I go from there with my own healing techniques.

Thank you again for this post. Hope you are having a great weekend.

Nora said...

A gift of the goddess to find this blog...holding space for others has been a common theme in life this week. Thanks for so exquisitely stating the truth.

Yvonne Rathbone said...

This is such an important point. I don't think it can be said often enough. Thank you.

Andy said...

I'm so pleased I've happened upon your blog!

I agree that holding space is really important. I often feel that part of my role is to stand between, to hold the tension, so to speak, and by so doing bring things through, energetically, for others. I think when one requires healing, of whatever form, one can't always hear or see for oneself, and sometimes it's this message, impression, word or thought that the person holding the space can bring to the other that provides them with the release they need to heal themselves. It's a very special and often intimate thing.

Inanna said...

Thank you, all. Andy, I like that image of "standing between" for the healer. Between the worlds, even, like a shaman. My own experience is that I feel like a conduit and a witness.