As our country has been thrown into division and conflict in the wake of November’s election, I am moved to write about the importance of healing our deepest wounds as a path towards transforming fear, anger and hatred into cooperation and peace. As a shamanic healer, spiritual teacher and anthropologist, I have studied the effects of trauma on individuals, communities and humanity as a whole and the pathways for its transformation. Unhealed pain from violence and betrayal in our own lives, in our ancestral lineages, and in the collective consciousness of humanity creates conditions for further harm.
I myself am a healer because of my own journey recovering from the effects of growing up with my mentally ill mother. Thanks to energy medicine adapted from the indigenous peoples of Peru among others, I no longer suffer from intractable symptoms of PTSD.
I will always remember the first energy healing session I went to some 30 years ago. I was in terrible physical pain and deeply depressed. Within minutes of being under the hands of local healer, I was experiencing the death of a Holy Warrior on a field of battle in the Middle Ages. His sudden fatal injury and the agony of his dying horse at his side had opened his heart. Gruesome images flooded his inner sight of the hundreds of men, women and children he had killed in the name of Christ. As his life slipped away, he recognized how his own ignorance, anger and hatred had wrought so much suffering.
Until that moment, this warrior monk, filled with love of God and Christ, had believed that his work had been righteous. Yet, this powerful awakening on the muddy ground of a field of battle left him in anguish as he came to believe that due to his murderous actions, he was not going to sit at the feet of His Lord Jesus when he died, but was instead going to hell. As I tracked these powerful images and feelings through my own body/mind under the healer’s hands, I saw this Holy Warrior with deep compassion. I felt the love and passion that had motivated him to go to war against the “infidels.” Instead of seeing him as a murderer, I recognized him as deeply complex and—human. Flawed, yes. Confused, indeed. But not as bad. And because his consciousness was so intimately mingled with mine, I recognized him as part of me, not separate.
As the session progressed, I engaged his consciousness with my own directed intention. I sent him gratitude and love. I “told” him that no human being is ever unforgiven or irredeemable. I thanked him for his passion for life and told him he would be with His Lord Christ.
I felt him accept this blessing of forgiveness. Like a wind moving up and out of my own body, I sensed him leaving his own as his consciousness returned to Source, Spirit, Creator-God. When I rose from the massage table, my own body and mind were pain-free.
For 10 years after this fateful day, as I continued to work on my own healing, I found myself wandering in my consciousness in session after session in what I call the “bloody stream” of humanity. Doing so seemed to be releasing me from my own pain into a profound connection with a stream of eternal love and peace which penetrates and transcends all darkness. In my outer life, I also continued to do academic research and teaching on the causes and effects of individual and collective trauma and on the many human pathways to heal.
I learned from this remarkable journey that the seeds of both violence and peace are in all of us. To that end, we must strive daily to avoid labeling those who promulgate fear and hatred as “evil”. We must seek to turn our own powerful emotions of fear, grief, and anger into constructive action for transformation of the ills of our world which have led us in these times to so much destruction of our beloved Mother Earth and all her children—human and non-human. We must seek to understand the deeper reasons behind those who wish to do harm to others. An important part of this work is to heal the personal and ancestral wounds of trauma embedded in our own consciousness. As I did when I met that Holy Warrior, we each have the power within us to stand in the heat of conflict and contradiction–the appearance of opposing worldviews—to find the deep compassion which will ultimately enable us to manifest a new future of harmony and right relationship with all beings.
This is not easy, no. But with commitment each day, we can hold within our own hearts a vision of transformation of violence in the world into peace. Seek in yourselves this new way forward. Heal yourself, heal the world.
Rachel Mann, PhD is a shamanic healer, spiritual teacher and anti-violence educator who has lived in Charlottesville for 35 years. She offers shamanic energy medicine sessions for treating trauma and other contemporary challenges out of her home and around Virginia. She also teaches on the sacred principles of shamanism which she calls Mother Earth mysticism. She is currently Faculty Chair for Atlantic University which is affiliated with the Edgar Cayce ARE. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and by phone at 434-227-0538. For more information about her work, go to her website at rachelmannphd.com.