By Jeffrey A. Kottler
Written for therapists, students, clergy, scholars, and people with an curiosity in non-traditional therapeutic practices, this booklet tells the tale of Bradford Keeney, the 1st non-African to be inducted as a shaman within the Kung Bushman and Zulu cultures
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Additional resources for American Shaman: An Odyssey of Global Healing Traditions
Ever since I was 20, I’ve occasionally experienced something like this when my body starts shaking. It used to freak my wife, Mev, out because the bed starts vibrating. ” Peter laughed in appreciation, trying to picture this. Here was this internationally known theorist and intellectual, one of the most highly regarded family therapists in the world, the guy whom the university had brought all the way over from America, and he’s actually a secret witchdoctor. And not any shaman, but now recognized as a Big Doctor by this gathering of Bushmen.
He feels the power from the Big God. ” Twele then went on to say that the Big God plants arrows and nails in the bellies of the chosen ones. Nelson stopped to explain that although Twele used the word nail, they used to refer to thorns, as in the sharp branches of the camelthorn tree. There are only two ways to get such arrows and nails—from the Big God, or from another, more powerful shaman who has many such things in his own belly. “When you see the others touching Keeney,” Twele said, pointing out how others during the previous days and this evening had been fondling and hugging him, “they are not so much being affectionate as they are feeling and receiving the arrows and nails in his belly.
This is meant half as a joke, half as a warning. We’d already heard plenty of stories and seen films of Keeney dancing with the Bushmen, and he did look like he was flying out of his mind. At times he would crouch over, balancing on his tiptoes, bellowing and chugging. Keeping himself grounded in the sand, his whole body would shake from deep inside his chest—legs, arms, torso, and neck gyrating as if in a seizure. Then the other shamans would dance over to him and literally tap the kinetic energy from his chest, attaching themselves like leeches, drawing a part of him into them, as well as depositing their own ancient spirits into his belly.