Today was all about energy. We began as usual by sharing dreams, many of which were about death and rebirth. Change was on the horizon. We sang a song to activate the spirits after smudging around the circle.
The previous afternoon, we had focused on body scanning -- finding the areas of reduced or augmented energy, which some people feel as heat and others as vibration and others as their own unique sensation. We had practiced finding points to massage. The instruction was to run their fingers around the area they had determined to call their interest and to find points to rub, either as a feeling of concavity or an excess of energy, or some other way that it called out as different. We did an exercise in which we found points through the Cherokee method of energy localization and then our colleague, Rocky, who had trained in traditional Chinese medicine, named the point from that standpoint. People discovered that the Cherokee method of point localization worked very well from the traditional Chinese medicine standpoint. When body scanning identified the area and then fingers found the points, it turned out that the points match what one would choose from the standpoint of traditional Chinese medicine. We demonstrated this several times.
As the people practiced, Rocky walked around and noticed that almost everyone had found major important points from the standpoint of Chinese medicine. He related to us how impressed he was at how everyone, even those new to bodywork, had found points of major importance in Chinese medicine.
People practiced this and were able to find points readily. Then we moved into energy medicine. "This is about moving energy in any way possible," I said. We began with hands on the body -- gently placing hands on the body to move energy. We focused on being drawn to the areas that wanted hands touching them to facilitate the movement of energy. Then we explored hands above the body and interacting with energy fields through moving hands. I demonstrated how to change the energy with rattling with different speeds and rhythms, with feathers to fan people to move the energy, with blowing smoke to bring in the spirits, with sucking to bring out energy that needed to leave, with drumming around the person. Then we played with the use of rocks, crystals, and other objects, placed upon the body, to facilitate the movement of energy. Next came a practice session in which people explored how objects changed the energy
That brought us up to lunch where a Maori woman sang a prayer in her language. She came from the bottom of the South Island of New Zealand and wanted to honor us and the group by singing a prayer before meals as they would do in her community. It was a beautiful prayer ended with the phrase (in Maori) that translated as, "we came together, we gathered together, and we left together." This seemed so apropos for a canoe culture, so similar to Hau mitakuye oyasin in Lakota, which means "to all our relations". In a canoe culture this would translate into no one missing, no one left behind.
After lunch we were ready for healing free for all. I have extrapolated this based upon my experiences learning Cherokee bodywork, though the most people I ever saw worked on simultaneously was two. Here we put up seven tables and planned to work with all seven simultaneously. We had 49 people in the workshop which seemed very sacred to me since it was seven times seven. One of the women in the workshop had repetitively dreamed the number seven, so we acknowledged the power and sacredness of seven and suggested she lie down on table 7 and that seven people work on her.
In this ceremony we have expanded the number of recipients from two to seven and involved 49 people instead of the much smaller number I witnessed as I was learning Cherokee bodywork. We began with a doctoring song to ask the spirits to doctor the people (we had already, earlier, called the spirits to come pay attention to what we were doing). Our colleague, Rocky, taught the people a simple song that was only vocables and easy to remember. We had already smudged the people, so, after the song, the doctoring began. People had been instructed that they could sing, drum, dance, or work on other people. Rocky began the song. Everyone joined in. Seven people lay on tables. Everyone was surrounded by at least three people. All the types of bodywork that we had demonstrated were being done. We were so impressed at how proficient the people were at bodywork and energy medicine. We started at 1330 hours and expected that we would finish by 1600 hours, but the people just kept going. They kept working toward healing. Barbara commented that it was like the healing round at sun dance, where there is a long lineup of people to be healed. Everyone who needs to may come to the tree. In that situation, when you get to the tree, you get work done quickly and then you're gone. Here, people got were getting much longer treatment. Some people just kept going even after a reasonable amount of time. Some people were on the table for a really long time. Rocky used a drum to assist people off the table. We developed a subtle system of finding when people were ready to let the next person experience the wonder of group healing.
Some interesting things happened. One woman who seemed very shy and quiet got our attention by thrashing about and attempting to hit another woman who held up a pillow for her to hit. We were asked by one of the psychologists to intervene, but when we came to their table, although at a distance the people appeared to be out of control of the situation, when we got to the table, we discovered that they were in great control, and had intuitively formed a circle where the woman could perform a kind of dance of anger. We watched respectfully and determined that they were safe and stepped back while they went at it. Later we heard the woman's gratitude at being able to work out things that she couldn't explain to us. This reflected our principle of tolerance, of permitting people to do what they need to do in a supportive way without judging or interpreting.
The atmosphere was profoundly sacred. There were more wonderful healing experiences and the people seemed to be getting what they needed, which is how it should be. We went until everyone had been doctored. Then it was time to close. We expressed our gratitude to everyone: to our hosts, Phoenix and Keith, to all the chefs and helpers and most especially to the Wurundjeri people who were the original custodians of the land. We sang a "thank you song" to send the spirits home and pronounced the workshop completed. Then came gift giving, thank you's, and a delicious "tea'! We said our goodbyes with everyone enthusiastically talking about next time - Healing Camp for five days next year (they even booked the space for March 2014).