This is my very first ever blog, it has taken me a bit to catch up with technology, so please bear with me.
For some reason I am constantly amazed at the cultural and practical overlap I find In modern psychology and indigenous practices. It really shouldn’t, my rational mind says, because we are psychologically little different than our forebearers who followed the herds and carved petroglyphs. It follows then that recognizing and healing the effects of trauma has been the goal of medicine people up to, and including modern psychotherapists.
In curanderismo, an indigenous healing practice from Texas and through South America, a damaging trauma is known as a “susto”- a fright. Damaging because part of the soul has left the body of the sufferer. One of the most common and important roles of the curandero is to heal the body, making it a safe place for the soul to return to. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-xVHYRpE58
If you’ll notice the brief shot in this video of an egg being rolled on a child. I preformed this in a fair one year and a lovely Chinese man was surprised and delighted. “My grandmother taught me to do this!” he exclaimed. I first learned it from a Jewish man in Indiana. It clears the body, allowing the pure essence of the soul to return.
The native people of this country recognize the damage of trauma and have many ceremonies to call the soul/spirit back to the body. In a sweat lodge ceremony, a woman who has been raped is seated in the “buffalo seat”- directly across from the entrance of the lodge and its hottest position, the women sing healing songs and pray. Softly, they call her name, urging her to come home, lending her their strength and love, they call her spirit, torn away during a brutal attack, back to her body.
Modern western studies understand the neurobiology of trauma, and how the nervous system and body reacts to trauma, and how we are rewired in that process. With that knowledge we are exploring new techniques to help a person heal from trauma. Talk therapy, pharmaceuticals, and somatic processing are all ways we attempt to re-balance a mind and body torn apart from trauma.
We are a bit behind our healer ancestors in not recognizing the mind/body connection. One of our challenges to overcome is that we tend to deny, bury, and stigmatize the effects of trauma. We are told to “get over it,” “time heals all wounds,” even “big boys don’t cry”. Then the most toxic of all, we self medicate to dull the pain.