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Black Cancer Ants: Healing by Becoming Disease
One of the very best things about modern shamanism is that just like a new theory of physic it includes all previous theories, yet allows the old to be integrated into the new in unexpected and useful ways. This tale of modern shamanism has a twist to it, and also shares a delightful insight that shamans find when becoming the bridge between ordinary reality (OR) and non-ordinary reality (NOR).
As Michael Harner wrote in "The Way of the Shaman," disease may manifest as a harmful power intrusion, and present itself as voracious and dangerous fanged insects, reptiles or fish. Also, their color is usually black. The traditional shaman feels revulsion, and sees the spirit of the disease as "evil," and prepares to do battle with it.
At this point the shaman has several options: to cease this journey and leave to get a powerful helping spirit; to perform an extraction by sucking the disease spirits out of the patient (at risk of the disease entering the shaman); to become the patient, manifest the spirit of the illness in him or herself, and then "throw the disease away" somewhere far from the patient.
There is another way.
Become the DISEASE!
Receiving the Gift of Cancer from Spirit opened the door for this modern shaman, who has been taught by experience to integrate current medical practices with traditional shamanic work. Here is how it works.
Before going further, I ought to caution anyone who wishes to practice this that Harner warns that even traditional extraction can be dangerous to the shaman. My experience suggests that you are probably not ready to try this method if you feel revulsion toward any disease (instead of love and acceptance), see the Spirit of the disease as evil (instead of natural), and believe that healing is the same as curing, and that Death is the Enemy (instead of the Friend). This is not a matter of shamanic power: it is a matter of shamanic attitude.
Here is the story.
A young woman was diagnosed with liver cancer. Naturally she was afraid—as I well know! Word gets around amongst the community that certain people are "a bit strange" and do "things." Heh-heh! Of course!
But shamanic healing is one of the benefits of encountering life-threatening experiences, so as
I talked to this woman one evening I admitted that certain things can be tried, and offered to do a journey. Nowadays I make no big deal about it, but explain that I do "the drumming thing," making a motion to play "air drum" by beating one hand against an invisible drum held in the other. I told her that I would see what I could see, and let her know what could be done.
She gave me permission. A few days later I went on a journey for her. I found myself in a swarm of big, black biting ants, and knew they were cancer ants. I was a cancer ant, too. We were all moving in spiral lines, headed toward a goal. My perspective changed, and whilst still an ant, saw all of us ants as if we were a dark black spiral galaxy swirling and rotating inwards to the young woman's body, centering on her liver, drawn to it as if to a black hole at the center of this black galaxy, where the end would be Death.
Without some intervention, Death would be the outcome. With shamanic aid, Death would not occur from this galactic trauma. Now, as one of the cancer ants myself, it was useless for me to fight the horde! Doing a battle as a traditional shaman was out of the question. An extraction was equally meaningless. Why? The spiral swirl of black ants would replace that part of the Spirit of Cancer that had already entered the young woman. It crossed my mind that I should let her kill the ants by, metaphorically, pouring boiling water into their nest hole.
Spirit said no. In fact, that was a metaphor for chemotherapy she would receive in OR. However, Spirit refused a shamanic equivalent of this because, for me, now, healing MUST be performed with love, for the patient AND the disease. A modern shaman must love everything, and even the Spirit of disease is a part of nature, and Death is healing.
Here is what I was told to tell the young woman.
Find an ant nest in OR near your home. Take a cup of sugar with you. Go to the ants and make a thin sugar trail that is 50 to 100 feet long, leading directly away from the place you sleep. At the end of the trail, pour the rest of the sugar onto the ground, the more the better.
In NOR the Spirit Ants found her liver, and to them it was sweet. Thus, they must be offered something sweeter. The ants in OR would be the healing agents (after all, Ant is all ants that ever were, are now and will be, both in OR and NOR). This would lovingly reverse the Ants swarming into her liver, and thus aid both her spiritual and physical recovery, as well as provide an action for her to take that would let her participate productively in the emotional healing she needs, and so support her physical treatments in OR.
She was delighted! But THEN she held out her arms to me and told me something that is why I *love* shamanic healing, and Spirit, and The Light, and how All Things are interrelated in the world perceived by the shaman:
"Look," she told me, "My arms are covered all over with ant bites. I won't have any trouble finding an ant nest. I live in the country, and somehow the ants keep getting into my bedroom at night and biting me. I'll try the sugar."
I hope you can share the awe, and wonder, and pure joy that I feel when the ends of the circle that began to be drawn in OR are followed into NOR, and are closed in OR! How fitting! How satisfying to find that something I had not known, and could not have known (for she is quite tan, and the ant bites were not visible until she drew my attention to them), makes PERFECT sense—shamanically.
To her doctor in OR, the ant bites would not be related to her liver cancer. But in the shaman's world, where Black Cancer Ants are swarming to her sweet liver, this is not crazy, but simply a gentle and inevitable truth!
So, as I close, you can see that even here, a modern shaman working with Love for All Things, found a way to empower the patient to help themselves heal, bringing her from NOR a spiritual healing method that helps her honor her illness.
Healing is Loving.
We can love our disease without suffering from it, and while being healed of it.
We can even love cancer into remission!
In Love, Light and Healing,
a little hollow bone
About the author:
"a little hollow bone" is a scientist trained in core shamanism and soul retrieval by the Foundation for Shamanic Studies. After that he let Spirit guide his shamanic pathway. Much of what he has learned is told in stories about Oz at www.kiva.net/~wakinyan, where healings take place (for free) at The Friendly House in the woods, and your Power Animal might turn up if you are not in a hurry. Those who seek “bone” out always teach him something new. His clients are his gift from Spirit.
Ross Heaven - April 19th 2009 10:19:01 PM
Interesting and useful guidance from spirit which is also validated by other shamanic practices. In the Amazon jungle last year I spent some time with Shipibo shamans learning about medicine plants and ways and they too use 'black ants' (or termites) to heal cancer.