David Cumes, MD, was born and raised in South Africa and has been exploring ancient African wisdom for contemporary ideas on healing for some time. He has been initiated as an African shaman (sangoma or inyanga) and can testify personally to the value of their divining techniques, the powerful rituals and plant medicines, the altered states of consciousness induced by drumming and the diagnostic power of the bones.
Dr. Cumes is committed to bridging allopathic (science-based, modern) Western medicine and ancient African healing wisdom. Western medicine has brought us many boons but there are glaring deficiencies as well. We focus too much on the intellectual, cognitive and scientific and too little on the intuitive, receptive, artistic, compassionate and mystical. Going back to our root or core self with the help of ancient African wisdom and Nature gives us not only an understanding of our origins but a clear perspective of a new and, at the same time, very old paradigm of healing unconfined to the space/time continuum. Wilderness is the Garden of Eden archetype and the ultimate source of all healing. The original sangoma medicine arose from the natural world and this healing medicine will never change.
Today we talk about:
- How an African sangoma differs from shamans in other cultures
- Mysterious diagnostic power of “thrown” animal bones
- Western medicine’s drift away from traditional healing practices
- Integrating Western science-based medicine with African healing wisdom
- The challenge of bringing in traditional practices without western colonization
- How Western medical colleagues view Cumes’ bilateral approach
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