Bear…invite me into the cave where silence surrounds the answers you gave.
“The cancer most likely will come back within 5 years,” the doctor told my mother, who had recently been diagnosed with stage 4 Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It was the summer of 2004. Shock set in. Suddenly, her entire world came crashing down on her. Please, God. Please just let me see my children graduate from high school, she pleaded. Spirit, it turned out, answered her prayers after all…
My mother and her soul sister Stephanie were at the Gathering of the Shamans weekend conference in Jenks Lake in the San Bernardino National Forest of southern California. This was during the beginning of my mom’s chemo treatments when she was feeling strong enough to drive herself to the conference. Shortly after arriving, she progressively got sicker and her hair started to fall out in huge clumps. The shamans at the conference spotted my mother immediately and word got out that she was very ill.
Moments later, a group of shamans gathered in cabin 8 to conduct a healing on my mother, who was instructed to lie on her back, face up on a floor mat. Stephanie and the different shamans positioned themselves around my mother. Although the shaman named Deena led the healing, each healer had a crucial part to play, just as each individual musician has his or her own important part to play in an orchestra. Deena asked Stephanie to focus on thoughts of healing and love.
“I did not judge any of my thoughts. I let the tears flow throughout the majority of her healing,” Stephanie recalls.
Deena sweetly held my mother’s head in her hands and Richard, the white haired healer, worked on her right side near her chest and stomach. The healer Elaine was across from him while the other Richard, the healer with the long, dark hair, worked on my mother’s left side and placed his hands on my mother’s stomach and leg. Then the healer Vance held her right leg and stomach. During this time, Stephanie was sitting in the back by my mother’s right foot, meditating and calling on her spirit guides as well as my mother’s guides for help.
The healers worked and worked, moving energy throughout her body. The cancer-causing energy was being gathered in one area and would then be released from her lower stomach. The movements of the healers slowed down and the group initiated a meditation session over my mother. When they found the core location of my mother’s disease, they attacked the area like warriors. Vance used his hand and a small pipe that spewed red smoke. He stood up and shot out puffs of smoke all along my mother’s body, starting from her head, then neck, then chest, then stomach, then legs, and ended at her feet. Subsequently, Vance and Richard Long Hair harnessed the harmful energy, removed it from out of her body, and released it from the room.
In that same moment, thunder erupted and lightning struck outside. The entire room lit up from the lightning’s reflection. It was as if Spirit had recognized the release of bad energy from my mother’s body into the Cosmos and was signaling to the healers that the negative energy had successfully left. “There must have been sparks flying outside on the roof,” Stephanie told me, remarking on the powerful mass of energy that was created by this group of indigenous medicine men and women.
Outside the cabin, a light show of energy masses, spirits, and angels would have been visible to someone with gifted eyes. At this time, the San Bernardino mountain region had been experiencing a 7-year drought. Interestingly enough, it rained nowhere else in the region except where the conference took place in the isolated area of Jenks Lake.
Richard White Hair played a note on his horn and the sacred chanting began. He placed his horn by my mother’s heart and stomach and produced a sound that made her whole body vibrate. My mother started to feel the energy shift again and in response, she moaned and trembled. Her stomach quivered and her breathing became deep. Next, Richard White Hair stood over my mom with beads in his hands. Vance motioned with the intention of opening her stomach. They traced a straight line across her stomach as the group continued to chant. Richard White Hair led the chanting with the tones he played on his horn.
“My crying ended and I felt the energy leave her body,” Stephanie recollects.
They closed the “cut” that Vance and Richard White Hair had made in my mother’s stomach with holy water. Deena used the blessed water first, and then she sprinkled my mother, Stephanie, and all of the healers with it. Stephanie asked Deena if she could wash my mom’s feet. The shaman smiled warmly and said, “of course.”
After the holy water was passed around, the healers assumed their original places around my mom, who opened her eyes and said,
“Spirit gave me a new name!”
This humorous yet strong name was “Iron Lip” because my mom mentioned how her lip had felt numb and heavy, like iron, during the end of her healing experience. Everyone in the room hugged one another and blessed what had taken place. Stephanie smiled at my mom and said,
“Excellent adventure, Vicki!”
Little did my poor mother realize that she was about to go on another “excellent” adventure. The next day at the conference, my mother was feeling the worst she had ever felt. After lunch — one that she doesn’t remember eating — she exited the cafeteria feeling very disoriented and started to walk around aimlessly.
She walked past a group of indigenous elders when one of the elders yelled, “Sit down! Stop walking around! There is a prayer going on right now!”
My mother was so delirious and sick that she was completely unaware of the prayer being recited by a Native American close by. At this point, the only thing my mother really wanted — and needed — to do was to go home. That’s when Mandaza noticed her and sent one of the shaman after her. This shaman told my mother that she would have a private healing session with Mandaza Kandemwa — the African shaman, healer and peacemaker from Zimbabwe — at that very moment. Cranky and exhausted, my mother followed the shaman against her will to Mandaza. She then followed Mandaza himself out to an area by a shallow pool where she would be cleansed in 3 feet of cold rainwater.
The first thing Mandaza asked my mother was about her dreams. She snapped at him,
“I don’t dream and when I do, they are stupid dreams!”
To this, the African medicine man simply replied, “Jesus didn’t run away from his pain.” To this day, my mom explains to me how much of a profound impact these words made on her. She will never forget them.
Following their very brief conversation, Mandaza had his assistants cleanse my mother in the shallow holy water, like a baptism. The African healer believed that the water spirits possessed the power to heal my mother.
My mother recalled her story to me: “I was being dunked into freezing cold water, which was the last thing on earth I should have been doing. I wasn’t supposed to be in cold water or around people because the cancer made me very susceptible to germs.” She continued: “When you have an audience with someone as spiritually evolved as someone like the Dalai Lama, you want to get the most out of it, but because I was so sick, I don’t think I got the most out of my healing with Mandaza.”
“I was just pure and raw and vulnerable and sick.”
When my mom arrived home, she noticed a big dark spot the size of a tennis ball on her stomach, but dismissed it as a bruise. Weeks past and the mark remained on her body. At this point, my mother knew the mark couldn’t be a bruise because black and blue marks do not last that long. It wasn’t until about five months later, after her last chemo treatment in the spring of 2005, when the mark mysteriously disappeared.
When my mother tells this story today, she says she believes the group of healers caused the mark when they began to work vigorously on that particular spot of her body. She truly believes that the healing she received at the Gathering of the Shamans conference is a big part of the reason why she is cancer-free and alive today. What she did get out of her healing experience with the shamans and Mandaza was profound and life-changing. For as long as she lives, she will never forget his words:
“Jesus didn’t run away from his pain.”
September 25, 2020 ~ Happy birthday Vicki, aka Iron Lip! Here’s to 15 and a half years of remission! We celebrate your vivacious, vibrant spirit today and every day and honor the Libra spiritual warrior you are! You are so cherished and loved. ❤
Written by Vicki’s daughter, Chiara
Special thanks to Vicki’s soul sister Stephanie for helping us remember and share this special story.