Curandera is the Latin American name for a traditional native healer, specifically a female medicine woman whose life is dedicated to remedies for mental, emotional, physical and spiritual illnesses using the gifts of the plant, animal, stone, human and spiritual worlds. Curandera is a female shaman who shares her own gifts, skills and experiential knowledge with others to initiate their healing.
I often use 'experiential knowledge' to describe one of the many aspects of my professional practice, and I've used it here to describe one of the healing methods of the Curandera, but what is 'experiential knowledge'? Simply put, it is our life experiences, the sharing of our stories. Curandera shares the wisdom she has gleaned from her own life lessons, those borne from her personal experiences and her life purpose. Wisdom gained from her travels in the physical world and to the spiritual realms. Wisdom gifted from her revelations in the light and her discoveries in the depths of darkness; from her own pain and from the healing of the pain of others. Curandera always speaks from a place of love, whether her stories are hers alone, those gifted by others or from her own spiritual guides and teachers.
Sharing Our Stories
I was reminded many times this week of the importance of sharing our stories. We have all experienced adversity, pain and trauma and an important part of my role is to bear witness to my clients' stories, offering a sacred space where the pain can be expressed and shared so that healing can begin. One of my clients, Freda*, was the catalyst for my writing this post but it is inspired by the incredible stories and personal strength of all of my clients.
Freda had a near death experience during a common medical procedure. She was physically present, feeling the unimaginable pain that robbed her of her breath, seeing and feeling the damage her body had sustained. During all of this, she was sharply aware of the chaos that surrounded her; the fear on the faces of the medical professionals who tended her and the panic and hysteria from those who love her. She had talked of her experience afterwards but those who were present with her at the time could no longer hear her story; it was too painful for them to return there.
During her healing ceremony, Freda began to see her own experience from the perspective of those who were in the hospital room with her at the time and began to feel upset by this. While she had been sharing her story of what had happened to her, those who were by her side felt that they could not share theirs and so Freda's own story was incomplete. During the ceremony, Freda was able to see and feel their stories from their perspective which helped her to fully understand her own, emotionally and spiritually.
The Love In Our Stories
While in the months that followed Freda's traumatic experience where she had begun to try to mentally process what had happened to her, this could not quite begin the process of healing. This was because Freda's physical body had retained the emotional memory of the trauma and her body was unable to release the pain and terror she had been through. During her ceremony, the part of her body which had suffered the greatest physical pain and trauma began to spiritually scream, howl and weep, releasing its tears into the Earth. The Earth Mother is the most loving and giving of nurturers and has the ability to not only take our pain from us but also to transmute it into light. An incredible spiritual composting, if you like.
Freda's ability to see her story from the perspective of her loved ones allowed her to begin the process of completing her own. Freda's story is ongoing and she wants to share it with others. To share our stories with others, if and when we are ready, is a deep act of love for ourselves, and for others too. Your stories belong to you, and only you. They are unique to you and no one can take them away from you. Stories are the essence of life. Stories connect us and help us to understand ourselves and each other. Stories have the ability to heal. Stories are the light that shines from our wounds so that we may accept, embrace and love the scars that follow.
Freda kindly gave her permission for this blog post to be public. She is happy for me to share some of her story with you and, in the future, hopes to write her own story to share with others. I hope that sharing her healing experience with you offers you the courage and love to embrace your own story.
*Freda is a pseudonym.
This post is intended for information purposes only and not medical advice - please visit the terms page for more details . Please seek advice from a medical professional if you are unwell.
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