November 2023 Part II: Interview with Onye Onyemaechi plus Middle East Peace
I believe wild animals are, in a way, wiser than human beings. They are in tune with the Earth and understand how to listen to the Earth…
Back in the 1980’s, I wanted to see how this spiritual energy works with complementary healing methods. I studied Polarity Therapy, a synthesis of different healing modalities. Dr. Randolph Stone founded this system, combining Indian techniques, diet, and balance of hands to balance one’s polarities. A Holistic Expo was held in Boston. I was training as a Polarity practitioner. We took turns to demonstrate on people. While doing that, a young woman watched me work on many people. Finally, she asked, “Do you have the time to work with me? Would you be interested in coming to Europe? My husband and I are psychotherapists and work with people to understand the knowledge of natural ways in Switzerland.”
So, I started in Switzerland and have been going to Europe for 37 years. People like what they experience; they organize for individuals and groups to come and see me. Often, I offer a variety of workshops and ceremonies, such as Healing Fire Ceremonies and Healing drumming, for instance. I combine African drums, Christian spirituality, and your belief system to encourage optimum health, and family and communal transformation.
Conducting a workshop is important because it allows the individuals and group to learn, grow, mature, find self-realization, heal, and discover a renewed healthy lifestyle. We can achieve this transformation in multifaceted ways, through prayers, dance to drumming, music, or even personal or group retreats to evaluate the meanings of life and coexistence. We can work with the elements of nature, such as the earth, wind, fire, water, and ether, to address specific fundamental human issues, such as finding inner peace, joy, and happiness.
When you are engaged in an intensive time of drumming, dancing, and prayer, you enter unchartered territory that helps you to relax, surrender, and expect the unknown to welcome your soul to the renewed manifestation of God’s glory and praise.
The supernatural power will manifest everything you want to eliminate and everything you want to put together. The Holy Spirit and the Grace of God conduct healing, teach, reveal, and prophesy. Every group I lead has a different experience. For example, a group might spend a weekend for a Fire Ceremony. First, we prepare our understanding of healing and forgiveness. We put it into perspective. All the things you want to get rid of and all the things you’d like to put together will be exorcised in the Fire Ceremony.
This group began the Ceremony at midnight. When the fire’s lit, we started the Ceremony prayer. The spirit of Fire came in and everyone went into trance. The Fire acknowledged their healing, and when it was done, they all woke up and wondered what had transpired. Sometimes, if the spirit appears in the fire, it’s better they go into trance which protects them from too much energy.
Most issues arise when people don’t know how to release their past. They have to work it out, leave it, and be free. They may even bring it from birth for the rest of their life.
Repentance is a negative word for many, but it can draw you closer to your God for closure. To apologize, you have to mean it! To forgive, you have to mean it! It takes time, but eventually, your prayers are granted unexpectedly. The body holds these past imprints until death. It doesn’t always go away until you are ready for a breakthrough from the distress, pain, and grief.
Onye continued, I have many guides as angels and the Holy Spirit who work with me in different ways, shapes, and forms. He then asked me, “Are you still angry with God?” I’m grateful for his question, as I had to look deeply into it.
Onye serves on the Board of a local non-profit, Peacetown Organization, founded by Jim Corbett, AKA Mr. Music! Its central goal is: “a place where peace lovers gather as a community to incubate and promote peaceful coexistence, kindness, love and joy.” To that end, they put on many local concerts throughout the summer. …It takes more than a village to unite and agree to peace. Peace is not an easy acquisition. It takes multitudes of conscious souls to acknowledge its elements and principles. Peacetown is here to stay no matter what happens. When people see something good happening, the opposite people want to extinguish it. We must promote the integrity of goodwill, harmony, peace, and love. But we have to feel it within ourselves first. To love one another, share kindness, celebrate our differences, and rejoice in the Lord with heart and soul.
We spent a lot more time in the forest than at home. We spent much more time in the forest than a modern child spends on a playground. Our playground was the forest where we were always in harmony with the plants, the animals, and especially the trees.
I believe wild animals are, in a way, wiser than human beings. They are in tune with the Earth and understand how to listen to the Earth to know how to survive. They know what to eat and where to go in different seasons. They know if there is going to be a big event like an earthquake or a tidal wave. They are very respectful of boundaries and sometimes they collaborate and cooperate with each other.
My Great Uncle Dey was a quiet man, but there was something about him that brought people to him — he was loved and respected by everyone who knew him. He was the most skilled sculptor and carver and prolific master of drum making in the village. He was a true artist. His depth of knowledge regarding nature — particularly his knowledge and love of trees — was extensive and comprehensive. He taught me to pray for the trees, and he would speak to his ancestors and pray before cutting a tree down to make a drum, furniture, or beautiful art for our homes.
Great Uncle Dey shared his deep reverence for nature with me, his sense of connectedness and understanding of the ways of every form of being — from the trees to the rocks, ponds, vines, insects, birds, and creatures of every kind — all of life was sacred to Great Uncle Dey.
I was a curious child. I would spend many hours just absorbing Dey’s wisdom. He could predict if a tree is diseased or healthy by touching, tasting the bark, and smelling it. If a tree was not well, he would pray for it to regain life force and to grow abundantly. Dey taught me to sense the magnetic field of the sound associated with the drum tree. Also, I can tell from the sound of the drum the origin of the tree it came from. I learned that every tree tells its story through spirit and the powerful sound of the drum.
What I learned, just by being with Uncle Dey, became very helpful when as a child I was allowed to directly experience the wisdom of nature, to be alone with all of the plants and trees and creatures that live in the tropical forest. This was an initiation into the discovery of our true relationship with Creation that was normally reserved for young men.
That morning I was awakened early from my sleep and told to dress and follow my elder into the forest. My friends and I often played in the forest, so I was happy to be there until I realized he had left and now I was alone. I became alert to every being, whether tree, plant, bird, reptile, or animal. At first, I was upset and cried, but as time went by, I began to wonder what to do. I was much further into the tropical forest than I had ever been. I was thirsty and sleepy. I watched the animals to see what they did. I noticed the monkeys went to drink water that pooled between the roots of a large tree. When I was so thirsty my tongue got fat in my throat, I kneeled at the foot of the tree and scooped up water with my hands.
I watched to see where the monkeys would sleep. I saw several monkeys high up in the tree so I climbed up until I found a comfortable wide limb. A lot of time passed, so that I no longer cried, thought about time, or wondered when someone would come to find me.
When I was hungry, I watched the animals, especially the monkeys, to see what they ate. I slept, held in the arms of the trees. I played with twigs and branches. I splashed water on my face. I prayed for the well-being of all the animals and plants I met, and, in time, with the rhythm of the tropical forest, I drummed.
The experience blessed me with inner strength, power, wisdom, patience, and endurance as well as the certain knowledge that I was one with life.
Meanwhile, back in our Village, my Father, Mother, Grandparents, Great Uncle Dey, and everyone else in the village danced and prayed for me, to keep me safe. Everyone expected me to return on my own when my initiation in the tropical forest was over.
Eventually, I found my way back to the village, and there was a big celebration! As this experience blessed me, as a child of the Village, it blessed the Village too. Through the strength of its growing children, life is renewed within the family and within the village.”
Middle East Peace
Two homelands, side by side, helping each other. Yes, there are thousands of Israelis and Palestinians actively working toward this. We all too rarely hear of them. Violence wins out in the Media, in the fear generated in our hearts, and in the choices that have so predictably led to the present catastrophe since the State of Israel was founded in 1948.
It was founded in the aftermath of the Holocaust when Nazi Germany, often with the collusion of many in occupied European countries (not all!), sought to “eliminate” the Jewish people and “wipe them off the face of the Earth.” Do these phrases sound familiar?
The Dalai Lama, on a visit to California, addressed both Houses of the state government and talked about, as he often does, how real Peace begins with each of us and affects our families, communities, regions, countries, and the world.
Israeli and Palestinian political and military leaders have not taken this first step. For Israelis, it seems, one major obstacle has been and continues to be, dealing with the trauma induced by the Holocaust. Without this, the story cannot change from repeating scenarios and behaviors that not only don’t work but are so inhumane. Huda Buarquob, a remarkable Palestinian, who is Regional Director of the Alliance for Middle East (ALLMEP), a coalition of some 170 Palestinian and Israeli groups, in a 2021 interview suggests, in answer to the question, “What can Jews in America and elsewhere do?” that working with our Holocaust trauma is the most important step we can take. Huda has many nuggets of practical wisdom to offer that are even more relevant in the present situation. Here is the link to the Awakin Call interview:
ALLMEP’s website is: https://www.allmep.org
Some six years ago, I met Ali Abu Awaad, a West Bank Palestinian, at Ner Shalom synagogue in Cotati, California. He was there to share his story by invitation of the Interfaith Council of Sonoma County. I was very touched, and receive occasional emails from his organization Taghyeer (Change.) Here is an article in which Ali describes the current situation.
Taghyeer’s website is: https://www.taghyeerpal.ps
I found this conversation in the past week with Stephen Fulder, in Israel, and Tara Brach, in the USA, very, very human and holding hope amid strong and violent emotions that have, and are, pouring forth since October 7th. Stephen describes how he has been responding to the current events in “What is our Refuge in the Midst of Crisis?”
Here is the link: https://www.tarabrach.com/conversation-tara-brach-stephen-fulder/?cn-reloaded=1
I’d like to conclude with a call to recognize that we can all work with our personal, ancestral, and collective trauma to create more breathing space for our world. A glance at European history in the colonization of North and South America, Australia, Africa and elsewhere, and its present-day effects reveals the urgent need. Thomas Hübl and his team, have been presenting to anyone interested, a variety of programs that deal with these issues on all levels and deepen our compassion and understanding of the plight and suffering in so many parts of the world. And of course, we need prayer, prayer, and more prayers for our beloved Earth and all her beings.
I attended a Grief and Healing Circle at Ner Shalom on Sunday, October 14th in which each person voiced their feelings, and everyone else responded, “I have heard.” Here is a poem by Reb Irwin who leads this community.
by Rabbi Irwin Keller
Today I am taking sides.
I am taking the side of Peace.
Peace, which I will not abandon
even when its voice is drowned out
by hurt and hatred,
bitterness of loss,
cries of right and wrong.
I am taking the side of Peace
whose name has barely been spoken
in this winnerless war.
I will hold Peace in my arms,
and share my body’s breath,
lest Peace be added
to the body count.
I will call for de-escalation
even when I want nothing more
than to get even.
I will do it
in the service of Peace.
I will make a clearing
in the overgrown
thicket of cause and effect
so Peace can breathe
for a minute
and reach for the sky.
I will do what I must
to save the life of Peace.
I will breathe through tears.
I will swallow pride.
I will bite my tongue.
I will offer love
without testing for deservingness.
So don’t ask me to wave a flag today
unless it is the flag of Peace.
Don’t ask me to sing an anthem
unless it is a song of Peace.
Don’t ask me to take sides
unless it is the side of Peace.
A timely reminder of the essence of everything is in this 12-minute podcast by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee on “Love and Prayer” shared as part of “Stories for a Living Future.”
In this powerful talk by Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee, “Stepping into the Liminal,” (September 5, 2023) we are invited to find our way into new ways of being, and to offer ourselves in this space between the worlds that demands our attention and has no known rules. https://emergencemagazine.org/podcast/
Report on the Mamos Puja
Diane Barker sent this message from India.
I’d like to thank everyone who contributed support (love, prayers, funds) to the Mamos Puja.
The third and final day on Monday was extraordinary – the energy building up palpably, and loudly, with drums, gyalings, thigh bone trumpets, conch shells, and chanting……phew….then the tormas (Palden Lhamo, as Queen of the Mamos, and others) were finally carried out for final prayers and to be burned.
At precisely the moment of lighting the fire, there was a sudden wind, thunder, and lightning, and then a rain storm – plus a rainbow – which Choegyl Rinpoche and the Lamas were delighted with as very auspicious signs – very wrathful and in tune with Palden Lhamo. The Lamas and I got thoroughly soaked and finished the puja in the temple dripping – while Lama Jangchub (armed with an umbrella) video-ed the big fire. He promises to put the videos on Facebook so that I can share them on my page.
Choegyal Rinpoche afterwards declared the puja very powerful and said Palden Lhamo was very happy. It really was an extraordinary time and I am sure that the loving and prayerful focus of everyone in the group and elsewhere strongly contributed. Thank you all so much. Our world needs so very much love right now.
With much love,