Blood Root and a Raven
A friend of Stella’s, I’ll call her Kate, rescued an injured raven and was nursing it back to health. The raven was living in her home. Right around this time, Kate was having memory problems, headaches, and disorientation. She consulted the doctors and was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Being holistically oriented, she tried various herbs and cleanses to no avail. The symptoms worsened. Finally she decided to try a radical treatment called escharotic therapy.
Escharotic therapy, often used for cervical dysplasia, starts with putting a salve of blood root and other herbs over the tumor site. If you look it up on line, you will find stern warnings like this. Here is a description of the therapy from Wikipedia:
Other formulations include the four ingredients: red clover, galangal, sheep sorrel, and bloodroot, crushed into a paste using mortar and pestle. Pseudoscientific practitioners advise that this is applied sparingly to the affected area, and kept covered for 2–3 days, although this treatment has not been proven to work for any medical application or to be safe.
Back to Stella’s friend. She had tried putting the salve on her temples, but aside from a little exudate nothing much happened. She was going to give up, when the raven hopped up to her, looked at her for a few moments, then abruptly pecked a spot on her forehead with its beak, marking it with a divot. Kate felt no pain at all from the wound. Maybe that spot was special? She put the salve there and followed the procedure she had learned.
Within a few days, a hole had opened up on her forehead through which her body expelled the tumor. It was gross. Don’t ask me how it got through her skull. I have no scientifically polite explanation. But Kate is well now and her symptoms have vanished.
Let me tell you why I am sharing this. It isn’t to make an argument for the insufficiency of modern medicine, nor to encourage everyone to go out and try escharotic therapy. You know me—I would never tell anyone to do anything Wikipedia doesn’t say is OK, or believe anything Wikipedia says is untrue. I offer this story because of what it says about the future and what is possible.
Several people have written to me in the last few days from the pit of despair. From where they stand it all looks dark. I do not dispute the information they share about the WHO, the financial cartels, the intelligence agencies, and so forth. If the world worked as those entities imagine it does, as a struggle of force versus force, then all is indeed hopeless. We will never challenge their supremacy. Despair arises when their foundational worldview infiltrates our own. It arises when we grant their assumptions of how the world works, how change happens, who is powerful, and what is possible.
I have been re-reading Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings with my nine-year-old son, Cary. In the final volume, the Steward of Minas Tirith, Denethor, is revealed to have been using a Palantir, which is basically a crystal ball, to view scenes in far-off lands. What he sees fills him with despair. It turns out the Dark Lord, Sauron, wields influence over the Palantir. The wizard Gandalf explain that the seeing stone never lies. Not even Sauron can make it lie. But he can direct it to view certain things and not others, painting the world as much darker than it really is. Such is the effect of the Story of Separation. It obscures from us the sources of genuine hope.
I know, because having been born into the Story of Separation, those assumptions formed my inherited worldview. That is why a story of a raven guiding a medically impossible cure is so liberating. It frees the part of me that knows that life and possibility are bigger than I’d been told. It asks me, “When you succumb to despair and deny the possibility of a more beautiful world, what are you leaving out?” If healing a brain tumor with ravens and blood root is possible, what else is possible? What information must we deny in order to maintain the logic of despair?
The reader can freely choose what to make of this story, whether to believe or disbelieve it. Obviously, the words I write on this page prove nothing. I could be making up the story. Kate could be making up the story. Or the mass that exited her head might not have been a tumor at all. Maybe she was mentally unstable and imagined the whole thing, confabulating a story about a mysterious peck on the forehead and a tumor.
But this story does not stand alone. Most people I talk to have had at least one experience, usually many, that defies conventional explanation. We call those events miracles, which I define as something impossible from an old story and possible in a new one. Thus, miracles are also invitations to a new story. Accept that invitation, and broad new vistas of possibility open up. The old limitations become irrational. It is irrational to live your life and view the future as if they most marvelous events of your life never happened.
There is more to it than reason though. Let’s do a little experiment. Enter each of these two storylines in turn, paying attention to how they feel. Do not debate them or argue for them. Just accept each without question as you tune into their feeling-quality: (1) The raven peck was a coincidence, the woman is deranged, and there never was any cancer. Pause. Feel. OK, now (2) The raven sensed exactly where the salve needed to go, and the powerful herbs allowed the body to expel a malignant tumor.
You may hold a third story. My point isn’t to urge you to accept whichever one feels good (though in fact, I do suggest something along those lines—chose the one that most closely aligns with who you really are and what you wish to become). Here I just want to demonstrate that a story carries an emotional, physical, psychological, and magical charge. A story shifts the human being and it shifts the reality around us.
The choice of which story to stand in is also a choice of a state of being. To stand in a story of helpful birds and efficacious herbs has taken me years of healing, years of grace, years of futile striving, years of hide-and-seek with my self. I still don’t believe it all the way. Keep this in mind whenever you try to persuade someone of something. A new belief can only enter when the lodging is hospitable.
The hospitality isn’t only individual though, it is also social. As more people accept a new story, its field grows stronger and pulls yet more into its orbit. What took me decades of struggle is second nature to many in the next generation, requiring perhaps just an activation to take hold. The great change is underway. May it be so.
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Hey everyone, I'd like to add an invitation to share raven and crow stories here. Or stories about other birds too. When people speak of "saving the planet," do they include the birds? Can we do it without them?
I just want to hug you, Charles. Words don't express how wonderful it is of you to have written this story.