Growing up in Africa, my first shamanic experience was with a medicine man/shaman on the farm in Kenya, who said that my hands had healing power. Nthenge Ngubi was his name and he had a game leg and a young, beautiful wife. We would go to him if the rains were late, or a crop had some mysterious illness, or a baby was born with a strange growth.
But one day his wife came down with a fever and he came to me. I went to see her and went along the track towards the boys accommodation. It was a quieter night, only the hooting of an owl or the crash of a buffalo gave warning that there was anything else around. I came to a house with lights outside. She lay looking at the wall. I took her hands in mine. They felt hot. Hot and dry. She had a headache, she told me.
I didn’t know what to do. So I joined her, staring at the wall. After half-an-hour or more, she stirred. ‘What time is it?’ she said. I never knew her name. ‘Eight thirty,’ I replied. Whereupon she arose and went about her business!
What was it? I, aged fifteen at the time, had no idea. But whatever it was, it worked, and it set me along the path of healing.