The Healer Comes – Let Us Summon Each Other
by Frederick B. Hudson
A junior high school boy poured over the copies of National Geographic. Not fixed just on the bare-breasted women in native climes, he reflected on the relationship with their environment that marked their lifestyle-they grew and harvested their food, they built their homes, and most importantly, they cured their sick.
This anthropological observation was the seed that sparked the tree of life that Dr. Kamau Bandele Kokoyi M.D. has climbed for more than twenty years to serve humankind with consciousness coupled with concern. The branches of the tree stretch to China, India, Japan, and Africa. The roots are watered from divination, acupuncture, homeopathy, herbalism, chiropractice, kinesiology, nutritional therapies, and mother wit.
Named Leon Williams by parents in Roosevelt, New York, Dr. Kokoyi displayed early intellectual gifts which resulted in his selection to attend a special high school in East Meadow, New York which allowed the youth to develop independent study projects in science and engineering. After graduation, he was admitted to Cornell University where after one year he was designated a college scholar-a status which let him design his own course of study under the guidance of mentors who included a Nobel Prize winner.
Seeking information about his black history, he concentrated much of his attention upon black studies, but also took enough science courses to garner admission to Harvard and Yale Medical Schools. He also was offered a full scholarship to Duke Law School, but because of the ongoing Watergate hearings which conjured up an image of the manipulative lawyer, he decided to pursue medicine with the goal of becoming a healer.
Choosing Yale Medical School in 1977, Dr. Kokayi was quickly disillusioned with the limited view manifested in the curriculum. Disgruntled with his studies school because of he sensed a culture of racism there that underlies all mainstream institutions and felt that all the answers to health and healing were not to be found in U.S. medical schools. He found that the approach to medicine of the curriculum was oriented to the very narrow Western view of the human body as a mechanistic device with no spiritual essence that needed concerns. He considered going to Cuba for exposure to their approach towards medicine.
The doctor in training was concerned with the study of blockages of energies that existed in patients and saw the role of the healer in part at least as catalyst in releasing the blockages to reestablish equilibrium or at least the best possible functioning of the human organism.
In the middle of his third year at Yale, he left school, moved to Harlem, and began traditional African Priesthood training at the Ausar Auset Society. This society recognizes that Africa’s peoples have developed many such rituals to deal with a variety of difficult conditions. These challenges include bodily affliction and dying; social conflict; the seemingly arbitrary destructive forces of nature; an individual’s uncertainty, ignorance, and moral perplexity in making decisions that will affect his or her future or that of an entire community. Members use rituals of divination to discover a context of meaning for their lives and, sometimes, to discern a personal destiny.
Whatever the form, all divinatory practices reveal the human quest for a larger context of meaning, a means by which to understand and respond to the many faces of suffering and uncertainty. Inherent in all these practices is the assumption-or faith-that the world order in its totality is, could, and should be a meaningful cosmos.
Dr. Kokoyi witnessed many phenomena during his eleven years of study at the Ausar Auset Society that could not be explained through “rational means.” For instance, his own wife was having problems conceiving their first child and they consulted a healer who was in a trance state. She told them that their first child had been conceived and she was correct!
Kokoyi returned to Yale after one year and graduated with his M.D. in May 1982. However his concern with building a model of health that included the patient as central to taking control over his or her own health has lead him to study health and spiritual disciplines from all over the world.
Among these disciplines is homeopathy-a branch of medicine which uses minute substances to treat difficult illnesses that mimic the medicine’s effects. “You use life to cure life,” the doctor notes. He had occasion to help a patient who had violent hives on her body. After talking to her and receiving her energies, he realized there was violence in her dreams-but not in her life. She spoke of dreams with snakes imperiling her. He prescribed a homeopathic substance which contained a small essence from a snake. The patient soon recounted a dream of having snakes move away from her and the hives disappeared.
These instances contain lessons from healing traditions from all around the world. But Dr. Kokoyi is very concerned that African medicine is not being acknowledged in the pantheon of wisdom. But that will soon change with his efforts to finish postproduction of a film he produced in 2000 with funding help from the Reginald Lewis Foundation among other sources. He filmed healing methods in four African countries.
After he was in practice he found himself telling some of his own children’s classes what medicine really was supposed to be. He explained to the youngsters that in his view that health has at least four dimensions. The first is the biochemical that deals with the pharmaceutical remedies relied upon by most medical personnel-this aspect also includes herbal remedies. The second is the biomechanical which assays the skeletal, muscular, and internal organ functions. The third is the bioenergetic which studies the energies dispensed by the unique person. The fourth is the spiritual which concerns both the individual’s conscious level and its relationship to not only a universal consciousness but that of ancestors and noncorporal beings.
He stresses “we have to establish links with African cultures. Culture implies a way of dealing with life. People in Africa know which herbs to use. Dr. George Washington Carver said he talked to the peanut. This gave him the many uses he designed for it. In the Caribbean people also talk to the plants. But the more people are urbanized the more they rely on pharmaceuticals. There is a technology in Africa that teaches you how to communicate with every living thing. We need to get back to this.”
To strive towards this goal he left New York for Mozambique on the 29th of June to sponsor the first professional medical conference that will include traditional healers and mainstream doctors, within the Church system of hospitals.
He sees potential healers in many of his patients-a marked departure from Western medical personnel who seek to control patients’ knowledge of their and others’ medical conditions and consequences. He recently began a weekly radio program, Global Medicine Review, which shares his and other holistic healers techniques all over the world on the WBAI radio station. This station is webcast on the internet so listeners all over the globe have access to this information at www.wbai.org. on Wednesdays at 10 a.m.
Dr. Kokoyi notes that his name, an amalgam of three African languages means “quiet warrior born away from home-summon the people.” To summon him, e-mail at email@example.com. And may the spirits of the ancestors be with you!