According to Barbara A. Holmes, author of Joy Unspeakable: Contemplative Practices of the Black Church, in the “olden days,” it was the legacy of the healers with the support of the community that made the ill well again. There would be the healer, somebody’s Aunt who collected the roots and herbs and made the teas to heal the physical disorder. But it was understood that the tea would only address the physical ailment and that sickness required healing of spiritual disorders as well.
There were prayers and intercessions, talk at the table and whispers at church. And since everyone knew when someone was sick, the healing process became the interest of all members of the community. Without doctors or medical insurance, it fell to the community to lavish a great deal of attention on the ailing person. This reminds me a lot of how much attention I received as a child when I was sick – mom leaning over me feeling my brow, dad coming in to sit on the end of the bed, siblings being hushed so I could rest. In both cases it was impossible to determine whether healing occurred because of medicinal effects or the care and concern of the community.
So, the handed down knowledge of the Aunt, the focus and intention of the community, and the chemistry of the medicine or tea all represent energy therapy to support the ailing. From the ancestors and nature come the medicine and from the community comes the vibration to bring together a healing outcome. This is powerful knowledge in a time where we pivot back and forth from Western medicine to alternative therapies in order to customize wellness for ourselves. It is so important to also have our needs known in the community and to receive the focus on renewed health from others. It’s in all our best interests for each of us to heal.