Bradford Keeney is a renowned traditional healer, spiritual teacher, musician, and scholar. His fieldwork with the Kalahari Bushmen ( San) in Namibia and Botswana began more than two decades ago. He is the author of many books, including Shaking Medicine: The Healing Power of Ecstatic Movement. He is profiled in S&P's Living Spiritual Teachers Project.
Hillary Keeney is a traditional healer, spiritual teacher, dancer, scholar and associate editor of Dance, Movement, and Spirituality. Together the Keeneys cofounded the Keeney Institute for Healing.
The Kalahari Bushmen are one of the oldest continuous cultures on earth. This wisdom resource contains commentary by the Keeneys to supplement these people's essential teachings as told by the tribal elders. It has been translated by Besa Boo, a Bushman. In a welcome note, the elders say:
"As the elder teachers of the oldest living culture on earth, the Ju'lhoan Bushman (San) people, we hold the most enduring traditional wisdom concerning healing and spiritual experience. This book is a testimony of our ecstatic ways. Beesa Boo has carefully translated our words and we accept the word changes and comments that Brad and Hillary Keeney have made to help others more readily comprehend our teachings. The preparation of this document has taken several decades. We happily share our basic teachings about spirituality and healing with those whose hearts are sincerely open."
The Keeneys explain that the Bushmen path eschews a religious emphasis on thinking and belief: instead it puts the emphasis on a direct experience of the Sky God whose mysteries are received with joy and deep respect. Hearts that are open and soft are pierced by n|om, the subtle life force. "These arrows, thorns, and nails of God's love awaken new spiritual senses and the expression of ecstasy through trembling dance and pulsating song."
Wisdom and healing gifts come with a vision of God's ostrich egg enabling communion with God and the development of mystical insights. The elders also share tribal legends, specific rituals and ceremonies (such as puberty rites for boys and girls), teaching stories, encounters with animals, and the origins of their dances.
We especially liked the chapter on "The Ideal Bushman Life" which includes this advice: "Please remember that one of the best ways of using words is to make each other laugh. . . . Language should serve teasing and telling funny stories. Let dancing and shaking rather than words express the most important truths." Bradford Keeney makes good use of his "rope to God" which gives him direct communication to the Divine. He and Boo also share a "Dictionary of the Jul'hoan Religion: Words Used by the N|om-kxaosi.