Bradford Keeney is an internationally known scholar, therapist, and author of more than 30 books including Shaking Medicine and Shamanic Christianity, which won an award from Spirituality & Practice as one of the Best Spiritual Books of 2006. On the first page of this robust and frolicsome work, he tells us two things that shake us up: Number One: "I own a drum that has been observed to fly." Number Two: He defines mojo as meaning that good things happen to you: "It signifies the complex mystery behind experiential transformation, whether pursued for reasons of health, wealth, freedom, relationship, spiritual wisdom, inspiration, or happiness." Got that?
Keeney knows about magical objects and mojo because he has been initiated into the mysteries by the Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert in Africa and spiritual leaders of other indigenous tribes around the world. In Louisiana, one of his colleagues regards him as a therapist who works with the help of spirit, whether the creative spirit or the Holy Spirit. Keeney wants us to wake up to our own mojo and to tap into this energy for healing, growth, and making meaning. This path can open our heart, lighten us up, make us more playful, and send us on our way rejoicing. Sounds pretty good, doesn't it?
Keeney shares stories about his Inuit flying drum, his wooden doll that dances, his Native American vanishing clay pot, his mystical drawings from Bali, a Guarani wand, and a therapy pillow. All have become his co-therapist. These sacred objects have helped him counsel a child mourning the death of a loved one, a woman living with cancer, and a seriously troubled young man. The author also examines other resources that have proved helpful in his work with people. He appreciates the Kabbalistic text The Zohar for its revelations about the miracles that can happen when opposites are brought together. He finds creative workplay very useful: "I recalled how Moses Cordovero, one of the early Kabbalistic teachers, believed that words could bring something to life. Like a magical incantation, some words have mojo that helps bring forth magical outcomes. Sleeping on a letter is a transformative practice I use with clients — it attempts to birth life into a letter, paradoxically doing so by using a letter to birth life."
Throughout the book, Keeney presents spiritual exercises to try and soul-stirring quotations in black to digest. Mojo fights fear, worry, and anger but we can learn from these emotions as well: "See every entry into the darkest nights as a moment that can kick open a very important mojo door." Mojo also stirs us to improvise as much as possible and not to get stuck in a rut of habitual behavior. Finally, "mojo inspires us to be creative, and that, in turn, fills us with the mystery of being fully alive."
Thank you, Bradford Keeney, for your magical mystery tour and for all the wisdom and delight you have brought to us from your indigenous brothers and sisters all over the globe!