Way of the Bushman: Spiritual Teachings and Practices of the Kalahari Ju/'hoansi

Way of the Bushman: Spiritual Teachings and Practices of the Kalahari Ju/'hoansi


$16.69 $18.00 Save 7% Current price is $16.69, Original price is $18. You Save 7%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Wednesday, November 20


The first comprehensive presentation of the core teachings of the Kalahari Bushmen as told by the Tribal Elders

• Reveals how the Bushmen are able to receive direct transmissions of God’s love for healing and spiritual transformation

• Explores tribal legends and teaching tales, the importance of dreams and animals, and the origins of their dances, rituals, and ceremonies

Step into the imaginative realm of one of the oldest continuous cultures on Earth, the Kalahari Ju/’hoansi Bushmen. Translated by Beesa Boo, a Bushman, and interspersed with detailed commentary from Bradford and Hillary Keeney, this book presents the core teachings of the Kalahari Bushmen as told by the tribal elders themselves. Decades in the making, it constitutes the first comprehensive work on the world’s oldest tradition of healing and spiritual experience.

Told in their own words, these teachings reveal how the Bushmen are able to receive direct transmissions of God’s love in the form of the universal life force, n/om. The individuals who are filled with this force describe it as an awakened, energized feeling of love that inspires a spontaneous and heightened ecstatic awareness that opens mystical perception. Having your heart transfixed by this force enables true healing and spiritual growth to occur. Experiencing the force in your entire being, through a vision of “God’s egg”, awakens deep spiritual wisdom and extraordinary healing gifts. Those who “own the egg” are blessed with the ability to have direct communication with the Divine, a “rope to God,” and can communicate with others for all “ropes” are connected.

Conveying the deep love that is the dominant emotion of Bushman spirituality, the book explores tribal legends and teaching tales, the importance of dreams and encounters with animals, the origins of their dances, such as the giraffe dance, and specific rituals and ceremonies, including puberty rites for boys and girls.

“As the elder teachers of the Ju’/hoan Bushman (San) people, we hold the most enduring traditional wisdom concerning healing and spiritual experience. This book is a testimony of our ecstatic ways. We happily share our basic teachings about spirituality and healing with those whose hearts are sincerely open.”

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781591432050
Publisher: Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
Publication date: 05/29/2015
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 584,727
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Bradford Keeney, Ph.D., 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 Bushman Shaman and Shaking Medicine. Hillary Keeney, Ph.D., 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.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 2
Receiving N/om

The first station of being in relationship with n/om—God’s love, the source of the universal life force—is called n!aroh-//xam. It is where an owner of n/om, a n/om-kxao, first starts learning about n/om. It’s like he or she is in the first grade of n/om school. Here there is often a lot of fear.

If a healer sincerely stays with n/om and remains soft with an open mind and heart, he will be wonderfully transformed. His focus on power will disappear, and if he has the courage to not run away he will be reborn into a different feeling. This is when the heart rises. At this n/om station we feel the suffering of others and feel sad for them, as we want to help them so much that our heart starts to open even more than we thought possible. When we feel this way for other people, our fear goes away. This is when our dance turns in to the stomping movement of an awakened healer. This movement helps us not fall over as n/om gets stronger and each stomp on the ground sends more vibrations into the body. When healers stomp together in a dance we say that they are all walking on the same rope, helping each other climb the rope to God.

As we go from the beginning stage of being an owner of n/om, a n!aroh-//xam, to the second station of handling n/om, g!a’aman! ausi, we no longer want power. Beginning healers typically spend a lot of time at the first station as it takes time to learn how to raise the heart. Here the contradictions and paradoxes of transition must be understood, including giving up power to receive more power, giving up control as a means of gaining more control, using our voice more while finding that words are less able to come forth as music and auditory vibration become primary, and becoming emptier in order to become more full of n/om. The strongest and most experienced healers go straight to the second station, because their hearts rise very fast. In the beginning of your development as a n/om-kxao you shout and are angry at the ancestors and trickster gods; this ceases at the next station. Our feelings change, and this alters our relationship with the ancestors. Some of them will now follow and help us. This is when it is possible to heal by pulling out the sickness. At this stage, a n/omkxao is called a !aaiha.

The third station for a n/om-kxao is where we feel that we can give a nail of n/om. Here God uses our hands to transmit nails. This is a high level of working with n/om. We call it thara n/om. This is how we help someone become a healer or empower another healer. When a n/om-kxao advances to this station, he is called a tco-kxao. Here we find that we can heal someone by transmitting a clean nail rather than solely pulling out sickness or a dirty nail. This is when healing has no pain. We have moved from power to love, effortlessly enabling us to address problems and suffering more directly with healing n/om.

The dance steps are different for each station of handling n/om. In the beginning the healer must exert effort to dance. When the dance gets hot with n/om, the singing and clapping effortlessly move the dancer. Sometimes they make our steps very fast. When there is little singing our legs get weak and we are barely able to dance. N/om cannot get hot without enthusiastic n/om singing. When the women sing for the men’s dance it can be said that the women get cooked first and transmit n/om to the men dancers who then are able to reciprocate by touching the women and giving them nails in return. N/om circulates throughout the community, and no one can say whether the singers, drummer, dancers, or healer is most responsible for waking up n/om and keeping it on the move. Everyone participates in the circulation of n/om. This is why healing must take place inside relationship and community.

Editors’ Commentary
The movement through the stations of n/om can occur during a single dance for seasoned n/om-kxaosi, transitioning through them in any order or remaining in one or several stages during most of the dance. A beginning n/om-kxao, however, will only be able to go in and out of the first sation of n/om during a given dance. It typically takes many dances to move forward into another station of handling n/om.

Many men and women become n/om-kxao, owners of the feeling for n/om (n!aroh-//xam), but only a few n/om-kxaosi learn to pull sickness (!hui) and become a pulling doctor, or !aaiha. Even fewer are able to transmit nails and arrows, a n/om-kao who is a tco-kxao. Finally, it is rare for anyone to be a fully cooked n/om-kao or “heart of the spears,” a g=aqba-nla'an.

Table of Contents

Pronunciation Guide

Editors’ Preface

Entering the World of the Ju|’hoansi


We Invite You to Dance with God: A Welcome from the Ju|’hoan Bushman Elders

Part One

Core Teachings

1 God’s Divine Egg

2 Getting Cooked by God

Receiving N|om

The Stations of N|om

Ropes to God

Transmitting N|om

Bushman Healers and Healing

N!o’an-ka|’ae: The Changing

First and Second Creation

Meeting the Ancestors

Kabis and the Classrooms

All of Creation Dances

N|om Songs

The Heart of the Spears

The Old Ways

The Ideal Bushman Life

Everyone Is Invited to Dance with God

Part Two

The Elders Speak: Remembrances

18 N!ae G≠kau

19 N!ae Kxao

20 Ti!’ae ≠Oma

21 |Ui N!a’an

22 ≠Oma Dahm

23 G|aq’o Kaqece

24 N!ani G|aq’o

25 Tci!xo !Ui

26 Kaqece |Kaece

27 |Ui Debe

28 Tcoq’a |Ui

29 |Xoan |Kun

30 |Kunta Boo


Dictionary of the Ju|’hoan Religion: Words Used by the N|om-kxaosi



Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews