Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Good Medicine

My great grandmother, Albinita Mares

On Sunday, I went to my friend Karen's home to meet Russell FourEagles, an Indian medicine man. Russell lives in Wisconsin but travels to California a handful of times a year for healings. I had never met a medicine man before but I had heard that his work was miraculous. I wanted to experience it and see what he had to offer. 

A slight man, dressed in shorts, a t-shirt and a bandana tied around his head, Russell burned sage and waved it around me with a fan made of feathers. After I settled onto a long table, not unlike a massage table, he began waving a hand up and down the length of my body, not touching me. One of his first questions for me was, "What nation are you from?" 

"Mescalero Apache," I answered.

"I could tell from your DNA," he said. 

We were off to a good start. My great grandmother, Albinita was Mescalero. An orphan, she was raised by the Indians at San Miguel Mission in New Mexico. Albinita had nine children. One of them was my paternal grandfather, Nelson. I wondered if she had ever visited a medicine man.

I was grateful that I wasn't bringing any ailments with me to the healing. I told him that I was just checking in for a tune-up. He confirmed that I was doing well. 

"And you're good. Why are you doing so good?" he said.

"Because I'm happy."

He said that I was happy now but there were times when I was extremely unhappy. I agreed. He explained to me about the "heart box," an area in the center of our chest where we carry pain and disappointment. He talked me through the steps of a fire ceremony for cleaning out my heart box; this was homework that I would do by myself, later.

He asked how I was with alcohol. I told him that I was great with it since I stopped drinking it twenty-six years ago. He asked how I was before I stopped. I told him that I was a mess. We talked about how people of Native American descent are genetically at a disadvantage when it comes to metabolizing sugar and alcohol. His hand never stopped moving back and forth.

I told him that I had been eating raw vegan lately. 

"That's good. You know the Indians have a term for 'vegan.'"

"What's that?" I said.

"Bad Hunter."

We talked about Indian history. He told me the story of how his Oneida grandfather came to the United States from Canada. He told me that he thought it was funny that people called what he did "alternative medicine" because what he does has been around so much longer than western medicine, he thought of western as the real "alternative."

I have friends who met Russell and were sent home with lists of herbs and teas to take for various ailments. Some were told to call him so that he could do further healings with them over the phone. This modern medicine man uses a cell phone as one of his healing tools. 

If you'd like to learn more about Russell FourEagles, and see him at work, you can go to this Kickstarter site where a pair of film makers are working on a documentary about him. 

Until tomorrow,
- Lisa "Bad Hunter" Rosenberg


  1. As someone who has seen a shaman regularly, I imagine you're feeling exceptionally well-balanced and clear right now. Good for you!

    Side note: "Bad Hunter" would also be an excellent title for a Bon Jovi song, so - bonus!


  2. Your happy is my favorite part about you.

  3. Would this be the San Miguel Mission in Socorro?
    Tracey in NM, Socorro to be exact :)

    1. Hi Tracey - I've never been clear if it was the mission in Socorro or the one in Santa Fe. Ultimately she ended up living most of her life in Puerto de Luna.

  4. All very wise people are from Wisconsin....

  5. If he'd asked me what nation I was from I'd have to have replied, "Gelson's."

    ~ Expensive Hunter
    (great and beautiful piece btw)

  6. This was to the point of tears lovely.