By Edward Tsumele, CITYLIFE/ARTS Editor
When a few months ago, books publicist Janine Daniels casually mentioned to me that there was a book coming out this year about the life of a healer based in Cape Town, and whether I was interested in reviewing the book, without hesitation, I said yes. For a good number if reasons.
This is because I have a particular interest in the art and science of healing, the healing that happens the traditional way, practised by mainly, but not exclusively a successive generations of Africans as they healed the afflicted and the tormented in their communities.
I looked forward to this book also because of a personal interest in the subject of healing as a whole, but the type that uses the healing power of spirits or herbs, or a combination of both. For the longest of time, I always wondered what could have happened to the development of this kind of healing If, our ancestors had the literary knowledge and the ability that modern, Western trained doctors have, who are able to write books and articles about their art and science of healing, that they publish in books and peer reviewed journals.
This personal interest is connected to my own family history in relation to healing. When I was five or there about, I lived with my maternal grandmother who was a healer. She used a combination of spiritual sources to diagnose and to come up with a prognosis, mainly herbs needed to heal the afflicted. In XiTsonga, we call such people with the gift and calling of the calling on high spiritual powers to heal vane swikwembu –literally meaning they have spirits.
But a non-literal meaning is that they have God-spirits. And indeed my childhood memories of people who would come to my grandmother’s homestead, emaciated, extremely thin with life literally ebbing out of them, would a few weeks later, months, and even years, leave the homestead full of life and looking forward to a fulfilling life again. In appreciation, they always promised to come back.
And come they did, and they would shower my grandmother with various gifts, from cows to sheep, and even goats. I became a beneficiary of some of those gifts simply because she was my grandmother who adored me. Loved me. I however do not remember her charging for her services, but preferred that her customers pay her with whatever gifts they deemed fit. (I could however be wrong as I was too young to know what discussions were taking place behind the scenes. I therefore cannot say with absolute certainty, what was the nature of the transaction that took place between them).
That was my mother’s side of the family. But on my paternal side of the family, well, my clan, their healing gifts throughout history, is well documented. Mostly orally, passed from generation to generation. But yes, even in books (well, find the book with the totems and take note of the clan name of Mahlaule, Mapengo, Khovani). For example my late father Makhuva, was the last of his line who did not practice medicine beyond his rudimentary knowledge of a few herbs, and you can blame that on the “modernising” influence of Johannesburg where he spent most of his youth and young adult life working as a migrant worker. This I know because I lived in his life time. His father Xirhilele is said to have been a great healer. He is my grandfather.
Xirhilele’s father’s father, Tsumele, my great grandfather, whose name is today my surname, is said to have been even a greater healer at the services of humanity. Several generations of the Mahlaules before them, healed Africans in their communities afflicted by disease, way back before modern Western medicine was part of modern humanity.
Now back to the Cape Town based healer Heather Linn. It is because of this history and my background and proximity to the art and science of healing as a five year old child that I looked forward to reading her memoir No Gold without Dragon: Wisdom Teachings of a Quantum Healer, published by Sacred Dragon Publishing. The 356 page book with a recommended price tag of R420 is now available at bookstores as well as an e-book ISBN 978-1-7366793-9-5.
Listen to Heather Linn reading a short except from this book;
Once I landed my hands on my copy two weeks ago and starteted reading it, I was not disappointed. In this book, Linn, who just like my grandmother uses spiritual sources to heal the afflicted by way of diagnosis and proposing prognosis, just like we say in XiTsonga, une swikwembu –she has spirits that she refers to in the book as souls. It is through the guidance of these souls (among them Indigenous American, A Chinese doctor and Indigenous French) that she gets to see what is wrong with her patients and designs and implements the healing process. Unlike my grandmother though, she does not use herbs, but what she calls the ability to enter into her patient’s energy vibrational path to detect what it is that is afflicting her patients.
In No Gold without Dragon, Linn records study cases of several patients that came to her for healing who left happier and balanced. The stories are touching and even mind opening for those who probably doubt whether there is an alternative healing process other than the Western medicine practice. Of course Linn does not use the actual names of the patients-talk about patient to doctor confidentiality. However in the book, Linn is decent enough to open up about her healing process, and write quite knowledgeably and even in a decent literary style about her science and art of healing.
This is quite being brave on the author’s side. This is because this a subject that maybe because of the fear of the healing secrets being stolen by others is never spoken about openly. It might be also be because those who practised African traditional healing years gone by did not have the agency or the gift of writing their healing processes in per-reviewed books like Western medicine practitioners do today. It may also be because of the fact that the practice of healing is almost always practised and understood by several of the healers as a science and art deeply steeped in mysticism.
But it is probably exactly these reasons above that African traditional medicine practices have not developed to where they should be, and therefore becoming easy to dismiss as something that is not peer-reviewed and therefore unverifiable. It is therefore necessary that we have more of Linns from this growing branch of global healing to come out and write openly about their healing practices. This will assist in undermining the myths around African traditional healing practices as an art and science that has no role in modern societies.
No Gold without Dragon actually goes deeper than I have just tried to explain here, but because of my lack of vocabulary about this complex subject, I have limited myself to this lousy explanation about how she heals.
If you get the book, you will also read about her Dark Energy Intensive healing process where she came into sometimes bruising encounters with patients whose bodies had been taken over by what she call Earth Souls whose intention is to do harm the living. These are angry souls often sent by those who are either jealousy, angry or both, of a part6icular individual’s perceived success, and whose intention when they take over the body of the living is to inflict harm, even death.
Linn deals extensively, (even giving an example of a case of two Afrikaans speaking sisters in which one of the sisters is said to have been sending the Earth Soul to the other lawyer sister because of a family feud and jealousy) with this complex issue that many in African societies today strongly believe in – the issue of witchcraft.
Then the question perhaps becomes who is this Linn. Well, Linn, is a white woman, a South African, born in a privileged middle class family. Father Professor of classics. Mother a mathematics teacher. A former journalist, her turning point was when she was involved in a terrible accident aged 21 years, immediately after graduating in English literature. That accident was so bad that she says she saw her body separated from her soul and was in the middle of death and life.
She chose life instead of going the other side, which was tempting as the life felt better there, she says in the book. To cut a long story short, after this, experience and her choice to choose not to die, a number of things happened in her life –a precursor to her calling as a healer. For example seeing accidents happen before they actually do, a gift that alienated from some of her friends as the said in her company there was “bad luck”. All this happened while she was on a GAP year in Europe.
Linn then came back and practised as a journalist in Kwa-Zulu-Natal, before going back to Europe in the 80s, with her lover, Patrick, who is the father of her two new grown up sons. She came back with her family on the Cusp of democracy in South Africa in the early 90s, where she and her family made Cape Town their home.
Then the process of her calling started, initiating with and learning from several healers, energy healers and African traditional healers. Basically she apprenticed with so many healers to an extent where she felt comfortable to open her own practice and work full-time after leaving a job at a publishing company. She has not looked back. Today Linn is a sought-after healer in South Africa and globally, where she is well networked-with other communities of healers.
About the author
Heather Linn is a quantum healer and spiritual teacher. With a background in journalism, and a first career as a professional writer and editor, Heather qualified as a healer in 2008. She has a thriving healing practice in Cape Town and works online with clients worldwide. She is the founder of the Emerald Wisdom School, through which she offers a range of online courses and webinars on energy-related topics. For more information go to www.emeraldwisdomschool.com
Heather holds a Bachelor of Arts honours degree in English Literature (cum laude) from the University of Natal, and a master’s degree in Development Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. She has also trained extensively in the healing arts in South Africa, the United States and the United Kingdom, and is an accredited healer with the British Alliance of Healing Associations. Heather lives in Cape Town, South Africa.
After reading her book, well it made me think deeply, how far the traditional African healing profession could have gone If like- Western medicine practice, these alternative healers, wrote peer-reviewed books for public consumption. More importantly, the book made me think about my late grandmother’s healing practice and those people I witnessed leaving her homestead bouncing and full of life, instead of looking their sorry selves and practically dying when they first rocked up, often unannounced at her homestead. No Gold without Dragon also reminded me of what happened with the healing tradition within the Mahlaule clan. Mapengo, Va penga Nenti home Khoveni.
Disclaimer: Neither Edward Tsumele nor CITYLIFE/ARTS is endorsing Heather Linn and her healing process through this review. Here we are merely reviewing No Gold without Dragon and what Linn says in the book about her life and journey as an energy healer.-Editor