I have told the story of the spontaneous initiation of a Samoyed Shaman. The man was described as stricken with chicken-pox. He remained unconscious for three days. Nearly lifeless, he had visions of going down to hell where he was carried to an island upon which stood the Tree of the Creator of the Earth. The Creator gave him a branch of the tree with which to make a drum. Moving on, he came to a mountain. Entering a cave, he saw a naked man, who chased him, caught him, and cut off his head. The naked man chopped up his body and boiled the bits in a kettle for three years. After the three years were over, the man reassembled his body and covered it with flesh.
When the man woke from his unconscious state he discovered he had the ability to heal others. This is not an experience reserved for distant cultures. The “wounded healer”is often found within ourselves. When I was working with my own dreams through the long months of chemotherapy, I was given a special dream in which I went through a plowed field strewn with body parts, tissue, ligaments, bones, organs, and flesh. I gathered all the necessary parts together, washed them individually in a bucket of water and hyssop, and then reassembled them into my own healed body. This dream provided powerful images for me during this period of my healing. People in what we describe as primitive cultures universally believe that those who survive an illness can then walk among the ill and treat them without fear. A brush with death in which the person emerges with knowledge of the encounter marks the person as one with a calling for healing others.
Many people in the healing process have some version of a dream or experience in which they find themselves dying and then re-assembling. My dream of re-assembling was one of my most important dream prescriptions. Use my dream in your healing process as a means of finding your own, or use your own dream of dismembering and remembering. Often a dream such as this is the final step in your own healing and the beginning step in working with others in their healing. The wounded healer is the most important kind of healer. He or she brings experience and knowledge to healing.