Somnambulist & Funambulist’s 4Q’s and a Witch Doctor’s 4A’s… Throw the Bones: From Whence You Learn to Dance, Learn to Vomit, Learn to Heal by Maureen Alsop

A recent encounter/interview with Witch Doctor, Nicky Auren, author of African Spirits Speak and The Spirit Speaks, offered a curious, magical, and miraculous Morongo Valley eventide!

How is the practice of divination used in the healing craft?

In throwing the bones a consistent telepathic message arose, a repeated pattern: a big shell (among smaller shells, dice, & bones) rolled across a reed mat.

You’ve got spirit, you must find a trainer and learn.

I was quiet and then saw chickens…stop, let the brain open, I still saw chickens.

What I learned took a long time…we are a system…when a relative dies one must return to the village and kill a goat or a cow to help the deceased transition to the other world…certain motions appear around the spirit & the old ways must be engaged to appease the conciousness of the spirit clan.

How does the spirit realm heal?

The whole house shook & strange things happen.

They test you through trance and call out spirits to report back to the practitioner on your spirits; you begin to see psychically, you master the practice of discovering hidden things (both literal and mental).

Practice cleansing in a tiny room.

Don a red skirt, white t-shirt, dred locks lathered in car oil and red ochre.

What was your most profound experience as a Witch Doctor?

Piercing, by spear, the back of a cow’s throat to provide a merciful death.

Followed by a thankful feast: raising a plate of cow flesh boiled with eggs & greens.

A rainbow.

Sungoma’s (medicine woman, traditional healer) final initiation.

Who were special practitioners, healers, you admire and learned from?

No god, no devil, only the trickster.

Joyce (whose name means “Lord”).


Ritual, candle, ancestors, impetigo.