Saturday, 16 November 2013

By Edna Spennato  

Feeling My Way to Healing Work 

Part One

At the start of the nineties, when South Africa was finally throwing off the chains of apartheid and Nelson Mandela was about to be released after 27 years in detention, I had the opportunity to go on a long and open-ended ocean voyage in a small sailing boat with just one other person, and I decided to take it.

Though I was a land-lubber who'd grown up far from the sea in a mining town near Johannesburg, I was young, free and slightly crazy, and I loved the ocean. I also had faith in my ability to eventually stop getting violently ill every time I went out on the water, and trusted my partner, the captain of the boat, who'd built it at home in the garden and was an accomplished sailor.

We set sail in high spirits on the good ship Zaphod just days after Mandela's release, with enough supplies of sea-sickness remedy to last until such time as I found my ‘sea legs’. There were many incredible experiences awaiting us in the two years and four ocean crossings which followed, including some ferocious storms and rather close shaves, synchronicities, meetings with friends who needed our help, or who were there to help or guide us just when we needed it most, and once, the delight of spending three days swimming with a family of more than a hundred free, wild dolphins, at an archipelago 400 miles from the nearest mainland of Brazil.

When our little boat sailed back into Cape Town harbour again at the end of this two-year voyage, it was with a sense that I had changed at some fundamental level, and felt a deep yearning to discover what it was I had come to accomplish on the planet during this lifetime.

Before leaving on the trip, I'd been fortunate to receive a scholarship to be used for a Masters degree in Fine Art at UCT when I returned, so until I had a clearer idea of what my life task entailed, and how to go about accomplishing it, I decided to go with the pre-voyage plan and register for the degree.

My proposal was to produce a series of large coloured copper-plate etchings expressing the altered states of consciousness I had experienced at sea during long periods of isolation from other people as well as external stimuli, other than the sound of the ocean and the endless skies overhead. The etchings themselves were a series of personally meaningful, but seemingly unrelated, multi-layered images shown through transparent veils of clouds and ocean.

For some time towards the end of our voyage, it had been apparent to both me and my partner that we were changing in different ways, and that our paths were diverging. We knew that our time together was coming to an end and that we were headed in different directions, and within six months of returning to South Africa, we decided to split up. I continued with my degree, which was turning out to be a demanding project requiring 12 – 14 hours each day in the studio.

During this period I became ill and was helped by a healer in Cape Town who used a combination of herbs and Reiki. Within a couple of weeks my immune system was working well again, and it was a real eye-opener for me to discover that Reiki actually worked! I had always been a natural skeptic, and needed to have direct personal experience before accepting things of a magical nature. However, the speed of my recovery was remarkable, after battling with continuous infections for months before the Reiki treatments began.

In good health again, I continued with my fine arts project, and after two years in the studio, was completing the last plate in the series of 33 etching plates, and all that remained was for the thesis to be written, and the plates to be printed on special Fabriano paper, at that moment on its way from Italy to Cape Town.

Then one night, all the copper plates (except for the almost-finished one still in my studio) disappeared from a secure storeroom at U.C.T. to which only Masters students had keys, and despite a lengthy police investigation, were never found again.

Shocked at first, I was able to accept the loss of my work with the help of a channeled reading given by a wise old man in Muizemberg, Cape Town, who has since passed over to the other side. Charlie's guide said that the thief was another Masters student known to me, who had taken the work mainly out of jealousy, and sold the plates to a metals dealer (32 large copper plates were worth a lot of money), and he even gave me her initials (which confirmed that the thief was the person I had suspected!)

But then he said something which surprised me greatly. He said that she and I had a contract from another lifetime when I had helped her in some important way, and she had pledged to return the favour in this lifetime! Of course my jaw dropped on the ground at that statement, because I really did not consider the theft of all my hard work to be a ‘favour’, in the usual sense of the word!

But he said that my pursuit of the Masters degree was part of an earlier path, one I had been on before the ocean voyage, and that although I was not finding the degree truly fulfilling, I had doggedly pursued it, which was preventing me from embarking on my real path. In other words, the person who'd stolen all my work had liberated me from something which was no longer serving me, and literally pushed me onto the path I needed to take at the time!

So a few days later when my Tai Chi teacher, Rita Baptista (pictured on the right), invited me to join a reiki workshop she was giving the following weekend, I decided to attend it. Normally I would have spent the weekend sweating it out at the studio, but now I had nothing else keeping me occupied, and knew from experience that Reiki was a healing method that really worked. Under the wonderful guidance of Rita, I completed my Reiki 1 and later Reiki 2 training, and after a while started a small healing practice from home. Little did I know that discovering Reiki was just the first step in a long journey...

Continue to Part 2...