I had the good fortune of speaking to this kindred spirit recently. In my upcoming film, he will share his unique perspectives as a Western-trained medical professional AND shaman who has been initiated and trained in the South African healing and spiritual traditions. He is certain that since humanity was born in Africa, the healing arts began there as well.
Trained as a urologist, Cumes has taught at Stanford Medical Center and has published extensively in professional journals. He also has a successful private practice in Santa Barbara, California. But little did he know that he would one day be initiated as a sangoma (medicine man) and would “throw the bones” to provide spiritual guidance for others.
In 1992, when he was first told in Africa that the ancestors were calling him to embrace African spiritual and healing traditions he was skeptical and resisted the message from Spirit.
According to an article on his website: “after returning to the States, he began to experience incessant migraines and back pain he had never had before. He made his way back to Africa, not just to seek a cure for his physical ailments but also to discover if he really was destined to become a sangoma. After a series of meetings with other sangomas, Cumes finally relented and was initiated into the tradition.”
These days, Dr. Cumes combines both his skills as a surgeon and as a sangoma to provide healing to others. He returns to South Africa on a regular basis for advanced training.
In the story of Dr. Cumes’ long journey to self-discovery, I also hear my own story. I was initiated as a priest of Ifa, but it took me many years to accept my destiny because I was skeptical when I first received the call from the ancestors.
I’ve come to believe that if we don’t fulfill our purpose we put the lives of others at risk. The gifts that we have within must be cultivated. We all have a role to play in the healing of humanity.
As Dr. Cumes says: “the movement toward the inner world is our primary purpose on the planet. If we deviate from our soul’s path, we create imbalance and poor health. Each patient must find the healer and healing technique that best connects them to Self.”
“Western medicine has brought us many boons but there are glaring deficiencies as well,” he adds. “We focus too much on the intellectual, cognitive and scientific and too little on the intuitive, receptive, artistic, compassionate and mystical. Going back to our root or core self with the help of ancient African wisdom gives us not only an understanding of our origins but a clear perspective of a new and, at the some time, very old paradigm of healing not confined to the space/time continuum.”
For more information about the life and work of David Cumes, visit: www.davidcumes.com