Bradford Keeney, Ph.D, is an internationally renowned traditional healer, creative therapist, anthropologist of cultural healing traditions, and improvisational performer. Currently a professor at the University of Louisiana, Keeney has served as a professor, founder, and director of clinical doctoral programs in numerous universities.
As a scholar, his classic text, Aesthetics of Change, was cited by Heinz von Foerster as one of the key texts of cybernetics, the original science of complexity. He is the inventor of recursive frame analysis, a research method that discerns patterns of transformation in conversation and has been called “the Marco Polo of psychology and an anthropologist of the spirit” by Utne Reader. Keeney has spent over a decade traveling the globe living with spiritual teachers and healers and the result of his work is one of the broadest and most intense field studies of healing, chronicled in the critically acclaimed series, Profiles of Healing, an eleven-volume encyclopedia of the world’s healing practices.
In 2009, I interviewed Bradford Keeney to discuss his book, Shaking Medicine, which reintroduces one of the oldest forms of medicine on earth, the ecstatic shaking of the human body. With his many notable accomplishments, including authoring over thirty-six books, what I find most intriguing about Keeney is that he intuitively knows how to touch people at their spiritual core. Gently he reaches in with the luminosity of his voice and as the crescendo of his vocals reaches a fevered pitch, he pulls at the heartstrings until he awakens the soul suggestively whispering that it should open up and pay attention.
According to Keeney, most people’s worst fear is losing control of their circumstances, their emotions, and especially of their bodies. Yet in order to achieve the transcendent state necessary to experience deep healing, control must be surrendered. This led Keeney on a venture quest to examine cultural traditions from around the world where shaking has been used as a form of healing, from the Shakers and Quakers of New England to the shaking medicine of Japan, India, the Caribbean, the Kalahari, who are the world’s oldest culture having survived for over 60,000 years in peace.
The reward from this journey resulted in Keeney being recognized as an ecstatic spiritual teacher and healer by numerous cultures as he became a n/om-kxao (healer) with the Kalahari Bushmen and discovered that “shaking” can bring forth profound therapeutic benefits.
In 2011, I reconnected with Brad to discuss his explorations with the Kalahari Bushmen. In his book The Bushman Way of Tracking God, Keeney connects spiritual techniques including: activating the non-subtle universal life force, heightening emotional experience, vibratory interaction, direct downloading and absorption of sacred knowledge, extraordinary healing, activation of the ecstatic “pump,” spontaneous ways of rejuvenation, attending spiritual classrooms, exploring an uncommon range of mystical experiences, and experiencing bliss.
Keeney’s latest work regarding these techniques has led him to settle in New Orleans and this is where I spoke with him again in early 2012. I had been filming a documentary in New Orleans exploring the creative vibe and magical power released by the ancient muses, pulling in artists, musicians, writers and bohemians to come and be reborn in New Orleans. Keeney had answered the siren’s call and responded by creating an extra-sensory explosion for the mind, body and spirit called The Mojo Doctors.
He and his partner Hillary Stephenson offer “Mojo Sessions”, weekend long intensives held in the French Quarter of New Orleans where Kenney skillfully blends his spiritual exposure to wisdom teachings with techniques from his book, The Flying Drum: The Mojo Doctor’s Guide to Creating Magic in Your Life to transform small groups of people during each session. Centered around ecstatic teaching, therapeutic humor, sanctified music, creative healing, and what he describes as “mojo doctoring”, workshop attendees rave about the results as the Mojo Doctor connects them with their inner spirit while embracing the spirited rhythm and hum of New Orleans.
In the modern world where the mind has become disoriented and detached from the body’s connection to emotion, passion and spirit, Keeney makes a compelling and entertaining case for the tradition based healing methods to once again reunite mind, body and soul. Check out the Mojo Doctors for yourself if the spirit calls you.
About Kala Ambrose and Kala’s Bohemian Blog: Noted wisdom teacher, author, intuitive, inspirational speaker, and host of the Explore Your Spirit with Kala Radio and TV Show (www.ExploreYourSpirit.com), Kala Ambrose’s teachings are described as discerning, empowering and inspiring. Whether she’s speaking with world-renowned experts on the Explore Your Spirit with Kala Show, writing about empowering lifestyle choices, reporting on new discoveries in the scientific and spiritual arenas or teaching to groups around the country, fans around the world tune in daily for her inspirational musings and lively thought-provoking conversations.Kala is the author of three books including the award-winning 9 Life Altering Lessons: Secrets of the Mystery Schools Unveiled (Reality Press 2007), Ghosthunting North Carolina (Clerisy Press 2011) and The Awakened Aura: Experiencing the Evolution of Your Energy Body (Llewellyn Worldwide 2011). A highly interactive teacher on a mission to educate, entertain and inspire, Kala writes for the Huffington Post and presents workshops nationally on the Mind/Body/Spirit connection including Auras and Energy Fields, Developing Business Intuition, and Wisdom Teachings at the Omega Institute, John Edward Presents Infinite Quest, the Learning Annex, LilyDale Assembly, and Daily Om.