Hidden History Revealed
History is often hidden or forgotten, perhaps so that each generation can relearn its lessons in deep and personal ways. The history of gays as shamans and healers is a neglected part of history, another example of lost knowledge, which has begun to surface in the last few years. I remember first learning of this concept at a conference directed byMario Maldonado, Pitzer College’s Luce Professor in Brain, Mind and Medicine in 2002. So startling was the news that I walked out of the auditorium in a daze.
he idea that gays had once been revered as holders of spiritual knowledge was shocking to my 20th-century, westernized mind. Professor Maldanado’s research documented a long history among indigenous peoples of gays and lesbians as keepers of wisdom, healers, and shamans in many other times and many cultures. I went away thinking of what a difference it would make, of the great healing that could occur if only gays, lesbians, and contemporary American culture knew about this hidden history. Gay shamans is a radical idea, which, once encountered, can quickly flip the perception of gay people’s roles and value in society. Evidence abounds of the immense beauty that has been brought into the world through gay artists, dancers, composers, designers, and theatrical artists. What if society knew about or even entertained the idea of gays as healers?
Gay spirituality author Christian de la Huerta, reports that throughout history in various cultures, gays have been valued as “healers, teachers, shamans, keepers of beauty, mediators and peacekeepers. Being gay is a “gift, blessing and a privilege,” says de la Huerta. It’s important to be validated and to realize the human potential for healing and spiritual expression within each gay person and within every living being. The more people who come into this awareness, the greater the momentum of focused energy that is available to help heal the world, ushering in a new and transformative era.
As Howard Zinn revealed in his acclaimed A People’s History of the United States, there is much to learn from history and what we think we know is not necessarily what’s true. Let’s reclaim our history, our potential, and our gifts.