Where Dreams Come Alive: The Alchemy of the African Healer


This work by Lynne Radomsky explores the deep archetypal patterns embedded in the African healing initiation, the alchemical opus, and the individuation process through the work of C.G. Jung. The African healer subscribes to dreams the value and meaning that parallels the importance given to dreams in Jungian psychology. As such, this work focuses on the dream and alchemical symbolism within the stages of the African healing initiation and documents the journey of a Zulu woman’s heroic confrontation with her calling to be a healer.


Where Dreams Come Alive documents the initiatory patterns embedded in the journey of a Zulu woman’s heroic confrontation with her calling to be a healer. The rich symbolic world of the African healer can be considered an image of a creative individuation process that demonstrates the autonomy of deep psychic processes.

Archetypal phenomena in the cosmology of the African healer are amplified through the stages of the alchemical opus and the psychology of C.G. Jung. These phenomena arise when there is a serious attempt to engage with the autonomous psyche. This in turn, suggests a return, with consciousness, to the instincts, to an inner numinosity, to the phenomenon of psyche and matter, and spirit in nature.

A main focus in this work is the idea that there is a remarkable parallel between the valences given to dreams in the African healing realm as there is in the psychology of C.G. Jung. In a similar fashion to the analyst, the healer approaches the dream with respect for the numinosity of the dream images and messages. Attention to dream material is understood as essential for healing.

The author’s direct and personal collaboration with various indigenous healing communities in South and Southern Africa, Namibia and Botswana provides a rich backdrop to and foundation for her work. The meeting of two cultures in the therapeutic temenos and the ceremonial rituals of the African healing initiation provides the vessel for the transformation necessary for the emergence of something new and as yet largely unarticulated.

Where Dreams Come Alive is a beautifully written book that illustrates in depth an initiation process of becoming an African healer. Using Jungian psychology and alchemical associations, Dr. Radomsky skillfully describes the process through which her patient comes to understand and accept the need to combine her initial pull toward becoming a medical professional in the Western world with following the call from her unconscious to become an indigenous healer. This book offers many valuable insights into both the complexities and benefits of cross-cultural understanding and the reader will experience the gift of exploring initiation rites as well.” – Rose-Emily Rothenberg, Jungian analyst, author of The Jewel in the Wound: How the Body Expresses the Needs of the Psyche and Offers a Path to Transformation.

“What makes Where Dreams Come Alive particularly valuable is that Dr Radomsky has followed the call to two paths of individuation: Zulu healing and Jungian analysis. Her ability to understand the common threads illuminates every page. She offers a rich, integrated view of psyche, soul, and nature that is the hallmark of the African spirit – a view shared by C.G. Jung and alchemy.  At a time when the world is in danger of forgetting, Dr Radomsky illustrates the profound harmony with inner and outer nature that is restored when one heeds the easily resisted and demanding call from the depths.”  –Charles T. Zeltzer, Jungian analyst, author of Awakening to the Depths: Kundalini, Alchemy, and Individuation (forthcoming).

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 9

List of Images 11

Introduction 13

Chapter 1. Lokuzalwa: The Birth of a Healer 27

Chapter 2. Amadlozi: The Ancestral Spirits 47

Chapter 3. Ukuphahla: Connecting with Spirit 59

Chapter 4. Ukuthwasa: A Call to Healing 71

Chapter 5. Imithi Emnyama: The Black Medicine 83

Chapter 6. Imithi Emhlope: The White Medicine 95

Chapter 7. Imithi Ebomuvu: The Red Medicine 113

Chapter 8. Ukuphothula: The Final Awakening 129

Chapter 9. Umbilini: Union of Opposites 139

Chapter 10. Unio Mystica: As Above, So Below 169

Appendix: A Brief Account of the South African Demographic 203

Notes 209

References 213

Index 219

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