Malidoma Some Given the Passwords to Hear the Voice of Nature


Malidoma Some

I felt fortunate to be able to sit down face to face with Malidoma Some while he told me a story for my book, Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything, I was fascinated by his experience with the mysteries of the universe and wish he were permitted to tell me more. At one point, he felt compelled to acknowledge that he had never told anyone this story before, but decided on the spur of the moment that perhaps it was time to share it with the world. I am grateful to be the messenger to deliver this important message for him. Here are excerpts from Malidoma’s story, beginning with his bio.

Malidoma, an initiated elder in his village of Dano in Burkina Faso, West Africa, is also a medicine man and diviner in the Dagara culture. As representative of his culture, he has come to the west to share the ancient wisdom and practices which have supported his people for thousands of years. He has authored Of Water and the Spirit, Ritual: Power, Healing and Community, and The Healing Wisdom of AfricaClick here to visit Malidoma’s website.

When the elders in my village approached me about becoming initiated into elderhood, my reaction was Why me, of all people? There were others in the village who were great healers with fantastic track records and I was nowhere near their level. I had always been fascinated with the traditions of my culture, but at forty-three, I considered myself too young to be an elder. Besides, I lived in the white man’s culture and only came home once in a while.


Their reasons were convincing and I agreed to be initiated. Although I would also be responsible for the maintenance of three shrines, the primary responsibility of the council of elders was to ensure the continuity of the community through initiation. That requires the five elders to sit together to consider various candidacies. The candidates don’t have to apply; they are picked and then informed about it.

It was at the end of my initiation that I realized I had reached a point of no return. I had become privy to ancient knowledge, and it felt like this information was welded into my body. There are a lot of supernatural things going on during an initiation, things that are so mind-boggling, that seeing how they were done changed me completely.

It’s one thing to be the subject upon whom these magical things happen. It’s another thing to be in the shoes of the one instigating them and knowing how to wield the various ingredients in order to open the vortexes, the doorways, leading to other worlds.


However, the most frustrating thing to come from my initiation was that there were rules and regulations that were impossible to separate from. One thing people need to understand about African medicine is that it is intimately connected to the science of nature. As such, it is following an epistemology that is not available to the scientific inquiry currently upheld in modernity. There are tremendous scientific breakthroughs held together by nature. This is why indigenous people love to keep nature the way it is, because any disruption of nature is likely to disrupt the structure of the information in it.

During elders initiation, a sequence of “passwords” is disclosed, thanks to which it becomes possible to hear the voice of nature, thereby leading to the intimate knowledge of what it takes to accomplish the kind of thing that westerners view as supernatural or magical.

At first, I was dying to share, to present, to explore this knowledge. I felt it was my duty as an elder and a bridge-builder to be able to change the standing of my culture by allowing the hidden part of its wisdom to become seeable, touchable, in a way that would enable this consciousness to reach the modern world as dramatically as possible—so that the respect that the indigenous elders are getting now can reach the sky, so big that it will feel like those indigenous elders are right here in the west as they are there, just the same way that the west is present everywhere.

I felt strongly that if I was to be a bridge, I shouldn’t just be focused on bringing ritual and healing work to the west, but also that I should try to find a way of making this wisdom available to the world because it has the power to transform human consciousness. I now saw the truth in the idea that the redemption of the world resides in the hands of the indigenous.

Yet, this oath of secrecy I had taken was perhaps another one of my burdens, because this ancient wisdom comes with a sort of built-in self-destruct should the information be improperly disclosed. Think of it as a burglar alarm that would be set off the minute that something is said or done that leads to an exposure of that which can only stay alive if it remains hidden. If exposed, it starts to lose its life; and as it starts to lose its life, the carrier of that information who broke the rule is also in a state of grave danger, not only of being exposed to emotional trauma but to physical trauma as well.

Recently, I had some medicine put into my body as a safety net. Now, if I speak too close to the secret, I will start hearing loud noises in my ears, which would remind me that I’m getting too close.

Click here to view all my posts related to my book, Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything.


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2 Responses to “Malidoma Some Given the Passwords to Hear the Voice of Nature”

  1. kyle Says:

    I have always felt a close connection with nature and have always wanted to connect with it on a deeper level. I hope that some day soon i will be able to read your book and find a deeper understanding of nature’s knowlage and be able to trully understand it. My hope is that in doing so i can seperate my self from the human society and become a part of of a greater whole and find true happiness and peace.

  2. Phil Bolsta Says:

    That is a noble, beautiful and worthwhile goal, Kyle. Keep it in the front of your mind and you will most assuredly progress toward it.

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