Chapter 2. Tohunga – The Healer.

Dr Sarah’s Nanny was already aware of Molly and her story, before Sarah had even said anything to her. The Ancient One’s had been to visit her in a vision and revealed the whole of what Molly had experienced. She knew more than Molly could remember. Packing up her kete (woven flax basket) filled with her tools for healing, Nanny was busy in silent communication with her guides when Sarah arrived.

“Nanny? You about? Sarah called through the open door of the small cottage hidden amongst the forest-like gardens of tall Totara, pohutakawa, kawakawa and cabbage trees.

“Morena Ahorangi, good day ai!” Nanny called out cheerfully. “Good day to meet this anahera (angel), hmph!” She added, snatching her kete excitedly, and squeezed Sarah on her way out the door. “You coming or what?” She called out over her shoulder, already on her way up the path through the wild herb garden towards Sarah’s car. It would take about 30 minutes to drive to Molly’s house, and Nanny chatted quietly to her travelling companions, seemingly invisible to Sarah. Sarah smiled, she was accustomed to her Nanny’s friends and the dialogue which usually accompanied any encounter with her. Sarah too felt excited. She loved participating in the ancient arts of healing with her Nanny, who was so good at what came naturally to her.

Parking the car outside of Molly’s house, Nanny placed one hand on Sarah’s knee and with the other, a finger to her lips whispering “sshh!” closed her eyes, bowed her head and said quietly, “Karakia”. Sarah too closed her eyes and bowed her head in prayer,  showing respect for her tupuna (spiritual ancestors). Nanny recited a prayer well known to Sarah. Each and every time she assisted her Nanny in this way, it had become ritual to do this. She too felt the presence of these Ancient Ones escorting them.

Molly was unsure of what was to unfold for her. Somehow, she felt excited anticipation, and also a little nervous. Tessa had waited for Molly to invite her to join them, but Molly had not said a word. Not sure of what to do, Tessa busied herself in the kitchen, preparing lunch for them all after. Molly welcomed Sarah and her Nanny into their home, introducing Tessa to them. Nanny nodded in acknowledgement but said nothing. Molly was slightly tense and ill at ease. Nanny looked Tessa up and down and grunted, stood still, closed her eyes and after a moment nodded her head. Molly felt she had met this woman before, something about her was very familiar and she experienced another feeling of deja vu. The feeling so strong she was slightly distracted trying to remember where she may have met this old woman before. Nanny opened her eyes and took Molly by her hand and led her straight out the back door to the outdoor setting under the shade of the trees. Sarah stayed inside with Tessa, knowing to wait until she was summonsed to help. She offered to help Tessa, giving her an opportunity to gently explain her Nanny’s abrupt behaviour, at the same time asking if she could boil the kettle, knowing that Nanny would be requiring hot water for The Tea. 

Outside, Nanny took Molly’s hand. She sighed deeply and looked demandingly into Molly’s eyes. Molly was spellbound instantly, unable to look away. Captivated, she watched as Nanny’s eyes changed colour from dark brown to turquoise blue. Molly gasped, “Jordana?” She asked. Instantly she felt at ease. Somehow, she knew this old woman more than she could remember just now. Nanny patted her hand and said, “Close your eyes, Mamaku…better to show you than tell you. But first, we make The Tea.” She pulled a bundle from the kete and unwrapped it revealing dried herbs which she placed a large pinch into two cups and sharply clicked her fingers in the air. Immediately Sarah was by her side, pouring the boiling water over the herbs. Nanny placed her hands over the cups and muttered words in a language that Molly could not understand, it did not even sound like Maori. Sarah explained to Molly, “She is blessing the tea and asking permission of the Ancient Ones to visit. They have been waiting for you.”

Nanny handed Molly a cup and was surprised to find that it felt cool in her hands despite the boiling water just being added. The tea had the fragrance of Jasmine, but the flavour was bittersweet and somehow familiar to her. Nanny nodded for her to drink it all. No sooner had she finished the last mouthful, Molly’s head began to spin and she could feel her consciousness slipping. Nanny reached out, held her hand and said, “I have your hand, as always!” Drowsily, Molly whispered “Grace? Is that you?”  Nanny patted her hand, “Hmmm…you know me as Jordana – remember? Remember Molly…..remember…” Nanny’s voice faded. As the spinning increased, Molly’s senses became sharper, the whispering of the trees, the bird calls, the rustling of the leaves on the ground around their feet, the sensation of the damp earth beneath her bare feet, the smell of the forest…..she breathed a sigh of relief and smiled. She felt like she was coming home! Excitedly she opened her eyes to find herself sitting in a circle with several other women, Nanny by her side, still holding her hand. The faces looking at her were all smiling, pleased to see Molly. Each of them presented her with a gift – a small carving in stone, another carved in wood, a feather, a shell, a precious gem, and necklace made of seeds and paua shell pieces. She felt like she knew them all. She felt like she had come home. The relief was immense and tears filled her eyes. Again she felt herself spinning, and Nanny squeezed her hand. Molly opened her eyes to find herself lying on  the grass in her backyard, her head in Nanny’s lap, staring up at the canopy of the cool trees overhead. Her body felt like it was on fire and Nanny handed her a small bottle of water. As her temperature dropped, Nanny gently stroking her forehead, singing softly, and Molly fell asleep,

Sarah was inside with Tessa, talking to her calmly about what Nanny was doing. Tessa was concerned about her daughter and Sarah wanted her to feel more at ease, to be able to trust in what her Nanny was doing for Molly. Tessa was hesitant, but also quietly relieved. She did not like anything to do with the Spirit World, it scared her. Slightly superstitious and also put off by a childhood  haunted by memories of ouija boards, seances, and tarot readings, she never understood their real purpose. Even now as an adult, she had blocked all of that kind of stuff out of her life. Sarah sensed her tension and encouraged her to talk about it. But Tessa was like trying to crack a walnut shell with one hand – unrelentingly stubborn.

Molly woke with the reassuring feeling of ease, relaxed and calm. Like she had smoked a joint. Only once in her life so far had she tried smoking marijuana, she was able to relate it to that. And then she had a recollection of Will! She saw just for a fleeting moment, his face, smiling back at her. She sat up surprised, looked at Nanny and asked, “Who is Will?”

Nanny replied with only a smile. After a long pause she quietly said, “One step at a time Molly. For now, I want you to consider doing some study with me….” Molly was both intrigued and excited about this offer, but Nanny did not want her to reply just now. She was still in a state of bliss, euphoria. “ Now not good time to make a life altering decision. You let me know.” Nanny fondly patted the back of her hand and placed a long kiss on her forehead between her eyebrows.

“How?” Asked Molly. “I don’t have your phone number, nor do I know where you live….” Slightly perplexed, her voice trailed off. Nanny smiled at her. “You will know the answer soon enough. When you do, close your eyes, breathe deeply, imagine me sitting with you and telling me your answer. I already know anyways!” Nanny chuckled mysteriously. Curiously, the old woman had her attention, now that she was awake and more than just a little excited. “ Hmmm…I am so hungry, how about you? Lunch must ready.” Nanny got up from sitting on the ground as easily as a young child, dusted herself off and helped Molly to her feet. Together they walked back into the house to share lunch with Tessa and Sarah. After lunch Nanny was not willing to talk about the experience at all and clearly made it obvious that it was not a topic of conversation she wished to discuss.

The next day Sarah rang Molly to check on her and how she was feeling. Molly was feeling great, the best she had felt in a long time! Sarah had some information she wanted with share with Molly and suggested for them to meet at a local cafe for lunch, aware that these topics made Molly’s mum uncomfortable.

Over lunch Sarah talked about  transcendental meditation, regression hypnotherapy, past lives, yoga and suggested for Molly to see a cranial osteopath  to help rebalance her body after the fall, to release any residual trauma. She also talked about what her Nanny did in more detail. Lunch turned into afternoon tea and a walk along the beach. Whilst sitting on the beach Sarah guided Molly through a simple meditation process. It made her feel so alive! Molly loved what Sarah had to say and that night knew in her heart what her answer for Nanny was. Before going to sleep, she closed her eyes and followed the steps Nanny had told her the previous day. She imagined Nanny sitting in front of her and told her the  decision she had made.  

The next day, just after breakfast, there was a knock at the door. At first Molly thought her Mum must have forgotten something, having already left for work. Opening the door, she was surprised to see it was Nanny! “How did she get here?” Molly was asking herself silently as she opened the door. “Like Magic!” replied Nanny out aloud, knowing all too well what Molly was thinking and also what her decision was. Nanny kissed Molly on the cheek and said, “so you made me a cuppa or what? And maybe something sweet to keep it company? Maybe…one of those raspberry tarts…” She smacked her lips with anticipation of a treat. Molly stifled a giggle. Somehow, this old woman seemed so familiar to her….

They made and drank tea in silence. On finishing her tea and more than one jam tart, Nanny sat back and sighed contentedly. “Good to know,” she said to Molly.

“Good to know what?” Molly asked, not quite up to speed with the intuition of the old woman.

“Good to know that you wanna be my apprentice! You smart, you pick it up quick – quick,” she chuckled to herself, or maybe to her seemingly invisible friends who travelled everywhere with her, and whom Molly was about to get to know quite well herself.

“We start tomorrow. I come get you early – be ready!” She instructed Molly firmly. Having finished another cup of tea and another tart, Nanny stood up from the table, kissed Molly’s forehead , quickly snatched one more tart and waved over her shoulder as she walked out the door, chatting happily to her invisible companions.

Molly was keen to have a new focus and her curiosity as to what she would be learning with Nanny excited her. She had enjoyed studying art, but had felt something was missing. Her favourite subject had been creative writing and she felt quite passionate about this, although she lacked confidence to take her writing seriously or to do anything further with it. All the more reason to have a new focus, and maybe incorporate her writing with what she was learning.

So began Molly’s journey into a world that somehow felt very well-known to her, comfortable and reassuring. Nanny was a strict teacher but also had a hilarious sense of humour, quite random and sometimes unintentional due to her broken English, her first language being Maori and some other language she did not wish to discuss with Molly, just yet. 

But there was a growing tension between Molly and her Mum. Tessa was not happy about Molly studying with this crazy old woman, and did not approve of the nature of the studies. Her stubborn disposition and superstitious beliefs blocked her from wanting to understand anything Molly was learning. Conversations became awkward and limited, as a whole new world was opening up to Molly. She continued to meditate as a part of her daily routine, actually Nanny had insisted on it. It helped Molly to feel more at ease, safe and protected, and felt a growing presence of only what she could refer to as her guardian angel. Molly thought that Nanny would very happy with this, then smiled to herself thinking that Nanny probably already knew.

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