Atarangi Muru and her cousin Manu are two of the most respected Maori healers in New Zealand. They both learnt from an early age on in an environment in which healing was a natural skill to have. Atarangi travels the world for healing sessions and founded www.maorihealers.com, a platform and website that enables people throughout the world to get in touch with their healing arts and teachings.
Their healing sessions include Mirimiri (Mi - to stimulate, Ri - to agitate the bone), where the intuitive skills of a practitioner are on high beam, as well as their ability to 'read' the dents, curves, lines, marks, and dimples of a body. During the process of mirimiri the practitioner explores the body to discern where healing is needed. Even though they have spoken to the person (client), the healers are looking for the unspoken, the unknown, or the forgotten.
In the process of one's session a multitude of informational exchanges are happening between one's body and the 'knowing and understanding' of the healer. These messages can be in the form of; a taste (bitter, sweet, salty, acidic), a smell, a feeling (hot, cold, warm, icy, wet, dry), a sense (goosebumps, chills, hair standing on the back of the neck) and the healer's intuition. So calling for the the wisdom within nga kete o te wananga (knowledge codes) stored within the body, the practitioner works with a client to activate the processes that miri (re-generate vibrant energy).
Where deep tissue bodywork is required romiromi is activated. To romi is to: Ro - to work, (internals: organs, blood, tissue, muscle etc), Mi - to stimulate the Ha (breath) within the body to move obstacles created. Both of these modalities are symbiotic, they live and play hand in hand.
Often people will breathe a lot deeper than normal, this is how we open the access ways to getting in deeper.
The healing modalities Atarangi and Manu use are beyond the tissue, they penetrate the bone and pierce the cellular memory that has been stored, held, traumatised, depleted, under nourished.
Romiromi may involve the use of elbows, hands, knees, feet, sticks, stones and sea water. More than one practitioner at a time may also work on a client.
During a session deep held emotions may be brought to the surface. These emotional experiences are behind all physical, psychological or mental ailments. Activating the whatu-manawa (eye of the heart) helps the practitioner identify specific toxic issues that dis-able, dis-empower and keep dis-cord running.
As these issues surface the practitioner will whaka watea (clear space) to allow for whole healing and transformation.
"Healing is embedded deep within the self. All those who have been, who have come and are yet to be, are the reasons why we do what we do."- Atarangi Muru
An Interview with Atarangi Muru and her cousin Manu
Interview by Evelyn Einhaeuser
A couple of days before I came here my body started hurting a lot and areas where i sometimes feel only little pain became much more prominent. Do you think our awareness shifts when we anticipate healing or do you think the body has an innate knowing and prepares itself for healing?
Manu: The body knows. We say that the first thought is divine thought, a divine inspiration. But when we question it, we lose the moment, because then we are no longer listening. We are trying to interpret. So when you feel more pain, the body is trying to tell you something and it is trying to guide you somewhere. But a lot of people just don’t listen. They are too distracted.
Is there a right time for healing?
Manu: Healing is a choice. And in our work we will educate you what is happening, what you are able to do and what you can’t do. And then you can go home and heal yourself by choice, which means if you are willing to heal yourself you will go back and implement certain changes that are necessary not to get sick again. But some people go home and change nothing, so they are back in the same song, the same story, the same routine and then they wonder why the healing didn’t work.
Atarangi: When you ask whether there is a right time for healing? Always! There is not a moment when our body is not doing something on ourselves anyway.
But then also in our culture we have several aspects of time. We have different wa, which are dimensions of time. This means that someone might come to us for an issue they want to be dealt with, lets say a shoulder problem. But the message that we receive might be that it is not the time for the shoulder to be dealt with, because there are other things that are pulling the person out of the body which are really at the core of the problem, instead of what that person might think. Often in healing sessions we start opposite to where people want us to go. In the work we do, and how we were taught, we will always go for the true meaning and not the symptom, because that is too superficial.
I watched some videos that showed some of your healing sessions before i came here. I saw a lot of healers touch the feet of the careseeker with their feet. What happens when your feet touch someone else’s feet?
Manu: It is just like with your laptop. In order to power the body up you have to plug it in. In the healing session it is always feet first.
So it is a connection or scan?
Manu: Yes. Literally you are plugging in so that you are able to find out where, how and what is happening inside a person's body. You can also find out if people are shocked and if their energy is scattered and where.
Atarangi: And you start to ground the person as well by that, in the reality of this time, this moment, this place.
Can you explain how your senses support the healing? Last time we talked you mentioned that you can smell and taste disease. What is it exactly that you smell, hear, taste? And can everybody attain that ability?
Atarangi: When im talking about smells, im not talking about body odours. Im talking about a smell that only I would recognize because that is how the chemicals within my makeup would smell that smell emitting from a person’s body. Manu would have the same concept, but he would perceive it differently. It depends on the individual. Often people would come up to us and say: "How did you know, what was the smell like?" But it is difficult to describe, because it is distinct to each individual how it is perceived. It is our own innate ability.
Manu: Also we all had different teachers. See, Atarangi is closer to the sea. She is more based on the ocean and the wind. Whereas where im from, im based in the forest. So for me everything is based on the earth and the trees.
Atarangi: When we first started to teach this work internationally we were fascinated because our belief was that everybody knew how to use the senses. And it wasn’t until we started going outside our private homes to realize that people don’t. How is it that the dog knows that you are angry and it will give you space? How is it that a child knows? It is only that we don’t continue it as we get older.
Manu: This is what people don’t seem to realize. We are all born healers. It is not a gift. But only the brave ones step forward and do it. Because they don't care what other people think.
Atarangi: I think one possibility how to start to become aware of the smells, tastes and all these sensations is to be aware. When you start tasting the same taste with different people talking about the same illness or the same pain, then you start making associations to it. Same with smells, etc. This way you are building your basket of knowledge. And then it is up to you to put your finger on it and say: "This is what it is!"
So it is experiential?
Atarangi: No. Not at all. You just know. Your gut tells you. Because if you are staying at experiential, you are a witness. And then we become the eternal seeker without being here in this moment; instead of listening to everything that is available to us here and now.
Manu: When you understand what is happening in the now, you know what the person in front of you needs.
In our last interactions you mentioned many ways to work on the physical dimension. And you mentioned a dimension, Pere, to work on the emotions. You said that there are two things that can be done, put up a shield or dull the blade. Can you explain that a bit more?
Atarangi: I think this refers to the amount of people that come and talk about the emotions that they have picked up from other people. Because they wear these emotions as something that has really happened to them. They have energetically picked that up and then they start taking ownership of that. So it is about making sure if the emotion belonged to them and if it belongs to them, finding out where it cuts them the most.
Manu: Pere means to pierce, it is like a razor blade. You cut so you see what is inside. Whether it is sadness or guilt or anger, frustration, blame or shame. Most emotions are emotional suicide. See, there are a lot of emotions for which we don’t have words for in our language. Anger, frustration, guilt, shame, don't exist in our language. So our children don’t learn these. So emotionally they don’t carry all that garbage, simply because they are not taught it. Your emotions are supposed to be like the wind, they are meant to be felt and then they keep moving. You are not supposed to contain them. And that’s the problem. Because we contain emotions. And there is no way you can contain anger for example. You are not strong enough. You are just meant to feel it for a moment and then let it go.
And why do emotions get stuck?
Manu: Because you are trying to contain it. You are trying to understand them and by that you are pulling them to pieces. And you might ask: “Why me? Why is it happening to me? I am a good person.” That is why! Because you are whining (laughs)!
What do you do with people who hold on to emotions?
Manu: We are bringing the clarity back to them. When we look for example at fear. Most people are living in fear or have fear of some sort. And then they wrap the fear up with all their emotional garbage. And a lot of people, their emotions are based on fear. So what we try with these people is to remove the fear first. If you are not willing to let that one go, then the healing process takes longer. And then there are actually a lot of people who fear being healthy also.
Why is that?
Manu: Some people might think you stole something from them and say: "How come you are healthy? What did you do?"
Atarangi: Sometimes an illness has to create a uniqueness for people. Especially if you are the only one in the world with that sickness, for example if you have a rare form of a disease.
Manu: The emotions are really in the way. And then we feel other people’s emotions on top of our own. We need to turn that off and learn to listen more. One day go out in the rain and listen to it. If you feel the wind and you feel the cold, you are using the wrong senses. And that is often the case. Turn the feeling off, get back to listening. Listen to it, don’t feel it. Go sit in the snow, listen to it, don’t feel it.
Atarangi: That’s why the monks can sit out there in the middle of the snow and not get cold or sick. Because they are not feeling it.
Manu: And the more awareness you have, the lighter you become. And it is about having an awareness, not being aware. It is not the ‘be cautious, be aware’ that I am talking about. I talk about an awareness of what is happening around you. In your family, with your friends, in your own house.
Atarangi: When someone comes to us for healing, we are not just listening to their physical being on the table there, we are seeing a whole movie of things going on around them. A lot gets revealed by the language they use, how they look, what they are describing, it all depicts a whole movie.
Last time you mentioned that we forgot the ability to read the signals of our body. Do you have an advice or can you share which signals many people have forgotten and what they can indicate?
Manu: The important part in that sentence is that most people have "forgotten". That means that they have to allow the memory to return. So there are lot of trigger points on the body that will retrigger memories. But most people are so strongly in the mindframe and think that memory is only held in the brain. But every cell, every follicle of hair holds memory. We just think too small.
Atarangi: A very simple example that I can give is what an overweight person can do. So it is about being aware enough to notice when I am full, when I am satisfied. See our elders only ate until just before they were full. So they kept themselves at the edge where they were only a little bit hungry, so that they would always appreciate the next meal. Also it maintains the sharpness of brain. So that’s a very simple way how we can start to register the signals that our body sends.
In many ancient traditions there is a link between healers and priests/priestesses. Is that true also in your tradition and are there priests/priestesses who are healers?
Manu: Yes and in our tradition the children are the elders. The parents are the learners.
Atarangi: We always think of the parent as being the healer, the priest, the teacher. But culturally for us the children are because they still have that purity, that link. And anything they would have shared would have been listened to, listened to eagerly.
Manu: And remember, you are born a healer. Healing knowledge was common knowledge.
For what are leaves, stones and clay used in your sessions?
Manu: We use wood, stones, bones, water and mud. When we are talking about mud, we are talking about mother Earth and her properties. When we are talking about stones, we are talking about one of the oldest vibrations that you can find. Wood talks about the subtleness of energy and bones talk about the human structure. And water is the main principle element of a human being.
Atarangi: For example there are specific types of mud that we would use for different healing aspects of the body. If a baby was overheated then there is a grey type of clay that we would put on the body and that would bring the temperature down on the baby. There is a specific leave that we use to rub the skin of an older person that can also bring the temperature down. So we still use a lot of these as medicines or remedies.
You once said: “To knowingly heal the one which in turn heals the many”. Can you explain that quote?
Atarangi: When one person in the family where there has been pain, sadness, etc, when one person in that family choses to make a difference, then it will affect the whole family. This is how one person can heal many or the health of one person will affect the health of many others.