Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree of Freedom .


I’m not certain where the idea for the Healing Center came from or exactly when I first thought of it. It seems now that it’s been a part of me for so long that I can’t separate it from myself. I’ve watched friends and co-workers fall ill and die, and I’ve wished I could trade all my talents for the gift of healing.

It’s a gift I always thought had eluded me. I didn’t have the power, as some do, to lay-on hands of fire and heal, or a strong enough knowledge of herbs and crystals and medicines, or even necessarily the right words to say, though if I have any gift for healing, it does seem to rest in that direction.

Perhaps my desire to heal is born out of my own codependency, that lifelong struggle of mine to bear the burdens of others. Or maybe it’s birthed from compassion that draws from my earliest childhood memories of dying grandparents, of suffering, of hospitals.

I even worked for a while, before I graduated from college, in a local hospital. Mostly, I performed receptionist and scheduling duties, but I felt the heaviness of worry on almost every face that came to my desk. That was probably the first time I realized both the strength of will—the woman returning for her third bone marrow transplant, the child who no longer flinched at needles, the woman patiently waiting for her child to be born before undergoing treatment for the cancer she’d discovered before she knew she was pregnant—and the fragility of the human body—the 75-year-old woman with the golf ball concussion, the college student with 23 broken bones after a karate tournament, the construction worker who’d nail-gunned his elbow to the side of a tin building and had brought a big chunk of the tin with him to the hospital, the I’m-not-peeing-so-well-so-maybe-this-will-unclog-me dude who’d inserted a copper telephone wire three inches into his penis before it would go no further and wouldn’t come out either.

For much of high school, I’d wanted to be a doctor, not because of great physicians I’d observed but because of the cold ones who showed little or no compassion for their patients, particularly those with low incomes. I had the grades for it but not the love of math I needed or the encouragement of science teachers who favored the boys…and not enough scholarship money. I ended up going to college not to become a doctor or even to follow my own wishes but to pursue my mother’s dream of music, which was meant to be a creative outlet for me and a means to leadership roles in college, but it was never meant to be a career for me.

Flying By Night novel

Maybe the pull toward healing and this idea of the Healing Center comes from past lives. There was that time in the sixth century when I was forced to hide in the Black Mountains, in a mud and daub hut with Cath, the huge yellow-eyed gray cat I’d rescued who then brought me food. I wore a long dress of purple, dyed in the ink of small sea mammals and presented to me as a gift to the Goddess for my responsibility to keep my people well and healthy. They’d made me a white dress, too—a real white, not the greenish white of that era—by washing the dress in sheep’s urine and bleaching it in the sun. I kept a third garment, a purple cloak, on a peg on the wall also, as well as a sickle attached to a rope for harvesting as well as for swinging around my head and letting loose if an attacker came near. I spent my days at a tabletop over two tree stumps, cutting and chopping different herbs with my blade and wiping the blade on a leather cuff at my wrist with a kenazrune burned into the dark hide. Better to wipe the blade on this special cuff than to risk pricking and poisoning myself. And I waited there in the mountains, preparing little pouches of herbs and medicines, which my brother Alaren would retrieve from me and distribute to my people to keep them healthy in my absence. And all the while, I waited for enough time to pass that I could slip quietly back to what now is France and rescue my lover Dwn, who’d been wounded in battle, and bring him home if he was well enough to travel. I was a healer then, yet I’d had to leave behind my lover in the hands of a Catholic priest I had not trusted because I could not heal Dwn’s wounds there and he would not survive the journey home. That was only one of three lives I shared with Dwn that century, but it’s one that still echoes strongly for me, even now.

I can’t remember the first time I mentioned the idea of the Healing Center. It was a center of healing, of knowledge, of learning. Maybe it was Vicki I first discussed it with. I’m pretty sure it was. But I remember mentioning it to Melissa over two years ago and hearing her description of it, which echoed mine. The same with Jeaneen a year ago. Then I read a Sylvia Brown prophecy book that described exactly the Center of Light, Center of Healing, Center of Knowledge I had been envisioning, including their nationwide presence.

I’m not sure of everything that happens at this healing center but I know some of it. It’s a mind-body-spirit kind of place. There’s counseling for the emotionally wounded. There are alternative forms of healing, and holistic forms, and even classical medicine. It builds in connection to classical medicine, like spokes of a wheel with several physicians at its center, and grows into its own as a complement to modern medicine. There are libraries of knowledge available, gardens to walk in, and workshops and lectures. It’s deeply spiritual but not religious. There are little dormitories on the premises for traveling teachers, shamanic healers, and artists who will come to teach or trade their services. Some of it will be free or for a small fee. Much of it will be run by a grant or a foundation. It’ll start as a single building and grow into a cluster. It will become a model for other Centers of Light.

Since 2001, I’ve been hearing that it might be in Freeport, which is 20 miles from my home. I’ve thought the location odd. There was nothing there but a few houses and a lot of trees. But since the hurricane season of 2005, Freeport is suddenly very active, with many of the people on living on the beach deciding to move further inland to be away from the storm surge but still close enough to enjoy the beach when hurricanes aren’t engulfing it. I had no idea of this change until a visit to my new family physician, who told me he would be part of a new medical facility coming to Freeport.

Now, I hear from people out of the blue with tidbits of information. A High Priestess from New England called last Tuesday night as she stepped off an airplane. She said she had a message for me and I’d know what to do with it. She’d opened a magazine in-flight to an article on “concierge medicine,” where a small group of physicians had built a practice based on maintenance checkups, longer and more personalized office visits, and yearly fees for customized care. It seemed to be a backlash from the HMO’s and two-minutes-with-the-doc that have become the standard for a profitable medical practice. Do I know what to do with this information? No. Not yet. But for now, I’ll file it away. It’s just one such data point that’s come to me through unusual means.

And the craziest part of wanting to start a healing center? I’m not a healer. Whatever I do with this healing center, I don’t think I’ll actually be doing any of the healing. I don’t have the hands of fire, just the vision of healers gathering. My purpose will be more about distributing knowledge. I’m just not entirely sure how yet or when I’ll know. But whatever it is, it makes the world a better place.


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