by Mike Hays Mikki Baloy was born in a small Catskill town called Neversink. The town's name comes from a Native American phrase ("mad river"), and it's an apt metaphor for Baloy’s journey to Shamanic Healing through acting, PTSD, loss, and writing. Most of us think of shamans as Native American medicine men or tribal leaders in the Amazon who take weird drugs. In fact, shamanism is an ancient mode of spiritual healing and shamans have been present in all cultures of the world as ceremony leaders, storytellers, mediators, midwife advisers, and sometimes herbalists. Shamans are the tribal healers who act as a medium between the visible and spirit worlds. One doesn’t get a college major in shamanism and there is no clear and easy pathway to learning to heal except with other healers. “I’m sorry and congratulations,” was once said to Baloy by a guide as she began one of her shamanic healing journeys. The drum beats of Baloy’s long journey, from Neversink to New York City and Peru to becoming a village shaman near the Hudson River, is a lesson in surrender and empathy.