The first station of being in relationship with n/om--God’s love, the source of the universal life force--is called n!aroh-//xam. It is where an owner of n/om, a n/om-kxao, first starts learning about n/om. It’s like he or she is in the first grade of n/om school. Here there is often a lot of fear.
If a healer sincerely stays with n/om and remains soft with an open mind and heart, he will be wonderfully transformed. His focus on power will disappear, and if he has the courage to not run away he will be reborn into a different feeling. This is when the heart rises. At this n/om station we feel the suffering of others and feel sad for them, as we want to help them so much that our heart starts to open even more than we thought possible. When we feel this way for other people, our fear goes away. This is when our dance turns in to the stomping movement of an awakened healer. This movement helps us not fall over as n/om gets stronger and each stomp on the ground sends more vibrations into the body. When healers stomp together in a dance we say that they are all walking on the same rope, helping each other climb the rope to God.
As we go from the beginning stage of being an owner of n/om, a n!aroh-//xam, to the second station of handling n/om, g!a’aman! ausi, we no longer want power. Beginning healers typically spend a lot of time at the first station as it takes time to learn how to raise the heart. Here the contradictions and paradoxes of transition must be understood, including giving up power to receive more power, giving up control as a means of gaining more control, using our voice more while finding that words are less able to come forth as music and auditory vibration become primary, and becoming emptier in order to become more full of n/om. The strongest and most experienced healers go straight to the second station, because their hearts rise very fast. In the beginning of your development as a n/om-kxao you shout and are angry at the ancestors and trickster gods; this ceases at the next station. Our feelings change, and this alters our relationship with the ancestors. Some of them will now follow and help us. This is when it is possible to heal by pulling out the sickness. At this stage, a n/omkxao is called a !aaiha.
The third station for a n/om-kxao is where we feel that we can give a nail of n/om. Here God uses our hands to transmit nails. This is a high level of working with n/om. We call it thara n/om. This is how we help someone become a healer or empower another healer. When a n/om-kxao advances to this station, he is called a tco-kxao. Here we find that we can heal someone by transmitting a clean nail rather than solely pulling out sickness or a dirty nail. This is when healing has no pain. We have moved from power to love, effortlessly enabling us to address problems and suffering more directly with healing n/om.
The dance steps are different for each station of handling n/om. In the beginning the healer must exert effort to dance. When the dance gets hot with n/om, the singing and clapping effortlessly move the dancer. Sometimes they make our steps very fast. When there is little singing our legs get weak and we are barely able to dance. N/om cannot get hot without enthusiastic n/om singing. When the women sing for the men’s dance it can be said that the women get cooked first and transmit n/om to the men dancers who then are able to reciprocate by touching the women and giving them nails in return. N/om circulates throughout the community, and no one can say whether the singers, drummer, dancers, or healer is most responsible for waking up n/om and keeping it on the move. Everyone participates in the circulation of n/om. This is why healing must take place inside relationship and community.
The movement through the stations of n/om can occur during a single dance for seasoned n/om-kxaosi, transitioning through them in any order or remaining in one or several stages during most of the dance. A beginning n/om-kxao, however, will only be able to go in and out of the first sation of n/om during a given dance. It typically takes many dances to move forward into another station of handling n/om.
Many men and women become n/om-kxao, owners of the feeling for n/om (n!aroh-//xam), but only a few n/om-kxaosi learn to pull sickness (!hui) and become a pulling doctor, or !aaiha. Even fewer are able to transmit nails and arrows, a n/om-kao who is a tco-kxao. Finally, it is rare for anyone to be a fully cooked n/om-kao or “heart of the spears,” a g=aqba-nla'an.