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Michael Ortiz Hill is an author, registered nurse, and practitioner of traditional African medicine in the United States and among Bantu people in Zimbabwe. Born in 1957 to a Mexican Catholic mother and an Anglo-Buddhist father, his life always involved moving between different cultural communities.
Taught Buddhist meditation by his father as a teenager, Ortiz Hill ultimately received formal training in the Zen and Vajrayana (Tibetan) Buddhist traditions. He later brought his Buddhist practice to bear on hospice care of people with life-threatening diseases and underwent training as a registered nurse. During this time he practiced as a lay monk and spent a year and a half in complete solitude refining his meditation practice.
In 1996, Ortiz Hill met the Bantu healer Mandaza Augustine Kandemwa in Africa. Hill became the first non-African initiated into the tradition of the water spirits, and since then Hill and Mandaza have been collaborating in the work of healing, initiation, and understanding the deep African patterning in the dream life and spirit world of African American people.
The Dreams of African Americans
Paperback original, 192 pages, $20
ISBN: 978-0-88214-553-2
In researching the patterns of black people’s dreams about white people, Ortiz Hill dug into the literature of the African worlds that black Americans came out of and found that those worlds were intact in their nightly dreams. Weaving scholarship and interviews with the Shona medicine man Mandaza Augustine Kandemwa, Ortiz Hill offers the recognition that, at the most intimate level, Africa has kept faith with the African-American soul.
Apocalypse as a Rite of Passage
Paperback original, 210 pages, $22
ISBN: 978-0-88214-556-3
Ortiz Hill looks closely into one hundred end-of-world dreams and uncovers the myths ruling our fears and hopes. In his foreword to this new edition, Ortiz Hill calls September 11, 2001 “the blade of initiation, dividing who we were from who we are called to be … I invite the reader to the wilderness, to the beginning of the apocalyptic rite of passage … I offer this book with a single caveat: Beware the seduction of the image, mine and others, for the myth of apocalypse seeks to enthrall us into an epic fiction with very real consequences. Beware the fascination with what is larger than life, this vulgar Passion Play that would crucify the world.”