Karmu hands 1988

We are very thankful to you wonderful people who have contributed to our editing account and are supporting our film.  We are 40% of the way there with 3 more weeks to go…

Muti MutiKarmu hands 1988

Abraham and Halima Sussman

Jim Bier

Jan Looper

Anne Kaufman

Linda and Jacob Locker

Ted and Joan Rhodes

Chic and Kristen Wolk

Bob Green and Bill Coit

Conrad Metzenberg

Karl L. Metzenberg

Pam Petrie

Frank Engel

Tara and John Dooley

Ruth Ann Sneider

Bob Ducibella

Ernesto Strada

Joe DeLeo

because of your generosity,  we now have $2000 in our bank account

KARMU (aka Edgar Warner) was an extraordinary healer and teacher who helped countless people overcome physical, emotional and spiritual ailments over the course of three decades.

An African-American of West Indian descent, he was an auto mechanic by day and an “urban shaman” by night.  Beginning in the turbulent 1960s, Karmu’s modest home in Cambridge, MA was literally open to anyone seeking help and his reputation as a “healer” and down-to-earth “holy man” drew thousands of people from the downtrodden and desperate to some of the elite thinkers in religion, philosophy, psychology and medicine.

A pioneer in alternative medicine and holistic healing, Karmu was well known locally, but his story has never been widely disseminated – until now.  Our team has returned to Cambridge to document the impact that Karmu has had on the lives he touched.  Through contemporary interviews with people he has influenced (many of whom are professional healthcare providers) and archival film and audio “A PLACE IN THE SUN” will preserve Karmu’s legacy and promote his message of positivity.

To see the trailer, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-z5lg55FEM&feature=youtu.be

Lew Gould and I have been working on a documentary about Karmu, an extraordinary healer.   We have spent the past few months, reconceptualizing how to finish this  film
which has involved categorizing and organizing all the footage that we have gathered so that the editor can start to put it together.  This will make his job both easier and take far less time.
We have likewise reduced the proposed budget to $8000 which is the bare bones minimum we need to hire the editor,  purchase existing archival footage, obtain photographic and sound rights as well as do a minimum of sound correction.   Note that this budget does not include any additional shooting.
We would like to raise the first $5000 by mid February which would enable the editor to  start assembling the first cut of the film.
If you are interested in helping us finish this project, we are accepting contributions at the Citibank account we have set up an account for the film.  You can make a contribution by sending a check to
Karmu Film
c/o Branch Manager, Citibank
3757 State St.
Santa Barbara, CA. 93105
If you wish to use a credit card, please email Janet at jzgiler@cox.net
bled, we will arrange for the contributors to see it.  Once it is finished, all contributors who donate more than $35 will get their own copy of the DVD which will have some interesting.  You will also be thanked on all the film websites including the
facebook page, Karmuaplaceinthesun.

Karmu gave herbal medicines to everyone who came to see him. He would give people either “red” medicine in a drink which was herbal “black” medicine disguised in a sangria like fruit punch, or he would hand them capsules of “black” medicine or give them a  straight shot of his  decoction of black medicine.  Hardly anyone who came in his house didn’t get something to ingest.  This use of herbs was unique during this time period.

Remember that there were not health food stores in every major city back in 1968.  It wasn’t commonplace; there were not multiple health food stores nor were they any chain stores such as Whole Foods in major cities.   If there was a store, it had bins of raw herbs, not prepackaged jars of herbs and herbal compounds lining the shelves. In 1968, there was only one herb store, in Cambridge. When Karmu needed Aloes, he had someone place an order with Dick Martin, the owner of Attar. It had to be a special order, as they didn’t have  60 pounds of aloes in stock.

Karmu’s most  used  herbs were aloes, goldenseal, valerian, snakesroot, Life everlasting, to name a few.  These were the backbone of  “black” medicine.  While his use of herbs was unusual for the period, it now seems commonplace. According to a U.S. National Institute’s of Health report (2009), Americans spent $33.9 billion on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) over the previous 12 months, according to a 2009 government survey.

(CAM includes all practices, and products such as herbal supplements, meditation, chiropractic, and acupuncture that are not generally considered to be part of conventional medicine. CAM accounts for approximately 11.2 percent of total out-of-pocket expenditures on health care in the United States with conventional out-of-pocket expenses being $286.6 billion and CAM out-of-pocket: $33.9 billion.

source http://nccam.nih.gov/news/2009/073009.htm

If the topic of Karmu’s use of herbs is interesting to you, you can learn more by reading the chapter Snakesroot and other Elixirs inthe ebook Karmu, Urban Shaman– one of the rewards you will receive  (along with the DVD of the finished film) when you make a contribution of $35 or more to  help us finish the film.


photo by Warren Goldberg

Karmu showed people how to achieve health through healing both the mind and the body before there was a term for holistic healthcare. His message is even more relevant today as our current Big Business model of medicine is not economically sustainable. We are being driven by the profit motive of Big Pharmaceutical companies and doctors’ over reliance on expensive, high tech interventions–which cannot replace the low tech solutions of touch, change in diet, exercise, and utilization of support networks to enhance health.  Karmu taught all of these methods. And, he was able to inspire hope in patients when their doctors had given up on them. Help us keep his message of how to achieve health alive.

Karmu talking about finding purpose

by the same token, you’re here for a reason, (they) agreed

that you should come here and be here. Circumstance has fulfilled it,

time has allowed it, space has called for it, and the Gods of the heights

and depths have made it possible. And a book will be written and a

song shall be sung, and the legends shall be remembered and told

when the years have gone by…

(For) upon that day a long time ago, a witch, a demon, a prophet, a God,

a God-like creature all came together. And a new world was made

there my friend. And there was destiny there. And the Gods frowned

and the winds were still and they blew and the people were happy


You write a story, you intrigue the people. Life is the same way. There

are certain things that intrigue the people. That hold them in a grip of a

large influence. They’re tossed by the winds on the wave to the

mountains to the deserts and they grow… Many people sacrifice

themselves sometimes to serve a greater purpose. The roads of the

worlds my friend. Life’s the small beneath and the great.

You serve a purpose.


Sufi Samuel Lewis talking about his poem the “black christ”

Sufi Sam Lewis had a vision in the early 1970s.  He wrote a poem about a man who he called the “black christ.”  When he met Karmu, he said he met his man.

Sufi Sam was an inspiration to many people and was the one who led many of us to Karmu’s door to learn how to heal others.

Today, I heard from Ken Somers. He has been running one (of the two websites) for the last ten years. I’ve finally finished the editing of my thesis on Karmu into a shorter monograph entitled Karmu Urban Shaman which has many transcribed quotations in it.   It is available at http://www.amazon.com/Karmu-Urban-Shaman-ebook/dp/B009KP4QR4