At the age of eighteen, while working as a wilderness ranger in the High Sierras, Chris Berry received the name Shaum Toosa in a vision. After this vision, a synchronistic series of events led Toosa on a quest for a sacred instrument played by the Shona people of Zimbabwe called the Mbira. Toosa journeyed to Zimbabwe to study the Mbira, but found that the instrument was used primarily to call spirits at ceremonies. Learning the instrument meant attending many ceremonies over the ten years that Chris lived with his adopted Shona family.
At these ceremonies in which oracles or mediums were ‘possessed’ by various spirits, Toosa was finally called by the spirits to become a medium himself. After nine years of initiation and ceremony, Toosa finally fulfilled his ‘contract’ as a medium and made personal contact at the age of thirty-six. To many people's surprise, the beings were not African or European but instead call themselves Water spirits or of the original Water tribe of people on earth. This initial material is the result of over seven years of interaction with these beings.
Toosa now lives on the Big Island of Hawaii, only miles from where lava falls into the ocean, a sacred symbol of the fire in the water. It is here, on their eighteen acre farm that Toosa and his wife, Jillian (Taliwa) host Bana Kuma events, ceremonies and in depth training on the art of Bana Kuma.