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Nathan Batalion was a competition-winning math prodigy who at the age of 17 suffered a high fever. This affected him similar to a brain stroke and where his left-brain functions temporarily shut down, including his math abilities. He thus became, for a while, aphasic or unable to speak or think in whole sentences. This was similar to what happened to Jill Bolte Taylor, a Harvard brain scientist who had a stroke and thus gained an inside view of disorders she routinely studied in the lab. Nathan recovered but was, likewise, never the same.
Gist of Nathan’s Philosophy
This experience inspired decades of study into the nature of our consciousness and led to a revolutionary philosophy called raw-wisdom, with deep insights and powerful prescriptions. These insights differ from those of ancient religions schools in that his emphasis, as applied to the modern world, goes beyond retreating into a right brain dominant inner state of God-experiencing at-oneness, bliss and peace. Nathan tries to avoid abandoning or alienating the rational mind or left brain, leaving the later unhealed and to devise a worldview deeply out of sync with our inner spiritual stirrings. Ancient saints like Christ, Buddha, Lao Tzu, among others, did not have to deal with a highly powerful rational worldview which western civilization adopted in the 17th century, the math-based Cartesian/Newtonian vision and with byproducts such as chemical pollution, atomic weapons, genetically modified organisms, and the manifestations of Wall Street. They did not have to face uniquely modern chronic illnesses such as cancer, diabetes or Alzheimer’s disease as a byproduct of the world we have more recently created.
Nathan is probably the only math prodigy who has ever come back from a stroke-like experience to espouse that the essence of nature is not mathematical and we should not be driving that worldview too deeply, as it will harm our consciousness and life on Earth. His soon forthcoming book, Raw-Wisdom: Healing our Worldview, Ourselves, Each Other and the Planet addresses these issues. Signing up for our newsletter will enable getting notification of when this book will be released.
Nathan’s revolutionary orientation is highly relevant to our troubled modern world which threatens the sustainability, the very survival of life on Earth.
Here is Nathan’s extraordinary story in his own words:
EARLY UPBRINGING IN A
I was born in Germany and into a Jewish Holocaust surviving family. I thus heard personal accounts of the great suffering that my parents experienced and this profoundly affected me. My aunt and step-dad both barely survived Auschwitz. My parents and grandparents lived through the hell of Stalin’s Russia in Siberia. My step-dad was in several camps, and testified at the Nuremberg trials. My aunt was in the camps and was medically experimented upon but survived minus an eye. Most members of my extended family, however, were yet less fortunate, losing their lives during the war. The knowledge of such experiences was embedded deeply into my soul as a child, and I have continued to carry these feelings inside of me all of my life. One of my mother’s suitors was Joel Brandt. He was famous for having sat down with Eichmann to negotiate the lives of one million Hungarian Jews for a certain sum of money. Many did not believe Joel’s story as he traveled around the world to try to raise that money.His efforts thus failed and more than half a million Hungarian Jews were rounded up and sent to die in camps such as Auschwitz. Can you imagine? The impact of such childhood memories made me extremely sensitive to global sufferings, both human and non-human – including current health pandemics and the vast “eco-holocausts” we are still undergoing.
AFTER THE WAR
After the war, my parents separated. My father, Samuel Milek Batalion organized and was headmaster of a building trade school for young Zionists wanting to emigrate to Israel. As to my mother, among the steps she took to heal her suffering was to surround herself with an abundance of food and gaiety. She opened a Russian restaurant in Frankfurt called the Troika. I remember best the joyous music and dance, learning Russian folk songs and dances myself. At that time my mother inadvertently opened letters at the restaurant that she wasn’t supposed to. They described intrigues of Russian spies (who posed as musicians at the restaurant). She turned over these letters to the CIA, especially about murders they were planning in different parts of Europe. This caused my mother to fear for her life as well as mine. Thus at age seven, we emigrated to the US and first lived in Newark, New Jersey with my uncle and aunt who were also Holocaust survivors. In the US I felt different than the average young Jewish child. It seemed, from all my post-war experiences, I was more interested in the deeper questions of life than the average American Jew. Yes I flipped baseball cards, played chess, liked Laurel and Hardy and the Three Stooges – nonsensical fun, but deeper concerns were always burning within. No doubt, I had come from a world far more torn apart than most Americans could imagine. My mother soon remarried in the US, and to a Holocaust survivor, Gabriel Bross. He has since passed and I wrote a commemorative post on my step-dad Gabriel Bross. He had a great heart and a sweet soul. Later I even took his last name as my middle name on my citizenship papers. Gabriel had come from a very poor village in Poland and where even having one piece of meat a week appeared being “rich.” Not surprisingly, he became a butcher in the US, surrounding himself – like my mother - with an abundance of food. Later my parents opened a grocery store, and subsequently other businesses such as a delicatessen, beach stand, liquor store and later a health food store. Being surrounded by nourishment of all kinds, again, made them again feel “rich,” fulfilled, or feeling well taken care of in the universe.
AFTER-EFFECTS OF THE “SAD” DIET
As a child, this meant I could have whatever food I wanted to eat! I had free access to all manner of candies, soft drinks, ice cream, canned goods, you name it. Because our grocery store was in an Afro-American ethnic ghetto neighborhood, we also offered luscious ethnic “soul” foods like fat-back, chitterlings, hog moss, and pig’s feet. During this great time of my life, I followed what you might call the “you-see-it diet” or ate whatever I wanted whenever from the Standard American Diet of processed, high animal protein and fat cornucopia. I also ate whatever our culture’s marketing offered to attract the attention of a kid – like rainbow-colored M&Ms and gummies. In an age that believed in “chemistry for better living,” I was not aware that chemical food additives colored such foods or that they were full of carcinogenic ingredients. Soon my immune system began to suffer from all the accumulated junk food I ate. As a young teenager, I got hepatitis and was hospitalized for a week. Later at age 17, I also had a high fever that made me more ill. It caused me to drop out of school for years. The latter experience, combined with my soulful feelings as a child, led me to become an intense truth-seeker on issues of health and well-being. After nearly 50 years of such inner explorations, there evolved a philosophy of nature and of healing I call “raw-wisdom” and which has radical perspectives on changing the modern worldview and thus our modern world.
TEENAGE YEARS AS A MATH PRODIGY
Before all this happened, my schooling had been uneventful. In Newark I attended an orthodox Jewish private school, learning Hebrew and Jewish liturgy in the morning, and English in the afternoon. Having come from Germany and with my English training each day following the Hebrew, I kidded that English was my “third language. ” When we moved to the suburbs (Springfield, NJ) one of the highlights was having a science teacher who had designed the rocket fuel formulas for Cape Canaveral Florida. I also met Dr. Martin Luther King (who gave a sermon at a synagogue across from my junior high school in Springfield). However, my academic performance up until then seemed routine and not out-of-the-ordinary. Then at age of 12, bored that summer, I signed up for a math course on Channel 13 This was the only educational channel available at the time. There was a course that really fascinated me. I covered the intricacies of differential and integral calculus. But there was a catch. In order to follow all these TV lectures, and get credit I had to register for the course and take a proctored exam at the end. I then picked up some elementary books from the library, such as on Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, Trigonometry, etc. and gravitated toward the older math texts (which much like older carpentry books) were of greater interest and offered more charm. Then, by the end of the summer, before entering high school I completed this TV course and passed the proctored final administered at Fairleigh Dickenson University. When I entered high school, they didn’t know exactly what to do with me. It wasn’t until later that John Hopkins University first started a program to help math prodigies – see their Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) program. John Hopkins has since been tracking and helping approximately 200 math prodigies each year in the US . This equates to about 5,000 prodiges over a 25 year period of time. These children thus represent one-in-a-million. At the same time, NJ state requirements mandated that I, nevertheless, take elementary high school math courses like Algebra I. At the time I adamantly refused to take the geometry course, and they obliged me. In a week’s time, I skimmed through the required text and passed the final. I was, however, forced to take Algebra I. Bored out of my mind, this inspired a life-long meditative pondering over the meaning and role of the simplest of math symbols. What does the number “1″ really point to? What value and significance do symbols like + and – have, or the equal sign? I further became interested in larger philosophical issues and I recall how a high school teacher being so impressed by my grasp of Renaissance philosophy that she invited me to teach a class on this subject. I also won a regional math competition, and by a wide margin. Later in my junior year I wrote a critical paper on Godel’sFormally Undecidable Propositions of Principia Naturalis and Related Systems I. Already early on I sensed something missing in the completeness of our extraordinarily math-based ideology of nature. I call it an ideology rather than an truly objective or purely unbiased view of nature. . But what was wrong with that universally math-bound vision? Was Godel onto something huge? Also around this time, I scored two perfect 800′s on math college entrance exams, and a near perfect score, the highest in physics for surrounding high schools. Then at age 16, I matriculated into New York University’s Washington Square College early admissions program. This was due also to my interested in NYU’s famed Courant Institute of Mathematics.
The college years were an incredible time for me, especially living in Greenwich Village during the 1960′s. But at the beginning of my academic career, I was oblivious to the surrounding cultural turmoil and rather turned to the disciplines of mathematics, physics, logic, the philosophy of knowledge, or just about everything we might call “rational” or the result of a more “left-brain dominant” view. Economics was among my interests and partly because of my mother’s influence. Having survived Stalin’s Siberia (where the “roads were paved with blood” as she put it) my mom was an enthusiastic follower of Ayn Rand. Ms. Rand was a brilliant novelist who was also a Stalin-era survivor and thus fervent anti-communist and passionate supporter of laissez-faire capitalism. At age 16, I met Ayn Rand and her key followers, including Alan Greenspan, who at that time was virtually unknown except in Ayn Rand circles. I also sat in on an NYU Graduate Business School course taught by the famous Ludwig von Mises, the originator of the Austrian School of Libertarian Economics, an economist idolized by this clique. Lastly, linguistics was a major college interest, and I studied several ancient languages, most notably Chinese, and especially during a summer at the University of Hawaii. At that time, in the 1960′s, Hawaii was barely commercialized and unbelievably beautiful and pristine place. I spent one of the greatest summers of my life there (except for having a bicycle accident there that broke a front tooth). Overall I was flying high all the while, at least intellectually.
LEFT-BRAIN SHUT DOWN
Then one auspicious day everything in my life changed. We had moved to Hillsdale, NJ and I happened to be home from school when suddenly I got a high fever. My temperature may have been 106 degrees or more because subsequently there was some apparent damage akin to a stroke. For the next morning I woke up and was not myself. My mind was racing out of control, and I couldn’t catch words swirling through my brain cells at top speeds. I could barely speak in whole sentences. I now had a condition known as aphasia. I don’t think I had a stroke, but rather similar damage to the left hemisphere. In those days they did not have MRIs or magnetic resonance imaging of the brain, so I can’t be sure exactly what happened. In any event and needless to say, this was traumatic. I cried myself to sleep for a week, thinking my life was coming to an end or maybe I should better commit suicide. Experiencing almost the opposite of noted spiritual teacher, Eckhart Tolle, I was suicidally depressed after, rather than before disengaging or melting down my rational mind – a significant difference, why later I became more focus on retrieving, healing, transforming and making that rational mind aco-partner rather than advisory of the right hemisphere experience of life and its inner consciousness.
After this occurred, however, I was cut off from the high levels of mathematical, logical and linguistics skills that in prior years had been part of my ego’s sense of Self. I did not know who I was anymore as my sense of ego was blown apart to smithereens. I was lost trying to deal with states that had disabled my life. There also seemed no effective medical help. Curiously if one multiplies the statistical chances of being a math prodigy (about one in a million) by the chances of being aphasic (about 1/3 of 1% of a given population) and also by the chances of recovering (25-40%), then the final chance for what befell me was a very, very rare predicament. Also who was I to turn to for advise to help in such straights? There were no experts. Thus I started a journey of my own exploring, especially my inner world and, as a result, gathered some profound insights over a number of decades. This led me to a revolutionary philosophy, one that challenges Newton’s kernel Renaissance, 17th-century vision of a mechanical, clock-like and math-based cosmos. This is an understanding which has guided humanity for the past 400 years to create the Industrial Revolution and ultimately our modern world. What my philosophy of raw-wisdom tries to evolve is a different, more life-and-consciousness centered understanding of nature, and wherein the classical math-centered view misleads us towards the current environmental, social, health, and spiritual crises we face.
First, however, I struggled more internally in the dark to just get back to my basic and simple faculties working. Almost every attempt to turn for help from “experts” was to little avail. My father in Germany, estranged from my mother, blamed my inner troubles on psychological factors on my mother causing me some emotional harm. Freudian psychology was then popular in the 1960′s. My step-dad was comforting but not very well guiding towards a solution. My mother desperately led me to several conventional physicians, but the drugs they administered were toxic and made my condition worse. She then stopped taking me to such doctors. So all this left me with a serious sense of abandonment, especially helpless to verbally express and defend myself. This was a frightening experience at first – what led me to yearn for a deeper inner, wordless understanding of myself, my consciousness and the world around me.
Ultimately because the right hemisphere of the brain always looks first to the connective whole and then to the appearance of parts, I had to first solve a huge problem of reaching a far greater unity of understanding than even any mathematical formula had ever offered.
ON A SPIRITUAL JOURNEY
Eventually I managed ways to study things quite out of the box. Shortly after my left brain meltdown, my mother took me to Israel to attend my sister’s wedding, and on the way back, stopping awhile in London, I let a chartered plane take off for the US without me. I thought then I might travel from England to India on spiritual journey to find out what to do next. But after about two weeks, I relented, feeling that whatever enlightenment I needed I could find anywhere from within, and so I decided to return to America and re-matriculating at NYU. The courses I was newly taking were no longer on topics such as advanced mathematics, physics or linguistics. The subjects changed to things more “right-brain fulfilling,” such as hands-on art, dance, and poetry. I also remember a religion course taught by a Dr. Perry, where the final exam was a poetic essay, one that didn’t need to make logical written sense to tax my left brain. With some ingenuity in choosing such courses, I squeaked by.
There I also took a job as an errand boy for the NYU School of Continuing Education, and which required no mental skills, plus this helped pay for everyday expenses. Living amid the free-spirited and inspired culture of Greenwich Village further helped – as long as I avoided using drugs. Overall, I thought to myself, if my parents had survived the Holocaust, I could survive this challenge, no matter how difficult. I would do what ever it takes. For numerous reasons, however, I found my continuing stay at NY University and in New York City difficult to bear. I dropped out again and moved to an intentional community in the more rural reaches of Warwick, New York. There I had far better support for my physical and emotional survival. The community was (and to this day remains) called The Barn and was led by a Willem Nyland who was a disciple of the Russian philosopher Gurdjieff.
Two things were most important in this move. First I didn’t have to tax my mind and could be employed doing manual labor. This stretched from picking fruit in orchards, to helping with simple chores in a machine shop, to working on construction sites. These skills stayed with me for the rest of my life as a balancing and grounding influence. Secondly, the group followed a spiritual path that gave me great insights, exactly what I needed to extricate myself from my inner states. They chiefly taught a method of self-observation, a way of learning more about myself and as if from a far distance with enhanced objectivity. During my five year stay at the community, I had time to heal my mind, though I finally left when I was able and ready.
In 1971, I returned to finish a few courses at NYU (graduating with a BA degree in religion rather than mathematics). While my mind healed enough to function minimally, my body nevertheless was stressed. On the construction sites in Warwick, I had been drinking umpteen cups of coffee with white sugar and processed cream, and otherwise eating poorly. I was still following the “you see it, eat it diet” or being somewhat undiscriminating. In the intentional community there was relatively little health guidance. The philosophy of Gurdjieff showed relatively scant integration of diet and spiritual disciplines. Thus I left the community to tread on my own path towards learning the healing arts. Thereafter I matriculated at Seton Hall University to work on a Masters degree in Asian Studies, and writing a thesis on the early history of Chinese medicine. This was also derivative of my fascination with Chinese philosophy and the ancient view of a universe composed of yin and yang forces, as an alternative to the western (mechanical/math-bound) view which I disputed.
At the time, however, my dad in Germany had access to tax credits for sending a child to college. He expressed pity that I had little or no professional skills to support myself or a family so he offered to send me to either medical or business school. I had a taste of what modern medicine was all about, so I opted for business school as my choice. This led me to get an MBA in accounting from NYU’s Graduate School of Business.
FAMILY & PROFESSIONAL LIFE – STRETCHED IN TWO DIRECTIONS
I then got married to a former classmate at NYU, and needed to actually make a living, especially with a child on the way! This led me to work in the accounting field and for a small regional firm. In my teenage years I thought accounting and law were two of the most boring of all subjects in the world! Though I was no longer a math prodigy, accounting was a practical, relatively easier skill to acquire and so it made sense. Paradoxically given my background and deep spiritual inclinations, I became a very practicing CPA and have been ever since. This ever helped me support a family and myself. In my professional career, I first worked for a regional CPA firm and then, soon thereafter, set up a practice. Over the years, tax shelters became popular and this led me to get a securities license. Ultimately this redirected me to work on Wall Street, twice as head of securities firms with over a hundred employees and engaged in investment banking. But I did primarily administrative and accounting work there. This kind of work was not what my heart and soul yearned to do, but still I was grateful to be there. Those years allowed me to become an observer, learning more about life in what some might call the “belly of the Behemoth.” Wall Street reflects a major part of the soul of western civilization. I soon tried to drop out of that kind of lifestyle and thus went for two years’ training at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, and for a degree in Oriental medicine or as an OMD/acupuncturist. I also became a vegetarian (1981) and then ran several NYC marathons with the Gary Null Natural Living and Running Club and volunteered to help Gary Null on his radio show and assisted other health activists. I organized a hunger organization called Food & Water which later changed to become the leading organization fighting food irradiation. Under the stewardship two phenomenal individuals, Dr. Wally Burnstein and Michael Colby, F & W single handledly stopped the US food irradiation industry.
As to my training at Pacific College in NYC, I really wanted to see how effectively the ying and yang philosophy of nature worked in the healing arts. Ultimately I was disappointed as it did little to help my on going brain struggles. My expectations were higher. A turning point occurred was when I was working in an acupuncture clinic and which forbade me from giving nutritional advice to patients (their insurance didn’t cover the same). I felt out of place, having studied nutrition with great teachers like Dr. Bernard Jensen and Steve Meyerowitz. That experience at Pacific, and unrelated financial pressures, made me decide just months short of qualifying for a license, to drop out of acupuncture school. I went back to helping my partners at the Wall Street brokerage, if briefly. During that time, and as soon as we got some money out of our venture, I helped envision, fund and organize the Gerson Wellness Center at Sedona, combining my business skills with my passion for holistic healing and the revolutionary therapy of late Dr. Max Gerson. This clinic briefly existed for a year. But it has since inspired other centers. At the clinic, we reversed the cancer of many patients with natural therapies, including one with Stage IV or metastatic melanoma of a chiropractor who lived near me.
At the same time I had an on-going interest in consciousness studies, after what I had been through with a left-brain meltdown andBefore going to Oneonta, I also ran a “nature of consciousness” study group in NYC sponsored by the Institute of Noetic Sciences.
Moving to Oneontain 2000
Then with seeing more of Wall Street’s corruptions, I decided to pack up. I sold my house in Upper Nyack and moved to live in Oneonta, N.Y., attracted there by a girl friend. I have since loved living in this small town, despite the cold winter weather, but where there is a cleaner environment and ample opportunity to build community. When I came to Oneonta, I set up another not-for-profit, Americans for Safe Food to fight genetically modified foods. I ran seminars and given that during my first year in Oneonta, where I lived on funds from selling my home, and had time to write 50 Harmful Effects of Genetically Modified Foods. That work has since been read by over a million people on the Web. it was ahead of its time. However, as funds ran out, I took a job as an assistant professor of accounting at Hartwick College, and the job was so demanding I had little free time to pursue a publisher for my book. Thus the book was posted for free reading in 2000. In the years that followed, to my surprise, it had been linked to by hundreds of sites all over the Web. I later redirected the traffic to my own site, www.raw-wisdom.com, which has since gotten over a million visitors, two-thirds of which landed on that book. Given the hundreds of sites that linked to this work, I imagine more than a million readers have benefited from my efforts.
PLANNING FOR LIFE CHANGES
During my years of living in Oneonta, I also realized I had very little retirement savings, so I began buying some nearby homes to renovate, thus applying my construction skills from living at the Barn, my art skills from college, and my knowledge of stained glass imparted by my uncle, Ignaz Fabiarz with whom I was apprenticed for six months. See www.viewallrentals.com for pictures of these renovations. Overall it has been very gratifying to create such beautiful living spaces, mostly for students – in Oneonta and surrounding areas. This led to managing a full-time construction crew for awhile, as well as the maintenance of many houses, plus keeping up with my ongoing, if small, accounting practice. In short, this led to a busy life. In my mind, however, I still wanted to get back to holistic pursuits, and despite having turned away from the acupuncture career.
RETURNING TO HOLISTIC PURSUITS
So in 2004 I took additional courses sponsored by the American Naturopathic Certification Board, got credit for the work at Pacific, and earned a naturopathic certification and licensing. Officially this was a CTN or Certified Traditional Naturopath designation. Additionally I received a certification at the Puerto Rico Ann Wigmore Institute in living foods. Subsequently I taught what I had learned from Ann Wigmore, and Victoras Kulvinskas in a five month course in healing modalities in Oneonta. A teaching that course helped me transition myself to a raw vegan diet. This was for ecological as well as health reasons or to avoid the major diseases common and epidemic in our times (cardiovascular, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, asthma, Alzheimer’s and digestive ailments). It was the fortunate reading of the China Study which finally helped me transition to a more vegan diet. Previously I had followed an ovo-lacto vegetarian approach. The China Study was one of several major studies that confirmed my suspicions that a purer plant-based diet had more health benefits. I have posted a summary of the China Study and information on other research studies on my initial website, www.raw-wisdom.com and subsequently on www.healingtalks.com.
An important turning point came via my partnership with Melinda Elliott. This was begun in 2005 when she moved up to live with me from her home in Virginia. Melinda had been suffering from breast cancer at the time. For a little over 4 years we were committed to help each other and others, and our whole planet make a healing shift. We both transitioned to a purer healing diet – more whole, raw, organic and vegan to empower our work. What I gradually discovered, the hard way, was that while I avoided the major diseases of civilization, I had lingering prostate inflammations, stiffening of the back, loss of energy, fungus infections, skin outbreaks, aching knees and so on – so that further adjustments were needed in my diet. The aging process was sneaking up on me, at least until I decided to make further counter-cultural shifts. And with this in mind, Melinda and I traveled to Sedona, Arizona and Washington DC – to the Raw Spirit Festivals to meet thousands of like-minded people – and especially Dr. Gabriel Cousens at his Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center. After that trip, we decided to form a branch of the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center. Both these visits inspired us to move further along our respective healing paths. Covering another arena of major interest, I attended two international symposiums on the science of consciousness, one sponsored by the Center for Consciousness Studies in Tuscon, Arizona and the other by Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness in Taipei Taiwan to present my unique views – again making many networking contacts. See CV link below for more details.
The above has been a prelude to completing my PhD at Binghamton University and with a thesis entitled Raw Wisdom: Moving from a Death-Centered to a Life-Centered Vision of Nature. A gist of the first half is posted. Melinda moved to Florida where she worked as an OT, while I remain in Oneonta with the housing and accounting projects, working on building an online community with the healingtalks blog website, sponsoring events, and trying to create a local intentional community. Unfortunately while Melinda was away, her cancer returned and she has since passed on. I then set up a memorial fund in Melinda’s name and encourage others to contribute. The funds help sponsor a breast cancer sufferer to be treated naturally at the Hippocrates Heath Institute in West Palm Beach, Florida. Your contributions, no matter how small, are greatly appreciated!
Lastly, and from time to time, I offer naturopathic counseling and educational courses. Having completed my PhD, publishing a book on the raw-wisdom philosophy is the next major step of my life.
I invite the reader to kindly take in what are my, and the efforts of others, help bring about a global mind change from a Newtonian mechanical to a life and consciousness centered vision of nature.
As Stanislav Grof writes in Beyond the Brain,
“Western science is approaching a paradigm shift of unprecedented proportions, one that will change our concepts of reality and of human nature, bridge the gap between ancient wisdom and modern science, and reconcile the differences between Eastern spirituality and Western pragmatism.”
Such a shift can help turnaround some of the key ecological, health, social and spiritual crises of our times. This concludes my life story and summary of my life work. I also look forward to hearing from all others would like to partake – either online by networking or more actively by visiting – to share stories, knowledge, experiences, teachings, energies and passions , all to make this a better planet for all.
Nathan Batalion Certified Traditional Naturopath