Dedication to the Founder of CST in SA – Mr Al Pelowski (02 March 1942 – 17 July 2009)
Born in the wilds of northern Minnesota (USA), raised in a small community, part of a big, loving family, AL Pelowski remembered his childhood environment as ”a wonderful place to be a kid; to play, to build spaces and exercise the imagination.”
His high school biology teacher inspired him to observe the variety and repeating patterns in nature. School lessons required drawing everything in great detail, and AL wanted more! “More” would span a lifetime, in actual fact. Stops along the way included the study of public health and epidemiology in the 1960’s, naturopathy and massage in the 1970’s, and finally CranioSacral Therapy in the late 1980’s.
Whether in rural Malawi, Southwest Scotland, Wales, London, or in South Africa’s diverse city centres, AL was forever grateful to clients and colleagues for keeping him grounded and challenging him to keep learning.
During his time in Malawi during the 1960’s AL began encouraging holistic practices in childcare and trauma recovery. Babies and children always held a very special place in his heart, so it came as no surprise that a newborn caused AL’s first visit to South Africa, some 30 years later, at the request of a distraught Johannesburg family.
Though CranioSacral Therapy was relatively unknown here at the time, a group of natural health professionals, hearing of its therapeutic benefits, asked AL to consider teaching in South Africa. He jumped at the opportunity, believing that the efficacy and economical nature of CranioSacral work made it a perfect fit for addressing many of the health challenges faced by people in Africa.
AL founded the South African Institute for Cranial Studies in 2000 as a vehicle for professional training and as a launch pad for outreach projects. In his teaching, AL attempted “to bridge the divide between classically trained medical professionals and spiritual/energy/traditional healers.” He believed that CranioSacral work married the best of both. AL didn’t shy away from challenging old paradigms with informed alternatives. His story-telling abilities created a lively classroom environment, in which students were moved, inspired, and provoked.
Under his guidance and tireless dedication, scores of practitioners trained and qualified in the art and science of CranioSacral Therapy, branching out to work in clinics and private practices, and eventually sprouted outreach projects to reach disadvantaged, homeless, abandoned and traumatised children. As a result, the awareness of cranial work in this country over the past decade has grown exponentially.
The demands and variety of AL’s busy teaching schedule with the Institute allowed him to feel a vibrant part of something larger than self. Betwixt and between, AL enjoyed travel and his walks on city streets and in nature, never tiring of the mind-boggling variety of shapes, colours and patterns in our world. He was always in the middle of a book or two or three, and wasn’t above catching the cricket or the rugby on TV with a beer in one hand and cigar in the other.
Part dreamer, part scientist, part rebel, AL Pelowski left a legacy of intelligent and compassionate service. After his untimely death at the age of 67, in July 2009, messages flowed in from far and wide, sent by people whose lives he touched, motivated and inspired along the way, whose lives were enriched by his vast spectrum of knowledge and his passion for life.
He left behind his son Jo in Scotland; his mother Ruth, brothers, sisters, extended family and friends in the USA; friends and extended family in Europe; and his students, friends and colleagues in Africa who had the privilege of knowing AL for just a little while…