Saturday, February 15, 2014

Wilderness Rapture and the Bushman Healing Trance Dance

 Wilderness Rapture Video can be downloaded from the website

This completes the Bushman section of these recent Blogs.
The next few Blogs will relate to the "How To's" of Wilderness Rapture which we will also cover in detail in the talk at Schott April 12th in Santa Barbara.

This weeks blog is centered around video that I shot of the Kalahari Bushmen at the turn of the millennium. The trance dance segment was taken in the Xai Xai area in north western Botswana at the Gwihaba caves close to the Namibian border. The rest was videoed in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. Sadly things have changed for their unique life style in this reserve where previously they could live on their ancestral land and hunt and gather with traditional weapons. This blog will not discuss any of the dynamics of the catastrophic changes to their life style. There is no narration (there is Bushman music and chatter in the background.) and therefore I will give some descriptions of what you will see.

Those interested in the healing trance dance can skip ahead to the last quarter of the u tube video. Here one can see mostly the men dancing around the fire with rattles around their ankles while the women generate the energy for the dance with their incredible chanting and clapping. Several of the men literally fall into trance, one nearly into the fire. In this dream state they travel to the spirit world where they get information with regard to anything ailing the clan or any individual in the clan. They come out of their trance state and channel healing energy with their hands (and their bodies - not seen here.) The last scene is of a younger, probably less mature dancer who is not coming out of trance and is in danger of not coming back from the spirit world. This is why the dance - which is like a near death experience - is sometimes called the little death, and on occasion can result in a real demise. Watch how they try to call his spirit back into his body by dancing, clapping and chanting around him but to no avail. Eventually one of the older women takes a hot coal close to the fire (you can see her wincing from pain as she picks it up.) She thrusts it into his mouth and this brings him around. After the dance there was no evidence that he had been burned.

The rest of the video is about their hunter gatherer lifestyle and the basics of survival; shelter, fire, water and foraging for food (and of course their profound way of attaining balance and harmony in the group through the trance dance. ) 
Extraction water out of the water bulb and planting the bulb remnant for another day.
Making rope out of the sanserveria plant or mother in laws tongue.
Their ingenious traps. 
Toy like bones and arrow. 
The poisonous diamphydia grub with which they poison their arrows. 
Divination with six carved flat sticks; three female, three male. The Bushmen say they were also the first to use the "bones" and that their Bantu neighbors learned it from them. 
Making ankle rattles with the cocoons of a moth which they stuff with pieces of ostrich shell and string together.
Bushman are also seen at play and there is always a lot of joking singing and talking around the compound.

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