Saturday, February 7, 2015

What does Southern African wisdom have to offer us in the West

When most of us look at Africa all we can see is the threat of AIDS,  Ebola, sporadic but horrific genocide, and failed governments led by ruthless dictators. What we do not see is that there is a rich ancient knowledge waiting to be tapped. In the West we have become masters of technology. However, in many parts of Africa, there are still masters of the spirit world. Our captivation with science has cut us off from our primal roots, from the Garden of Eden experience – we struggle to get in touch with our inner being and with the cosmic reality. It is hard to enter the cosmic "Field" with hard intellectual data and with a motivation that relies on acquiring things. Africans still in touch with their roots, on the other hand, have easy access to spirit in trance, dreams and in other ways. African wisdom can teach us to get back to what we once knew and who we once were. 
A visitor to rural Southern Africa may be struck by a relative sense of material poverty, the lack sometimes of the most basic needs. But extended families still live in the villages—grandfathers, grandmothers, fathers, mothers, uncles, aunts—all of whom together with the community and in the spirit of "Ubuntu" help each other and take part in raising the children. The few remaining San Bushmen of the Kalahari, who still live as hunter-gatherers in their ancestral lands, have the least in terms of possessions and seem quite happy if they have domain over their habitat. It is perhaps the hunter-gatherer who owns nothing that has the easiest access to the spirit world. There is no material “stuff” in the way - theirs is a different form of wealth. 
      This new blog is about indigenous African healing wisdom which takes these loftier concepts for granted and has done so for eons. In order to become a sangoma, one must surrender to the ancestors or spirit guides who are in line with Divine will. One must give way to something more important than oneself. Most true shamans from the subcontinent of Africa are "called" by their ancestors to heal and to help. Their mission is one of service and sacrifice. The sangoma is a servant of the people. I cannot remember meeting an authentic healer who did not seem complete, happy, content, and fulfilled in spite of the arduous demands of his or her profession.

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