Happy Birthday South Africa

South Africa is celebrating Freedom Day, marking 18 years since the election of a ‘new’ South Africa.

The age of SA 18 (1+8=9) and the year ahead 27/4/2012 (2+7+4+2+1+2=9) both add to the number nine, we have a double nines, which in turn add to 18. Gives one a sense that all aspects are working together and the collective energy is about spirit and introspection.  Inyanga18 The Moon talks to the unconscious, emotional security and compassion.  The ability to make choices guided by universal trust. The Great Mother also asks us to face self-delusions and deception.

Card for the year is 9 The Hermit – INDUNA.

INDUNAThis is the best year to complete any unresolved issues from the past.  The ‘Born Free generation” are young adults and should be taking their position in the world without the encumbrances of the past.  They are the true symbol of transition.

This year will see many endings and resolutions with a definite movement in new directions and new beginnings.  Opportunities are presented by older, wiser nations.  The key is not to compromise values, but rather go it alone.

To support the collective energy, each and every individual needs to explore their own personal insights and wisdom.  A year of self examination and renewal. High ideals need to be grounded in reality, order and harmony.  The expression is one of  wise leadership.

To the governing members this is the year of decisions.  Time is running out, attend to unfinished business.  Don’t turn away from society.  Divine wisdom is yours through an appropriate discipline.  Taking time to contemplate whether what is being done is in the interests of the people.

Lead with wisdom, as an inDuna with the skill to balance and create harmony. The light bearer stands for guidance to help others in their progress.  Inspire and motivate the nation.  This is the year to assess and think things through.  It’s time to move on from the past and complete the cycle.

This is the year of ‘spirit’ even for atheists and non believers.  Spirit is about truth – each and every individual has their own truth.  The behaviour of the masses reflects the truth of the nation.  We all need to do the right thing.

Be conservative with finances, this is not a year for self aggrandisement or to gamble with resources.  Leadership with ‘heart’ balance and harmony will bring South Africa into a new beginning and enlightened path.

Five Card Spread for Julius Malema

Julius Malema is expelled from the ANC.  I was interested to see what advice the cards would offer.

iTongo Tarot for Transformation

Card 1: The issue –  16 The Tower – Thulamela invites you to deconstruct illusions and delusions, restructure and restore.

These are difficult and challenging times with feelings of panic and fear.  Its a time of involuntary change and a radical shift of the way things are. To regain and restore, military precision is required.  Find true value through internal restructuring.

Card 2: Past Influences – 15 The Devil – Thikoloshe invites you to set your boundaries and limits.

It would have been fortuitous to combine productivity with practicality.  Manipulation without boundaries and limits lead to confusion.  Being the trickster with materialistic intent is what brings the inability to accept what is, no matter how dynamic and assertive.  Being ego driven is the inability to move on.  Lust for power blinds.

Card 3: Future Influences – Seven of Assegai (Swords) Isolation

Feeling cut off from society and betrayal of secrets. Only after a time of introspection would it be advisable to assert  independence. Solitude and isolation is required to develop strategies. Wandering in the wilderness, alone?  There is support available, but it has to be earned.

Card 4: The Ascendent (The Ancestors) – 8 Justice – Khathulo invites you to honour truth and the law of cause and effect.

The lesson from the ancestors is to learn to understand and accept, reality and the responsibility of choice.  Balance intellect and be judged by actions rather than words.  Honour truth and accept the punishment of actions and reactions.  Accept the natural law of ‘for every action, there is a reaction’. Clear the mind to see the truth.

Card 5: The Transcendent – Ace of Mavhele (Coins) TRUTH

After introspection, being grounded and consolidating a firm base, the natural law of attraction will bring opportunity.  Be realistic and accept the absolute reality.  The realisation of dreams is available when practicing truth, tolerance and trust.

 

Growth Through Learning and Teaching

We have just entered the astrological sign of Taurus and the traditional tarot card link is 5 The Hierophant.  The essence of The Hierophant is about learning and teaching through institutions and tradition.  This got me wondering about the phrase “separating Church and State”.  In ancient times the leader or monarch ruled by the concept of divine right.  These people believed that it was their responsibility to take care of both the spiritual and corporeal needs of their people.

The downside of this is that when the leader was not disposed to the welfare of the people and only served his own needs, the masses suffered.  More recently we have HH Dalai Lama who served as both spiritual and political leader of the Tibetan people.  HH recently resigned his political post to better serve his faith and followers.

The Hierophant in some tarot decks is also known as The Pope or Papess.  The Pope serves as ‘the Vicar of Christ on Earth’ and is believed to have authority over the Catholic Church and therefore indirectly over the state.   During the Renaissance period (when tarot was developed) the papacy was both the religious and political ruler.

I see this as rather exclusionary – not everyone follows the faith of the spiritual leader, and would have had to conform to the laws of the church.  Poor Socrates was executed by the Athenian state because they believed his teachings ‘disrespected the gods’.  In the past South Africa was seen as a Christian state, after the adoption of the constitution in 1994 South Africa is religiously neutral and guarantees the freedom of religion, belief and opinion.

What do we learn from the 5th Major?

We need to be centered within our selves and the way to do that is to practice a philosophy daily.  Whether it’s by prayer, meditation or just spending time contemplating our position in the world, we learn by insight.

It has been said that ‘you are the centre of the universe’ and I believe that.  It all starts and ends with us, as individuals.  Our thoughts and actions have an impact on those around us.  If we all learn to live with balance and harmony and we extend our knowledge to others, lead and inspire by example, then surely the world would be a better more conscious place .

We should honour our traditions – what ever they may be.  Time erodes and if we do not consciously practice what we believe in, it will disappear.  Performing rituals and rights keeps a tradition alive and passes it onto the next generation.

Family does not always have to be our biological connections.  We make a ‘family’ from people we love.  We share common experience, hopes and dreams.  We create a truth in our community. This leads us to a sense of freedom.  A power to achieve anything we believe in, we hold the keys of heaven within us. Unlock the power within, share and lead.

 5 The Hierophant – UMZI

UMZI

iTongo Tarot for Transformation

CONCEPT: Practice a philosophy daily /Patriarchal law /Spiritual truth and purpose /The concept of family and community /Inspire others by example  /Growth by learning and teaching /Practical and firm /Productive; Solid work ethic /Material rewards for efforts /Freedom

UMZI invites you to experience growth through learning and teaching.

The Home (Kraal) as a Sacred Place

The home (Kraal) is the environment of a clan, comprising houses or huts, ancestral graves and cattle kraals. Interaction between these elements creates a well balanced, harmonious, and development place for children. The home is the fundamental place of worship and nothing is more sacred.

Each homestead has a great hut, called indlu enkulu. Usually, this hut is used for cooking, though sometimes for sleeping. The fireplace (iziko) divides the inside of the hut into two sections. The section to the right, on entering the door, is where women sit, and to the left is where the men sit and socialise. Behind the door on the women’s side is the place for labour and childbirth, and this area is also where the attendant religious and social practices are performed.

Divisions of the cattle kraal

Ixhanti (cattle kraal entrance) is important in African tradition as it is believed to be highly charged with the presence of the ancestors, and is also where the clan will be heard by the ancestors. Going to ixhanti shows the seriousness of the problem and it is the place where ancestors are asked to intercede.

Ancestor (amathongo) worship is a practice based on the belief that deceased family members have a continued existence, take an interest in world affairs, and/or possess the ability to influence the fortunes of the living. Ancestor veneration ensures the ancestors’ continued well-being and positive disposition towards the living; and includes requests for special favours or assistance. While not universal, ancestor veneration occurs in societies with every degree of social, political, and technological complexity, and it remains an important component of various religious practices in modern times.

Sitting position: From the entrance, the kraal is divided into two sections representing the male clan members and the members of the community. To the right, clan members sit according to seniority, while to the left sit the community members, also according to seniority by birth and initiation. Isilimela (the years of adulthood since initiation) determines the seniority of most Xhosa males.

Umthonyama (The side opposite ixhanti at the back of the kraal) Towards the back on both sides sit the young initiated males (abafana). The seniority of abafana is defined according to the period that has passed since their initiation. The youngest, therefore, sits at the back. Boys (young uninitiated males) have no special place in the kraal. They are considered immature and under the strict supervision of their parents.

FEAR is a 4-Letter Word

Fear is just a lack of information, an emotional response to a perceived threat. It is a basic survival mechanism occurring in response to a specific stimulus, such as pain or the threat of danger.  Fear comes in many shapes and forms and levels, from a mild sense of uneasiness and caution to sheer terror and paranoia. Fear functions to make us alert and ready for action while expecting specific problems or outcomes.  What happens to us in our lives is a direct result of the choices we have made and how we conduct ourselves.

I am a firm believer that we are the sum total of all that we think and do. As fear is based on something that we think may happen in the future, it is clearly a mental process, which tries to predict the future – in that sense, the reason of fear is a projection of our mind.   So one could say that fear is always based on something that has not yet happened, and is therefore a fantasy in our mind rather than fact.

Every living thing has two main aspects; its primary nature and its acquired characteristics, which are influenced by Geography, the period or time, society and home environment.  When we are born, we come hard-wired or pre-loaded with two basic instincts – Survival of Self (fight or flight) and Survival of the Species (Procreation) everything else is acquired learnt knowledge.  This seems rather simplistic and limiting, but if you think about it, everything we choose to do and how we respond to external stimuli can fit into either of the basic instincts, sometimes a little of both.

Somewhere in the middle lives the ‘delusion of fear’.  It’s what we imagine ‘could’ happen.  It’s these delusions that keep us from ever truly living or experiencing new things.  From something as simple as learning to ride a bicycle to the more extreme of base jumping.  I say we learn from our mistakes, and yet at times it’s these very experiences that hold us back from trying again, or more importantly trusting again.  Trusting that even though the situation is the same, we are different and hopefully will react and interact with acquired knowledge.

Buddhism talks about ‘healthy and unhealthy’ fears.  Healthy fear is being aware that an activity, choice or action is dangerous and harmful and to be avoided at all costs.  Unhealthy fear is reacting to something in the future that is unfounded and in our minds.

As a tarot reader there are a few cards that when drawn, invoke a sharp intake of break or Oh-Oh reactions from the client. My top five cards in descending order.

5.  Five of Cups : Traditional interpretation is sorrow, loss, sadness.  The RWS deck shows a man, head hanging with the weight of the world in his heart.

4. Three of Swords: Heartbreak, Rejection, Separation.  RWS shows the swords piercing the heart.  This could also be ‘getting to the heart of the matter”.

Pearl of Wisdom Tarot

Courtesy Pearls of Wisdom Tarot (C) 2011 Roxi Hermsen
http://www.roxiartwork.com

3. 16 The Tower: Restoration and regeneration, Internal restructuring, flash of enlightenment, involuntary change.

Visual from Pearls of Wisdom Tarot– The Tower’s lightning bolt of truth and unexpected chaotic, earth shaking events are upsetting. The wave washes away, the fire cleanses, the earth opens to receive and the volcano offers new fertile soil.  The broken strand of pearls sends wisdom far and wide. The vine growing from the cracks represents chance.

2.  15 The Devil – Thikoloshe (uHili) from iTongo Tarot.  The invitation is to set your boundaries and limits.  Our shadow selves, pain & pleasure, archetype of the trickster.

Thikolotshe - uHili

iTongo Tarot for Transformation
http://www.africantarot.com

The Thikoloshe myth is very well known in South Africa, and each tribe has its own variation of what a Thikoloshe looks like. The Thikoloshe is a manifestation of mischievousness and evil, and he has immense power.

His physical appearance owes its attributes to various African creatures: large all-seeing eyes and survival cunning from the nagaap (Bushbaby); the ability to see in the dark and wisdom from the owl; the mane of a great lion that empowers him with strength and courage; and a tail like a serpent.

In Zulu mythology, Thikoloshe is also called “Hili”, and believed to be a dwarf-like water sprite. He only has one arm and one leg, and is a mischievous and evil spirit. He can become invisible by swallowing a pebble, and he then leaves his watery home to make unlawful love to women, or to fight men. If he loses the fight, he will teach his opponent magic and healing.  Malevolent people wanting to cause trouble for others sometimes call upon the Thikoloshe, and a Sangoma’s skill must be called upon to banish him.  Most of the time only children can see the Thikoloshe; he shows kindness towards them and they often become firm friends.

1.  13 Death – uKufa :  Transition, transformation, regeneration, letting go, metamorphosis, rebirth.

How Death came to Mankind

uKufa

iTongo Tarot for Transformation
http://www.africantarot.com

According to Zulu legend, God (uNkulunkulu) arose from beneath (the seat of the spiritual world) and created in the beginning men, animals, and all things. He then sent for the chameleon, saying, “Go, Chameleon, and tell the nations of men that they shall not die.” The chameleon started his journey, but walked slowly, loitering on the way, eating a shrub called ubukwebezane.

After some time, when the chameleon had not returned uNkulunkulu called the lizard ordering him to make haste and tell men that they shall die. The lizard outran the chameleon with the message, and told men that they shall die. When the chameleon eventually arrived and delivered his proclamation that man shall not die, the men refused to listen as they had already heard the words of the lizard and accepted what he said.  And so it happened that through the slowness of the chameleon and the speed of the lizard death came to all men. From that day, the chameleon was cast with his peculiar halting gait, which makes it impossible for him to run.

In multiple decks the Death card has the image of either the Death cloaked and mounted on a horse, or a skeleton with his trusty scythe.  Either of these visuals are indicative of our perception of the ‘grim reaper’.  When drawn card 13 Death is not an indication of mortal death, but rather a time of transition and transformation.

Everything in life arises from what we feel (Soul), think (Mind), what we say (Speech) and what we ultimately chose to do (Body), Being fully aware of our thoughts and actions, and developing an understanding of who we are allows us to fulfill the dreams we have and control our fears.

We all experience fear to some degree on a daily basis. Predominating are the fears of loss, of a loved one, status, position, job, and respect. Fear is related to a number of additional cognitive and emotional states including worry, anxiety, terror, horror, panic and dread.  Whether these fears are valid or we have become addicted to the physiological effect of fear.  We are tasked daily to be brave, have courage, be the warrior and fight for our survival and place on the hamster wheel of life.

Experience can also make us fear – if you have ever been attacked, one might fear people who look like the attacker assailants. What we observe we save and file away for another time when a similar situation arises.  Our reaction is based on this information.  A fair amount of these files are created in childhood.  As we mature our physical bodies and our intellect, we often don’t update our memories and perceptions.  With the result we have an unrealistic response to a certain situation.  We grow out of the boogieman under the bed, but we may have transferred that information to certain types of people (shape, build and size) are out to get us and harms us.

Observations – if we have witnessed a murder, assault or a robbery, although we are not part of the action we pick up on the terror of the person and we make that situation something to be feared.  We avoid certain places and people, because they make us feel uncomfortable and the frisson of fear is present.

Take the analogy of animals in the wild, motivated by their survival of the species (food) and survival of self.  The buck grazing calmly is not aware that it is being observed and stalked by a lioness nearby.  The lioness pounces and the chase begins, the buck is experiencing all systems on go, senses are heightened and he knows to survive he has to flee – his experience has taught him that he cannot stand and fight, he will lose.  The elephants also at the watering hole, are aware and on standby should the lioness come their way, the matriarchs of the herd are closing ranks around the younger elephants.  The monkey in the tree is curious to see what is happening, but remains where he is, instinctively knowing that he is out of danger in his position (different story if the predator was a leopard).  The crocodile sunning on the banks of the watering hole is lying in wait – he has two options, either the buck will run into his jaws or the lioness would be so exhausted it would be an easy kill for him.  To all there is danger around, and to all there is the possibility of loss, yet they do not react until the danger is directed at them.

So too should we live our lives, observation and readiness are essential tools to survival, fearing an outcome until it has actually manifested is a drain on energy and pointless.

Knights in Shining Armour

The random card that I drew for today is Warrior of Moritsoana (Morey Sauna).

Knight of CupsWARRIOR of MORITSŎANA People of the West Key word – IDEALISTIC

Idealisation of love | Grace | Wonder in mutual attraction | Sentimental love| Emphasised emotions | The poetry of life | Beauty | Heightened mood and feelings | Empathy | A pleasing environment

Card visual:  Back ground the Lesotho Mountains.  Warrior is dressed in traditional war regalia with the totem of his unit or clan on his shield.  This Sotho warrior is from the baHlaping (Tlhapi – fish) clan.

The Sotho lived in small chiefdoms with homesteads grouped into villages. Economic responsibilities were shared and they traditionally raised livestock; cattle, goats, and sheep and cultivated grains and tobacco. The Sotho were skilled artisans and renowned for their metal and leather-work, wood and ivory carving.

 

This week we can afford to be a tad idealistic.  Why not be able to have the happily ever after.  Sometimes we limit ourselves, for a variety of reasons but more often than not it’s because we believe we do not deserve it.

Well known and loved fairy tales share a common theme.  The forlorn, orphaned young person is cast out or cursed or put upon by evil stepmothers, sisters etc.  After various trials and tribulations (usually lasting 100 years) she is saved by an act of kindness usually a prince or knight in shining armour.

The message from all these stories is that no matter what your circumstances, if we wait and truly believe in ourselves, salvation will come.  We live in an instant gratification times.  We don’t want to wait for the knight in shining armour, we want a quick fix – like a fine wine, some things take time to mature and develop into their full potential.

Another theme that runs through all the stories and fables is being pure of heart. I can’t think of a fairy story or parable where the evil ugly sister got the prince.  So as we dream to be fulfilled, saved or transformed, we need to consider our motivation and intent.  Why do we want certain things?  Why do we feel that life is not living up to our expectations?  What trials and tribulations do we need to go through to reach the nirvana we desire.

How realistic are we about love.  We confuse lust and romantic love, which is all flowers and candles with true love.  True love is a state of Grace not the sentimental love that Hollywood propagates, but rather the even flow of the poetry of life.  The beauty of heightened mood and feelings.  The glorious wash of emotion, clear and true without attachments of need and greed.

Fairy tales are the system foundation that we set up as children.  We aspire to the ‘happy ever after’.  We look at the end result and somehow are able to gloss over and turn a blind eye to the pain and suffering that was endured before the ever after moment.  We also do this with real life people.  We hold up Ghandi, Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa as icons for humanity, which of us would be able to live their lives and walk in their shoes.  To undergo the difficulties they lived through and still maintain a purity of spirit.

There is no reason why we cant ‘have it all’.  We just need to be prepared to put in the effort for the reward. As someone once said “Keep your feet on the ground and reach for the stars”.

Shine a little light …

This morning I woke up with the phrase “shine a little light on me” running through my head.  I can’t remember the song or who sang it.  As I settled in for my morning meditation I could hear the Muezzin in the Bo Kaap recite the Azan (Islamic call to prayer) and by the time I was done and settled down with my first cuppa of the day I could hear the bells of Nazareth House ringing the Angelus.  Being Sunday morning all the churches are calling the faithful, but I began to wonder about the ‘light on me” or the light within me.

Man has used physical light to illuminate the darkness – metaphorically speaking light is used to describe the Divine, energy and life force.  Throughout time, man has observed, recorded and interpreted the skies.  Using the cycles and structure of astronomy to determine his calendar. The geographical location of different cultures has helped shape their perception of how the universe works and the structure of their calendars.

In South Africa we have the Southern Cross, it is unmistakable being the brightest and most distinctive.  Sailors using celestial navigation set their sextant to Alpha Crusis and Gamma Crusis to set due South. We offer light from land in the form of Light Houses, to guide those on their journey to safe harbour.

So I’m wondering what is my Southern Cross or lighthouse as I journey and navigate through life. What tools do I use to discover the fire within or inner light (umlilo – Xhosa).

During the late 80’s and early 90’s I made choices that radically altered the course of my life.  Some I regret that I didn’t think them through and others put me on the path I walk today.  I tried various tools and techniques before I settled on systems, philosophies and practice that I could manage and work with.  Over time I have seen the results of my endeavours and this is what keeps me going.

Once we have discovered our light within, do we not owe it to the process to shine bright for others.  We teach and lead – but sometimes we just need to stand like a lighthouse to guide, without question or judgement.

This reminds me of the internet joke going around a few years ago.

Ship: Divert your course to avoid a collision.

Reply: Recommend that YOU divert YOUR course to avoid collision.

Ship: This is the Captain of a US Navy Ship.  I say again, divert your course.

Reply: No.  I say again you divert your course.

Ship:  We are a large warship of the US Navy.  DIVERT YOUR COURSE NOW!

Reply:  This is the Lighthouse.  Your call

How often do we really hear what is being transmitted to us.

Are we so stuck in our own beliefs and power that we are incapable of change or entertaining new thoughts and ideas.  We sometimes feel stuck and don’t know how to move forward, yet when we take a moment to reflect and consider we usually come up with a workable solution.

We see the ‘light’.

Tools that work for me.

  • Daily Meditation : I do 20 minutes each morning. Some would say not enough and I should be doing 2x a day, but I do stop during the day for a quick refresher or focus technique as needed. For me its about the process of the journey and not the destination.  Rather consistent than not at all.
  • Breath Work: Included in my meditation, and used throughout the day as needed. Breathing for relaxation, focus and inner strength.
  • Daily Dream Journal: I record my dreams to be able to look back and discover the patterns, issues and situations I need to be consciously aware of.  I also use dreams for my police work in finding missing persons.  It has proven invaluable when needing focus and direction.
  • Tarot Card Visualisation: I use this when I need to discover an elements, issues or situations that need resolving. Sometimes I use the cards to indicate what I should be aware of.
  • Chakra Balance: Always feels good to have Body, Mind and Soul in harmony and all aspects working together.  I have some great meditations to balance each Chakra individually and an all encompassing meditation for overall harmony and well-being.
  • Guided Meditation: I like to use these as an alternative method to daily mantra or focus meditations.  Sometimes we need to let go and allow something other than ourselves to be the guide.

I firmly believe that we are never alone in our quest for enlightenment.  There are as many paths as there are people.  Choose the system and tools that resonate with you.  The most important aspect is that we seek, that we persevere and continue to feed the flame within.

Shine a little light on someone today!