inyanga/izinyanga n. (-nyanga) : Month; moon; healer; traditional doctor
CONCEPT: The Mother; The unconscious; Emotional security; Compassion; Confusion; Spiritual healing
Inyanga invites you to discover the unconscious self.
This week we are looking at the ‘dark side’ of the moon or the shadow self. According to Jung, the shadow self is prone to being instinctive and irrational and projects our own sense of inferiority into perceived moral and emotional deficiencies in someone else. The Moon asks us to be consciously aware of our dark side (we all have one) and not project fear or anxiety around us. Rather use the light of the moon to guide us through.
The essence of the moon is our unconscious self, the base of our emotional security and the moon brings spiritual healing. As with most things there is an up side and a down side. The downside of the Moon is depression and emotional confusion.
Depression is not to be confused with sadness, feeling low or general discontent with circumstances. Depression is classified as an illness. If you know someone who’s depressed, don’t ask them ‘what’s wrong’, rather try to understand the darkness, fatigue and hopelessness they are going through. Be there for them … sometimes it’s hard to be a friend to someone who is depressed, but the kindest thing you can do is to just be there.
The general definition of depression is a psychological disorder with a variety of symptoms both psychological and physical. It affects different people is different ways. As a result, treatment protocols are equally varied.
The darkest of depression is suicide. This past week I have heard of two former colleagues who committed suicide, within days of each other. It’s been interesting following the posts on Facebook. The saddest thing for me is that where were all these people when they were staring into the abyss, where were all these people when they needed someone to talk to and understand their pain.
Do something while you can, be there! there are therapists, counselors, clergy and professionals who understand how to assist with depression, especially those with suicide tendencies. Suicide is listed at the 13th highest cause of death by the WHO. What has happened to us as people that taking life (our own) is an acceptable way of dealing with problems.
The Moon card brings illusion and deception, things are not always as it seems and we need to view our world with the reflected light of the Sun, discover what is hidden and unclear. Be careful not to idealise a person or situation, ignoring the facts and guard against errors in judgement.
So … how does the power of the Moon help us. The moon sheds light even on the darkest night. The Moon also is about our intuitive selves and some people are in sync with the moon phases, waxing and waning emotionally in time. Of course there are those that just go a little over the edge at full moon, when they feel the pull of the tides at their strongest. It’s a highly emotional time, so we need to be vigilant to our responses, probably not the best time to be making life changing decisions. Some people are invigorated by the waxing of the moon and are at their peak during full moon, those who have substance abuse issues need to be aware that this is not the time to over-do things.
The title of this card is inyanga – and simply it means moon, month or healer. This is an opportunity for each of us to heal. To face our own mortality and know that one day we shall die, but that day doesn’t have to be today by our own hand. Be guided by your own inner light, your dreams and intuition will show you the way and lead you to a clear understanding. This card asks us to look deep within.
The Sotho, Tswana and Venda believe (say) that ‘If the new crescent’s horns point up, it holds disease away from the world; when the horns tip down, the illnesses spill out and cover the world.’ The Zulu have always been intent moon-gazers, and the dark day (Ng’olumhlope namhla) after the waning moon disappears is a quiet day of rest, when no work, business, or celebrations should take place.
The gender of the moon changes with the different cultures – for some, the moon is seen as a woman, for others, a man. Whatever the case, the moon is a constant in the vast African sky and will always be the source of timeless legends and stories.
The moon, say the San, is really an old shoe belonging to Mantis (the Praying Mantis insect), who threw it up in the air to guide himself. As it rises, it is red with the dust of Bushmanland, and cold like old leather. The sun is jealous of the full moon and sees it as a rival to its own brightness. So with its sharp rays the sun cuts bits off the moon until there is just a little backbone left for the children. Then the sun disappears, and soon the moon starts growing back to its normal size, little by little, until the process starts all over again.
They also believe that it was the moon who sent the message of death to man. Her emissaries were Mantis and Hare. When she realised that a garbled, and therefore incorrect, message had been delivered, the moon struck Hare (splitting his lip), and in retaliation he hit her in the face with his burning Karros, thus causing her blemishes.
Some say that when the moon is hollow and young (i.e. the crescent moon), she is weighed down with the spirits of the dead which she carries; clouds that pass are really the hair of the dead, and the wind blows to sweep the footprints of the dead from the sand.
For the Tswana, her markings are those of a woman carrying a child, who was caught gathering wood when she should have been at a sacred festival. For the Khoikhoi, the Moon is the ‘Lord of Light and Life’.
Among the Xhosa, it was believed that the world ended at the sea’s horizon, which concealed a vast pit filled with ‘new moons ready for use’, and so to them each new lunar month began with a brand-new moon.