Follow your Passion

Warrior of iSibane (Wands)WARRIOR of ISIBANE (Fire/Wands) – People of the South:  Key word – PASSION

Optimistic | Loyal and ready to fight | Transition into the unknown | Stimulated by new experience | Novelty and change | Excitement and risk | Delight | Perceptive | Adventure | Being aroused

The card of the week is a fire card, and particularly relevant for people born under fire signs of Aries, Leo and Sagittarius.  The essence of this card is transformation and change.  Following your passion with the desire for growth and a renewed sense of self awareness.

The Knights or Warriors are often referred to as the messengers or agents of change.  They are also indicators of a journey to be taken, be it physical or spiritual.  Sometimes with a fair amount of conflict attached. The struggle to decide may take some time, but once the decision is reached the changes are swift and we act quickly and decisively.  Fire in tarot is treated as in the practice of alchemy – the application of fire is a prime method of conversion and everything that touches fire is changed – often beyond recognition.

The Warrior of iSibane is Air of Fire so this week be open to new ideas, a new way of thinking, bringing your ideas into reality.  There is a lesson to learn which is finding the ability to manage the overabundance of your fiery passionate energy and to hold steady.  Remember challenges often bring opportunity, what we need is the will-power to hold steady, protect our physical bodies, watch diet and be mindful of what we are putting into our bodies, exercise to keep all the systems functioning.  If you need help this is a good week to go for Reiki, massage, energy balance. Fire can make people unpredictable so we need to be aware that we have to have the courage to hold steady – establish the situation, make the choice and then spring into action.  Planning and timing is what brings successful change.

The Knight as an indicator of travel – if you need to travel this is the week to do it. Success for those business trips.  If you are planning a trip, make your arrangements this week, you may be surprised to find ‘specials’ on offer and might achieve that dream holiday or begin and adventure of a lifetime.

This card indicates a ‘spiritual journey’ to be taken. Try adding something new or different to your daily process.  Harmonics, sweat lodge or yoga.  It’s important to develop new ways of doing things to keep things fresh and with renewed focus we continue to move forward.

On to more permanent physical things … the warrior talks to relocation, purchasing a new home, new relationships or perhaps even new business ventures.  Trust your gut in these matters, your own prophetic visions or ‘knowing’ will steer you in the right direction.  Have faith in yourself and your abilities.

Be inspired, your head will be filled with new ideas – you may even feel a restlessness and want to make changes – do it! Work will be easier and your efforts recognised, take the gap and assert yourself.  Romance is full of passion and energy – pop the question! Spirit is connected – pray, meditate, vision quest.

As the slogan goes … “Just do It!”

iTongo Legend

Maqoma (1798-1873) The eldest son of Ngqika of the Right Hand house (c. 1775-1829) and his wife, Notonta of the amaNgqosini. Maqoma was the greatest Xhosa warrior, guerrilla general and one of the notable leaders in the 19th century Frontier Wars. His name and feats live on through oral tradition; and colonial and missionary documents reveal a man of considerable intellect and eloquence. Maqoma is remembered for his extraordinary tenacity, flexibility, and political and martial skills. He eventually fell victim to an advancing colonial juggernaut.

Maqoma distinguished himself at the battle of amaLinde. As the head of his fellow abakhwetha (circumcision initiates), Maqoma stormed the enemy lines and was severely wounded. Moving west from Ngqika’s kraals, he founded a new chiefdom on the banks of the Kat River. Maqoma desired to live in peace but despite making every effort, he was continually raided by colonial forces and eventually expelled from his territory in 1829. Following his fathers death, Maqoma became regent during the minority of his younger half-brother, Sandile.

The loss of his land became a burning issue and motivated the outbreak of the ‘War of Hintsa’ in 1835, in which Maqoma played a leading role. He also took part in the ‘War of the Axe’ but he eventually surrendered to the British.  In 1848, Maqoma was allowed to return to part of his former territory, the Kat River Settlement, but unfortunately, peace did not last long. Again, war threatened, and during the ‘War of Mlangeni’1 (1850-1853), the British took eighteen months to dislodge Maqoma from his mountain stronghold. As the principal war leader, he again negotiated peace in March 1853.

Inevitably, Maqoma became embroiled in colonial politics. Having been convicted as “a party to a murder”, he was exiled to Robben Island in 1857, where he remained for twenty-one years. He was paroled in 1869. After being convicted for ’incitement to violence’, he was sent back to Robben Island in November 1871, where he died two years later. His remains were disinterred in 1978 and reburied on Ntaba ka Ndoda Mountain in the Eastern Cape.


Grief is not an event, it’s a process!

iTongo Tarot CardFIVE of MORITSOANA People of the West – Key word – SORROW

Emotional distress | Lamenting | Longing | Grief | Despair | Emotional adjustment | Adapting foundations | Disappointment | Denial | Possibility for personal growth | Adjustments with hope

We are living in violent times,the value of someone else’s life seems to have diminished to a personal need, be that of greed or anger, many of us have lost loved ones unexpectedly in tragic circumstances. We are in shock and feel numb, mostly confused.  We experience a physical reaction to the loss, we feel nausea, muscle weakness, dry mouth, our whole body trembles. We are disbelieving, feel angry sometimes even guilty because we think “I should have; I could have; why didn’t I just ….”

As long as we have memory, our departed has life.  We need to remember all the times spent together. We should focus on these times rather than our own loss. We should celebrate their life not get stuck on the time or the manner of death.

The hardest part is when the “drama” is over, the support group dissipates and gets on with their lives and we are left alone to cope at a time when we are at our most vulnerable, because the ‘business’ of death has been dealt with, now its our living and the adjustments that need to be made.

We have to go on with our lives, we have to make the best of our circumstances.  To live in the moment and manner of death (the past) is a dangerous thing, to not go on is destructive to ones life.  We can retain a connection with our loved one for a period after death, and then we have to let them go, they too have other things to do.  We should mourn, we should go through the process, its healthy, but to hang on to something that was – is not healthy.  By releasing the loved one you release yourself.

Grief is not an event it’s a process.

Grief is the normal response of sorrow, emotion and confusion that comes from losing someone or something important to you. It is a natural part of life. Grief is a typical reaction to death, divorce, job loss, a move away from family and friends, or loss of good health due to illness.


  1. Accept your loss
  2. Work through the physical and emotional pain
  3. Reconcile your grief
  4. Adjust to living your life
  5. Move on

We all mourn at different rates.  Some people are able to put death into life’s perspective and move on, but often the family will make them feel guilty that they have moved on, by either remarrying or selling a home – we deal with death in our own way, allow the individual their process.

Again it has to be in perspective.  You had the gift of that life for a time, it was special and sacred, now the loved one has passed, you owe it to yourself and to them to rebuild your life.  Never forget but move on.

Grief is of the soul.  The soul does become attached, the soul is involved in the earthy feelings of love and life – it’s the awful pain and sadness that is grief. 

How long does grief last?

Grief lasts as long as it takes you to accept and learn to live with your loss. For some people, grief lasts a few months. For others, grieving may take years. The length of time spent grieving is different for each person. There are many reasons for the differences, including personality, health, coping style, culture, family background, and life experiences. The time spent grieving also depends on your relationship with the person lost and how prepared you were for the loss.

What is mourning?

Mourning is the process of letting go by grieving for someone or something that is important in our lives.  We are unable to grieve fully until we let go.  We need to understand the fundamental difference between “connection” and “attachment”.  Connection is a two way flowing – giving and receiving of energy, love.  Attachment is a selfish act of possession and value.

We are also conditioned as to the correct period of mourning – the given is that one should mourn a partner for at least one year, the death of a child, one is supposed to never recover from.  This causes problems for people who have managed to get on with their lives, they have accepted the death, they have mourned and they have chosen to continue living – they feel guilty that they are no longer mourning, and this in turn becomes destructive and debilitating.  They live in a state of Bereavement.

Bereavement is the cover up for grief, it is the state of being in rage, because something that the ego thinks is ours – something that we own – has been taken away, along with the opportunities for life that we believed our loved one deserved. Bereavement is a dangerous state of being.   Physiologically it changes how our bodies work.  Increased pulse rate, increased blood pressure, increased output of adrenaline, epinephrine, dopamine (natural narcotic) to make us feel better, we eventually build up a tolerance, and then we never feel good about ourselves.  It’s a viscous cycle.

Realise your grief is unique. Don’t compare your grief with anyone else’s.
Allow yourself to express your grief, openly and often.

Accept the loss

Gently confront the reality that your loved one will never come back into your life again.

Realise your grief is unique. Don’t compare your grief with anyone else’s.  Allow yourself to express your grief, openly and often.  Tears and expressing grief is not a sign of weakness. Work through and feel the physical and emotional pain of grief.  Be tolerant of your physical and emotional limits, as loss may leave you fatigued.  Expect to feel a multitude of emotions, as loss affects your head, heart, and spirit.  Allow for numbness. This serves a valuable purpose; it gives your emotions time to catch up with what your mind already knows. Grief is something to be experienced rather than to be overcome.

Develop a support system. Find those people who encourage you to be yourself and acknowledge your feelings, both happy and sad.  Embrace your spirituality. Talk with those who won’t be critical of your feelings of hurt and abandonment. Find a group, read books.

Allow a search for meaning. Healing occurs in the opportunity to pose the questions, not necessarily in answering them.  Move toward and embrace your grief, and heal. Recognize that the loss of someone you love changes your life forever.  Don’t try to avoid grief, it is best to move toward it, embrace it and then let it go. The goal is to reconcile the grief, not “get over” your grief. Letting go – It’s a process

When a loved one has died, holidays, anniversaries, and birthdays inevitably bring fresh memories and a re-experience of the pain of grief. The void appears again.  Most importantly to me, treasure your memories. Memories are one of the best legacies that exist after someone leaves. Recognise that your memories make you laugh and cry. In either case, they are a lasting part of the relationship that you had with a very special person in your life.

The experience of grief is powerful.
So, too, is your ability to help yourself heal.
In doing the work of grieving, you are moving toward
a renewed sense of meaning and purpose in your life.

Year of the Snake in iTongo Tarot

card backiTongo Tarot Card Back

The snake is strongly represented in iTongo Tarot.  The snake is commonly found in African mythology and is regarded as immortal because it sheds its skin and continues to live. For the Zulu, the snake is a metamorphosed amalgam of the ancestors, who visit either in dreams or in reality. A snake that enters the house is unthreatening and is viewed as ‘family’ and as such is never harmed.

My symbol is made up of two parts.  The lower part is  Ouroboros (tail-devourer), a snake depicted with its tail in its mouth forming a continuous circle, is considered a symbol of eternity.  The whole forming the figure eight, which is the symbol of infinity.  iTongo is therefore presented as a symbol of infinite eternity.  The background is wood which reminds us of our connection to the tree of life.

What does iTongo mean?

In its broadest concept iTongo (iThongo) means spirit…The amaTongo are the ancestors, those who have died and joined the spirit world.  Itongo is ALL things, and ALL things are of it.
The manifestation of iTongo is threefold
  • Universal Mind
  • Universal Force
  • Universal substance or matter
IminyanyaAccording to legend, the snake  (Great Rainbow Serpent) carried the creator in his mouth while the earth was being created. The creator feared that the earth would sink into the sea beneath the weight of the mountains. The snake coiled itself around the earth, holding firm with its tail in its mouth; this hold must never be loosened, otherwise all of creation will disintegrate.
  • What do you hold dear?
  • How do you protect and support what is important to you?
When we connect to our Ancestors we have the wisdom of ages available to us – how often do we listen and truly follow their guidance and advice. Do we ask for absolution and do we really take responsibility for our choices and actions? We cant blame our ‘parents’ for everything.  Once one is a functioning adult the choices are up to us.  What is awakening within?  How will we shed our ‘skin’ and renew ourselves.  Let go of the past and face a bright future.
Other cards in iTongo that represent and honour the snake/serpent.
The Hanged Man shows us that we need to view life from a different perspective.  We need to have wisdom to make the right choices.  We are connected to the Divine through knowledge and wisdom from the Tree of life.
iTongo Tarot CardTwo of Mavhele (Earth/Coins) Key word is Joy. This card represents Vivid pleasure | Extreme gladness | Support from the earth | High Energy | Fun | Laughter | Good times | Move freely and lightly | Weathering all storms | Maintain balance | Embrace challenge | Go with the flow

In Venda culture the python is considered sacred and young maidens perform the Domba (Python Dance) as the final part of their initiation ritual. Girls dance fluidly, in snake-like form, to the beat of a drum, while forming a chain by holding the forearm of the person in front.  The Python is the god of fertility and lives beneath the waters of Lake Fundudzi in the Limpopo region of South Africa.  The Python connects man to the Ancestors and may also be found in trees – the association is to the tree of knowledge, wisdom and life.

iTongo Tarot CardIn our quest for happiness we are often faced with challenges.  Its how we meet those challenges that make the difference. NINE of ISIBANE (Fire/Wands) – Key word – FORTITUDE  Do we display courage in the face of adversity?  To protect ourselves are we more inclined to tread carefully and take extra precautions.  This is a time to dig deep and find those hidden reserves which give us the will to persevere.  Sometimes its a matter of endurance, if we can hang on long enough and not give up we will see the benefits of our actions.

The Year of the Snake will task us to shed our old skin and renew ourselves.  There is nothing that cant be achieved if a little thought has gone into it.  Take your time, consider all the options and possibilities, have the courage to face the challenges and the endurance to see it through.  Life will reward the effort.

4711 Chinese New Year

Happy 4711, the Year of the Water Snake February 10, 2013 to January 30, 2014, the Snake is the 6th animal in the Chinese horoscope order and is a Yin (female) animal.

happy-new-yearPeople born in Snake years are motivated, intellectual and influential people.   This year we could see significant advances in research and technology.

4711 is a year for reflection, searching for answers and planning.  This fits in well with the tarot card for the year,  that is 6 The Lovers.  Which is about questing for answers and making choices. Gaining a clearer perspective on life, love and everything that makes our world go round.

The Snake is never tranquil, and we will see changes on a global scale.  History records some powerful events which occurred in Snake years.  Pearl Harbor attack in 1941, Tiananmen Square 1989, breaking down of Berlin War (1990) breaking up of USSR (1991),  and 911 terrorist attack in 2001.  Africa is going to have its own problems and we could see an escalation of political affairs, wars and coups d’état with solutions and resolutions.  However the upside is that it’s a great year for commerce and industry. Science and technology will make great strides.  What was begun in a Dragon year will culminate in a Snake year.

There are many myths and legends the embrace the snake, from the serpent in the Garden of Eden through ancient Greco-Roman mythology to African folklore.  It is believed that when a man dies he turns into a snake – the snake is named iTongo (amaTongo -Spirit of the Ancestors) and is regarded as immortal because it shed its skin and continues to live.  The Zulu believe the snake is a metamorphosed amalgam of the ancestors, who visit in either dreams or reality. When snake that enters the house is unthreatening and is viewed as ‘family’ and as such is never harmed.

4711 is also a good year for the Arts. Creativity will reflect mans ideal to be more inclusive and striving for a sophisticated lifestyle.  We will see courtships and scandals of all sorts both in the political and celebrity arenas.

Tread lightly through the snake year, be prepared and be cautious.  The year of the snake is unpredictable from cool and calm exterior to hidden mysteries, remember the snake strikes at lightening speed so don’t be lulled by the calm exterior.  Maybe like a Swan, calm on the surface but kicking like mad underneath.  Devastation can be sudden. Have the courage of your convictions and act forcefully.

The Snake/Serpent through iTongo (the Ancestors or universal spirit, substance and matter) invites us to collectively honour the past, and those who have gone before us.  To learn from them and to be of service to others.  The snake is also about intellect, being the water snake its energy will reflect on our emotions.  The question is ‘what is your emotional quotient ‘(EQ).  Are you mature enough to face down your fears, make wise choices and understand the paradox of The Lovers. As the Lovers invite you to take a stand, and stand for what you believe in.

According to legend, the snake  (Great Rainbow Serpent) carried the creator in his mouth while the earth was being created. The creator feared that the earth would sink into the sea beneath the weight of the mountains. The snake coiled itself around the earth, holding firm with its tail in its mouth; this hold must never be loosened, otherwise all of creation will disintegrate.  The earth’s elements: fire, air, and water are recognised as gifts from the great mother, yet the earth is seldom worshipped. Nevertheless, the earth has a very powerful spirit that rules over life and death.   Ask “how may I serve …” this year.

Inkosazana is another much-loved goddess of the Zulu of South Africa, and one of her many manifestations is as a snake. As the deity of agriculture and fertility and she is particularly venerated in springtime. She is described as beautiful and one who brings good luck and success to those who obey her rules. The Zulu emphasise that she is generous and benevolent, but can be extremely dangerous to people with impure hearts.  This would reflect the nature of The Snake.

In Venda culture the python is considered sacred and young maidens perform the Domba (Python Dance) as the final part of their initiation ritual. Girls dance fluidly, in snake-like form, to the beat of a drum, while forming a chain by holding the forearm of the person in front.  The Python is the god of fertility and lives beneath the waters of Lake Fundudzi in the Limpopo region of South Africa.  The Python connects man to the Ancestors and may also be found in trees – the association is to the tree of knowledge, wisdom and life.

Running the numbers (other energy available)

iTongo Tarot Card4 The Emperor – Indlovu : Symbol of the patriarch and the animus (masculine energy); Wisdom; Leadership; The responsibility of power; intellectual as opposed to emotional. Indlovu invites you to walk the path with wisdom

Indwe7 The Chariot – Indwe: Change; As above so below; Impulsive momentum; Imagination; Victorious warrior.  Indwe invites you to honour the way of the warrior. Be inspired, be fearless.

1 The Magician - Sangoma1 The Magician – Sangoma: The Magic of Possibility; Communication; Timing; The Healer; Nature; Alchemy.  The Sangoma invites you to use your inherent gifts and talents.


11 Strength –   Amandla: Strength; Passion; Creative energy; Taming of the beast within; Courage; Moral victory.  Amandla invites you to roar with passion and awareness. Tame the beast within.

The High Priestess - Moyo2 The High Priestess – Moyo: Intuition; Self-resourcefulness; Dissolving barriers; The Oracle; releasing boundaries.  Moyô invites you to heal through nature.

uKufa13 Death/Transformation – Ukufa: Transition; Transformation; Regeneration; Letting go; Metamorphosis; Rebirth.  Ukufa invites you to heal through transformation.

Perspective is Everything

Zwidudwane12 The Hanged Man – ZWIDUDWANE

Radical change of perspective /Time in suspension /Humour as a tool /Self-imposed limitations /Spiritual turning point /Effective timing /Challenges are teachers /True light and rebirth /Transcend ego

What patterns do you keep repeating? How do you limit yourself? What do you expect from the sacrifices you are making?

The Hanged Man card is often misinterpreted due to the name and visual. In iTongo I honour the Venda’s great python God of Fertility.  Fertility is the capability or capacity to grow, develop or produce.  This ties in with 1+2=3 which is the Empress who is all about growth and abundance. As we are in the year of the Lovers (6) and this week we need to look at our relationships from a different angle.  We need to change our perspective of where we are and where we want to be.  This applies to all our relationships.  Do our current relationships help with our personal growth, or are these relationships toxic and limiting.  Being fertile is also about the ability to imagine, to be creative in our thoughts and our actions.  We need to be more giving and willing rather than expecting what we believe will make us happy.  The more we give the more we receive.

The Python is entwined on a branch from the Tree of life.  The concept of the tree of life is about knowledge which connects us to heaven and uniting the three worlds of above, below and us.  It’s also a metaphor for our life and our connection to the Ancestors.  The Ancestors will guide you to your own turning point which brings about a new level of understanding.  Like many trees that are bare in winter we learn that time is suspended but history teaches us that in the spring all is renewed.  This week we may feel like we are running on the spot without achieving anything – just be patient and wait for the turn, for the spring to arrive with new promises and a new way of being. Challenges are our teachers.  How we face them and how we resolve them teaches us valuable lessons.  Some keep repeating the same mistakes (and often expect a different outcome).  This week is ideal to change the way you do things.  As you change so too shall the result change.  Don’t hold onto ideals because of ego – let go and allow the universe and the Ancestors to guide you towards your spiritual awakening.  When spirit is at peace everything else in our lives follows suit.

The Hanged Man comes up when we are at a crossroads.  We have to make a choice, it is a clear sign the ‘something’ has to change.  Stop, take note, breathe and take control. As far as relationships go, ask yourself are you and your partner on the same page.  Do you both want the same things out of life and the relationship. Some relationships have their ‘sell by date’, they are not designed to last a lifetime.  Yet we often expect a short term liaison to last way beyond its capacity.  We then spend years trying to manipulate and fix what no longer has vitality and life.  Recognise that you need to move on.  Are you being too idealistic about romance – are your expectations within the relationship unrealistic?  Are you a 6 wanting a 10?  What do you offer?  What is your Unique Selling Point?

The Hanged Man also asks us to be generous and to share what we have.  Remember there is always someone worse off than you. Give what ever you have and that will open the flow of abundance.  The basic laws of attraction. What you put out will return.  Let go of negative thought patterns and visualise new and exciting outcomes.  Sometimes the best action is to do nothing.  Look at life from a different angle.  All good things come to those who wait.

“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.” 
― Wayne W. Dyer

 iTongo Legend – The Python God

The python is the god of fertility in Venda culture and lives beneath the waters of Lake Fundudzi. According to legend, a beautiful creature with curious patterned skin lived on land and he married two human wives, one old and one young. Each night when darkness came, he would go to their huts and stay until dawn. The wives never saw their husband in daylight. The young wife became curious and puzzled by this, and one day her curiosity got the better of her. She crept back from the fields and peeped in at the window. There she discovered that her husband was a fat and good natured python. Horrified at her discovery, she fled and he, in his sorrow and mortification, walked into Lake Fundudzi and disappeared forever beneath the surface.

From then on famine and drought was all over the land. The rivers and pools dried up, not even sundown could bring respite during the hot airless nights. No dew fell and even the birds fell from the sky from dehydration.

The elders and chiefs held many indabas (meetings) but no one knew or could understand the cause of this disaster. After a time the young wife stepped forward and confessed what she had done. The people begged her to make amends and placate her offended husband, thereby restoring fertility to the land.

One morning she was escorted down to the lake by all the men, blowing their reed flutes in honour of her courage. At the water’s edge, the chief presented her with a calabash of the finest beer. She waded slowly out into the water with the vessel in her hands, going deeper and deeper, until the dark water closed over her head and she was gone forever. With the Python God placated, bountiful harvests returned to the fields and pastures.

To this day, the people of the district go down to the lake with the chief. A member of his lineage walks out into the lake carrying a pot of beer, which he carefully pours on to the water. If the beer sinks, it is an indication of the python god of fertility’s pleasure and acceptance. If it floats, it means rejection and displeasure, and he will try to pull the supplicant below the water. To guard against this possibility, a strong rope is fastened around the pourer’s waist so that he can be pulled back quickly just in case the offerings are rejected.