The Ladies of Air – Growth through Intellect

In South Africa, August is Womens Month  with National Womens day on 9 August.  This month I will be paying homage to the women of  iTongo Tarot.  Starting with The Ladies of Air.

Queen of SwordsQUEEN of ASSEGAI (Swords/Air) – People of the East
Nandi (the sweet one) kaBhebhe eLangeni (c.1760 – 1827) Daughter of Bhebhe, a chief of the Langeni tribe, and the mother of Shaka, King of the Zulu and the third wife of Senzangakhona, ruler of the Zulu chiefdom.

What do we learn from Nandi’s journey?
This was a woman who managed to maintain her dignity and focus, no matter what trials and tribulations she endured.  She had a single purpose, to have her son Shaka recognised as the true heir of the Zulu kingdom.  She was determined that Senzangakhona (Shaka’s father), would marry her and legitimise their son.  He offered a paltry sum for her Lobola, which she turned down (this lady knew her value) and legend has it that she settled on 50 head of cattle.

Even though she knew of the prophecy that one day her son would be murdered by his brothers, she pursued the throne, because she knew her son would be king.

“Nandi, daughter of Bhebhe, your first-born shall be king,
Giving birth to a mighty nation of blood stained spears and thundering black shields,
The conditions of the prophecy are that your son remembers
not to defy the ancestors by reaching for powers that are not of his heritage.
The heavens will destroy him from his own blood. “

Nandi was named Queen of Queens when Shaka became king of the Zulu.  She ruled alongside her son with realistic expectations, a sound philosophy and never shied away from difficulties.

iTongo Tarot CardOur next ‘Lady of Air’ is Shaka’s aunt Princess Mkabayi.  The adage “Behind every man is a woman of power” is a true reflection of the woman Princess Mkabayi was.  She had the ability to accept reality with a clear perspective.  She consolidated her resources and was not afraid to act on her thoughts.  She teaches us to follow through on our ideas, maintain harmony and balance within.  Move the focus from within and see the visible manifestation of our thoughts in our actions.

Princess Mkabayi was the elder sister of Senzangakhona, and daughter of King Jama.  She was one of a set of twins and according to Zulu custom, one twin should be sacrificed to avoid the death of one parent. Jama refused to kill one of the twins and so broke a well-established tradition. His wife, Queen Sikhombazana, died without bearing him further successors, and people believed this was a consequence of his act.

A woman of great intellect, Mkabayi presided over the reigns of four kings – King Senzangakhona, King Shaka, King Dingane, and King Mpande. They all drew on her wisdom and experience, and a famous phrase at the time was “Buzani ku Mkabayi”, which means “consult Mkabayi for any solution”.

The Four Kings
Senzangakhona kaJama (c.1762-1816), son of Jama, was chief of the Zulu clan from 1781 to 1816. During the chieftaincy of Senzangakhona, the house of Zulu was a small clan in the Mthethwa confederation, which was ruled by Dingiswayo.

Shaka kaSenzangakhona (c.1787-1828), son of Senzangakhona, ruled from 1816 to 1828. Shaka (sometimes spelled Tshaka, Tchaka or Chaka; sometimes referred to as Shaka Zulu; was the most influential leader of the Zulu empire.

Dingane kaSenzangakhona (c.1795-1840), son of Senzangakhona and half-brother of Shaka, ruled from 1828 to 1840. He came to power after assassinating his half-brother Shaka with the help of another brother, Mhlangana, and Shaka’s advisor, Mbopa.

Mpande kaSenzangakhona (1798-1872), son of Senzangakhona and half-brother of Shaka and Dingane, ruled between 1840 and 1872, making him the longest reigning Zulu king.


21 The Universe – Indalo

iTongo Tarot Card21The Universe – INDALO

CONCEPT Totality; Wholeness of body, mind, spirit; A state of knowing; Completion; Renewal; Regeneration

When I look at this card I am reminded that we are all one and part of the Universal mind and force.  Every thought,  action and emotion is the souls unity with others.  We are perfect in our manifestation, we just have to look around and know that our external world reflects our inner world – that in itself is validation.

Each and every one of us has unlimited potential, we are all natural explorers and adventurers and we should be visionary in what we hope to achieve in this life time.  We need to rise above our circumstances and make something of the hand we have been dealt.  Good fortune should always be shared and pay it forward, in kindness, generosity of spirit and being emotionally available to those in need.

Difficult circumstances should rather be approached as a challenge, everything and everyone has the capacity to change.  We need to just take the time to plot the course, be clear about where we are going and what results we want from our efforts.  Some change takes longer than others, but as I said last week, rather look at how far you have come, acknowledge the differences, adjust your thinking and keep moving forward.  If its not working, make it work or find another way to achieve your goals.  Remember you cant pray for rain and then complain when you get wet – buy an umbrella!

Throughout time, man has observed, recorded, and interpreted the skies. He has made use of astronomy to structure his life and determine his calendar. The geographical location of different cultures has helped shape their perception of how the universe works.  The universe is always listening.  Find your special star that will help you navigate your way through life.  Trust in the universe to help and guide you.

Believe in yourself and your abilities, conquer your fears and manage your demons.  Only you can do it.  Only you are responsible for the choices you make.  Live life to the full, don’t regret a single day.  Don’t miss an opportunity to do it better, but most of all love yourself and love your life.  sprinkle a little stardust, its a wonderful life.

Girl Power – Honour the Feminine within

iTongo Tarot CardFOUR of MORITSOANA (Cups/Water)
People of the West
Key word – EGO
Sense of individuality | Consciousness | Idealisation of self | Express emotions | Simple truth | Evaluation of life and relationships| | Self reflection and renewal | Disengaged to others | Seek peace and serenity

In keeping with Woman’s month and honouring strong woman, the women in our lives or the feminine strength within all of us our card for the week is Four of Cups.  For some this is a card about wishful thinking and it reminds us to pay attention to what we do have now and to count our many blessings.  We shouldn’t wish our lives away but rather enjoy the fruits of our labours today.  We are constantly working towards something and often we forget to take note of how far we have come, and to acknowledge our achievements along the way.  When you build a house you have the vision of the end result, but it takes brick by brick to achieve that result, so too when we are on a journey of the soul – it takes time.  Focus on the positive and manage the negative.

Trust in yourself and your sense of individuality.  When we live our lives consciously we are able to express our emotions, evaluate life around us and further relationships we are nurturing.  We do however need to take time each day to reflect and renew.  All it takes is 10 minutes, sit quietly and meditate, contemplate or think through a problem.  Solutions are always at hand.

Make the choice and eliminate anything or anyone that is not adding quality to your choice.  Get organised.  Seek that peace and serenity we all desire.

When we look at the balance within, we need to look at the two aspects of self our feminine which is our emotions, our need to nurture and create and the masculine aspects which is our intellect, analysis and action.  How are we responding to the world around us?  How much time are we giving to a situation?  Which part of us is the most dominant?

When w e think of the masculine and feminine within we also need to be aware that each also has aspects of the other.  The masculine is about dominance and action but is tempered with benevolence and compassion. The same would apply to our feminine selves, we are the creators of life and embody wisdom and grace. Just like Athena we can also be the warrior and we fight for what we want, fearlessly.

This week continue to honour the feminine within, and the women in your life.  Be supportive and gentle when dealing with their hopes, dreams and fears.  Nurture and nourish your relationships, be they romantic or work related.  Every connection is valuable and take some time to find creative solutions.  Sometimes the simple truth is absolute.  Be like water and go with the flow. It’s World Humanitarian Day, so be nice!

iTongo Legend

Queen Mantatisi (1781-1836) was the Commander of the Batlokoa of Southern Africa, and was perhaps one of the most well-known and feared women military leaders during the early 19th century. She was the daughter of Chief Mothaba of the Basia in the Harrismith District; the area that was later named the Orange Free State.

She married Mokotjo, the chief of the neighbouring Batlokoa. Mokotjo died while their son, Sekonyela, was still too young to take over control of the chieftaincy. As a result, Mantatisi assumed control and acted as regent.

Reports claim that Mantatisi was a tall, attractive woman who bore her husband four sons. After her husband’s death, her clan suffered a series of military encroachments by the AmaHlubi clans who were fleeing their homes in neighbouring Natal and Zululand. According to historians, Mantatisi took the Batlokoa into the Caledon Valley where, after seizing crops and cattle, they drove out the more peaceful Sotho clans living in that area.

Her reign of military conquest extended as far as central modern day Botswana. At the height of her military and political power, her army numbered forty thousand warriors. However, she eventually suffered a series of defeats beginning in Bechuanaland in January 1823.

After Mantatisi’s son, Sekonyele, reached maturity, he took control of the Batlokoa social structures and military arm. Eventually, he was conquered by Moshoeshoe I1, son of a chief of the Bakoteli – a branch of the Kwêna (Crocodile) clan.

Love … the greatest of all

Ace of Cups/Water

Ace of Cups/Water

ACE of MORITSOANA (Water/Cups)
People of the West Key word – LOVE
The gift of love | Power of love | Open heart – attraction | Deep feelings | Intimacy | Atonement | Forgiveness | Emotional awareness | Responding sympathetically | Emotional status

As we near the end of the year and for some the end of the world as we know it, I am reminded of the phrase “the greatest of all, is love”. I am not talking about romantic love, but the love we feel for ourselves, our family, friends and for the world around us.

Wouldn’t life be so much easier if we remembered to come from our hearts, to live with a good heart and to love all that is within us and around us. The gift of love is universal. Some people believe that it is only humans that have the capacity to love, yet when I watch those Discovery or National Geographic movies, I am made aware and reminded of the love between prides and herds. Its not an ego love, its about belonging and protecting. Where do we belong in the greater scheme of things? What will, or what do we protect? Our possessions, our material world way before we consider our loved ones and our protectors. Do we give or show gratitude for our good fortune. How much time do we spend in thankfulness for what we DO have. Most of us spend more time and energy on what we DON’T have. Find balance, we all want to keep moving forward but we can only do that when we address where we are and recognize the lessons of the past.

We need to respond sympathetically to all that is within our lives. We need to have the compassion and understanding that even though it feels like our world is falling apart there is always something we can do, choices we can make .

Yesterday was the Day of Reconciliation – what have you done to forgive, what have you done for atonement? We hear people say ‘I forgive but I will never forget ‘… well that’s not forgiveness. We have to let past hurts, damage and pain go. If we don’t we will always view our world through that hurt and pain. We will judge others and ourselves through that damaged lens. Reconcile your past – it happened and there is nothing we can do to change that, What we can do is change how we react and respond to our past. We hold onto the negative, it seems easier, what we need to do is look past the wrong and start finding what is right.

We need to live with an emotional awareness. We need to make sure that our emotional Quotient (EQ) is at the same level as our Intellectual quotient (IQ). Most of us have an imbalance. We tend live at our intellectual level and when we do respond emotionally we are coming with a stunted or immature emotion. I’ve said it before, we need to have the age appropriate response. Mature the child within.

Love is truth and is not driven by what we can get out of it, love is the selfless act for the greater good of another. Use this holiday time to journey deep within. Start the new year with an open heart, share the wonder that is you. Don’t ask for anything, just ask “how may I serve” and you will see how the universe responds – with pure love.

One of the most loving gifts you can give to another is the gift of presence. Be present, listen and absorb, don’t judge just be … allow the other a safe space to be. Be there for all whom you love. Don’t give false friendship, or false hope

Be present in the moment and give all your attention. Extend the hand of friendship and kindness to others. Even the beggars on the street. You don’t have to give them anything, except yourself – smile, look them in the eyes and acknowledge their life. Acknowledge their suffering and say a prayer of thankfulness.

Live this week with a gentle heart, an open and honest heart. Happy holidays and safe over the festive season.