iTongo Tarot CardFIVE of MAVHELE (Coins/Pentacles/Earth)

People of the North

Key word – REJECTION

Rebuffed and snubbed | Physical adjustments | Change not yet manifested | Anxiety | Conflict | Dissention | Neglecting the body | Economic setbacks | Insecure | Feeling excluded | Medical matters

The Five of Mavhele is another of the misunderstood tarot cards.  Traditionally the card is about loss of faith, value and material possessions, I prefer to view its message as one of “self-esteem” and loss of faith and value in oneself. The key word rejection opens a whole can of worms, its about disengaging with ourselves, our Divine and sometimes from life itself.  For so many life seems pass them by – my question is ‘when did you reject life’, turning your back on your potential.  And by life I mean situations, circumstances and the people around us.

Rejection is sometimes a good thing – why should we accept our situation and circumstances.  Why should we accept someone elses version of truth.  We need to reject all that is harmful and that which blocks our growth as people and our path to fulfillment and happiness.

Here is South Africa one of the popular phrases is ‘the disenfranchised’ – youth, elderly, poor, but what exactly does that mean?  All are able to vote, all have the power to be all that they can be, all have equal rights.  Do we exercise those rights.  Do we take life by the horns and push through to achieve our goals.  Most dont and are prepared to sit back and let life run their lives.  In our beautiful country we have extreme poverty and the value of life seems to have become meaningless.  People are murdered, raped and beaten for possessions, sometimes for no apparent reason at all.

I think about the perpetrators and wonder what is in their hearts.  What is the cause for mostly ‘good’ people to do ‘bad’ things, and the only conclusion I can come up with is the absence of self-esteem and feelings of insecurity.  Feeling rebuffed and snubbed by society creates an anxiety and rage that manifests in violent actions.  If we cant feel love and respect for ourselves, then we cant see the value of life in others.  When we don’t respect ourselves then we cant respect others.  If we have no value for our own lives then we cant value another’s.  When we live without faith and hope, we do despicable things. Does this make them feel better? I doubt it.  What it does do is give them a measure of power.  A sense of being omniscient, of being in control.  This is all ego based and their actions are a reflection of their inner world – debased and empty.

The poor seem to get poorer and the middle class, which is what keeps a country afloat are descending at a rapid rate into poverty and destitution – with all of this comes the loss of spirit and faith in ‘a new tomorrow’.  Suicide, general poverty, unemployment, illness and solitude is at its highest.  What can we do to change?  The change starts within. This brings me to the more spiritual side of the Five of Mavhele.  This card represents ‘the dark night of the soul’ and we can no longer see the light shining within.

What we don’t see is that salvation is never far away.  Its a prayer, its about being open to comfort and most importantly its about ‘seeing’ the unseen – faith. We are all capable of extraordinary things – how often do we push through the barriers, fight for our right to be happy, healthy and at peace.

We need to remind ourselves that nothing lasts forever.  Don’t disconnect from your emotions and spirit.  Live in the present, reach for that connection with self and the Divine.  Purify your thoughts that in turn will purify your emotions and your actions.  It’s when we begin to think and feel positively that our lives follow suit.  We need to remain mindful of the present, the moment because that is the only time we have power to change, to make a choice in the now that will affect change in the future.

We need to take control of our body, mind and spirit and rather be motivated by hope than fear.

We need to find within us that little glimmer of hope, that light that never goes out.  We can’t do this alone, so this week, help someone find their light. Help someone see that all things can and will change.  Have faith that things will get better, and they will.  Bless someone with your knowledge, experience and insight, they in turn will bless you.  For those in pain and suffering – take the hand that is guiding you to step out of your darkness and celebrate the light.

iTongo Legend

Mzilikazi (c.1795-1868) “The Path of blood or the Great Road” King of the Matebele. Mzilikazi was a Zulu chief who founded the Matebele kingdom (Mthwakazi), Matabeleland, in what became Rhodesia and is now Zimbabwe. His father was Mashobane, chief of the Khumalo clan, and his mother, Nompethu, the daughter of the powerful Zwide of the Ndwande clan. The territory of the Northern Khumalo was located near the Black Umfolozi River, in KwaZulu- Natal. Mzilikazi spent his boyhood in the household of his grandfather Zwide.

Mzilikazi grew up in an era of unprecedented change. Clans were joining together to present a united front. Great kingdoms rose and fell within single generations; entire societies moved hundreds, even thousands of miles; and many wars were fought to bring about this change.

After the death of his father (murdered by Zwide) Mzilikazi was installed as chief, but instead of siding with his grandfather Zwide, Mzilikazi swore allegiance to Shaka. Proving himself a fearless warrior, he soon became an inDuna (advisor) to Shaka. However, Mzilikazi did not take well to a position of subservience and had his own ideas for rulership. In June 1822, Shaka sent Mzilikazi’s regiments to attack the Sotho chief Ranisi (Somnisi). After the battle, Mzilikazi refused to give the spoils to Shaka and fled with his followers.

He was forced out of his homeland by the Zulu but with remarkable resilience and tenacity managed to rebuild his authority in a series of alien environments. Moving north and northwest, he recruited strong men and women, increasing his possessions, power, and prestige. Mzilikazi was an able and ruthless general who carved out his own nation by conquering and incorporating those around him. He also built several fortresses.

The Ndebele nation in its final form was the wealthiest and most powerful of these migratory clans, incorporating a wide variety of people from different cultural backgrounds and infusing them with a sense of common identity.

Mzilikazi outlived most of his contemporaries and his kingdom survived his death in 1868 as well as the succession crisis that followed it. It was only broken thirty years’ later in two brutal wars against Europeans.


Walk the Talk

King of Assegai (Swords/Air)

King of Assegai (Swords/Air)

KING of ASSEGAI People of the East Key word – INTELLECT

Intellectual | Analytical | Articulate | Logic | Transformative | Impartial and objective | Philosophical | Uses thought creatively | Encourages high standards

This week we have an interesting date, the last in the series for 89 years, the next being 2101, probably not in our lifetime.  12-12-12 the first of the two significant dates in December. Then we have the much discussed equinox 21-12-2012 but more on that nearer the time.

The King of Assegai is about intellect and analysis – Marcus Aurelius (Roman Emperor) said “The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts … “  so this is the week to be mindful of what we think, we need to be logical and articulate.  This is also a time to use thought creatively and encourage high standards.  As I have always said, the quality of the result is dependent of the practitioner … YOU.

The visual of the card is Shaka, King of the Zulu.  I believe Shaka was a man ahead of his time.  He was innovative, an excellent strategist and fearless warrior.  From difficult beginnings he rose above his circumstances and led the Zulu to become a mighty nation.  So too should we rise above our circumstances and be the best we can be.  The Caveat is that we need to approach all that we think and do with an open heart.  Shaka’s downfall was that he was motivated by revenge and internal pain.  Don’t let your history become your future, work at cleansing your thoughts and see each day as an opportunity to do better, to achieve more, heal the old wounds and find that happiness you seek.

The King of Swords is all about reason and logic.  This is not for Sissies … emotions can have no part unless they are in accord with the same logic and reason as the mind.  This is not a time to be passionate and emotional, it will only muddy the waters and cloud your judgement.  When your gut tells you something, you need to reason it out before action.  The elemental nature of this King is Air of Air – so its being keen of mind, and by understanding human nature you can use this knowledge to your advantage.

As humans our primary tool is language, this is also a card about communication of thoughts, with your skill of words you will be able to convince others to your way of thinking.  The one thing that the King is, is honest and holds himself and others to the highest standards.  At times he shows no mercy and can be unbending, that is because he knows what is righteous and true.

Back to December 2012.  This is a time of awakening, the Universal consciousness is offering an opening – its up to you to choose to walk through.  Some may have noticed throughout the year they have had several “aha” moments.  Somehow the universe has begun to make sense – there is a new sense of knowing.  12 December is the preparation for 21 December.

Think about all the ways the number 12 is represented in our daily lives.  A day is divided into 12 hours with the pinnacles being noon and midnight, 12 months in a year, 12 Zodiac signs, 12 apostles, 12 in a dozen and so on.  Within the number 12 we have 1+2=3 (Magician + High Priestess=Empress) in short we are tasked to be our own Magician and honour “as above so below”, with our intuition, self resources we are able to dissolve and release barriers and move towards love with wisdom, abundance and growth. The number 12 in Tarot is represented by The Hanged Man – sacrifice with wisdom and is before 13 Death which is transformation.

Breaking down the numbers once again we have 3-3-3 and this adds to 9 The Hermit.  Incidentally its also the number for today 10-12-2012.  The Hermit represents completion.  He invites us to look within through silent meditation and solitude.  This wise teacher guides us with Divine inspiration.

Ask yourself what seeds are you planting for tomorrow.  As you stand at the threshold of your future and walk into a new way of being and consciousness, what do you bring with?  What do you leave behind?  Its time to ‘Walk the Talk”

iTongo Legend

Shaka (sometimes spelled Tshaka, Tchaka, or Chaka); (c. 1785/87 –1828)

The exact date of Shaka’s birth is unknown. His father, Senzangakhona, was heir to the Zulu throne, and his mother, Nandi, was daughter of Bhebhe, Chief of the Langeni clan. Shaka’s name is said to stem from an intestinal condition caused by the iShaka beetle. (isiZulu for beetle)

Shaka was a great Zulu king and conqueror and is widely credited with uniting many of the Northern Nguni people, specifically the Mthethwa and the Ndwandwe, into the Zulu kingdom. He has been called a military genius for his reforms and innovations, but also condemned for the brutality of his reign.

Shaka’s early years were difficult. Ostracized and taunted, he and his mother constantly had to seek refuge with neighbouring chieftains. At the time of the Great Famine, known as the Madlantule (c.1802), Shaka was taken to the Mthethwa people, where shelter was found in the home of Nandi’s aunt under the aegis of Dingiswayo, who welcomed the refugees.

At about the age of twenty-three, Shaka was drafted into the iziCwe (isiZwe) regiment and, rising rapidly through the ranks, became one of the foremost commanders. He developed the ‘horn’ battle formation and introduced the iKlwa, the short stabbing assegai. He was known as Nodumehlezi (the one who when seated causes the earth to rumble).

When Senzangakhona died, Dingiswayo aided Shaka to defeat his half brother, Sigujana, and claim the Zulu throne (c.1816). By the time the first white traders arrived at Port Natal in 1824, Shaka was in control of a centralised monarchy. Shaka ceded land to the British, and permitted them to build a settlement at Port Natal. Henry F Fynn wrote in his diary that he found Shaka to be intelligent and on occasion to be capable of real generosity. During his reign, there was no conflict between the Europeans and the Zulu.

Shaka was assassinated by his half-brothers, Dingane and Mhlangana, and an inDuna called Mbopa. History commonly cites September 1828 as the date of his death. At the time of his death, Shaka’s subjects numbered 250,000 and he could easily muster 50,000 warriors. Despite difficult beginnings, Shaka rose to become one of the most influential leaders of the Zulu empire.

Balance in Opposites

Two of Assegai Swords)

Two of Assegai Swords)

TWO of ASSEGAI – People of the East – Key word – DUALITY

As above, so below | Nurture new ideas | Bring into reality | Mental balance and peace | Still the mind | Accept truth | Listening and hearing | Finding balance | Open to wholeness

The Two of swords is about finding mental peace and balance within opposites.  Think of a coin, it has two sides, one side has a value stamped on it, the other side is hidden yet its value is not less.  What we need to do is accept the truth, both sides are equal and when we still our minds we are able to find that balance, harmony and partnership.

As above, so below is a well known saying – what does it really mean?  Is it the reflection of opposites?  Is it that what is in ‘heaven’ we have on earth? The element of Air is represented in Swords, and the suit is about intellect, how and what we think.  This is all acquired knowledge and we have to use the links between our inner world and the greater consciousness to find balance and to be open to the wholeness of what we may find in our lives.  Its about creating a partnership with all that is within and available to us.

We need to hear and truly listen when the Ancestors, Spirits, Guides are speaking to us.  More often than not we  hear our inner voice guiding us, but how many of us actually action what we believe.  Keep the channels of communication open and you will be surprised at what you learn.  Trust in your system, even if others don’t understand or follow.  Its about being true to your authentic self.

Life is often difficult and we experience painful consequences because of the choices we have made.  This is a time to grab life with both hands and face your fears or what is hidden head on.  Don’t be mislead by the lack of information, just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean its not there.  Flip the coin (so to speak) and discover the alternatives that are available to you.  Life can be random, but its usually the same issues that keep us from moving forward.  Take the road less travelled.  Doing nothing is worse than trying and not succeeding – at least there is a lesson and try again.  There are always risks, but if we approach a situation with our eyes open, and we have prepared ourselves to all the eventualities we will more often than not achieve success.

The most famous sword in Western mythology is Excalibur from the Arthurian legends – the sword of truth and power.  This week raise that sword up and find power within your truth.  King Shaka of the Zulu, great innovation was the design and introduction the iKlwa, a short stabbing assegai.  He designed this weapon for close hand to hand combat.  Legend tells that the blade was fortified by a human liver, because the Zulu believe that it’s the liver and not the heart to be the seat of valour.   Never be afraid to speak your truth.  Truth is absolute, it never changes.  This does not mean that we cannot change, or approach life from different angles.  This adaption is necessary – the reason and motivation of WHY we are doing it is what remains in truth, the HOW is flexible to meet the circumstances.  Sometimes we need to just let things be … we sometimes have to compromise the ‘how’ but never should we compromise the ’why’.

Consciousness for this week is to allow your true feeling to come out, don’t block your emotions, go with your gut and turn a deaf ear without being defensive about your position.

Don’t avoid the truth – it is, what it is, so maintain your cool and remember that there is always something unseen, its up to you to discover it.

If you feel stuck and cant see the way forward, take a moment, close your eyes and still your mind.  Balance your inner world and you will find balance and harmony in your external world.

Finally, with your sword of truth or dagger of courage cut through the BS.  Onward and upward!

iTongo Legend

Senzangakhona kaJama (c. 1762–1816) was a chief of the Zulu clan, succeeding his father Jama kaNdaba. His name derived from the Zulu word meaning “he who acts with good reason”. During his chieftaincy, the Zulu were a small clan in the Mthethwa confederation that Dingiswayo ruled.

Prince Senzangakhona kaJama, heir to the chieftainship of the Zulu, was out hunting with his companions. At the riverside, they came upon the girls from the neighbouring Langeni clan and oral tradition tells that the handsome young price saw Nandi, a daughter of Bhebhe, the chief of the Langeni and fell in love with her. They entered into an intimate relationship, permitted in Nguni custom, providing pregnancy did not ensue.

Senzangakhona married at least sixteen wives with whom he fathered fourteen known sons (daughters were not counted). Senzangakhona was the father of three Zulu kings, including the great Shaka.

Queen of Assegai (Swords)

Queen of Assegai/SwordsPeople of the East (Zulu)

Key word – INTUITION

Intellectual maturity | Knowledge by perception | Expressing a Philosophy| Witty; Laughter | Insight | Prophetic | Honest direct communication | Getting to the heart of the matter | Realistic expectations

The Queen of Assegai is all about direct communication and she invites you to think as she does.  This is not a week for romantic ideals, but rather slicing through to the heart of the matter.  Face the truth, even if it is unpleasant and be upfront with everyone.

Nandi (the sweet one) – Shaka’s mother was a woman who was marginalised and tormented most of her life – tradition did not allow for women to speak up and speak their minds.  She was a great mother, not only to Shaka but also to the nation.  We need to understand that where we have come from and the trials we have face have shaped us in the present.  We do not have to allow the trauma of the past to dictate our future, we need to cut those cords that bind.

Size up the situation, be direct in your communication and let go of what is not working for you.  Understand the hidden motives of others, don’t be fooled by the façades of others.  Look deep into their actions and in turn your reactions.

Having said that, this is also a week to lighten up a little – life is serious, but is also meant to be lived and enjoyed.  Laugh out loud and dance like no one is there. Express your joy.

Delight in your sense of humour and make some one smile – it’s a week to bring a little laughter and light into our sometimes dreary lives.  Give a thought to the families here at Red Cross, extend a helping hand to those that are in pain or suffering, be it from physical burdens or grief, just lighten their load. Spread a little sunshine.

Diffuse awkward situations and have realistic expectations.  Be quick thinking and perceptive and tell it like it is – you need to be present in your life this week because it may be a week filled with dialogue and you may be asked your opinions – know where you stand, and what you stand for. Be happy to share your experience and expertise, but be open to learning new things.  Engage with your world around you with wisdom.  This is the week about ideas and communication.  Exercise good judgement based on your life experience and intellect.  This is not a week for being impulsive.

This is a week about hope – what you set up and achieve this week will have an effect on your future endeavours.  Make the right and mature choice.

 LEGEND: 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.

As a traditional marriage ceremony had not been conducted, Nandi was not recognised as queen nor was her son, Shaka, acknowledged as an heir. Even in her own home she was ridiculed and shunned. The relationship of Senzangakhona and Nandi seems to have been difficult and ended in the chieftain driving Nandi from his court. Fearing for their lives, she left the esiKlebeni homestead of Shaka’s father and sought sanctuary in the Mhlathuze Valley of the Langeni people. Nandi spent many years being shunted back and forth between the Zulu and her own tribe. After the death of her father, she and her son once again had to leave their home seeking refuge.

At the time of the Great Famine, known as the Madlantule (c.1802) Shaka and Nandi went to the Mthethwa people to the home of Nandi’s aunt under the aegis of Dingiswayo, who welcomed them. Growing up Shaka was taunted by those who resented his claims to chiefly descent. On the death of Senzangakhona (Shaka’s father), Dingiswayo lent his young protégé the military support necessary to oust and assassinate his senior half-brother, Sigujana, and make himself chieftain of the Zulu.

Once he was in a position of power, Shaka exacted revenge on all who had belittled or betrayed them. As his kingdom grew, he built KwaBulawayo, a royal household of about 1,400 huts in the Mhlathuze valley (some 27km from the present town of Eshowe) and here Shaka declared Nandi, “Queen of Queens”.

Nandi died of dysentery on 10 October 1827. Shaka put on his war regalia and proceeded to wail in anguish. The entire tribe erupted into attendant mourning. Tradition held that upon the death of someone of Nandi’s stature, several servants and attendants should be wounded or killed. On Shaka’s orders, several people were executed on the spot, and a general massacre broke out. In this case, the event became a cover for many people to settle old scores, and it is reported, up to seven thousand people died in the massacre.  Nandi’s grave is outside Eshowe, and is marked Nindi.

Eight of Assegai (Air) Danger

We are born with an inherent nature, its acquired knowledge that moulds and shapes us. Over our lifetime as we mature we add to our life experience and knowledge base.  Sometimes we get stuck in a pattern, this is the enemy within.

We need to constantly be adjusting our beliefs and attitudes.  There is no need to feel confused, helpless and powerless.  The objective is to remove the obstacles – whether its fear, lack of focus or perceived limitations.  Unless we take that leap of faith, that the soul knows what it wants and needs, we will continue to repeat the same mistakes, make the same choices that don’t serve us in the long run and feel powerless.

Take time to evaluate which of the scripts still work in your adult world.  Which lessons have borne fruit?  What is it that makes you feel strong and powerful?  Which circumstances (material, emotional or intellectual) are holding you back from being all that you could be.

One common thread that I have identified with my clients is the desire to change but are held back by the fear of the unknown.  Finding the strength to go against everything familiar and to make significant changes.  It doesn’t have to be an “all or nothing” situation.  Gradually ease out the toxic in your life and fill those spaces with what nurtures your inherent nature, what motivates your growth and brings about that inner peace.

The road to self-knowing and fulfilment is a long one, but certainly worth travelling.  As they say “history has a way of repeating itself” – why not let your repeats be joyful and victorious.

Swords, Air


EIGHT of ASSEGAI – People of the East

Key word – DANGER

The enemy within | Beliefs and attitudes | Purpose | Self inflicted pain | Remove obstacles | Restricted creative expression | Loss | Confusion| Powerless | Persecution | Confinement