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.

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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.

The Intellectual Mother

Queen of SwordsQUEEN of ASSEGAI/Swords/Air

People of the East – 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

This week we pay homage to the women of South Africa.  Its national Breast Cancer Awareness month and 10 October marks the death of King Shaka’s mother Nandi whom he called the Queen of Queens.

Our focus this week is to bring our emotional self in line with our intellect.  To learn to trust our intuition and get down to the heart of the matter with realistic expectations.

We need to Tell it like it is.  You will find the Queen guides you in being highly perceptive and quick thinking, helping you to cut through all the internal noise and confusion.  She is a straight talker with no hidden agendas.  Become impartial and present your thoughts and ideas openly, concisely and with honesty.

The astrological correspondence to the Queen of Air is Libra, which simply means ‘to teach’ and the lesson is learning through consequences of our thoughts, words and actions.  The symbolism of the scales is about balance.  The planet in play is Mercury which is all about the mind and communication. In Greek mythology Mercury is Hermes, who was the messenger of the gods, with one half of self in the physical world and the other in the realm of the gods.  So in the fertile landscape of the mind, its mercury that gathers and interprets your experience and life potential .

caduceusMercury is also known as a great healer, the caduceus or Mercury’s staff is the recognized logo of medicine and health institutions. The entwining snakes represent the life force (also the symbol for iTongo) the rod, represents change through fire (Kundalini energy), the wings divine grace.

This week we need to consider what fascinates and puzzles us, about ourselves as well as others.  How we think determines where we land up. This is also a warning, because the speed of Mercury is well known and you don’t want to catapult off in a direction that is only partly formed.  Be careful what you are wishing for.  The messenger of the gods can be charming and shrewd.  For you at the Taxi Mercury is the planet you want to take special note of, as he rules communication which includes media, when he is crossed his shadow self of trickster comes out.  Mis-communication even deceptions can come into play.

This is also a great week for travelers – whether going on holiday or travelling for business the journey should be hassle free.  Its also a week where one should make the internal journey, find your still point, sit in contemplation – discover and nurture self.

The Queen of Swords is also about wealth – not necessarily about money, but about bringing wealth and ‘richness’ into your consciousness – sometimes its called abundance.  Brainstorm ideas with colleagues, take the sword and cut deep into the heart of the matter, face the truth, even if it is unpleasant, pure honesty is the way.  Abide by the rules of engagement, size up the situation quickly, look for hidden agendas and motives and don’t ‘try one on’ this week, it will come back and bite you…

However this is also a time to bring out that natural wit and humour.  You will find yourself quick on the uptake and delight others with your point of view, don’t harm with your words just be as candid as possible. No need to be self righteous or abrasive in your judgements.

The power and energy of the Queen is not to be taken lightly, rather let her serve you well, you already know what you want and need just trust your instincts and go after it. Pick your battles wisely and reduce your stress levels by staying in truth and the moment.  Judge impartially without emotional or sentimental influences.

Give a thought to those who are fighting Breast Cancer, participate in local fund raisers, offer your assistance to anyone you know with cancer, its time to stand up and be counted.  This is the week to ‘walk the talk’.

 iTongo 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.

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.

National Heritage Day – South Africa

Iminyanya20 The Earth – IMINYANYA (The Ancestors)

CONCEPT Good judgement; Rebirth; Introspection; Transformation; Evaluation; Metamorphosis

Iminyanya invites you to follow your destiny.

Reaping reward from past actions /Analysis and evaluation /Absolution /Responsibility /New view of reality /Making wise judgements /Integration /Wholeness /Ancestral and family matters /Avoidable influences

What is awakening?  How are you renewed?  Are you observing situations objectively and fairly?

The Ancestors: Iminyanya/amadlozi/badimo/vadzimo/abezimu – all these terms refer to those who have died and joined the spiritual world. In most African cultures, death is viewed not as the destruction of life but the immortality of the spirit.

24 September is a very busy day in South Africa – National Heritage Day, National Braai Day and also the day that commemorates the life of the great Zulu king Shaka. King Shaka

All South Africans are encouraged to celebrate their heritage, and that’s quite a melting pot in our Rainbow Nation. Our diversity of race, religion and creed are different, and its those differences we should celebrate and learn from.  It’s those differences that make South Africa a country with so much potential – if we could all just stop moaning about what’s wrong and do something to make it right.

Reading some of the comments online about Heritage Day, it saddens me that so few people acknowledge and respect their heritage. Heritage is something that is passed down from generation to generation … and its not just about financial gain, it’s about the preservation of our land, scenic parks, animals, sites of significance or historical importance.  It’s about preserving what we have for future generations benefit, pleasure and knowledge. This generation is failing. Our Rhino is almost extinct, global warming and toxic air is increasing, education levels are getting lower and lower. There is so much focus on the individual that the ‘whole’ is suffering.

Genetically speaking we are born into a predefined race and creed.  This is affected not only by geography but also economic status.  Throughout our lives we are able at any given point to change, alter and adjust our circumstances.  Some choose to follow the patterns of the past, some choose to do nothing and wait for others, others choose to break free and set their own path.

Spring brings us an opportunity to awaken and be renewed.  To look at our lives and carefully consider what is my heritage?  To ask what can be changed or renewed.  To take action to bring about those changes we seek. To take responsibility for those choices and actions. We need a new view on reality.  It is what it is and not moving forward within ourselves limits our possibilities and opportunities.  We should rejoice in the fact that we are able to make a difference.  That we are able to take a stand for what we believe in.

The stages of our lives follow the same pattern of birth, childhood, maturing, adult and ultimately death. We need to look at each of those phases and ask “did I do the best I could”?  As we grow up under the care of others, we inherit their views, ideals and philosophies.  When we mature into creative and reproductive adults, we begin to form our own opinions and perhaps start our own traditions.

Have we chosen to live a good and righteous life?  Are we truly doing the best we can to preserve our inheritance from our ancestors and how are we creating a better world for the future.

Death is unavoidable but one should not fear the end, rather be in a position that at any given moment when Death comes calling, we are free of attachments, regrets and that we have lived our best life.  For when we are dead we become the ancestors to the living – what is your legacy?

What is your immortality of spirit?

iTongo legend

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.

Ouroboros (tail-devourer), a snake depicted with its tail in its mouth forming a continuous circle, is considered a symbol of eternity. It is present in many African artworks – cloth patterns, wall paintings, and metal works.

According to legend, the snake 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.

In order for African people to live in harmony with the creator and creation, all natural laws and observances were divinely revealed to the first African generation as a community at the beginning of time. The death of that generation meant the beginning of intercession between the living and the creator, or ancestor worship, as the first generation had now joined the spiritual world thereby marking the beginning of the ancestors.

Many African peoples regard the earth as a female deity, a mother-goddess who rules all people and is the mother of all creatures. The earth lives and gives birth to ever-new generations of beings and the ancestors live in the earth.

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.

Just … Breathe

Ace of Assegai (Swords)ACE of ASSEGAI (Swords) People of the East

Key word – TRANSCENDENCE

Gift of intellect | Surpassing human experience | Not subject to physical limitations | Detach oneself from anxiety | New directions |Manifest philosophy | Using mental force | Facing decisions | Reason, justice, truth | Insight and wisdom

Air is often considered as the universal power of pure substance. This is why the ability to watch and manage HOW we breathe is so important. The more oxygen our brains get the clearer our thoughts, the more oxygen in our blood the better our organs and bodies function. To be able to reach a transcendent state the simplest way is to sit quietly and just watch our breath. Breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth, as we exhale visualise all your pain and suffering leaving your body and disappearing.

In ancient Greek medicine they had what they called the four humours, states of being, Air was associated with blood and was linked to the season of spring and the northern point of the compass, in modern tarot the direction is East. iTongo tarot the direction is East which is kwaZulu Natal and the people of the East are Zulu.

The Aces indicate a new beginning. The Ace of Air/Assegai asks us to not fear what could be ahead, but to rather take a leaf of faith. We usually know exactly what needs to be done to bring the changes we desire, the tricky part is how to do it, and the hard part is to follow through to the end result. The beginning of the tarot year is traditionally 21 March, but as most decks are designed in the Northern Hemisphere their spring is our autumn, iTongo Tarot’s spring is September, so we are beginning a whole new year, and have the opportunity to begin fresh and new.

As the world around us awakes and blossoms, so too should we awaken without physical limitations. We need to detach ourselves from anxiety and follow new directions. By using our mental force and gift of intellect we can face decisions with reason, justice and truth – this is true insight with wisdom. The Ace of Assegai is about invoked force, the Assegai cuts cleanly through all the issues and gets to the point, to the heart of the matter. Practice your faith and uphold your divine authority.

This month is Heritage Month throughout South Africa. Ask yourself how do you honour your heritage, what traditions do you uphold. We all have a base, where we come from and what we believe in, this is the week to consider who you are, what you honour and how you practice it. Give thought to what you want, what you would like to change, if necessary make lists of goals and achievements you want to set for the next year. Take the road less travelled – you never know what you will discover along the way.

Try new policies and procedures, change tactics if necessary but keep going. Allow the energy of Air to lift you up and carry you along. Take a deep breath each time and proceed. Speak your mind be descriptive of your dreams, share your insight and wisdom. Its time to cut through all the deceptions, to yourself and others. Go for what is real, tangible and attainable. Live and breathe the reality your create.

Geography of the Ace of Assegai

The uKhahlamba or Drakensberg National Park is located in KwaZulu-Natal, bordering the eastern coast of South Africa.

The Zulu people named the range ‘Ukhahlamba’ and the Dutch Voortrekkers1 called it The Drakensberg (The Dragon Mountain). The Drakensberg Mountains, with their awe-inspiring basalt cliffs, snow-capped in winter, tower over riverside bush, lush yellow wood forests, and cascading waterfalls.

This majestic mountain range runs for some one thousand kilometres (620 miles) from south- west to northeast. The mountains drain on the western slopes into the Orange and Vaal rivers, and on the east and south into the Tugela.

The Drakensberg forms a massive barrier separating KwaZulu-Natal from the Kingdom of Lesotho. The only road access through the Drakensberg is via Sani Pass, which boasts the highest pub in Africa at its top, 3 000 metres above sea level.

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.

15 The Devil – Thikoloshe

CONCEPT The shadow; What bedevils us; Pain and pleasure; Trickster; Oppression; Vanity

Thikoloshe invites you to set your boundaries and limitations.

Combine practicality with productivity /Dynamic and assertive /Accepting what is /Experiencing boundaries and limits /Domination and manipulation /Materialistic /Ego /The inability to move on /Hedonist; Lust /Energies of purification, disillusion and re-balance

This card pretty much covers the seven deadly sins, being wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy and gluttony. It’s also about setting boundaries and limitations, learning and understanding the principle of cause and effect. For every action there is a reaction.

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.

Today many South African people still raise their beds off the ground, by placing them on bricks or tin drums, so that the Thikoloshe (Tokoloshe) cannot reach them.  No one answers a knock at the door at night, in case it is the Thikoloshe. They truly fear this creature and most will have an interesting story to tell about their encounters with the Thikoloshe.  So great are the myths surrounding him, that many are afraid to even mention his name.

Consider superstitions … we all have little rituals that we perform for good luck, safety or sometimes simply hedging our bets.  We trust that there is something out there that protects us from harm but equally, we believe that there is evil and mischief lurking.

Mythology, archetypes and old wives tales have survived into modern thinking.  These anecdotes and stories were a way to impart knowledge to the uneducated masses.  to set boundaries and limitations on human behaviour to show that there are consequences to actions.

Superstitions come from the collective consciousness. The inherited experience of the entire human race. It’s a belief that certain actions bring certain results, however this is subjective and what may be perceived as bad luck to one person, may manifest as good luck to another.  The same applies to rites and rituals.

BoticelliWe are born with Inherent knowledge – soul knowledge, Collective body of divine wisdom.  As we mature we Acquire knowledge from Ancient History and mythology or “old wives tales”. Patterns of influence come from – social, economic, religion, culture, ethnicity, geography and life lessons – all this is Genetically encoded onto our psyche and makes us who we are and functioning within a certain belief system.

Our thoughts create our reality – its what we believe that makes the difference.  Get to know your shadow self.  Take a walk on the dark side, explore your hidden persona.  What motivates you to indulge, express and participate in actions that do not serve you or the people around you.

Take sloth for instance, don’t just lie around waiting for the world to change, get up, get active and make the changes you want.  Lust is probably one of the most damaging impulses man can have … the results are devastating, rape, abuse, incest.  Its about control and learning to manage your dark side.

Putting your bed on bricks, not walking under a ladder or knocking on wood is not going to keep the Thikoloshe away … changing how you think and feel is what brings ‘fortunate’ results.  You are the power, you have the power … use it wisely.

The Chariot – INDWE

Indwe

Indwe invites you to honour the way of the warrior. Be inspired, be fearless.

CONCEPT: Change; As above so below; Impulsive momentum; Imagination; Victorious warrior

Geography The uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park has outstanding natural beauty. As Africa’s highest mountain range south of Kilimanjaro, it has a fascinating and ancient geology, animals and the most concentrated series of rock art in Africa.

In 2000, it became the fourth site in South Africa to be granted World Heritage status by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). In describing the park’s natural heritage, UNESCO notes its “exceptional natural beauty in its soaring basaltic buttresses, incisive dramatic cutbacks, and golden sandstone ramparts. Rolling high altitude grasslands, the pristine steep-sided river valleys and rocky gorges also contribute to the beauty of the site.”

Warriors When a man distinguished himself by deeds of valour or any form of meritorious conduct, he was presented with the feather of the Blue Crane, which the amaXhosa call Indwe. (The Blue Crane (Anthropoides paradisea) – also known as the Stanley Crane and the Paradise Crane, is the national bird of South Africa.)

These feathers were presented at a ceremony for heroes called “ukundzabela”.  Men, so honoured, wore the feathers sticking out of their hair, and were known as “men of ugaba” (trouble) – the implication being that if trouble arose, these men would reinstate peace and order.

War-shields (isiHlangu) are always made of oxhide, two shields normally being cut from one hide. They are oval in shape and are decorated by two rows of slits cut lengthwise into the shield intertwined with strips of hide of a contrasting colour. The projection at the lower end is sharpened, and is used as a rest on which the shield can stand, or as an additional weapon for stabbing. The top projection, covered with fur, is decorative.

With his introduction of a regimental organisation Shaka used shields in such a way that they became part of a soldier’s uniform. Junior regiments had all black shields or shields in which black predominated; married men and mixed regiments bore predominantly red shields; seniority and battle experience was indicated by an increasing whiteness, all white shields reflecting the greatest honour.

iTongo Interpretation of The Chariot

The victory of self-discipline /Free flow of thought /Imagination is the vehicle of destiny /Conviction /Hard control /Great motivator /Maintaining impetus /Meditation as a tool /Egocentric /The application of wisdom

The call is to be inspired and fearless, to honour the warrior within, we all have one.  Inspiration comes when we are in control of our thoughts and emotions, but it needs space to manifest.  Imagination is the vehicle of destiny.  Walt Disney said, “if you can dream it, you can do it”.  Have the courage of your convictions.

What inspires you? Is it a person, an action or a community?  Once we are inspired how do we maintain the impetus?  Following through is the key. The problem is maintaining focus and the drive to accomplish the goal or win the internal battle. Looking at your life from a different angle often sheds light on what needs to be done.  Its about focus and intent.  Its about knowing what you want, how to get it and what to do with it once you have it.  Victory is available, just begin the journey within.

How does one journey within?  Prayer, meditation, contemplation. A simple way to quiet the mind to allow the unconscious to become conscious is through breath. Breath is life, the basic and most fundamental expression of our life.  In yoga the breath or in Sanskrit “prana” is said to be the vehicle of the mind.  Because it is the prana that makes our mind move. It is through breath that all those messages are carried through the blood stream to the relevant muscle, which in turn reacts.

Our body parts are neutral, they have no emotion or thought – it is up to us to make sure that the right message is getting to the right centre, so we can enjoy the right response.

So when we calm the mind by working with the breath we are simultaneously and automatically taming and training the mind.  We take a deep breath when life becomes stressful – let out a deep breath when the moment of anxiety has passed – breath regulates our temperature and mood.  It is through breath that we can bring about physiological change within our bodies.  We express ourselves through breath.  Laugher, groaning, panting etc.

Find the tool that best supports your inner landscape. Our inner world is reflected in our outer world.  Look around and see what is right and what is wrong.  Take ownership of your thoughts and actions and make the changes that will bring about your best life.  Breathe.

Working with Card of the Day/Week

It has been said that we are spirit having a human experience.  We seek meaning in our lives and we need to know that we matter, that we belong.  We look for tools and moments when we feel deeply touched within, a transcendent experience when we inhabit out humanity completely.  Our need for insight and validation is ever present; we want to know how we are doing in terms of the choices we make. We want to project ourselves into our futures to discover where we are heading and what pitfalls lie ahead. We want assurance that we are fulfilling our purpose yet more often than not, we are seeking a ‘quick fix’.

Tarot as a tool mirrors our unconscious – The Tarot is a mirror in which universal patterns and icons are reflected. Our unconscious is reflected back to us through the visuals which have the ability to transport us to other dimensions, enhance our focus and assist us to live consciously with focus and intent.

The art of tarot is rewarding; we select our card with a purpose and as we weave our way through the archetype, story or visual, we resonate with the energy that arises – it is up to us what we do with the information perceived.  Here are some tips and exercises to help you discover tarot and work with individual cards for self analysis and empowerment.

Zulu Goddess of Agriculture

Visual a collage from iTongo Tarot. 3 The Empress and 21 The Universe

Location, location, location

It is best to conduct this meditation/visualisation where you will be undisturbed.

  1. Find a quiet place where you can be alone and undisturbed.
  2. Sit comfortably with your spine straight.
  3. Close your eyes and become aware of your surroundings,
  4. Breathe deeply and uniformly. IN through the nose and OUT through the mouth.  Let stress and tension go with each out breath. Continue to do this until you feel relaxed.
  5. Feel your body connected to the earth.
  6. Listen to your heart beat and as you slowly breathe in and out – retreat to your still point.

Pick a Card, Any Card

There are a variety of ways of doing this.  See my previous blog http://wp.me/p25KRU-2p

Begin the Journey

Visualisation

  1. Begin by building your inner vision of the geography of the card selected.
  2. Listen to the sounds, smell the foliage.
  3. Feel the environment around you.
  4. Establish the time of day.
  5. Become aware of the central figure.
  6. Visualise yourself moving across the terrain towards the figure. Do not be afraid to approach, these are your guides.
  7. Introduce yourself and begin your dialogue.
  8. State your purpose. “I am accepting your invitation to …” “I am ready to fulfil …”; “I am seeking guidance on …”; “How may I serve … ?” etc.
  9. Allow time for a response.
  10. Be aware of any images, thoughts or sensations that arise.
  11. Take a moment to explore these images or sensations.

Seeking answers, purpose

  1. When you are ready continue your dialogue.
  2. Again allow time and space for a response.
  3. Explore images or sensations that arise.
  4. When you are ready ask your next question.
  5. Follow this procedure until you feel you have the answers and insights to manifest the journey.
  6. You may accept an invitation to travel with the guide, to explore deeper levels of the energy arising – follow your instinct and intuition.

Closure

It is very important that once you feel you would like to return to your conscious self that you close the meditation/visualisation.  If you dont do this you may end up with a sense of disconnection or even a headache.

  1. Show gratitude for the assistance.
  2. If you would like to leave a token of appreciation or to let go of an issue, do so.
  3. Become aware of time passed,
  4. move across the terrain to your original position where you started your journey.
  5. Still your awareness of the inner realms and sit in silence before returning to the outer world.
  6. You may be aware of faint echoes of your journey, allow these to arise and dissipate.
  7. Once again feel the earth beneath your body, feel your heart beating and as you breathe deeply become aware of your surroundings.
  8. Slowly open your eyes if closed.
  9. Stand and stretch.

Keeping a record

  1. When we are on a journey it is helpful to keep a journal of your cards, the experience or matters/issues that arose.
  2. Write down anything that you feel you need to take notice of and work on.
  3. Be conscious of the inner knowledge you have gained.
  4. Manifest this information into your daily routine.