When I saw an advertisement for a weekend course with John Lockley, a white South African member of the Xhosa tribe and a practising Ubuntu Sangoma i.e. shaman or ‘medicine-man’ or even ‘witch-doctor’ as we in the west might call him, my curiosity was aroused. I decided I had to find out more and approached the course with nervous but open-minded anticipation. I was not disappointed. I do not want to give too much away about the weekend except to say that it was a mixture of instruction and participation. Some of this I found emotionally very challenging, nothing we did was unacceptable to me, and the benefit was enormous. I felt elated for days afterwards.
There is one thing that surprised me. Although my knowledge of Romany Chovihano shamanism is limited (I am of mixed Anglo-Irish-Romany descent and Chovihanos have all but died out, at least in the west), what I do know tells me that Xhosa and Romany shamanism are so similar that it cannot be coincidence. Since the two peoples can hardly have met and exchanged ideas, they must have independently developed two systems whose closeness, in my opinion, tends to add credence to their value and utility.
In my job as a Chiropractor I am very aware that there are emotional and spiritual aspects of peoples’ lives which have negative influences on their general health contributing to their overall ‘dis-ease’, and which are left unresolved by modern health care (of any kind), psychology, and religion. I feel that Ubuntu may go a long way to filling that gap.
Dr. Peter Smith
Chiropractor, Llandudno, North Wales Member of the Scottish Chiropractic Association
Member of the College of Chiropractors