2012 Was an amazing year for me. I was invited to lead ceremonies all over the world from Canada to the USA, UK, and Belgium. I feel deeply honoured that people called on me to lead ceremonies and listen to how South African indigenous healers (Sangomas) operate.
In April this year I was working alongside my teacher, Mum Ngwevu performing thanksgiving ceremonies to honour our ancestors. After these ceremonies one of my elders, Tata Bongani said to me “Cingo uyasebenza kakhulu kulo nyaka!” “John you will be very busy this year”. He predicted quite accurately that this year was going to be my busiest year yet. I thanked him for his kind words and I left my beloved teacher and elders to lead my first ceremony overseas in Canada in May.
I was a bit nervous as it was my first time to Canada. The ceremony I lead was part of a 5 day Shamanic conference in Squamish, B.C. outside Vancouver. I lead the 101 + delegates in Xhosa chants, drumming and dancing. They loved it! I lead them in a special chant of “Umoya wam, ngumoya wam...” Meaning, ‘My spirit, my holy spirit’. I was impressed at how they all picked up the rhythm and went for it body and soul. The whole room was swaying in unison while I beat my drum. It was a wonderful moment. As always, I prayed in Xhosa, and sent a blessing to the delegates and their ancestors. I also mentioned my own parents, teachers and medicine elders back home. This ceremony set a wonderful precedent for the rest of the year for me.
After Canada I toured America, going to New York City, Colorado, San Francisco, and then again at the end of the year Memphis as well. I was hosted by the New York Shamanic circle, Earth Medicine Alliance in San Francisco and the Sacred Earth Foundation in Colorado. Again I felt very blessed and honoured to be invited by all these groups. I was touched by their dedication and commitment towards remembering the old ways and reaching out towards indigenous healers like myself.
I see people everywhere with an insatiable spiritual hunger to rediscover new ways of working with nature and the timeless ancestral/spirit world which is like a river moving in a continuous circle. The gifts that I have received in all these places is the gift of ‘Ubuntu’, humanity. For I am constantly reminded that no matter where I go there are good people everywhere who open their doors, hearts and communities to me, and allow me to sing in Xhosa, drum and teach these beautiful ways.
In October I was invited to San Francisco for the yearly Earth Medicine Alliance conference, and also the New York Shamanic event in Central Park. Both groups were well attended with people coming from all walks of life, and diverse cultures and traditions. We prayed, danced and rattled with Mayan traditions, Mexican and various North & South American indigenous cultures. It was gratifying and humbling to witness all of us as one human family with a commitment to peace and harmony in our fragile world. It gave me hope for our future, and the future of our children.
In my private divination sessions I was privileged to hear the hopes and dreams of hundreds of people. While we sat together in silence contemplating my sacred divination bones spread out in various constellations, I heard the whispers of our ancestors guiding us forwards. These whispers were always hopeful, inspiring and empowering. For each person holds so much light and power. It is my hope and dream that more and more people can hold onto their light and realise their potential. A potential that is truly limitless. For we are all free, and we have to take responsibility for it. I feel that it is this awesome freedom that makes people fearful. We all have choice. Embrace your freedom and allow your spirits to soar towards 2013 like eagles entering a new era. For I believe 2013 will be a wonderful year.
Blessings to all my friends, new and old in South Africa, USA, UK, Ireland, Mexico, Canada, Belgium, Germany, Poland and beyond. It has been my privilege to serve you in 2012 as a Sangoma and I look forward to doing the same in 2013.
Uthando lo thando, Ubuntu olo thando (An old Xhosa saying: Love is Love, humanity is Love).
( Special thanks to Thomas Donley for taking these pictures).