African Zen - 'Ubuntu' in Action

Ixopo BRC IMG_3131


I just completed another retreat in Ixopo at the Buddhist retreat centre. We danced, sang, drummed and prayed. I was overjoyed to be joined by the Zulu cooking staff who helped keep the rhythms sweet and joyful. It is always such an honour for me to be able to share the wisdom of Sangoma culture with people. The Sangoma people of Southern Africa are equivalent to the Buddhist monks and nuns in the Far East. After my time in South Korea in the early 90's studying Korean Zen under the late Zen Master Su Bong, I discovered a number of similarities with my Sangoma colleagues in South Africa. The similarities involved an emphasis on prayer, humility and connecting with the divine through chanting.  This included working together as a team, putting differences aside for the common good. In this way we all help to realise our ‘Ubuntu’, our humanity, and thus also our spiritual direction.

IMG_3132I was delighted to see the dedication of fellow South Africans to learn about Sangoma traditional culture. This is the future, and it gives me great hope. We had a number of elders with us who were over 80 years old. One of them said to me that this weekend retreat at the BRC in Ixopo was ‘a wish come true’ for her, and she quietly said that she had wanted to learn about Sangoma traditional culture her whole life, and now she had. She was very happy. This warmed my heart and inspired me to continue sharing the beauty of South African traditional medicine.

I will be back at the Buddhist Retreat Centre in Ixopo again next year from the 15-17th January 2016, and I welcome all South Africans to join us.

John Lockley April 2015.

Sangoma Medicine coming to the USA

P1010572 Ancient prophecies predict that African and American teachings will help save the planet. The reason is that they still remember the old ways and how to reconnect us to Mother Nature. I have been encouraged by my Xhosa teachers and medicine colleagues to bring our ancient teachings to the Western World. These teachings are simple and profound, focusing on helping people to reconnect to their Ancestors and Dreams.

The Sangoma tradition in Southern Africa is literally thousands of years old. I am lucky to be part of the Xhosa lineage that represents one of the oldest living shamanic cultures in the world today. The ceremonies we perform are simple and profound encouraging people to go deep within themselves and their roots (ancestors).

The ancient ways teach us that it is no important how high we travel but how deep we go within ourselves. Because all life's questions about destiny, pain and suffering reside in our DNA. Our ancestors, and all of life within the great mother have battled with these questions. When we sit and ponder the question of 'why are we alive' and what is life all about we are left with a deep question ? This question takes us directly into the world of the mystic, sage, shaman, where it is okay to not know and this not knowing world opens our minds to multiple dimensions beyond time and space.

In South African Sangoma culture all spiritual journeys begin with saying our name out to the universe and announcing ourselves to all our Ancestors. For we believe that the first gift our parents gave us was our name. And our name holds within it the seeds of our destiny. In the same way that a small acorn holds the seed and potential of becoming a great oak tree. Gratitude is central to Xhosa ritual. We invoke our ancestors by showing gratitude to them for the gift of life. For without them we wouldn't be here.  The question is never 'what can our ancestors do for us, but rather what can we do for them'. For the circle of life needs to be healed now more than ever before. We heal the circle by welcoming our elders home to us and thanking them for the sacrifices they made.

Join me in ceremony. Here are a list of dates and places  where I will be in the USA.

I look forward to meeting you.

Warmest wishes,

John Lockley,

Ucingolwendaba (Above) I stand  with my medicine colleagues, Elliot Rivera from Puerto Rico, brought up in New York; and Dancing Thunder, medicine chief of the Susquehannock nation.


Portland, Oregon  1st -10th  October

New York City  10th - 30th  October
  • 11th - New York Shamanic Circle (NYSC) - Open Circle
  • A time for the Community to gather, pray, rattle, drum and dance.
  • John will lead the group in some dancing, drumming & praying.
  • By Donation: $20
  • 20th - New York Shamanic Circle's 15th Annual Gatheringin Central Park.
  • A gathering of indigenous & urban shamans from all cultures and walks of life.


Lucid Dreaming Meets African Dream Shamanism

A unique workshop in Covent Gardens, London with John Lockley & Charlie Morley, a well known Tibetan Lucid Dreaming Teacher.

  • Private Sangoma Divinations Monday 30th April

For bookings and info click here