Shamanism in South Africa – Article.

I would like to post an Article I came across on Shamanism in South Africa. It is not my own. This information is not from my lineage, but a general article about Sangomas. I have deleted the images. To see the full article & images go to: http://transpersonalpsychology.co.za/shamanism-in-south-africa/ 

Shamanism in South Africa

Transpersonal psychology takes interest in the ancient wisdom of Shamanism. Shamanism as a practiced healing system originated around 4,000 BC. In South Africa, archaeologists have discovered rock art believed to have originated from the San culture around 3,300 BC depicting what is known in San culture today as “the Great Dance”, a shamanic trance dance used in healing, hunting, and relieving societal tensions.

Traditional healers in the Zulu, Swazi, Xhosa, Ndebele, Sotho, Venda & Tsonga traditions are called: Sangomas, Mathuela, Amakhosi, Inyanga, Ngako  or just Gogo. Traditional healers perform a holistic and symbolic form of healing, embedded in the beliefs of their culture that ancestors in the afterlife guide and protect the living.

Sangomas have many different social and political roles in the community: divination, healing, directing rituals, finding lost cattle, protecting warriors, counteracting witches, and narrating the history, cosmology, and myths of their tradition. They are highly revered and respected in their society, where illness is thought to be caused by witchcraft, pollution (contact with impure objects or occurrences) or by the ancestors themselves, either malevolently, or through neglect if they are not respected. For harmony between the living and the dead, vital for a trouble-free life, the ancestors must be shown respect through ritual and animal sacrifice.

Becoming a Sangoma is a calling and ignoring such calling leads to a very difficult life and in some cases, even death. Sangoma undergo ukuthwasa, a period of training including learning humility to the ancestors, purification through steaming, washing in the blood of sacrificed animals, and the use of Muti, medicines with spiritual significance. At the end of ukuthwasa, a goat and/or  sheep is sacrificed to call to the ancestors and appease them.

Sangomas work in a sacred healing hut called Ndumba, where their ancestors reside. They wear specific cloths to please ancestors and they summon the ancestors by burning a plant called Imphepho, dancing, chanting, and playing drums.

Sangomas are able to access advice and guidance from the ancestors by:
  • possession by an ancestor,
  • channeling;
  • throwing bones;
  • interpreting dreams.

Sangomas  will give their patients Muti, medications of plant and animal origin imbued with spiritual significance, often with powerful symbolism, for example, lion fat is given to promote courage. There are medicines for everything from physical and mental illness, social disharmony and spiritual difficulties to potions for love and luck. Muti can be drunk, smoked, inhaled, used for washing, smeared on the body, given as enemas, or rubbed into an incision (ukugcaba).

Many initiations and traditional healing ceremonies are preformed at sacred sites. One of such site is situated in the Eastern Free State in Moloti mountains near Clarens. Divine Fertility Caves have served as a spiritual gathering place for over 800 years to various tribes and religions in and around Southern Africa.
Umlaas Road, Majwewe

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