People always ask me why someone would want to visit a Sangoma. The answer is perhaps surprising to some. Mostly, it’s not because they’ve been bewitched or find themselves cast under someone else’s spell.
The number one reason why clients come to see me is because they lack a sense of purpose in their lives.
Surprised? In old traditional societies and tribes it was usually the shaman’s job to help ascertain the purpose of a new member of their community.
In a world of science, religion and morality, the shaman was vilified, the spirit dismembered and purpose replaced with work. These days very few westerners have the privilege of any guidance as far their purpose is concerned.
We live in a world that values productivity and effectivity above all else. Our global purpose has become To Work: deliver an excellent product, advertise better or sell more. We keep ourselves busy enough to almost forget about the gaping sense that we haven’t been recognised or seen.
We go for a walk on the beach. My seven year old nephew asks me:
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” (Apparently we’re the same age.)
This primary question lies at the root of our current belief system. You are encouraged to start dreaming about being productive, being a worker, making a contribution.
Perhaps a better question is:
Who are you? What is it you have come here to do or learn?
And: What do you need?
My nephew says that when he grows up he wants to have bags full of money and an Aston Martin.
Malidoma Patrice Somé writes beautifully in “Of water and the Spirit” about rural life inBurkina Faso, where the Dagara tribe’s women become possessed by the spirit of their unborn child whilst they are pregnant.
During this ceremony the family and the local shamans question the child (possessing their mother) about their name, why the child is coming to their tribe, what it might need and how they can support its growth. Even before the child is born, the community knows who it is that is coming to their tribe.
Similarly, in “The Third Eye” by T. Lobsang Rampa (published in 1956), he describes how as a seven year old Tibetan boy, his parents invited local astrologers to attend a feast at their house in order to ascertain what Lobsang’s life path might be.
A party was held in his honour and the community invited to attend and stand witness as his life path was described to him. The next day he was sent to a monastery where he would spend the next couple of years being trained as a lama.
I wish I could create a new world, one where my nephew aspires to being a part of, rather than better than. One where he will feel connected and supported by the world around him.
What holds us in the West? Our children come into the world without a roadmap. We don’t know who they are, and they can’t remember why they’re here. We don’t initiate them into adulthood. We pay no respect to their spiritual welfare and we’ve starved them of community and nature.
How do we manage to raise any healthy human beings in this society?
“It is no measure of mental health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” – Krishnamurti
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