Reflections:   January 2004.    1st Qtr 2004

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Greetings Relatives,

The pilgrimage to South Africa was both amazing and disturbing. It is a country of vast extremes. The majesty of the landscape, coupled with its unique flora and fauna, is truly awesome and breathtaking- a dream made manifest. Yet for all its beauty and wonder, with great consternation I reveal that the residue of apartheid, even after ten years of its purported abolition, remains. Black nations people continue to dwell in shantytowns, which spread for kilometers in every direction. Amidst great squalor, families, as many as ten in number, live in shacks of corrugated tin the size of tool sheds, one adjacent the other. Meanwhile, wealthy Afrikaners surround and fortify their luxurious homes and well-manicured gardens with razor blade barbwire atop high walls of concrete, steel and stone. These are the most obvious signs. More insidious yet is the unconscious, continuous and subtle exploitation of the indigenous people through ignorance and stereotype- the erroneous belief of their inferiority. Deeply imbedded into the psyche and psychology of the colonial mind is apartheid.

The abuses of human rights there (as well as in our own country) are dramatic, sinister and reprehensible. Baba Vusamazulu Credo Mutwa, the prophet and high Sanusi (priest, Medicine Man) I specifically journeyed to visit, his entire family- wife, companion, son and sister -have all been murdered on account of their attempt to bring freedom, through nonviolent means, to the people and to eradicate the pandemic of AIDS on the continent. Pharmaceutical companies attempt in vain to bribe him to curtail his effective employment of traditional Medicines and Ceremonies, which improve the plight of his suffering people. There are continuous threats upon his life from all sides yet he remains resolute and immovable in his commitment to preserving his way of life. A man of profound depth, vision, wisdom, humility and generosity, while in his magnificent presence, he revealed the rich and complex mystical traditions of his continent and in a gesture of goodwill to unite the natives peoples of Africa with those of North America (who we discovered share common cosmologies, Medicine Ways and, regrettably, histories of genocide), he gifted me with a Sacred Pipe which he carved and fashioned from serpentine- before my very eyes. Though he graciously received the offerings I brought, on account of his state of mourning, he was unable to accept any ceremonial assistance and support from myself, merely requesting prayers instead. I entreat all of you who read these words to include this remarkable Human Being, a genuine treasure to humanity and the world, as well as his entire family, in your prayers.

Continuing to steep in the Medicine of Africa, in our November Sacred Hoops, my dear, ebullient friend Sobonfu Some of the Dagara people of Burkina Faso provided passionate and spirited insights into her culture as well as the necessity, blessings and power of community. From my heart, Ya Bonga Kakoulou (Thank You Very Much in Zulu) for being a beautiful bridge between the worlds.

In January of next year (2004) I will be attending the third International Conference on Shamanism, Enlightenment and Sacred Sexuality. An impressive roster of presenters highlights the five-day event held in Santa Fe, New Mexico from the 16th through the 20th. For more information, phone The Message Company at (505) 474-0998 or e-mail them: message@bizspirit.com

Let us draw inspiration from the courageous souls willing to place their lives on the line and, against considerable opposition, become instruments to relieve the suffering in the world…. Makosi (Peace be with you in Zulu),

Phillip

Last updated Jan, 2004