South African shamanic healers [based at Mbabane, Swaziland]

1.1 pp. 33-36 Swazi rites for the ancestors




"PH threw bones for me ... and identified the ancestors who influence me most. ... PH told me many stories about my father and grandfather’s lives. There were many stories of how these men had intervened in my own life, told with impressive detail. ...

I was encouraged by PH to perform a ceremony for each of my main ancestors or guides. ...


Bring out any mementoes of your grandfather, a photograph, any small thing you may have of his. Then find out what his favorite foods were and prepare them at a special time that is to be for his memory only. You may invite many ... guests. You must wear a white cloth over your clothing for the ceremony. ... Just before serving the meal, I was to place a small amount of each dish served on the floor for the ancestors. ... I was to tell stories about my grandfather ... while I was preparing the meal and during the meal itself. I was to share these stories with those that attended. ...

The evening came for the ceremony. ... I chose a white bed sheet to wear toga-style over my clothes. ...


I could promote interaction with my ancestors during dreams by wearing white when I slept."


"The healers ... explained that when they speak with the ancestors and interact through visions ... all things happen simultaneously. We are born, we are alive, we die, we are spirits, it is all happening at the same time. When a sangoma is throwing bones and appears to be predicting the future, she is actually discussing events that are happening now."

1.2 pp. 38-47 ancestral guardian-angels as spirit-guides




"The healers describe the ‘ancestors’ as spirits, much like guardian angels."


"Your special angel who looks after you feels ... assigned to look after you. ... They stay and look after you until you succeed, until you meet and fulfil ... God’s will for you."


"Human life is always guided, it is balanced by your angel ... . People ... go with somebody, this guide that they must obey."


"The ancestors do not want the loved ones left behind to mourn a lot ... . It is a weight on them. ... It is best to be happy for the new life the dead person is enjoying."


" ‘Our ancestors ... can really make us laugh at ourselves’, says ... President of the Traditional Healers Organization for Africa (THO), ‘like the time PH ... was a young man. ... He was learning things about herbs in his dreams ... to become a healer. ... I told him he would become a possessed healer. But ... one day while driving, his car spoke to him. ...’"


"There is a siSwati word for angel, a helper spirit, but it also means good ancestors. In Xhosa, there is another word which means angel. I believe the ancestors are angels who guide us to be better people. ... When a person is ready to die, the ancestors will come and let the family know. A healer can help the dying person’s ancestors come out a last time and give the person’s instructions, what should be done after their death."


Margaret W =


Margaret Wirkus Margaret Wirkus, on bio-energy fields as subtle bodies ( kaya) :-

"1) The thermal field (in the esoteric teachings also known as the body double or etheric body, which has a direct effect on the physical body);

2) the low frequency electromagnetic field (also called the emotional body or astral body whose state is directly connected with the emotions and which has a direct effect on the state of the thermal field); and

3) the acoustic field (also known as the mental level which has a direct effect on the state of the emotional field)." about Mietek Wirkus (together with Area 51 & 9/11 Truth weblinks)

1.3 pp. 50-55 foreign spirits; trainees




"Foreign spirits are not of your family. ...


A foreign spirit is someone who likes you very much and wants to come to you.


"The ancestors guide each trainer, show them how to train and when to teach each important task."


"When the trainees have graduated and are ready to go home, I ... prepare a package of the bones for each trainee to take home. ... Upon graduation the trainees will use those bones for a lifetime. ... When throwing the bones, they must find out when and what medical treatment is best for the patient. ...

The most difficult time during training is at night, because the trainees all become possessed. They will come to me during the night, one by one. ... Even my children must wake up and beat the drums for those being possessed."

1.4 pp. 56-58 spirit-possessed Swazi throweress-of-bones




" ‘Bones’ refer to actual bones, often those of the goat ... eaten in the healers’ graduation ... ceremony signalling the completion of training. ‘Bones’ may include ... an actual foot (of a rooster or monkey)".


"You throw the bones and the ancestors tell you exactly what to say. It is not a matter of learning, if you are possessed. ...


With a possessed healer, this is a gift, an ability we have all our lives. ... The ability to throw bones does not seem to increase or decrease over time. ...

The bones I use today, ten years after my training, are the same bones I started with. ... Often my ancestors tell me what the bones are saying before they hit the mat. I do not have to study how they have fallen because my ancestors speak so directly and immediately to me. A possessed healer does not always have to throw the bones. ... It might be that as I grow old, the ancestors speak so directly with me I do not even throw the bones. This might happen, especially if I were to lose my eyesight. ... The ancestors will tell me what to say even if I no not use my own bones. ...


Not all healers use bones to speak with the ancestors. Sometimes the ancestors want to speak through me, in their own voices. The ancestors decide, will they speak to us through the bones or possess us and use our bodies to speak directly to the patient? ... Healers may speak in the native tongue of the ancestor when they are possessed. Yet the healer cannot speak that language in their everyday life."

"When the ancestors speak to us, it is a miracle. It is like a dream. While the patient is sitting with you, you begin to see pictures in you mind. The ancestors use thoughts and pictures to tell about the person you are throwing bones for."

1.5 pp. 62-64 spirit-possessed Swazi healeress




"drumming helped [the shamaness] make and maintain contact with the ancestors. ... After putting on a skirt, beaded necklaces, and a ... tunic. [The shamaness] finally covered herself with a black cloth, like a cape. ... The ancestors were coming. ... [The shamaness] began to speak in a man’s voice, very low. ... The ancestor introduced himself and greeted each of us in the room. ...


She made a sound like a dog barking and ... began a spectacular dance as the drums beat more wildly. The dance steps and jumping were amazing, ... Never once did she touch anyone, bump into anything or lose her balance. I was astounded. {Siberian shamanic dancing is similarly described.} ... [The shamaness] was speaking in a language I had not heard before. The women said it was Sindzawe, an old language of the ancestors not spoken today. ... Some time later, the possession ended ... . [The shamaness] did not remember what she had said or done."

1.6 pp. 66-74 Swazi graduation-caerimony (ordination) for healeresses




"The fire was made from a special bark that serves as incense. It burns over the crowd all day, each day of the graduation. This incense ... is said to increase contact with the ancestors."


"The initiates were given beautiful headdresses made of bright fuchsia and purple feathers. ...Today’s trainees would also receive ... a stick with rhino tail hair on the end of it. ...


At the river, the initiates are given the red and leopard spotted skirt and other pieces of the traditional healer dress for the first time."


[recollection by shamaness of her own graduation :] "My skirt was red with black leopard-like spots. ... Each trainer has ... her own uniform. You can tell where someone trained, who their trainer is, by this uniform. ... When we put on this cloth at the river we began speaking the ancient ancestral language, Ndzawe. ‘The graduation lasted two days. I remember a hard test on the second day. We went down to the river and had to crawl back on the matron’s homestead, one kilometre on our knees. ...’"


[reminiscence by authoress :] "It was not until ... six weeks later, that I was able to write about the experience. ... Whenever I attempted to discuss the experience I would be filled with an intense joy. It was almost like an explosion."

2.1 pp. 78-82 autobiography by Tswana healer




UCT Tra-Med (University of Cape Town Traditional Medicines) Programme [formed in 1991 – p. 82]


"I was experiencing the "sangoma sickness". My ancestors were trying to get me to accept this calling to traditional medicine. ... Finally a visit to an old man ... in the former Transkei homeland brought me relief. I had seen this exact man in a vision and was told he would be my teacher. ... I became his thwasa (in Zulu) or mokoma (in Setswana.) To qualify as a traditional healer ..., the old man required me to experience and understand visions. ...


While in training, the visions accelerated my learning and within two years, I was an inyanga, a sangoma."

"I don’t wear beads and the outward signs of being a sangoma in normal everyday life. This is considered holy attire, used only for the purpose of healing."


[The basic type of healer] "is "called" to the profession. This person receives a powerful spiritual calling from the ancestors .. . Often they try to resist but become very ill. ... Some go mad. ...

This group has the strictest code of conduct. ... We must adhere to certain rules during the training, certain foods we may not eat, we are not to ... hurt a dog or cat, ... nor have sexual relations, even with out marriage partner." "This is a deep, deep calling. We can never give up this calling, only in death."


"These are quiet people who do not ordinarily call attention to themselves. Being a "possessed" healer is an individual experience. ... For instance, when I was with my teacher, he and I would never be possessed at the same time."


"After my sangoma training, ... It seemed to me like magic that I could diagnose and heal. It was a bit unnerving and took some getting used to. ... It took me some time to adjust to this gift. ... I found ... while I was engaged in healing work, I did not tire because the ancestors worked through me. I was not actually exerting the energy. ... A healer can have this metabolism."



"there was a case of a traditional healer in Kenya who was said to be having some good results reversing HIV. This was amazing and hopeful, especially considering the affordability of the herbal medicines he used. He was reluctant to come forward with his data as he also had some misgivings about the ethics of the modern scientific community.


An international conference of healers, doctors and researchers was to be held in Nairobi and he agreed to present his findings there. The night before he was to present his studies, he was murdered in Nairobi. All traces of the data he had with him, and the additional documentation left behind in his village, all vanished. {Of course, he was murdered (and his data destroyed) by hirelings of the pharmaceutical industry, which will not tolerate any cheap cure for AIDS (which would deprive the pharmaceutical industry of its huge profits for overpriced patented junk).}

Whenever there is a natural plant growing freely which improves or cures a given disease, the pharmaceutical industry and the scientific industry will prevent this herb from being widely distributed."

2.2 pp. 86-92 autobiography by healeress of Soweto




"I was born an identical twin ... . ...

As a child ... I did dream a lot, seeing such things as a person who was going to die. I would tell my parents ... . I would pray for the person in my dream. My parents, especially my mother, knew I was going to become a healer."


"The ancestors "tell" the healer exactly what is wrong with the patient. ... That is how we are able to describe exactly what you are feeling, what symptoms you are experiencing before you even speak."

[how she started being trained :] "I became ill ... . I suspected this sickness was the "sangoma illness". ... This ... illness started with horrible, constant migraine headaches. It lasted until ... I finally started my healer training. ...


I dreamt about the place I was to go to for training ... . I even had a dream where I was shown herbs to take ... . ... I continued to dream of a place I must go to for training. Finally, I was shown a place in Swaziland. I was also shown a


woman. ... [When awake,] I went back to this man ... . I told him about the woman in my dream. He listened and took a photograph out of his pocket. He showed it to me and asked, "Do you see the woman in your dreams?" There was the exact woman I had dreamed about! ... The man then took me to the woman, who was his wife."

"My ancestors were teaching me through dreams. They showed me many things like the throwing of bones in my dreams."


"the traditional Medical Practitioners Organization was formed in 1993."

2.5 pp. 109-125 autobiography by Xhosa healeress




"My Gran was one of those types who went into a trance and spoke to the patient, but now it is not my Gran speaking but the ancestors. ... So even if I throw bones and I say this or that about the bones, it is really the ancestors who are speaking through me. I am their messenger, I deliver their words.


"In the dreams, I saw myself dancing, being with traditional healers, giving someone a treatment, seeing my patients being healed."


[how she was advised to become a healer] "The healer ... said, "... You come for a consultation but the bones show clearly that you are a healer. ... You are just resisting your calling to become a healer. This call is long overdue. The ancestors have waited too long for you.""


"Now a new thing started happening. After the dreams I would wake and find a medicine in the blankets on my bed. It would be the exact medicine that I had been dreaming about ... . {"The dream image may leave an object or "apport" behind as testimony" (D&DR, p. 256)} It happened three times exactly like this."


"At night the very same dreams began repeating themselves."

"In the Transkei when the healers are fortuning, they go into a trance and shout this deep sound from their throats."

"I had a dream where I was on a flat thing, like a bed, on top of the world, and i was flying all over the world. Sometimes I dreamed I was flying from South Africa, crossing a red sea. ...

Sometimes I dreamed myself flying and my whole body was covered with leopard skins. When I tried to talk in the dream, red flames came out of my mouth. I had whiskers, red eyes and a head like a leopard, but I was a leopard flying, flying over the world. {cf. "flying jaguar spirits" in Panama (IP, p. 102)}


"The spot where [Samora] Machel crashed, was exactly the place I saw in my dream. ... I was now dreaming things that were really happening. ...

My boss could speak Shangaan ... . He asked where this woman healer was. We found one such old woman ... . ... I was completely happy. ... The old woman was also happy to see me, as she had been dreaming about my coming."


"After my training, ... I was told in a dream that I must open an organization which would be called after the name given to me in sangoma training, Nyanga Ye Sizwe. ... Nyanga Ye Sizwe means "World Healer". The organization which I formed is called Nyangazezizwe or World Healers."

D&DR = Robert karl Gnuse : Dreams and Dream Reports. Brill, 1996.

IP = Nicholas J. Saunders (ed.) : Icons of Power. Routledge, 1998.

2.8 pp. 139-140 autobiography by Swazi healeress




"My family told me that I was speaking a language they didn’t understand. The ancestors would come out, speak through me and I would dance. After this happened people began saying I had gone mad. They told me what I had done but I would have no memory of these things. ...

The ancestors told me – showed me – in visions where I was to go. I described the exact place to my sister and she took me there, We went and it was just as I said. ...


I would answer all the questions, but I would not remember. My trainer, the matron, would tell me what I had said afterwards. My ancestors ... would tell me what to wear. I also threw bones at training. ... No one taught me, an ancestor would come out and the bones would speak to me. The possessed healers are all like this with bones."

2.9 pp. 143-144 biography of Swazi healer




"First he would feel a strong headache, like a migraine. ... Then he would have trouble breathing and have a severe pain in his chest. ...

At that time there was a medical officer ... whose wife was a traditional healer. She ... thought he might be troubled by emalodti (ancestors in siSwati.) She


went to him and said, ‘The ancestors might be trying to possess you. You may have been chosen to become a healer.’ ... He was flabbergasted. ...


[autobiography by the same, beginning after an episode of long-range evident sleep-walking :] ‘When I awoke in this place, I noticed I was well. I had no headache, no breathing problems. ... I learned I was with Shangaan traditional healers in Mozambique. All were wearing emasiua, the bangles worn by healers. ... Before I disappeared, I saw my trainer’s homestead in a dream. This inyanga was standing at the gate waiting for me, in the dream. When I awoke and saw her, I remembered her vividly from the dream. I don’t remember travelling to this place but it looked exactly as it had in my dream. ... During my training, my ancestors would come to me in night visions and take me out to gather medicines."

2.10 pp. 146-148 autobiography by another Swazi healeress




[dreams] "On the seashore I would see a big snake, it was like lightning. The snake had several heads and was coming from the sea. After these dreams of the snake, another dream followed immediately. In this dream a large fish swallowed me. I stayed inside the fish for seven days. After this time, the fish vomited me out. I saw and heard an old man beating conga drums ... . He said, "Here comes the healer." He was saying this about me!

After these dreams, I would not be able to sleep. ... In the centre of my head {brahma-randhra} and in the bottom of my spine, I felt as if there was an opening, like a tube. I could feel a bright, bright


light and air going through me. {cf. Navaho mystical experience of air going through occult tube in the body}

Then I had one last dream before I went to begin my traditional healer training. In this dream I was on the shore. A man ... straightened up my head and my back, my hands and fingers, my arms and my hair. After that he gave he herbs, in the dream."

"Two nights before going on my training, I heard some voices talking to me – but it was not a dream, I was awake. The voices said, "You are going to be trained as a traditional healer. ..." ... On the night before I went for training, I heard voices again, but they were now many. They came and said, "You are to be trained to be a healer, we want to work with you. There is no time to be wasted, you must now go for training.""


[sleep-walking episode :] She "has no memory of walking through the capital cit, in the middle of the night ..., a distance of approximately fifteen miles from her home. ... No matter how hard she tried to remember, however, she had no recollection of any details of her journey. ...


[Her traineress] was contacted in her dreams by [the female trainee]’s ancestors. These ancestors spoke to her and made it clear that she must accept this assignment."


[praeternaturally blank magnetic-tape recording] "When I tried to transcribe the audio tape ..., I found a twenty minute blank patch on the tape. I could even hear my voice at regular intervals, testing to be sure the tape player was recording. All was in order. Her voice should have been recorded. To make matters worse I couldn’t remember the story I had been so interested in."


"Shortly after [the shamaness] returned home from two years of training her ancestors told her in a dream to build an additional room ... to be used only for traditional healing business and ... sacred. ... she didn’t have the six hundred Emalangeni (R600) to buy the materials. ... In this dream, the ancestors told her to go to the bus terminal in the middle of


downtown Mbabane just before dawn, by herself. ... She made it to the bus terminal ..., when an envelope blew across her feet. She reached down and picked it up. Inside the envelope was exactly six hundred Emalangeni, cash. [She] looked around for the person who had dropped it. There was no one."

Susan Schuster Campbell : Called to Heal. Zebra Pr, 1998.