*Disclaimer I have a sense of humour*
In order to even comprehend religion we need to take into account spiritual, personal and social elements. It’s a complex subject.
I am going to have to go on a journey that starts way back in the past. Funnily enough it starts in the place I was born – Kwa zulu Natal, in South Africa. It starts with the Xam san people.
They also had questions of how to make sense of the world around them just like we still do today. There are caves with cool drawings on them with animals and shit( YES, Literally shit or dung if you want to keep it child friendly). We can’t ask them so we can only try and interrupt how they came to believe what they may have believed.
It’s no new concept that we humans try to fathom some reason as to why we have to go through life suffering. In the time of the Xam San people-they lived an arguably more dangerous life . By that I mean there every means of survival was at the mercy of the elements- wind/fire/earth/water. and their need to interpret feelings and desires.
Okay let’s pretend
I am a Xam San person – my father dies.
Where does he go? His body is still present.
Why does the sun still shine and the moon still come out.
Everything moves forward yet I am stuck in stillness,confused and grieving. There must be an invisible world I don’t know about.
I go to sleep and I can’t remember what happens.
Where do I go?
I have a dream about my Father- there must be some other world – he has crossed over into.
I run and tell my people there must be some connection with death and sleep. I don’t know what. But we are going to figure it out. The elements may change but my feelings don’t!
I can’t move on without trying to understand the world around me!
We have all heard of the ‘twilight zone’ that moment where hallucinations take place, dreams occur, altered states of conscious occur.
It is another dimension: A dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. A land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas.
You’ve just crossed over into… the Twilight Zone.
We dream we are flying like a bird.
It is real.
It must be.
We feel it.
It is easy to see how the unseen world and it’s occupants could have such a persuasion over not only humans minds but also those of animals and objects and natural phenomena like storms .
The San people believed whatever happens in one world has a direct influence over whatever happens in another.
What they believed
They believed that the world was created by a trickster called Kaggen and his family.
They shared this world with what is known as the EARLY RACE – a community of hybrid creatures half- animal half -human and had the power to create, shape and transform.(The earliest discovery of animism)
Pretty powerful shit if you ask me.
Me, in my San persona , thinks
“wow this amazing . What respect for something so unexplainable .”
Yes there was respect for this race but they did not worship them. Instead ,this race became a way to make sense of the world. The San came up with seriously trippy way to access this supernatural world.
And so THE TRANCE DANCE was born 🙂
Shamans enter a state of trance (or altered state of consciousness) by intense dancing, audio-driving and hyperventilation. Unlike many other hunter-gatherer societies around the world, they do not rely on the ingestion of hallucinogens. Shamans both male and female harness spiritual potency by dancing around the campfire while women clap ‘medicine songs’; in this way the shamans are transported to the spirit world.
Sorry ravers but you never came up with this one 😀 You ravers can’t even make a claim over your glow sticks. WHY?
Today San shamans in the Kalahari say that, as potency boils in their stomachs, their muscles contract and they bend forward, often requiring the aid of one or two ‘dancing sticks’. Sometimes when this happens shamans suffer nosebleeds. The San believe that the smearing of nasal blood on people keeps sickness away.
Here are some beautiful concepts they came up with
The trance dance was a way to to launch themselves from the top of their head into the supernatural world and ask for healing powers to cure their beloved ones .
A beautiful belief of theirs is their relationship with the sun and the moon. Obviously there were no microwaves and takeaways just popping up casually– yonder – they had to hunt for their food . They prayed to the moon and sun for super natural powers to help them find a meal.
They believed that when they were unconscious that their hearts became stars – how beautiful is that?
Humans and the stars were so intimately linked, so that when people died
… at the time when our heart falls down,
that is the time when the star also falls down …
For the stars know the time at which we die
WOW! That to me sounds like pure poetry – raw and untamed.
Dead peoples hair turned into clouds and sheltered the San people.
Another beautiful belief they came up with is
that death – was described in the context of being something elemental. It is the wind (energy) that live in all human beings.The wind was believed to blow away the deceased foot prints, which made the transition from the living world to the supernatural world. one that was not in the power of the humans.
“The day we die a soft breeze will wipe out our footprints in the sand. When the wind dies down, who will tell the timelessness that once we walked this way in the dawn of time?”
I’m blown away. I think I have found a new interest to explore…… Oh no! not another one Daisy!