With time various topics, most connected to the 'ancient ways,' will be covered. Some of these might be controversial in nature - you're most welcome to contribute.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Search for the 'Wild' Woman.

For most of my life, even as a small boy, when I'm alone in the bush and always in the light of a small fire - I see the eyes of the 'wild' woman.  She disappeared for a while, because my sessions of solitude stopped for many years. After a fairly significant spiritual experience and the start of a journey, she returned ...

Recently I started to write about her, because she has always been part of my life.  Wherever I go, I always scan crowds of people to see if I can find her.  This search for the 'wild' woman has stopped recently, because I've found her - in fact, there was no need to search for her ... she has always been with me.

A few days ago, a book 'landed' on my desk - maybe recommended by the 'wild' one herself.  I started reading and I couldn't put the book down.  The book: Women Who Run With The Wolves - Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés.

According to Dr. Clarissa Estés, the 'wild' woman:

"The word wild here is not used in its modern pejorative sense, meaning out of control, but in its original sense, which means to live a natural life, one in which the creature has innate integrity and healthy boundaries.  These words, wild and woman, cause women to remember who they are and what they are about. They create a metaphor to describe the force which funds all females.  They personify a force that women cannot live without.

The Wild Woman carries the bundles for healing; she carries everything a woman needs to be and know.  She carries the medicine for all things. She carries stories and dreams and words and songs and signs and symbols.  She is both vehicle and destination.

The archetype of the Wild Woman and all that stands behind her is patroness to all painters, writers, sculptors, dancers, thinkers, prayermakers, seekers, finders - for they are all busy with the work of invention and that is the Wild Woman's main occupation.  As in all art, she resides in the guts, not in the head.  She can track and run and summon and repel.  She can sense, camouflage and love deeply.  She is intuitive, typical and normative.  She is utterly essential to women's mental and soul health.

So what is the Wild Woman?  From the viewpoint of archetypal psychology as well as from the storytelling tradition, she is the female soul.  Yet she is more' she is the source of the feminine.  She is all that is of instinct, of the worlds both seen and hidden - she is the basis.  We each receive from her a glowing cell which contains all the instincts and knowing needed to our lives."

This strong female energy - where is it?  We can search for it in women, but it is also an energy present in men.  If this energy is so powerful, why was it never encouraged?  Why is there a history of suppression of this energy in the majority of, if not all societies of the world?

According to Dr. Clarissa Estés, some of the "symptoms of a disrupted relationship with the wildish force in the psyche:"

"Feeling  extraordinarily fatigued, frail, depressed, confused and unaroused. Feeling frightened, without inspiration, without animation, without soulfulness, without meaning, uncreative and compressed.

Feeling powerless, chronically doubtful, shaky, blocked, unable to follow through, giving one's creative life over to others and overprotective of self.

Not insistent on one's own tempo, to be away from one's God or Gods, drawn far into domesticity, intellectualism or work because it is the safest place for one who has lost her instincts.

To fear to venture by oneself or to reveal oneself, fear to seek mentor, fear to set out on a journey, fear of caring for another or others, loss of energy before creative projects, angst and anxiety.

Afraid to bite back when there is nothing else to do, afraid to try the new, fear to stand up, afraid to speak up or speak against.

Afraid to stop, afraid to act, repeatedly counting to three an not beginning, superiority complex, ambivalence and yet otherwise fully capable, fully functioning.  These severances are a disease not of an era or century, but become an epidemic anywhere and anytime women are captured, anytime the wildish nature has become entrapped.

A healthy woman is much like a wolf; robust, chock-full, strong life force, life-giving, territorially aware, inventive, loyal, roving.  Yet, separation from the wildish nature causes a woman's personality to become meager, thin, ghostly and spectral.  We are not meant to be puny with frail hair and inability to leap up, inability to chase, to birth, to create life."

In think this 'energy' is rare because it is a bit 'wild' and it doesn't fit our over-domesticated societies anymore.  The domesticated man fears the 'wild' woman and yet, all the farmers out there - that is in countries without cheap labour, seek this 'wild' woman because they're the only ones that 'cuts the cake.'  She's a rare species and it is very hard to find her.

All my life in my own countries of Southern Africa, I searched for the 'wild' woman ... never saw one 'out there.'  I saw many hidden under the layers of suppression and over-domestication, but never one that surfaced fully.  In this case, I'm not only talking about females, but also female energy in males.

I have learned that even if I'm able to spot a 'wild' woman hidden under the layers of a person ... I can't set it free.  Only the person that imprisoned the 'wild' woman can set her free.  Sometimes you can 'walk a path' with a person who imprisoned a 'wild' woman and your own 'wildness' triggers something that cause the freeing of the 'wild' one.  This happened to me a couple of times ... the 'wild' one is then set free and you can never capture them again - they then walk their own path, which is different from mine ... that is the way it should be.

How do you find a 'wild' woman that is going to walk a path with you?  Do you really need that 'wildness' to walk with you, if you already have it in you?  'Wildness' recognizes each other, understands each other and do what is needed ... but there are no needs, only understanding and doing.  Doing and understanding means to create ... to stick ... to do and to finish.  There is no time for coldness and resentment.  Creative force is warm and not cold - it stems from an abundance of energy and light.  Doing what seems impossible for the over-domesticated soul.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Flow of Money

I love what I do - that is when I'm totally free to do what I do best.  If you do something from your heart, then how can it be called work?  I've met a few people who do what they love and love what they do - none of them check their watches for tea breaks or the famous 'end of the day' time.  They are also not concerned with weekends or holidays - if you do what you love, then everyday is a holiday.

The problem some of us have, is the flow of money - it normally flows away from us and not towards us.  The reason for this is fairly simple if one understands all the factors involved.  For some strange reason in our Flatwhite cultures, it is seen as 'evil' to charge for something you love doing.  I found the following (Conversations with God - Neale Walsch) - more or less in my line of thinking:

"You carry a thought around that money is bad.  You also carry a thought around that God is good. Therefore, in your thought system, God and money do not mix.

This makes things interesting, because this then makes it difficult for you to take money for any good thing.  I mean, if  a thing is judged very 'good' by you, you value it less in terms of money.  So the 'better' something is (i.e., the more worthwhile), the less money it's worth.

You're not alone in this.  Your whole society believes this.  So your teachers make a pittance and your stripteasers, a fortune.  Your leaders make so little compared to sports figures that they feel they have to steal to make up the difference.  Your priests and your rabbis live on bread and water while you throw coins at entertainers.

Think about it - everything on which you place a high intrinsic value, you insist must come cheaply.  The lonely research scientist seeking a cure for AIDS goes begging for money, while the woman who writes a book on a hundred new ways to have sex and creates tapes and weekend seminars to go with it ... makes a fortune.

This having-it-all-backwards is a propensity with you and it stems from wrong thought.  The wrong thought is your idea about money.  You love it and yet you say it is the root of all evil. You adore it and yet you call it 'filthy lucre.'  You say that a person is 'filthy rich.'  If a person does become wealthy doing 'good' things, you immediately become suspect, you make that 'wrong.'  You see, in your mind, a person who chooses the highest calling should get the lowest pay ...

Remember, thoughts are creative.  So if you think money is bad, yet think yourself good ... well, you can see the conflict.

Most people do what they hate for a living, so they don't mind taking money for it.  'Bad' for the 'bad,' so to speak.  But you love what you do with the days and time of your life.  You adore the activities with which you cram them.  For you, therefore, to receive large amounts of money for what you do would be, in your thought system, taking 'bad' for the 'good' and that is unacceptable for you.  You'd rather starve than take 'filthy lucre' for pure service ... as if somehow the service loses its purity if you take money for it.

So here we have this real ambivalence about money.  Part of you rejects it and part of you resents not having it.  Now, the universe doesn't know what to do about that, because the universe has received two different thoughts from you.  So you life with regard to money is going to go in fits and starts because you keep going in fits and starts about money.

You don't have a clear focus, you're not really sure what's true for you.  Now there's only one way to change all that.  You have to change your thought about it.

A dear friend described money as an 'energy' - for a 'service' to be successful, there must be an equal exchange of energy.  Everything works on an exchange of energy and our distorted view in regards to our own capabilities, sometimes interfere with this flow of energy.

I always found it hard to charge when it comes to horses, for example.  If you find a horse in nature and you 'heal' it or rather, 'arrange' the horse so that it can heal itself - you can't charge the horse.  The energy exchange was between you and the horse and it was pure energy that can't be changed into money, as it is a near spiritual experience (for me it is anyway).

If you treat a horse that belongs to someone else - most of the time, you're actually 'treating' the person or trying to convince the person to 'treat' the horse in a certain way - so that the horse can heal itself.  It is not an exchange of energy between you and the horse - it is more than that.  I've learned that if you don't hit the pocket right there and then, then nothing is taken seriously - there is a 'block' in the flow of 'energy' and in the end it is the horse that suffers.

I have finally been cured from this terrible affliction - the one where "You'd rather starve than take 'filthy lucre' for pure service ... as if somehow the service loses its purity if you take money for it."  I'll charge like a bull from now on and grow fat on the spoils.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Horses as Spiritual Teachers

In my previous post I 'wrote' about Stillness - the ever present ... our connection with our Inner Self.  If you look at a horse, it is completely surrounded by Stillness and if you enter the space of a horse ... you can feel this 'presence.'

Horses communicate in Stillness ... they pick up 'intention' ... the smallest gestures.  The path of any warrior, in body or spirit is connected to Stillness.  This is why the spirit of the warrior and the spirit of the horse can combine into a powerful force of 'understanding' and action.

It is this 'energy' of horses that not only attracts the 'inner warrior,' but also the needy personality - because this energy heals.  In the modern world horses attract strong human female energy - it is amazing to see how many women/girls are attracted to horses.  This is not because of neediness, but because of a life long suppression of the 'inner warrior' within women by fearful societies across the world. 

There is nothing like the 'energy' or Stillness of a horse, to help us remember.  Anyone can be in the presence of a horse in absolute Stillness and Understand, Feel and Communicate without words.  It is a way of Being in the exact present moment.

Therefore, there is nothing that compares with the combination of skills in one moment of Stillness - the moment just before the flight of the arrow ... out of the heart of the warrior ... connected to the heart of the horse.  Two hearts beating as one in full flight, finding Stillness in the one and only present moment.

This is more than just a skill, this is a combination of energies from all aspects of life. In this moment of 'perfection' that can't ever be completely perfect - there is no difference between the abilities of mare or a stallion, man or a woman.  It is a complete blend of male and female energies focused to near perfection.

The Path of getting There, is Spiritual Path - a path worth walking.

Your Guiding Presence

Lately, I have been wondering about your presence
something that was always there ... so strong.

It kept me connected ... to myself and to life
... but sometimes I wanted more ...

The urge to touch ... to communicate ... to see
I learned that all of these make you disappear.

Only in Stillness can I feel your presence
a place without the needs created by man.

Touch ... communication ... seeing ... in Stillness
can't be described in words ... it's presence beyond the mind.

Loosing touch with the ever present Stillness
... loosing touch with ourselves.

Running like lost rabbits in darkness
searching for false company to occupy our minds.

Nothing worse in life than touch without heart
false communication ... seeing what is not there.

Stillness ... the horror movie for modern man
running away from the light like creatures of darkness.

Sitting quietly in Stillness ... in Silence
you touch my heart ... sing to my soul ... I see your eyes in the fire.

Horses as Spiritual Healers and Teachers

 "The Horse Boy" is a true story about an autistic boy who started to speak when he came into contact with the family horse.  His father decided to take him to Mongolia where spiritual healing and horses go hand in hand.
Horses have been carrying warriors and the spirits of warriors to 'new places' for as long as man can remember. Carrying the 'spiritual burden' of man comes naturally to the horse.  I struggle to understand people who treat horses like big human babies - they deserve better.

A mistake I made was to 'retreat' from horses when I felt negative or down - felt as if I had to 'protect' the horse from my 'negative' energy.  Horses naturally absorb this 'negative' energy and transform it into something positive - this can be felt when one takes the step and touch a horse.  Touching a horse is being in the presence of a 'soul' who is always present - who always lives in the Now.

The horse is only concerned with your intentions - the color of the blood in your heart - if it is 'dark' the horse will look after it's own interest.  Your emotions a horse can deal with.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Training: Body, Mind & Soul

In this life, I've been involved or rather exposed to various forms of physical exercise.  I'm sure the interest in some of them, might be genetic and others ... well, 'retained memories' from somewhere.

Our 'modern' lifestyle was supposed to make things easier for us, all the technology allowing us to have more time ... or so we thought.  Most modern 'busy' people find it hard to fit some sort of physical training schedule into their lifestyles, never mind time to 'train' the mind and soul.  Our lifestyle forces us indoors most of the time, we don't have to walk, stalk, run, hunt, forage of fight anymore - everything is at our finger tips.

At stages in my life I was a serious runner and swimmer.  I trained in various forms of martial arts, practiced meditation & yoga.  Archery was always part of my life, as well as some sort of physical conditioning training.  Horses came, then left me for a long time and is now part of my life again.  Time in the bush, either walking, hunting, fishing, tracking or trekking have been part of my life since I can remember.  The interest in all of the above is still rooted deep within me and I'm sure many other people have various interests in the 'training' of body, mind and soul.  The question is, "How do we as modern human beings fit any or all of these into our lives?"

At some stage in our evolution some or all of these activities were part of our lives - not something we did to keep ourselves fit or sane.  I think we all struggle to juggle the lot.

Over a period of time I have worked on ways to combine 'training methods' for body, mind and soul.  A couple of necessary ingredients are necessary to successfully include these methods into our lives - discipline, knowledge (wisdom) and silence (meditation).  It is ironic that we apply 'discipline' and knowledge into our lives at all levels except when it comes to our own health. The car is serviced on the dot, we have the knowledge to set up and use our daily electronic equipment, we keep up with our accounts and daily news ........... most of us neglect our health.  Often, we don't invest in the knowledge or skills looking after ourselves - we run to the 'experts' and we pay for short term quick fixes.  Investing in your health surely has long term benefits ... it is something we can do ourselves.

My aim is to combine everything that I love and also those that I don't into ONE, so that I get the most out of it on all levels.  I see horseback archery as a martial art, which means constant training, therefore discipline and also high levels of fitness & flexibility, conditioning and meditation practice.

I've been working in combining running, walking, riding and archery with my horses and dogs by my side.  I have set maintenance and conditioning 'programs' that combines flexibility, light weight training, fitness and basic martial arts routines.

With time I'll expand a bit more on these - just something that has been working for me and gives me great pleasure.  It is all about time, something that is very rare nowadays.


Saturday, April 7, 2012

Horseback Archery: Birth of the Concept

Although my people, the Boers, were known for their incredible horsemanship and marksmanship (from horseback) - horsemanship skills nearly disappeared after the 2nd World War.  The South African & Southwest African Defense Forces basically kept a bit of the traditions alive during the Bush War (north of Southwest Africa).  Today the standard of endurance horses in Namibia can be traced back to the influence of the Defense Force during the Bush War years.

Growing up in Southern Africa I saw very few horses and basically never anyone riding.  Visiting some of the farms in Namibia and South Africa, I saw horses that were used mainly by the black farm workers.  In the Kavango (tropical area) there were a few horses owned by the black population, but they were not horsemen and the horses were in an appalling condition - skin and bones.

Here in Australia I see horses everywhere - every bloody paddock owns a horse or two ... again, I see very few people riding.  Pony Clubs, camp drafting, show jumping and other horse related sports are very popular here - so people must ride sometime and somewhere.

Television was only introduced in Southern Africa, somewhere in the '80's.  The odd movie here and there, pictures in books - mainly American Indians with bows and horses, brought back 'retained memories.'  I watched and read anything I could get my hands on.

My stepfather absolutely hated horses.  His roommate  in boarding school was killed one holiday - dragged behind a horse for kilometers. Somehow it had a huge impact on his life and there was no way in the world I was going to own or ride a horse in his presence.  He grew up on a farm in Northern Transvaal and I'm sure his father took part in the Boer War (he never spoke about his father or childhood), so horses should've been part of life.  I'm not sure why and where the resistance came from.

One day, as an eight year old - while hunting in the Kavango, my black companion and I came across two Bushmen on horseback.  They carried bows and long spears - they were hunting giraffe from horseback.  In their camp I saw all the evidence of a successful hunt - large strips of meat drying in the thorn bush and the long marrow bones in and around the fire.  I could not stop asking questions and poor Muruti - my friend and black tracker who understood the Bushmen dialect, had to translate for a whole day.

Giraffe are incredibly dangerous and can kick in all directions at full speed - they are known to kill a lion with one kick.  These Bushmen chased the giraffe in thick savanna bush on horseback - darting in and out, spearing these incredible animals.  The horsemanship must have been something else and incredibly dangerous.

I must add that these Bushmen did not own these horses.  Bushmen in northern Namibia were most often enslaved by the blacks and paid in food scraps.  In this case, the horses were owned by a black Kavango who lived near the Kavango river system.  The Bushmen were 'employed' or rather forced to hunt the inner land areas. A Bushman friend of mine, Kashja, was poisoned by a jealous black owner ... died a horrible death.  This form of slavery still exists today.

During the Bush War, Bushmen were used in the mounted section of the Southwest African Defense Force, because of their natural horsemanship skills.  During my time in the army (Kavango region) I was lucky to witness them working horses in the 202 Battalion base.

Bushmen on horseback

Seeing these Bushmen horseman with spears and bows in the thick African bush triggered something in me - it activated 'retained memories' of all the horsemen in my genes and past.  It took a very long time before I could own a horse, but I was very fortunate to start off with a bow and arrow at an early age.

The Moon and I

Tonight the moon is heavy of fullness,
romantically white with a light yellow veil.

I want to walk with my quiver of red-feathered arrows,
I want to walk in total darkness ... to the sacred rocks.

In stillness I want to make a small fire there,
the soft light dancing on the rocks, because I know ...

I know I'll see your eyes again,
dancing reflections on the granite.

I'll hear your whispers in the softness of the wind,
see your soft curves in the hard granite formations.

Only there ... man can BE,
leaving the I behind.

The urge so strong tonight,
to BE, without expectations or the I.

The energy of moon, rock, fire, wind and your eyes,
washes the I forever out of my soul and being.

The urge to be pure, one and whole,
so much stronger that the I.

Horseback Archery: Anchor Point

For those not familiar with archery, the anchor point is the point to where you pull back the hand that holds the arrow - normally the corner of the mouth or bone of the jaw.  The theory is that it is one fixed point, if practiced continuously, that will always stays the same.  Together with other 'fixed points' - the arrow rest on the bow and the nocking point on the string, it improves accuracy.

My horseback archery venture is a solo event - something I must figure out for myself, as there is not much available where I live.  Thanks to the help of a very helpful man, James Menehira, I got my hands on a Mongolian bow, a valuable book written by Kassai Lajos himself and other bits and pieces of information.

As a child starting out with a bow, hunting fast moving fish, birds and small game - I was never aware of an anchor point.  In fact a fixed arrow rest or a fixed nocking point (where the arrow fit on the bow string) was non existent as well.  This type of shooting which requires speed and instinct does not need these 'fixed' features.

What is interesting is that a high anchoring point, or maybe even a fixed anchor point does not work well for horseback archery as well.  According to Kassai Lajos, the master of horseback archery, a high anchor point is to far removed from your center of gravity on a moving horse.  This makes sense to me.

Since I started to shoot modern bows, compounds and recurves (with fixed points) - I adapted to the high fixed anchor point way of shooting.  I have been shooting the Mongolian bow in this style as well .... until today.

Since shooting the Mongolian bow - I taught myself to shoot both left and right handed, as the absence of a fixed arrow rest allows for it.  This is unusual, as all shooters (bows, rifles and hand guns) have a dominant eye - I'm left eye dominant, thus a left hand archer (arrow in left hand).

While shooting left handed today (my natural side), it took me 3 arrows to adapt to the lower anchoring point.  What is interesting, is that I struggled on the right hand side - it took me about 30 arrows to sort of get it right.

I have no idea whether it is going to interfere with my accuracy with the other bows.  I guess I'll have to decide whether I'm going to shoot with a high or low anchoring point.  If I study the video clips and photos of other horseback archers - it seems as if many of them shoot from horseback with the higher anchoring points.

I started horseback archery training, but from a slow moving horse.  I feel I shouldn't push it - there is still a lot of work that needs to be done.  I guess I'll learn soon where my anchor point should be.

Friday, April 6, 2012

'Philosophy' of Hunting: Quick Introduction

In the 'modern' world the sound/look of the word 'hunting' can cause a few eyebrows to lift, a stiff upper lip to appear here and there or downgrade the so-called hunter to cave age or hillbilly status.  I can understand all of this, because I 'downgrade' the modern hunter myself on a regular basis ... with a very stiff upper lip, of course.

The reason the concept of hunting doesn't fit that well anymore in our 'modern societies, is because most of us have lost our connection with our own ancient ways and traditions.  'Hunting' can mean ten thousand things today.

A 'hunter' today can easily be a very overweight and unfit lawyer with no connection to nature at all.  His only connection might be a regular two weeks every June on some game farm and a camo outfit.  He uses a very expensive rifle with a even more expensive scope that can spot a bacterium on a tick on the testicle of a warthog at 900 meters.  His idea of 'hunting' is to drive around in a flashy 4x4 with 'black eyes' spotting 'trophy' game for him - he shoots, flashy photos are taken.  If the animal can't be found, the black trackers do the tracking.  In most of these cases the 'modern hunter' does not even skin or dress the animal - in Africa it is mostly done by black labourers.  Believe me, I've seen these type of 'hunters' in action myself.

The true original hunter and the 'modern' hunter that bases his hunting on the more traditional or ancient ways have a few things in common:
  • They hunt for food only.
  • They have no interest in taking the best looking specimens out of the gene pool.
  • They only take what they need and waste nothing.
  • They don't live a life separate from nature - they are part of it.
  • They have botanical and zoological knowledge of flora and fauna.
  • They are skilled bushmen with an immense respect for nature.
  • They hunt in such a natural and difficult way, it gives the strongest of the prey animal the chance to 'out maneuver' the hunter, therefore a continuation of their genetic line is ensured - at the same time it also 'improves' the hunter's own genetic lines.
I'll expand a bit on the last 'statement' I made:

In nature you find the hunters and the hunted - the predators and the prey.  Both are magnificent specimens - all because of one single factor.  The prey animals 'purpose' in life is to genetically better themselves to 'outsmart' the predators.  If the predators themselves don't step up and improve their genes, they'll never be able to 'catch' and feed on the prey animals.  This continues flux between predator and prey ensures genetic 'improvement' on a daily basis.

This is exactly why black Africans dominate all the running sports in the world - they have been part of that 'genetic flux' until very recently and some of them still are.  That is exactly why the average 'flat white new age' bloke is either extremely overweight or so fragile - he lost the connection a long, long time ago.  He doesn't have to walk, stalk, run or fight anymore - he's biggest job is to look somewhat 'pretty' on the outside and 'fit' in somewhere.  He can now do all the running, hunting, fishing, killing and fighting from his 'lazy boy' in air conditioned comfort, while stuffing himself with fast foods and beer - just by pressing buttons on his game console or by watching the old square box.

In fact, he can even do better than that - he can nowadays be a 'Wildlife Warrior' or a Greenie - all while he fattens himself up with toxic fatty chicken, beef and fast foods.  He now has the full right and political power to 'shoot' any real hunters (and fighters) down.

The few real true hunters that are left have to 'fight' this ignorance, 'disconnection' with nature and totally lost society just to do something that made us what we are.  I mean, there is a reason why we started to walk upright - most people don't have a bloody clue why humans walk upright.  The human body is designed for endurance running, fighting and using tools.  Can someone please explain to me why there is a push from these modern societies to move away from nature, to grow fat and useless kids (and animals), to look down on people who choose to live and fight in accordance to the original laws of nature?

I can fully understand why society view 'modern hunting' as a negative 'activity' - someone has to explain that, that's only part of the full picture.  We have lost our knowledge, respect and connection with the true original ancient ways.  If one doesn't have standards, traditions or roots - then don't class or judge, because you're totally lost.  In future 'writings' I'll expand on the traditional concepts and 'philosophies' of hunting ....... the way I see and understand it, of course.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The 'Philosophy' of Learning

Today is one of those slow days - every blade of grass, leaf and living creature pointing towards a cold and long winter.  Winter is a time for taking things easy, reflection and for certain bodily organs to take a break.  It is a special time in the bush - a change of colors, animals are more visible and concentrated.  It is a time for lots of 'reading' ......... books, yourself and all the signs of nature.

Today, for some reason, the concept of 'learning' keeps popping it's head out everywhere. Most of what I know, I learned as a child in the Kavango ... my 'teachers' were mostly the true inhabitants of that part of the world - the Kavangos and the Bushmen.  Other figures played a role as well - my parents, a school teacher here and there and then the amazing characters that this part of the world produced.  My greatest teachers, if I really think about it, were the Stillness of Nature, because it helped me 'remember,' and some four-legged friends.

It is a well known fact that the larger part of what we know, we learned from watching others.  One can only do this if you manage to be still - only in stillness can you concentrate and absorb.  This is an impossible task today - 'new' diseases keep popping up that make it impossible for some kids to learn and absorb in stillness.  They simply can't be still anymore - they run and fiddle like wind-up toys.  All thanks to ADD, ADHD and every other DD you can think of.  The concept of discipline has flown off to a far-off place.  Today the majority of kids learn everything they know and much more than what is good for them from the magic square old box.  The same one that I was warned against as a child - yes .... "it will fry your nuts, rot your brain and you'll get square eyes if you sit to close to it."

Learning from people that live 'close to the ground,' who themselves learned from those who respected the 'ancient ways' was possibly one of the most valuable experiences of my life.  These people, traditional black and Bushmen people together with the teaching capability of Nature and some four-legged friends all have something in common.  It is teaching without any expectations, judgement or questions ...... without ego - it is an ancient code of patience, a natural flow of knowledge and experience.  Something that just is, always was and always will be.  I can remember the total calmness of my mind, no hesitation, no nervousness, no fear in asking questions - a total willingness to absorb and to learn.

What a shock it was to enter the 'learning procedures' of the modern world.  Some gadget, book or extremely 'clever' person will give you that edge.  There were books, methods, pills, the canes of teachers and pressure of all sorts that 'pointed', fairly forcefully to the new way of learning.

"If you don't master this, you'll be nothing ... you can't do that, because there's no future in it ... why do you read that? ... how dare you think that? ... no you can't do anything with your hands, that is what black people are for ... if you don't go to Sunday school every Sunday and pass your religious exam, you'll never get a job ... there is only one way of mastering this, you'll do it my way."

I quickly learned that asking questions only caused more questions directed at you.  A straight answer was out of the question most of the times.  If a question asked was a little bit out of the 'comfort zone' of the teacher - you might get your ear pulled off or caned.

I can remember a teacher telling us that we must all go the coming weekend and spread the word of God to the black people .. "you must make fishermen out of these people" - based on the Bible story.  As a child of about 8, I could not understand this kind of responsibility and it was just a plain stupid idea to me, because of all the time we'll waste doing it.  I dared to suggest the following: How about we all go out and invite all the black people to the school hall, then she and the headmaster can tell them all about God and fisherman coming Monday.  I was not sarcastic, I really thought that we'll attract hundreds if not thousands of black people and they'll love to listen to knowledgeable adults telling them about God.  As a kid without much experience and not really understanding God's ways - no one was going to listen to me anyway. This way we could achieve so much more in a short amount of time.

Of course I was giving a hiding for suggesting such a thing - that was the 'apartheid' years and just thinking about inviting black people to our school was a big no-no.  After the break I was called to the headmasters office .... I learned bloody fast not to express my ideas anymore.

You asked a question and the immediate reaction was, no you can't, why do you think about something like that, it is a waste of time or you might even get an immediate thrashing.  Knowledge, I learned was not universal, it was linked and channeled to a certain mindset.  You dare to think out of that little square and you'll be pulled in the mouth.

I quickly learned that knowledge was a very personal and private thing - I had to find another way of learning about interesting things.  Basically, I quickly learned to sort everything out myself and not to trust what others told me.  Try everything and keep the good close to your heart.  It is ironic, because that is basically what the Bible teaches us - unfortunately our so called modern teachers (during my childhood, all fairly religious) missed that part.

The last 10 years of my life, I've been 'itching' to learn again - in Stillness and from our greatest teachers.  God knows, I tried the other ways - most of which completely removed me from my roots.  I learned that there is an ancient code of learning locked within us, it is not out there.  Some things out there help us to remember.  It is a gut feeling - a feeling we were taught to ignore by our 'modern teachers.'  Gut feelings, your instincts, you Inner Voice - they belong to the primitive, to the ancient and not to 'movers and shakers.'  We are taught that if you want to get somewhere in life - the plastic fish pond with the red garden gnome and white picket fence .... you must follow the masses and totally disregard your most inner feelings and 'gut' instincts.

I might be very different, but give me a rocky hill with a tree ... a view any day - it helps me remember.  You're most welcome to keep the garden gnome and picket fence ... if it really makes you happy ........... because it helps you to forget ...........

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Afrikaner Boer and the African Bushmen.

It is a scientific fact that all humans today are genetically linked to the Bushmen from Southern Africa.  The Bushmen have changed very little and there are still small groups of them with a lifestyle very similar to the ancient life of the original man.  'The others' have changed dramatically - the further they traveled around the world, the more 'advanced' they became - or so it seems.

Something very unique happened in Southern Africa in the middle 1600's - something very different from the other so-called colonized continents.  I am talking about North America, New Zealand and Australia.  In these countries the colonizers were met by the natives on the beach.  It is well known that the only 'natives' the Dutch met on the beach (Cape Town) were Hottentots (Southern African Bushmen) - THERE WERE NO BLACKS.  The first blacks were only 'discovered' further north along the east coast of South Africa, nearly a full 100 years later - more or less the same time Captain Cook met the Aboriginals in Australia.

We can then safely assume that my ancestors were the first to return to their place of origin, namely the southern tip of Africa - we were there before the blacks.  We were the first to have joined our original ancestors - the first back in the 'ancient country.'  We went 'walkabout' with others and we were the first to return.

Another interesting situation developed - again very, very different from the other colonized continents.  We DID NOT diminished or destroyed the 'natives' of Southern Africa.  In all of these other continents you search hard to find a true native - they have nearly all gone - THEY ARE THE MINORITIES  in their own countries.  It is true that there are very few Bushmen left and it is true that my ancestors had an impact on their already limited numbers.  It is also well known that the true destruction of the African Bushmen everywhere in Africa was due to the blacks that slowly moved southwards in Africa.  They nearly wiped the Bushmen of the face of the earth - the Bushmen were forced into the desert and remote areas of southern Africa.

You can visit South Africa and Namibia today and find true and pure tribes with their traditions in tact - none of these mixed blood 'tribes' that 'survived the onslaughts in the 'other continents.'  In Southern Africa a Boer is a Boer - not half white and a Zulu is a Zulu, not a half Xhosa or half black.

Today there are around 40 million blacks in South Africa, around 4 million whites - very, very few African Bushmen.  The literacy levels and life expectancy is much higher than in these so called other continents.  That is if you compare apples with apples - quite a job if you take into account that most of the Afrikaners were illiterate themselves in the beginning of the 1900's.

Today the Afrikaner is on the genocide list - his final 'payment' for not following the trends set by his white counterparts in America, New Zealand and Australia - which was to destroy the numbers and cultures of the Natives.  The African Bushmen the original man - our true ancestors with the true ancient knowledge should've been on the genocide list centuries ago.  Their genocide, mostly by black governments all over Africa, still continues.  Our 'human brothers' all over the world sit and do nothing - instead their mighty Queen knighted Robert Mugabe, soon after he slaughtered 30 000 Matabele men, women and children with the help of the North Koreans.  They give honorary degrees and support to dictators all over the word.  They created characters like Osama Bin Laden and they point fingers at the previous governments of Rhodesia and Southern Africa, while they still bathe in the Soup of Success of their own 'prosperous histories' - so-called success on the broken backs of the dwindling destroyed original 'native' people.

It is a shame that both the original man (the African Bushmen) our real connection with the origin of humanity and the Afrikaner who re-discovered and joined him are threatened 'tribes' today - with very little representation in Southern Africa.

It is a long shot, but I can't help the following comparison.  The 'Ego' fears the 'Inner Self' - it can't function or survive in the light of the 'Inner Self.'  Today the 'egocentric West' fears the ancient man and his return to the ancient ways/place - they'd rather see it completely wiped off the face of the earth - totally destroyed.  All while they look the other way, now clinging to the few stalks they have left.  Today the West are weak and continues to weaken - struggling to look the rest of the world in the eye.  The 'connection' with the ancient ways and their ancestors are all gone - they float like white foam, lost in a dark ocean.

Both the Bushmen and the Afrikaner continues to fight for his place in the world - a place in Southern Africa where we truly belong- our place in the sun.

The Mannerism of the Split Soul.

There’s a story of an explorer who traveled madly from one edge of South America to the other, getting up before dawn every day and pushing his crew until after sundown. One morning, as he was getting ready for yet another day of busy exploration, his native porters failed to appear. The explorer found them all seated under a tree, not doing anything in particular, but looking as if they were settled in for the better part of the day. He approached them impatiently and demanded an explanation. One of the porters then matter-of-factly replied, “We have traveled far and we have traveled fast. Now we must allow time for our souls to catch up with our bodies.”

 I think most people are two within: the one is the 'Inner Self,' connected with All out there and the other, the one born in this life with this body and name.  The latter is very occupied with getting to 'places' - loves to label everything and everyone and clings to the familiar.  Absolutely fears the  'Inner Self' and any form of 'connectedness' - because that means the death of the so-called ego.

It is possible that most of us suffer from this terrible affliction - our bodies running away from the soul, mostly because we are very confused.  We are not sure which one is which - 'who' is running the show at this very moment - therefore the 'split soul.'  Only when we connect with our 'Inner Self' and therefore to Nature - we can recognize 'the other' for what it really is.

My stepfather was a good example of the 'split soul theory.'  In the house, amongst 'civilization' he basically never spoke to me - no communication or sharing at all, except when I did something wrong of course. In nature, he was a different person - a completely different person.  Although his 'teaching' methods were a bit 'unconventional' - he taught me a lot and I had no choice, but to learn hard and fast.  This was always the way in Africa - no time to fool around.  I think in Nature - his soul had time to catch up with his body.

Another good example, is the 'walkabout' situation of the Australian Aboriginal - a new word for me, but a very familiar situation.  On the 'stations' it is well known for Aboriginals 'to go walkabout' - this might be for a week or a couple of years.  No one knows except for the person undertaking the journey.  I'm well known for going 'walkabout' every now and then - in body, mind and soul.

 A few definitions: 

Walkabout: An expression from the Aboriginal culture - when Aboriginal Australians 'go on walkabout', they undertake a spiritual journey to renew their relationship with their Dreaming and the Landscape.  The land is their life, their mother, their way, nourishment and their spiritual connectedness.

When an individual goes on a Walkabout, it is different for different people.  It can be a walk to where they originated or a walk to where they are part of the land (and the land part of them) - a place of 'Sacred Belongingness.' 

Walkabout refers to a rite of passage during which male Australian Aborigines would undergo a journey during adolescence and live in the wilderness for a period as long as six months. In this practice they would trace the paths, or "songlines", that their people's ceremonials ancestors took, and imitate, in a fashion, their heroic deeds. 

Walkabout: A temporary return to traditional Aboriginal life, taken especially between periods of work or residence in modern society and usually involving a period of travel through the bush.

There is a reason why we 'take holidays' and 'visit' so called Third World countries, National Parks, the sea, river systems and remote areas. These are all places where our 'souls' can catch up with our bodies - we have to do this, because we have separated ourselves - not only from our 'Inner Self,' but also from Nature.  We are stuck in places with an abundance of mental and urban noise - 'stillness' and 'connectedness' is something the majority of people don't understand anymore.

Only in Stillness, connected to Nature, can we Connect with our Souls and 'Remember' again - this is the Path of the Ancient Way.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Origin of Instinctive Archery.

Recent scientific studies suggest that we are all genetically related to the African Bushmen.  Very recently the oldest arrow heads (64 000 years old) were found in South Africa.  I think it is fairly safe to suggest that the origin of the bow & arrow all started with the African Bushmen in Southern Africa.

Bushmen Hunter:

I was very fortunate to grew up in northern Namibia (Kavango region of Southwest Africa) during the '70's, experiencing instinctive archery and hunting basically as it was practiced for thousands of years.

What many people don't realise is that archery in Southern Africa is not only practiced by the Bushmen, but also by some African tribes.  In the Ovambo, Kavango, Caprivi, Botswana and Angola regions - bow hunting practiced by black tribes are quite common.

The Bushman bow and arrow is very unique - both bow and arrow are very small.  The purpose of the Bushman bow is to transfer a small poisonous 'dart' to the target/prey.  These little arrows don't have any feathers, it is a bare reed shaft with a arrow tip that is very loosely attached to the shaft - often by a porcupine quill.  The triangular tip of the arrow is the size of the average pinky nail - extremely small.

Bushman arrows:
 

 The draw weight of these small bows are just enough to force the arrow tip into the flesh of the prey animal.  As soon as the animal rubs on a tree or bush to remove the arrow, the reed shaft separate from the tip, which is then securely lodged - leaving the poison to do its work.  The finding of the reed shaft indicates that the animal was hit and tracking can begin.  Due to the small size of the arrow head, very little blood can be found.  Depending on the type of poison, blood is usually found in the urine of the prey animal.

I have never hunted with these bow and arrows.  These are very short range weapons and only the Bushmen with their extraordinary stalking skills can get that close to various antelope species.

In some parts of Southern Africa, heavier bows with non-poisonous arrows are used by both Africans and Bushmen.  The arrow heads are much larger and can be of various shapes and sizes.

I found this article and photos (by Rulan Heunis):


These arrows were all fledged, except for the arrows used in bow fishing.  The arrow shafts are made of wood (larger game) or reeds (hunting fish and birds).

 None of the bows I used or saw had arrow rests, hand grips or nocking points (on the string).  Shooting was purely instinctive and arrows held between thumb & pointing finger or between pointing & middel finger.

I have never seen any targets or anyone 'practice shooting' at targets.  Kids had little bows and their target practice was hunting - mostly shooting at small fish species in swallow water.  Later when heavier bows can be handled, they upgrade to hunting birds and small mammals.

As a child I started hunting with these little black archers - spending countless days hunting Tilapia & Catfish in the Kavango river.  Later we 'upgraded' to hunting pigeons, finches, pheasants & guinea-fowl or the odd hare.

It is difficult to describe the skill of these hunters.  It is as if they become the bow, arrow and prey animal - all at the same time.  I always got the feeling that it was their only arrow, the last arrow and the last opportunity - the 'energy' and concentration that went into each shot could be felt/sensed at a distance.

Something else that contributed to this 'energy' was the absolute time and love it took to make one single arrow.  I have seen hunters searching for days to find one arrow.  I have seen hunters burning down a large dense bush area to find a single metal arrow head.  All of these were carefully handcrafted, the feathers attached to the arrow with the sinews found in the tail of the spring hare. Arrows were never shot for fun, each shot was very carefully weighed.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

How It All Began

I was born in South Africa and after the early death of my father, I found myself in Southwest Africa (Namibia) with a new stepfather.

Although we lived in Windhoek (capital city of Namibia), he worked in the Kavango (northern border) for extended periods of time.  I have memories of watching him pack his vehicle with fishing rods, rifles, sleeping rolls and a whole case of black African pots (camp ovens).  He always had a black Kavango man (named Florian) with him - a sort of 'camp' hand.  When he came back from his trips, this black man, stayed with us - working in the garden and doing odd jobs until the next trip.

For some reason, I was fairly isolated - can't remember having friends.  I think I lived in my own little world.  The life of this Kavango man, in a far-off place combined with my stepfathers adventurous trips and stories awakened something in me.  I have clear memories of me sitting in the sun, listening to all the stories this wonderful black man told me as a child - he never got bored with all my questions.

My first year at school in Windhoek was a nightmare - I hated every moment of it and that hate never left me.  School was an alien place - I never ever belonged, I never fitted.  Absolutely nothing made sense to me - I could smell the 'apartheid' (separateness) of mind, body and soul everywhere in the communities I lived.  There was no 'connectedness,' just a big emptiness.  My world was 'somewhere' outside of that, I longed for a connection with that 'something' out there.  I could feel it and smell it.

In 1976 we moved to the Kavango and this move brought me closer to the 'connection' I was so desperately searching for.  My first friends were black, which caused a lot of problems for me - I was actually given a nickname: "Kaffertjie" (basically means a small Kaffir).  I can remember many fist fights, blood, sweat and tears.

My first friend in the Kavango was a black Kwangali named Gabriël.  I can remember him sleeping on the floor of my room.  If you take into account the 'apartheid years' and the mentality at the time - it was unheard of.  My black friends would walk with me to school and wait outside the gates for me - during the breaks I would leave the school grounds and play outside with them.  After school they'll wait for me and we would disappear into the bush - we fished, hunted birds and small game.  It is here where my fascination with archery started.

In the seventies, the black kids walked around with shorts only - western styled clothing was a luxury and shoes something nobody could afford.  I quickly got rid of my shirt and refused to wear shoes.  I can remember the beatings at school and at home - most of my rugby and sport photos from those years shows an only white boy without a shirt and no shoes.  The sun very quickly turned me into a very dark colour and I think that contributed to my nickname, Kaffertjie.

This strong urge of mine, to be 'out there' and not 'belonging' in the community I was born in - was heavily frowned upon.  The attempts of the community to tame the 'wild beast' within me just made things worse - I developed a fairly rebellious nature.

I've always lived somewhere in the shadows between the 'modern' and the 'ancient.'  This caused a definite split within me - a split in body, mind and soul.  Today I think it is possible to marry the two, unfortunately we are slowly loosing the 'ancient ways.'  There are few people left today that can share this knowledge.  Even worse, there is still a strong push to destroy this knowledge.  We are busy loosing our connection and so many people and nations are completely lost.

The good news is, we don't need anyone to teach us - we all have it deep within us.  All we have to do is to remember and live as close to nature as we can.