Zulu Celtic Spirit was opened with the view to bring together various forms of healing.
Treatments on offer:
- Traditional spiritual Sangoma (traditional healer) reading with bones (known as Ukubhula);
- Celtic Shamanism – Hands-on energy healing, herbal medicine, spiritual healing and chakra work; and
- Spiritual counselling.
Sarah is a trained Shamanka and Sangoma.
Visitors are welcome at the centre and may, where appropriate, be allowed to observe a healing session if the patient is in agreement. Visitors are asked to respect that the centre is a healing and spiritual place. There are also opportunities for people to attend traditional Sangoma ceremonies. These ceremonies are not put on for tourists, but are an important part of the Sangoma path. The gathering of Sangomas is an old tradition and usually occurs for a specific reason. The ceremonies may include traditional Sangoma singing, dancing and drumming.
The Zulu Celtic Spirit centre also functions as an outlet for the crafts made by both Sarah and other local crafters. Sarah is an accomplished artist (see also the Tregarthen Gallery entry on this route). The centre also functions as an outlet for the uKhambas (Zulu pots) made by local people.
When the Bushmen of Southern Africa first found clay to make pots, they believed that they were guided by their ancestors who showed them how to make the ukhamba. The ukhamba’s ritual and spiritual purpose is for connection to the ancestors and issues concerning the ancestors. Other South African peoples continued the tradition of the ukhamba. It is used for brewing Zulu beer, and Sangomas (traditional healers) keep their muti and payment for their services in the ukhamba. The ukhamba is used by Zulu, Xhosa, Tswana, Swazi and Basotho people during their ancestral ceremonies, bringing them closer to the ancestral spirits.
Grandparents give their grandchildren an ukhamba filled with things that belong to them – to keep the memories of their lifetime alive. When the ukhamba is broken, nothing is thrown away, and the pieces are used for burning impepho or muti. Decoration of the ukhamba is the task for the girls of the family – preparing them for a time when they will have to decorate their own homes and husband’s possessions.
Traditionally the ukhamba is sealed with porridge to make sure that it can hold liquid, however modern substances like PVA glue will also do the trick.
Sarah ‘Mhlophekazi’ Wager – Shamanka and Sangoma:
Sarah was born in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, but grew up at the foot of the Mendip Hills in Somerset, England. Sarah has been working as a healer since 1994. Her road as a healer is as a Shamanka (the word for a female Shaman). This healing path is extensive and appears in cultures all over the world.
Through growing up in the countryside, Sarah learnt the power of nature, animals and plants. She heals using this knowledge and the energy she channels through her hands, but also journeys in a shamanic tradition to contact spirit guides or ancestors for their help where appropriate with a patient. Sarah returned to South Africa and began working alongside the shaman’s path as a Sangoma. The paths of these two healers are very similar. As a Sangoma (traditional healer), Sarah reads the bones to contact the ancestors for guidance and performs ceremonies to honour the ancestors. She also works with traditional Zulu medicine, muti, and is continually learning more about the plants from local Inyanga.
“Working as a Shamanka and the contact with the planet and the universe that this has brought, has humbled me and yet supported me. To contact the spirit world and the power of nature never ceases to fill me with the knowledge of unconditional love. The word ‘Shaman’ simply means ‘to be alight’. It is this light that has guided me to walk in the many worlds that exist in spirit. Now, because of my place of birth, and guidance from the ancestors, I am lucky to be on a path as both Sangoma and Shamanka. In a country that has suffered huge racial divides and hatred, there is now a spiritual joining as the once secret world of the Sangoma (secret because of the oppression of apartheid) is allowed to grow. The Sangomas and their reverence for the ancestors is vital to the future. Their overwhelming knowledge of herbal medicine cannot be lost. They are healers whose value cannot be measured.”
Shamans, Sangomas and Inyangas:
Sangomas are African spiritualists. They can also be healers and usually have an extensive knowledge of herbal medicine. Sangomas will throw the ‘bones’ when doing a reading for a client or patient. The ‘bones’ are usually a variety of bones as well as the occasional piece of wood or plant material, but may even contain other items such as metal, bottle tops or string. Sangomas usually burn a specific plant and hum or chant when calling the ancestors of the patient. When the Zulu people talk about ‘ancestors’, this is a broad term – not necessarily only meaning family members who have passed on, but also spirit guides, angels, nature spirits and universal energies. Sangomas are not fortune-tellers, but can usually recommend a certain treatment for a problem.
There are hundreds of medicinal plants in South Africa. Inyangas are the traditional African healers whose speciality is the use of these healing plants. Each plant is harvested and prepared in a special way. Inyangas often work closely with Sangomas and other healers. They will give advice on how to take the medicine.
Shamanism is probably one of the oldest spiritual disciplines in the world and is practiced on most continents. Shamanism is not a religion, but a spiritual path found in all faiths, creeds and cultures. It reaches deep into the ancestral memory and, as a belief system that predates religion, it has its own symbolism and cosmology. Shamanism is a way of working with ‘the self’, with the elements from which we are all constructed – cutting across barriers of religion, race and culture. Whatever your persuasion, shamanism reaches beyond to the point where we are all one.
The word Shaman can be translated as meaning ‘to burn up’ or ‘be alight’ – this referring to the Shaman’s ability to work with energy. Shamankas (female Shaman) and Shamans are always working on themselves – shaping, journeying and focusing their spiritual selves. They are always striving to develop a deeper contact and interaction with the dimensions of the sacred. The way of the Shamanka is built on the understanding that we are an integral part of the natural world, we are in continuous contact with the spirit realms because they are all around us and we are part of them.
Essentially the Shamanka will always be a healer. Healing is a direct manifestation of the contact that the Shamanka has with the ancestors, spirits, higher energies, animal powers and other dimensions. When the inner power of the Shamanka meets the power of the spirit realm, there is a spark of energy that transforms the person – giving them the strength and understanding to journey inwards towards the centre. The ‘centre’ is a place that is nowhere, yet everywhere, existing on more than one plane. The Shaman, having experienced this once, is empowered forever. In order for the Shamanka to reach the centre or inner core, she will move to a trance-like state – known as the ‘shamanic state of consciousness’. The trance state breaks the old patterns of awareness. The Shamankas know of many worlds and levels of being in which they are able to travel. This is known as the ‘Shamanic Journey’, and the Shaman will experience the wonder of the universe and creation every time they journey by this means to other dimensions.
The importance of these journeys cannot be over-emphasised and they are never undertaken lightly. There are various methods a Shaman may use to attain the altered state of consciousness. It can be through plants and substances, drumming, rattles, ambient primal sounds, breathing and deep meditation. Usually it is a combination of more than one of these elements. The ability to maintain a trance comes through discipline, practice and mental training. It is these important journeys that allow a Shaman or Shamanka to act as a link or bridge between this world and the next. It is this sacred trust that facilitates the healing of the patient.