Vhembe, Sacred Vestige

Submitted by Charlotte von Fritschen 

I have returned, feeling different in my skin, after a short but enlivening visit to a few remote villages in Vhembe, Limpopo. Time seemed slower there, given a certain rhythm by the pounding of grain in preparation for dinner, or the many steps taken to the forest to fetch wood. It is worlds apart from the South Africa I thought I knew: Cape Town; and I learned a lot from their way of life – I believe we all could.

The Vhavenda tribes inhabit the Soutpansberg mountains, nestled in lush Afromontane enclaves, situated in the northern most subtropical part of South Africa. Vhembe, formally Venda, was declared self-governing in 1973 and independent in 1979 by the South African government. Edward Lahiff reflects on how the enclosure of the region allowed for the preservation of many traditional ways of life in his book, An Apartheid Oasis?: Agriculture and Rural Livelihoods in Venda. We were led by Jeffrey Rink, an ecopsychologist from Cape Town who had long since fallen head over ‘hills’, those beautiful green mountains, and in awe of the cultural and spiritual wealth of the tribes.

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Download During Meditation

“Download” During Meditation (PDF 74K)
Submitted by Kathleen Pait

During an immersive group meditation, I experienced an out-of-body sensation that cast me above the group, away from the building, and out of Earth’s atmosphere, where I was presented information from a more evolved being on the current climate problems humanity faces. The following is my recollection of the event, although suffice it to say that words could never adequately convey the soul of the wisdom…

 

The Arrowhead

by Pat Holland

2015 BetterArrowheadPix-Holland

Sometimes my winter walks across the farm were more like winter scrambles than rambles. Whenever the earth froze and hid under a thin layer of snow, footing was chancy. Even a clump of dried grass could cause a stumble.  Putting a foot down in mud often ended in a too-swift slide downhill.

Yesterday, I took the long path down to the creek. I heard wild turkeys gobbling down there—I supposed they were talking to each other about the weather and walking conditions. Birds walking? Yes, from previous trips down that path, I knew that the flock of turkeys rarely lifted off to fly more than a few feet above my head.  When I spotted them yesterday, they were keeping their heads down—probably looking for food—and good footing.

I was keeping my head down too, watching the obstacles in my path so I wouldn’t stumble. Then I saw it, an arrowhead gleaming in the sunlight.  Weather conditions were just right; the ground heaved it up into the light from deep below the frost line. I knew that during a hard freeze the ground would often swell upwards and bring buried treasures to the surface.

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Lessons from Kanab

John Lynch has been bringing outdoor leadership students to Kanab Creek Wilderness for over ten years. Each visit, however, offers the clear truth that the land is the real teacher. Kanab Creek, and presumably all wild places, have a knack for providing insight around the greater lessons of life. In this case, they are uniquely delivered to each individual through the voice of the earth as translated by the desert. The attached articles is a short reflection describing a day of communion and muse between a man and Kanab Creek: Lessons-from-Kandab