In the spirit: Following the Mandela Way in Asheville

What: John Lockley leads a Blessing Ceremony followed by a five-weekend vision quest intensive, based in the indigenous South African tradition of Xhosa Sangoma.

When: Thursday, May 29, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Suggested donation $30 (but none will be turned away).

Where: Jubilee! Celebration Church, 46 Wall St.

Why: Xpress spoke with Lockley to find out more.

Xpress: Why did you choose to seek the Sangoma healing tradition?

Lockley: One never chooses the Sangoma path, but rather, you are called. It is a calling just like most indigenous shamanic paths in the world today. In South Africa, the calling can be quite severe in the sense that many of us get a calling illness known as the “twaza.” I was called at the age of 18. I had a strong dream about a Xhosa medicine man, or Sangoma, and when I woke I had boils over my legs, and this was the start of my “twaza.”… I was sick for over seven years until I met my teacher, Mum Ngewvu, [who] comes from the Xhosa tribe — the same tribe as Nelson Mandela.

How can people benefit from the medicine you provide, and why is this type of medicine important?

I teach the Mandela Way. A core philosophy behind Mandela’s phenomenal leadership style was Ubuntu, or, humanity. He learned this growing up as a traditional Xhosa man. As a Xhosa medicine man, I focus on this principle because it is one of the hallmarks of our practice. It literally means ‘I am what I am because of who we all are.’ It teaches us that life is a circle between birth and death. It teaches a profound remembering of the human spirit where no one is forgotten, and where all of our mothers and fathers are honored. …When we remember our forebears with love and respect, then it becomes easier for us to accept death and the brevity of life. As a circle, Ubuntu, also stretches into the natural world. When people honor their ancestors in ceremony they often dream about animals. Why? Because they are owning their human birth and honoring the gift of life. This circle keeps widening into the plant worlds where where the dreams continue to deepen and teach us on many different levels.

Why is this important? Because this human birth is sacred and once we start honoring where we come from, then it is possible for us to develop more understanding and meaning in our lives.



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About Jordan Foltz
Exploring the subtle and esoteric aspects of what drives and inspires people to take action— including religion, spirituality, ethics, and aesthetics.

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One thought on “In the spirit: Following the Mandela Way in Asheville

  1. KarynArmstrong

    Thank you so much Jordan for the great article. I am getting excited about John’s arrival on Wednesday. If anyone wants more information about the May 31st and June 1st weekend please contact or call 503-804-9441.

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