African Traditional Medicine –
San Trans Healing Dance.

Sa/San Trans Healing Dance…the following is a true story.

San Trans Healing Dance

by San Trans Healing Dance | San Trans Healing Dance

African Traditional Medicine – San Trans Healing Dance.

African Traditional Medicine – San Trans Healing Dance.

Sa/San Trans Healing Dance…the following is a true story.

I blame it on Stella, her friendly smile and wave of her hand, Kom Kgara kom, we followed Stella into the darkness ducking between the thorn trees trying not to get snagged by the giant 8cm white thorns…it was 1030:PM full moon over-head and we were making our way between the army tents trying not to trip on the guy ropes in the dark. We pass a few fires bejewelled with ancient wrinkly faces of the world’s first peoples laughing and telling stories. I don’t understand the musical clicking languages of the different clans, some barely understand each other but laughter is a universal language.

African Traditional Medicine – San Trans Healing Dance.

I seek not the laughter nor the stories under the kameel-doring trees, I am called by something else, something pulling at me gently, I cross over to the open patch of red Kalahari sand where I encounter Stella, who leads me on a journey that left me out a few degrees of reality for several months. Kom Kgara kom, hulle dans en ek soek vir jou…as I am ducking through the darkness and large white thorns like sabre teeth in the moonlight, I can hear it so sweet and so rhythmic. My heart pounds in my chest, my very being lights up as I head deeper barefoot, no torch, no idea where I am going yet I know for sure what is waiting ahead deep in the Kalahari Desert.

African Traditional Medicine – San Trans Healing Dance.
African Traditional Medicine – San Trans Healing Dance Lions Gate.

African Traditional Medicine – San Trans Healing Dance Lions Gate.

African Traditional Medicine – San Trans Healing Dance.

What a sight, what such a beautiful sight of a group of several different clans around the bonfire, deep in Trans. The shamans dance in the inner circle around the fire, stomping their skinny rattled adorned legs, chanting, deep in Trans. As they stomp, they follow the same two foot prints creating a distinctive groove and circle in the sand around the fire. It is magical, the red dust kicked up by the stomping mixing with the smoke of the fire while the shamans weave magic, the smoke and dust are pulled into a gentle vortex and rises into the deep inky black endless sky.

The women all sit feet first in a second circle around the fire and shamans. The clap and sing, a song so ancient it evokes a knowing. The song is tonal there are no words, no leader, they have beats which are way beyond me to hold. They huddle close to each other with love and support of old friends and family who have not seen each other for years…crinkly smiles and twinkle in their eyes they accept me.

Lions Gate Full Moon rises, shrouding the lead shamans head in a halo. I knew this was going to be an epic Trans Dance. 

San Trans Healing Dance

African Traditional Medicine – San Trans Healing Dance.

A second group of shamans circle the outside once again wearing in a distinct circle groove in the red sand around the dance…I have no idea what these two circles do as they are deliberate. Above the knowing tonal sounds and clapping you can hear the guttural animal sounds the shamans make, startling you with loud screeches and shouting. Each shaman has a minder following him in case he bolts, for he does not see this world and will run straight through the thorn bushes.

Stella sits with the women in the inner circle, she winks and beckons me over. I don’t hesitate, I jump from the shadows and cuddle in close with my feet facing the fire. I choose only 1 beat, I let go, I close my eyes, I do not fear the sounds, the screeching, the waling, the ancient faces that are lost in the beat, I trust my good friend Stella and I let go as a warmth travels up my spine…at some point the shamans converge on me, I peek at Stella out the corner of me eye, she smiles, the shamans grab my head, from the font and the shamans in the outer circle at my back. I keep the beat, they shake my head side to side hands all over my head, they wail and I fear not. I am gone… 

San Trans Healing Dance

I have no idea where I went. I cannot explain the journey and the transformation, I cannot explain why I was called in, I am so honoured to have been welcomed in to such an ancient ritual that is possibly the oldest. I had no fear I felt only love. It was so primal and yet so complex, the inner and outer circles, the tonal song, the complex beats that even great drummers marvel at, the vortex, the love, the trust and the healing…

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