Im still reeling from whirlwind experience of ceremony, music, magic and adventure with some of the my newest favorite people in the world, The people who joined me on this last trip to Zimbabwe. I asked everyone to “expect nothing and be ready for anything.” This is often easier said than done but to this groups credit they lived this motto to its fullest. We literally had no idea where we were going next. We would receive word that a ceremony or a function was happening and we were off.
We saw so much in such a short period of time it is hard to put it all in perspective. We did things like rush from a mermaid ceremony and a bottomless blue pool in a cave to performing a show at a night club in Harare City. It will take me a while to assimilate all that happened but there is one story that stands out for me and touched me in a very deep way.
Many of you may know about the Bana Kuma and its wisdom. The journey of the Bana Kuma was truly initiated and began with a man who has passed now but I shall forever hold in the Highest regard. HIs name is Sekuru Chidakwa and as the others can confirm who were on the trip he died as a young boy and then came back to life whilst they were trying to bury him. Without saying anything to anyone Chidakwa walked straight into the forest. His family tried to follow him when a Lion came and would not let anyone into the forest to fetch the young boy.
Chidakwa came back years later with a medicine that the beings of the forest taught him about. The medicine he called Matare which means place for spirit meeting. Chidakwa and his wife are the only ones who know what this medicine is or even how to prepare it. Its clarity and power is so immense Chidakwa was told to keep it secret. So to this day no one knows what it is, where to find it or how to prepare it. Matare is completely different from any other plant medicine that is known of today. Its power is in its ability to create a 3 dimensional portal in which people can see into the spirit realm with immense clarity. It is also amazing in that this portal only opens in a certain local specifically a bowl of water that is in the spirit house or a sacred piece of fabric that turns into a spirit window. When one looks elsewhere besides the water or fabric there is no hallucination or change in vision nor does one purge or become sick. It seems very mild but has a strange power to create a 3 day hologram instead of induce visions.
It was under the kind teaching of Chidakwa and the medicine that I have learned so much about the spirit world. Information that is always wise, useful and at times scarily accurate. It had almost been 10 years since I had been to the Chidakwa’s village when we returned just last week. I was sad to find that the legend himself had passed on as well as one of his sons who was an amazing singer and Mbira player. Now it is only Chidakwas wife who holds the knowledge of the medicine. If anything happens to her it is gone forever. The Chidakwa family see me as their adopted son and have asked me to be the keeper of the medicine, something I do not take lightly. In fact it weighs on me heavily as I have foreseen peoples deaths and many other things with precise accuracy that are almost daunting.
At Chidakwas village our courageous group decided that they wanted to try the medicine and each had their own experience and saw their own way in the spirit world. I will let them tell you their stories if they so choose. After our group had a chance to see into the portal I decided it was a good idea for me to check back in with the other side.
Time is almost non existent in this place that they live and you are able to see multitudes of things in what might seem a short amount of time in our realm. There are no sounds but colors and clarity of image is as clear if not somehow clearer than what we see here. When you do see something you either understand its image or something may be transferred to you telepathically to help you understand what you are seeing. The messages I can share at this time are the following.
We live, are born into and die into certain DNA lineages and families. Or at least this used to be more of the norm. Now there are spirits that are sending their own kind to be born into the bodies of other lineages. In my case I was part of an African spirit tribe whose totem was the Zebra. This group was chosen to unite with European ancestry in the spirit realm and also they traded spirits to be born inside each others lineages. They also showed me that in the spirit realm they practice shape shifting into one another so that they can deeply understand what creation looks like from each others perspectives. Both the European and African ancestors have joined as one tribe in the spirit realm and they share the totem of the Zebra signifying unity through diversity. The Zebra is African but it is also closely related to the horse which is very sacred to European ancestry since antiquity. They showed me a Zebra tartan that is theirs in the spirit realm and signifies their unity. It was very hard for them to give me up into the European lineage. In fact they specifically used the word sacrifice. They sacrificed me from their spirit lineage into a physical European lineage. I was not sure if it was a sad thing to sacrifice me into the physical European lineage or just a very heavy one. I am sure that the European spirit lineage also gave part of their clan to be born into the African lineage. In fact I feel I have met many of these during my travels throughout Africa.
I saw a few European ancestors during my time with the spirits but mostly this was the African side of the Zebra clan showing themselves to me and how important it is that we unite. They feel that unity and mutual sharing is the only way the world will be saved. It seemed that this message was our salvation. The creating of heaven on earth had to do with unity and truly coming together as one and seeing from each others perspectives instead of focusing on our difference as source of separation. Better yet it was to know and honor oneness through our diversity as eyes of the creator through all of our perspectives.
Some of these spirits were so powerful that I was not allowed to see them in plain site as it may have been to much for me to take. I was only allowed to see a portion of them and they mostly looked away from me as a stare into my eyes may have had the power to kill me if I was not ready for immensity of their vibration. One of them in particular who showed up several times was very large in stature and had an essence that was almost unbearable. Not in a bad way just in a way that his frequency was so far beyond my own that we not yet a match that could share full witness of each other.
I saw the beautiful place they lived which was adobe in nature red earth tones and blue inscriptions on the wall High ceilings and large wooden beamed doors almost like a palace but more humble than a palace. The architecture of this place was very similar to the adobe style of building in New Mexico. They also began to show me Mbira after Mbira after Mbra and how important this instrument is to the mission. Apparently the Mbira is an instrument that feeds both European and African Ancestry as well as many other ancestral spirits. For this reason the Mibra aids in our unifiying. They began to show me how they cannot play instruments where they are of their own accord because they do not have physical hands to produce the sound. At the same time music is their main sustenance and they feed from music in the same way that we feed on food. They went as far as to show me one of the spirits with a fork tied across his ear which I did not get at first but then realized they were saying “they eat music and they are HUNGRY.” In the same way we would put a fork to our mouth they placed it to their ear saying “we eat sound.” They showed me over and over again how they needed to be empowered by us so that they have the strength to empower us. It is the grand circle of life. The relationship between heaven and earth that has been broken in these modern times.
They also showed me how they cannot generate sound on their own but they can use our sound to play in their realm. There was a woman pounding grain outside and they showed me how they could use her rhythm to make there own. They could literally ‘borrow’ our sound but they cannot generate it on their own. I presume they borrow this sound when we play music that is nourishing to them (Njinji). They then showed me with just their hands a rhythm they wanted played that was one of their spirit rhythms. They played it with long graceful hands and made sure that I got it. Ben, Doug, Maurizio and Adam played it around the fire later and It was amazing how emotive the rhythm was. They then showed me that if we play for them it will bring healing to their realm and “allow the mother and child to lay down in peace together” whereas right now that is not the case. They are hungry and almost desperate for us to get on board with the mission. The schism between our worlds is at an all-time high and especially now that many Africans and Zimbabweans more specifically, are running from the old ways that bind the realms. The art of realm binding has been lost greatly in part due to the massive influx of major religions that view spirits as bad and modernization that negates the spirit realm even exitsts. The spirits were pleading. They were desperate almost. They showed me that anyone who shares in this desire to unify heaven, earth and people as ONE are accepted into the Zebra clan. The Zebra clan in Shona is referred to as Mazvimba Kupa or “You are swollen with blessing and must give to stop from bursting.” This is what they call peoplee who have this totem “give or burst.” I have always felt I have been blessed and must give so this really resonated with me as It did with others in our group.
They showed me hands with feathers tied to the fingers. The feathers extended out from the finger tips as they were gently touching things.
They said this is our symbol of gentles which we call feather fingers. “It is time to be gentle and accepting.” At the same time they showed me a man who was talking and as he was his teeth portruded out into sharp fangs beyond his lips. I could tell that the teeth had something to do with his words but could not understand. when I asked what it meant they said make your words to have a bite. In other words mean what you say and to say it with strength or fierce love. Feather fingers and words that bite was the combination here.
They also showed me that these spirits wore blue and red as the red symbolized the African or first earth fire peoples and the Blue the European or water tribes as we sometimes refer to them. They all felt like family and were showing me how they like to have the mbira played and sacred music in general. They showed this motion with the gourd that the mbira is put in. The motion was down and then down again. They were saying “play down, play grounded, play earthy. Do not be fancy or fluttery when playing. Don’t show off. Its not a performance it is a prayer that reaches far into the heavens and makes the spirits to dance.”
They feed from earth energy. They showed me a piece of watermelon and said the rind and the sweet part of the watermelon is the symbol of our two realms, separate but still one. I conceitedly jumped to the idea that our physical realm was the sweet pink part of the watermelon and that theirs was the green rind or sour part. This got a good laugh out of them when they responded “no dummy, we are the sweet part. You have the harder physical existence on earth.”
Another one of my African ancestors came and showed me his leg. Besides its color of course it looked exactly like my own. He then proceeded to say “I gave you the very shape of your leg what are you giving me.” I then asked what we could give them and how we could improve our relationship with them. They said “this is what your doing” and handed out of the cloth a plastic old bottle that looked like it was trash. They then said “this is what we need” and the plastic bottle turned into a beautiful clay pot. They then proceeded to make more fun by eating cookies with cream in the middle. The way they ate the cookies and pulled them apart was very comical. They jokingly nibbled at the cookies while another ancestor showed up with a long skinny cigarette and began to puff small dainty prayers into the sky. It was basically half assed prayer they were showing me. They then followed this demonstration with the words “not this either.” True to the spirits style they like to leave things open for contemplation. They showed me certainly what they did not want but it was for me to explore further what they did want. In the end I was left with the task to ponder what could be done better to re-ignite our bond and bring heaven and earth together as one. I guess they had also been showing me this whole time.
I was then shown a cage like one you would catch mongoose in or some kind of animal like that. They then proceeded to show me an upside down wine glass that began to grow and grow until it broke into shards. They said “The glass is you. Cage your drinking. Don’t let your drinking or use of substances cage you!”
They also showed me a bottle opener which turned into a spirit object that I understood was very prized by them. It was metal rod that had 3 or 4 solar systems attached to it in the form of metal in concentric circles with small metal balls on the concentric wire circles that represented planets. The concentric orbit circles would shift when they woul hold the rod in varying positions against the sky. It was almost like a star map that shifted depending on how you held it up to the sky. The message was to trade in the cheap bottle opener or the drinking life for one of these star rods or things of greater importance.
Throughout this whole time I am being visited by ancestor after ancestor who are shape shifting constantly. They are showing me that it is important for them to understand the universe through multiple perspectives. What I receive from this is that it is our different perspectives that gives the universe its meaning. it is our sacred uniqueness being experienced by the one. It is also the lesson of shapeshifting that we learn to see from other peoples perspectives or to ‘walk a mile in another mans shoes.’
During this time the Zebra pattern kept showing up with Mbiras that they couldn’t play. Thousands came lining up who were waiting to be played for. I saw many of the ancestors wearing blue plaid shirts and red hats or the red spirit cloth worn my the mediums of Zimbabwe. They warned me against men overcoming women with aggression by showing me what was almost a rape scene that I asked they take from the screen. The point was that it was time for woman to be understood and honored not to be subdued any longer.
A hand reached out form the cloth in total 3D right in front of me and offered owl feathers. when I reached to receive them hey pulled them back in and said when you are ready to listen like the owl you can have these. It was not my time yet.
There was much more like seeing my daughter Zaea playing the piano and growing up as she did so but this information is of a more personal nature and is to be shared with my family only.
Finally Sekuru Chidakwas wife came in. I new it was time. When I work with the spirit there they give me my time but then also ask me if I can be an intermediary between them and their spirits. This seems even more important to them now since Father Chidakwas death. They have me look into the spirit window and then they begin to ask questions. Once the questions are being asked I begin to see their ancestestral spirits who have messages for the Chidakwa family. Not everyone sees into the water the same. Some people see many things while others don’t see as much. They see me as one who sees and they have often used my time with the medicine to receive information that will aid their family.
Mrs. Chidakwa apparently had a cow stolen recently and there were two suspects and only two. One was a man and one was a woman and she only wanted to know if it was a man or a woman who stole the cow. These are the kind of questions I hate because I feel like I am indicting people and it is very uncomfortable. One time a I saw a woman cheating on her husband and was telling the husband what I was seeing in the water until I finally realized I was watching his wife in an affair with another man, By the time I realized what was happening and tried to stop it was to late and he insisted I carry on.
When Mrs Chidakwa asked me if it was a man or a woman I had no time to refuse. I immediately saw al little girl being brutally beaten by her cruel mother. It showed the girl growing up and being beaten throughout her childhood. The message was that this girl had been treated with cruelty by her parents. The next scene was her grown up and stealing the cow with the message to have compassion for her because it was her upbringing that had turned her into a fearful thief.
It was Now Chidakwas oldest son who began to ask questions of the spirits hoping they would show me the answers in the cloth. They immediately said your life is just embers now and fire wood is needed to restore your fire (life). Christian, the oldest son said ‘tell the ancestors to say it in a way that I can understand’ and their answer was “no you must step towards us and put more effort into understanding us.” Suddenly he appeared, Father Chidakwa himself and he wasn’t happy with his family. He did not show what mistakes they had made or exactly what had happened but he wanted me to let them know that he wasn’t happy and the family seemed to understand why. Father Chidakwa then said I want you do one ceremony per year for the family. Chidakwa said he would show me the ceremony and that I was to show them. It was a unification ceremony to bring the tribes together as well as bring mermaid or water spirits back to watch over the family. Father Chidakwa said that if they put yellow flowers into the river and asked for forgiveness for what had transpired he and the spirits would forgive them and move on. Again I did not know at this time what had happened or what they had done wrong but the family showed no resistance to this accusation form the spirits. The flowers were to represent the mistakes and the river water that which took them away. He then said I was going to give them a ceremony that would be done for water/european spirits and Fire/African spirits. It was a ceremony also to unite heaven and earth. He began to show me certain elements that he wanted as part of the ceremony like fish and people touching their foreheads to the fish and saying ‘we are related by water.’ He also showed me people painted with red clay and whited and blue dots on their faces. I saw that the kids should have fun at the ceremony and that they should have food they like. Games to play like hide and seek and others were to be part of the ceremony to make sure the children were in good spirits. Apparently the children’s well being and happiness was paramount to the ceremony. Christian (Chidakwas oldest son) asked one more question before he left. It is one I have heard a lot in Zimbabwe; “how do we get more money?” The spirit responded that you get more by first appreciating what you have. Little did Christian know that people who were making donations for the medicine had placed the money under the mat he was sitting on. The spirit joked that “you are asking how to get money and you are sitting on hundreds of dollars.” We all laughed even the spirit and then it was over.
I was left with mixed feelings a part of me was so honored and happy that I could give back in this way to a family that had given me so much. My life has been touched by many a great person but none have given me more than the Chidakwa family. The other part of me was nervous as it was soon made clear to me that I was to lead the village Bira ceremony and I hadn’t really been given that many instructions. In fact it almost seemed as if the old man was purposely vague with me. I certainly did not feel he had given me enough information to run the ceremony myself.
We left that day only to return several days later with all of the supplies for the ceremony. I didn’t show it but I was nervous. Here I was supposed to be leading one of the most spiritual families I knew in a ceremony on their land. I paced outside much of the night trying to think and pray as to what should be done. I was pacing so much in the dark that I ripped my toe open on a rock. I finally realized this was beyond me. I needed to let go. I had a sense that we should play music all night and that the ceremony should start at a time they call ‘mamba kwedza’ or the time when the elephants bathe which is right before the sun rises over the horizon.
The family started the ceremony with their traditional prayer and we played all night. We even mixed the harp, violin and acoustic guitar with the Mbira which was a first for me at a ceremony. One of the Chidakwa sons became possessed by their family spirit. The same one that used to possess their father. I thought ‘this is great. The spirit will lead the way now.” But the spirit only gave me the nod and thumbs up and left in a way honoring that the job had been given to me and I must do it.
As the sun began to rise that familiar feeling I call the ‘big gentle’ started to come over me. ‘Of course!’ I thought to myself, ‘here comes Haha’ he will know exactly what do. He was a ceremony maker in his time after all. It was my ancestor Haha that came over me and relieved me of my duty. I then realized by Father Chidakwa hadn’t given me all the instructions. He was in touch with Haha and they had this planned all along.
It wasn’t long before I was out and then several hours later regained my consciousness prostrated face down outside the ceremony hut. I had returned to people with red mud all over them and many who still had tear streaks on their face. I asked Christian what happened and he simply answered that his family had been changed forever and he began to cry again, We sang and played and apparently the ceremony had gone wonderfully. I realized this is why Father Chidakwa didn’t need to tell me all the details. He had already known that my great ancestor Haha would come and that he didn’t need to. Im not sure of all the details of what happened while I was gone and Haha was in my body but I do know that Haha told them that their oldest sister should be the head of the family and not the eldest son who is Christian. I also know that he asked them to forget their problems for one day and to be free and to feel how it is to be free of problems and to appreciate all that we have. The main theme at many Zimbabwean ceremonies is that the people are suffering and that the spirits must save them. Haha had a new message which was that they are the ones with the hands. They are the leaders of the village and not the spirits. The spirits do not have the hands to move things. Again the message was to appreciate what you do have before you begin to cry or ask for more. Artwell, one of the younger songs began to sing a song he said was inspired from Haha. The songs chorus was ‘my site is my life and my life is my site.” This was the African version of law of attraction or choosing perspective. The way you choose to see is the way you will be.
I am still waiting to hear from others as to the details of what happened during the ceremony but suffice to say the flowers were thrown in the river people were blessed with water and earth and there was great joy when I came back that poured over the village. It brought me to tears several times thinking that I had actually been able to give back to this family in a meaningful way after all they had done for me.
I have realized the importance of this Matare medicine. It has the power to reconnect and heal the broken bond between us and the spirit realm. It is not for everyone but for those who feel drawn I would do whatever you can to experience this before you die. I don’t know if there is anything else that has activated such direct change my life.
A few days after we had visited and taken the medicine I was riding in the van and started playing devils advocate. I thought ‘what can this connection with the spirits really do for us if they don’t have hands to move things down here?’ ‘Is it just for spiritual fun?” A few moments passed and the answer came to me in a very clear way. I realized that life is hard here in the physical. I also feel that one of our greatest ailments is that many of us cant see past materialism. I certainly don’t believe that we were born into the physical to be spiritual but there is a balance. A way that both earth and heaven can co exist in balance and each to provide sustenance for the other.
The spirits struggle far less where they are. I remembered the watermelon analogy and also remembered the times I have connected heaven and earth with music. It is always palpable and extremely peaceful. I realized that the spirits Bring peace, lightness and joy to our realm. They offer different perspectives on life that are of the utmost importance. They remind that we will soon be there and to make the most of our time here. What is the watermelon without the rind and its inner sweetness? Reuniting the circle between heaven and earth means we get to feel heaven here and our suffering is alleviated allowing us to fully enjoy this physical journey and lessen our suffering. They bring peace and remind us that our only wealth is what we bring with us when we die which is really only the love we have shared here. The spirits can bring us lightness and wisdom. I have felt a profound healing every time I humbly attempt to reunite the realms. We are not alone and we don’t disappear when we die. When did we forget this?
The most shocking thing about returning this time from Zimbabwe was noticing that the my fellow Americans seemed almost miserable as they moped through the airport. My Zimbabwean friends would have given anything to be able to afford to travel on an airplane. Yet It was rare to come across a smile or to hear a laugh from these people of well means. There was wealth and riches all around me but the people seemed unfulfilled. This was in stark contrast to the poverty stricken country of Zimbabwe where people have very little but still have a sense of fullness about them. Is this vapidness I felt in my own country due to spiritual depletion and lack of connection?
I have been given a new passion for the mission we call Alithala heme or heaven on earth. I will play, dance and sing for the spirit to wake them and to heal them so that they may heal us. Who will join me now to beckon the water and the flame into the same dance. The sky and the earth are longing to sing together again. So may it be!