Mni Wiconi – Water is Life

On Sunday my drumming circle had an all day dance for rain. Norm and I had a lazy day on Saturday as I knew that Sunday would be exhausting and I wanted to be well rested in order to give all of my energy to the drumming.

Norm and I decided to just get a take away and I opted for my fave pizza from Massimo’s.

Lily, Josh and his Dad were at the track all day Saturday and Josh won his race so they were in a festive mood when they got home that night around 7pm. We all sat outside when they arrived home and enjoyed the cooler evening air.

Sunday morning I was up by 6.30 as I was wide awake and excited for the dance. I dressed in a long dress with sleeves as you must show modesty and respect when in a mixed gender ceremony. I packed up my own lunch and a salad and a french stick to contribute to the evening communal meal. I took my own drum, but we all drummed using the one large communal drum.

I was not sure how many drummers might be there and whether we would all fit around the large drum but as the drummers kept changing in number as people arrived and left throughout the day it was fine. There were about 30 people there in total between the dancers, the drummers and the people who were in charge of managing the ceremony. The supporters and drummers varied, only some of us stayed all day.

The dance was held at Sacred Ibis which hosts many different events that are open to public attendance. It is a lovely calm space and feels like you are out in the middle of the country instead of less than 5 minutes from my front door.

When I arrived they were still setting things up and getting organised.  I headed down to the field where they had already set up the drum and the arbour which is the area where the dancers dance.

View this post on Instagram

The arbour for our dance yesterday ❤️

A post shared by Kitten In The City (@stresskitten) on

In the centre of the arbour was a large tree which was being used to symbolise the Tree of Life. The dancers would place their prayer ties on this tree and pray to Mother Earth at the tree.

Before anyone enters the arbour they must be smudged with the smoke from burning sage and a prayer said. All of the items used in the ceremony are also smudged. All day there is a designated smudger who goes around the dancers and smudges throughout the day in order to keep the energy pure.

Once the dancers have been smudged they are to remain separate from any one else and must remain in the dance or rest areas. The dancers were instructed to fast from the previous night. They have no food or water throughout the day and the dancing is hot and tiring. It is a real sacrifice.

Once the arbour is dressed, no one may enter except the dancers or the people who are part of the ceremony. The arbour is an open structure made of poles with string woven between them to form a circle. The design is based on the same concept as a medicine wheel. There are openings to each of the 4 directions. Prayer ties and crystals mark each of the gates.

Before the dance the elders must set the intention. The intention for this dance was defined as: “The only thing we truly “own” and that we can give in return for the Abundance that Mother Earth gives to us, is our bodies. For that reason, we fast, dance, sing, drum and pray, giving ourselves fully to Spirit and the Tree of Life, in complete focus and devotion.

This One Day Dance is in love, honour and gratitude of the Water, holding the prayer that our dams be replenished in Cape Town soon. Mni Wiconi – Water is Life.

Dance To Heal The Earth is about Restoring the Balance of Life – the Sacred Feminine and Masculine, in Respect, Honour and Healing for Mother Earth and All Our Relations. It’s important to come with an attitude of humility, and a sincere desire to give of ourselves in sacrifice for all the ways that humans have desecrated the Earth. We seek forgiveness for our human family; awareness of and connection with All Our Relations, in order to understand how we may better serve them; and celebration of Life by honouring the Tree of Life.”

There are 5 rounds of dance with the drummers calling in the procession of dancers. There are two rounds of sweat lodge for the dancers where they pray and call in the spirits and guides. The first is the Brush Off Sweat to brush off worldly energies, cares and worries. The last round of the event is a Gratitude Lodge where they give thanks to the spirits and ancestors who joined into the celebration and express their gratitude of the experience.

After each round there is a Pipe Ceremony. The dancers held their ceremony down in the lower fields in the sweat lodge area, under a group of trees, the drummers and supporters held ours in a seated area near the farmhouse under the shade of a giant tree. The Pipe Ceremony is also part of the event, each of the participants pray and give thanks for the day and for being allowed to participate. I prayed for water in abundance.

While the drummers were conducting our Pipe Ceremony we could hear songs being sung in Imazamo Yethu cascading across the valley. It was such a special sound. One of the men there said that it sounded like a Xhosa wedding celebration song as it seemed to be a call and response format with the Lead Man calling and the remainder of the men repeating, then the Lead Woman singing and the women responding. It was so beautiful. I wondered if they could hear our drumming and singing too and what they thought about it.

This is one of the songs we sing, we sing in multiple languages. This song is in Japanese I think.

And we sang the Water Song as well, we sing it at a faster pace which is more suitable for drumming.

The lyrics are “Ne-be Gee Zah- gay- e- goo Gee Me-gwetch -wayn ne- me — goo Gee Zah Wayn ne- me- goo”. Translated to English you see that the words are very appropriate for the ceremony we were conducting:

“Water, we love you. We thank you. We respect you.”

There are 5 rounds of dance in total. With the 2 sweat lodges and the pipe ceremonies added in it is a very long day.

While we were in ceremony the energy was amazing. We could see so many birds circling our ceremony. Thank you to all the birds that came swallows, doves, hawks and the 7 eagles that made the infinity sign over the Dance. A huge white butterfly flew into our drumming circle and skimmed across my head and then swooped down into the circle and flew off to sit on a nearby bush. The butterfly represents transformation and the world is in such a state of transition this is no surprise. It gave me chills.

When the dancers went into the lodge to do the Gratitude Sweat, the drummers all went up to prepare the feast. Everyone brings a vegetarian dish of some sort to contribute and it all gets laid out at the end for us to nosh on.

After the final sweat is completed, the dancers come out of the lodge and the drummers and supporters join them. We all stood in a circle around the fire pit and we were each given a string of prayer ties. Prayer ties look like little ghosts tied on strings to me. They are squares of fabric which have a pocket of tobacco put into the center and are then tied with string. I did not take any pics of my own as phones were banned, however I found this pic which looks exactly like the ones we made.

Most of ours were bright yellow, the colour of turmeric as turmeric was used to dye many of them. Saffron-hued Buddhist robes are dyed with turmeric. Turmeric has been used for centuries in many different cultures. The followers of the Hindu religion see turmeric as auspicious and sacred and use it as part of their bridal ceremonies. Ayurvedic medicine has used it for centuries as well.

We all went into the circle one at a time and dropped our prayer ties into the fire pit and we all said whatever word that came to us. Mine was ‘Abundance’.

After the burning of the ties we all went back into the dance arbour and had a final round of Pipe Ceremony and then we had a closing prayer where we released the ancestors and spirits who came to join us and we gave thanks to them all and to the 6 directions. We gave thanks and praise to the Spirits and the Ancestors, first to the Centre, then to Mother Earth below, then to the East and the South, the West and finally to the North.

After the closing ceremony the procession was led up the hill to the farmhouse where the food was waiting for the fasting dancers. The dancers were allowed to fill up their plates and find seats and then the rest of us had a bite to eat. Everyone was very tired but glowing with the energy we had created.

By the time I got home it was after 7pm and I was completely finished. My legs ached from standing, my arms ached from drumming and my voice was rough from singing.

All I have to give to Mother Earth is my body and I give of this gladly to praise her for our lives and provision of the sustenance we need and to request that we are blessed with abundance of water.

Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxoxox

Advertisements

Tourist In My Town

I’ve had a weekend of Kitten Adventures.

Saturday I had a long lie and then just after noon my friend Franziska came to collect me for a little tour around my own village, Hout Bay. Franziska and I ‘met’ in a Facebook group. She comes here to Cape Town to visit her family so I offered to show her where I live when she let me know she was here at the moment.

First we went to the Harbour as the area there has been completely renovated and has an amazing vibe. We had a wander around the charming, vibey and busy Hout Bay Harbour Market.


Image credit.

Franziska didn’t need any gifts and we were going for lunch so I resisted buying my fave milk tarts and lemon meringues from Nap.


Image credit.

We then had a walk past the  Urban Brewing Company which looked enticing but we had an itinerary so we didn’t stop. They are celebrating their anniversary this upcoming weekend so pop in to see what is on the go.

We walked into the yard and saw some cool art. I so love these animals made of various bits of metal. I would love one for my garden.

We had a wander through to Robin Kitinyu’s amazing studio. You cannot take photos there so I pulled one from his FB page.


His work has such energy. I have been watching many of his pieces evolve for years. Every time I am at the harbour I make a point of peeking at his studio.

We then headed to the beach to Dunes Beach restaurant for lunch.


It was rammed as it always is on a sunny day. We sat by the wall at the corner right next to the entrance and we had a stunning view out over the beach.


But it was soooo windy and I forgot a hair tie.


It was hot on Saturday but the howling wind kept you feeling chilled. I was partially in the shade of the tree but still got a bit burnt, below is what I looked like when I woke on Sunday.

I wasn’t aware I was even catching the sun.


Back to Dunes………..Franziska ordered a pizza and I had the mussels.


They were plump, juicy and tasty. I loved them. Service was really good as well, it seems that maybe Dunes has tightened up their service issues as I have had great experiences my last few visits.

We had a latte to warm us up and then headed up to Chapman’s Peak Drive for a look at the view.


We then came back to my house and I made a coffee for us to have on our balcony. We sat enjoying the view and relaxing and chatting. Considering that Franziska’s first language is German and that she is trying to improve her English we did a lot of chatting! Or maybe I chatted and she listened? Either way we had a lovely day.


Franziska headed home late afternoon and I relaxed and played games until Norm went to collect a curry from Indian Oven for dinner. I was quite knackered from running around and being in the sun so I was happy to chill for the rest of the evening.

Regular readers will have read about all of the spiritual activity happening on Friday evening. There was a small amount of rain on Friday night. It was over in minutes but it happened! Was it due to the Islam community praying for rain (Salat Al-Istisqa) or was it coincidence? We will never know for sure will we?

The binding spell against Trump appears to also be working. He has tweeted that he is not going to attend the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. I suspect he is too cowardly to attend.


The worst thing ever for a narcissist is to be made fun of. There is no chance he could take a real roasting as that is the usual format of the event. He is too thin skinned.

Or bound.

I guess we will never know for sure will we?

I had a spooky little incident yesterday afternoon. We were sitting in the lounge when a tiny feather drifted all the way across the room, rising over the couch where Norm was sitting, and then bobbing along in the breeze drifting right over to me and dropping to the ground in front of me landing directly at my feet.


Feathers are my spirit signs as birds are my spirit animals, so I got goose bumps while Norm just sat and thought about air currents. Norm noticed that it spooked me however and he knew I took it as a sign. A bit later when Norm told me about the Chief Cheetoh pulling out of the Press Correspondents’ event I said ‘the witches are working’ and as I did the feather suddenly lifted up and started tumbling across the carpet.

I’ll take that as a sign.

I will be watching to see if there are any changes in the behaviour of The Mango Mussolini.

We are all watching you 45.

Caitlin and I were booked to attend Romeo and Juliet at the Maynardville Open Air Theatre on Sunday evening.

We were a bit worried about being out so late on a Sunday night as it only started at 8.15pm. In reality it was even later than that by the time they got the crowd seated and could begin. We had dressed warmly in layers as it is an open air theatre and when the sun goes down in South Africa it can be quite cold. But it is such a lovely venue, I love the giant trees growing in the middle of the stage.

theatre

The venue was packed, I think it may have even been sold out as it was the last night of the run. We arrived at 8 and eventually found parking, grabbed a hot chocolate and went to find our seats just before the show started.

We were very happy to see that the handsome and talented young Revil Yon was dancing the part of Romeo. We were lucky enough to see him dancing the lead recently  when we went to see Peter Pan. He is brilliant.

The part of Juliet was danced by Rosamund Ford. She was a stunning Juliet, she was like a butterfly, so light and delicate. She was able to convey the emotion and despair and heartbreak needed for the part.

The choreography by Robin van Wyk and the costumes were fabulous. We really enjoyed it but it did finish quite late and by the time we got home and de-stressed enough to go to sleep it was after midnight.

This morning when I headed off to work I could see the sky was still bright pink and when I came around the Sentinel I could see that the fire which started last week is still burning. Today is day 5. The pic below is from yesterday.

fire-still-burning-crop

Image Credit.

I did not stop to take a pic this morning but I could see flames licking all the way up the mountain behind me as I drove towards the city. The wind is still blowing pretty hard and I am sure this is making things even harder to control.

Keep the fire fighters and the residents in your prayers and thoughts please.

Enjoy your week everyone! x