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- The Always Positive Flower Essence Newsletter -
- A FIRST HEALING JOURNEY TO SOUTH AFRICA! -
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And they came with me to my beloved Africa, and were enchanted! South Africa reached out her loving arms, embraced my group and they were changed forever!
What’s not dramatic about Africa!
This is not meant to be a travel log of our trip, but in wanting to share some of the highlights, maybe it is! We arrived about mid-October and were there for 3 weeks. It was spring, the best time for flowers!
After the long flight[s] we landed in Johannesburg where my excited 84 year-old Mother was waiting to board the local jet for the 2-hour flight to Cape Town. She was to spend just that week with us. There’s always an ‘inner kid’ present in my Mom; she is “light,” loves to laugh [and flirt] and is right in front when it’s ice cream time! She also couldn’t wait to see ME!
Ken and Paula, our travel guides, greeted us with coach transport to our B & B in St. James, where our gracious hostess welcomed us. The B & B was separated from the warm Indian Ocean and its beach by a too-narrow main road and coastal railway line. Beach access was a short tunnel. We settled in and the fun began! The very next morning we woke to the exciting news of barnacle-encrusted Southern Right whales cavorting in the bay and visible from our dwelling!
Refreshed by a night’s rest after the seemingly endless flight, we set off to Cape Point/The Cape of Good Hope southern tip of the African continent, where Indian and Atlantic oceans meet. Down at the small beach some of us climbed the high rock paths for better views, while others approached the churning waters. I explored and photographed the profusion of spring flowers bursting out among the colorful rocks.
We lunched on fresh line fish [Cape fish is the finest!!] at the Two Oceans Restaurant, after which we drove slowly back through the nature game park - where yellow Pincushion Proteas bloomed amidst grazing antelope in the warm sun. We stopped fascinated as a family of vagrant monkeys used the windscreen and bonnet of a small car, as a slide, before twisting and dismantling the unfortunate wipers!
Monkeys and the larger baboons abound in this wild Cape region and these marauders can invade and trash homes via the tiniest opening in their search for food! It was an introduction to “crime in South Africa!”
Boulder’s Beach, a Simonstown stretch of beach and rocks, has attracted thousands of formally dressed small penguins as their sanctuary. Several years ago we were there - and found maybe 20 it’s now a major tourist destination. One can walk out among the little fellas on boardwalks to see fluffy baby chicks with downy feathers. It looks like a convention, and they don’t seem to mind the intrusion!
The days that followed flowed. Massive mesa Table Mountain overlooking the city of Cape Town was our destination for the first clear day when the “foggy table cloth” allowed maximum visibility. The modern revolving cable cars that transported us to the summit made the ascent and descent a “piece of cake” as well as affording the opportunity to examine the mountain’s fabulous FLORA. The unique FYNBOS, famous among botanists as the Cape’s FLORAL KINGDOM covered these slopes with many varieties of indigenous PROTEA. At the summit, as well as exploring the fabulous views of Cape Town city, coastal resort towns surrounded by turquoise shallows, Robben Island in the distance, several of us “flower folk” conducted a small floral “Peace Ceremony.” Fat “dassies” [rock rabbits] approach hoping for handouts, and florescent-colored lizards basked in the sun, suddenly vanishing so fast you wondered if they were really there!
World-renowned Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens--stretched beneath and up the slopes of Table Mountain--was our next destination. Jannet Unite Penney, who co-created the South African flower essences, joined us to point out some of the trees and plants she has utilized in her work. A visit to her gracious homestead adjoining Kirstenbosch followed, with a South African garden tea and traditional Melktert [milk tart]. We were each gifted with ‘introductory packs’ of essences and booklets.
Unique and interesting restaurants offered fine fare for our evening meals! A dinner at “Biesmiellah” in the colorfully painted Malay quarter offered a variety of subtle flavored curried fish, vegetables and meats.
A day trip to the “Napa Valley” of South Africa the western Cape wine lands, Stellenbosch, Paarl [“pearl” of the Cape] and vicinity. Enormous OAK trees bring cooling shade and cast moving shadows on the characteristic white washed homesteads, often roofed with sun-blackened GRASS thatching. We visited the world famous KWV Cellars - major supplier of SA wines for a wine tasting presentation. Afterwards we dined at Le Petit Ferme, a French gourmet restaurant and winery with long verandas set on the gentle slopes of a lush green valley. The ultimate in gracious living!
Another day trip was to Hermanus, a couple of hours drive from Cape Town. We stopped atop its mountain approach to spot the Southern Right WHALES in the bay below and then scooted down to the appropriate spot on the rocky shoreline. We saw several, their barnacle-encrusted heads forging through the water as they sounded and played close enough that boat trips were unnecessary.
Our fresh dockside lunch was at a popular and noisy eatery joined by my friend Carol who lives and works there, managing an art gallery that specializes in top South African artists.
Joanna Walner, http://www.jaywalk.com/reiki/flower.htm - an American friend who relocated to the Cape many years ago - arranged a visit from a SANGOMA. Chris Reid Ntombemhlophe is an initiated African Shaman or traditional healer, and the group had been able to ask questions after a brief but illuminating presentation. The issue of responsibility is very strong in indigenous healing. The patient needs to make reparation or release his “bad energy” that is behind the imbalance of his health. It’s clearly much more deeply psychologically appropriate than western medicine realizes. Native healers in the ‘liberated South Africa’ are receiving more of the respect due to them than previously.
After the week in the Cape, we returned to Johannesburg and an altitude of 6,000 feet! Inland SA is on an escarpment, and except for the Drakensberg mountain range, which is still higher, the higher elevation accounts for moderate weather, dry and sunny winters. Summers can brings rain with dramatic thunder and lightning storms that cool the heat of the day, and then clear so that evenings are “just perfect”. With its ideal climate, South Africa is a sports lover’s paradise! November is “Jacaranda time” in Pretoria and Johannesburg, and many suburban streets are swathed in their deep lavender blossoms! After heavy rains, carpets of purple blooms turn every street into picture postcards!
We were eleven for this first “Healing Journey”. In Johannesburg we stopped at an African traditional healers MUTI [Medicine] Shop, with all manner of herbs and roots, animal parts and potions on display. It also offered a Sangoma on duty for consultations in back of the store.
Another notable highlight close to Johannesburg was a visit to a World Heritage Site “The Cradle of Mankind”, an educational center situated near the Sterkfontein Caves. Here we entered an archeological area developed under the auspices of the Witwatersrand University, which is normally restricted to the public. We carefully descended into an actual dig, searching the composite red earth for fragments of teeth or bones. Sitting in the shade of ancient olive trees, a young lady paleontologist, using skull models of early man, demonstrated and explained their most current discoveries.
Our visit included Kliptown, in Soweto, a creche [nursery school] where about 50 toddlers, many orphans from AIDS, as well as children of local working mothers, are cared for daily. Ellen Henson, a healer colleague and friend, has “Animal Beacons of Light”, whereby soft toys are collected and refreshed, imbued with Reiki healing and donated free to children wherever possible. This time Ellen was present to witness the children’s joy! This was not a shake down for donations. It is exposure to what is happening there. Some volunteered an amount to ensure education for a child for a year or two. The South African government is strapped and educated children have a better chance to make a difference. Beaded artwork created by women [with AIDS] was also available for purchase.
After Johannesburg, we bussed far north, beyond the Tropic of Capricorn, towards the country’s border marked by the Limpopo River. A couple of nights were spent at TCHIPESE HOT SPRINGS, where we relaxed in hot mineral baths, in the dry heat of the African Bushveld. BAOBAB TREES surrounded us - and I responded to a need to make an essence from their energies. I had already felt the call to do this, hence this northern destination! We utilized a couple of different BAOBABS, and afterwards combined the essences. See link to Vibration Magazine article: http://www.floweressencemagazine.com/june07/southafrica.html
Called “The Upside Down Tree”, because it appears to have been uprooted and replanted upside down, these massive trees are an example of how many different species can live in communities, with different needs, and all get along! What a message for the planet! Driving through the Bushveld, the shorter ACACIA Trees are all of a similar height, but the Baobabs stand “head and shoulders” higher, and can be spotted from long distances.
From our most informative guide Ken we learned fascinating facts about the Bushveld trees, and how they communicate with each other. Apparently, according to a document by zoologist Lyall Watson, ACACIA TREES, a popular food source for giraffe or antelope, release a bitter tannin into their leaves once they are nibbled, so that grazing animals move on to the next tree, instead of stripping them bare of leaves, and thus ensure their survival.
A couple more essences were made at Tchipese ACACIA, and then also SHELL GINGER, which was prolific and in full flower. The latter’s unusual flowering combination of gentle soft looking pink and white blooms that then further opened into fiery red and yellow monster-like jaws, invited much speculation as to its healing message. I had seen these in Hawaii previously, but these South African species were enormous and their energy positively assertive. All these three essences were made with cooled mineral waters from the hot springs. I listed the water’s minerals.
Next we entered the Kruger National Game Park at its most northern gate, PAFURI HEK [Gate] and began the fun of animal and bird spotting! My brother David, truly a more-than-avid birder, had shown us slides one evening to help us identify bird species, especially the beautiful raptors we would encounter. Ken was equipped with taped birdcalls! We were ready!
The three or four days were rich with bird and animal experiences!
Elephants especially had us amazed, thrilled and totally enthralled. The “teenager” in a dry area, where just a long shallow puddle remained from a river, chose that moment to tear up and down - ears, trunk and tail waving wildly, water splashing, scared birds flapping then reached the end, turned around and did it all over again, and again - just for the joy of it!
Somewhere else, a caring mother elephant gently coached her tiny baby to bend it’s forelegs at a trough, so as to reach the water below, suck it up to drink!
We stopped on a bridge overlooking a deep pool with a veritable vista couple of hippos in the distance, warthogs, impala, waterbuck drinking, and birds. A small herd of about nine elephants were wading and splashing in the far shallows. Then the show began! Two large beasts separated themselves from the group and entered the deeper water right below us. They then began to wrestle and play like kids in a pool, trunks and limbs entwined, they rolled about until both were almost submerged for almost a half hour we watched transfixed! Then a larger tusked authoritarian type [Mom?] approached, clearly communicated something like: “It’s enough, kids, break it up!” entered the water herself, [or himself], and led the two players, who obediently rolled upright, stood up and followed “boss elephant” across the pond out and away!
Once again demonstrating the joys of a game park visit- there is sure to be a show, and you have no idea who or what actors will take part! A matter of fortune! Individually we found ourselves incredibly enriched by these experiences no one leaves South Africa unchanged! One takes South Africa and all its components home in one’s heart!
Several days in the magnificent Drakensberg Mountains completed our journey. Misty and cloudy weather couldn’t detract from the majesty of the mountains surrounding us. Nature spirits and the elementals were tangible there amid the rich profusion of plants and flowers, amid Protea and palms. We followed a handsome Zulu guide from a local village about three quarters of a mile up a narrow mountain path to a rocky overhang where he showed us delicate Bushman paintings of antelope and figures dancing across the rock face! Across the green expanse of mountain opposite, we heard the loud barking of baboons, and spotted their bouncy gait as their dark shapes traveled in line. Another Flower Essence [a delicate magenta SPRING SQUILL] was made overnight there, and as we were leaving, the clouds lifted to reveal the vast “AMPHITHEATRE” formation!
We were a small group of seekers, interested in forms of healing, maybe the healing of a nation, of others, of different cultures, of ourselves.
I spent my first 40 years in South Africa, and return periodically, including 5 times since the change in government in 1994. It has been exciting to witness the changes, thrilling to finally see the mixing of all the peoples there President Mandela’s “RAINBOW NATION!” A vibrant black middle class is developing a dream of Helen Suzman the lone voice in parliament who spoke strongly against Apartheid [racial separation and segregation] for so many years. I was seeing different races eating together in restaurants, elegant women in stunning traditional dress proudly self-accepting of their rights. The ever present gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ continues, of course.
I was inspired in October 2004 to take groups to tour and enjoy my beautiful homeland. I felt a strong urge to personally promote the positive that is being achieved there. South Africa needs to be seen as the miracle it is, a country that has made a transition, peacefully, from the horrors of divisiveness and pain, to a new unity, and so far, it is looking good. Like each of us, it is a work in process, and deserves all the encouragement possible. Negative press hurts, and with positive vision, things can and will change even further for the better.