Rick Archer: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of interviews with spiritually Awakening people have done over 420 of them by now. And if this is new to you, and you’d like to watch previous ones, please go to batgap.com Bat gap and look under the past interviews menu where you’ll see all the previous ones archived in various ways. This show is made possible by the support of appreciative listeners and viewers. So if you appreciate it and feel like supporting it to any degree, it means a lot to us and it makes it possible for us to do this. There’s a there’s a PayPal button on every page of the site. My guest today is John Lockley. I’ll read his bio here and I’m going to pronounce a couple of these names incorrectly but John will pronounce and forest correctly as we go along. John is a traditionally trained African shaman known as sangoma from Nelson Mandela’s tribe. They say that John Costa cosa there’s a click in there, which I can’t do the Cosa nation. He has. He also has a background in Zen Buddhism and was a student of the late Zen masters to Bong from South Korea. He holds an honours degree in clinical psychology and specialized in health psychology with an interest in trauma, and how people recover from life threatening illnesses like cancer. The last 10 years he has been running a boon to humanity retreats worldwide, helping people to reconnect to their essential humanity, their bones, which means their ancestors, their dreams, and ultimately their life purpose. His mission in the western world could be summed up in Kosovo, where we’re not the Embo, involving a profound remembering of the human spirit. As John says, when people can remember their dreams and connect to their life purpose, then their true vocation surfaces, namely, being in service and acting as guardians to our planet. John has written a book which I enjoyed very much read cover to cover, called leopard warrior, a journey into the African teachings of ancestry instinct and dreams. So welcome, John. Thanks, Rick. I’m gonna start by having John do a little chant. That’ll kind of get us into this is a traditional chant from John the tradition in which John is a shaman. So go ahead, John.
John Lockley: So I just asked people to just drop into their hearts. So the more available you are on your heart, the easier it is for me to teach art. Wherever you are. You Chicka Chicka who you u u, u, u u? U? U U U? Z? Good tip good tip young woman young Margot’s and multichrome from Margot’s. Yeah Nora. Banga, Banga pansy, Manana Jenica. Margot’s young Molly’s in yarn. Yeah, young gulaman young gay. Who wouldn’t let it go and put Leila was Ali Pam siddhi Camargo, Mercia masseter and does the Madhyama Pam bereits Camargo vanleer about to go hammer pan village. Dama Gu native article composure composure isn’t Janya, Zabul, Camargo, and later bound to coo coo coo coo Bucha are bizarrely, I was really bad que Abyanga dalla is in Janya. siddhi Kumar Gupta margu lm Abyanga wouldn’t let it go on siddhi Kumar Kumar Gu. He come along with finger and dab and tamas tropican kianga He joke in a yang way Coco Moya, John Keith Kelly Luckily, the lab up the Buddha the gas pump. Net inocle Technical co author of who made a particle for DISA. bootable Ubuntu Thank you. I’m just doing a pray to to the Great Spirit Chico and ancestors, and I’m asking them to please help woolen Laila to help open the road. And I’m giving the names of my ancestors in my lineage. And I’m asking the great ones to come and be with me and help me to help the people. Remember the old ways of our collective humanity. And in particular, to remember Ubuntu, Ubuntu, which means the depth of humanity. And what that means is I cut my own red blood flows, I cut your arm red blood flows, we are all part of this human family. And part of my mission is to help people to remember this.
Rick Archer: I’m glad you made that last point, because I in in your bio, we said that you’re from Nelson Mandela’s tribe, and there’s an obvious difference between you and Nelson Mandela, although your blood would be the same color. So how is it better a white man with Irish ancestry ended up following the path you followed?
John Lockley: Yeah, I know. I’m sure a lot of people ask that question. But I will start with dreams. So it all started with my mother’s dreams, and feelings of Africa. And my mother was brought up in Dublin in Ireland. And in the 1950s, and 1960s. She, she had this calling to go to Africa. And it came with this great love of the wilderness. And one day, she was walking along the sea along a very well known pier in Durban. And she had the vision of all these African elephants coming to her. And that compelled her and inspired her to, to leave islands and to leave her work that she had in London, and, and to go to Africa, and she went to Zambia. And then she went to Zimbabwe Rhodesia at the time, and that’s where she met my father. And then she encouraged my father to go into the African bush felt. And she said to me, years later, she wants to go into the African bush felt and see wild animals, wild elephants, while they are still roaming free and wild. And anyway, my story is a long story. And if people are interested, I encourage them to read the book, but I’ll just shorten it slightly and just say that
Rick Archer: we have about two hours here. So we’re gonna talk about your story and I’m gonna ask you questions.
John Lockley: Okay, so So, so when I was born, I was born in Cape Town below to Table Mountain and I was born with this white clay around my eyes, which is one of the markings of a poster sangoma was really excited. That was
Rick Archer: some white pigmentation or lack of pigmentation, right?
John Lockley: We call it color clay and call it just the white birth skin. That’s what it is. So I was born with that. And then when it came out of the womb, my mother said, I look like a little aborigine. And of course, that was the early 70s in apartheid, South Africa, and the whites, consultants, Doctor was really shocked. And in the course, in nurses, you related and my father laughed,
Rick Archer: what is your writing mean? Which is a sign of celebration, or
John Lockley: just celebration, I mean, every birth is sacred. So it couldn’t, it might not have meant anything special. They just, there’s there’s the baby and then the white skin, the yuga. So anyway, it was many years before my mother, my mother forgot the fact that had this white growths going around my eyes. And it was only many years later, and she met my Casa teacher who came in to our property with into our home, she arrived with with a beautifully white clay around the eyes and his beads around her. And then my mother remembered my birth. And she sat down with my teacher and she described my birth and my teacher said yes, that’s the way all courses sangomas, we have the strong calling. That’s that’s the way we were born. So anyway,
Rick Archer: did you ever have a class life memory of having had this kind of life before perhaps as a black man,
John Lockley: I can’t really recall as such not not clearly. But maybe there was some of that, but. But anyway, I had these dreams from the age of about 14. And one particular dream I had when I was 16. And that’s what started everything going for me. I was obviously going through puberty. And in this dream, I was in the jungles of South America. And I was walking very, very clearly with a lot of mindfulness through the jungle, and I was in search of gold. And I remember that I found this gold in the jungle. And as I woke up from the dream, having found the gold, there was this woman’s voice that said to me very, very clearly, John, in order for you to find your calling, and connect with your destiny, you have to come close to death. And then I woke up from the dream with the sense and I I wasn’t afraid, but I was very aware that I had to make a decision because a lot of white white boys or white men were conscripted and drafted into the South African army and because I was still apartheid, and and my brother just being was going to be drafted soon, and a number of people I knew had been drafted. So I had a choice to decide what area of the armed forces to go into. And after that particular dream, it was very clear for me to sign up for the medical corps, because I wanted to train to become an operational medic, go to the front lines and, and do some some good and and experience. And my sense was, I was going to experience death. But I had a sense of jubilation around that the sense that, that that’s what I needed to do. So when it was my time to go into the South African, I
Rick Archer: wanted to be able to help people rather than kill them, right? That’s right, yeah.
John Lockley: So my, my choice was to do some good and learn some healing arts. And fortunately, I had a chance to choose what areas the armed forces to go into. So I chose the medical corps. And then a couple of years later, the South African, the South African war with Angola, ended in December 1989. And, and I was drafted, still drafted to go into the army. And so I went in, in January 1990, just after a major offensive in Angola. And I started my military service at one military hospital in Pretoria. And that was the start of my journey in working with, with African soldiers, most of whom were special forces. And these African soldiers started teaching me these old ways. And I had number of experiences, which I’ve written about. And one of the most powerful experiences for me, was, was the experience of, of, of dealing with these or working with the Special Forces soldiers. And, and one story in particular, which I can share with the listeners was how I went into the ward every day. And I used to ask if they had any good dreams. And every day, I’d walk into the ward and open their curtains, and the soldiers would be quiet. And I’d ask them if they had any good dreams, and they’d still be quiet. And after the third day, I opened the curtains. And I said, Good morning, guys, that you have any good dreams, and they will sit. There was again that answered by the sense of quietness. And then at the back of the ward, there was a sergeant and he said, Come over here, Medic, I want to speak to you. So I went to the side of his bed and I said, Yes, sergeant, sir. How can I help you, Sergeant. And he was his big Zulu sergeant, very powerful man, great leader. And he said to me, in my culture, dreams are very sacred. When I dream, my ancestors come to me and show me who’s going to live and who’s going to die in my platoon. I tell the men, the ancestors are calling you this could be your time. They laugh at me, but they still die. So in my culture, dreams are very sacred. Don’t ask me again if I’ve had any good dreams. And I said to him, Thank you, Sergeant. Yes, thank you, sir. And he was actually apprenticing to become a Zulu sangoma. He was an initiator at the time he was going through his time of calling time of Twaweza is time of illness. And then I went through this process of I was very happy when he shared that with me, because I’d already had my calling dreams to become a sangoma. And when he said this, to me, I had a sense that something was being stirred and shown to me in a very profound way. At that stage, I was only 18 years old. And, and that experience with with Sergeant and Lovell actually propelled me to go to the matron of the hospital, and asked if I could go into a more high, a more intense helping situation. So I asked to go into the intensive care unit. So that I could be more frontlines in terms of helping people who are dying. And, and the matron was quite shocked, because she said it was the first time she’d ever experienced a conscripted soldier who wanted to do more work, not less. And I explained to her that I wanted to study psychology, and I wanted to use my time in the army in the military, for good use. I didn’t want to waste my time. So she said, Okay, the intensive care unit is full at the moment, but the neurology Ward needs medics, so I said, fine. So it was literally the next week. She got me into the neurology ward. And and that’s where everything started taking on a whole different shape, because I was working with very, very sick soldiers. Few of them actually died. And and one in particular had a very profound effects in my life. So within the first few days of going into that Ward, I helped put a another Sergeant Sergeant Major, I helped put him into a body bag. And that was quite literal. metric for me. And Evan you have is going to deal with something like that. And then 18 years old to Tao just 18 years old and No, no one really helps you deal with that kind of thing. It’s just you just you just deal with it, you know. And then I, I was I was each each Medicus is assigned different patients to look after during the course of this shift. So I was, I was assigned about three different patients. And this one patient I was assigned, was in a coma, semi coma. And he was he had beans, he was only 22 years old, so only a couple of years older than me. And he had been in a horrific car accident, where he probably broken many bones in his body. And he was in a state, like I say, semi coma. And every day, he’s his mother would come to me and ask me if he was going to live or die. I mean, it’s quite a thing at 18 Every day, his mom would ask me how how his son was doing, and whether he was going to live or die. And it was quite a heavy thing. But anyway, what happened with him was I nursed him for six weeks, until it was decided by the, by the nursing staff and the doctors and the and the family that it was best to turn off the machines keeping him alive. So so that’s what they did. And then I was asked to do the final observations. So a lot of the medics in the ward, some of the more senior medics found this particular case, very, very traumatic, and it was very difficult for them. So they asked me if I could do the observations. So I literally felt his pulse underneath my fingers and near his neck, watched him die. And so it was quite dramatic, because I mindfully watched him die. And that was my job to be with him. And as I as I left his ward, because my shift was over, and as I left the room, I looked at him suffering and looked at the family and I prayed, I prayed like I never prayed before. And I had a background in the Catholic as a Catholic. Christian Catholic Yeah. And and I pray to Mary a pray to Joseph pray to all the angels to guide. And I just said, you know, this, the suffering here is wrong, you know, the way he’s suffered is wrong. And I call on the great spiritual guide and all the angels to help me find a way of, of healing, where I can connect to the soul of the person. So if anyone is ever sick again, and future, that I can connect with the soul of the of the clients of the patient, and speak to the family and give a message, because here, I don’t know what to do. You have all the best medicine in the world. But yet, this man is dying. And there’s no peace for anyone. So I said this in such a strong way as such a strong prayer from the heart and as, as a soldier, you know, I prayed. And then I left the room, and went, went home. And then the next day I came back and His room was empty. There was it was gone. And I just carried on with my life. And about two weeks later, a friend of mine introduced me to Zen Buddhism. And all these mysterious things happened. So I was I was called in, to, to train in Zen Buddhism with a friend and and that’s how my journey started. And I liked Buddhism, because Buddhism was, was showing me how to deal with suffering. You know how to deal it says life is suffering. That’s the first thing I learned when I went to MIT this, this Buddhist nun. She said, life is suffering. I was like, right, you’ve got me. I’m right there, you know. So anyway, I think I’ll fast forward for the listeners because you asked me the question of how this white boy becomes a sangoma. So
Rick Archer: important, but keep going. Yeah. So I
John Lockley: this is an important part is in training was important, because anyway, I’ll explain to the listeners. I started Zen practice meditation. And the question was, What am I why do I live every day? Why do I eat every day? And so these were the questions I was I was asking while I was meditating. And then I went on my first Zen retreat, which was about four days, and it was in it was in a very old kind of forest in South Africa. So I went there and meditated like it say, like a soldier. I just gave it everything. And then I went home again, because I just about to start my shift in the hospital. And just before I returned home, I had a dream that night. And in the dream, I was in another world, it was one of the most powerful dreams I’ve ever had. And, and I saw this man who was draped in all these animal skins, and he had beautiful black skin, and he had these piercing eyes and he was just staring at me. And I could smell the herbs around him. I could see the animal skins. And I started to speak to him with my mind. And I started telling him about the army and my experience and all the suffering and apartheid. And I said to him, please teach me, teach me about nature. Teach me about how to deal with suffering, and teach me everything to do with nature and how to help people with suffering. And he was quiet. And then I remember looking to my left and seeing another man next to me. And we were both lying on the ground naked, like, in the old ways, with our stomachs on the ground, and there was a man on my left, who was a black guy, and I was his white guy. But we’re the same age and there was sense of this brotherly love between us. And we were both. We were both lying at the feet of this when I called him a witch doctor, because I didn’t know what else to call him that he was his medicine man, very powerful medicine man. So ask the medicine man, the Witch Doctor three times, teach me about nature, teach me about suffering, show me how I can heal people. Using the art of nature, the beauty of nature. And I kept quiet, he kept quiet, he didn’t respond to me. And after the third time of me asking him, he started to speak. And he said to me, in order for me to teach you, he said, you’re going to become very, very sick, and you’re going to become close to death yourself. And he said, Well, this is the way of my people. In order for me to teach you, you’re going to come close to death. And then you will start learning these old ways. So I said to him, teach me, I said, I’ve already come close to death, I’ve had to put my favorite dog down, because she was sick. And I’ve, I’ve experienced so much suffering around me. And I’m in apartheid in the South African army. And I’m only 18 years old. And I said, if you don’t teach me my life is over. Because I’ve, I’ve seen enough suffering. And I’m only 18. So he nodded his head. And the next thing he showed me a vision of the future, five years into the future. And our friends of mine who was struggling, or they were going through, and he just showed me all the suffering and the dynamics he’s showing me. And five years later, it came to pass. But when I woke up from the dream, I had coils all over my legs. And the night before I went to bed, there was nothing, not even a scratch. And when I saw the coils on my legs, I smiled and I was happy because I knew that the witch doctor of my dreams had accepted to train me as his apprentice. So I went to the hospital, because that’s where I was working. And obviously I went to the, to the clinic. And I was diagnosed with with tick bite fever. And, and from then on, I got one illness after the next it was like my immune system was compromised, I got all these different illnesses for over seven years. But something mysterious happened during the time of me getting all these illnesses. I also became very, very intuitive and very psychic and I had incredible dreams were the the spirits, or ancestors or angels, whatever you want to call it. From the consternation in the Zulu Nation. They came to me, African ancestors came to me and started teaching me things as well as Zen Buddhist monks came to me in my dreams. So at that stage, it was still apartheid, and I wasn’t able to go and find a course a teacher to work with.
Rick Archer: Before you go on. Let me ask you about dreams a little bit. Okay. Because that was an amazing dream that you had. I mean, as you told the story, it’s, it’s easy to almost forget that you’re talking about a dream and think that it was a real life situation that you were actually engaging with this guy. So I know you place tremendous importance on dreams as a representative of your lineage or tradition. So um, what is it about dreams? I mean, some people would you know, we some people are interested in lucid dreaming, there’s a whole field that studies that. And you know, some people would say that dreams are just sort of these hallucinatory things that are a result of brain activity while the body is resting and sleeping. But other but most traditional cultures place tremendous importance in them. And, you know, and I would tend to agree with the traditional cultures over the sort of modern materialistic perspective. So why is it what do you think are the mechanics of what’s actually going on in a dream like the one you had? Does that shaman that you interacted with actually exist on some level and he’s able to get through to you because you’re in a more open receptive state during the sleep during sleep during dreaming? Or is it still a fabrication of of your own unconscious or of the collective consciousness or what what do you think’s really going on there?
John Lockley: I think with dreams means All different kinds of dreams. So when I’m teaching people talk about the levels of dreams, I think when we are working with with clients and patients that sangomas, our job is to help people to connect with their soul. And when you’re connecting with your soul, it’s a particular kind of dream. And and those dreams are the ones that open up to, you could say, past life experiences or lucid dreaming. But these are all words. And I’m a, I’m a mystic, I work in a mystical way, which means I’ll go beyond language and beyond concepts, and it’s to connect with the soul of life. So how do you know you connecting with the soul of something, when you feel everything is alive, like I talk about the leopard, when the leopard is going through the African bush, its whole body, its whole spine is is shining, is alive, like this lightning conductor. So these dreams, these soulful dreams are very important for every human being. And we will even say amongst the crossing the Zulu that if you don’t remember your dreams, then you’ve got an illness, and you need to see a sangoma and what they are talking about, they’re talking about dreams with a capital D, they’re talking about soulful dreams that are impacting on, we say, your own Moya, your soul, the soul inside of you, because in the process, Zulu system and other traditional African systems, we see the soul of man, as growing as you’re getting older, it grows, it’s continually growing, however, it needs to be watered. And one of the ways your soul is watered, is through you observing your dreams, and taking action on your dreams. So in that situation, I was awake in the dream. And was it a dream or not? Well, in the traditional sense, we would say it wasn’t really a dream. It was me meeting, the spirit meeting, an ancestor, meeting a guide, it wasn’t really a dream, I was entering the other world, we call that other world, the world of the river people inland journey, because it was so powerful. But I don’t want to confuse listeners, I just want to explain that when you’re getting certain kinds of soulful, conscious dreams, it opens up many different doorways. And the reason why I do this work is because the western world is dealing with a great sense of, of forgetfulness, forgetting the power of the human spirit, the human soul. And what we need to do is connect with our dreams more. So these dreams, everyone gets to a certain extent, I was primed to call it my karma could have whatever you want. But through a lot of suffering, people pray, when people are really suffering, they pray, they don’t think about material objects, they don’t think about new shoes or new cars or when people are really suffering, they pray. And so this is this is a common, I wouldn’t say my experience was a common experience. But I’ve spoken to a lot of sangomas who have received a calling through a lot of hardship and a lot of suffering.
Rick Archer: And I heard you say in your book, but one thing before I say that is, in my own life, the most profound experiences I’ve ever had have happened during sleep, and I wouldn’t have called them dreams. I mean, they were just so powerful that it was like a real blowout mystical experience that happened to happen while I was in a sleep state, but it very different from ordinary dreams. And my sense was that in sleep, there’s a sort of an innocence and surrender, which you don’t really have usually in the waking state, which makes you amenable to or open to that kind of experience. Would you concur with that?
John Lockley: Use. And what I normally say to people is that I mean, I had a client today, actually, and I mentioned dreams, and she said dreams when during the day, and I said that’s a daydream, that’s your imagination. She was she was a young client, and she was very funny. And I said to her, I said, Honey, we’re looking at dreams at night, capital D when you sleeping. Important is because you your ego has not been engaged. Your personality is not engaged. You’re in a state with a core tabula rasa, which means a blank slate. So you don’t have RMI me, you don’t have your once engaged in the same ways. And there’s different levels of dreams, you know, certain kinds of desires can come through in your dream state, of course. But by and large when you sleeping and there’s no gender and you’re just sleeping. Those are the dreams to watch because it’s showing the deep longings of your soul. It’s showing things that you might not be aware of when you’re when you’re in your waking state. Okay.
Rick Archer: Regarding the while we’re on the topic of dreams, a question just came in from a fellow named Raymond Schumann in Olympia, Washington is saying the benchmark for North European shamanism is the flight of the spirit out of body experience. Is that part of your tradition?
John Lockley: Yes, sure. Okay.
Rick Archer: Sure. Want to elaborate?
John Lockley: I don’t I don’t want to get caught up in words. I think the whole idea here is to go beyond words, because that’s, that’s the mystical approach. Flight of spirits. It’s that sounds nice. It sounds nice. But in the African tradition, though, our focus is the dreams. And if you want to call that a flight of spirit, and you can say that, yes, but it’s how you can engage your spirit in the dream state and how you can you know, what kind of information is given to you? How do the ancestors come and, and give you knowledge and information? So yeah, I could agree with the, with the listener there that that’s that’s the correct word. But in Africa, we just talk about it in a different way.
Rick Archer: Okay. And, you know, I mean, what they mean by out of body, I mean, some people have these dreams where they seem to go someplace. And, you know, they travel, they see other lands or whatever, and then they come back to their body. So I guess that’s what he was asking about.
John Lockley: Yeah, no, I think he’s right. That’s right. It’s same for us in South Africa. Yes. Correct.
Rick Archer: Okay, good. Now, we’re beginning to talk about quaza, if that’s the correct pronunciation, or the sort of purificatory cathartic suffering, that you went through, and that seems to be almost a universal thing. And many cultures around the world, many traditional cultures. It’s a metamorphosis. And, you know, I think there are degrees of severity, and perhaps it depends upon how deeply entrenched a person is and are impure, they are something that how severe it’s going to have to be. But I guess, would you say that some degree of this sort of thing is going to be necessary for anybody who really wants to make a profound transformation?
John Lockley: Yes, we have a, we have a saying in the crystal winner, when I was going through the trials, they say the depth of your trials illness, is the depth of your job as a healer. So if you have a really tough time, then it’s a sign, they say it’s a sign that the ancestors have a big job for you. You know, unless you you’re born, as you would say, in a, quite an evolved way already. And you just have a leftover small illness, to remind you of certain things. But generally, you know, I’m generalizing now, according to the elders, who trained me, they say that, if you have a very strong twice, where you got very sick and close to death, then it’s a sign that ancestors have a very big job for you. And you’re going to have a have a lot of heating work to do in the future.
Rick Archer: I have seen actually that some people seem to have a pretty easy ride, and, you know, then they’re there, they’re flying high, you know, whereas, but most, I would say, really have to go through years of intense stuff sometimes takes the form of, you know, incredible Kundalini experiences, where they’re lying on the bathroom floor at three in the morning with their body burning up, you know, contorting various ways, and, you know, going through various sicknesses and so on. You know, it’s, it can be quite direct, dramatic. But I do know, people who have gone through that kind of thing and have come out the other side,
John Lockley: you know, can be quite romantic. You’re right, that’s for sure. So
Rick Archer: alright, so pick up the story, that I want to be asking your questions, but don’t want to interrupt your train of thought.
John Lockley: Yeah, well, maybe I’ll shorten it actually, because it says a lot of energy in it. And I just, I think, you know, if the listeners really want all the details, they can read the book, you know, that’s why I’ve written the book. So the question is, you know, a lot of listeners are like, what’s this white guy doing as a as a sangoma content? And so let me just explain that. It’s not about the color of your skin, it’s about how you call by the ancestors. So in my particular case, I had this very profound calling, where I was being called by African teachers and guides to become a sangoma. But I never went looking for it, you know, as such, in a no overt way. So I remember, I was learning in the townships of South Africa, I was there working as, as a student helping with with a through leaf and education and my professor got us to go and work with a herbalist and he was asking the herbalist all these questions to understand African healing. And and after that experience, I asked one of my one of my friends who was an interpreter in the psychology department, if he could take me to a sangoma that he would go to, or a member of his family.
Rick Archer: To yours sojourn to South Korea. Yes, that’s right. Yes. You returned from scanner skipping that. So you spend like three months in a South Korean Zen monastery sleeping three hours a night and, you know, meditating your brains out? Yeah, that’s right. And they want to do to become a monk there. And you said, I think I better go back to South Africa
John Lockley: and vote for my dealer and my sense when they asked me to become a monk in Singapore, you know, in in the Quran riaan system I was training and the Zen master doesn’t seem invites me to become a monk, it was such an honor. But when he pushed me to the point of becoming a monk, I realized that my destiny was to become an African monk, African priest, because of all the dreams that were pointing in the direction of Africa. So I went back to South Africa and voted for Mandela. And, and then I went back to university to finish my degree in psychology. And that’s what took me back to the townships in South Africa working with the local people. So, so my friend organized for me to go and have a have a meeting with with a sangoma that his son was was being treated by and he said she was a very good sangoma. And she was helping his son deal with with his son was only three years old at the time he had a skin condition. So he said that she was helping him with a skin condition, and she spoke the truth, and she was very good. So So we organized to go the next day. And then the night before I went to go and see her, she had a dream, she said, where the great spirit came to her and said to her that she needed to prepare herself to train someone to become a senior sangoma like her. And she said, This person is going to come from another culture, not the same culture as you, and you need to prepare yourself for this. So the next day, when I walked through her gates, she was sweeping the yard. She looked up, and she saw me and she, she said that she realized I was the person she had to train. And, and I was there with my girlfriend at the time, and my friends, my Casa interpreter, friend. So when she sat down, she, she spoke about the last seven years of my life and quite a lot of detail in terms of what had happened to me. And then she spoke about my future, and she said that I was destined to become a senior sangoma and that I had a very strong gift, and that my gift would manifest in certain ways in the future. And she was right about that. And then she also asked me if I’d like to become her apprentice. So this is the crux of the story. For those listeners, looking at this wax on logo, what is this white guy doing? Listen to this, and listen very carefully, because I’ve got a lot of prejudice from people. And I feel that as a human being, we need to practice the art of listening, and the art of kindness. So please listen to this very carefully. She asked me if I would like to become her apprentice. And I didn’t say yes, straightaway. She asked me a few times, I’d like to join her and become a sangoma apprentice in across the nation. And I said to her, what does it mean to become a sangoma and to become your apprentice, she said to become a sangoma means that you’re going to stop being so sick, because I’d still been sick up until that point. And she said, and you’re going to be able to heal people in all different ways, the ancestors are going to move through you, and you’re going to be able to heal people in multiple ways. So I thought that sounded pretty good, because all I’d been brought up with was this idea of witch doctors from apartheid South Africa, which I already knew was nonsense. So I said to Okay, Mom, I’ll accept. And she I’ll accept the calling to become your, your offer to become your apprentice. And then then I said, Oh, one more thing. He said, Okay, what’s that? And I said, I will become your apprentice. If you can agree to train me as if I’m a postman. Don’t make any shortcuts because I’ve got white skin and I don’t speak cancer. And she said, of course, that’s the only way to do it. Okay, I accept. I’ll become your apprentice. And she said, Great. And she said, Okay, well, then tomorrow, come tomorrow, and I’ll give you your first white beads. Sign printers, and we are walking this road together. So I said, Great. So that next day, that night, went to sleep and then in the morning, we saw neatly folded goatskin was left outside the meditation center that I was running that we were practicing it, so neatly folded Vygotskian. And we had all these dogs in the area, town, Chip dog, stray dogs, and not one of the dogs touch this white good skin. So we took the goat skin, we wrapped it up, and we took it went over the hill to my teacher. And she said to me, I said to her, did you leave this ghost is going outside my home where I was praying? And she said no. And I explained to her the situation and she said, the ancestors have done this. She said isn’t Janya Z a warmer? She said the ancestors have accepted to train you. And she was quiet and she said you’re going to be trained in the old ways of the cross of people. And then your husband came into the room and he’s an elder and across the nation. And she explained this situation to him. And he said, welcome. This home will always be your home. You’re now going to be like one of our sons in this family. You’re very welcome. And then three weeks later, a teacher had a dream that two ancestors came to her. Of course, the ancestors and they said, You must call him Pingala and darba. Pingala. Indaba means the messenger, the bridge, the one who joined someone over long distances. So then we had a ceremony together. And a lot of sangomas came from the community. And they said that actually was a small group of people. But it was a very powerful group. And we did lots of Drumming and singing. And when they asked what my name was, my teacher said Slingerland dabba, everyone was quiet. And they said, that’s a very powerful name. It’s very auspicious. And they said, the ancestors have got a big job for you. And at that stage, I just was 2526 years old. And I traveled to South Korea and only visited Ireland once or twice as a child, I hadn’t done much traveling. And since then, I’ve traveled all over the world. And each time I’ve traveled, I’ve spoken to my elders about where I’m going to come back and speak to them. And before writing this book, I discussed it with my elders, and they gave me permission to share some of these basic teachings and how people can connect with the ancestors and their dreams. Because I said to them, there’s a crisis in the western world that people don’t know their ancestors, and they don’t remember their dreams. And amongst the traditional amongst traditional process people, and amongst the elders, it is seen as a serious illness. If people do not know their ancestors and do not remember their dreams, it’s considered a very serious illness. So I fit to them, this is what I’m coming across. And I’d like to use some very simple techniques of prayer, to teach people how to remember their humanity. And all my elders said, we give you our blessing, see a woman we agree. So I’d like to say all this, so people can be aware that the red blood of our humanity is what binds us. And this is very important.
Rick Archer: That I want to ask you, about ancestors. But before I do that, I just want to ask you, we’re in a, you know, South Korean monastery did a lot of Zen Buddhist practice. Your Korean South Korean Zen master said that he got enlightened at the age of 22, or something. So you’re, you’re well familiar with the notion of Enlightenment and what it is and so on. Is there an equivalent in the sangoma tradition and the Cosa tradition to Enlightenment? Or is it just a completely different track of, of spiritual growth?
John Lockley: I wouldn’t say it’s a completely different track, but I’d say it is different. It is very zen. And it’s a good question because I have thought a lot about this. So what I could say in the sangoma tradition, it’s about how you can help your community and your clients. It’s about service. So what I learned from my son coma community was about the action of, you could say, the Sangha, the community, and it’s all about how much you can give your community and how much you can help. And it’s also very important, what’s very important in this very stressed and the tradition is we say tobacco, which means humility, in the face of the ancestors and the spirit world, incredible humility and the action of service. And then, if you are deemed worthy by the great ones, or the ancestors, we say, you will be given certain gifts and your gifts will get stronger as you get older with your career as a sangoma, because you have shown the action of recital bakeoff, humility and grace. And when that happens, you will have a dream. And as you have different dreams, even once you finish your training, you go to the elders, and you describe your dream and what you seeing in terms of what the ancestors or the spirit world is offering you. And that’s how people know let’s say that I won’t say the level of a Zen master, but that’s how people know your your your development, your spiritual development, and then we’ll have a ceremony and the whole community will be brought in. But the interesting thing in the sangoma world, it’s not about how powerful the sangoma is, it’s about the action of helping the community and helping and bringing the teachings and bringing the message of prayer and helping you helping the community is the most important.
Rick Archer: You know, Jesus said you shall know them by their fruits and a lot of that then Christianity and also Eastern traditions There’s a lot of emphasis in some of them at least on savor on service and both for its intrinsic value to the world. And also because it’s considered to be a powerful spiritual practice because it it sort of attenuates the ego and, you know, gets you out of the sort of Mimimi mentality into like a more selflessness, which is characteristic of, of Enlightenment, really, you’ve you’ve transcended, and the individual ego and entered into a more universal awareness. Seva can be a conducive tool to that.
John Lockley: Yeah, good point. Yeah. And it’s about letting go your story because the story is powerful. And you can, you can write a book as I’ve done, or we can have a dream journal, or you can paint and draw. But it’s important to be aware of your personal story, but not to be attached to it. Because once you get attached to it, it makes it difficult to grow, whether the attachment and the story’s got to do with being a victim, or being someone who’s famous or powerful, whatever the story is, it’s like we have to be vailable to let go of that. So we can connect with something a lot more mysterious and mystical.
Rick Archer: Yeah. It’s like, like an actor who forgets that he’s an actor and gets identified with his part or something. Dustin Hoffman really thought he was Rain Man, he kind of put the kibosh on his career.
John Lockley: That’s a good way to put it. Yeah. Okay. That’s why we always say with, with the elders, we say that, sure, it’s great to look at a sangoma, who, who has got black skin and looks the part, but not to get attached to that. So they didn’t have any problem with me having white skin because my elders said that I was sent to them by the great spirit. And even though we had this terrible system of apartheid, I wasn’t responsible. They said, You’re not responsible for apartheid. And the ancestors sent you to us. And we have to train you. And that’s it. So when I’ve, when I’ve traveled the world, and I’m telling my elders that some people have an issue with the color of my skin, they say why we all have red blood, what’s their problem?
Rick Archer: We make a good point, you know, using Desmond Tutu as an example. And Desmond Tutu is an Anglican Archbishop Archbishop, and he’s a black man. And he’s closer. He’s closer. And it’s a it’s a white religious tradition, predominantly, but here is a black man who is a representative of it. So why shouldn’t it work the other way around?
John Lockley: Yeah, yeah, here we go. Yeah. Welcome. You say one killer killer. Welcome, welcome. Welcome humanity with all our flaws. Welcome.
Rick Archer: Yeah. So another thing that I find common between your tradition, as I understand it, and other ancient traditions, or you know, traditional cultures, as far as I understand them, is this emphasis on honoring the ancestors. In the Vedic tradition, they have it, they call them the peach trees, and there’s all sorts of ceremonies they do to honor the ancestors, and I’m sure in Native American traditions and do it South American traditions. So perhaps you could explain the rationale for that. And I have a few questions as we go along.
John Lockley: Yeah, well, first, I need to explain the whole area of ancestor and what it means because a lot of people seem to misunderstand that, especially in the African context. So the word isn’t Janja means the silent hidden ones. And it’s often a word, it’s a Zulu. And also word is often a word that is used to denote ancestors in the, in the in the traditional African way, you know, spirituality. But the silent hidden ones start off, we start off, we always start off with connecting with our blood ancestors. And so we say that you’re your mother and father, and your grandparents, your lineage is very important. So when you starting a spiritual practice, whether you becoming a Buddhist or Christian, or whatever it is, in the traditional African way, you would go and speak to your ancestors, because they already they already come, they’re ready on the other side, at the side of the river. So your first lineage is your mom and your your mom and dad. So you see everyone has having two different lineages. So the first thing to do is when you’re starting a spiritual practice, or you want to go deeper with your dreams, or whatever it is, you want to be say, we all know that your honor and praise your ancestors, your mother’s people and your father’s people. Now you are not worshipping them, you are just giving thanks for the gift of life. And also you are not honoring and worshiping their behavior with the stories so some people say to me in Europe that it’s very difficult for them to to work with the ancestors because all the abuse that has happened in families and all the bad actions that have happened by the descendants, I mean by the ancestors. So I said, Well, it’s not our job to judge our ancestors and to get involved with the story. Our job is to honor and praise the, the, let’s say, the the consciousness that’s been passed on. To us. Every human being has what we call Buddha nature, everyone has the shining Kanye, that consciousness that shining elements. So when we are honoring and praising our ancestors, we’re literally honoring and praising the gift of life, not the behavior or the story or what’s happened. And we don’t honor that. And bad behavior is never condoned. So I’m in praise ancestors for giving us the gift of life. That’s it. And then the next thing
Rick Archer: about that, I mean, obviously, we can bring up, you know, horrific examples of abuse. And, you know, people, women or young girls are molested by their fathers and all that kind of stuff. In honoring and praising the ancestors, is there sort of a tent is the underlying fundamental and intention to actually free yourself, as well as to direct any sort of attention toward them? Because it would seem that if one could or if one had been abused, for instance, and one could actually bring oneself to honor the abuser? Wouldn’t that somehow be liberating? Is that part of the psychology of it?
John Lockley: Yes. But I think, you know, we need to be very careful here. Again, I need to stress this many times that it’s not honoring and praising behavior, you’re honoring the consciousness, the actual shining consciousness that’s been passed on to us.
Rick Archer: In forgiveness part of it. Obviously, a lot of spiritual traditions talk about learning to forgive even terrible things is that part of what the mechanics of it,
John Lockley: I suppose they could come at some points, but it’s almost like you have to separate the abuser from their consciousness. Because if someone is enlightened, they’re not going to do a bad action, they’re going to do something which is full of compassion. So the essence of every human being has the womb to the Ubuntu the humanity of every human being is the shining, there’s this, let’s say, enlightened being. And but the actions can be different. So it is, there’s an old saying that you can hate. You can hate the abuse, but not the abuser. You hate the action, but not the person perpetrator perpetrating it.
Rick Archer: Yeah, you know that Indian saying, Namaste. I think it means something like, you know, the God within me honors the God within you. So yes, you’re connecting at the deepest level and overlooking the superficial things which might be flawed,
John Lockley: here. So this is a very, very important aspect of the practice to honor and praise the ancestors, because they’ve given you this consciousness, this human life. And then as you’re doing that, and you let your ego go in the praise, then you go to sleep in your dream. And sometimes when people do these very powerful ancestral praise, they might dream about animals. Or they might dream about other nations, like, for example, me dreaming about the closer people, and they might dream about the Tibetans or the Korean people. Because what actually happens is that once you start connecting to that human consciousness, then the whole of the human family comes to you. And you may be trained by people from different lineages and different families. So that’s still connected to what I call the isn’t Janya. So everyone would have their mother’s lineage and their father’s lineage, but they must also have an adopted lineage that comes to them once they’ve honored the gift of life inside of them.
Rick Archer: So you’re saying that honoring the ancestors, if it’s done properly, actually, is a catalyst for connecting to your dreams? And possibly to various other streams or lineages of knowledge?
John Lockley: That’s right. Yeah. The wisdom keepers of humanity as you let go your story and you show grace and humility as you do that. Often we pray on our knees and we just we offer ourselves over and just say thank you for this gift of life, overland, Laila, open the road for us, and then we let go with that. And then the dreams come.
Rick Archer: Okay. I think that points clear. Incidentally, as we go along those who are listening, if you want to submit a question, you go to the upcoming interviews page on batgap.com. There’s a form at the bottom of that page through which you can submit a question. Okay, so we’re next.
John Lockley: We’re next where you want to go next? Well,
Rick Archer: obviously you haven’t finished the story of your apprenticeship, which went on for 10 years or something, right. Yeah. And what sort of things did you have to do during that period as an apprentice
John Lockley: so the finish period. I mean, it would involve working with plants. So cleansing, and we don’t in South Africa, we will do plant medicine to cleanse your body and and wash your body. And so we drink herbs and we had washed with herbs. And we also use herbs to cleanse our living space. But we don’t work with hallucinogenics. Because a lot of people get very excited when I mentioned, oh, yeah, medicine, what kind of stuff you got in Africa. And like they get all excited considering their eyes, they get all really excited. And I say, Look, we don’t work with hallucinogenics, it’s just,
Rick Archer: it’s really not part of the culture at all, there’s not some little branch of it that is into that it’s just completely
John Lockley: different. You will have some hallucinogenics. But it’s a secret, we won’t talk about that, because it’s so powerful, it can kill people.
Rick Archer: Especially it’s very sparingly.
John Lockley: If it’s used, it’s not used a lot, very sparingly. But the main practice is the practice I’ve written about, which is working with certain kinds of plants to help cleanse the body and protect the body so that you are more more available to to dream to go into the deeper dream states. So so that’s the plant side of it. So a lot of the a lot of the practice in the early years was going to the forest, collecting the plants and bringing it back to the homestead. And they were chopping the plants, we preparing the plants. And we putting it in the sun, and we wrapping it a newspaper. So we preparing the plants in such a way that the clients can come and then we will sell the sell them to the people. And we will help the people understand how to use the plants to cleanse themselves to wash themselves to drink. And as we do this, that consciousness of the forest goes into the people and into the community. So that’s why I say we have to be careful the language even across the language, some things we don’t even talk about, because it’s about experiencing the spirit of the plant experiencing the spirit. We say of the world of the ancestors, which means the dream time.
Rick Archer: Yeah, in the there’s something equivalent in the Ayurvedic tradition and the great Vosges. Some of them, I knew one I met one named, named Maharaj Maharshi. And he the plants would speak to him, he could walk through the forest, and the spirit of the plant would speak to His Spirit and would tell him what it was useful for. And so hit here that kind of a, an affinity with the plant kingdom. And so the idea of taking the plant in the proper way is it’s not just that you’re getting some kind of chemicals that happened to be in the leaf, there’s something in terms of the the subtle essence or the spirit, the spirit of the plant that is helping you in some way.
John Lockley: That’s true. And we can similar things happen to us. So when we going to look for particular, particularly Sacred plants to help with our ceremonies, it’s a big deal, you know, we go into the forest, we go to certain time, and I remember the early days, very mysterious things happening as we were walking along the path in the forest. And we’re looking for this particular kind of bulb, which is very difficult to find. We’ve got an EC Lau it’s kind of a generic, generic name for this particular kind of plant. And it looks like Ross, it’s very hard to find. And I remember going into the forest, and I was with one particular sanguine, older lady who was very, she’s very shiny eyes, and she could just see where the where the plants are. And as we were going, the birds were making a particular kind of bird sound. And all of us stopped. It was just about two or three of us, and we were quiet. And then the sangoma elders said to me, we’ll turn dazzling go, pray, John. So we prayed. And she said, we struggling to find the plant, pray again. So we prayed. And then we just followed the sounds of the birds and we kept moving through the forest. And I felt the sense of electricity in my body, like a leopard or like, like a wild animal, except this human creature, with this divine mission of finding this plants. And everything changed around me was like entering another world, except it wasn’t a dream, this was real. And this happened a number of times we found the plant where we had to, it wasn’t like going into nature and just with a with a hacksaw and just taking everything down. It was this very subtle, mindful action of walking through the forest with a prayer with an intent, and then looking for the sacred plant. And that’s how we found them. And sometimes it would take a long time, many hours looking for one plant. And this was the action we would take. This is quiet, methodical, conscious, prayerful, walk through the forest.
Rick Archer: Was there something about the birdsong where the birds were actually helping you find them?
John Lockley: He is that’s what I was. I was thinking about I mean, it’s almost like the whole of nature was conspiring to help us but we had to show enough humility and enough openness of heart in order to find the sacred plant. And as we did that, we could watch the plants. You could watch the birds, the birds are always great in terms of showing us the way.
Rick Archer: Nice. I love this stuff. Do you ever read the books by Lawrence Vander post? Yes, I
John Lockley: read a lot of his books actually.
Rick Archer: Back in the 70s. If anyone has never heard of him, you might want to check them out. There’s a particularly two books, a story like the wind and a far off place. I just love those books. I read them a couple of times back in about 77 or 78. Yeah, he’s a South African writer. He, he also happened to be Prince Charles Godfather, and he was a military man and a good friend of Carl Jung. And so he was just like, in a sense, very active man as a military man and a very deep man as a friend of Carl Jung. And he kind of blends those two qualities of adventure and spiritual depth in his books. And the books I just mentioned, are all about an story that happened in southern Africa. Anyway, I’m diverting, but I just want to tell people about his books because it’s so great.
John Lockley: And he’s he works. He works a lot with Bushman people, the Khoisan, yeah, which is reputed to be the one of the oldest indigenous tribes or peoples in the world. So he worked with them in Botswana. And connected to them is the cost of that. So the clicks come, right. It talks
Rick Archer: about that in his book, there’s a guy named Zabo, which probably has a click in it. And then when Tara was was partner, anyway, I won’t get into it. But check, check those books out is Lauren Leu are ens vendor post. Okay, so after that little diversion, sort of put a plug in for those books, I love them so much.
John Lockley: So I could say in terms of training, in terms of training, I could say, Rick, that to become a sangoma, you have to be trained in three areas. So it’s plant medicine, and it’s the dancing and the cleanser, and then it’s divination. So the dancing is knowing the trance rhythms know that knowing how to go in and out of trance, which is all through dancing. And, and then it’s the Rumi so we call to the divination, where you read the soul of someone, and then you give them plants or prayer, to help them connect with their soul with their dreams with the ancestors. So each of those areas, the plant medicine, the trance dancing, and the divination, each of those areas are huge areas in themselves. So each person in order to finish the training to become a sangoma, you need to have gone through that that each of those stages and then as the years go by, we might find a sangoma as a specialist in one of those areas, or all three areas, but each of them are, like, almost like doing a master’s degree in each thing is. It’s quite a quite a large area.
Rick Archer: Yeah, it’s interesting. And here, too, we’re talking about something in your culture, which is universal, the so many ancient cultures in which, you know, herbs of various kinds, and various kinds of dancing and drumming and divination are all key components. That’s right. Yeah. And it’s good to understand and respect those things, I think. And as you say, each one of them can be a lifetime study in itself, because there can be so much to learn.
John Lockley: That’s right. Yes. And I think a key thing which I’ve noticed going overseas is is music, you know, music to help connect to the spirit world. And when I first went over to Ireland, and I was called to go to my mother’s home in Ireland and and the people who befriended me and who I became very close to were musicians. And it makes sense because the word sangoma means people off the song. So my my first friends are wonderful musicians who had a really open hearts, and a lot of them were quite profound dreams as well. So the streets of Dublin in various forms with the buskers, and the musicians really opened up to me. So
Rick Archer: nice. In terms of the divination part, you know, I mean, people are probably more familiar with the efficacy of herbs and certain types of traditional dancing, to alter one’s consciousness, but in terms of divination, what is what does that involve? How do you do it?
John Lockley: So to divine means to see the soul that could say and is two different forms? I mean, the way I was trained in the process system was what we call home isa visa means ancestral agreement. So you don’t use bones in the traditional cross away. It’s a system of of praying in a very kind of praying in a very, you could say like an incantation. So the sangoma would start praying, and calling the ancestors and then get visions, get visions of what’s happening to the clients in front of them. And often I write about this, my experience of it was, was like this wind coming through me. And when I described it to my teachers, he said, when you’re doing the divination, you want to feel that sense of this wind, it’s the divining wind we call it more of the Spirit. And, and that’s part of the gift is to pray to the ancestors, and then to let go and to just just start going to trance and seeing what’s happening with someone. So that’s the course away and then the Zulu way or the sweat and Swasey way, and the Shangaan way, is throwing the bones. So the bones we call it, they’re called bones, but it’s not just bones, they’re number of, of natural objects, encompassing plant material, bones, shells, lots of shells, sticks, all kinds of natural objects in his bag, and you blow into the bag, and you make a prayer. And as you throw the, the objects onto a divining mat, it creates a pattern. So the job of the Divine is to read the pattern of the person’s life. So that’s, that’s what I do, I use both methods, I use the formulas to enter through the bones and I find throwing the bones are very creative, but very beautiful process. Because this pattern, you speak to the pattern of the bones and the shells in front of you, and then it matches what’s happened to someone’s life. So it’s not quite like a tarot card reading. And it’s not quite like a fortune reading, either. It’s not like fortune telling, it’s more like looking into a mirror and seeing what’s happening to the person right here now. And the journey of becoming a diviner is quite a long journey, because you have to let go of your own thoughts and your own opinions and your own story, and just sink into the client’s world and see what’s happening in the divining mat with all the bones and the shells and things like that. And I find that very magical. And, and often this process of, of immersing yourself in the world of the other means you also get immersed in the dream time, or you have profound dreams, because often the ancestors show me how I can cleanse myself or how I can do work with herbs in a particular way. So that I’m clear to help the client in front of me, okay.
Rick Archer: Could you tell us one or two stories or examples of, you know, one of the more dramatic or profound divination sessions you did with somebody, where you through the bones or whatever, and, and you, you were spot on in terms of tuning into them?
John Lockley: Well, it’s a very sacred space. So I can’t go into too many,
Rick Archer: we wouldn’t want to name names, obviously. But
John Lockley: you know, even talking about that space is very sacred. Okay, the African way, so I have to be very careful. So I can just give a very loose experience. Sure. And the loose experience of it was when I was in South Africa, and I was doing my training. And I remember there was there was a whole line of family members, because often in South Africa, you don’t just go an individual doesn’t go for divination, you always go with your family, because it’s a collective process. It’s not about the individual. It’s about us as a community. So the question when you guy with a family is who’s sick in the family, and what can we do to help that? Okay, so I was in training at the stage. And remember, it was a very hot summer’s day. And they were these people dressed immaculately in the divining room. And then my teacher gave me a chance to give them divination. So it’s into the room, and they had their shoes taken off. And there’s about seven of them, and they’re all lining with their backs against the divining wall. There was a mud mud wall. And it was a beautiful sense of coolness inside and like a south side, there was this heat, that was almost unbearable. And the whole family was completely quiet. It was like church. It was so different from our Western experience of being overseas, the whole group of people were very quiet. And they my teacher, encouraged me to do the praise. And to meditate, close my eyes and see what what I could see. So I did that. And and I felt this divining wind going through me and I saw the issue in the family and a saw the sense of sadness that some of the people had forgotten to honor the answers. just starting to forget the old ways. And, and then I thought located the pain was located in, in one of the family members of a young woman. And I saw some of the problems with her that she was engaged with and that she was struggling with. And, and I felt, I think the more than anything I could share and that I felt this incredible, I felt the emotion of the people and I think that’s what was was very powerful for me was to feel the emotion of the people feel their pain. And I felt this pain in my body or the emotion of the family. And then I started speaking about their emotions, I started speaking about what I was feeling in my body. And then after a while, the people said see a vuma which means we agree. And they said come on Coke, which is the term of respect for a sangoma and, and then I started describing to them what I felt they needed to do in terms of reconnecting with their ancestors, and to deal with this pain and the fact that they were experiencing, and then I went to a little bit more depth with that. And and I felt was wind inside me just moving in and out. And, and then the whole family sincere warm up, we agree, you know, and there was a sense of quiet, but there was a sense of peace, because I had spoken and said things which were unsaid in the family. So when they left the room, I heard them all chatting and speaking in a very joyful way if they walked up the street, and then they waited in the front room while we prepare the herbs for them to help cleanse them to help move them closer towards their spirits towards their ancestors. So my job in that situation as a diviner was to speak, and give words to the unsaid emotions, what was happening in the family, and that they couldn’t put voice to and they couldn’t express. So I had to speak about those emotions. Okay. And I felt this this, like I said this divining when I felt it coming into me,
Rick Archer: do you often feel sort of, like if somebody has a physical problem in their heart, or their pancreas or whatever? Do you feel a pain in your own body, and that helps you know that they’ve got that problem or not so much.
John Lockley: In the beginning, it would be like that, and now mostly be visions, mostly, I would see it so I would feel it in a particular kind of way. I see. And I’m kind of happy with that was up overwhelm me to get to unhealthy physical, physical sensations, especially all the traveling and all different cultures. Yeah. It’s easy for me just to get the vision. Yeah, that’s less painful. Yeah.
Rick Archer: A couple questions here. And this is from Florrie in New York, and it reverts back to something we discussed earlier. How do you determine that the people in your dreams, lucid dreams, those who come to you, or have good intentions and their good spirits? Is there any way to maintain safety and train in dreams? You know, what if it’s a bad entity that’s coming?
John Lockley: I think that’s where the daily practice is important. And the daily practice, I can’t emphasize more, that when we are honoring and praising ancestors, we are honoring praising the shining light, that consciousness the absolutes, shining quality of our ancestors is what we’re calling forth. And then you have a practice during the day of prayer and meditation or whatever it is, but you focusing on the light, you focusing on the candle, that’s very important. So then when you get a darker entity coming into your dreams, with us, the way we’re trained is to actually tell that entity to go to go away, we’re saying Prosser and memoriam Dhaka Ambani, which means go away negativity go away, doxford go. And then the way we protect ourselves from those dark entities or those forces would be working with plant medicine, we have to work with plant medicine, not just because the plants smell nice, but because the plants help protect our spirits and help protect our body for when we’re going into these deepest spaces of dreaming. So a lot of my work actually overseas is helping to educate Westerners about plant medicine or protection medicines that they can get to deeper states of dreaming. So they can let go the ego
Rick Archer: and they say that certain types of things one might do such as alcohol abuse, or drug abuse, or various other things kind of open you up to the sort of lower astral realms and you can become victimized by, you know, malefic entities, whereas other things you might do such as meditation or you know, things that are have a healthier effect, build up a kind of an armor and against such things spontaneously like that you’re just going to they’re not going to be able to come near you. I mean, do you have something equivalent to that and your tradition
John Lockley: Yes, I mean, I recommend with people that, that they, they develop some kind of spiritual practice. And I don’t like to say what it is, but it should be a spiritual practice that goes beyond good and bad. So like meditation, what meditation you’re not focusing on, on, you’re going beyond good and bad, you’re going to the place of the light, you know. And so if people are struggling in life with addiction or with nightmares, we were in protection medicine at night, whether they’re essential oils, or sage, or crystals or something is that’s very important. But what’s also very important is to build, build your consciousness, build your soul energy. And the way to do that is through spiritual practice. So when I teach a teacher a practice of what I call the heartbeat, meditation, and that I get it from South Africa, because in South Africa, we have the drum. We don’t mention in the traditional culture, we don’t mention meditation and things like that, because there’s no word for it. But what we do is we sing, we chant, and we dance, and we listen to the drum. So overseas, what I teach people is how to listen to the drum inside their own chests, which is the heartbeat. And when I say to people, listen to your heart, I don’t mean in a metaphorical kind of poetic way. I mean, literally, put your hand on your heart, and feel it beating. And let go into that. And call in the divining wind of you could say God, or the great spirit, or the purity of your consciousness, call it in, as you breathing into your heart, feel that rhythm, let go into it, and breathe into breathe in this, this prana this oxygen is love, breathe it into you. And if you struggling with darkness at night or in your space, get yourself a candle, get a white candle and put it next to when you’re meditating. And just stare at that candle. And call, call for love. Call for, for protection, call for, for the great spirit for anything that is creating a sense of peace. But it’s very important one of the one of the things that can the last thing I can share with us is, is is in our culture, the when I was trained to deal with darkness and dreams. One of the things my teacher said to me, if you’ve got no herbs around you, and you stuck at home, and you stuck in the dream, and you don’t know what to do, you must pray. So she taught me about prayer, you must pray she said you must pray to God, you must pray to the Great Spirit, you must pray to your your protectors, you must pray to ancestors you must pray like a soldier. And then you must also tell that dark energy to go away. So part of the training and the sangoma training is to work with your volition to work with your will. And when I’m working with clients, I also say that they must make a decision, they must make a decision to change the pattern of their life through calling in the light. And, and also for saying that certain patterns that are maybe abusive or not healthy for them, they must say no to that they must make a decision. And if they’re struggling to make a decision, follow a practice that makes you feel good. And gives you strength.
Rick Archer: You probably know there’s an opioid epidemic in the United States and people die of overdoses every 20 minutes or something like that. I forget how frequently but just all the time people are dying from opiate and it’s destroying communities and families and so on. Have you ever dealt with anybody who has a strong addiction like that, and have and have been able to help them?
John Lockley: I’ve dealt with, I’ve dealt with a mother who had children who has children when she since passed away, sadly, but she had a few children who were who are heroin addicts. So I helped her yes. And in the process of helping her I had dreams about the entity of a good say heroine. And, and and I helped her deal with this. And I helped to see the the beauty and ceremony and even simple ceremony like baptism or going to church. And and it was quite a powerful journey we went on together and I could really I felt a lot of empathy for for someone who’s dealing with addiction or dealing with a family member who’s who’s who’s an addict. And I think from talking to her and counseling and just befriending her because we became good friends. She I think the most important is choice people even though they struggling with addiction they need Make a choice to say no. And then move from there. You know, so yeah.
Rick Archer: How about PTSD? Have you ever dealt with PTSD sufferers?
John Lockley: Yes, well post traumatic stress would there be something that I would have dealt with myself but definitely dealt with a lot with with soldiers from South Africa and also the people dealing with a lot of poverty, people dealing with poverty across South Africa. In the townships, we call them the townships, which is the ghetto, the ghetto areas, the informal settlement areas, a lot of those people are dealing with various forms of PTSD brought on by poverty, and brought on by social violence. And all kinds of things happen with poverty. So I’ve worked a lot in that area, because of my time the townships in South Africa. Yes. Okay.
Rick Archer: You mentioned that there’s not a formal meditation practice and a single tradition. But you of course, had a Zen background. Did you? Did your zen practice kind of fall by the wayside when you got heavily into sangoma training? Or have you actually retained that along with your syndromic training?
John Lockley: Yes, I’ve retained it. Fortunately, I have to say I’ve been meditating all these years. But I want to just so I don’t want I don’t want to make a distinction between the two although they are different. When I left South Korea, and then I started becoming a sangoma. I saw the similarity the beautiful similarity between the sangomas I was training with and the monks who are just returned from Saudi, you know, just returned from and I call them a call my community African dancing monks, because they sing. That’s the practice of singing, but it’s not just singing. It’s chanting. Yeah, they are in Gomez. They are chants and they are powerful chants. So the practice to connect with the other world, in terms of meditation practice for sangomas is chanting and singing and drumming, and oh my God, they are world leaders when it comes to singing and chanting, oh, my God, I mean, I have touched levels of divinity and grace that I don’t think I’ve seen anywhere else in the world that I’ve experienced in South Africa, in the rural areas with some of the poorest people in the world. And they chanting and singing, and you feel like the heavens are opening. That’s the practice. So the way they connect to the divine the way they deal with poverty, the way they help the community deal with poverty, is through singing, and chanting, and drumming, and dancing, and bringing forth the exuberance of the human spirits, even though they are dealing with horrific circumstances in their life. And when I saw this, I felt such joy. And also, as I felt so grateful to be amongst these, these these sangomas who are showing me a way to deal with very, very difficult human conditions. So when they sang, and they jumped, they’re completely let go of their own story. And they became so spiritual, because these chants they let go into, and then they connected to you say Chico, the great spirits and the ancestors. And that’s how we got these dreams. So the question and good question would be Zen monk in South Korea, African dancing monkeys South Africa, are they the same or different? That’s what they must assume would say, are they the same or difference? And I’d say sir, they look different, but they’re the same. Because the practice and the heart is of service.
Rick Archer: Interesting. Here’s a question very much along the lines of what you’re just saying. This is from Anna in Boston, she says, It seems like from the Cosa perspective, a sangoma who sat alone on a hill to meditate would be seen as spiritually immature and even quite selfish. Whereas in the yogic or Buddhist tradition, that same person may be seen as particularly evolved. How have you reconcile these two seemingly opposite teachings?
John Lockley: Yeah, the opposite is, I wouldn’t completely agree with that because a lot of sangomas are loners. A lot of sangomas are loners, because they are dreamers because they live outside the box because of the experiences from the dreams. So they are mystics. So the top sangomas, the ones who have gone through the training and have had to listen very carefully to their dreams. Often they will have to go on journeys on their own, and which would mean not necessarily There’s no word for meditation, but they could be sitting under a tree and and praying and connecting with the ancestors. And I have heard of very, very powerful prophets sangomas from the olden days and probably also what’s existing now in South Africa, living in caves, and, and practicing. There’s just no word for meditation. So I don’t want to get I don’t know get caught up with language here. I think I and you will find some comments on their own. But of course be generalizing now with the practice is mostly in a collective way of helping the community.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Yeah, I’m sure that people have different roles to play and some of them are more in in the world and some more out of it. But, you know, according to their nature.
John Lockley: That’s right. Good point. That’s Roderick. Yeah. Yeah, sure.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Which is true also of other traditions, Christian. I mean, some of their Cistercians are, you know, the cloistered and have anything to do with the world others on their social activists, and they’re completely engaged in, you know, fighting various social injustice. And it’s just according to your nature,
John Lockley: it’s a calling so we always say in the in the course away that Wulan del amor pooper you listen to the dream will on Delos and Yanyan Zabo. You follow your ancestors and the gift that’s been given to you and the way they are leading you. So you don’t stand in front of your dreams or in front of your ancestors, you stand behind them, which means you tell them where you’re going and what you’re going to do. And then you wait for their blessing and you wait for the doors to open for you. So it’s very much a practice of grace. And working with the community in drumming also helps with their practice of grace. But sometimes if you have to walk alone and go into the forest and listen to the birds and the wind, it’s the same practice.
Rick Archer: There’s another question from Florida in New York. She asked another question. She was wondering if divination is like clairvoyance.
John Lockley: Yes, yes. Very much. So. Okay, good. Yeah.
Rick Archer: All right. So what are some important points that I haven’t asked you yet? Or that we haven’t talked about? I’m sure that there’s some major doors, we want to open to explore what you do and what you know. And, you know, your your whole tradition? There’s some important pieces we’ve left out, but I haven’t thought to ask you about
John Lockley: it, I’m sure I’d have to think. Because
Rick Archer: I like to be really comprehensive as much as possible. And so so that person really gets it, obviously, people can read your book if they’re interested, but you know, that it’s nice to have a full taste of what the person has to offer?
John Lockley: Yes. Well, a big part of my calling is been about helping to bridge the divide between the Western world and indigenous Africa. And, and the kind of I left South Africa, thinking that South Africa was the only place that had this vicious form of apartheid, and which had been institutionalized and one of the worst forms of social engineering in the world. And then I left and went to England and traveled around and I sadly, I found aspects of apartheid all over the world for sure. And, and then I realized that that was part of my my journey was to experience this incredible illness or curse called apartheid, which means separation, and to feed it in every bone of my body in the Civil War of South Africa and then post war South Africa and that part in the townships and then teach people how to unite and come together in a spirit of Ubuntu, Ubuntu, which means humanity. So when people have an issue with me being a white sangoma ago, wonderful, wonderful, you’ve got an issue, because we have to face the prejudice inside ourselves. And if you don’t face it, and suddenly you make a comment that’s unkind about me, then that’s actually racism, if you making a comment that’s coming from something inside of you, which is based on prejudice or based on fear, and then you take action by writing social media or opening your mouth, then you stepping into the terrain of racism or something a little bit more serious. So what I’m calling on with every human being, is to start practicing the ancient art of kindness that’s open to that humanity. And it doesn’t matter what color your skin is, doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor. If you’re a human being, let’s start to practice the ancient art of Ubuntu, Ubuntu, which means kindness, and listening to what’s happening inside our hearts. Because this is, this is the way we’re going to heal one another, and we’re going to heal the next generation. So, I’m showing people how to connect with the ancestors, so that they can increase their sense of dignity in their bodies, and so that they can have a sense of who they are and where they’re going in the future. And also so they can start to remember their dreams, and with that process, to really face the prejudice inside themselves and the shadow, because when we are practicing a sangomas, and we learning this ancient art, we also have have to reframe the shadow inside ourselves. And what does it mean to befriend a shadow? It means to just look at it, to just look at it, not engaging with it, not acting upon it, but just look at that shadow inside yourself. So if you’re feeling, oh, I’ve got jealousy inside. Ah, wonderful. Welcome to the human race. If you look inside yourself, and you have issues, because I’ve got white skin, and I’m an African sangoma, I’ll go wonderful. Welcome to the human race. Welcome. Because our job is as human beings is to transform into the lotus flower. And if you look at nature, we need to look very carefully at nature, the lotus flower is feeding on the mud. That’s how it transforms itself, it doesn’t throw the mud onto another plot and say, I’m not going to suck this Maddock, who does, there’s no way I’m going to do that, I’m going to flip this matter on the other plants. If the lotus flower does that, it’s not going to open into the lotus flower, it’s going to stay with a bad closed, and it’s going to stay in this very cramped situation. So what it does, it accepts the mud beneath it as fertilizer, fourth transformation. And it starts to suck this knife up, and it feels it in its hearts. And then at some point, it opens. So nowadays we are suffering with a crisis in the human race in the crisis got to do with discrimination, racism, all kinds of ugly evils. And the answer is very simple. Feel the prejudice inside yourself. But don’t spread the poison, feel it inside yourself, breathe in an art, practice kindness. And that’s how we can transform ourselves. And one another.
Rick Archer: Beautiful. I came across some things in the last couple of days, that very much relate to what you’re saying and that I’ve that I found very kind of meaningful. One is from the Dalai Lama, quote, he said, If you want others to be happy, practice compassion, which I think is pretty much synonymous with kindness, if you want to, if you want to be happy, practice compassion. I really like that. And then I also relate to what you’re saying, I read an interesting article today by my good friend, Michael Rodriguez, about the wisdom of heartbreak. And the reason I enjoyed it is that he’s he’s just, you know, what you were saying about people sort of wanting to get out of the mud and not face the shadow. There’s a lot of that in non dual circles in certain spiritual circles, where people just want to accentuate the positive and keep their attention on the positive and so on. And it seems to sometimes result in an imbalanced development in which people do attain, you know, fairly high levels of consciousness or higher levels of experience. But there are all these lurking shadows, which haven’t been dealt with, and they come up to bite him on the ass, you know, later on, and cause all kinds of problems in various Sangha, as in spiritual communities. And so I think Michaels point in his article, which I put on my Facebook page, and also on the BatGap community webpage, is that, you know, we have to just allow our heart to break open and then sort of be heartbroken if and, you know, we’re going to feel things much more acutely and viscerally than we would if the heart is closed. But continual refinement and, and just going into greater and greater and greater tenderness actually makes us is vulnerability, but at the same time, it’s a sort of an invulnerability, because you’ve, you’ve really opened your heart to, to include everything, so it’s no longer threatened by anything, which doesn’t include, you know?
John Lockley: Yeah, I mean, you speak such truth in Rick, thanks very much. I see this a lot in the groups that I move around with, that people want a good experience when they come and do my retreats in my workshop. They want a good experience. And I have to actually say to them, that wanting a good experience and wanting sweetness all the time is what we call addiction. And nowadays in the world, we have to watch that very carefully because, but some medicine is sometimes the strongest medicine to grow the soul, and things and Africa can use. And one of the sayings we have is that the word it takes a long time to burn is the best wood to work with. And the bitter medicine is sometimes the the strongest medicine to help grow the soul. So what does it mean to me Sometimes when people come and do a ceremony or a workshop, they are activated in certain ways. And the first activation they may experience is this emotion. And the emotion may be a heavy emotion and maybe guilt and maybe shame, it may be anger, maybe all kinds of uncomfortable emotions that are bringing them to the edge. And I always say to them, wonderful, wonderful. And, and if they feeling a lot of positive emotion, they feel excited, and all the rest go wonderful. I said, if you’re not feeling anything, then come and speak to me. And no one no one has ever done that. I mean, people got angry that walked away. But people have never come to me and said, they’re not feeling anything. Because the job of the sangoma is to be a lightning rod, and to stimulate the spine of the people steam stimulate the the consciousness of the people. So it’s a very physical job. And it’s also a very mystical and very transformative job in many ways. And, but where people have to be careful, is that they don’t react to the emotions that they receive. So if someone wants to go and have a really good experience, and suddenly they feel all this anger and all this resentment, but it’s coming from nowhere, but suddenly they’re looking for a place to put it, but blaming other people in the circle, I’m saying that’s completely not correct. Need to feel these emotions coming up? And likely looking at a fire? Because some smoke, or do you look at the flame? And people like well look at the smoke a little bit, but I love that the flames go Yeah, that’s it. When we’re doing this practice, we look at the smoke in terms of the motions coming off our body. But we keep focusing on the fire that’s coming inside of us the fire that is igniting our bones, it’s igniting our spirits. And that’s where your attention is. And it’s quite interesting for me, because in South Africa, when we are doing traditional ceremonies in the culture tradition, and sometimes you will look at your friends and your colleagues and community members. And you can see that they they faces they have this beautiful wood, they have this word, the faces that people would look like they are in a state of calm Villa completely as a way in, which on Gago Camila gawk, which means grumpy, someone will look really grumpy. And afterwards you speak and you say, we’re gonna, we’re Camilla Sebenza will you grumpy at the ceremony and they will just laugh and they’ll just say I, I’m so bandwidth. But once the band’s is in Janya, they’re just say, it’s just a ceremony to do with the ancestors. And it’s normal for us to feel all kinds of things. It’s just normal. So they don’t give it a second thought. And they won’t even go there. But they will know that when we’re doing ancestral work that is connecting with our spirit, it’s normal for us to feel all kinds of emotions, it’s part of being human. And, and then during that time, there is a warning amongst the elders, that we don’t lash out with emotions. We don’t shout at someone, we don’t create an argument, you don’t get angry. You just watch those emotions and you breathe in and out that you don’t, you don’t engage with those emotions, because that’s how you can create disorder in the community.
Rick Archer: Do you feel that as a sangoma, you’re acting as a sort of a washing machine that, you know, things pass through you and are purified, and you’re sort of having a purificatory effect on the person you’re dealing with, or even on the collective consciousness in general.
John Lockley: I hope so I hope I’m doing some good, but I wouldn’t be glamorous about the job I do. I do enjoy it. But I do feel a lot from people. And I think my job is more like, like a spiritual plumber. I deal with a shift in society. Because my mum always wants me to become a plumber. She said, as plumbers, they always degrade. They do great work, and there was a great living. She said, if you ever want to be a plumber or electrician, you know, I’ll support you in the trades because my Irish family came from the trades background, you know. And so in a way, I am a tradesman, I’m a spiritual tradesman, I’m a spiritual plumber, because my job is to open up the channels inside of people. However, it’s a very humble and very simple job, because I’m not in control of the process. It’s up to the clients. I can’t do anything that they don’t allow, and that they don’t facilitate. And also, it’s more like being a coach, like a spiritual plumbing coach where I suggest certain things, and then they can listen to me or not. Actually, I can do some deep healing. But at the end of the day, the client is the one that accepts that and allows themselves to be healed.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I mean, because you can only do so much. I mean, the reason the reason I asked that question is that I’ve spoken with some people who say that They, they open up in a once they sort of have processed a lot of their most of their individual stuff, they find themselves beginning to process collective stuff. And they may wake up in three in the morning and feel acutely something that’s happening in some part of the world. And they feel like they’re, there’s somehow helping to bring harmony to it, or some kind of resolution or, you know, diffusing some some tension or something that’s not even their own.
John Lockley: I think. I think that’s true. And I also think that when we start working on ourselves in a profound way, discussing now, where we are consciously transforming the mud beneath us, and inside of us, for when we are consciously dealing with our own shadow issues of guilt, or jealousy, or anger, or prejudice, or racism, or whatever those shadow issues are, when we are gently and consciously working on them. We are actually doing it for the whole human race. Yeah. And we are also doing it for our ancestors. And you don’t have to be a guru, you don’t have to be a famous person. You could just be a simple person living in the ghettos or living in New York or living somewhere, and you feeling grief and anger, but you deal with it in a dignified way. You’d feeling resentment or prejudice, but you give yourself a chance to just feel it, and deal with it and try and transform it. You are doing an incredible work for all of us. Sure.
Rick Archer: I think we’re all fundamentally interconnected. And whatever. Whatever we experienced within ourselves radiates and influence. Yes, you know, you can’t show I know, man is an island who was at John Donne, you know, and everyone’s part of the main or whoever that is ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for the are all interconnected. And we’re sort of like all exerting an influence constantly. And if you look at the state of the world, we’re just looking at the, the sort of the sum total of all the individual influences that are being radiated. And obviously, there’s some room for improvement.
John Lockley: Yeah, I’m hopeful because I think the people I meet when people are coming with a shining hopeful way to do good, and to really work on themselves and not to be afraid of their shadow, but to look at it. And to be, it’s a call to become a warrior. To become a warrior means the spiritual warrior, when I talk about as a leopard warrior, means to really look inside yourself. And, and not be afraid of the pain and the shadow and the difficulty and to really look at that. And as you do that, you start to shine. And you know, just in the last six months, I’ve met some incredible people on my travels in Ireland, and now through the US, just simple, ordinary people who are showing up for events, and with a smile, and not being afraid to be vulnerable, and not being afraid to look deep inside themselves for whatever they seeing. And, and that’s what gives me hope. That’s what really gives me hope. Yeah,
Rick Archer: I agree. I’m also optimistic. I mean, I’ve been around I haven’t traveled much in recent years, but I was lived three months in Iran, and nine months in the Philippines and a couple years in Europe, and here and there. And wherever you go, you find these gems and of people. And I, and you know, it’s not evident on the six o’clock news, it seems like the world is going to hell in a handbasket. But, but just but there seems to be a counterbalancing upwelling of people waking up. And I’m very optimistic that it will meet the challenge of chaos in the world and, you know, lead us into a much brighter future.
John Lockley: Yeah, thanks, Rick. And I’d like to speak a little bit about chaos. Chaos is the transformative engine that turns this planet. So when you look at a man and woman, and they make a baby together, we could talk about the birds and the bees and a man and a woman, these two different energies, there’s this chaos that comes with a man and a woman, male and female. And yet this chaos, the fruit of this chaos is a beautiful child. So it’s the same thing. When we are doing a ceremony in South Africa, we have a saying that the more chaotic the energy before the ceremony is a sign of how strong and how impactful the sermon is going to be. So if you don’t see it in a negative way, all we say is you feeding all this energy we say Oh, my one way appears all you feel all this energy before the ceremony. Do not react, just feed it because of this Chaos Energy is what’s going to transform us. And also it’s a sign it’s going to be a very good ceremony. So I’m looking at this at a larger kind of worldwide phenomenon of all this K and all these natural disasters, and I see it, that the whole of the planet is, is starting to be transformed. people’s consciousness has been transformed in a very radical way. It’s almost like, like you mentioned the, the analogy of the washing machine earlier on. I mean, when we are spinning, the whole world is spinning, there’s a sense of heat, there’s a sense of energy, there’s a sense of opportunity because something has been transformed. So I’d like to speak about the spine, the human spine is this lightning rod of potential and the ancient Yogi’s would talk about the energy up and down the spine as the Kundalini energy the energy of transformation. Amongst the cross and Zulu, we talk about the own billini energy, so Spot the Difference own billini Kundalini both is similar words, and they both speak about this energy up and down the spine. And as a sangoma is strong being transformed by this energy, whether it’s dancing, singing, plant medicine, prayer, we start experience all this heats in our bodies, and all of this emotion, whether that’s positive or negative, all this emotion, and our bodies start to change. So as I was going through this, this 10 year apprenticeship, my body changed, I started off being very underweight and very skinny. And by the time I finished my training, I filled out and my feet feet even grew at the age of 34, my feet grew another size. And this is not unusual in the sangoma context and the sangoma culture, we transform ourself, as this energy in the spine gets activated, the heat comes off as our body starts to grow. This is what happens on a on a small scale with individuals in our culture, but also in this in the yoga culture, they speak about this. So if you look at the the international global culture have a similar thing as if the world is a lightning rod of energy, and it’s spinning, and the energy is increasing, and this heat is increasing, and all this emotion is coming off it. Well, it’s the same same as a transformation of someone becoming a sangoma or a yogi. And what we have to watch in those situations is that we do not react with those emotions, that we feel the energy in our bones, that we stay mindful, and that we remember Ubuntu Ubuntu, to be kind, that someone may look different from you. But if they’re a human being, they have the same energy inside them as you that they are part of your family. And that you need to show them respect, even though you may be angry with them, Do not hurt them with your tongue, or with your actions. Because this Chaos Energy is testing. It’s testing us. And it’s also allowing us to evolve and reach a higher level. If we are free to react with this energy in a negative way, we are missing the opportunity to transform and evolve, not just for ourselves, but for our whole family and our community.
Rick Archer: That’s great, very well put there. This whole thing of chaos proceeding, a breakthrough of some kind or an opening. It’s there all kinds of other examples you can think of like, you know, when Chuck Yeager first broke the sound barrier in a jet, there was in all this kind of shaking as he was approaching the speed of sound. And then when he broke through, it was smooth. So in physics, in physics, they have something called the phase transition. And there are a number of things that are defined by that term, even the boiling of water is a phase transition when it reaches the boiling point. And this is all this turbulence, you know, as as it’s about to boil, and then become steam and the turbulence is gone. It also works with lasers and all kinds of things. But I think that there’s that, just to just to give some examples of what you just said that there’s a lot a lot of craziness in the world, but it could actually be a harbinger of better times on on the horizon.
John Lockley: Yes, I’ve fully, fully agree. And I have to say that if we think about all the craziness as a back to the human body, if someone has a fever, with a fever, you know, there’s a lot of heat, there’s a lot of discomfort. And when that fever breaks, there is a beautiful sense of harmony, interested, it’s almost at the moment as if the world is in a state of fever. And what happens with a fever things heat up in order for the virus to be destroyed. Yeah, so it’s a purifying fever. And the Chinese talk about a purifying fever. And I think this is what’s happening in the world. Versus fever happening where the temperature and the heat and the chaos is been lifted up. And I see this as a, as a way to, to burn off any impurities and for us to, to evolve and become. Yeah, just more more loving human beings.
Rick Archer: Yeah. St. Francis of Assisi, if you ever saw the movie brother, sun, Sister Moon, hey, he was very, very sick came back from the Crusades, or somebody is very, very sick and had a really high fever and almost died. And when he came out of it, he was St. Francis. He was to go well, wasn’t into that totally. But he had undergone this huge transformation, you know that the fever had burned something up.
John Lockley: Yeah, it’s just funny. I mean, it’s interesting. You say this, right, because it’s bringing things to me in terms of my training and apprenticeship. And I often, before I met my teacher, I was often sick with fevers or a stomach condition, and then went to fall my teacher and started my my tradition, my training and my apprenticeship, I started to understand the meaning of the fever and all the stomach upsets I was getting, and then it was all to do with the stimulation of the arm billini of this third lightning conductor in my spine, and then I started to welcome it. And I have to say, I hardly ever had fevers and stomach problems. Now, you know, no one was look on it and nostalgic way.
Rick Archer: Yeah, just to dwell on the point a little longer. It’s interesting. There are a lot of spiritual teachers who go through some serious health things and you know, sometimes very painful and so on. And I’ve had people ask me, why is that why do you think that’s happening? What is it about? I just feel like there’s, maybe there was a period isn’t finished, and they’re already serving as spiritual teachers, but there’s just this sort of, if you’re going to serve in such a capacity, then it’s like, Nature says, Okay, you want to do this, then we’re going to put you through the wringer. You know, we’re going to make the really fit as a servant, we’re not going to, you know, sell it short. And have you be sort of half baked, you’ve got to go through this process entirely. So hang on for dear life, because we’re not finished with it.
John Lockley: Yeah, I think you put it very well written. And I see another two aspects to this. I could just add to that. And I think, firstly, I see this, this fever that I experienced often during my training, and when I was before I met my teacher, I saw it as as a cleansing process to cleanse me. But I also saw this fever. And another way, it also taught me empathy. Because when I was very sick, and I was for many years, I certainly didn’t think that I was, you know, the king of the jungle or anything like that. I felt very humble. And in that state of humility, I was able to, to really connect with people in a different kind of way. And and I could really see people who were suffering like me, and my eyes were open to, to poverty and, and sometimes the poorest people were the ones who could see my illness. And who showed me so much compassion, that it just opened my heart. I remember one particular story of this was going to the shops in Johannesburg one day, and it was it was still apartheid. And my illness, my closet illness was in full flight. And I remember walking past a bunch of ladies and it was it was they were they were African woman. And they were sitting under a tree. And it was a very, very hot summer’s day, again, as it is sometimes in South Africa. And I was just walking past them. And I knew that I had the sangoma calling, I knew I had the Twaweza. But I hadn’t met my teacher yet. I knew I had the 12 because I was showing it to my dreams, I knew that. But as I walked past, all these ladies, and they were in full flight and conversation, as a whole must have been about 10 of them. As I walked past them, the skinny white kid, they all stopped talking. And they all looked at me. It was the weirdest thing. All these women sitting on the grass, having a wonderful conversation. As I walked past, they all stopped and stared at me. And they put their lunch down. And they just looked at me, they didn’t say a word. And I looked at them. And there was so much compassion that they were showing me booth would be beyond language. They just showed us compassion. And we just looked at each other. I was a skinny white kid during apartheid, here with his black African woman having a break under this tree. And they just showed me so much compassion, like they really saw me. Nice. And we just looked at each other. So I think, you know, going back to the chaos, going back to the fever, it’s the fever cleanses us. And it also teaches us empathy and helps open our hearts to to compassion.
Rick Archer: Essentially, that a lot of Western medicines attempt to sort of palliate you know, or to suppress symptoms, rather than really rooting the thing out. And, you know, it’s like trying to push a beach ball down under the ocean water or something. It’s just It keeps wanting to pop up.
John Lockley: But it’s interesting you say that actually, Rick because when I’m seeing clients, it’s almost like a pressure cooker feeling when I go into my divination space, I my sensitivity is to see, just like what you said they were, whereas something be suppressed. What are they pushing down? You know, where’s the? Where’s the energy being blocked? You know, back to being a spiritual plumber? Where is the energy being blocked?
Rick Archer: Here’s a question that came in from Daniel and Powell Mela, Portugal Daniels up late. He said, I live in Portugal, as in most of the western world, the ancient deeper spiritual connection to plants has been severed. What would you recommend for someone that strong? Someone who strongly feels the call to work with plant medicine and healing songs, but has no direct tradition to build upon?
John Lockley: Okay, good question. I think the first thing Daniel is to find one plant that you have a relationship with. So it might be a plant that you have dreamt about, or that you just love the way it looks or the way it smells. So for example, let’s say rosemary, you know, I love Rosemary as a plant. And each time I go walking on the road, even here in Portland, I will just grab a bit of rosemary and just smell it. So the first thing to do is to develop the relationship with the plants. So the way you can do it is you just go to the plants, you introduce yourself, you speak like I’m speaking, and you may be given offering of some rice, or some hair of your hair or some tobacco. And you just asked the plant if you can take some of it to be used for a wash or a cleanse, or to maybe have the plants in your in your house. So to pray to the plants, you’re not praying to the physical structure, you pray to the spirit of appliance. And when we actually pray in a very deep way to a living object to a living creature. We’re actually praying to the greater let’s say Buddha nature, because everything is interconnected. Everything is part of this matrix of aliveness. So when you’re praying, praying to a plant, you’re calling for the spirit of that plant to connect with your spirit. So it’s a bit like in the Indian tradition between two people, you go Namaste, the God in me sees and honors the garden you. So when we’re doing the plant, we are using that in a similar principle, but you’re speaking to the plant and you’re giving an offering from love from your heart. And then you’re saying, I’d like to connect more with you and your brothers and sisters, either plants, please show me please guide me. And if it’s coming from a really heartfelt place of mindfulness and true listening, something will happen.
Rick Archer: A few ideas came to mind as you were saying that, you know, one is that there are some different traditions around the world where you actually could study to you know, become an expert in plant medicine or you know, the, the healing properties of plants. One One would be iron VEDA there, there are programs where you can study to be an Ayurvedic viaja Findhorn up in Scotland is this community that is based on on people who had a deep sort of subtle connection with the plant world, and the Devas or nature spirits that that govern that world. In your tradition, I mean, is it possible to actually go to South Africa and study to become a sangoma as you did? Is there any kind of channel for that?
John Lockley: Where people have to be called? So it’s not, it’s not equal to the spirit world?
Rick Archer: What if someone feels called could they fly to South Africa and find somebody and actually get into it?
John Lockley: I don’t know. You know, I don’t offer that yet myself. And I’m very careful about that for a number of reasons. You’re still alive. She’s still alive here. And, and I have trained some people. And I’ve learned that, you know, cross cultural, let’s say pollination is very powerful, but also, it’s something we need to be very careful of. And so I had a calling or I have a calling. And, but it was so strong, I couldn’t lead a normal life. Yeah, so I always say to people only become a sangoma or come to South Africa looking for a teacher. If you don’t feel you can lead a normal life if it’s that strong, because it’s not something to be played with. It’s a very, very serious culture. And it’s very hard, and it’s very beautiful. And you have to take it like almost like a life and death situation, you know, like I become a sangoma or I get so sick, I don’t have a normal life. I chose to become a sangoma. So I think becoming a sangoma is becoming traditional shaman and become a shaman all around the world, a traditional shaman means you have to be called. And you have to face almost life and death. It’s very, very serious. However, if you want to become a shamanic practitioner or you want to understand the arts, the healing arts, there’s many places around the world where you can learn to become a shamanic practitioner. But that’s not the same as being a shaman. Yeah. So I don’t advocate people wanting to become a shaman. Because if you do, you don’t understand what it’s all about. If you want to become a sangoma, I’m, you know, I don’t know if I’m the person to speak to, because it’s not a glamorous thing. It’s very, very painful. And you only decide and accept the calling, if you don’t have another choice, because it’s that hard.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I was just gonna say, so it’s almost like you can’t volunteer. It’s almost like you have chosen and,
John Lockley: and you invited, you have to be invited first by the spirits, and then by the elders. So it’s, you know, I’m trained in an old way. And being a white guy, I also have to be very, very careful because people have been abused, and misused. And I’m very, very careful about that kind of energy. However, if someone has a coding like myself, doesn’t matter what color your skin is, it depends on how strong and how serious your calling is. Now, if people wanted to understand African traditions and how we operate, there’s many different places in South Africa, they can come and they can Google and they can explore that. However, it’s not the same in becoming a sangoma. And I feel the calling is very, very important. What, what is calling you? What is calling you, that’s the most important thing I say to people. Don’t look at me and think what I’m doing is glamorous. I’m asking you, what is calling you what is calling your spirits. That’s the most important.
Rick Archer: Good? Well, the big deal to fly to South Africa and find someone you can train with. But hey, you’re in Portland, Oregon. And, and you’re accessible and not that you’re going to turn people into sangomas, but how can people avail themselves of what you have to offer, both directly as you’re here in the US at the moment, and as you travel around the world, and remotely through Skype and whatnot?
John Lockley: Yes, I think the easiest is just to access my website, which is John lockley.com. And then you can email me, and you can look at my my, my events that I’ve got, at the moment, I’m here in Portland, and then I’m going to Denver, Colorado for a retreat. And then I’m going to LA, and I’ll be hosted by Insight Meditation Center in LA. And then afterwards, I’m going to Boulder for my my book launch on the first of November, and, and then I’m going to Santa Fe, Santa Fe, New Mexico. And all my events will be on my website, you can come and join and see my events and come and speak to me. And well I just need to make one point about whether people are interested in becoming a sangoma or not. That is not the question. You know, the question is how you been called? That’s the most important question. So my job is, if I’m called to train someone to become a sangoma, and it’s clear, then I’m open to that. But at the moment, the most important question for me to help people with is how you being called because what’s very important is that people connect with their calling, and each calling is just as, as as equal, you know, just as honorable as the next. So if someone is called to become a plumber, or an electrician will become a family man or become a mother or father, or become a priest or become a teacher. These are just as powerful as someone becoming a sangoma or traditional Shaman. I don’t want the listeners to think that shamans or sangomas are better or more glamorous than anyone else. I want people to see how you’re being called. That’s my question.
Rick Archer: Yeah. In the Vedic tradition, that calling would be perhaps defined as Dharma and there’s a, there’s a verse in the Bhagavad Gita which says, because one can perform it. One’s Own Dharma, the lesser and merit is better than the dharma of another said, Better is death in one’s own Dharma, the dharma of another brings danger.
John Lockley: Oh, that’s powerful, Rick, but the poeta instigator, you put it in such a good way. So the question always is, what is the person’s calling in front of me and how can I help them fulfill that calling, but I can’t do it for them and I don’t necessarily want them to follow me. I want them to follow their spirits to follow their dreams because the world is in crisis. And what we need is happy people and the way people become happy It is by them living authentic lives. And the way people lead authentic lives is by listening to their heart, listening to the dreams, listening to the Spirit. And my job is to help you with that to show you how you can do this in an indigenous way. And yeah, and I welcome you to join me on that journey.
Rick Archer: Great. That’s a good note to end on. So thanks, John. So do a lot of fun.
John Lockley: Yeah, thanks, Rick. Great.
Rick Archer: So let me just make a few wrap up points. We’ve been speaking with John. Luckily, his website is John lockley.com, loc que le y. I’ll be linking to that from his page on batgap.com. And if you go there, in addition to his page, you’ll find hundreds of other interviews and menus under the past interviews menu in order to find them, access them in different ways. Explore around it, you can sign up for an email notification and do interviews, you can sign up for an audio podcast. You can there’s even a geographic locator thing where if you typed in Portland, and if John had registered with this, you’d see that he was going to be doing something in Portland. And then you’d see here radiating outward in terms of numbers of miles, you know, maybe you see something in Ashland or whatever. So in any case, go there. Check it out. I’m heading off for the science and non duality conference in a couple of days. And I’ll be doing a bunch of interviews out there. And then back here week after that. So stay tuned. There’s always going to be more. Thanks, John. Thanks, Rick. Back, you’re not nervous anymore. Yeah.
John Lockley: No. So people, my, my, my audio cut the audio and the book.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And they’re both available on sounds true. And I’ve already created a page that I’ll be putting up in a couple of days, which will link to those on sound studio.com. If you go to sound st.com and search for John Locke, we’ll find them also.
John Lockley: Thanks, Rick. Thank you, thank
Rick Archer: you. Talk to you later. Take care have a good time in the United States.