The first time I met a sangoma in South Africa, and what happened next

When I moved to South Africa in 2003, I had an idea that there were spiritual practitioners I could meet and learn from.

I didn't know, at the time, that a sangoma would confirm my personal mission and change my life!

Here in an interview with The Edge magazine, conducted by the talented and compassionate Brazilian healer Jurema Silva, I tell the story of the first sangoma I met in South Africa, and what happened next.

The story goes like this:

As soon as I arrived in South Africa, I said, "I've got to figure out how to see a sangoma, this is really important to me."

I arranged to see one, and she lived in a township, which is very, very far away from where I was staying because you know, in South Africa, the land is assigned in a very disparate way. Very unfair.

I drove and drove and drove and drove and drove and drove and drove way way way far away. I arrived. I arrived really late. (And she was mad.)

She threw the bones for me. And she said, "Okay, you are gifted and you have to start practicing. You need to align with your maternal line, your mother, your mother's family."

I said, "Okay." She said, "You need to go buy this cloth." She held out a cloth for me, and the cloth had a pattern of oak leaves.

Later I found out that different sangomas wear different patterns of cloth, it's a thing. You go to a sangoma shop, and there are all of these different kinds of - it's like plaid, it's kind of like a tartan in the Scottish tradition, right? Your clan has this pattern.

I said, "Okay, I'll do that." So I went to the shop and I bought that cloth and I wore it on my shoulders and she said, "Talk to your mother's people, your mother's line, ask them for help."

I went home and I lit candles and then I looked down at it and I really thought about it and you know what? My mother's last name is Quirk. Her maiden name is Quirk. And you know what the word quirk means? Oak Tree.

What a beautiful message ... so spot on and so reassuring and loving and comforting. I felt loved and guided.


Jurema goes on to ask me more questions about other countries I lived in and what I learned from them spiritually.

Watch the whole video interview here (46 minutes)

Because Jurema is from Brazil and has lived in the US for many years, she understands looking at cultures through the lens of an observer. Since she is also a spiritual and healing practitioner, it was an easy and free-flowing conversation.

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