Saturday, August 9, 2014

Malawi priestesses using books and nsengwa baskets for ‘oracles’

Sapitwa healers say this image of an ancient healer/priestess with a nsengwa small basket is accurate.
Photo – © 2013 Max Dashu – image created for [Malawi] Woman Shaman: the Ancients
Several kilometers away from the commercial city of Blantyre in Mulanje district to be exact, an elderly veteran Sapitwa healer in her home calls to her grand-daughter to bring her “nsembe” (sacrifice) startling visiting guests who wonder what on earth she keeps in the other room.
They are even more surprised when the young girl only comes out with a huge and thick black book with English sentences inside.
However the healer only allowed the child to touch the mysterious book and not the adults…..even almost spanking their hands killing their curiosity.
You see what is puzzling is that the healer is illiterate as she can’t read and write and yet alone speak English so the guests wonder what the woman is doing with a book and are curious to read its contents inside!
Unknown to them, the book is very special to her as she claims she somehow got it from Sapitwa and believes that the words inside have a certain power on their own so guided by unseen forces she opens to pages which makes one of the guests weep.
The guest who can read simple English reads a part of the book which is somehow relevant to his life but he hears the unexpected when the female healer tells him that is an oracle from Sapitwa.
Ancient Egypt papyrus paper Internet photo
She also says the books and parts read only work when the intended person to read it does. This blog has seen several books or scroll like things said to be from the astral realm of Sapitwa but many of such were in a different alphabet from this Roman one so it could not be easily read.
That ancient Malawi scroll or paper is known as nsembe so the Sapitwa healers who still follow ancient teachings are known as ansembe because of their nsengwa also used for making sorghum (mapira) sacrifices among others on top of Mulanje Mountain.
Nsengwa a small lichero (winnowing basket) usually hang on walls as a decoration might be also made from bamboo and is also sharp on both sides.  It’s different from the lichero said to be used in witchcraft as that one is bigger.
Now some Malawians online, defined mnjere as the peel/rind of a sheaf, a shrub of cereal family or the peel of a sugar cane. They also described the bango (reed) as being sharp on both sides.
Ancient Egypt papyrus paper Internet photo
“Msungwi yomwe amapangira nsengwa or lichero limakhala lakuthwa mbali zonse.”
According to an online document titled ‘Institutions and Ecosystem-Based Development Potentials of the Elephant Marsh, Malawi’, papyrus and reeds grow thickly in the Elephant Marsh and are used locally to make mats, hats, chairs, thatch, granaries, baskets and fishing gear.
“Papyrus is also used as a lining for coffins. Lily bulbs (locally known as nyika) are sometimes eaten for carbohydrates especially in years of poor crop.”
According to some oral stories told to this blog, there are several books, papers and scrolls said to be in the hidden part of Sapitwa believed to be haunted by 7 winged spirits that have never been human (mizimu), ancestral spirits and a spirit royal family which includes Napolo, Mbona and Nyangu.
Strangely enough these healers also talk of Chauta, Namalenga, Mphambe (God) but claim He is beyond the sun and universe and why up above the sky were no mortal man can go.
The healers know that God remains Almighty and hesitate to talk about Him anyhow.  But they freely discuss many spirits they claim live in various mountains throughout the region.
These include good and bad spirits but above them all are the 7 which many nyanga (charms/horns) and mizimu (spirits) healers talk about.
Internet photo of Papyrus and Reeds
These are Bona (world in his hands/feast) of the North wind, Mbona (to see) of the West, Chandiona Goneka (seen me put to sleep) of the South and Nthanda mwana wa mwezi (Sirius star/child of the moon) of the East which are positive male forces.
The other three negative female winged spirits are Dziwe Ntambamwana (Witchcraft pool), Sungamwana (Keep the child) and Ife Zonse (All of us).
In ancient Malawi beliefs both positive and negative forces were used as they believed that both created light or were the major forces besides lightning which was bright in their eyes and a good thing.
Now besides the mysterious books of 2014 said to be taken from Sapitwa, ancient priestess of this rich in history land also used nsengwa small basket for their oracles.
There is also a possibility that nsengwa small baskets were made from bamboo which was also used to make paper in ancient Egypt.  If some can confirm this then it means that might be the reason why ancient Malawi’s Mbona asked his uncle Mlauli to use a reed to cut his throat because other weapons could not harm him.
Strangely enough these healers also talk of Chauta, Namalenga, Mphambe (God) but claim He is beyond the sun and universe and why up above the sky were no mortal man can go.
The healers know that God remains Almighty and hesitate to talk about Him anyhow.  But they freely discuss many spirits they claim live in various mountains throughout the region.
Photo taken from Ulendo series book for Standard 8
These include good and bad spirits but above them all are the 7 which many nyanga (charms/horns) and mizimu (spirits) healers talk about.
These are Bona (world in his hands/feast) of the North wind, Mbona (to see) of the West, Chandiona Goneka (seen me put to sleep) of the South and Nthanda mwana wa mwezi (Sirius star/child of the moon) of the East which are positive male forces.
The other three negative female winged spirits are Dziwe Ntambamwana (Witchcraft pool), Sungamwana (Keep the child) and Ife Zonse (All of us).
In ancient Malawi beliefs both positive and negative forces were used as they believed that both created light or were the major forces besides lightning which was bright in their eyes and a good thing.
Now besides the mysterious books of 2014 said to be taken from Sapitwa, ancient priestess of this rich in history land also used nsengwa small basket for their oracles.
There is also a possibility that nsengwa small baskets were made from bamboo which was also used to make paper in ancient Egypt.  If some can confirm this then it means that might be the reason why ancient Malawi’s Mbona asked his uncle Mlauli to use a reed to cut his throat because other weapons could not harm him.
What is the meaning of this “Tarot Card”
online may I ask? Is it good or bad?
Mbona who during his time on earth was considered to be Malawi’s number one sing’anga (traditional healer) was an expert in herbs and healing rituals.
He was also an expert in magic (matsenga) according to some oral stories because he sought powers from both the positive and negative winged spirits.
“Pano dzina lake ndi pa Ndione” kapena kuti, “Ndili pano ndigwire…kuti muphe ine tengani mnjere, dzani lamtengo, kaya khwaule la bango, mucheke nalo pakhosi langa.  Apo pokha mudzapha ine.  Mukapanda kutero, mwataya nthawi yanu yonse pachabe. Koma mukandipha, mutenge mutu wanga mukauyike pa Khuluvi.
“Posachedwa minjere ndi masamba zones zinagwiritsidwa ntchito.  Nthawi imeneyo nkuti Mbona ali kufuula: “Ambuye: mundipheranji?  Ndikufa ine mayo!”  Mmenemotu nkuti mwazi uli puwu-u-u-u! ndiye ponsepo panali mwazi wokhawokha,” partly reads the Ulendo Series Mtunda 8 Chichewa for Standard 8 book explaining how Mbona chose to die.
Ironically ancient Malawi priestesses used scroll like tools like nsengwa small baskets to protect themselves from nyanga attacks or for oracles to see who was being harmed using nyanga charms among other things since most nyanga involves blood including animal parts in medication.
It was also believed that papyrus and some reeds and plants scared away both crocodiles and some snakes…..which in this case was also Mbona.
Online under a certain English/Nyanja dictionary, papyrus is defined as gumbwa.  It’s interesting how some sitting mats are said to be made from njeza or mululu, plants found in water and which crocodiles do not like and swim away from…which sounds like papyrus.
It is different from the sitting mats made from mulaza which look like kandjeza palm leaves which don’t grow high. So the other type is made from bango which is bamboo.
Some also claim that njeza is an expression for eyes…to clear the path so that one can walk through and to scare away afiti (witches) and anything that would come and harm a person.
Sitting mats are also placed at the windows of some homes as some but not all believe it dilutes the believed magical powers some thieves use.
Now a nsengwa basket is smaller than lichero winnowing basket which witches (afiti) are also said to use.  Nsengwa is for oracles and its ancient secrets were broken and revealed when it got into the hands of the owner as a scroll.
What is the meaning of the High Priestess Tarot Card and is the one on the right the Knot of Isis to symbolize life and womanhood?
It would only work when it was with the one it was created for and the one who was given the power to reveal its words and secrets say some Sapitwa healers.
Now a nsengwa basket is smaller than lichero winnowing basket which witches (afiti) are also said to use. Nsengwa is for oracles and its ancient secrets were broken and revealed when it got into the hands of the owner as a scroll.
It would only work when it was with the one it was created for and the one who was given the power to reveal its words and secrets say some Sapitwa healers.
Mbona reached the point where he became okhwima (ripe and magically strengthened) because he had a nsupa which is a magical African wine kettle gourd which required him to magically seek blood 10 times to give it power for the African version of a grail.
It is believed that the River of Blood which flowed after Mbona sacrificed his life ended the power of his powerful nsupa and the need for such magical rituals.
His ancient nsupa is believed to be hidden somewhere in Malawi beneath the earth since healers say it was magically washed with his own blood.
Ironically this ritual seems to have also been captured in the West and in some Tarot cards but this blog needs to be educated about the real meaning of those cards.
For example the magician one shows all the tools used in nyanga except that a red wine glass is used instead of the Nsupa African wine kettle gourd and the sword is there for all to see plus a candle to represent the light or sun and eyes that look similar to ancient Malawi’s Mbewula seem to be on top of the “magician”.
The hand positions also show the ancient global “As above, so below” sign also used in ancient Malawi.
It’s the same thing with the Tarot card about the High priestess who seems to be seated in between two columns with a veil like thing behind and a scroll or book in her lap. This blog would appreciate if those in the know how explained the meaning of tarot cards….thanks in advance.

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Took this picture of children in Milange, Mozambique admiring visiting Malawian children

Tracing footsteps to lead me home

Greetings from the Warm Heart Africa, Malawi.

I'm a Malawian journalist who grew up in many countries including South Africa, Belgium, then West Germany, UK, Washington DC and New York in the US and I love New York.

Trying to come up with the production of my life and by compiling some of my 1000 poems into a book called ‘Tracing Footsteps’ to lead me Home with excellent photography.

I also plan to film award winning documentaries based on the history of this ancient land called Malawi and the mysteries of Sapitwa and the Sirius star.

.....watch this space.


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