Category Archives: Myths and Tales

Trying to understand the language of birds….eagles, falcons

Parrots
Once upon a time Malawi had parrots but don’t know it’s Chichewa name…is it Chingolopiyo?

Don’t criticize the king, even silently, and don’t criticize the rich, even in the privacy of your bedroom. A bird might carry the message and tell them what you said” – Ecclesiastes 10:20 Good News Translation (GNT)

I would be most grateful if holy people familiar with biblical verses would teach us outcasts what the above verse means as many in Malawi laugh at me when I pay attention to birds and consider that primitive though I’m trying to figure out local mythology about them.

Are those parrots which repeat words a person says?

 My area of interest are the birds which Malawians don’t usually eat including owls, falcons, eagles, hornbills and the Sacred African Ibis. Yes some might eat those but they’re not that easy to catch unlike the others and many Malawians consider birds appearing in a home evil although they were all created by Chauta, Namalenga, Mphambe (God). 

Hornbill

 It’s just before the rainy season in Malawi when the sound of natures’ trumpets is heard….waaaaah! waaaah!! Waaaaah!!! cry the Trumpeter Hornbills in the busy commercial city of Blantyre startling me as I lay down on my bed in Soche East near Soche mountain.

I peak out of my room to see two huge Trumpeter Hornbills eating papaya from my tree with their big round eyes seeming to stare right through my soul. Even as I approach them they didn’t fly off but kept looking at me while moving their heads.

As if being guided by an invisible conductor the birds cry in unison like babies even louder again as if telling a story of sorrow which no man can understand.

Their constant cries can make those with creative minds wonder what they’re trying to say using bird language.

For me the way they cry varies and sometimes it sounds like sorrow but when some guests to my home saw the birds they freaked out and got scared with Chauta, Namalenga, Mphambe (God) creations.

Zambia 1 S 1964
World of Coins taken from http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?topic=12529.45

For years these birds showed up at my former home and former workplace but these days I rarely see them landing but flying by. Previously I would hear them and as soon as I found the tree where they are, there would be silence so I figured they could somehow think but that cry was something else.

I would then assume that their cry was normal for everyone hence them not reacting unlike me who never grew in a village hence I would always be surprised when they went quiet when I found them and would stare at me.

I also see a lot of falcons, hawks and suspected eagles which seem to cry when something tragic is about to happen.  I usually spot eagles near royal homes or traditional healers with royal blood and when they make their not so usual cry it alarms me as if fore-telling something while falcons or hawks flying in circles and other movements seem as if they’re writing something in the sky.

Brown Falcon (Falco berigora)
Brown Falcon (Falco berigora) http://malawi.birds.wildiaries.com/species/19531-Brown-Falcon

Eagles and falcons fascinate me and till this day I’m always happy to see them wherever I am in the world as they remain my favourite strong birds but the sacred African Ibis and Northern Bald Ibis are not seen as often.

The last time I saw suspected Northern Bald Ibis they were flying in a V-formation and flew above me for about 15 minutes giving me enough time to study them, their beaks and how they flew and how the last would end up first and so forth.

It was like watching nature’s jet show.

Northern bald ibis
Northern Bald Ibis http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2938280/Taking-turns-driving-seat-Migrating-birds-alternate-leads-tiring-v-formation-save-energy.html

When visiting Mangochi I usually witness African Fish Eagles flying past and in my ears I can hear them flap their wings but there is another eagle looking bird which when it appears and cry I expect something specific to happen depending on where and how it lands.

I’m also told the term [m]vundulamadzi is African fish eagle in English and means the Eagle is so strong when it hits the water that it’s believed to make the fish at the bottom come up to the top in confusion.

African Fish Eagle
Online photo of African Fish Eagle in Malawi

So if there is one thing I will always remember about my former Malawi Housing Corporation home in Soche East, Blantyre; that would be the many birds that “kept me company” in thick and thin and made my garden beautiful.

I love gardening and would always plant different types of flowers and grass because the green helped sooth my migraine headaches so the flying birds always complimented the colours and I would love listening to their daily songs and watching them land before me.

The shrieking cry of the Hamerkop always alarmed me and gave me the creeps as it was like they were foretelling disaster and it’s one bird I can easily catch if I wanted to but I don’t as I see them really close including those that land near shopping places in Limbe.

Hamerkop landing photo from the Internet
Hamerkop landing photo from the Internet

The other colourful ones whose names I don’t know were like an alarm clock to wake me up in the morning and some were there right above the door at the entrance to my house to remind me it was getting dark hence they were ready to sleep.

“Rise up this mornin’, smiled with the risin’ sun, three little birds, pitch by my doorstep, singin’ sweet songs of melodies pure and true, saying’, (“This is my message to you”)….”Don’t worry ’bout a thing,’cause every little thing gonna be alright” sang Legend Bob Marley in his famous Three Little Birds song sounded real to me although unreal.

Of course the birds of the night like bats (mleme) once found its way into my house but I kicked it out and suspected they were attracted to the fruit trees I had outside but some were eventually uprooted including the banana tree.

Same with a white owl which once landed in front of me during the day near a home whose occupants were cruel to me.Malawi owl.jpg

It would stare directly into my eyes and a similar one appeared near my kitchen during the day when I opened the gate to let in a visitor who gave me the creeps.

The owl made a 360 degree turn and with one eye open and the other closed it stared at the guest who got nervous so we had to chase the damn owl away.

Same thing with pigeons and doves which showed up I would read into them and got the feeling pigeons prefer being around places where there is peace or people who have peace of mind.

However I never saw a parrot near my home although some claimed many could be found at a nearby Soche mountain but had “fled once human beings encroached the forest reserve or bush.”

Where there was “Long live Kamuzu” is no longer there and older healers who used to trek up the hill claim wild animals, birds and snakes that used to be there fled as humans replaced them.

Long Live Kamuzu
‘Long Live Kamuzu’ photo taken from Malawi@fifty Facebook page

Local birds known as Namzeze most likely swallows have fallen flat on their backs before me several times including in an office where I used to once work.

For some reason I fail to pick them up as their eyes make me feel sorry so it’s usually those near me who do that for me and let them go as I have no use for them.

It was also very normal for some birds to lay their eggs in my hanging flower pots near the entrance of my house or in many places on the roof of that former rented home.

But I never knew the types of birds they were as they varied and would always SING and DANCE even on gloomy days.

One that would sleep on a chord for my dish right near my bedroom would always stare straight into my eyes whenever I peaked unlike some others which would get startled….fly away and always come back to their resting place.

It was not unusual to always find white bird pooh on the doormat of my house as a bird always slept there and in many other holes near my bedroom.

There are so many other birds I have seen which would take a book to document so would like to hear other tales about them besides my personal experiences.

blue-swallow-malawi-2009
Blue Swallow http://www.birdfinders.co.uk/news/malawi-new-tour-gallery.html

However there are some villagers in Malawi who claim there are a few “gifted” people who can somehow understand what such birds are saying and that it allegedly warns of something about to happen in the world.

How this is done remains a mystery but there are some people who still believe the behavior and sounds of some birds and animals can somehow foretell the future.

They also believe the Trumpeter hornbill is a mbalame yamizimu (spirit bird) with a natural horn (nyanga). Other beliefs about this bird and the spirit are not allowed to be shared on this blog.

This is in contrast to the Helmeted Hornbill with the “casque not hollow but is filled with ivory and is used as a battering ram used in dramatic aerial jousts.

Hornbills are locally common resident of the tropical evergreen forests of BurundiMozambiqueBotswanaCongoKenya, the Caprivi strip of Namibia and eastern South Africa, where it feeds on fruits and large insects according to the unofficial and easily edited Wikipedia.

 

 

 

 

Ancient Egypt’s Ptah (Pitah) Djed like mythical ladder (makwelero)?

A REMINDER THIS BLOG IS AMATEUR UNFUNDED REPETITION OF SAPITWA ORAL STORIES DONE AS A HOBBY AND NOT FOR PROFESSIONAL PURPOSES TILL RESEARCH IS DONE:

“Up from the past that’s rooted in pain I rise” –  Maya Angelou  

Paintings (3)
Nkhuni (as in firewood) spirit sketch by my creative artist in a Mulanje

Malawi is a beautiful land so rich in ancient history and with so many myths and tales about spiritual beings of ancient times who were close to chosen women who were given the gift of ancient African prophecy (ulosi wakale).

Such spirits preferred celibate and unmarried women hence some of them were rain shrine guardians or symbolically married to such male spirits usually appearing in the forms of serpent spirits be it a python or mamba, cobra and not the more than 2000 snake types seen with the naked eye found in Africa and elsewhere.

However this blog ONLY refers to SAPITWA oral stories and myths from ancient priesthoods not to be confused with known and official ones. 

 Today black women who were priestesses of Sapitwa are labelled evil in Malawi because most things black and ancient are viewed as evil unlike those of fairer and lighter races.

However this blog attempts in an amateur way to capture an oral story told by a Sapitwa priestess (nsembe) in Mulanje about the love of a male spirit being towards all including black women sometimes viewed as inferior.

As a descendant, she talks of a time many centuries ago when lands in the south were occupied by Abatwa (pygmies) and Abathwa (bushmen).

 

Uta wa Leza
Took this photo when I saw a rainbow during a sunny day and many beautiful colours in the sky

A young woman trying to sleep in the middle of the night suddenly feels faint and collapses into deep sleep and has a strange dream or vision.

She sees a bright light above her and in front of it is an elderly man dressed in very bright white clothing with wrinkles clearly defining his face and slanting eyes which resemble a leopard.

His loud voice speaking with an echo hits her ears as one message is repeated over and over again with the echo.

As if looking through a bright tunnel and towards the sun (dzuwa), the young woman in her dream tries to look at this bright being up above and before her with eyes like a leopard.

Leopard
Leopard with it’s trademark “slanted” eyes photo taken from the Internet but not connected to this story

And then suddenly as if with a big bang he speaks, his loud voice echoing loudly with a message about the things he hates most.

She looks up and still sees this elderly man in white staring at her as he says something like:

Ine ndimadana ndi anthu amene amanyoza mizimu chifukwa mizimu yonse ndi yanga” [I don’t get along with people who insult spirits (souls) because all spirits (souls) are mine].

Startled the woman notices the elderly man’s face looking very angry as it disappears into the distance until she’s left in pitch darkness with an image of an angry leopard.

This “vision” was shared with this blog not as an endorsement but as a way of documenting ancient beliefs as told by the very few who still follow or believe in them.

People who believe in such beings are viewed as primitive, savage and Pagan so such visions were only shared among a few till this blog has repeated them.

There is a certain village woman in Malawi who claims to have “messages” and “visions” but she’s ignored and labeled evil and a witch (mfiti) because in modern Malawi such things are not accepted and are viewed as Pagan which means evil and demonic.

The author of this blog is not endorsing these views but just sharing oral stories and realities of what those of other belief systems say and how the elderly man’s image resembled an online statue of Ptah but a younger being as a sketch was made.

stock-photo-very-strong-image-of-a-afro-american-woman-crying-isolated-on-black-328242536
‘A Striking Image of a Afro American Woman Crying’ – stock photo not connected to this blog but to show the pain of some black women

Leopard eye shapes and leopard skins were treasured and valued among ancient Malawi healers and the leopard also symbolized priests and priestesses and royalty in many ancient cultures including ancient Egypt.

 Ironically globally and among all races Jaguar or Leopard’s slightly slanting eyes are considered attractive and some even seek eye surgery to have them.

In another primitive Sapitwa oracle using the metaphor of Chipako (tag), the Sun (dzuwa) is said to be chasing darkness (mdima) into the pit (dzenje) and not the moon of love and water which is also summarised as Pita Chinsinsi.

Once the sun gets close global temperatures will rise but in a primitive way. Letter D

And in yet another dream, the same Pita male spirit stands behind the sun his eyes staring below with a red rock of fire in his right hand nicknamed zwangendaba by asing’anga which might be sulphur rock, as he held lightly but not yet letting it go so –pita hence Pita (to go) but not Ptah pronounced Pitah of ancient Egypt although there are similarities.

Sapita means don’t go just like sapitidwa as in a place where mere mortal beings don’t go and amapita meaning they go but SapiTWA is most like the PI but not sure if “π” but definitely like phiri meaning a hill or mountain and Sa maybe for Sandawe Bushmen and Twa for the Abatwa (pygmies).

Now this Abatwa/Abathwa spirit with slanted eyes also bounces several yellow balls as if to show gravity and online science sources show that “gravity does affect the way balls bounce. Gravity pulls the ball toward the ground, slowing the ball down so that each bounce is shorter and shorter, until eventually the ball stops bouncing.

The force of the ball hitting the hard ground puts an equal force back onto the ball, causing it to bounce up. It is not easy for us mere mortal beings to bounce from the ground into space.

Bouncing_ball_strobe_edit
Bouncing ball strobe not related to this blog taken from the unofficial Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bouncing_ball_strobe_edit.jpg

This blog can now cautiously reveal that Djedeka was a Sapitwa word used for a mythical ladder (makwelero) with the ancient pillar of black priesthoods which the central pole (mzati or sikili) in a hut represented.

It was this mythical ladder “primitive” ancient black priesthoods believed was one of several things which connected earth to space.

Words are not being created to sound similar to ancient Egypt’s but said by a sing’anga (traditional healer) in a village in Mulanje, Malawi.

Now she refers to the ancient mythical makwelero as lily and djedeka as in kutsika pansi as in going down or kupita pansi which might be kunjendeka or kudjedeka whose meaning is not yet known but as a code of climbing down after not making it up.

 Djedeka seems to be similar to the Djed of ancient Egypt’s Ptah but this blog is not saying it is the one but maybe ancestors as in ancient African priesthoods and not lay people borrowed ideas from each other.

Djed 2
The Djed Pillar photo taken from http://www.ancientegyptonline.co.uk/djed.html

Djed online is usually defined as “an ancient Egyptian symbol that resembles a column with a broad base and capital which is divided by four parallel bars.”

“The Djed pillar had been an object of worship since the pre-dynastic period, giving its name to the city of Djedu (Busiris, in the 9th nome of Lower Egypt).

“It is clear a stylised image, but there is a disagreement regarding the origins of the symbol.  As a hieroglyph it came to represent stability and durability, but may have started out as a fertility fetish,” reads http://www.ancientegyptonline.co.uk/djed.html

The author of that blog also suggests that the Djed “represented a cedar tree (mkungudza found on Mt Mulanje or mlanje) with its branches removed, the pole to which sheaves of grain were tied after harvest, or a stylised sheaf of corn.

Now corn is maize which was brought to Africa by the Portuguese in the 1500s so it could not have been in ancient Egypt unlike other grains like sorghum (mapira) and millet (mawere) or pearl millet or black millet (mchewere).

According to other online sources it was from Ptah’s name whose name sounds similar to Pita in Chichewa and not Pitala (Peter) that Egypt was derived, as Hwt-ka-Ptah (home of the ka (soul) of Ptah) transliterated as Aígyptos by the later Greeks and Bes was a central African or Great Lakes god (spirit in Bantu languages) worshiped all over the Med he is a Ba-twa or Pygmy he may also be linked to Ptah who is also a Ba-twa.”

Ptah whose symbolic X resembles Abatwa (pygmies) but his complexion of Abathwa (Bushmen) could also be an ancient letter T in some African alphabets drawn as an x.

He also seems to hold in his hand a jackals symbolizing death which in the book ‘Nile Valley contributions to Civilization” by Anthony T. Browder and introduction by Dr John Henrik Clarke is defined as a type of wild dog which “feasts on carrion which must be consumed at a specific point of decay in order for it to be of sustenance.”

djed-pillar-ankh-sceptre-1
The Djed, Ankh and Was Sceptre looks like jackal on the left and ankh on right – http://www.landofpyramids.org/djed.htm

“The natural instinct of the jackal symbolizes the qualities of fine judgement and the jackal is represented by the Netcher Anpu (Anubis) who was responsible for adjusting the balance of the scale that weighed the heart/soul of the deceased at judgment,” further wrote Browder.

In the same book he also defined ankh as an “ancient Kemetic symbol for life”.

“It represented the unification of the feminine and masculine forces in the universe and the creation of new life….it portrayed both the physical and spiritual aspects of life”.

Likewise in ancient Malawi beliefs, opposites attracted including in the spiritual realm to create Light hence (+) and (-) as in male and female.

Hence there were 14 mythical spirits with 7 above as in the Universe led by Munsandipeze ndine njira (don’t find me I’m the way) hence Pita and not Pitala (Peter) and 7 below as on Earth led by his spirit twin brother Tomasi Bona (Atom, feast).

In ancient Malawi Myths and Tales, the Universe existed in twos hence beliefs that every person has an unknown twin who is not biological.  This is also the main teaching of pigeons (nkhunda) which come in twos so go the oral stories.

SO ABOVE as in AIR (MPWEYA) and WIND (MPHEPO) was led by the Hidden One who is the way and path with that sentence having the ancient hidden SECRET(Chinsinsi) name used in rituals, festivals and the Afterlife.

harvest5
The start of the harvest in ancient Egypt involved celebrations in honor of Min Read more: http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/harvest.htm#ixzz44BrpD2Zf

This name for centuries has been connected to the HARVEST and the AFTERLIFE using a mythical path through water to get to the astral realm of some hills and mountains.

That path was however different from the one leading to the Universe which was believed to only have mizimu (spirits) and their Creator locally known as Chauta, Namalenga, Mphambe (God) who gave the breath of life hence kupuma and air (mpweya).

And these spirits were given names by some ancient priesthoods of this land:

  1. Mikolo Njinjinji (African Sacred Ibis)
  2. Kabadula Malawi known as Kaba
  3. Saka (the Hunter)
  4. Samba Manja (wash your hands) of the North
  5. Kalipo (said when there’s food to be eaten which is provided by spirits)
  6. Tandipeza (find me)
  7. Munjira (in the path)

However this blog is not saying the vision was Chauta, Namalenga, Mphambe whom some ancient priesthoods considered to be Air and the Breath of life hence Moyo and Kupuma.

SO BELOW as in EARTH and WATER was led by Tomasi Bona (Atom, feast) with the mythical 7 mizimu (spirits) of ancient Malawi and the mythical 4 winds of Sapitwa (mphepo zinayi) and Mount Mulanje among others which were a positive charge (+).

The first 4 positive charges (+) were:

  1. Tomasi Bona (atom, world in his hands, feast) of the North Wind
  2. Tagoneka Mbona (we’ve put to sleep Mbona, see) of the West Wind
  3. Chandiona Goneka (it’s seen me put to sleep) of the South Wind
  4. Nthanda mwana wa mwezi, Nandi (Sirius, child of the moon)

And the 3 negative charges (-) pulling with the 4 to make light were:

  1. Chinsinsi Sungamwana (Secret, keep the child)
  2. Dziwe Ntambamwana (magic pool)
  3. Ife Zonse ( all of us)

If one looks carefully that means two triangles hence As ABOVE SO BELOW to form a unique star….meaning the spirits (mizimu) of the air and those of the water (madzi) which include female energies etc.

h2osecurity-background-h2o2
h20 water security background taken from the internet

 

 

Myths, tales and Mbona secrets….names for 4 winds of Sapitwa

Mulanje mountain (2)
About 100 kilometres south-east of Blantyre and less than an hour drive, is Mulanje mountain with its famous Sapitwa peak majestically beckoning people to see its beauty.

Mulanje Massif is said to measure approximately 22×26 kilometres with a maximum elevation of 3,002 m at its highest point, Sapitwa Peak.

Sapitwa which basically means “don’t go there” in the vernacular and also known as the mountain where “no man goes” is a place said to be home to ancestral spirits and their god.

It is also forbidden to reveal secrets about the place so as to avoid the wrath of the spirits but this writer will take the risk and try and disclose a little until the right time comes and the spirits decide.

Anyway traditional healers say this god does not allow anyone to approach sacred places but follow several rules including fasting, not going there while drunk, not eating certain foods like pork and mice and not going there while “hot” which basically is after intimacy.

Those who disobey are said to “disappear” into the spiritual realm while others who tread near places said to have certain herbs are said to suddenly find oneself naked and having to be intimate with the nearest person. Other rituals include walking backwards in certain areas to avoid facing the wrath of the spirits.

Dziwe la Nkhalamba 2

The key of all this is said to be at Dziwe la Nkhalamba at a certain hidden white rock said to be the foundation of all their beliefs but no man can find it they say.

The place was once known as a swimming pool for the elderly and those who saw an elderly man with white hair and wrinkles were said to be lucky and “blessed.” Clothes were also said to appear some times for the lucky few.

Some villagers also believe some parts of the mountain are always cloudy in some areas with black clouds. Black is the colour of a cloth used in rain rituals and the sign of black which absorbs heat more than any other colour and believed to signal rain.

Some traditional healers who live near the mountain claim the colour white is the colour of the dead like in ghosts. They also believe that all spirits appear as white and they claim the female ones have their hair covered as it moves like snakes when shown in public.

This is why many of them claim that once a spirit covers a person with a white cloth, that person disappears and joins the spiritual realm.

For some traditional healers known as asing’anga amizimu who claim to practice Mbona’s teachings, Mulanje Mountain is the source of rain and they believe there is also a Mbona spirit there besides the Bona one.

They usually draw a cross with ufa woyera (maize flour) to represent the 4 winds of Sapitwa as in north, south, west and east but it’s only now that the actual names of the 4 are known.

African cross

The names of the mythical 4 Napolo winds of Sapitwa were Nangumi as in the Chinyanja name a Mermaid but actually also a Whale found in the Indian Ocean and most likely the Blue Whale.

Nangumi was believed to be a mermaid in white with long dreadlocks as in uncut hair bending her back and lifting rocks followed by Chivomelezo meaning all agree, Kwawa as in to crawl and Thawa ndiyende meaning run away while I walk which is something people usually do when it starts raining heavily.

Now of these four Napolo winds, Nangumi (whale) was of the  East Chivomelezo (agree) of the West,  Kwawa (Crawl) of the North and Thawa ndiyende of the South.

In ancient Malawi Myths and Tales Kwawa also meant Mstinje as in River in the same why some Americans call strong winds that frequently blow across Greak Lakes in autumn November witch while ancient Malawi’s were not but believed to be mizimu (spirits).

Children of Napolo included Biton of the South believed to be on “Kuba” mountain which is actually Mt Namuli in Mozambique near the Indian ocean.

These winds are said to bring rain after being provoked by a two-edged sword or the pointing finger and the recital of certain words as most of their rituals involve sending words and requests to the 4 winds with lubani (incense) to their god.

Woman
Woman not mermaid and python drawing from http://exploremalawi.blogspot.com/2013/02/how-to-make-it-rain-malawian-ancestral.html

This is what the Mbona practicing healers of Mulanje believe and oral information that has never been documented before about ancient history long gone.

A lot of tales are connected to the place and well-documented in various books, documentaries and research ranging from mysterious food appearing which one must eat alone to spirits “kidnapping” people who seem to disappear forever.

Now ancient Malawi’s Napolo’s real name was Tomasi Bona the spirit (mizimu) responsible for the North wind and connected to myths and tales about rain, floods and landslides.

Napolo is a destructive serpent spirit believed to live in mountains, hills and mounds but he is NOT Chauta, Namalenga, Mphambe (God) who only does good and does not harm his creation in ancient oral stories.

Ancestors believed that the Creator lived beyond the sun and way up in the sky.

Tomasi Bona’s name means he has the “world in his hands” and a “feast”.  In myths and tales he was believed to fight to get back what he lost in the end.

According to oral stories, he originated from one of the M’manga Mudzi termite looking mounds somewhere in Malawi and a lake and plenty of water is believed to be underneath it.

His symbol is a circle with a cross inside meaning complete and what goes around comes around meaning in the end there would be destruction using water.

As explained in an earlier blog, Tomasi Bona also known as atom or aTomu is the mythical elderly spirit believed to lead 7 others known as Tagoneka Mbona of the West wind and sunset, Chandiona Goneka of the South wind and Nthanda mwana wa mwezi of the East wind and the sunrise.

These included 4 spirits of positive charges and 3 of negative charges which are Sungamwana, Dziwe Ntambamwana and Ife Zonse pulling each other to make light.

Termite mound
Is that an Orb or dust spot on the left side of the M’manga Mudzi mound photo?

Now what is interesting is that when said in Chichewa, Tomasi’s abbreviated name is atom or should we say Atom like in the same way this author’s name would be amizere or Amizere when addressing her name in Chichewa.

Now an atom is a basic unit of matter that consists of a dense central nucleus surrounded by a cloud of negatively charged electrons. The atomic nucleus contains a mix of positively charged protons and electrically neutral neutrons. The electrons of an atom are bound to the nucleus by the electromagnetic force.

“Likewise, a group of atoms can remain bound to each other by chemical bonds based on the same force, forming a molecule.

“An atom containing an equal number of protons and electrons is electrically neutral, otherwise it is positively or negatively charged and is known as an ion.

“An atom is classified according to the number of protons and neutrons in its nucleus: the number of protons determines the chemical element, and the number of neutrons determines the isotope of the element,” read online sources.

Ironically there are other foreign cultures with similar myths suggesting atoms including in ancient Egypt.

The ancient Egyptians believed that Atum was the first god to exist on earth and that he “rose from the waters of chaos (Nun)” just like ancient Malawians believed that Atom was the first god (mizimu) to exist on earth and that he also rose from the waters of chaos hence his current name of Napolo.

The unofficial Wikipedia online encyclopaedia describes Atum as being the ‘complete one’ and also the finisher of the world, which he returns to watery chaos at the end of the creative cycle.

Now Atum in the Heliopolitan creation myth, Atum was considered to be the “first god, having created himself, sitting on a mound (benben) (or identified with the mound itself), from the primordial waters (Nu).

“In the Book of the Dead, which was still current in the Graeco-Roman period, the sun god Atum is said to have ascended from chaos-waters with the appearance of a snake, the animal renewing itself every morning…”

“Atum was a self-created deity, the first being to emerge from the darkness and endless watery abyss that existed before creation. A product of the energy and matter contained in this chaos, he created his children—the first deities, out of loneliness…and he’s also known as the finisher of the world,” further reads the unofficial and easily edited Wikipedia on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atum

The spirits whom scholars call gods also do things according to plan and it is believed they relocate from the mountain to a lake hence Napolo said to be a serpent spirit known as Mbona working its way to water where it lives for some time and creating landslides.


According to the Wikipedia, scientifically the “mountain island” rises up more than 2500 meters above the plains around.

“This setting is responsible for the Massifs role as a rain barrier that forces the clouds to come down in the form of rain. This becomes very visible if we take a look at the annual normal rainfalls, on and around the massif.

“On plateau level, at around 2000 m.a.s.l., we annually experience more than 100 inches of rain, however, in the low plains around the foot of the Massif, the annual rainfalls, range around 40 inch. In the plains around the Mountain, it normally only rains in the rainy season, while it rains all year long, on plateau level. The rains are just more intense and frequent then in the dry season,” partly reads the on-line encyclopaedia.

It adds that there are “still differences in the amounts of rain, around the Massif. The south-west face of the Mountain, is the weather side, around Likhabula, Lichenya and Mulanje Boma, which experiences the highest amounts of rain, due to the south-east trades of the southern hemisphere, that drive the moist air from Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo into the Mulanje region.

“Therefore the North-west face of the Massif experiences lesser rains, as it is situated in the shadows of the high Peaks of the Massif.”

It is not known why villagers belonging to a priestly clan have always connected Sapitwa to rain way before books and the internet were created but one fact remains, Sapitwa Peak remains a beautiful mystery and it is hard if not impossible to trace the spirits that live there, but there is something on that mountain beyond it’s astral realms say the herbalists.

Sapitwa Peak is also a tourist attraction and it is important for one to go up there with a guide and travel safely to see nature’s beauty.

 

Of ancient Malawi mermaid’s wrath, ululation and Napolo landslide tales

Hans Christen Andersen writes in ‘The Little Mermaid’, “But a mermaid has no tears.”

This line directly contradicts other fanciful writers and dreamers who say that mermaid tears become pearls, or that the green pebbles found on the Floridan Iona shoreline are the tears of a mermaid.

And maybe so. Like the legend that mermaids are guardians and avengers of women, perhaps any remaining mermaid of legend cries unmercifully over the condition of the seas – Mermaid Tears — Another Nautical Disaster

The-Little-Mermaid-Movie-Poster1

“Ululululululu” a village woman near Michiru Mountain in Blantyre hears early in the morning after a night of heavy rainfall and chilly weather.

She’s out earlier figuring the rains have reduced and is on her way to draw water from the nearest “river” which in actually sense is a water body.

But as she approaches she sees a woman with long dreadlocks dressed in a white robe coming out of the water and ululating as she sinks back below again as if swimming in a straigh line.

Stunned the woman stares into the water and suddenly sees the woman rise up again and the rocks before her move as if clearing a straight path for something to pass through. Noticing the strange events before her the woman concludes that Napolo, the mythical serpent spirit is about to relocate from the hills to the waters and the mermaids ululation is a warning for every being in its path to move away.

This is an actual story told by a village woman to this blog about the half woman and half fish spirit she claims she saw in the water before a landslide hit the area some years ago which might have been in the 1990s.

In Malawi people rejoice with loud ululations during weddings or when dancing and it’s locally known a kululuta hence ntungululu.

That sound is also the ones some villagers in Mulanje claim they hear before Napolo landslides hit the area some five minutes or so before to give people enough time to run uphill.

Woman not mermaid and python drawing from http://exploremalawi.blogspot.com/2013/02/how-to-make-it-rain-malawian-ancestral.html
Woman not mermaid and python drawing from http://exploremalawi.blogspot.com/2013/02/how-to-make-it-rain-malawian-ancestral.html

“Ndine Nyangu ”, a woman says after dipping her head into a big red clay pot full of water goes a SapiTWA oracle this blog told late last year about ancient Malawi’s mermaid spirits (mizimu).

This Nyangu known as Malira (“you have cried”) is a water spirit known by different names.

She proudly wears a “phande” also locally known as “ngale’ as a necklace which in English is a “pearl” but this blog is talking about the actual shell whose scientific name remains a mystery.

This blog does not know what exactly is found inside the Phande shell but some healers claim some thorn looking things and a secret as in Chinsinsi which sounds like Isis with chinsinsi the Chinyanja word for secret.

And when angry, Nyangu would say in a code “Muzalira ndine mkazi” which in English can be summed up as the Wrath of a Woman. So literally she was saying an enemy would cry because she is a woman who can be ruthless.

All genuine male healers admit that when the MALIYA spirit “comes out” it’s powerful and at times dangerous in that it’s the most powerful and close to all the male spirits they tap into. This spirit is also known as one of the many Nyangus of ancient Malawi but in the African water spirit world of mermaids.

The MALIYA spirit is Intersex and has both male and female sexual organs so it reproduced. She is also very dramatic and fierce.

When trainee African priestesses (nsembe) got a shell like this one from Sapitwa as it was sourced in the Indian Ocean it symbolized the spirit world opening up to them especially MALIYA.

According to a Sapitwa healer such mythical spirits are half woman and half fish so priestesses who follow their teachings are not supposed to eat fish.

Lake Malawi sea shells
Lake Malawi sea shells

Nyangu means “manthongo” like the crust mucous stuff around the eyes and another rude version only for this oral story.
It also means “wopepera” like in foolish, a fool or someone lacking intelligence in relation to the ancient Nyangu spirit (mizimu) who was misunderstood and not the many royal official ones.

The clay pot she used like others were always broken into pieces to be disposed of in thick forests of hills and mountains whenever they were not needed. She was the last female to use it for that specific purpose and passed on some teachings to her priestesses.

Once upon a time in this ancient land of Malawi as this blog continues repeating oral tales about the creation of gods and goddesses which were locally known as mizimu as in winged spirits, there lived a powerful female one known as Malira Tapalia of the North.

These spirits were different from ancestral ones which are locally known as mizimu yamakolo. This woman also known as one of the Nyangus of ancient times did not bath and only dipped her head in water because she used a lot of nyanga involving charms and horns which are easily diluted by water.

And since this Nyangu was from water hence her name also sounding like Tilapia fish with the most common species in Malawi being chambo….Malira was believed to appear as a mermaid because she could not get her lower body wet which was the source of her powers.

Some healers claimed such beings would also put snails in their forbidden areas to protect themselves from water there or they had the body of a fish to keep the water out.

That is why Malira was believed to be of the sea or ocean and some healers use the name Dr Maliya or Dr Maria to mean Malira whose salty tears where like the ocean.

This blog is not saying all Dr Marias sourced their name from Malira but that some of them whom this blog interviewed did.
Malira who also specialized in magic (matsenga) like in Disney films is said to have always appeared crying and weeping with a baby on her back and her colour was blue like the ocean.

Ancient Malawi's Phande shell also known as Ngale (Pearls) associated with female water spirits like mermaids
Ancient Malawi’s Phande shell also known as Ngale (Pearls) associated with female water spirits like mermaids

According to a Sapitwa healer this Malira whose name meant the way a woman cries during childbirth like in mwana amalira (the child cries) lived in what is today known as the Mandala area and the word “Mandala” was a Mang’anja nickname for a female autonomy.

The Mandala Nyangu acted like a Mangadzi (berothed maiden) because of the “oracle’s spirit marriage to the python (serpent spirit) or god, whose bow was the rainbow.

Now this serpent spirit was Tomasi Bona (Atom) also known as Napolo of the North Wind.

This is the winged spirit the ancestors would look for whenever they wanted rains and it is the one Mbona (the Seer) would point his kandalanga two-edged sword besides Chauta, Namalenga, Mphambe (God) whom they believed was further North up in the Universe and beyond the Sun.

They also believed that when the South met the North that would symbolize floods and they would calculate where it would happen. This is where the Malira spirit would come in together with Tomasi Bona. This Malira spirit of the North was the opposite of Chinsinsi Sungamwana (Secret, Keep the Child) of the South who was her sister.

Now when this blog uses the term Mangadzi or Mang’adzi it’s not confirming if the Nyangu mentioned was one and neither is this Nyangu the one of many in ancient Malawi’s history.

In the official version which are a different story, Mang’adzi was similar to Makewana (mother of the children) but of the Mang’anja belief system.

A “chosen” priestess carried the Tomas Bona spirit on their backs as a mother and it was through Malira where some belief systems originated that salt can cure many illnesses or problems.

Mermaids in ancient history are not unique to Malawi with other mother figures like “Mami Wata” (Mammy Water) being venerated in West, Central, Southern Africa, and in the African diaspora in the Caribbean and parts of North and South America.

In December 2012 37thSTATE presented 'LADY IN THE WATER'- A mami-wata documentary. Published by @Lanredavieshttp://www.factory78.com/2012/12/37thstate-presents-lady-in-water-mami.html
In December 2012 37thSTATE presented ‘LADY IN THE WATER’- A mami-wata documentary. Published by @Lanredavieshttp://www.factory78.com/2012/12/37thstate-presents-lady-in-water-mami.html

“Mami Wata” where “Mami” is the Pidgin English spelling of mammy (mother) “Wata” is the Pidgin English spelling of water is essentially a mermaid or humanistic water entity.

“Mami Wata is often described as a mermaid-like figure, with a woman’s upper body (often nude) and the hindquarters of a fish or serpent. In other tales, Mami Wata is fully human in appearance (though never human).

“The existence and spiritual importance of Mami Wata is deeply rooted in the ancient tradition and mythology of the coastal southeastern Nigerians (Efik, Ibibio and Annang people). Mami Wata often carries expensive baubles such as combs, mirrors, and watches.

A large snake (symbol of divination and divinity) frequently accompanies her, wrapping itself around her and laying its head between her breasts,” further reads the unofficial Wikipedia about Mami Wata.

In the West, tales by Hans Christian Anderson including ‘Little Mermaid’ were very popular.
And as a divine healer, Isis shared the secrets of healing and preparation of medical potions to her priestesses. Isis is also credited for bringing the secrets of law and agriculture.

The Temple of Aset, or Isis as she is known to most, at Philae was a jewel within a jewel and built on two tiny yet beautiful islands in the midst of the Nile waters.

The island itself was called the “Pearl of Egypt” by many, and was thought to be one of the burial places of Osiris – the husband of Isis, in ancient Egyptian mythology.

Pearls were prized by rulers and royalty with Julius Caesar limiting the wearing of pearl jewelry to the rulers of the Roman Empire during the first century BC In the glory days of the British Empire, only royalty were allowed to wear these lustrous gems.

Daughters of Isis

Online sources also show that until fairly recently, pearls were still worn exclusively by royalty and wealthy nobility, as they were far too expensive for anyone else to afford.

According to Stephen Bloom, a journalism professor at the University of Iowa, real pearls grow in oysters and mussels, which are incredibly adept at filtering sand out of their systems.

“What happens is that a tiny piece of coral or an unfortunate tiny living organism attaches itself to the meat of the oyster and, in order to protect itself from the irritation, the oyster covers the invader with layers of nacre, the smooth, luminous substance that makes up the pearl. Now this is how natural pearls are created, but it’s extremely rare to find a natural pearl.

“Almost all pearls today are cultured or cultivated pearls. In oysters, they’re grown by inserting a small bead — which is made of a piece of clam shell from the Mississippi River Delta — and a piece of oyster tissue into the mollusk; in Chinese mussels there are no beads, just tissue inserted.

“The shells are returned to the water, turned regularly, and harvested. Oysters produce one pearl, like an egg and a yolk, while a mussel can produce as many as 60 pearls of all different shapes and colors.

China, Japan, Indonesia, Vietnam, French Polynesia, Australia, Mexico, and the Phillippines are producers. Pearls from Japanese oysters made up the largest portion of the market for many years. In the 1970s, the Chinese started producing freshwater pearls in mussels, and today, 99% of freshwater pearls come from China. Most people involved in crafts use Chinese pearls,” he said in a 2010 article titled ‘Tears of Mermaids: The Secret Story of Pearls.

In 1493, sailing off the coast of Hispaniola, Christopher Columbus reported seeing three “female forms” which “rose high out of the sea, but were not as beautiful as they are represented”.

The logbook of Blackbeard, an English pirate, records that he instructed his crew on several voyages to steer away from charted waters which he called “enchanted” for fear of merfolk or mermaids, which Blackbeard himself and members of his crew reported seeing.

http://www.ancientdigger.com/2013/02/the-history-and-meaning-of-ancient.html
“The shells of fresh water sea life were used to craft bracelets and necklaces for both men and women. The cowrie shell, which has an indented lip, looks like the slit of an eye. Egyptians believed this shell to be a prophylactic against the evil eye. This belief is still head true in parts of Africa and the Mediterranean.” http://www.ancientdigger.com/2013/02/the-history-and-meaning-of-ancient.html

In August 2009, after dozens of people reported seeing a mermaid leaping out of the water and doing aerial tricks, the Israeli coastal town of Kiryat Yam reportedly offered a $1 million award for proof of its existence.

In February 2012, work on two reservoirs near Gokwe and Mutarke in Zimbabwe stopped when workers refused to continue, stating that mermaids had hounded them away from the sites. It was reported by Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, the water resources minister according to a report in The Herald. http://www.herald.co.zw/mermaids-stopping-govt-work-sipepa-nkomo/

Of ancient “Kuba” (Mt Namuli ) tales told by banned Malawi healer

A spirit (mizimu) from the “heavens” beyond the sun suddenly enters the M’manga Mudzi termite mound (chulu) with a distinct mpolowoni tree (Steganotaenia Araliacea tree) which suddenly explodes with lightning throughout that world to begin a creation is an ancient oral story told to this blog by a Sapitwa healer.

Mpolowoni (Steganotaenia Araliacea tree) photo taken from http://www.zambiaflora.com/speciesdata/image-display.php?species_id=143340&image_id=8
Mpolowoni (Steganotaenia Araliacea tree) photo taken from http://www.zambiaflora.com/speciesdata/image-display.php?species_id=143340&image_id=8

Some online sources define the Steganotaenia Araliacea tree as the Carrot Tree.

Now in some countries within the Sadc region the “sacred fire sticks are fashioned from the straight stems of the carrot tree as these sticks are the only means by which the sacred fire may be kindled.

In Malawi, mpolowoni besides being used as a toy gun by children because of the sound it makes, it was also used as a symbol for lightning by some ancient priests and priestesses responsible for nsembe (sacrifices and offerings).

It’s through this lightning in a termite mound where the other mythical 6 spirits with Tomasi Bona (Atom) as the 7th came into being.

These were different from Chauta, Namalenga, Mphambe (God) whom the ancestors believed was up above and beyond the sun and not on earth.

Tomasi Bona’s name means something like the whole world in his hands and feast drawn with a circle and cross which in English would probably be the equivalent of “All and Nothing”.

M'manga Mudzi, Mpolowoni anthill tree/mound in Malawi
M’manga Mudzi, Mpolowoni anthill tree/mound in Malawi

The other 6 spirits with Tomasi Bona of the North Wind as the seventh are the 4 positive male charges of Tagoneka Mbona of the West Wind, Chandiona Goneka of the South Wind, Nthanda mwana wa mwezi of the East (Sirius, child of the moon) and the three negative female charges of Sungamwana (keep the child) and Dziwe Ntambamwana (witchcraft pool) and Ife Zonse (All of us).

According to the oral tales, this projection was always in 2s with a man and a woman just like pigeons (nkhunda) come in 2s claim healers.

Now this Tomasi Bona is said to have 4 heads (mutu) from which he projected himself from the One. These include Pikinini Langwani of “Kuba” (Mt Namuli) which healers translate as child and giant and Biton.

Namuli-bg-1680x1050
Mt Namuli Internet photo

This blog will still not reveal the other 2 female names so they remain hidden for now but they are both Nyangus.

From those 4 heads are 3 others said to be at Machemba on Mulanje Mountain and these are Khumbi, Nthipe and Mpingo.

So there is Tomasi Bona as the Atom and One and his 4 children who are:

  1. Pikini Langwani of the North like the direction where Chauta, Namalenga, Mphambe (God) is
  2. Biton of the East to mean the star like Sirius
  3. The Hidden woman Nyangu of the South to mean where water comes out
  4. The Hidden female Nyangu spirit of the West to mean the darkness , black cloud and all that can’t see

Now there is a suggestion that Tomasi Bona of the North could have also be present in ancient Egypt but this blog is still exploring such myths and once information is made available this blog will start sharing ancient secrets from that country.

Sapitwa and Kuba healers also have different beliefs about the relation between the sun and the moon.

They claim that the moon (mwezi) is not a friend of the sun (dzuwa) and that the moon is instead the companion of Nthanda, the Sirius star of the east which is like a (-) charge and a (+) charge  and that the sun is a companion of maize (chimanga).

Finger ground drawing of Napolo's ancient name
Finger ground drawing of Napolo’s ancient name

However, this blog does not know when corn or maize existed in ancient Africa unless they migrated from the North, which healers insist.

They believed that the sun’s wife is maize and that sometime during the rainy season, the sun heats up the maize to help it grow properly and make it stronger (kukhwimitsa).

According to oral stories, “Kuba” is also the place where healers claimed to be able to “catch” a falling star and remove its tentacle looking like things based from the way they describe what they remove.

They therefore view “Kuba” as the place of the Star which is Sirius …nthanda and also the place where the new Nyangu will be revealed once the water from the South meets the North which sounds like a flood to this blog which is still researching to figure out it’s actual meaning.

Sirius Internet photo from http://www.space.com/21702-sirius-brightest-star.html
Sirius Internet photo from http://www.space.com/21702-sirius-brightest-star.html

Myths & Tales: “I’m a child (Ndine mwana)”

Image
Some African instruments which don’t sing like birds when suspected “evil spirits” play it

You’re a child, you don’t know anything is a word some hear in villages whenever they clash with okhwima (I think that’s magically matured in English) people who use magical charms among other things to protect themselves from spiritual attacks or enemies.

Others are said to misuse such rituals to unfairly harm those they envy or hate for stupid reasons. A man can be over the age of 70 and still seen as a child when they have not gone through any of such nyanga magical rituals.

Then there are some traditional healers specializing in magical charms/horns locally known as asing’anga anyanga who are also not seen as children.

Some such healers also describe those who don’t follow their rituals as being naked (maliseche) meaning they don’t use charms including kwakwananda love potions from the monitor lizard or various aphrodisiacs to increase lust or energy in the bedroom for couples.

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Malawi’s gondolosi among other aphrodisiacs are harmless

“Witches” locally known as “afiti” and those who in myths are believed to specialize in magic (matsenga), the lying maula and fertility orgies and sexual promiscuous are also grouped in the group of those who are not children but the harming and not self-protective type.

This is why in ancient times the woman manning the rain shrines was celibate and the men performing some rituals at the mountain among other places was celibate.

With married couples they would fast and abstain from sexual relations before going to rain shrines and ancient sacred places.

According to a female Sapitwa healer, such “children” usually glow through the so-called eyes of the heart which makes them appear bright like a good ‘spirit’ and they don’t harm innocent people.

She claims that is why it is wrong to touch the forehead anyhow or the top of a baby’s head because some people somehow use it to take ones energy or power.

Maybe one can assume they don’t only use forces of darkness but only the light which has symbolically been played with in this ancient land of Malawi.

Some of the ancestors would monitor how the sun rose in the East and set in the West and again when the Sirius Star would shine brightly on what we now know as New Year’s Eve as if to usher in a new beginning and leave the old.

This myth was also played when explaining the role of the mythical 7 spirits of the Sapitwa god with 4 on the right being a positive charge and the 3 on the left a negative charge but not necessarily evil.

Sapitwa healers believe the Creation involved a positive and negative which is used by traditional healers who follow such ancient practices so the nyanga male healers would tap female energy from the hour glass shape African Wine Kettle gourd locally known as nsupa while the female ones would tap energy from their own versions of Mbona.

In such a case it was only one female healer of Sapitwa who did that so go the ancient myths and tales this blog is only documenting and not endorsing.

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Sapitwa female healer explaining some secret hand symbols