I had the gift of an encounter with two students from Rhodes University, Raphaela and Jacek, who set about doing a filmed conversation with me as a final year film project. The end result is an honest delight. Of course I would like to sound wiser than I do, and of course I would like to look nicer than I do, but that’s the nature of us. I am grateful for their earnest and sincere interpretation, and can ask no more than that. Thank you my friends.
Another morning surrounded by shining eyes in faces beaming upwards.
Seven to eight years old. A class full of movement and imagination . . . they do not want information, hard cold facts of dead information, they do not want the intellectual . . . they live in a world of imagination, and they want living pictures of a world-story that brings to life in them that which inspires them forwards in growth and wonder.
They live in that place of awe from which we all rise and fall, and in their formative years they must not be hurried out of that space, they must not be forced into a quantified reality which makes no allowance for Spirit.
They ask for words that they can turn into living reality by their own doings . . . so we spoke of food, shelter and companionship . . . the fundamental human needs. I told them how to build shelters out of sticks and grass, how to make fires from male and female pieces of wood. I told them of a world without water, but filled with everything that anyone could need . . . a world not cluttered with incidental ‘things’ which they do not ask about . . . their questions are all to do with what is essential to life.
And standing afterwards, surrounded by these endless excited questions, I am struck by how in every way they look up to us.
Physically they look ‘up’ to us, spiritually they look ‘up’ to us . . . in their whole relationship with the world of the adult and parent, the children look and ask ‘upwards’. And so, from this raised, bigger place . . . we adults and teachers must, for them, be there.
This last morning, I again spoke with a group of children, and am utterly taken with the absolute sincerity of their quest for the truth of things . . . their deep inner need to know that that which they are hearing is true. It is only the certainty of that which comes towards them that binds them to themselves, that gives them anchor in this world.
Their security comes from no other place, and so I am compelled to reconsider my own place between certainty and doubt as an adult . . . do I stand in a place in which they can find sanctity?
These too, were twelve year olds’. I shared with them two stories . . . one of how we humans first came to fire, to Light . . . this is the story in my book of how man, in the purging of the animal nature out of himself, comes towards fullness as a human Being . . . in finding the light of Spirit we are able to stand as human between heaven and earth.
The second story, and the one they loved the most, was of course about Lions and Magic! It is the story of an ancient race in an ancient land, a story of relationships between the visible and the invisible, of shape-shifting and the possibilities of life. To stand before their shining Souls questing for this knowledge is a verification for all of us who might think that the world of imagination in children is a world of fantasy . . . it is not! It is a world of truth . . . a truth, which we the adult have forgotten to remember, and so by default have come to deny.
This old relationship with life must and will return in new and conscious form.
I was asked what I hoped people would take away from this book . . . well . . . my hope is to add to a deeper understanding of who these ‘first people’ really are, so that we come to know more of what this ancient race has brought into the context of our lives on earth, and know what they have contributed towards the spiritual evolution of humanity.
Through this understanding, I hope people will gain more truth with regard to our own nature, to understand how we modern humans stand in this world. I think it is a vital part of human evolution to carry, in knowledge, the truth of that which came before us, of those who walked before us . . . the absence or presence of that knowledge reflects clearly in who we are now.
I would like to know that I have made it a little more possible for people to acknowledge the invisible world, and to live within the world of Spirit . . . to develop the certainty that it is acceptable to believe in that which you cannot see . . . to know, that what is unknown, is also true.
I hope that with this book I have strengthened the bridge between the ancient race and us, that the memory lines are extended from their archetypal dreaming consciousness to our wide awake modern human consciousness . . . and that we can, through this knowledge, do more than we have done.
In response to Jean’s question . . . Was it difficult to integrate back into modern society after seven years in the Kalahari Desert?
The first year was difficult . . . I sat on my stoep with not much reason to get up and do anything . . . it all seemed so purposeless, there were no men to hunt with, no snares to check . . . it was like living in a five star hotel with all the expenses paid. It was also funny . . . I remember running my first bath, and keeping, and re-using the water for three weeks, simply because I could not bring myself to waste it. Where I had lived, that much water would have brought joy to many people. Anyway, after repeatedly washing in the same water for three weeks, without soap, I scooped the water out of the bath with a bucket and watered the trees. I went to London to edit the film, People of the Great Sand Face, and that was a real culture shock . . . I was not only from a different continent, but from a different planet! I was given a luxury apartment to live in, in Park Lane, by Lord Aubrey Buxton . . . he found me to be quite a curiosity, and seemed to enjoy my company . . . no doubt because I was not in awe of him in the way that all his English minions were . . . I came from a world in which all things and all people were different, but equal.
I recall walking down Park Lane one day with my gemsbok skin cloak over my shoulders for warmth . . . it was snowing, and I was barefoot . . . I had not worn shoes for many years. Anyway, two dear old ladies stopped me and politely told me that I should be careful not to cut my feet on broken glass or any other sharp thing. Equally politely, I thanked them for their concern and told them with complete conviction not to worry, because ‘my feet could see’. They believed that I was sincere, because I really was, and went off about their English day with something odd to think about. It took me a while to realize just how different I had become . . . not only in outer mannerisms and doings, but more on the inside, as if through some deep osmosis of spirit, my whole being had taken something else into itself.
So, it was very difficult integrating back into modern society, and it is perhaps something that, fortunately, I shall never entirely do. The difficulty lay mostly in the fact that I was trying to reconcile my journey from a fundamental existence into a largely incidental one. So much of what had become within me, had no place of recognition in the modern world.
The radio interview yesterday with RSG was interesting on a few levels. I had to speak in Afrikaans which is not my first language, and which although quite a challenge seemed nonetheless to evoke the right response in the audience.
Something of great significance that always arises for me when talking about the Bushmen, is this absolute resonance that so many people have with the subject . . . it is as if there is something still present as content in their souls which remembers, which remembers that they too were once First People, for there was a time on this earth when all humans were archetypal in both form and manner. This primal memory is neither frivolous nor fanciful . . . it is a very real residual memory which lives within the Soul memory of many people today. It is my understanding that we were all once ‘first people’.