Isiguqo: Isonto Lezayoni

These sessions were some of the best in my ‘church days’. You see, these churches didn’t speak about material things, success in materialistic forms, it didn’t matter how much money you had or not had.

Instead the services were concerned with creating and facilitating passageways/bridges with unseen realms of our being and consciousness. We were involved in processes of seeking particular kinds of alignments and synchronicities with surroundings, family, community and deeper contacts between man, their gods and ancestors. We were seeking a magic world.

The belief was, if one attains some connection with the spiritual dimensions, the physical dimensions would project forms on manifestations at a material level. That is to say that, if one is in tune with the divine, a universal harmony comes forth in all aspects of their lives.

Now, let me explain how I was made to understand all of this ‘technology’ through my grandma’s teachings. Isiguqo is a prayer meeting/ritual in the Zionist church that seek affinities with spirit dimensions. This type of ceremony is commonly held at the top of a hill, this is due to our forefathers beliefs in the sacredness and symbolism of such spaces. I attended a lot of these in my upbringing.

In actual fact, these became my initial encounters of trance, miracle making, magic and witnessing prophecies that frequently resulted to healing of diverse illnesses and health/psychological conditions. Most of which was practiced through spiritual means, with an exception of water as a healing tool and symbol from time to time. People would bring water containers with the hope that water has memory to code healing energy, they would then use this water for a range of functions.

Of course my favorite part of isiguqo was a performance of iskhalanga, that is when a magic world would open. Iskhalanga is a kind of spiral and cyclical ritual dance whereby the dance circulates around a kind of center. This dance is often accompanied by strong hand clapping (sometimes with a drum) and a song that is sung by the entire congregation. The song often emerges from composed materials, to multiple variations, improvisations and counterpoint, until it blossom and dissolves to a completely new piece of music.

It is in these moments, of taping into a kind of new-unknown that an invisible and body-less spirit enters the room. It is believed that this spirit enters from the center of dance circle (iskhalanga). During this grace period, whomsoever that is in need of any type of healing is unconsciously pulled to the center by some sort of magnetic fields. After which a prophet, the chosen one (osebenza ngesithunywa) puts her/his hands over their head. As soon as the two connect spiritually, messages and texts are sent through the prophet and he/she begins to prophesy emanating to a healing process.

Furthermore, the potency of this energy portal and center where isithunywa channels all these messages through a prophet, is believed to inspire and dictates the flow of rhythm, mood and pace of iskhalanga and the ritual at large. When the spirit is high the pace goes faster making it slightly more complex for anyone outside the dance to enter the circle. It requires a deep alertness, a submission to the spirit world to find alignment with the physical realm and the greater rhythm of life.

It is an entering to a universal synchronicity, forming a type of unison with the music of the spheres. It is here that, the margins between the two worlds (seen and unseen) are temporarily dissolved, the walls between body and soul collapse into a totality, a kind one oneness and a trance experience.

During iskhalanga the body feels so light, traveling even faster and at a deeper level it becomes impossible to even feel any pain especially underneath the feet as the practice is done barefoot. It becomes almost as if the ground itself embellishes our very song.

From a young age, experiencing such power, it became clear what the purpose of music and dance should be throughout my life. It is this kind of transcendence that cultivated such deep belief in sound. I come to understand music, sound, dance and rituals in this mode.

To this day I constantly search for these connections in my practice as a healer/improvisor. I am looking for iskhalanga of the soul, a magic world.

Reflections 15072019

Nduduzo Makhathini

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