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Declaration of the N/om-Kxaosi

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Declaration of the N/om-Kxaosi

Post  Hadrianswall on Fri Apr 24, 2009 5:18 pm

Anything spoken or written about our most important beliefs and healing ways must emphasize and re-emphasize the importance of love, the Sky God, and the rising of our hearts. As our heartfelt feelings rise through loving God, we shake and step into the ability to heal others, as well as prepare to receive sacred lessons and gifts from the gods and ancestors. If this kind of divine love isn’t addressed more than anything else when someone talks about our ways, then that person simply does not know what he or she is talking about. Many outsiders, especially anthropologists, have visited us over the years, and we have been very happy to welcome them. Some have become our close friends. However, there have been numerous misunderstandings and erroneous words, ideas, and theories published about our religious and healing ways. This declaration sets forth our statement about what it means to be a n/om-kxao, an owner (or master) of shaking medicine (n/om).

Over the years, we have known and danced with Bradford Keeney. He has experienced what we experience and know about healing. He is a n/om-kxao and a G=aqba-n!a’an (“Heart of the Spears”) whose power is equal to ours. We give him the authority to speak on our behalf. He knows our truth because he experiences it. He is one of us.

We trust the translation and spellings of Beesa Boo, who is a leading translator of the Ju/’hoan language into English. He has been a schoolteacher, a consultant to the correction of our dictionary, and has worked as an interpreter and translator for many anthropologists. He is fully aware of the misconceptions that have been portrayed by other writers. He accepts the responsibility for accurately telling our truth.

We, the n/om-kxaosi, affirm as strongly as we can that it is not our nature to lie about religious and healing knowledge. There are many things we have not spoken about to outsiders until the last decade. Most of our past responses to questions about healing were partial answers, because we felt the interviewer would not be able to understand our experience and way of knowing. Now it is urgent that we tell the whole story so that previous misunderstandings can be corrected. Most importantly, the world desperately needs what we know about God, love, and how we heal through shaking. We are the oldest culture on the Earth, and we hold the oldest way of communicating with God. In these troubled times, our knowledge and wisdom are vitally important.

The knowledge and experiences of the Ju/’hoan Bushman n/om-kxaosi, while having a common ground of understanding, allow room for individual differences. Our way of thinking is not illogical or problematically ambiguous, though it may appear that way to others. This is because we experience and know the world in a different way. In the old days, we called ourselves the people of the circle (=ahmi). We see everything in life as similar to the image of a dog chasing its tail. And we have referred to outsiders as straight-line people (!hui juasi). We have always been aware of how difficult it is for outsiders to understand us. Now we are ready to make a new effort to teach those who care about how we live. These words are dedicated to the future generations of the Ju/’hoan and to all those whose hearts are open to shaking medicine.

In the beginning, before any time or place, there was the original force called N!o’an-kal’ae. It is the force that changes everything into good or bad. In the First Creation (=Ain-=aing=ani), the original ancestors (G//auan=’angsi) had a father (G=koo N!a’an) and mother (Gauh-!o). The father and mother gave birth to creatures that kept changing into different animals. Among these creatures were the eland-headed people (N!ang-n/ais) who had hooves that made the sound of clapping. They became the first dancing n/om-kxaosi. There were various kinds of animal-headed people, and none of them ever became sick or died in First Creation.

The force that changes everything is behind the creation of all things, including the Sky God (!Xon!a’an). Anything created must change over and over again. This is the nature of First Creation. Even the Sky God, who lives in the eastern sky, has changing forms, each available for only a moment, that change its form, behavior, feeling, and purpose. The changing forms are the way Trickster (/Xuri Kxaosi), who lives in the western sky, is revealed.

In Second Creation (G!xoa), when the animals were named, called “the great turning around” or Manisi n!a’an-na’an, the people and animals became separated from one another. The changing forms stopped changing because everything was given a stable name. Second Creation did not mean the end of First Creation. In a way, Second Creation is another example of the changing force of First Creation; this time, the whole changing world was changed into a non-changing world. N!o’an-kal’ae is still present today, and can inter-penetrate Second Creation through the entry of the trickster forms of God. In Second Creation, people and animals get sick and die. To restore health and to assure good relations, First Creation must breathe change and transformation into Second Creation.

The n/om-kxao’s shaking (what we call thara) is a way of moving back and forth between First and Second Creation. This movement is the breathing and heartbeat of the creator Sky God and its never-ending creating. This is the pulse or vibration of n/om that raises our hearts and gives us renewed life. What we know about healing comes from the love we feel for and from the great Sky God.

There is no simple way to say what n/om is and what it isn’t. But we all agree that its source is the Sky God’s love. N/om is inseparable from music because songs make our hearts rise. The songs that have n/om are associated with the things we love, like water, honey, ostrich eggs, giraffes, elands, gemsbok, and so forth. The way n/om enters our bodies is through the needles (//Auhsi) and arrows (=oah tchiasi) that are put into our g//abesi (belly and abdominal region) or into the top of our head (//hang n!ang). If the g//abesi is “soft” (g//abesi soan, as we say), a needle or arrow of n/om may enter.

When the n/om comes straight from the Sky God or from the G!oah plant (a small bush), we call it a needle. When the n/om comes from an animal, such as a giraffe, eland, or oryx, among others, it is called an arrow (tchiasi). The old words for needles used by our grandparents included n!aihsi and //auh. They often referred to them as “thorns” rather than needles.

The entry of a clean needle or arrow typically brings pain like that of a severe cramp or stinging tightness. The needles and arrows (referred to as needles henceforth) must be lined up correctly in the body (horizontally rather than vertically). They rest near the side or back of our g//abesi, and when they wake up, they move to the front of our belly.

The needles wake up when we sing and dance in a strong way. Our word for this kind of “waking up” is !aia. This word has been misunderstood by outsiders and regarded as “trance,” which is more akin to the daydreaming state you enter before falling asleep. !aia is the opposite—it is more like the arousal and waking up you have when you wake up from sleep. However, what “wakes up” in !aia are intense feelings. We define !aia as “waking up your strongest feelings and becoming reborn.”

We also want to make clear that !aia does not have any meaning associated with death. Some anthropologists may have confused the word !aia with the word !ai, which means “real death.” !aia, the waking up of intense feelings, is stepping into your true self. To fully awaken !aia requires filling your heart with overwhelming love. As this happens, you move from seeing through your eyeballs to seeing through your feelings (kxae =xaiai, meaning “seeing the feeling”). As some of us say, the hot needles must rise from the g//abesi to the heart, while the eyes must drop to the heart. !aia is the movement of all our experience toward being inside the feelings of a fully loving heart.

The first moment of !aia is called gaqm. This is comparable to the moment when you strike a match to light a fire. It is the initial spark of waking up one’s strong feelings, and it is the beginning of feeling a special sense of power. The first moments of being awakened are called gua, meaning “he or she has been lit.” In a dance, the fire on the ground helps heat our inner power or inner fire (n/om-da’a). The first station of !aia is called n!aroh-//xam, in which fire is the dominating source of power. At this station of the dance, we feel power and self-importance. We may be tempted to show off and run into the fire, even placing our head into the flames. It is a place where fear is felt and faced. The first station is where beginners learn to wake up their needles and feel the cooked n/om in their bodies. Here, you are a beginning owner of n/om and are called a n/om-kxao.

The next stage involves healing. It requires moving from raw power (a place of ignorance we call !Xaua-khoe) to a place of love. We call this the rising of our heart (!ka tsau l’an). The second phase is a stronger entry into !aia, and refers to entering the power of the heart rather than the power of the fire. In the beginning stage of a n/om-kxao’s development, inexperienced owners of n/om are likely to show off and boast about their power. These people are called n=u’uhan-kxaosi. They may also pretend that they are able to heal (=u’uhan). This second station, g!a’ama-n!ausi, is when the needles (and power) are lifted to the heart. Here our feelings are so strong that we feel great compassion for those who are sick. Fear is replaced by love. This is where we are able to heal and pull out sickness.

The strongest !aia takes us into the third stage or station, called thara n/om. This is when we most strongly tremble and shake. Here proper seeing—seeing through your feelings—is fully present. Thara (shaking) is not separate from !aia as some writers have reported, and it is not limited to women. Thara is strong !aia, when our strong feelings make us shake. Thara n/om is the strongest and most meaningful shaking that enables us to give needles to others (/’ua-n/om means giving a needle to another person). In the final station, thara n/om, the needles are so hot that the n/om-kxao can give them to another person who is ready to receive them. At this stage of !aia we feel inseparable from the gods and ancestors who are with(in) us.

A beginning n/om-kxao (a beginning learner is called a n!aroh-ma) does not necessarily know how to heal and remove sickness. He or she stays at the first station of the dance. Healing requires learning how to let the needles get extremely hot in the belly, resulting in a pulling motion in the abdomen. Here, we breathe heavily, shake mightily, and !aia deepens so that we have the strongest possible feeling of love for others at the dance. Our heart and g//abesi feel like they are going to burst. To get this strong, you must sing the songs in a powerful way, with your voice vibrating and further lifting your heart. When the needles are so hot that they turn to steam), they go out through the top of the head and fall to the ground, where they are cooled and turned back into needles that enter the bottom of the feet and are again recycled through the shaking body.

When we feel like this, we place our hands on a sick person and pull out the sickness (=hoe is the word for pulling out the sickness with your hands and body). We must pull (use strong abdominal contractions) with the greatest desire to help the sick person. If we don’t feel or pull hard enough, the sickness can get stuck inside us and make us sick. We must pull hard enough to release the sickness. We shout a cry, called !’huhn, to give us the extra push we need to take out the sickness. The sound we make sounds like “kau-hariri.” The sickness may be dispelled from the n/om-kxao’s body through an invisible hole in the back of the neck, called the !ain-!’u, or dispensed by shaking one’s hands or exercising a “throwing away” motion.

There is confusion among the anthropologists about the nature of sickness and what role the deceased relatives, the ancestral g//auansi, play in sickness and healing. The needles inside us get dirty when bad feelings come toward us. Whenever a living or deceased person throws bad feelings at another, the recipient’s needles get dirty. Sickness is caused by bad feelings. The worst of these feelings is anger, followed by jealousy and selfishness, among others. Again, these bad feelings may come from those who are living or those who are dead. A needle of sickness caused by the bad feelings of an ancestral spirit is called a g//auansi tchi.

When you see properly, you are able to see feelings. Bad feelings reveal themselves to the healer and require removal. If people have too many bad feelings while they are alive, they will continue to send dirty needles by their bad feelings when they become g//auansi. If you keep your needles clean while you are alive, then you will be able to help the living when you are a g//auan.

Bad feelings look very ugly (and are usually short), as a demon or monster looks. They look different to each n/om-kxao, but they always look and smell bad. Good feelings look nice and have a good smell. Before a dance starts, even before you have deeply entered !aia, you might feel that there are some g//auansi around with bad feelings. That’s when you can yell at them to go away and stop bothering the people. But as soon as you get strong and enter thara, the g//auansi’s bad feelings run away. They are scared of the power of love.


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Hadrianswall

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Re: Declaration of the N/om-Kxaosi

Post  Hadrianswall on Fri Apr 24, 2009 5:20 pm

The g//auansi with good feelings and love help us heal. We ask them to not only help us heal, but to teach us more things about healing. All strong dances attract the good g//auansi, and after such a dance we say to each other, “The ancestors were at the dance, and they were happy with our singing and dancing.”

We want everyone to know that sickness and healing are not battles with the g//auansi who want to make us sick. Healing is a cleansing of the dirt on our needles caused by bad feelings, whether thrown by the living or the ancestral g//auansi. We clean the dirty needles (and bad feelings) by the boiling power of love. Through raising the needles to our hearts, our bodies are able to heal others. When a n/om-kxao is able to do this, he or she is called a !aaiha.

Many people have heard that the n/om-kxaosi are able to turn themselves into animals, particularly lions. We call this shape-shifting process thuru. As a n/om-kxao’s needles get hot in station one (the power of the fire) and begin to move to station two (the power of love), there appears a side thread or rope that allows one to travel like an animal. The thread for lion thuru is called tso. Here, we feel as though we are lions, and along this thread our soul (not our body) can move about the land, seeing and hearing and feeling like a lion. The strongest n/om-kxaosi avoid taking the threads of thuru, and instead raise the needles to their hearts, enabling the n/om-kxaosi to move from raw power to pure love.

To a n/om-kxao, the world can look like it is covered with a spider’s web. These are the threads that connect everything and allow a n/om-kxao to travel out of the body. The threads that all spirits, good or bad, travel on are called maq. Some of the threads are not good—they are dangerous and belong to the trickster. The red horizontal threads, for example, should be avoided. The best thread, only felt and seen by a n/om-kxao whose heart has fully risen, is the thread or rope to the Sky God. This thread, called !hui, is vertical and takes one to the village in the sky. In this village, there is a special camelthorn tree (n=ahn) that is seen by strong n/om-kxao.

All vertical ropes and threads are capable of bending when you climb them. This turns the rope into a bad rope and returns you to emphasizing power rather than love. As we often say, “Trickster always has a fire trying to pull you toward it.” The n/om must remain strong to allow someone to climb straight up (or down). Strong vibrant singing and dancing by the n/om-kxao and the community helps maintain the strength of the ropes so they won’t bend and cause potential harm. The women’s clapping must be strong enough to lift the dancer’s feet, what we call gu-tsau.

There is no real distinction between threads, arrows, needles, songs, and n/om, though we say that n/om travels along the threads as an arrow that has been empowered (heated) by a song. The songs are the threads, and are the most important thing for a n/om-kxao. The greatest gift one can receive from the gods and ancestors is to receive ownership of a song. The n/om songs awaken our strongest feelings, raise our hearts, and bring on the shaking that heals and provides entry to the gods and ancestors.

The most powerful n/om is God’s love, followed by our love for one another, love for the animals, and love for the plants. When you have ownership of something, it means that you own the feeling of love for it. This can only be said when a song is given that captures the feeling of that relationship and connection. The earliest n/om song was probably the grass song and dance, which is like the G!oah women’s dance that is popular today. Later, when the anthropologists and outsiders arrived in the 1950s, we were dancing to the eland and honey songs. When Beh //Ao, a n/om-kxao from N=aqmgoha, received the giraffe song, the giraffe dance was introduced by her husband, /Ai!ae /Ui, who was also a strong n/om-kxao. Beh had been walking in the bush with some other women, and several giraffes went running by them. In that moment, she caught the feeling of the giraffe and began moving and bobbing like it. She continued this movement on her way back to the village. That night, in a visionary dream, the giraffe song was given to her.

If someone asks for n/om, we do not necessarily give it. We might say things such as, “If I give you n/om, I’ll be arrested and thrown in jail.” Or we might try to push the person away by teasing with statements such as, “N/om will kill you. Why do you want to die?” The people who receive n/om usually don’t ask for it in a direct manner. They dance and sing strongly. When we see that their hearts are open in a good way, we will feel their g//abesi and see if it is soft enough to receive a needle.

Some of the things written about our dance and healing practice are the things we say to those people who don’t own n/om or who are just beginning to learn. Please know that only beginning n/om-kxaosi have great fear and are scared that they will die in the dance. The strongest n/om-kxaosi do not have fear and do not think they will die. They have moved from fear to love and to being instruments of the gods and ancestors. At this stage, they feel no pain. Receiving a needle “feels like being touched by water.”

Death has nothing to do with the experience of a strong n/om-kxao. We only talk about “dying” in relationship to the dance in three ways: (1) an inexperienced n/om-kxao may be overwhelmed by intense feelings (!aia) in the dance and fall to the ground, losing consciousness. That is a dangerous time when the soul will leave the body. The strong n/om-kxaosi must go to this person and bring the soul back and restore life. This is not a good thing to happen. Strong n/om-kxaosi do not fall like this (with some exceptions) and falling has nothing to do with healing. (2) The second use of the words “death” and “dying” is when a n/om-kxao has experienced a strong and long-lasting thara and says, “The needles have killed me.” This means that the shaking has physically worn out that person. (3) Finally, the experienced n/om-kxaosi tease community members who either are not owners of n/om or are beginners, saying, “They will die if they are given a needle.”

!Aaiha are not the strongest n/om-kxaosi. They are simply those who can pull out the sickness. The next level of n/om-kxaosi is called a tco-kxao, someone whose thara is so strong and developed that they can give needles to a person aspiring to be a n/om-kxao (or to another n/om-kxao who wants more needles). A person cannot decide to be a n/om-kxao, !aaiha, or tco-kxao. This is the Sky God’s decision.

The strong n/om-kxaosi who also give the needles, the tco-kxaosi, are familiar with the three most powerful ecstatic experiences available to those who have been fully cooked: (1) climbing the threads to the sky village where the gods and ancestors reside—this climbing is called n!uan-tso; (2) receiving the Sky God’s medicine water, called G!uaon/omga; and (3) the experience of union when two n/om-kxaosi shake together in the most powerful way—called Djxani-!uhsi. One way of doing this is for one person’s heart to shake n/om into the other person’s heart while they embrace. This way of transferring n/om is called =ara-khoe.

As the needles cook and the n/om-kxao enters thara, no particular visual images are given importance. The focus is entirely on intense feelings that, in turn, create internal images seen by the mind. One’s physical eyes are turned over to the eyes of the heart. We are not in a simple trance state, nor do we see any simple lines, dots, or wiggly shapes that change into human bodies with animal heads. We do not have that kind of experience. That idea comes from someone who is incorrectly guessing and does not know what we experience.

As we get stronger in the dance, our physical eyes see only a whirling world in which the fire often looks tall. We believe that the whirling is how First Creation looks. When we see First Creation as a whirling in the dance, we say that we see !kabi. We must learn to look past these images and solely focus on the seeing brought about by intense feeling.

We usually see and hear the gods and ancestors when we are sleeping. We call a visitation or sacred vision a kabi. It is regarded as distinct from dreams, which we call !’un. Most dreams are not important, though there are a few exceptions, such as when the ancestors make us dream about another person. A kabi is a visitation that we also refer to as “going to class.” This is when we learn from the gods and ancestors. They teach us songs, dances, and other things.

They also may present you with gifts called !Xo tci. These might include an eland tail (N!ang !xui) or a dancing stick (!’hana) to use in the dance (to give needles by pointing at someone). Or one can receive a decorative ostrich feather (kxao-kxao! kui) or special skirt (!Oo) to wear in the dance. Men may receive a tortoise shell that holds medicine for heating up needles (Xuru a o n/om ga), while women may receive a tortoise shell that holds medicine for cooling down the needles (//’oara). Another gift is a hat from God that makes you strong when it is placed on your head. The hat is called Tci-n/oa //ah jan.

Women n/om-kxaosi can have a kabi in which the Mother God teaches them about being a mother, or an ancestor may show them a necklace, bracelet, or skirt. These are gifts they present to us, and then we make them as we saw them in the kabi. When we have a kabi and actually see an ancestor or god, it is called a cunkuri. If we receive needles in a kabi, it is called l’an-jukonaqnisi.

The most important kabi involves receiving a song from the gods and ancestors. For example, prior to the introduction of the giraffe dance, the most important n/om song and dance was the bee dance. One of its owners, Dham, grandfather of =oma Dham, had a kabi in which he saw a yellow flower burst open and become surrounded with large female bees as the ancestors sang in the background. He woke up singing the song, and the people gathered and celebrated the arrival of a new song and dance. We have different kinds of n/om songs that we receive, including thara songs (!aia tzisi), healing songs (hoea khoe tzisi), prayer songs (xom tzisi), and songs for communicating with the g//auansi (gaoan tzisi).

When we dance, we may remember what we have seen and heard in a kabi. This remembrance makes us have even stronger feelings, enhancing and intensifying our !aia. Those who have seen a thread to the sky village in a kabi will remember it in the dance. Their strong feelings about it will make them see it again with their feelings. In the same way, the ancestors can be felt and seen in the dance. They are seen through the heart’s eyes, our truest eyes.

When a n/om-kxao climbs a thread during a dance, he or she is remembering how it looked in a kabi while feeling its immediate presence. The feeling is so strong that the thread is re-seen by the heart’s eyes. The intensity bends us over and we stomp while swinging our arms. As we feel ourselves climb, a guttural sound comes out of our mouths. The name of the sound made when climbing the thread is //xoan.

There are times when the n/om is so hot, whether in the dance or in a kabi, that we will experience water pouring over the inside of our head and falling down within the rest of our body. Or we will receive a tortoise shell filled with liquid we can drink. This is God’s medicine water.

The most powerful n/om-kxaosi are called G=aqba-n!a’an, which means “Heart of the Spears.” They may know about the Sky God’s special ostrich egg (!Xo dsuu-n!o) which holds the needles, threads, songs, and dances. Some G=aqba-n!a’an have seen this ostrich egg in a kabi and have been reborn in it. The strongest n/om-kxaosi receive a thread to the Sky God, called a !hui, when this ostrich egg is cracked open in a kabi. The G=aqba-n!a’an feel less pain (or no pain) in the dance than other n/om-kxaosi. They live for awakening and experiencing the ecstatic gifts of n/om. They are often in thara, sometimes during the day and in their sleep at night. These n/om-kxaosi are referred to as “fully cooked by God.” All n/om-kxaosi are depicted as thrown into God’s pot (called kaoha-kxo). When you are fully cooked, God throws you out of the pot, and at that point you are regarded as a “Heart of the Spears.”

A fully cooked n/om-kxao has let go of all fear and has been smeared with a protective powder (n=hang) by the Sky God. To pass through fear, a n/om-kxao has numerous kabi experiences that make him or her strong. For instance, a kabi may involve the n/om-kxao being sent (via vision) to the bottom of a water hole. As the n/om-kxao goes deeper into the water, it gets darker and requires courage to go all the way down to the bottom. Successful completion of this journey empowers the n/om-kxao and provides strength against all fear.

Only the G=aqba-n!a’an are able to hold many different kinds of needles, songs, and n/om. For others, different kinds of n/om needles may compete and cause internal conflict. Some animal needles like those of the elephant (N!ang tchisi) don’t mix well with G!oah plant needles (G!oahnaqnisi) or giraffe needles (=Oah tchisi). However, the strongest n/om-kxaosi can hold all the different kinds of needles and arrows because these n/om-kxaosi are fully cooked. When a n/om-kxao only has one kind of n/om, it is described as singular—n/om-tzi. If a n/om-kxao has several kinds of n/om, it is described as plural—n/om-tzisi.

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Hadrianswall

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Re: Declaration of the N/om-Kxaosi

Post  Hadrianswall on Fri Apr 24, 2009 5:21 pm


Some outsiders have said that a strong n/om-kxao is someone who others want to have sex with. We want people to know that this is a mistake. Perhaps these writers were being teased by those they interviewed, or were talking with a n/om-kxao who wasn’t on a good thread and was being influenced by Trickster. Or perhaps the writer was mentally disturbed. The truth is that we aim to raise the hot needles from our bellies to our hearts. When the heart rises, we do not feel sexuality. We go past that feeling. Instead, we feel love for everyone and a powerful desire to help those who are sick and suffering.

We also want people to know that there is as much healing with the women in their G!oah dance as there is with the men. Most of the strongest n/om-kxaosi say that women are often the strongest healers because they are less tempted by power and find it easier to raise their hearts, the secret to all our spiritual and healing ways.

Our healing is about a love so strong that it makes you tremble and shake. When we dance the giraffe dance, we try to catch the feeling of the giraffe. When the giraffe needles (=Oah tchisi) get hot enough, the thread (tso) between the giraffe and us gets stronger, enabling the giraffe’s heart to enter our own hearts. We do not become the giraffe nor move about with it as we do in thuru. Here, we catch the feeling of the giraffe and dance for it. When this happens, the animal may show up the next day after the dance, making itself available for a hunt. Some strong men n/om-kxaosi have had a special kabi in which they ride a giraffe, gemsbok, eland, or kudu. And they have made love to these animals in a kabi, “loving them in the same way they love their wives.” This is the way it has always been for the Bushmen.

The Hearts of the Spears teach that everything must change in order to remain alive and well. We shake to experience the healing n/om that moves back and forth between First and Second Creation. We shake because we feel God’s love and are moved by it. We shake because it makes the threads and ropes that connect all living things stronger.

Our stories also shake. The old stories, which tell about First Creation in which everything constantly changes, must be altered on each telling. The stories themselves shake and are capable of sending needles to the listeners. The key to understanding them is to be aware of how much change and transformation is instilled in their words and scenes. When a story mentions a body organ, it will typically emphasize the organ that embodies the most transformation (moving from one state to another). The best example is the intestine, the organ we regard as having the most n/om. It is involved in the change from food to excrement. The n/om-kxaosi desire to eat this organ because of its powerful n/om. One owner of a giraffe song had a kabi in which the Sky God threw him into a giraffe’s anus, and he ended up dancing in the animal’s intestines.

Our bodies shake in the dance, and our stories shake when we tell them. Both activities can result in the transmission of needles. We also tremble and shake when we stand over the animal we have killed in a hunt. Hunting and gathering involve more than feeding ourselves. They are also ways to hunt and gather n/om. The way we share gifts and laugh and tease one another also helps the n/om flow. When we shake, we are made clean. This means that our feelings are centered on love and that we feel nothing bad toward anyone or anything.

Our grandparents called the threads san//ae, which means sinew. Through shaking love, the world and all of its relationships and interconnections are kept alive. We, the n/om-kxaosi, serve our gods and ancestors, keeping the sinews or threads of connection ready and available for all hearts to rise together and become one heart. Our most important concept is !’oan, which means the opening of your heart, and it is achieved through the most important feeling, the feeling of love, what we call are.

When the threads of relationship are strong, we feel the connections to all of life. When we need meat, the ancestors will pull a thread that is attached to an animal and to us. It will feel like a tapping on our body, called =a’am/’an. We have many different kinds of tapping, all brought about by the threads of connection. The name for the tapping that means it is time for a hunt is kxaetci!hun. When a lion is near, we feel a shock on our fingertips called !kau. We feel a tapping in the palm of our hands when someone is about to give us a gift. And we feel tapping when friends and family are coming to visit us. A wife always feels a tapping between her legs in her vaginal area when her husband is returning from a hunt. Our bodies are attached to all the things we love, and these relationships are empowered by songs from the heart.

We often pray to the sky gods, who are our parents. The father is addressed as the Great Father, Mban!a’an. Throughout each day and night we simply pray, !Xo hui mi, which means “God help me.” Our Great Mother, /aqn-/aqnce, is the Mother of the Bees. The bees are one of the greatest sources of n/om because they sing, dance, and make honey, which we love to eat. When you love the sky gods, you acquire a belief in them. This belief, brought about by the experience of love, is called =um !xo kokxui.

There are times when we don’t say the name of something that has a lot of n/om. For example, when we are dancing, we won’t utter the name of the dance or the songs or the needles. At that time, n/om things are awakened and are too strong to even mention their names. Simply saying the name might result in getting a n/om needle. We have other names that we can use, which we call “respect names.” They enable us to name things without risking any attraction of its n/om. For example, the respect name for n/om is tco, whereas =chisi is the respect name for a giraffe n/om arrow, and G=kao Na’an is the respect name for the Sky God (!Xon!a’an).

When we die, the little g//auansi children from long ago come to take our souls to the village in the sky. Our soul, kxae /xoa, is the living self with all its memories. It is part of our body when spirit, n/huin, breathes through it. When we are alive on Earth, our soul is breathed out (g!xa maq) and then brought or breathed back (n/huin n’ang). We must cultivate good feelings for each other now, so that we will be good to those we love when we become g//auansi.

Our beliefs about religion and healing, called =umsi !xo, teach us that the Sky God lives in our heart, while the tricksters come into our mind. When our heart rises, it carries God’s truth into our minds and gives us peace and joy. But when the voices of tricksters get into our head and fall to our heart, we find ourselves full of bad feelings, from jealousy to anger to selfishness. When people speak of God and do so primarily with a “head-filled-heart,” rather than a “heart-filled-head,” know that they speak for tricksters. Evil uses the words “good” and “God” to trick us into following a bad direction. Only trust the words of a love-filled heart that inspires true speech and thoughts. And above all things, aspire to be an “owner of God,” kxae /xoa, which means that you own the feeling of love for God. This is the most important thing we have to teach. Its truth will deliver and nurture all other important truths.

Source

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