“How can we own the land when we belong to the earth? Each of us, whether we are aware of it or not, has a unique, sacred Earth calling via which we discover, assimilate and express aspects of Earth’s legacy that we have come to explore, both individually and collectively. Life is offering each of us the opportunity to rediscover our original undertaking that was made on a soul level. This calling and the power to bring it forth, is available for us to explore by paying conscious attention to the relationship we have with our environment and the messages we receive from it. Leon Lewis

Return To origin, www.returntoorigin.org.za were about and about in Darling last week. Our day began in the nature reserve in Darling. Lindsay and Arnoldt, Return To Origin Trainee leaders shared their experiences of the medicine bags they made with the new trainee leader Angelique and Shelley Adams an artist and creator of medicine bags and shields, and set the guys off on the medicine bag journey which began in an Audekraal cave and ended up being blessed by the Khomani San Bushmen in the Kalahari.

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Later we spent the afternoon with Leon Lewis and his wife Elmarie I call Leon a rock wizard, mostly because of his intimate relationship with minerals and his rock room which we were privileged to share with him. Amongst many other gifts Leon has a deep respect for the ancient ways and wisdom common to many of the first peoples of the planet. He shares his wisdom generously and with a gentle grace that permeates every story and experience. We are silenced and transported to connect with our inner and outer nature. Spending time with Leon is like being in the company of an old sage, he speaks fondly of his obvious relationship and love of the Khomani San Bushmen, and their wisdom. We came full circle. After a lovely lunch we entered into the rock room. Its energy is potent and there we journeyed with the minerals we held in our hands and shared questions that came from our hearts and Leon assisted by Elmarie deciphered messages that came through. There was so much more and when spirit is present, hard to put into words. Mineral energy is an energy of flow, vision and dreaming, and it all happened on that afternoon. On the way home we were all high on the energy and giggled like kids. Thank you Leon and Elmarie for sharing your home and your gifts with us. What an honor!
“ In response to a deep longing to establish a closer relationship with nature, I became involved in my surroundings in various ways. I gradually came to realize that my experiences were nurturing in me, amongst other things, a deep respect for the ancient ways and wisdom common to many of the First Peoples of our planet. This led to the privilege of becoming acquainted with some of the unseen forces in nature and the opportunity to participate in a few miraculous events.” Leon Lewis

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Arnoldt Michaels -Trainee Leader

I must admit to a certain amount of nervous excitement about meeting the “Rock Wizard” (as Mbali called him fondly), as I understood that he worked and channelled through the Mineral element, and this was my primary element according to the Dagara tradition as well. I was also just starting to deepen my own connection to the spirit of the rocks, and was incredibly eager to learn what I could from a new mentor.

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Upon arriving at their home, I was immediately taken in by the openness and warmth of the greeting we received from Leon and his beautiful wife, Elmarie. From the get-go, I felt at home with them and immediately was able to release all my nervous excitement and return to the calm, receptive state that I would maintain for most of our time together.
I could also see that he truly appreciated the fact that we had taken the time before meeting him to pay our respects and homage to the spirits of the land and the First Peoples who walked there before us.
We entered into Leon’s presentation very smoothly and comfortably, and I couldn’t help but notice that it didn’t so much feel as such but rather more like an easy discussion amongst old friends. He immediately brought us into the communal fold, as he laughingly told us of his adventures with Vetkat, a Bushman with whom Mbali was also acquainted, and Oom Isak, whom we had ourselves met during our last fieldtrip to the Kalahari.

He weaved such beautiful stories, flitting from the mundane and funny to referencing deeper spiritual experiences, in such a way that I almost felt as if I had lived through these experiences myself.
For me the true magic of the experience, however, took place once we were invited to step into their crystal room.
As I entered, I was immediately struck by an overwhelming sense of stepping into a sacred space… the entire room was a sanctum to the Mineral element, and as I stepped through the door I was immediately elevated into a transcendental state. The experience was almost overwhelming at first, as I could feel the stones within the room reaching out to me and I actually had the sensation of hundreds of fingers running up and down my back… feeling and touching.
Apart from this very overt sensation, I also marvelled at the beautiful geometric patterns and groupings of stones within the room, and had a strong sense of their vitality and the flow of energy created by these formations. Words cannot even begin to describe the depth of feelings awakened by simply walking through that door.
As a welcoming into the room, we were presented with a leather cup from which we could each draw an agate collected from the Orange River, and I have to admit that I was quite disappointed in the stone that tumbled into my hand, especially after seeing the stones that were drawn by the others. It was a singularly boring stone… a uniform dull brown, extremely tiny and pitted. The kind of stone that I’ve cleared out of the grooves in the outsoles of my shoes countless times before…
Yet now with the gift of hindsight, and after some serious self-reflection, I can admit to myself that this stone was conveying to me the importance of humility… as this is one of the biggest challenges that I face at present. I now understand that something need not be flashy or exciting to have value… even the smallest, most basic thing, has value and can carry significant meaning, if you know how to read it.

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Leon then continued with his presentation within this space, and to me it seemed as if he was simply allowing the words to flow through him. As he spoke of the various stones, and the way they formed, both those that had been shaped by the elements and also showing us those that had been drilled through by the Bushman, I was drawn in by his knowledge and his passion on the subject. Holding these bored stones, and realising the immense amount of time and effort that had been put into their creation, really challenged my modern conceptions of time and labour. I could also sense how the stones, in this case very blatantly, carried the memory of the land and her people. Throughout all of this I could feel my own connection to Mineral grow.
I was also touched by how the choice of words that he used while in this state felt so timeless and memorable, and how they resonated within me. As a relevant example: “How can we own the land, when we belong to the Earth?”
For me the finale came when Elmarie suggested that we each choose a stone from a bowl she passed around from the central shrine, and allow the stone to speak to us and convey its meaning.
The stone that I drew was once again an agate, but this time it was anything but plain, and its message and meaning came through to me very clearly as I held it. The stone was both black and white; it looked very rough, yet was smooth to the touch; it felt both heavy and very light at the same time; and despite being cold to the touch it radiated deep warmth from within.
To me this stone spoke of duality, and was calling on me to reflect on the duality inherent in life and within myself. When I revealed this to Leon, he then commenced to speak on the topic of sacred duality. The quote that I carry from this is, “Darkness is the background on which Creation happens”.
In the car on the way back, it felt as if we all were truly high on Life and Spirit, and we giggled like little school girls almost the entire way.
There could be no doubt that everybody had been as touched by this experience as I have.
My heart sings in gratefulness to both Leon and the Spirit of the Rocks for the immense blessing received on this day.