In 1990, during the beginning of the end of apartheid in South Africa John Lockley – a young white medic in the South African army experienced a powerful dream which he later described as a “calling,”
This seminal psychic experience began an extraordinary odyssey which led him far beyond barriers of race, culture, and belief. It was a journey that led him into the world of the to the world of the African shaman.
In his book Leopard Warrior: A Journey Into the African Teachings of Ancestry, Instinct, and Dreams Lockley shares his experiences through a personal account of how he became one of the first modern white men in recent history to become a fully initiated sangoma–as a traditional priest and healer–in the Xhosa lineage of South Africa; the tribe of Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu.
The journey that Lockley took led him through challenges initiated from integrating with many differing cultural values. Each of these taught him the nature of what it truly means to allow yourself to be pushed, pulled, dragged and pummeled by Spirit in following a direction of its choosing. Nevertheless less Lockley hung on for the ride and in his book he describes in detail many of the wild adventures that resulted.
The process of training Lockley underwent was challenging enough but it was also accompanied by a deep sense of suspicion from those the indigenous culture. The author states that “ it took more than five years for the local community around MaMngwevu to accept me. The first few years were very difficult. I often felt hatred and anger burning into me like a knife through my soul. “
In time he learnt not to take this to heart, realizing that it was merely a consequence of what he represented which was white imperialism.
In the months following his initiation Lockley began to notice that his body was changing physically and at a spiritual level. In particular he became increasingly cognizant of what the author refers to as “the spiral of transformation” in Leopard Warrior he describes this as “spiraling electrical energy that moves up and down the spine”. It was a power that started to impact upon his emotions, intuitions and dreams.
Lockley now travels the world visiting many countries to teach the lessons of his insights he has gained from the African shamanic tradition.
It’s not often that stories are told of cross-cultural spiritual initiatory transformations such as the one described by John Lockley in his book Leopard Warrior. In most cases our DNA tends to determine the correct spiritual path we must take—something that is is very much determined by our forefathers and our ancestral heritage.
This book charts a quite different course and it is interesting to following the progresses of its author as he undertakes the hard process of psychospiritual transfer.
Leopard Warrior is a colorful and rich account of a remarkable journey of spiritual metamorphosis—one that carries with it a strong sense of alchemical transmutation. For this reason it is a story worth telling and Lockley does so with great honesty and clarity.