06 Apr ingomasbhulo:
sound + divination + the possibilities of ritual technology
The year 2020 signifies a very particular moment in the unfolding of our particular personal-local historiographies, as well as the broader cosmological time and evolution of cosmic consciousness. The violent intrusion of global imperial design sought to destabilize and erode various systems of knowing and sensing, by enforcing a hyper-masculine and Christianized energy as the only possible-logical perspective of knowing and experiencing the world.
After two hundred (200) years since the arrival of the 1820 Settlers and missionaries in ‘South Africa,’ and many centuries across the continent and planet Earth at large, we are still experiencing the effects of the terraformation (terror?) of global coloniality. The explicit decay and collapse of the paradigm or the current projection of reality may seem sudden. However, in countless generations before ours, there have always been seers, dreamers, diviners, thinkers, philosophers, activists, change agents and the like, that have anticipated a moment of rapture, change, revolution or awakening. All these terms are important as they situate us within a particular cosmological sense of the world, and therefore produce different modes of response or action.
The ‘current state of the Earth’ in public spaces has always been engaged through a socio-economic-and-politico-religious perspective, and rarely includes dialogue from other forms of knowing and communication – especially insight from the metaphysical realm.
Earth and the Energy-Grid
The Earth as a womb/ Ma/ Mother is an incubator for various lifeforms that are part of the interplanetary system. As a unique being in itself, planet Earth has a unique energetic signature and energy matrix that affects the beings in it.
Our erudite ancestors knew where to locate the sacred sites/ energetic points/ vortexes in the body of the Earth. Various stone structures/ temples/ ritual technology/ ceremonial sites were created at these energy points in order to assist in amplifying and aligning our energetic vibration with that of the planet and the cosmos. This was especially important for our ancestors as it allowed them to travel or project their consciousness to other dimensions and access information that allowed them to develop and advance themselves and their civilization.
image by Siphiwe Mhlambi
It is these inner dimensions that Makhosi Nduduzo Makhathini explores in his work: the relationship between the individual and collective field of consciousness as a site of possibility, knowledge, and healing. Makhathini’s oeuvre spans across modalities of expression and each allows a particular view and sense of the metaphysical leaps he takes to engage the present moment.
As a way of engaging and alleviating the metaphysical and epistemological damaged experienced through global imperial design, Makhathini proposes that:
there is a way in which our work should then create some kind of responses to these […] challenges that we have gone through and are still going through. One of the ways is then to ask our selves what existed before. And how we answer that question is through what are some of the things that are left that point us towards bigger things that we can find and I think that our soil is that answer.
So this reference to the ‘Underworlds’ is about connecting to these narratives that are in themselves buried. I believe even the technologies that we see around us – we used to have these things: scriptures, book, all of these things are now hidden underneath the earth.”
In “a Journal of Spatial Grief: the Invention of Space as Haunting,” we engage how colonial settler cities are packaged and interpreted to fix an authoritative meaning upon space and time. As a result, cities become energy matrices that harvest our energetic potential by directing it towards an external/ materialistic goal and further creates separation from self and the great Mother.
In another sense, we can engage cities as geomancy/ earth divination tools and symbols that limit our connection with ourselves, the Earth’s energetic grid and greater cosmos. This level of energetic suppression/ inversion can be argued to be the proponent that has dwindled the evolution of consciousness currently on the planet and contributes to the wide scale collapse of our present reality/ projection/ simulation.
Makhathini’s Modes of Communication therefore becomes not an inquiry as to the possibilities of ‘new’/ ‘other’ worlds, but is imiyalezo yesithunywa sabaPhantsi. It is this highly vibrational dimension that Makhathini is interested in, a “metaphysical space” that unites all consciousness, indawu beyond the demarcations of planet Earth.
Indawu: the Ancestral Plane and Hyper-dimensional Reality
Those we looked up to as Elders when we were young are transitioning into another dimension. As the Earth is also transforming, we also have to rise to take up different positions within the home, community, the world, and greater cosmic cycle or Divine Plan. This transformation is happening above and below us, as well as within.
Grounded on this thought, we begin to realize we exist in what physicists today call the quantum field, and our ancestors have known as emaThongweni. AmaThongo allow us to enter into particular configurations or dimensions of the cosmos or consciousness. This concept can be stretched further by considering the relationship between African cosmology being rooted in ritual technology and (Western) technology a form of bit-consciousness.
Western technology is predicated on reverse engineering the body as the primary technological manifestation and source of inspiration. Binary and quantum computing are offset technologies that mimic the brain and how it processes information. As such, Western technology/ consciousness can be said to have evolved in the trajectory of the bit or binary system: 0 and 1, allowing movement between different spatialities of time. This kind of knowledge/ technology has a limitation as it only operates within separation/ contrast, and is not open to other dimensions/ totality.
When we engage amaThongo/ emaThongweni as a quantum and hyper-dimensional realm, we recognize that our ancestors vibrate in the future, and possibly collapse both concepts of time-space. Through our bodies/ umzimba/ umzi ovaleke mba: the device that houses/ anchors consciousness in the third dimension, we are able to travel to other time-space configurations and experience beings not of the Phi-based mathematical sequence of the lifeforms on Earth. Makhosi Makhathini attests to this when he states in an EPK for his third single from Modes of Communication called ‘Indawu,’ that “[…] there are unseen places in the universe that we are connected to. This is to say that humans are part of a diverse network of beings that form the universal ecosystem.”
This dimension of amaThongo/ emaThongweni therefore presents us with the possibility of connecting with this diverse network or universal ecosystem. This realm is what some consider as the unified field of consciousness or Umdali. We can think of le Ndawu as being held together by a vast inner complex of thought or consciousness, and it is through uMoya or the telepathic/ etheric medium that we can access it. One thing worth also noting is that, in our common understanding, amaThongo should not be limited only to the dream-state/ space as there is no veil between the realm of the living and ancestral spirits, or accessing and channeling cosmic energy.
As such, in order to access this dimension, we must be tuned and aligned to a particular vibrational frequency. Makhosi Makhathini also attests to this when he states, “in order for new meanings or dimensions to open there is something or process that needs to happen that takes us into this liminal space.” It is certainly worth considering that the present moment we are experiencing in the planet as that liminal space where the processes of everyday life have been collapsed, and we are confronted with looking at our selves, our relations and the world, anew. It is this great initiation that all lifeforms in the planet are going through that warrants us to seek for other modes of communication.
Ingomasbhulo: Sound + Divination + the Possibilities of Ritual Technology
‘Ingomasbhulo’ is the expression of what Makhosi Makhathini’s exploration in the cosmic realms manifests as in our dimension. Ingomasbhulo is a compound word: ngoma + isibhulo/ ukubhula. We can consider Ngoma as the diverse vibrational frequency that holds all dimensions together in harmony, and isibhulo/ ukubhula as telepathy or technology of connecting and accessing information from the essence/ source/ Ngoma/ ngoMa/ ngo Ma.
image by Tseliso Monaheng
In another sense, ukubhula or ukuhlahluba is a mode of communication that recognizes and works with the collective field of consciousness. Since all beings are connected through this vast network, information can be accessed and transmitted in/ through various ways. This is what igqirha or isangoma does when a ‘patient’ comes to ‘consult’: they must leave their body in order to travel to the unknown and seek information required in the present moment. It is therefore uMoya that is projected into the subtle dimensions and allows one’s consciousness to move between forms, bodies, worlds and frequencies.
Our connection to these metaphysical realms becomes evermore so encumbered by how global imperial design asserts and recreates surveillance mechanisms to manage and suppress the level of consciousness on the planet. However, with the current conditions we are faced with, we are challenged to collectively raise our vibration. Makhosi Makhathini suggests that “we have to create bridges that connect us with self. […] These bridges are really built on confrontation. They are based on meditation, they are based on silence, allowing ourselves to be vulnerable.”
Although there is no inherent division between layers of consciousness, between us, our ancestors and their inter-relation with everyday life experience, there is, however, a particular level of grounding and vibration required for us to enter those spaces. What Makhosi Makhathini offers as ‘bridges to self’, we can also understand as applications of ritual technology that we deploy on our bodies in order to affect consciousness. That is, through breathing or meditation we gather our energy towards ourselves, and it is this energy we use in order to access an expanded state of consciousness or ukuphupha.
An important point of departure for us in this moment is how ritual technology offers us the opportunity to rethink and deprogram the body, and pay attention to umzimba as the primary technological manifestation, and therefore tuning our consciousness to the “vibration of umhlaba,” as Makhosi Makhathini puts it. Perhaps most urgent and a central to his formulation of ingomsbhulo and exploration of ritual technology is how Makhosi Makhathini engages the ontological state of being.
Makhosi Makhathini argues that “we should be thinking about being – being an artist or being a healer – as an awareness of the connection to metaphysical spaces, and this mystical realm of our creation. Hence we cannot claim any intellectual contributions to the works that we create. […] So this third dimension is really about vocalizing the things that are not seen. We vocalize them through sound, and through sound we create images and people are able to see.”
You can watch our featured film ‘Ngaphantsi Komhlaba‘ from ISINGQI Web Series that explores some of the ideas and themes that Makhosi Makhathini explores in Modes of Communication: Letters from the Underworlds to supplement this reading. You can also listen to this featured podcast for a more engaged conversation around some of the concepts explored in this article, and visit Makhosi Makhathini’s website and social media pages for more insight as to what the sonic and metaphysical dimension explored via ritual technology can offer us in this time.
Article by Sisonkepapu