Kids, This is one of the most rivetting books I've read for a long time. Linda Tucker, who lives in South Africa, documents her journey into the mysteries of the legendary White Lions of Africa.
As the book jacket explains, "After being rescued from a life-threatening encounter with lions in the Timbavati game region by the medicine woman known as the "Lion Queen", Linda delved into the mysteries of the white lions, a genetic rarity occurring only in the Timbavati. Today White Lions - hand-reared and held captive - are trophy-hunted within enclosures for huge sums of money."
By contrast, shamans believe that killing a "lion sun god" is sacrilege. After reading this book, you will agree with them.
Here are a few excerpts from the book:
"Legends of the [white lions'] existence lie deep in the ancestral memories of African shamans.
"In contrast to the conventional view ...which maintains that the aberrant white gene is a random mutation of no consequence...shamanic wisdom views the White Lions as the highest form of enlightenment bearer or teacher......a unique strain in and of themselves....symbolic custodians of a message specifically intended for humankind at this particular time."
[This reminds me of the First Nations' prophecies and legends about the White Buffalo Calf Woman, also seen as appearing as a message to humankind. A white buffalo calf called Miracle was born in the Canadian Prairies in 1994.]
Linda studied with shaman Credo Mutwa, who relayed the "extraordinary tale of Timbavati's White Lions according to the Great Knowledge."
Legend tells of "a star that fell to earth", and how "many years later all animals that stayed in the area where the strange object had settled on the ground were giving birth to white offspring....The people saw herds of antelope, impala and eland which were snow white with blue eyes......And a pride of lions had moved into the area where the strange star had come down from the sky and it was observed that they too started giving birth to white offspring with blue eyes."
The shaman, Credo Mutwa, told Linda, "We live in prophetic times, ma'am - the White Lions have returned recently as prophets of this new age......[they] are very old beings, as old as life itself."
The white lions had disappeared from Timbavati, but if two lions, each one carrying the mutated gene, have offspring, white lions may still be born. There are two places on the planet where white lions are now held in captivity - a preserve in the United States, and the horrifying enclave where they are trophy hunted while captive, in Africa.
After Linda had studied with Credo Mutwa, the shaman, for some time, he revealed, "The White Lions guard a secret, ma'am...A secret which can save humankind."
"Are we in need of saving, Credo," [Linda] asked.
"Desperately, ma'am, and time is short."
Credo Mutwa gave this speech, which Linda reports in the book:
Behind me are the holiest animals in Africa: the White Lions of Timbavati. Our people believe that if these beasts vanish from the land....the whole of Africa will cease to exist.
These animals are said to herald coming changes on the earth........These creatures ought to be preserved and protected, and the reason they are born of this color should be investigated. Africa has lost much of what is important and beautiful, through indifference, racism, and religious fanaticism......It is said that at the end of the world, a White Lion will roar for the last time - heralding the disappearance of the sun from the sky for all time.
The White Lions of Timbavati...must not be allowed to vanish from the pages of our country's history. I cannot say more.
Midway through the book, as the author studies more deeply with the shaman, we get into astronomy, ancient wisdom, cave drawings, our relation to the stars. Eg.: "The Great Knowledge maintains that the souls of kings assume lion identities and become astral bodies after death."
I know. It's pretty Out There, but while I was reading it, it all made perfect sense to me. There is a lot more going on than our minds can grasp, and I'm open to a Bigger Picture, even when (especially when!) someone starts scribbling outside the lines:)
Linda writes, "Whether or not there is a future for human life on this planet, I believe, is dependent at this evolutionary moment upon humankind's consciousness-raising powers as a species. As guardians of the soul essence of humankind, the White Lions offer us entrance into other dimensions. In partcular...into what is known in spirit sources as the fifth dimension of the spiritual evolution of the soul....I believe that what seems paranormal to us now will, in time, become perfectly normal - if we are brave enough to take the path of spiritual evolution of the human soul.
This is Ingwavuma, a lion Linda loved, whom she called "my lion", a lion who appeared in her dreams. She believed he was carrying the white gene, thus holding part of the future of the White Lions of Timbavati. This is what happened to him:
"On 22 August 2000, Ingwavuma was hunted as a trophy.....I remember a night full of distressing dreams.......Following the search and failure to find him [Ingwavuma], the annual Timbavati quota was used up on an unknown male. But the previous year's quota remained.....Ingwavuma returned to his kingdom, where he was shot. The picture I received was of him walking right up to the trophy hunters, proudly and defiantly, offering humankind a choice. And they paid $35,000 for the pleasure of killing him.
"He died in the late afternoon as the sun set over Timbavati, on the last day of the month of Leo at the turn of the millenium. The shot was fired shortly before 6 p.m. From my studies in ancient astrology, I could now determine that, on this day, and this day only, at this very time, the setting sun was in perfect alignment with Regulus, the heart star of the Leo constellation. ...Mutwa...pinpoint[s] the unique moment when the sun passes through Regulus as symbolizing the birth, or death, of a lion king. And, consequently, with the birth or death of a kingdom on earth.......Ingwavuma's relevance as a star beast was written across the heavens. As for me, I had lost my guardian angel, the golden lion with invisible wings who was meant to father the future Star Lions of Timbavati."
"Because shamans can cross the threshold between this world and the spirit world, death itself is not the issue......We will all die sooner or later. The question is: what will happen to our souls? ....I know that Ingwavuma has not died. He still exists. He still guides me from the spirit world........[and] a human soul has died in killing him.
"....if we sell our souls, we are lost souls. If we sell ourselves to darkness, not enlightenment, we will exist in eternal darkness. If we kill the sun god, we kill the sun in our lives, and our souls will die with the dying sun.
"I know that several of the cubs sired by Ingwavuma live on in Timbavati. Some of them are surprisingly light in color. There are a couple that have green eyes. I believe this signifies that they bear the white gene. I believe the White Lions will one day return to.....Timbavati. However, I do not believe they will show themselves again until human consciousness is ready to be uplifted......."
(I'm ready to be uplifted. How about you?)
"We all know what is needed. We need to protect the White Lions, as we need to protect all forms of life on our planet........we need to....start waking up. Until we align ourselves with the forces of..... light energy....we are aligning ourselves with darkness. Until we reinstate the....divine principles of balance and harmony, in accordance with the natural laws of the sun, we are inevitably plunging ourselves into appalling upheaval and chaos........there are two truths we should never forget in our quest for golden enlightenment. The lion is the symbol of the soul essence of humankind. And the soul is eternal.
This is the author with Marah, whom she met while the cub was held in captivity in a canned hunters' camp.
Publisher's update: In 2002, Linda Tucker formed the Global White Lion Protection Trust to protect the white lions, who are still under threat from trophy hunters........the Trust fought a battle for guardianship of Marah (above). During the legal battle, Marah gave birth to three snow-white cubs. Through legal action, the Trust ensured Marah would be able to raise her cubs herself, without human handling or imprinting, vital for their rewilding process.
The legal battle won, the lions were removed from captivity and taken to safety in the Karoo mountain lands. Then Linda pursued acquiring tracts of land in the lions' ancestral home of Timbavati. She was committed to returning them to their natural heritage.
Only weeks after being returned to the wild, Marah returned to hunting and providing for her cubs herself. The day after Marah and her cubs were returned to the wild in 2005, instances of white lion births began to be reported in the Timbavati area.
Linda now lives in this protected area, with her two prides, roaming free in their natural habitat.