Friday, July 14, 2017

INGWAVUMA ~ the Lion King

photo from the Global White Lion Protection Trust website

The White Lions of Timbavati
are wandering through my dreams.
Enlightenment bearers,
beings as old as time's moonbeams,
born under an ancient star that fell to earth,
they carry a message for humankind:
Choose eternal darkness or rebirth.

The shaman says:
"At the end of the world, a white lion
will roar for the last time.
The sun will disappear forever from the sky.
If white lions vanish from the land,
we all will cease to be,"
too late, by then, to begin to wonder why.

Sun God, captive,
backed against the rock,
trapped, he turned and stared his hunters down.
He offered humankind a choice:
the Light, or stay forever in the dark,
our fate determined by the bullets' arc.

He walked towards them proudly, unafraid.
They chose, for they had paid.
They raised their guns.
He walked to meet his fate, his eyes old fire,
and, as he fell, his last roar dimmed the sun.

Ingwavuma died aligned with his heart star,
in the Leo constellation from which he came,
marking the proud death of a Lion King -
(they tell me Ingwavuma was his name.)
The human psyche will forever
bear the scar.

Their shots rang out.
Ingwavuma, spirit undefeated, fell.
The hunters chose our fate.
There is little more to tell.

This story is told in The Mystery of the White Lions, Children of the Sun God, by Linda Tucker, who is in love with the white lions. She formed the Global White Lion Protection Trust, and protects the lions she has been able to rescue in a wild sanctuary in their ancestral home of Timbavati, in an effort to keep them from being hunted to extinction. There they roam free, hunt and raise their cubs wild, but in protected territory. 

The only other known white lions are kept in captivity, some in a compound in the USA, the others in a compound in Africa for Great White Hunters to shoot, in an enclosure where there is no escape, for a fee of $25,000, and a piece of their souls.

The courageous Ingwavuma, whom Linda knew and loved, was not himself a white lion but was believed to carry the gene, so he would have sired white lion cubs. He was cornered in a "hunting" enclosure. When he saw there was no escape, he did not cower. He met his fate bravely and, thereby, those hunters perhaps cursed mankind to eternal darkness. Certainly their hearts were dark.

Shaman Credo Mutwa told Linda that, long ago, a star fell to earth, after which all animals in the area where it fell bore white offspring, the few remaining white lions descending from that time. The shaman says the white lions, who have blue eyes, guard a secret that can save humankind: to turn towards enlightenment, or remain forever in darkness. He says when the last white lion is gone, the sun will disappear. It is, perhaps, the most fascinating and stirring book I have ever read.

The exact time and date that Ingwavuma was murdered is the only time the setting sun was aligned with Regulus, the heart star in the Leo constellation, symbolizing the birth or death of a Lion King and, consequently, the birth or death of life on earth.

I posted the story of Linda Tucker and the white lions here, should you care to read more. I recommend the book highly. I am now reading her second book, Saving the White Lions, which tells the story of her life's mission to save the white lions, the weight of this on her shoulders, and the heartbreaking losses along the way. 

I am sharing this poem, written in 2014,  with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United. Do join us for some fine poetry with your Sunday morning coffee.


  1. As you say, "There is little more to tell."...Deaf and blind humankind is all set towards disaster...Sigh. A very moving poem Sherry.

  2. This is such beautiful work, Sherry. I'm glad you posted it again.

  3. What a beautiful poem and story, Sherry. I do hope that the white lions will not go totally extinct! Thanks for sharing this again.

  4. Enchanting tale. You did marvelously in bringing it alive.

  5. Lots of efforts gone into this. Thanks for sharing Sherry! The lions manage to hold back on their own. Extinction may affect others first but their turn will come!


  6. I saw white lions at a conservation centre in South Africa..magnificent creature and his mate was a gorgeous lady. I just can't imagine anyone pointing a weapon at them... what a beautiful story Sherry and the way you've said it transports me back to that place.

  7. Wonderful how you weave the myth into something that makes sense today.

  8. Such a beautiful poem, Sherry. I hope the white lions don't go extinct!

  9. It is incredible that so many of us can be so blind as all the signs that we are heading for destruction become clear. All we can do is continue to make others aware of the danger and hope the message spreads...particularly to politicians.

  10. Sometimes a take a myth to stop a madness -- those eyes stare deeply into our future, asking us the same question. Great stuff Sherry.

  11. A haunting story Sherry - as ever you paint the universe so wonderfully

  12. So much to ponder here! May the last white lion never die!

  13. Makes the story sound mythological. Thanks for sharing,

  14. Man is stupid. What else can be said? This they call sport.

  15. I am intrigued by your poem and the spirit of the white lion. We must be watchful of the signs given. The giver of life watches always.

  16. Beautifully done. Such a sad tale though.

  17. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful story, Sherry. The hunting enclosures are such anathema. They should be outlawed. You've relayed the story to us in exquisite fashion.

  18. I read his book "Indaba - my children" a long long time ago.
    Luv your Lion poem, have a nice Sunday

    Much love...

  19. I'm a sucker for myths, and this one you have told here, makes my heart hurt. What possible joy can there be in killing such a magnificent creature?


  20. I especially like the first three lines, and this:

    "Sun God, captive,
    backed against the rock"

    Also this: "Ingwavuma died aligned with his heart star"

  21. That was amazing! Thanks.
    Kiddo :)

  22. Love the mythology and the resonance with Aslan but once more we must despair of the human race

  23. Tears falling as I type here...such a testament to courage and strength and cowardice on those who would hunt him....I was sobered by your story which tells us to beware....we are dooming ourselves with each shot.

  24. White Lion, White Buffalo--the stories must be told again and again so children can discover the truth of them as they grow and restore, restore restore, as long as the sun is shining.

  25. This is a stunning post, Sherry ... powerful and moving. I marveled at some of the lines in your poem - rendered so beautifully, I am in awe.

  26. Thank you, Sherry, this is beautiful. When I was young I loved the Kimba The White Lion series. This reminded me of those stories

  27. When we speak of mass extinction, we include all these amazing animals, the rare and the proud species who must fall with us in the annihilation to come. Somehow I care less for the loss of human life than I do of the animals who are more deserving of this planet.

  28. This is so sad and moving Sherry ~ I feel for the fates of the animals, given our greed and cruelty ~


I so appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.
Thank you so much. I will be over to see you soon!