The man took me on an old bus that broke down out in the bush. Everyone from the bus got out and started walking. I couldn’t keep up because of my broken ribs. The man left me behind. I sat down on the dirt road expecting to die soon. After some hours had passed, I was picked up by a military truck full of black soldiers and dropped off near a rural village.
The following is a summary from my upcoming book which is not yet published. Please sign up for my newsletter to find out the most recent updates on when the book will become available. This opens starting shortly after I was dropped off by the soldiers.
I spend the night alone in the bush. I am hungry, but I found a tree where I can tuck myself in between the great fin roots. In the morning I hear singing voices. I make my way to a tribe who gives me water and food. It is the children who first welcome me. With laughter and storytelling, they take me to a fire circle and cover my white skin and light brown hair with black ash.
A woman comes near and calls me to her with a singing voice like I have never heard before. I have been fighting to survive on my own, and don’t know if I can trust any adult. She keeps pouring love into me with her song. I finally come to her and collapse in her arms. I start existing when I look in her eyes and see a loving mother. I am no longer lost, I have been found.
This tribe becomes my new family. Over the next month they teach me how to sing their songs, and how to plant and harvest. I am given my own dress and a naming ceremony. My village is peaceful until a group of armed guerrillas rides in shouting and making threats. After they leave the men in our tribe began to carry guns.
Days later, the guerrillas come near the village again. I am alone by the river when they spot me. I see one of the soldiers in the back of the military truck begin to take aim at me. I lose all hope when the sight of his gun barrel becomes just a circle. I am in mid-turn to run when I hear his gun go off. The force of the bullet grazes the top right side of my head and slams my teeth together with the force of a car wreck. I am knocked off my feet and thrown sideways to the ground. I blink my eyes open, hoping to see someone from my tribe who can help me. My final sight is my own dark red blood rolling down toward the blue river. I close my eyes and feel everything I am swept out an open window at the back of my heart.
They are pointing to a huge yellow sphere. I look at the sphere and remember it is a source of energy that can totally renew me, and it will not be diminished in the least. I also somehow know that stepping into the sphere means going back to where I was created and not coming back to my life in Africa.
I start to go with my brown sisters into the yellow sphere, but then I am torn because I don’t want to leave my tribe behind. I want to hold onto Mama and the others I have grown to love. As I grasp for my tribe I begin falling backwards through a thousand invisible curtains that slow my descent. Gone from my sight are the sphere and the two brown sisters.
When I hit the ground it does not hurt. I am now sitting on the landing of a stairwell made of black stone. I become aware of an old man in front of me offering to help me up on my feet. I don’t want his help, but when I try to get up on my own I feel like a newborn deer with spindly weak legs. After three awkward attempts, I take his hand. He looks rickety like he is on death’s door, but his arm is far sturdier than I expected. He invites me to walk down the stairs.
We cross under a stone arch, then enter a cave where there is barely enough light to see. I have to grip on to the old man’s steadiness and let him lead me. Once in the cave the pain from my head becomes a scream echoing off the angled rock. I am not making any sound with my mouth. The suffering in my body has its own voice beyond my control. I see ghost-like images of adults from back home in the U.S. trying to humiliate and hurt me again. As each ghostly image rushes at me, another scream echoes around the cave. Soon it sounds like a hundred bad radio stations have been turned on at full volume. The sounds of my pain echoing back from every direction are confusing me, making it so I cannot figure out which way is forward. I try to pull away and run out of the cave.
He puts his hand solidly over mine to keep me with him. I want to collapse on the ground and blame myself but he keeps me upright. I believe there is something wrong with me and that is why the adults hurt me. I turn myself to look at this man who has been guiding my every step forward. He is not trying to fix me. Through his eyes I see there is nothing wrong with me. The echoes of my own yelling fade away. I stand in the quiet and admit to him that I need his help. He touches my hand and quietly nods a gracious “Yes.”
We stand on the cliff edge facing each other. He shows me with a nod toward the open sky that our next step is off the cliff edge. With complete trust I put my hands in his. We leap off the cliff together. As we peacefully fall he looks at me with pure love, and with his voice speaking inside me he tells me, “This is dying.”
We fly to where I can again see the glowing yellow sphere. It is a hundred times bigger than when I saw it before. He tells me directly through my heart to continue onto the sphere. He then parts paths from mine and is gone from my sight in an instant. I fly forward feeling the steadiness that I saw in him is now within me.
I could fly forward into the yellow sphere, but I see a field of tall green grass. I wonder if my African family is there. Maybe this is my last chance to find them. I land in the field and begin desperately calling out for them. No one calls back. I am crying out their names because I am overcome with the fear they are hurt and cannot call back to me. Finally, I feel hit by a huge wave of sheer panic. I collapse on the ground and explode in tears. I cry until I am cleared out like after a storm.
A man appears nearby who looks like a Royal Shepherd. He is so still, like a high mountain lake without a ripple on the surface. Standing before him I cannot remember why I would ever feel disturbed. He closes his eyes and mine close also, because we are linked in a way I have not known before. Behind my closed eyes I see millions of lights connected by living lines. What I learn is that all of life is gracefully linked together like a flock of swallows flying as one great bird.
Something changes and I am not looking from the outside at this wonder of living lines; I am inside of them. From within I can visit every living thing. My eyes open. My face is so close to my Royal Shepherd that our foreheads are almost touching. He rises up from his knelt position where he bent down to meet me. My faith in the ways I am already connected to my African family is without bounds so I lean forward into his chest. In him I trust the journey. Together we travel out of this field into a tunnel of yellow light.
We come out of the tunnel. I look down where my body is laying lifeless on the ground by the river. I notice my blood did not make it to the river, but soaked into the earth leaving a dark stain one foot from my head. I feel calm.
Mama Eahton has arrived to where I lay dead. With urgency she gets down on the ground and pulls my body up onto her lap. She is encircling my limp body with her capable arms while she rocks back and forth holding my face against her cheek. Now I feel a sharp twinge of sadness that my face is not able to show her that I delight in her loving me. She lets out a tremendous howl of anguish into the sky.
I am now so free to love her every action, her every gesture. My heart expands in a way I did not know was possible. It is now so big I can welcome in the driver of the soldiers’ truck who first spotted me, and even the teenage soldier who shot me.
I hear Mama wailing. I want to tell her, “I am okay. Don’t worry about me, I am no longer in pain. I am at the opening to this tunnel that is glowing with beauty.” I swim upward in a warm stream of air. As I go further into the tunnel, veils close behind me like giant leaves covering the entrance to a secret garden.
As I swim upward, love pours into the center of me like a warm river. I know I am coming home. Home where I am restored. Home where my soul began as a seed grown in love. I am being returned where I am a beautiful sound sung by the Great Heart. Even though I cannot see it directly yet, I can sense this Great Heart is so close. I am glowing like a firefly matching the brilliant light around me.
My attention is drawn back to Mama Eahton’s sounds. She has changed her wailing into singing. Her song is so powerful it is passing through all the veils that have closed behind me. It is reaching me at full volume as if there is no distance between us. I stop moving toward the Great Heart so I can devote myself to hearing her song. Other voices have joined hers. This warm tapestry of sound stirs me. I realize she is calling on the Ancestors to make her song so powerful it can find me anywhere.
I begin drinking in the beautiful sounds of the Ancestral choir who have joined her. Their singing stirs something vastly old in me that I did not know I was missing. The songs are calling me back into the events that make life rich: births, healings, celebrations, and losses. These singers sound like old friends I recognize and long to reconnect with. I suddenly remember I have been part of this choir, and I know these songs myself because they live in me. The cloud that covered my life’s purpose is instantly cleared away. I was born to sing to people so they can recognize their wholeness just as Mama Eahton did for me when I first arrived to the tribe, and just as she is doing right now. My desire to sing turns me around in the tunnel and I begin to head back to Mama Eahton.
Her song is so powerful inside me all I can do is listen. It is stronger than my own breathing. She is telling me it is vital to love people and have faith in them. I trust that her song is true. I turn to head out of the tunnel. I breathe in, and on my exhale I am born out of the tunnel back into physical life. Like a long stream of light from a stained glass window I return to my body. Now held in my Mama’s strong arms, I am ready to be carried back to our village.
After I was shot, the guerrilla soldiers attacked my village, and I saw that many people were killed. One of the mothers hid me until we tried to escape. I was found by the people of a nearby tribe. I was later given to a white farmer in South Africa. From there I was taken to a whites-only hospital. I do not remember the plane ride returning me to the United States. Now almost 40 years later I am preparing to do my first return trip to Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).
This trip will be my opportunity to find any people of my tribe who are still alive while reconnecting with the culture and the land. It will also be a chance to fact check and location research the details of where I was.
Robin Aisha Landsong is a Visual artist, Medicine Singer, Craniosacral Therapist, and Health Intuitive. She has given over 9,000 healing sessions both in person and Distance treatments. She and her husband, John Utter, offer Singing Medicine Circles and workshops including Trusting your Spiritual Experiences and Knowing Your Strengths.