David Lewis-Williams - the Xam and Rain
Type of Spiritual Experience
Literal and symbolic all inter-weaving
A description of the experience
David Lewis-Williams – The Mind in the Cave
The next set of images included what Dia!kwain called a !khwa-ka xorro. Literally translated this phrase means large animal of the rain.
The /Xam San spoke of the rain as if it were an animal. A rain bull was the thunderstorm that roared and destroyed the people’s huts; the rain cow was the gentle soaking rain. The columns of rain that fall from beneath a thunderstorm were called the ‘rain’s legs’ and the rain was said to walk across the land on its legs.
Shamans of the rain (!khwa-a !gi:ten) were believed to catch a rain animal beneath the surface of a waterhole and to lead it through the sky to the territories of their own people. There they would cut and kill it so that its ‘blood’ and milk if it was female would fall as rain. The parched ground would thus be renewed, sweet grass would spring up and herds of antelope would be attracted. //Kabbo one of Bleek and Lloyds teachers was himself a rain shaman, expressed the joy of long awaited rain.
“I will cut a she-rain which has milk, I will milk her, then she will rain softly on the ground so that it is wet deep down in the middle. Then the bushes will sprout and become nicely green, so that the springbok come galloping … they will feel that they can leap about because the she-rain has fallen everywhere for she means to make all places wet”