Change: Ancient and New

Change and transformation are central to the human experience. The patterns and rhythms of change follow archetypal processes that can be observed wherever the cycle of endings and new beginnings spirals its course—in nature and in the human community. Transformation is the renewal function of any living system.

Cultural traditions from all over the world have a rich repertoire of knowledge about these pattern and rhythms and how to best support them. These perspectives add much depth to our contemporary Western models of change. For example, indigenous traditions teach us the interdependencies between change and stability, and the Eastern traditions about the principle of impermanence.

Here is a perspective on change and stability from oldest culture living on Earth today, the Kalahari Bushman/San people. In Bushman cosmology and their story about the workings of the universe, the process that endlessly changes form is considered to be God. This Big God has two sides: the stable side and the trickster side. Their circular interaction creates change and generates growth, maturation, and transformation.

According to a Cgunta Bushman healer, “Our most important idea is thuru. That is, the process in which one form changes into another form … (birth and death, changing seasons, shifting moods of each individual, trembling in the shaman’s body). The endless recycling and changing of forms we see in nature constitutes the core practice of our spiritual way of being in the word.”


Sources include Ropes to God: Experiencing the Bushman Spiritual Universe, 2003, edited by Bradford Keeney.

2018-09-20T20:13:21+00:00November 20th, 2012|Change, Indigenous Wisdom|0 Comments

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