Stepping onto the sacred land of Timbavati, the ancestral land of White Lions, not albino lions but a genetic rarity unique to this one region on Earth. is an experience that cannot but leave a mark on you. In the middle of the African wilderness you begin to take in nature in a different way. The Global White Lion Protection Trust, established and led by Linda Tucker, author of Mystery of the White Lions andSaving the White Lions extends over an area of no more than 900 hectares and organises special customised programs for different groups of people who hear the call to meet these majestic animals.
Timbavati means "the place where star lions descended on the Earth". The feelings of love and respect that are nearly tangible permeate every single cell of this place. It is impossible not to feel that energy even if you are not a highly sensitive being; it is people and nature living in harmony.
Guardian of the White Lions
"A representative of the lions is sitting here with us," were Linda's first words greeting our circle that evening, and she pointed at one of the chairs in the circle, which was made exclusively for the lions. "We are equal, therefore it is only right that they speak for themselves," she explained. It doesn't happen every day that one feels so much respect that it can be felt in the air at a precise moment. The spirit of the lions was there in all its might. Linda is a charismatic woman radiating the energy of a lioness, and a "Guardian of the White Lions," who has the important role of bringing them back to their free homeland.
Her story is the stuff of Hollywood. Linda was pursuing a successful career in marketing and fashion in London, but one night when she was back in her homeland of Timbavati she met her destiny.
She was at a birthday party with friends when all of a sudden they heard a lioness roar in the wild. They knew a lioness was to give birth soon and it had been predicted the cub would be white, so they climbed into an open-topped vehicle and, overcome with excitement, headed for the wild. They soon tracked down the roaring lioness, but as Linda recalls, "We were reckless. We didn't realise we were invading her space, showing no respect whatsoever. We managed to enrage all the lions, of course."
In the middle of the night, they found themselves at the mercy of their destiny, encircled by 24 lions. When they tried to retreat, the vehicle hit a tree trunk breaking an axle - and they couldn't restart the car!
Linda says it is hard to describe the fear you feel in such a moment. As they sat frozen in terror, a female figure with a baby in her arms and two youngsters following her appeared like shadows out of the bush. Together, they just walked through the circle formed by the lions, which calmed down completely and even laid down upon their arrival. The woman climbed into their car without saying a word. Then, hand in hand with one of the youngsters, Linda's friend walked through the lion circle to the nearest village, and came back in another car, which took them to safety. The woman disappeared again into the darkness.
Linda returned to London but couldn't find peace after this experience. And indeed, a white cub was born that night. Three years later, she returned to Timbavati to look for that mysterious woman, and she found her. In the nearby village she was known as the Lion Queen of Timbavati, a representative of the shamans who knew how to communicate with lions. Maria Khosa had already been expecting Linda. That's how Linda's training and path began - the path she is still walking today.
The Global White Lion Protection Trust is her mission and her life. There are seven white lions (of 10 lions altogether) roaring freely on their homeland now. The first white lion Linda rescued from captivity and reintroduced to its homeland was a lioness Marah, (the name means "mother of the Sun God"). "The birth of Marah had been predicted by prophecies of African shamans," says Linda. Marah, regarded by African Elders as the most sacred animal on the African continent, was born on Christmas Day in the South African province of Bethlehem. Symbolic? Indeed. And so very real.
Marah and her three cubs were successfully returned from captivity so they could roam freely in nature by Linda and Jason Turner, her partner and a lion ecologist. Since then, Marah's lineage has been born free and wild in their natural environment. At the same time, Linda and Jason are striving to protect all lions born in captivity in Africa to meet the demands of pleasure hunting, which is still legal in Africa. The conflict they face is that while it serves as entertainment for the rich, it also provides a source of income for the locals.
Children of the Sun God
Our opening circle made us realise that we had landed in a very special place. That immense vastness, those peculiar sounds, the fact that we were in the very centre of the animal kingdom right under the vault of the Milky Way, and so much more. "The white lions have a particular mystique about them," says Linda. "Timbavati is their endemic and only homeland on Earth, and all the legends describe them as star creatures. The native ancestors were convinced that they are children of the Sun God, and legends say that they came down to Earth to help save humanity at a time of crisis." There is no doubt that this time is right now.
"Scientifically, the lions are at the tip of the ecosystem, at the top of the life pyramid of our planet," explains Linda. The problem is that by eliminating the top of the pyramid, the entire ecosystem collapses. "If the white lions disappear, the Earth will lose its balance completely, and this is something that we, humans, cannot survive," is her very straightforward message. "Our task is to help restore the natural balance, which also means to restore the natural balance within us, human beings, within ourselves. Let's just take a look at the lion as a symbol. It represents power, dignity, leadership, courage, and heart. When we, people, are our best, we are exactly like that - lion-hearted."
"There are really only two rules in nature, love and respect," Linda taught us. "If you follow these two rules, nature will show you love and respect in return." And nature showed us immediately how very true all this is. There is no time to be absent here. Nature teaches you to be wide awake.
Meeting with the royal pride of white lions, the lion Mandla, the lioness Zihra and their daughter Nebu, was a powerful experience. When you enter their space, you have to show respect. You have to know the boundaries. You have to be patient. You have to open your heart. And these are exactly the values lacking in day-to-day communication in our society.
"Communicating with animals teaches us unconditional love," says Wynter Worsthorne, a renowned animal communicator and one of Linda's close colleagues at the WLT. "There are no filters in this communication as it can only flow directly from heart to heart. If there is fear, insincerity, or a hidden purpose that differs from the one we try to express, the animals sense this immediately. Therefore, no one can hide here," we learnt from Wynter during the drive. Nevertheless it was pretty clear that such communication first makes you face all your fears.
Zihra and Nebu were lying in the bushes in the late afternoon. To have a better view of them, we moved a little closer. We may have got a little too close, which was soon confirmed by Nebu, who rose, came up to our vehicle, and marked her territory right in front of us. After that, she walked in a circle around us, and her crystal blue eyes made us freeze on the spot. All of a sudden, I felt a strange feeling down my spine, as if it had been brushed by a wave of light and straightened out. And suddenly the energy in the car rose. We sat in silence, each of us on her own, yet together with them, the two white lionesses. Zihra had joined Nebu circling around us, before both lay down behind our car.
While feeling this particular energy I found myself in a heightened, enraptured state that made me hear Nebu's voice very clearly. It was her message to me. At first I thought I was just imagining it, of course, but the voice spoke again and the message was the same.
I accepted the fact that one cannot question nature, and that the invisible is as much a part of nature as are the trees, the grass, or the stones. This new insight opened a new dimension in my perception of life. The feeling of connectedness with these beings is beyond description. It makes you feel at home, and there is no fear even though we had experienced fear at a certain point while living this experience. There was just enormous respect and a fully open heart; the comprehension that we are brothers and sisters; that we are all created from the stars and the soil and that it is time to restore the missing connection to nature.
I understood that the way we treat nature is actually the way we treat ourselves. Whatever we do to nature, we do to ourselves. Nature does not have to prove anything to us, as we are used to relating to ourselves and to others nowadays. Nature teaches us to listen to it because it gives us all the answers if we just show enough patience and respect. As Linda expressed it so clearly, "In order to save humanity, we have to restore our connection to nature because nature is the source of life, together with its plants, water, soil, and animals. And we can achieve this by reawakening love and respect."
That evening we were greeted not only by Zihra and Nebu, but also by the king himself, Mandla. And in the days that followed we met the rest of the lions as well. Every single experience was a special one, and as far as I am concerned there is no longer any doubt - white lions are special creatures. The mystery surrounding them is real. They are leaders, bright examples of brave-heartedness, which entails courage, heart-centeredness, ethics, spiritual maturity, harmony with nature, and balance, the harmony of coexistence on this planet where all things are connected and every single piece has a meaning and a purpose. They are the leaders of a new era, and the values they teach us can save our world.
The Call of the White Lions
"The white lions, born in captivity all around the world, have the role of ambassadors since they, simply by their presence, expand our consciousness and call people to finally wake up and re-establish their contact with nature," says Linda.
"I believe that this is the turning point year, that humanity will start giving back to nature, and not only take from it." When we manage to make this shift (and the shift always begins within ourselves), natural order can be restored again, and our lives will acquire a completely different quality. Each one of us can make a difference.
"If you doubt that you can make a difference that is just not good enough. This means you are failing yourself and failing nature. This is ego," says Linda, and I can only agree with her. "Let go of your doubts and look deep into your heart. You'll realise you are here for a purpose, and that's what the white lions are activating in all of us. Just watch what's going to happen when we start living our purpose."
Read more on White Lions with Jeremy Ball's Lion Queen of Africahttp://novamagazine.com.au/article_archive/2013/2013-08-lion-queen-of-africa.html
Andreja Cepuš is a NOVA reader from Slovenia