The Healing Land is the book that paved the way for the Horse Boy. Tipped as a “New York Times Notable Book’, when it came out in 2003, the book chronicles Rupert’s extraordinary journey into the mind and heart of the original culture on planet earth; the Bushmen of Southern Africa’s Kalahari Desert. It’s a personal story – Rupert’s South African family is related by marriage to the Bushmen and this connection leads him into first their fight for their ancestral lands, and then into their magical world of healing.
Because of this book, this journey, Rupert had to bring a delegation of Bushmen to the United Nations in 2004. Some of the members of that delegation were trained healers – shamans – in their own culture. They met Rowan and offered to ‘work’ on him. It was because of the extraordinary results that this work made on Rowan, combined with those of the horse Betsy, that made Rupert think to take his son to a place that combined horses and this kind of shamanic healing – Mongolia.
To understand The Horse Boy, you have to read the Healing Land. And as an adventure in its own right, The Healing Land is a magical, cant-put-down read.
Buy the Healing Land on Amazon: The Healing Land: The Bushmen and the Kalahari Desert
Except from The Healing Land; on Shape-Shifting
…If he wanted to heal, said Besa, he would fly abroad as a bird, until he found the body of the sick one, lying down in the sunlit bush. Besa would hop lightly onto their back and perch there, singing, until he had sung the sickness out of them. The person would feel the light bird’s presence on their back and smile, and when he felt that smile, Besa could go back to his own body and rest.
Sometime he ‘cimbed the rope’, as he called it, to a shadow land, where thespirits of those who had caused sickness wandered, blundering about in the darkness of their own creation. When he found them, Besa would confront the truth, an admission of wrong-doing from their spirit to his, and in their admission of that wrong, their bad work would be undone.
And sometimes, when he felt like it, he could send his spirit out on mischief. Not to kill, which was forbidden, though there were times when he wanted to. For this he became lion – maybe to hunt or run off someone’s cattle. Or leopard. Leopard was better – quicker – smarter. When he went abroad like this, he would simply go, making sure only those closest to him knew that he had gone. And when he came back he would be tired beyond measure.
“Now, he said again; “Tell me again why you’ve come.”
So began the journey that led, by circuitous routes and turns, both of the mind and body, time and space, to the centre, the heart – Horse Boy.
Buy The Healing Land on Amazon: The Healing Land: The Bushmen and the Kalahari Desert