chapter  3
18 Pages

e fertility goddess of the Zulu: re ections on a calling to Inkosazana’s Pool

ByPenny Bernard

South African diviner-healer traditions are replete with narratives and myths regarding certain chosen people who are called under water by sh-tailed and serpent deities, where they are taught the skills of healing and given great divinatory powers. For Zulu diviners this complex consists of the great ancestral spirits (that manifest as a large snake or python) and a singular feminine mermaid deity called Inkosazana1 or Nomkhubulwana. While both are responsible for the calling of diviners (usually through dreams) Inkosazana is also regarded as the source of all fertility and water and may occasionally manifest to those who are ‘pure of heart’. is chapter explores my own personal journey that led me to her pool following a series of dreams I had during my training with a group of Zulu diviners (izangoma). is account is accompanied by a critique of the literature in the eld, which has focused on positivistic and psychological reductionist e orts to explain the phenomenon.