Track Your Life with Boyd Varty

Track Your Life with Boyd Varty

Boyd Varty
Jul 30, 2020 9 min

Expedition 6 - The Source

Once in the far north of Kruger national park's pafuri area I found a clear pool of spring water rising out the earth. The pool was surrounded by three huge ebony trees and a giant eagle owl flew out from under the deeply shaded branches as I approached. The presence of the owl adding some intangible sense of spirit to the place. The water was crystal clear and bubbling happily out the earth. As I knelt to put my lips to the water I felt like I was being let into some great secret. My body took on the shape of an animal drinking lips to the water……and an archetypal connection millions of years old ran like a current through me. I like the wild animals of that wild place I was drinking from the secret source. I think to know wild water in these times is the kind of thing we have forgotten to even know we want. The way it runs into you full of the codes of the minerals and plants of that place……wild water is full of information that attunes your body with its energy. Unbottled, untreated…….having never known a pipe or a cistern wild water is full of spirit. I'm going to talk in a very shamanic way about how to get to know a river. I'm going to talk from inside the mythological way to share the way I make meaning of the world around me. I might say it like this Once upon a time a man lived in a tree by a river. Far off to the west he could see the high mountains in which the river rose. The man longed to know the spirit of the river for it gave so much life on its journey. He knew that he must go to those mountains to know from where the water of that river was born. Only then could he truly know the river. This was running through my head as the pickup swung through the foothills and climbed the escarpment. As the crow flies the mountains were only 90 km from where I had lived in the tree but by car it was a circuitous 180 km winding drive that took you from 300 meters lowlands up to about 1600 m on the edge of south africa's high plateau. In historical times there had been a natural flow of native people who lived away from malaria on the highlands and descended the escarpment via hundreds of foot paths to hunt in the lowlands when the winter came. My destination was my friend's bungalow, a beautiful mountain cabin with no lights and streams full of trout that flowed past it .The landscape around the house is a rugged kind of african Scottish highlands. High ridged terrain with deep vegetative gorges. Unusual birds, eland and mountain reedbuck….and a silence in which a leopard that was never seen slipped past. That first night in the bungalow the man did not sleep. He was between this world and the next. All night he tossed and turned in the darkness and dreamed that the mountains had a message for him. Eventually I rose well before dawn, drank a cup of coffee and set off with my friend through the freezing dark for the highest peak. Mount Anderson is the watershed…..from which all the rivers that run east to the kruger national park flow Through a trailess darkness we walked for the summit…..the stars giving way to a crisp dawn. We were fit and walked fast… cold air burning our lungs. Learning the mountain in some intrinsic way you can only achieve by being on it The summit at dawn was icy with a whipping wind and a thick fog so that one could not see how the land fell to the east calling to the water. But Up there on the peak I left an imprint of my body ……so I could always suddenly be back there. So I could always send a greeting upstream to the mountain from my home in the lowlands. What I could now say is that I had been to where the rivers rise. The source…….but not the source of the source…….water is too free for that and one can never really say where water begins or ends. If you know water somewhere you know water everywhere. The man came down from that communion with the high peak with stiff legs found a cold mountain pool to swim in. The water was freezing with aliveness and he drank and drank. Saturating himself. Baptizing his body with that kind of purity. I tell you these things in these ways as a remedy. I don’t mean to be flowery or poetic but in my time with native people I started to think of the relationship with all things as an exchange of an unseen aliveness. A connected story….like the story of all water… in which you weave yourself into the web of other currents of life. A river, a mountain, a friend. You can interact with the experience of living on so many levels and for me there is always a story within the story. The way of meaning making is the way we make the story of our life. I could tell you that on the night of the day we submitted we drove up a steep hill with a bag full of beers to watch the sunset. The light cut the cold mountain air in clear blazing holy gold. I looked to the peak of the mountain now as a place I knew and that knew me. The place where the river begins. A source of life and personal relationship. The remedy for this strange time to remember the story of the great relationship. We have to be soft enough and wild enough to tell it. To remember how to be friends with the earth in personal ways again. Personal. personal relationships with rivers and mountains and trees. Till it's normal again. To be married to a volcano. And related to a bear. And for a leopard to come to you to remind you that there is magic. Leaving that hillside at dusk the man saw a flash of eyes in the headlights. Then as if materializing slowly into form in the half light the shape of a leopard. A huge male with a thick neck sunk low to the ground and stepped off the road but did not run. For a time they all watched each other. The man knew this was the keeper of the catchment. The guardian of the river This is the most secretive of cats. And forever on when he looked west from his home beside the river…….he would know the source, the mountain, that cold pool and think of the silence in which up in those mountains a leopard moved. 4-0 out. Boyd Varty Sacred Sites Connect with Boyd Varty: Website | Instagram | Twitter | Find out more about Londolozi Website | Impact | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook |
Jul 16, 2020 11 min

Expedition 5 - The Sacred Enemy

Followed a rhino bull, but he led me in circles. I couldn’t shake the distinct feeling that a rhino was trying to shake me off his tail. To add to the confusion there were also tracks of a female rhino from the night before. If the rhino was my nemesis then he was my sacred enemy. The difficulty he was providing was causing untold growth in my tracking ability. Boyd Varty Sacred Sites Connect with Boyd Varty: Website | Instagram | Twitter | Find out more about Londolozi Website | Impact | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook |
Jul 08, 2020 9 min

Expedition 4 - Hyena Telepathy

Journal entry. The best time to be in the leadwood forest is in the creamy light of a full moon. All around the trees peg a scale of time beyond human comprehension to the earth. It can be a strange thing to watch people from all over the world walk into the dappled light of the trees and fall silent. In my days as a safari guide I would wait for the third or fourth day of a safari. I would wait for the hysteria to see animals to subside and then take people to the forest. You see the forest can be experienced on many levels and I have come to believe that it will meet you where you are ….it will take you to the level of stillness, wildness or reverence that you have cultivated in yourself and then some. The deeper you are the deeper the magic of the forest. The poet david whyte talks about the conversational nature of life. The idea that your life will never be exactly how you planned it to be but equally it will never be exactly the way life wanted it. for all our living days we are in a co-created experience with living…..some of our agency….mixed with life or god, or whatever you call its plan. Inside of this we have action when we know to take it and surrender when we have reached the end of what we can do…. another dance. We have the development of a contemplative mind ……the cultivation of a mind in which many things in the world can be true at the same time. Being in nature takes you naturally into this kind of inner exploration. If your eyes are open in a place life the leadwood forrest you can't help but notice the relational nature of nature, As dawn breaks in the forest a dark bull nyala lifts his head out of long brown winter grass to look at me. Franklins begin to chatter into the dawn. In the stereo all around me hyena started to call. A hyena is the perfect embodiment of opportunism. As he moves craftily through the bush he seems to have a single thought running through his head…… “what's in it for me?” ‘how could this situation beeeeee good for me” If you have ever battled to put your own needs on the table……hyena is your guy. He's gonna show you how. Im developing a strange technique for this podcast. What I do is go to a place like the leadwood forest. I move through the terrain at different times of day. I take a big sniff of the Amazonian snuff called hapi which is a mix of tobacco and ashes of herbs. Then with my head empty of thoughts I open myself and move through the space. Opening myself to a different way of knowing. It's like I'm trawling through the feeling of the place and each feeling is full of invisible codes that later when I sit down with my notebook will start to come out as memories, encounters, stories and insights. You see like those hyena calls in the forest this morning took me to an image of the hyena. In my mind's eye I saw his slanted body loping away with the leg of a giraffe held across his jaws and a look of glee on his face. Imagine your dog walking proudly around with a weed wacker in his jaws and you have a sense of how much this hyena had bitten off more than he could chew. This little encounter in my imagination takes me to the clarity of knowing that a hyena has. A hyena wants what he wants. This idea makes me think of the hundreds of people I coached who have started having huge transformations when they started to ask clearly without agenda or attachment for what they want. I think of how early on in my own journey this idea was totally foreighn to me. I remember a whole night in a ceremony where I lay half hanging off the edge of a mattress and it never occurred to me to ask people to move over. I had grown up in a world where resilience was the most needed skill… didn’t need what you didn’t have so get on with it. I'm very grateful for that place in myself but I remember also releasing that one of the ways to create more of the life you want is to want and ask….. “Will you move over for me? I need more space” could not sound more silly to me now but at the time it was the silly beginning to much big wants and asks that I was going to allow myself. It was a breakthrough to something new. A first step I could build on What will keep you out of asking for what you want? You limit what you think you deserve. The desire to not be too much trouble. The fear of needing things from other people Your fear of being rejected. Your assumptions about what other people will think of you asking. If you think i'm being trite well then try it. Take the next week and wherever you go……in your work……family……out for a walk. Start asking people around you honestly, clearly and without justification for what you want. Start with will you………rather than can you. Will you walk with me Will you go out with me? Will you upgrade me? Will you promote me? Will you hug me? Pay attention to where you can just ask……..notice where you cant…….notice where you don’t because you assume you know what the answer will be. Pay attention to where you hide from asking. Where you use shyness to be a victim Now all of that comes from a hyena in the wild. And this is where it gets mystical to me…… Track this like a tracker Something calls me to the forest as a sacred site……im there at dawn on a particular day to hear a hyena call……..this sets me thinking about how my life changed when I just started asking clearly …….transmitted via this podcast to you…….now you pick up the thread and see where it takes you this week. Who is creating the way life is unfolding itself through a notion,…..into a leadwood forrest……via the call of a hyena…..into my ears……through imagination …….into memory…….back into voice…….into your ears…….into action. Oh what great telepathy in a single field of interconnected consciousness we are playing in. What could be more sacred. Take action…….ask clearly for what you want and please report back. 4-0 out. Boyd Varty Sacred Sites Connect with Boyd Varty: Website | Instagram | Twitter | Find out more about Londolozi Website | Impact | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook |
Jul 01, 2020 11 min

Expedition 3 - Shadow Tracking

Journal entry. Tracks of huge pride of lions cut off a beautiful white sandy road onto a game path. Here the pride walks in single file laying a perfect trail. The path opens into a small clearing next to the crusted mud of a dried up waterhole. Next to a huge termite mound with a giant brown ivory growing out of it the tracks tell the story of a giant lion love ball. They have lain down here… lying up against each other…..cubs climbing on mothers heads and biting each other's ears. The flat grass and imprints of tails tell me that they slept here some time yesterday afternoon. They probably moved as the sun went down so they have a whole night ahead of me. I was not planning on tracking but this is life in the wild. This is life as a tracker you must let yourself create with the moment. It’s a large pride and to a tracker this magnetism is too strong. I walk a half circle around where they lay to find the direction they set off on …… quickly I am onto their trail as they head into a deep thicket. Through the night a herd of elephants have moved through the area covering over many of the tracks. Then a herd of zebras followed the elephants cutting the hard ground on top of where lions padded past. Quickly the majority of the tracks are gone. This can be very common in tracking. You can go from this is going to be easy to this is impossible in a few steps. Like life. Like any time you set out on a new path. Now I must follow as a shadow tracker… follow these lions I must become a student of vagaries, a follower of faint impulses and weak imprints…..i must drift through the terrain every reactive… ever alert…..moving on invisible lines that those tawny creators may have taken through the thick terrain. Anticipating If I want to see each track or be sure I'm on their trail I will make myself crazy. Here quite suddenly the need for certainty is an impediment. The shadow trackers energy is that of drifting….as if in a world between worlds…..noticing…..moving with attention…..but with the world in a soft focus around you. Somehow letting go of thinking about how lions move and being empty enough to move like a lion. It is a lost kind of attention in modern life. It’s the skill of riding a tide like a jellyfish. Or catching a thermal like a migrating bird……it’s the skill of being in the right place to be shown and taken. I tell you this now awakeners because that unexpected lion trail was teaching me how to follow the trail of my own shadow. The shadow is the part of you that has never been allowed. It's your dark twin, a narcissistic, bad, even evil part of you that got stuffed away so you could belong. It's your most unsocialized primal desires. There is biting and talking without asking. It’s the back side of years of being good to get a cookie. But your shadow denied will run parts of you with unconscious force until you can meet it as a friend. I say this now cause we are in the time of shadow….and we must work in ourselves to work in the world. Your shadow given a seat at the fire becomes more self….. strong boundaries, unfuckwithable personal power. a person with a well integrated shadow is not interested in being nice or liked they are interested in being true. There is a grace to a person who has found the dark in themselves. A compassion that can look at a tyrant or a weakling and know that is in me too. But strangely a person who has met their shadow stands up to tyrants and is able to ask for help where they are weak Shadow tracking… is for if you want to get to know yourself more deeply. It will liberate so much primal energy if you get to know that dark part of yourself. To find the shadow you must give up certainty and need to know it and drift with an open awareness. Notice the people who make you most mad and uncomfortable. They are holding your shadow. Pay attention to your restments. See what you fantasise about. Notice where you are compulsive. That which we repress bursts out at strange times or runs our lives without us knowing. Do not try to understand the shadow. Do not try to identify it outright. Not like a shadow tracker drift in the half land where it lives. Become aware of it. Ask yourself……that person I can't bear why ?……they are narcissistic, loud, self centred. What are they holding so you don’t have to. That’s the part of you that is repressed. Ask that resentment…… resentment what are you asking for? Rage what do you want. ? Disgust what you need? Let the answers be truly uncensored and ugly. As you drift towards the guarded outlines of your shadow with this soft eyed attention you will find themes. You may be annoyed at someone who always puts themselves first cause you never do. Until you explode and leave so you can do what you want. You will get to know what your anger is asking for. You will come to understand how your patheticness is a place where you couldn’t get the help you needed so you acted like you never needed anything. Oh shadow tracking is not an exact science it’s a kind of background attention on actions and intentions and thoughts and reactions. Maybe you just had a conversations with your boss….or your partner…….you find yourself after the account running an enraged conversation in your head with them…..about how they don’t fucking get it. Ask that voice what it needs, what it wants, why it's mad…..that's shadow tracking. Your shadow integrated becomes more presence in which you can show up with no need to be liked. It’s a power through self knowledge and understanding of the truth of you. It’s the part of you that tells someone clearly what they are not getting in the moment with no fear. Work is the shadow is to balance yourself in real goodness. The awareness of what lives in you and the choice in how to consciously be with that all. I exit the thick terraine after about thirty minutes of shadow tracking…..below me is a dry river bed where thick riversand covers the ground….i use the sand to cut back onto the tracks….the entire pride crossing the dry water course and suddenly I am back on their trail with absolute clarity. Now I follow the imprint of toes and lobed pads across beautiful terrain. I follow at pace the energy of the shadow tracker is gone. I move with purpose and clarity. Alone for miles in any direction. In the beautiful clear light of the morning. In a ravine I hear the lions growling. These are the sounds of feeding. The lions have killed a kudu The pride feeds with brutal intensity. Biting and clawing at each other as they ingest chunks of bloody meat. I watch through binoculars from a distance the savagery of the feeding each man must fight for its place at the kill. After they feed quit suddenly all aggression is gone. They lie around and groom each other with gentle care totally in tune with the full range of being a lion. Every day the wild is my teacher. It takes me on adventures. It takes me inward. Slowly I walk back to my land rover watching my shadow beside me 4-0 out. Boyd Varty Sacred Sites Connect with Boyd Varty: Website | Instagram | Twitter | Find out more about Londolozi Website | Impact | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook |
Jun 28, 2020 11 min

Expedition 2 - Intuitive knowing

Journal entry. Intuitive is defined as: using or based on what one feels to be true even without conscious reasoning; instinctive I think this is why I have always liked sacred sites because when you are at one “you are beyond conscious reasoning” you sense something in the air. and I like it there because for me there has always been more life beyond conscious reasoning. You only need to fall in love to understand the truth in that. There are different ways of knowing. On native medicine wheels there was always body, mind , heart , spirit. It was understood the mind was only one way of relating to or experiencing life. Plaque rock is a beautiful dome of granite that sits logged deep into the river bank. You can walk up onto it easily from the bank and then it falls in perfect smooth rock down to a pool below with a few young crocodiles and a lazy terrapin that live in it. Beyond that is a second band of rock and then the thick green phragmites reeds of the river. As a child when I would go there it may as well have been another planet. Running and playing on the large dome we could have landed on mars. The rock is warm in the late evening having absorbed the sun's heat and if you lay with your back on it will share that warmth with you. the whole rock feels alive. Like it has its own intelligence. Like the rock itself is a living presence. As I sit there on a winter's day I am the centre of a small universe that spins around it. Creatures slowly appear. A kudu in the midst of the far bank. A herd of nyala Herons kingfishers flying past. A lizard scuttles out from under a rock to bask. There's something you don’t do enough of….basking My grandfather who I never met used to sit on this rock. When I am there I can intuit his ancestral presence. I am a part of what came before, I am a part of what will come after. I am not self made. I do not think of myself as a life apart. I am a part of life. Inside of this understanding I see a bigger picture. For a moment I am set free from the innate narcissism that my life is in some way the most important thing that’s happening. I am part of a chain of unfolding life. My grandfather flew planes in the second world war. From north africa him and a rogue captain called hayward would fly to warsaw to drop supplies for the polish resistance. Hayward knew that if they flew high over the city they would be a slow moving target for the anti aircraft guns. so when he saw the city which was on fire he would fly low down the river, dodging bridges moving too fast for gunners then drop his cargo and go. flying home with barely enough fuel. After the war my grandfather took up lion hunting as a way to keep himself feeling alive. Only later when I came to understand trauma did it occur to me that the lion hunting was a common behaviour for someone with severe combat experience and ptsd. The need to seek out dangerous extremes to try and get the sound back on in your life. When my grandfather died suddenly at 54 the war was long over. Hayward loaded my 15 year old father in a plane and flew him from Johannesburg to the place where I now sat in the wild . flying over the rock hayward ever the renegade opened the window and tipped my grandfather's ashes out into the river. That’s how plague rock became an ancestral place for my family. When I was born my mother named me craig…..I cried and cried until the shangaans people told my mother I was crying for my ancestral name. they started calling me body and I became a quiet child. As I sit here this morning I can look down across the pool at the base of the rock to the second ridge where a plague with my grandfather's name on it….a name that is also my name. boyd varty it reads he loved the bushveld. I'm telling you this because your ancestry makes you close to your infinity and your mortality. When I am here I intuit some deep transformation in my own life that seems to be happening on a grander scale in the world. “the restoration of the planet will come out if shift in human consciousness” is my cry My grandfather was a lion hunter. I am a lion tracker.. My grandfather had severe ptsd……I have worked intensely with how to heal extreme trauma. We were both in love with the wild. As a hunter he was intictual as a healer so am i. In the men in my family for so long there was steel with no feeling .I am coming to respect both. Why am I saying all this from some forgotten rock in south africa …..and what does it have to do with you. Okay here goes. If you have bothered to listen to these podcasts and they moved you or interested you then something in you is intuiting what's under the words. You know that like me you are here for the mystery, you are here to live differently, you are here for nature, you are here to find your track. Your whole life a part of you deep down has known the way we are living is not the way. maybe you couldn’t say it for fear of sounding crazy but a part of you knows. A part of you has whispered I'm here for a different world……..I'm here to make that world by waking up to my life. For starters you are the chain in ancestral life…..whatever you came from you can be the start of a transformation for generations to come. Who knows the power of one authentic life. Life is full of platformless heros. For all we know Nelson Mandela's grandmother may have been the person who gave him the fortitude to be who he was. If you heal you heal the past…..if you heal you heal the future. Just ask yourself truly do I intuit “something beyond conscious reasoning for my life” I'm on this expedition on pure intuition. On one level Who cares if I go on these expeditions to the places that call me. Yet I'm called to this story in a way I realise I don’t have to understand. Imagine we were planted here… those of us with that intuition to awakening like sleeper seeds waiting to bloom. All your life you have felt it just beyond your amnesia ……you have been reaching for it like it just slipped your mind. The faith it has taken. The faith it will still take to say I will give up the rational and follow that other way of knowing. If you're listening to this you are either stone cold right now… in which case i'm probably just going to annoy you over time and congrats you made it this far ……or you're on fire. something in you is saying yes. I don’t mean to sound wafty….but im okay with it for a moment because I know that certainly the intuition has to lead to action. But for now from a huge ancestral domed rock by a river in Africa hear a voice reaching out to you wherever you are right now. Think of all the things that had to happen for these words to come to your ears. Trust yourself. Trust what you know deep down. Learn to live beyond conscious reasoning. That’s what i'm trying to do. 4-0 out. Boyd Varty Sacred Sites Connect with Boyd Varty: Website | Instagram | Twitter | Find out more about Londolozi Website | Impact | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook |
Jun 26, 2020 14 min

Expedition 1 - Symphony of Stillness

Journal entry It all begins with sketchy reports of a very rare black rhino that was seen in the far north of the reserve. I drive out with my gear motivated by some deep tracking lore…. If there is a rare animal out there I must go and look for it. The inclination to seek out and find what is rare is fundamental to the tracker. In this case this results in an entire afternoon alone in heat and burning midday light scouting. It’s not romantic…'s solo trudging…..self motivated. No one to make a show for. It comes out of a place in me. I walk through dry winter terrain in search of the track. I sweat and stare at the earth for any scuff or mark. Any sign of the beautiful creature Attuning to the way the ground speaks in some fundamental way. Nothing I'm tracking but I'm not tracking…. At certain levels of any practice or artform …..what you are doing gives way to who you are being. In martial arts fighting is a door to presence and discipline and devotion. In yoga the stretching is the front side for a life of compassion and service. I feel this now as I trudge around with no sign of a rhino. The tracking… becoming about a certain tenacity I am developing. It's about living the kind of life where lessons can find me. It's about practicing. Martha Beck, my mentor, used to say to me “how you do one thing you do everything.” With this in mind tracking shows me where I can be lackadaisical, where I give up too easily, it has shown me how I can lack concentration. My practice has handed me my shortfalls so that I may face them with tenacity. And I know what I develop in my practice becomes who I am in my life. I am developing my capacity for symphony…… My ability to allow seemingly unrelated parts of life come together. This quest for the sacred is of course more than that….. It's about living towards the track of my life. Today It's about hours alone in the heat on bad information. And who that makes you. It's about being willing to be inside of what calls me with the understanding that that’s how you become authentic. As you know my life has been defined by guiding. I worked first as a safari guide and then when my path pivoted I became a guide in ceremonial spaces. In both cases taking people into the wild or their own psyche the key was to know the terrain. You needed to have been there to those unknown places yourself. You needed to have been lost and found your way out. You needed to have scared yourself and become humble. You needed to make edges your new normals That’s how you became a guide. This understanding is what motivates me when after four hours I have not seen one fresh track. I walk past a beautiful impala lilly flowing in Miami pink against the dark bushveld. The koppie where I planned to sleep is off limits as someone has just sighted a leopard with a cub on it. I change my plan and drive south to another old platform in a tree called tingwe camp. The camp is set in a beautiful dry river bed…….dense with tamboti trees. As I arrive at dusk a family of bushbabies is leaping through the trees around the camp. Stop now and google bushbaby to meet a truly cool creature. Night is falling fast and the sky turns pink while the second the sun drops behind the horizon it gets cold. Up the river from me a pack of wild dogs has made a den in an old termite mound. Occasionally I hear the young pups squealing at their parents for meat. The night rushes in and with it cold. As I make the fire I feel terribly lonely. Solitude is both a gift and a trial. alone in the bush it can rattle your bones with its relentless presence. Before you ask yourself questions of spirit like. “am I on my mission” “am I living my purpose” you might ask how long you can be truly alone for with nothing to distract you.i don’t mean the thirty mins you schedule for your meditation. I mean hours and hours, no books, no journal, no podcast, nothing. The answer to that question may be an indication of if you are really ready for the other two. Around me the birds roost it clicks and tsks The fire starts and the night crashes onto me. Black. In the shadows of the fire there are ghosts of other nights I spent here. A July winter when I was 15 with my best friend. We had heard that beer was a taste you grew to like so we choked down beers every day in the hopes of becoming cool beer drinkers rather than the fruit cooler losers we were. Then We spent a lot of time trying to talk my older sisters friends into coming to sleep in our tree house so we could drink beers in front of them. In my twenties as safari guides on nights off we would come and sleep attingwe camp. by now we were beer drinking pros and I remember a night when a kind of wild fire dance culminated in about 20 of us covering ourselves in mud stealing back to the main lodge camp like special forces and abducting all other staff out their rooms to come and party with us. To be fair they didn’t resist much. In fact I recall a Land Rover full of muddy rangers, beautiful hostesses and other hostages packed to the brim. In the confusion of the raid someone had put a standing exercise bike on the bonnet of the land rover and now a ranger was pedaling it as it drove everyone back to the tree house The camp had been a place where many young guides in training had slept out in the wild for the first time. It was the place many young men and women under the stars for the first time had heard a lion roar at midnight. I tell you all of this because as I sat around that small fire last night…. I understood that part of why this spot is sacred to me is that it was dense with memory. It has held me through so many phases. In my immaturity it had held me and it had seen me grow from wayward to disciplined. And as I look back on it I don’t want to exclude that skullduggery from the sacred. I had been engaged to be married once….and after that fell apart I had come back to this spot fundamentally confused by the dilemmas of love and compatibility. If the arrow of time is not linear. If time is in fact a flat circle where everything is actually occurring simultaneously then as I sat by that fire I sat with versions of myself in time just a veil of perception away. And of course the insight that that produced was that the place had always been sacred…but only now from an inner awareness of what that may even begin to mean could I begin to perceive it. I tell you a silence fell as I felt the truth of this that was so intense it was like a force. The night held its breath. I sat in that intensity. Aware of a new quality in my own presence. I was aware that I was aware. The past gave way. the future froze. Was the sacred coming into me from the place or finally coming out me to make the place. All through the night that almost oppressive stillness remained. The star's crystal with cold above me. oppressive is the wrong word…..but never have i felt a calm of that intensity. Only once was the silence broken when a white faced owl called out. At times in the night I lay awake but without a single thought in my mind. the branches of the tree above me against the dark dimension of the sky looked like fronds of flat fan corral. At dawn a three legged hyena slunk eerily through the camp. I share this. And these recollections are a true part of the journey. And there is magic to being alone in the wild. But understand also that there is so much space between the magic.. where I am operating alone and self reliant. There is always the potential for danger and it is not so much romantic as it requires attention and the discomfort that comes with growth. I am pushing myself to seek the natural insights that come with time in unusual terrain. This is the work of making a symphony of wildness and solitude into growth and wisdom. I understand my own routines can also be ruts. I have to get outside of the bounds of normal life and see what I learn there if I ever want to comment on what it means to live. Wow i'm really not sure how to say this. Let me try this. When I was facilitating a lot of ceremony work……the schedule would be intense. A different group every night in a different city. Deep emotional process. Ptsd, abuse, visioning, rebirthing, deconstruction. Every night we sat for people and we held that space for healing and human making. I used to notice before the group I could be a total wreck. My girlfriend could have left me. I could have lost my bag. My own issues could be paramount but when I walked in that group the presence would come and no matter what was going on in my life a steady clear godforce was holding space. Man, that kind of experience leaves you wondering about the validity of your own problems. That they could plaque you all day and be gone instantly in the face of another's suffering or process. That work….. Like this work calls me forth in a way that makes me bigger than the smallest parts of myself. So yes I am searching for the sacred in wild places. But more than that I am trying to find what calls me forth. Because I feel like living towards that with motivation and discipline might be the sacred that is not a place. 40- out Boyd Varty Sacred Sites Connect with Boyd Varty: Website | Instagram | Twitter | Find out more about Londolozi Website | Impact | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook |
Jun 22, 2020 11 min

Expedition Delayed

The original purpose of religion was to bring sacredness to life. Imagine a time (whether prehistorical or transhistorical) when human beings lived moment-to-moment in the presence of the sacred. Religion was unnecessary. There was no separation between spirituality and life, no distinction between the sacred and the mundane, no division of the Godly and the worldly. When we lost the ongoing and immediate sense of sacredness, then we needed religion to bring us back to it. "Religion," after all, means "that which renews our connection." Then suddenly it was the day of the first expedition. I had dragged my feet enough…it was time to gear up and go. Taking my lessons from the tree I knew the key was just to start. Cut the crap and start. Get my sleeping bag and bed roll into the back of Wilfred (the willys jeep)…..grab my rifle, gas cooker, coffee pot and go. I was done planning…… Its time for action. But it was raining Boyd Varty Sacred Sites Connect with Boyd Varty: Website | Instagram | Twitter | Find out more about Londolozi Website | Impact | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook |
Jun 20, 2020 11 min

Sacred Sites Preparation Day

Anthony Bourdain once said “I know theres a guy inside me who wants to lay in bed all day and eat donuts. My life is a series or strategems to avoid and outwit that guy”. If you’re an artist you know this place. I wake up at 4 30 every day and meditate for an Hour. I track every day to practice my craft I do breathwork and work out. I diligently attend to what I need to do to keep my company going…. I maintain routines because I know my nature is profoundly ungrounded. I can be a drifter. I like to think I have made myself solid with disciplined routine. But despite all of this, as an artist on the brink of creating something beautiful…..’man that donut eater just shows up” The dragon of resistance. In truth resistance is its own powerful force. No artist goes untouched by its energy in your life. Its armed with all your past fears and doubts. It’s the worry that the muse has left you. It will tell you that you have nothing to share. that you’re a fake and a fraud. It remains… even as time and time again you learn that it has no ground to stand on. Boyd Varty Sacred Sites Connect with Boyd Varty: Website | Instagram | Twitter | Find out more about Londolozi Website | Impact | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook |
Jun 16, 2020 10 min


In a setting with almost no connotation for me to the Sacred. The Sacred is not just places but what happens in places. I will start with what I can. I will work with the track I have. I will go to the Sacred sites of this land to explore the sacred. I think the Sacred is archetypal….it's an energy of life. I will walk alone to specific places on the land……. Sleep on the ground…… meditate….and ask those places to help me understand. I will go unnassisted on my own two feet to the places that call me. You have to understand I am not a beaded necklaces kind of guy. I am open to the mystry but I am not a hippy. Its not all good vibrations with me. In fact I tend to be turned off by to much heart clutching incence burning. I'm allergic to anything that feels like we are contriving our way to a show of depth But I want to remember life in that way. If I could awaken that… far could I walk that sacred nature it into the world. I want to know it when I see it. I want to be able to feel it. I want to learn to make it. I want to understand the secret of the Sacred. I might not find anything As I sit here I can think of five places that are calling me. I could go to them. I could see what the ground says. The opposite of the sacred is the profane…. Must I go there too? The light and the dark. The whole ying yang. Boyd Varty Sacred Sites Connect with Boyd Varty: Website | Instagram | Twitter | Find out more about Londolozi Website | Impact | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook |
Jun 12, 2020 12 min

Dispatches from the Boundary Walk

Boyd Varty decides to walk around the full boundary of Londolozi (no mean feet), and shares with us his adventure as he takes on this mission with Londolozi’s General Manager, Duncan MacLarty, Digital Storyteller and Ranger James Tyrrell and Head Ranger, James Souchon. The reason for walking, describes Boyd, was the classic intention of masculinity, and a desire to challenge yourself. Boyd who is used to walking 25km, was a bit anxious about doing double that on this particular boundary walk (equating to 31 miles). This group of four men, were both good walkers and good talkers and so many stories were shared over this time period. It is said that talking while walking leads to much deeper conservations and this was true for these four. It was the groups job to lift the individuals no matter how sore you felt. There is something wild and both mentally restful about being on your feet, describes Boyd. Listen as Boyd walks through different sceneries and passes various wildlife, including the Nstevu Pride of lions… Their day had been about walking, but in truth their day had been about so much more, listen below for some classic African storytelling: Connect with Boyd Varty: Website | Instagram | Twitter | Find out more about Londolozi Website | Impact | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook |
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