Way Of The White Lions
When you step onto the sacred land of Timbavati, the ancestral land of white lions, the experience cannot help but leave a mark on you. You begin to take in nature in a different way. White lions are not albino lions, but instead a genetic rarity unique to this region on earth. The Global White Lion Protection Trust extends over 2,200 acres of the South African wilderness, and offers programs for people who hear the call to meet these majestic animals.
I visited Timbavati in 2014 with a group of women as a part of Sacred Feminine Journey—a trip led by Eleftheria Kakambouras, which I co-organized. Our first encounter was with Matsieng, a lion whose name means “great star hunter” in an ancient South African language. He walked past our open-topped vehicle, hardly showing any interest at all. He was busy looking for his mate, Tswalu, the lioness who managed to open all our hearts.
Timbavati originally means “the place where star lions descended on the Earth.” A tangible feeling of love and respect permeates every single cell of this place. It is impossible not to feel that energy, even if you are not a highly sensitive being. People and nature live in harmony here.
The Guardian of the White Lions
“A representative of the lions is sitting here with us.” These were Linda Tucker’s first words to our circle that evening. 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 the white lions back to their free homeland. 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’s story is being considered for a feature-length movie. She was pursuing a successful career in marketing and the fashion industry in London, but one night when she was visiting her homeland of Timbavati, she met her destiny. She was at a birthday party with friends, and all of a sudden they heard a roar in the wild. They knew a lioness was due to give birth soon, and people were predicting the cub might be a white lion. So they climbed into an open-topped vehicle, excited in that dark night, and headed into the wild to track down the roaring lioness.
“We were reckless. We didn’t realize we were invading her space, showing no respect whatsoever,” Linda told us. “We managed to enrage all the lions, of course.” In the middle of the night, Linda and her friends found themselves at the mercy of their destiny, encircled by 24 lions. When they tried to retreat, the vehicle hit a tree trunk and the axle broke, and they couldn’t restart the car.
It’s hard to describe the fear Linda and her friends felt in that moment. When they accepted the fact they were at the very end of their lives, a woman emerged like a shadow out of the bush. She held a baby in her arms, and was followed by two youngsters. Together they just walked through the circle of lions. The lions calmed completely, even lying down. The woman climbed into their car without saying a word. Hand in hand with one of the youngsters, Linda’s friend walked through the lion circle to a nearby village, and came back in another car, which took them to safety. Then the woman disappeared again into the darkness.
After this experience, Linda returned to London, but couldn’t find peace. 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. Her name was Maria Khosa, but in her village she was known as the Lion Queen of Timbavati, a representative of the shamans who knew how to communicate with lions. She had 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 13 white lions roaring freely on their homeland now. The first white lion Linda rescued from captivity and reintroduced to its free homeland was Marah, a lioness (the name means “the mother of the sun god”).
“The birth of Marah had been predicted by prophecies of African shamans,” said Linda, adding pieces to the story. Marah, who was regarded by the 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. Linda and her partner, lion ecologist Jason Turner, successfully returned Marah and her three cubs from captivity into free-roaming nature. Since then, Marah’s lineage has been born free and wild in their natural endemic environment.
Meanwhile, Linda and Jason are striving to protect all lions from the industry of breeding lions in captivity to meet the demands of pleasure hunting, which is still legal in Africa. This big-money industry serves as entertainment for the rich, but is also a source of income for the locals.
White Lions, Star Creatures
The opening circle Linda held for us made us realize that we had landed in a special place: that immense vastness; those peculiar sounds; the fact that we were in the very center 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,” said 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 tip of the ecosystem, at the top of the life pyramid of our planet,” explained 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, which is something that we, humans, cannot survive,” said Linda. “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.”
Love and Respect
“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 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,” said Wynter Worsthorne, as we drove to where the lions ranged. Wynter is 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 it immediately. Therefore, no one can hide here.” 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 might have gotten a little too close. Nebu arose, came up to our vehicle, and marked her territory right in front of us. After that she walked in a circle around us, her crystal-blue eyes making us freeze on the spot. 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 there in silence, each of us on her own…but also together with them, the two white lionesses. Zihra joined Nebu as she circled us. After that, they both lay down behind our car.
While feeling this energy I found myself in a peculiar, enraptured state that made me hear Nebu’s voice very clearly. She said: “Baby is coming.” 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, and the stones. This insight opened a new dimension in my perception of life.
(When I told Linda about the message, she was happy to hear it; the community was gathering their wishes for a new white lion cub to be born there. And indeed, a new white lion cub was born the next year.)
The feeling of connection with these beings is beyond description. It makes you feel at home. Any fear we’d experienced earlier was gone. There was just enormous respect and a fully open heart, and the comprehension that we are brothers and sisters, all created from the stars and the soil. There was the knowledge that it is time to restore the missing connection to nature, and the insight 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. “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,” said Linda. “And we can achieve this by reawakening love and respect.”
That evening we were greeted not only by Zihra and Nebu, but also by Mandla, the king himself. 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, 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.
A Message for Humanity
“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,” explained 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,” said Linda, and I can only agree with her. “Let go of your doubts and look deep into your heart. You’ll realize you are here for a purpose. That’s what the white lions are activating in all of us.”
The white lions are pure starlight, pure sunlight that activates in us the courage to stand up and follow our hearts. “Just watch what’s going to happen when we start living our purpose,” said Linda. The white lions are ready to give unconditionally in the belief that we will stand up and activate our purpose and live a meaningful life. I believe that we are on the right path, and that we can do it.
To help contribute to the white lions’ sacred presence on Earth, you can visit the White Lions Protection Trust at whitelions.org.