Marah: Mother of the Sun-God buried in the sands of time

This Easter, in the first of our Star Lion featurettes, we honour Marah, the founding queen of the Global White Lion Protection Trust. Her life – and departure – initiated the re-membering and restoration of humanity’s contract with the Earth.

This Easter marks the 17th anniversary of the unexpected death of Queen Marah, the founder lioness whose royal legacy and lineage survives and flourishes in her ancestral Heartlands of the Timbavati region to this day. Easter  – coinciding with Ramadan and Passover – symbolises a time of deep spirit reflection, fertility and regeneration, the raising of consciousness and the path towards enlightenment.

Marah was a sacred lioness born on Christmas Day, 2000, and passed during the holy dates of Easter all those years ago, in what was an ultimate act of service in regeneration of our planet.

I’ve told Marah’s story so many times before, but it’s worth sharing a few core moments as reminders of the arc of her extraordinary life. Her birth in Bethlehem, South Africa, had been predicted by traditional healers. Upon hearing of her prophetic arrival, the African Wisdom Keeper, Credo Mutwa, named her Marah: Mother of Ra, the Sun-God.

Marah was born at a disreputable facility that was breeding lions for the bullet. This sacred child was earmarked to be used to breed lions for the canned hunting industry or to be hunted herself as a trophy.  She was no more than a day old when I first met her as part of an undercover investigation – and I was overcome by the conflicting emotions of unconditional love, overwhelming rage and devastating pain. Just hours before, she had been forcibly removed from her own mother, who had been brutally removed from the wilds of Timbavati. Yet the profound power emanating from that perfect bundle of pure white fur called, not for pity, but for action; love-in-action.

In that heightened moment of love forged with fury, I made my pledge to return her to the lands of her origin: the Heartlands of Timbavati.

It turned out to be a six-year battle to fulfil my pledge. Marah was finally released back into her ancestral lands in 2006, together with her subadult cubs: Zihra, Letaba, and Regeus.

Despite widespread cynicism about White Lions being unable to hunt due to their rare colouration, Marah adapted easily. She was hunting for herself and her subadult cubs in the wild after a matter of weeks. This is a remarkable feat, given that she had had no precedent from which to learn.

What I now realise is that Marah’s release into the wild initiated not only the White Lions’ wider message of planetary ecological restoration, but also the regeneration of the severely denuded habitat in that specific part of the ecosystem. The restorative process by which the apex predator re-establishes balance and health to all associated biodiversity in their natural kingdom is now recognised in ecology as “trophic cascading”.

But Marah’s mission to re-establish regeneration and Earth healing came at a price.

Marah’s release into the wild brought about the regeneration of a specifically denuded part of Timbavati. (Image Global White Lion Protection Trust)

When the burrow in which she was digging for warthog collapsed in on her, Marah was entombed alive – her star essence planted deep within the earth of her ancestral lands.

It was the Easter of 2007. Utterly devasted at this unexpected turn of events, it was only much later that I came to understand the symbolism. I now appreciate these circumstances as her soul’s choice, as an enlightened higher-consciousness being. As an ultimate sacrifice to herself, the Mother of the Sun had chosen to embed herself in Mother Earth – Gaia -, thereby fulfilling her mission to bring Heaven down to Earth.

Although I was utterly devastated at her loss, once I saw the embedded symbolism, I ultimately came to understand the message of hope signified by her untimely, yet perfectly timed, departure: it was – an ending to usher in a new beginning.

This is the core mission of the White Lions: to reignite the restorative powers within sacred Mother Earth – allowing Nature to reclaim her sovereignty and her dominion, which is happening right now, whether humanity knows it or not.

Queen Marah looking regal. The White Lions remind us that restoring sacred the relationship with Earth is the key to regenerating both our planet and ourselves according to Credo Mutwa. (Image: Global White Lion Protection Trust)

Credo Mutwa, one of my great indigenous teachers, shared with me that the White Lions are heavenly “Star” beings. Once we have grasped the White Lions’ message for humanity, we can start living meaningful, purposeful lives. We will recognise there is a higher order restoration unfolding and that mankind’s systems need to come back into alignment with that order. The White Lions remind us that restoring sacred relationship with Earth is the key to regenerating both our planet and ourselves.

From a position of fear and panic, we realise that ecosystems are on the point of collapse. Yet, the truth we are experiencing is a full (human) system change. It is a long, overdue and necessary restructuring of our relationship with our planet,  which was never intended to be one of separation, domination and desecration. Earth is fully capable of restoring herself; the question is: are we capable of going on that journey in service of her? We need to ask this question at both a personal and collective level: what is our contract with Earth and how do we restore it?

This article is the first in the series intended to help us answer that question that is closest to our hearts: our LionHearts.

The series illustrates how the White Lions’ mission is directly linked to regeneration of our planet, at a time of ecological crisis – and how these luminaries continue to represent a beacon of Light in this seemingly darkest hour for humanity.

The White Lions’ arrival heralds an opportunity for us to find our way back to self-healing alongside ecosystem restoration and thereby restoring enlightened humanity as the emerging leader of the future.

Written by Linda Tucker, CEO of the Global White Lion Protection Trust Author of Mystery of the White Lions (2001) Saving the White Lions (2013) LionHearted Leadership™ (2016) StarLion Manual for Educators (2017) Watch her Tedx Talk: Ignite your LionHeart! I speak for the Lions

  • The cover image is of Marah and her cubs Zihra, Letaba, and Regeus. Linda described them in “Saving the White Lions” as most beautiful sight in the world. ““All four are in a tight huddle, staring out into the dawn…. It’s the very first time the cubs have seen the sun. They’re huddled tightly together in a tableau of grace and beauty…They’re staring back at us; and then at the open, rolling plains; then at the mountains; and then at the rising, red disc of the sun beyond.” (Image: Carl Hyatt)


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