Yawanawa - A Meeting
Yawanawa - A Meeting
So here I am in an Internet cafe in Tauraucá, a small city in the middle of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil. The last days have been really special…
I came here to visit the Yawanawa Indians, my spiritual family, and my maestro: Don Luis.
Maybe i start to write how I met him, how I came to the Yawanawa’s. So you have an impression how this all happened.
In July 2013 i moved from Amsterdam to follow a vision that came to me, to open up a center for healing: Sananda-Wasi. After my arrival in Pisac, I went immediately to Brazil to pick up the medicine of the Santo Daime to be used in the center I was opening. I just had a very moving time in the Netherlands: closing down my life as a classical musician, giving up my apartment in Amsterdam, finishing my relationship and left my friends and family to go to Peru. To follow a vision from which i didn’t know what it would bring me.
The path of setting up the center was guided in pure synchronicity. It was a beautiful path, and that path really helped me to trust all the things that were in front of me, to trust to leave all things behind, to simply trust this new period in my life. Still it had not been an easy period in my life… So many changes came up, so many people were questioning my steps.
Arriving in Brazil, in Rio Branco, I picked up the Santo Daime. At that point I felt I could not just go back to Pisac to start the work. Somewhere I knew that a period was coming up of hard work. And now looking back, my intuition was right: I worked the last 17 months many hours every day, without almost any breaks, in full concentration.
So in Rio Branco I decided to take a break, a nice holiday before starting the work. I had no clue what to do, so I started to walk randomly through the city.
In the ceremonies I had done before coming to South America I received 2 clear messages: “Cruzeiro do Sul” and “Yawanawa”. I kind of forgot about Cruzeiro do Sul, as I knew it was a city in Brazil, and I had no clue what Yawanawa was… I tried to google it, but did not know the right way to spell it, resulting in not finding anything.
There I was walking and I saw a sign:
Cruzeiro do Sul 800 km
OK! That is were I am going. I left most of my stuff at the Santo Daime community and jumped in a plane to Cruzeiro do Sul. I was amazing to fly above the mighty Amazon… This were the lungs of the planet, the place were there was a remedy found for every dis-ease, the place that was the pharmacy of our planet. I was amazed to see it from above; it looked very pristine, not yet touched so much by western society. I was very exited… No clue what this would bring me, a deep feeling of grace was coming in.
I arrived at the airport and stood there: what the hell was I doing here… I had no lonely Planet (my favorite company on all my other trips), and no idea what to do.
There was a guy standing around that I felt called to. I went to him and told him that I just had jumped on the plane, without a clue what I was doing there, I had the feeling that he could help me.
He was a western man, and he explained me that he was a professor on the university close by. He asked me if I wanted to go to the santo Daime communities, I answered that I was not so interested in that, as I was working already with the Santo Daime for a while. Would I be interested in visiting indigenous communities?
WOW! That sounded amazing, yes that is what I wanted.
There was a guy standing next to him, he put me in a car with that guy and there I was; driving with a guy whose language I couldn’t understand, going to an unknown place.
After 4 hours we arrived at a small town next to a mighty river, Sao Vicente. He kind of explained me that this river was going deep into the Amazon Rainforest. There was a boat just leaving, a couple of indigenous people on it. I shouted to them to come back, they came back and I asked if I could go with them. They agreed and I stepped into the boat. They did not spoke any Portuguese, any English, there was no way i could talk to them…
After 5 minutes my mind kicked in: what the hell was I doing? I had no water, no food, I had no clue what I was doing, where I was going… I decided to surrender to whatever was in front of me. I was on a holiday! And as on most of my travels, I always just followed what was coming up. I decided to surrender to all what would be in front of me.
I was siting in the front of the boat, and I felt all the last months slip of my shoulders, almost like my “old” life was floating away with the water of the river. It was a beautiful feeling, a feeling of freedom poured in, a feeling of gratitude poured in, joy, appreciation of life.
It was already getting dark and we slept on the shore of the river in a hammock. Next morning we continued. A couple of hours later we arrived in a village: Mutum, one of the main Villages of the Yawanawa Indians.
WOW!! Here i was… That was the message from the ceremonies: Yawanawa.
I could hardly believe this was happening. A wave of energy raged through my body.
There was a festival going on: the mariri Festival. It happens once a year, and all the Yawanawa’s get together. They dance, they sing, they do their ceremonies with their sacred medicines, they show their art, their music. It was all amazing to see… The woman were dressed in short skirts made from dried leaves, the rest of their bodies naked, painted with red paint, like warriors, dancing in big circles.
At that time I was not drinking Ayahuasca for a few months. Even in the ceremonies I was leading, I was not drinking. I was slowly learning to get to the same level of consciousness without drinking, connecting with Madre Ayahuasca in the astral. So in the ceremonies with the Yawanawa I was present, but I did not drink their Huni; the name they gave to the sacred medicine.
After 2 days I felt that I had not come for a festival, and as much as I enjoyed it, I felt I came for something else. I decided to leave the crowd and to walk into the forest. It was so beautiful to be in the forest again… Hearing the symphonies of the insects, the arias of the birds. So beautiful! I started to walk and follow the paths, returning after a while so not to get lost.
I came to a center where people would come to do dietas. Dietas are old ways to work with very powerful plants; master plants. It can take anything from a couple of days until a year. Following a strict diet, being mostly in soltitude, you ingest one of the master plants. There can be many benefits of such dietas, and more and more western people find their way to the amazon to do a dieta. The ancient ways of using the plants are slowly going into the world, to help us to heal, to awaken, to take the next step in humanity.
I walked around, talked with some people. It felt strange… In a way very touristy. There were people following their 15th dieta, this one being the last one before becoming a master shaman. I looked at him, had my question marks and left.
In one of the ceremonies before I had seen a man in my visions. I had felt immediately his wisdom and power. He was standing high in the sky looking down at me, i bowed to him in my vision. He was a man with only one arm; his left arm was cut of.
Then on the way back it happened: i met him…
A man with one arm, standing in the forest. I looked at him, and felt a rush of energy going up my spine… Who was this man?? I felt humbled, I felt his connection to the plants, his connection to spirit, to the creator. I could not stop looking at him.
I went to him and started to speak. I spoke kind of Spanish and he spoke Portuguese. I asked him if we could walk back to the village and find somebody to translate. He knodded and started to walk back. I walked next to him.
He was walking in silence, I felt his connection while walking, it was so beautiful to feel him. Sometimes he would stop and point something out to me: a bird, a plant, a tree. But there were no words exchanged.
We arrived back in Mutum and soon I had found somebody willing to translate. We sat down and started to talk.
He asked me who I was. I explained him that I came from the Netherlands, that I just moved to Peru to open a center. A center for healing, to work with the plants, with diet, with natural medicines and healing. I explained him a bit more about the program, he just nodded and listened. He asked me if I worked with the sacred medicines. I told him that I was holding ceremonies with ayahuasca, I explained him the way I was working; small groups, lots of attention, healing inside of the ceremony. I also told him that I was not drinking at that moment. That I saw ayahuasca as a teacher, and that, as every good teacher in my life, I would like to go at one point on my own feet, without the teacher. I also told him that I had not spoken to many people about it, as I was still a bit insecure about it. The few people I had spoken about it, were quite skeptical; what? You work with the medicine, but don’t drink it?
Also I told him the way I see energy in ceremonies and how I was learning to work with it, or to take it out of people’s bodies when it was not serving them anymore.
Then he started to speak. He told me that his father was a very well respected medicine man of the tribe, that he had learned all things from his father and that he was now in service of his people, his tribe, serving the plants, serving God.
He told me that the way I described seeing energy, it was the same way his father described seeing energy. He told me that he had not drunk the medicine now for 15 years…. There I was, Sitting in front of one of the elders of one of the oldest tribes in the amazon, doing exactly that I was hoping to do one day… My heart was singing.
He looked deep into my eyes, and asked me if I wanted to come to his house…. I had no words, just packed my bag and there we were again in a boat to the next village, to his house.
I felt so much… So much gratitude, it was just amazing.
The following days I was in the small village, hanging out with the boys, hunting, fishing, playing football. I learned that the jungle is their supermarket. One time on the boat, a small boy jumped out and caught a big lizard, more than a meter long. He came to me and with pride showed his catch. I admired that beautiful animal; so many colors, so strong, it was truly amazing to see such an animal from close by. A minute later a big stone landed on his head, sending him to heaven. In the evening we had lizard for dinner…
Luis, that is his name, was watching me, not spending much time with me. He was observing me in silence.
The fourth day, he asked me to come for a walk to the jungle. We left the house, crossed the river and walked. Again he was walking in complete silence… At one point he stopped and asked me if I knew that plant. I told him that I did not knew the plant. He asked me to sit down and to tell him what the plant was telling me. I sat down in meditation and felt… I got quite nervous, as I honestly didn’t feel so much. After 5 minutes or so, I decided to be honest and to tell him that i did not feel much. He looked at me, and said: “that is good, as this is not a special plant”
I didn’t know if I had to laugh or to be angry, he was checking me out!
I decided to laugh, it was a beautiful moment… Bastard…
We walked on, and slowly he started to show me plants. First for mosquito bites, then a plant to attract woman, I asked a detailed explanation of that one :-)) again we laughed a lot. After a while, I start to realize that he was teaching me… What a gift!
For a few days this went on. That were very special days.. He showed me more and more advanced plants. One of the plants that he showed me was a big tree, the bark of that tree could be used as a remedy for rheuma arthritis, back problems, back pains. The bark should be prepared and the medicine should be consumed for 30 days. The blood would start to run through the body, giving it heat. That heat would heal the infections, release the pain. He told me that the pharmaceutical companies came, and they showed them that tree, and gave them all the info they needed. They took it back and in the end they did not use it to make a medicine for back problems.
As the medicine makes the blood run through the body, the used it to make Viagra… He said they were quite disappointed to see their true medicine being used for recreation and fun. He had decided not to give out his knowledge anymore to them.
That evening we sat in the house, many people of the tribe were present. A guitar entered the house. I had none of my instruments with me, so they did not know I was a musician. They asked me if I could sing. I took the guitar and sing one of my favorite mantras:
Guru Guru Wahe Guru
Guru Ram Das Guru
Luis came to sit next to me and listened with full concentration. After the song he asked me what the song was about. I explained him in my best Portugese that it was a song in an old language of India, a country far in the east, in the Himalayan Mountains.
Guru was “Nombre di Deus” the name of God, and with Wahe, I put my hands in the air in a gesture of praise. He nodded and went back to his place.
The next morning I woke up and felt immediately that the energy was very different… It felt serious, something was happening here. There was no breakfast, nobody was speaking. Luis showed up and commanded me to follow him. No question… A command! I followed him and he walked into the forest, this time in front of me, not next to me. He was completely silence, no plants, no animals were shown.
After an hour or 2 we arrived at an open circle in the jungle. He commanded me to sit down; he wanted to speak to me. I felt a bit nervous, as his tone was different, serious. I sat down at looked at him.
He started to speak.
He told me that this was the place were his father taught him everything, all that he knew about the plants his father told him in that space. WOW, how beautiful he was taking me here… He told me about the old traditions of the Yawanawa’s, that their dreams are very important to them. The dreams carry important messages for them, messages to be taken into this reality.
He asked me if I had seen the center in Mutum. I told him that I did. He asked me my opinion. I told him that I did not have so much of an opinion, but that I felt that working with the plants was very sacred; for me it is like being a musician; you can practice 10.000 hours on an instrument, but without talent you would never be able to touch the heart of somebody with your music. He nodded; for him it was the same. He said that he was very humble and grateful to be in service of his people, but he said that there was only one to decide if he could do this work. At that moment he pointed his hands to the sky. It is by the grace of God that I can do this work he told me. We looked in each others eyes and understood each other; no more words were needed.
Also he told me that dreams are very important for the Yawanawa Indians. They have their rules and laws, at they have to follow them. But dreams have a bigger importance to them, they have to follow their dreams.
He told me that he had a very clear dream a couple of weeks ago. In that dream God came to him, and told him that a white man would come to his house, a man who would not be drinking Huni (ayahuasca), a man who would sing the name of God in his house, and that he should teach this man everything that he knew.
Tears were rolling over my cheeks…
Last night he had another dream, and in that dream God told him I was that person. He said that I was a true Pager, and that he would help me to step into that path. He said that I had just left my blood family, and that now I found my spiritual family. His house was my house, and I could come any time I felt called. When I would feel good, when I would feel bad; I was always welcome. I could return in 2 weeks, 2 months, half a year, one year, 2 years, anytime.
He also told me that how later I would come, the more ready I would be to receive his teachings.
What a beautiful conformation was this, that I had made the right choices, that I had chosen the right path…
The first step would be a dieta with a plant called “Mucca”.
I remembered a dream I had about that plant… I told him about it. He told me that in the old tradition, a person should dream about taking that plant, and that the person who would serve that plant should dream about the person taking it, only then it would be available. He smiled…
He explained me that it was their most sacred plant, and he explained me what a pager was in their understanding. He told me about the daily reality, and that you can take a step back in that reality; observing it from a distance. Yoga and meditation can help you to get to that level of awareness. Then he told me about dream reality, and that you can also take a step back from that reality, observing it from a distance.
A pager is somebody that can even take a step further back; watching both realities from one place, being able to navigate them at the same time, to manifests in them at the same time. Mucca, would help to get to that place. But you had to be ready he told me; when you are not ready, you would not come back.
I asked him what that meant; “you die”, he told me.
A big smile arrived on my face, a big smile arrived on his face. I was ready… I told him I would be back in 3 months.
The next days were so special. We didn’t do much, we didn’t speak much. We just were there, together, enjoying just that: being.
Then I left to Peru and got caught up in the dream that is called Sananda-Wasi.
Last February a good friend of mine came to Visit me for a couple of months. We had done several ceremonies together in the Netherlands where he had assisted me. In Peru I invited him to hold his first ceremony in the Tipi.
I attended and received. He poured me a big glass. As it was his first ceremony I felt I could not refuse it, nor tell him to give me a smaller one. I accepted, laid down and went on a deep journey… At one moment I look around and in my vision I saw the Indians sitting around me in a circle. Luis started to speak, and told me it was time to come… I bowed to him, and told him I would be there within 3 months. What did I know about the time coming up…
In August, having a break at the center I went to a 10 day Vipassana meditation course outside of Cuzco. In that meditation I went very deep. One time coming out of a very deep state called Banga, they were there again. That time I was sitting in the circle with them, next to Luis.
Luis started to speak again, and told me that it was not just a beautiful story to tell; I had to actually go there and be with him. We had a longer conversation, and I committed that I would be there in the next 3 months. I really decided that I would start to move everything in The center to make it possible for me to go away for several months. Once I made that decision clearly, things started to move, things started to shift, things started to fall in place.
The team supported the decision, and what followed was a beautiful period of empowerment for all.
In beautiful synchronicity a dear sister and friend committed to step in and hold the space for Sananda-Wasi and all things around. And that was my final sign, that I could let go of all; in complete trust and surrender. I can imagine that this is the way a young parent feels when the first time comes to leave the baby with somebody else…
So last week on Friday I left Pisac, in a 24 hour bus drive to Rio Branco. It felt so good to leave everything behind: no more emails, no more phone calls, no more decisions, and responsibilities. Feeling free again. I slept almost the whole journey.The next day I spend with the Santo Daime in Rio Branco, before leaving again to the Indians.
I had no way to contact Luis in the last weeks, to let him know that I am coming. Doubts started to come in: would he still feel our connection? Would he know I am coming? Would he remember me? Would he even be there? I tried to connect one of the leaders of the Yawanawa’s that is going out in the world by email and Facebook. After around 10 messages I gave up…
There I was, arriving late at night at the same small harbor village where I was dropped of 15 months ago. I slept in a hammock in the gas station on the water. I couldn’t sleep, I was too excited, too nervous.
The guy of the gas station told me the he heard that Luis was coming in the morning. Next morning I sat in the hammock for a long time, no Luis…. I got a bit annoyed, I can be ridiculously impatient at times. This was one of those times!
I decided to take faith in my hands again, and in less than an hour I had a private boat taking me on the river. The Journey took way too long for me this time. At the same time, again life was washing away from my shoulders, here time did not exists in the way we know it in the western world.
Then finally I arrived at the place, I jumped out of the boat, and ran to the house of Luis. One of his sons saw me and shouted: “Denni!”
I gave him a big hug, and asked immediately where Luis was. He was not there… Soon there were many people around, some guys got my suitcase and my guitar from the boat and there i was; in the middle of the kitchen in the house of Luis, many people around but no Luis.
Many people were speaking at the same time, and I understood many different things; he will be back in a week, he is not here, he went to pick me up, he is in Taruaca (one of the cities I just passed through). I couldn’t understand all that they were saying…. Actually i had no clue what they were talking about. I felt a bit nervous… Would he not be here for me? Would all this be just a story… A dream?
I took a bag with gifts out of my suitcase and started to pass around bracelets for the children, hangers for the woman, Quechua bracelets for the man, dream Catchers for everyone. It was a good ice breaker, and a good way to distract myself…
When I was almost finished, people started to shout; there was Luis…
I ran outside and gave him a big hug! It was so beautiful to see him. My heart was singing, I had no words to speak. We went inside and sat opposite from each other, the whole village surrounding us.
We looked at each other, in silence.
Then he started to speak: he said he was waiting for me since August 2013. God kept telling him I would come back, so he just waited. And here I was. I told him that I was so grateful to be here, so much gratitude, for him, for our connection, for this sacred land, to have the opportunity to learn from him. He nodded. He told me that Tashka, the man I emailed a million times, had told him that I was coming and arriving on the 8th. He had been waiting on the 8th and 9th at the harbor for me, I arrived at the 10th… Indeed 2 days later then I had written in the emails. It felt so good to hear that. He told me that we would go in the jungle to do Mucca. A very special place. His most sacred place, the place were there are around 4000 medicinal plants growing. I asked him to show me the place. He said that it didn’t existed yet… Huh? What is happening, I didn’t understand.
At that moment i hardly spoke any Portugese, so it was not easy for me to understand…
Then I got it. He was going to clear a piece of jungle for me, build me a sacred house. In the old tradition, that was the way he told me. For Mucca they would create a space. So he was going to create that for me. In that house it was going to be him, me and sometimes his son, 3 months long.
I couldn’t believe my ears…
Dinner was served: chicken, farina and coffee. I look at the clock hanging at the wall and saw that in my 18 months of absence nothing had changed: it was still 3 o clock. All was well.
After dinner I took out my guitar and started to sing from the heart. The whole village was cramped in the house, I was so happy…
Later I took my shruti out (an small organ/harmonium from India). Nobody here has ever seen one. I started to play, and the deep and sacred sounds of India poured into the room. I sang the Song that came to me in the last weeks, my song for Mucca:
padre de la Tierra
Ensenya me, cura me
trabalho con me, entra me
It felt so beautiful to sing that song here… Luis looked at me and nodded…
Next morning we woke up and with his brother and son we went to the jungle. We had a breakfast full of laughter, full of love. I love this place, I love this family, I love the jungle… The path was almost non- existing. With machetes the path was cleared and after a while we arrived at a deeper part of the jungle. I could feel it was a special place here, it felt sacred, profound.
Luis showed me the place where he was going to build a house for me, it all looked so dense… For me it was hard to imagine it all, my mind was coming in again: how long will this take?? In a few hours, they cleared a big piece of jungle; everything had to make place except the big trees. It all went with a speed that I had not expected, especially after living 1,5 years in Peru!
In the evening we had dinner together and Luis wanted to speak to me. With his brother we sat down. He asked me what I wanted. I told him that I only got 90 days entry in Brazil and showed him my passport. That meant that I wanted to see the house ready as soon as possible, to start the dieta as soon as possible. He nodded.
Then he started to speak and told me what was going to happen and what was needed: Mucca required no salt, no sugar, no woman (laughter), I could only eat rice, white bread, beans, nothing else. I couldn’t drink water for 3 months, only a special drink fermented through the mouth of a woman called Kausumi. I would be eating the Mucca, a kind of potato only 1 time: in the beginning. We would go and find it in the jungle on the day I was starting the dieta, fresh is best.
Every 4th day I would be drinking ayahuasca. He told me that I had to prepare the medicine myself, as a pager I had to learn that. With a big smile I opened my suitcase and put my Santo Daime on the table. He took the bottle, openend it, smelled it, tasted it. I had taken one of my most beautiful, deep and powerful medicines. He nodded: Muito Bon. We both laughed… He said that I was a quick student! A nice moment…
Also Rape would be there to help Mucca in a couple of ways. I never connected with Rape before, a of powder made from the tobacco plant and the bark of a special tree, that is blown up the nose. Before i cam e to Brazil I committed to this dieta, to this Journey, to Luis, to Mucca, so when that would be a part of it, I would accept. Rape was going to be prepared also by us in he next days. We had to go to Tarauacá to buy all my food for the 3 months. To buy some more supplies like a hammock, candles, a small generator and so on. That was going to be a journey of 3 days. He asked me if I could afford that. I have a good stack of cash with me, so I just nodded.
He also to me about the situation in the village. Basically everyone was counting on him for food and living. And it was like that: everybody dropped in for food or asking for things, all the time. His wife Louisa reminds me of my grandmother… Always giving, always sharing. Knowing that true giving and receiving is the same. He told me that he was building the house for me from his heart, this was his story and my story coming together in something sacred. He was hoping to build 4 houses in total and a temple space so he could receive more people. He asked if I could help him.
I told him, that I have many connections and that I was happy to send him people. People that are looking for a pure jungle experience, with a true Maestro, not interested In Luxury or western comforts. He said he would be very happy with that. He asked if I could pay the men building the house. I asked for a price, and agreed on a daily wage for the guys. Also we needed a woman to cook for us and wash our clothes for 3 months being in the dieta. He again quoted a price and I agreed.
It all felt really good… In this way we are creating a sacred experience for me, a place to go really deep. A sacred place not only to be used for myself; no, creating an opportunity for these people to share this vast knowledge that they carry, the knowledge of the plants, the wisdom of the jungle. I feel that I am the Impuls to start all this.
May it become a long lasting space for many people to come to!
It feels really good. This is beyond anything I had expected and it has not even started yet… Yesterday trees were cut, and in less than a day the structure was up. A really nice house is created here: around 5 meters high, 10 meters long, and 4 meters wide. In the next days the roof is going to be covered, the walls be placed, a veranda will be there to hang out and play the guitar. I look forward to this time… I offered my help, and started with sharpening a machete, i immediately cut my finger…. they all laughed, took it out of my hand and politely asked me to sit down again. We all laughed. I am soaking up every single second here… WOW!
A nice temple space is being created and a small simple kitchen. These are people from the jungle, they know how to work with wood. With only a machete they create a complete house in just a few days. In 5 days it will be ready. Sunday will be the inauguration: a ceremony for the village, and Monday I will start my dieta, this deep journey that I am long time preparing myself for…
This is all just preparation for a journey that I cannot completely grasp yet. I got a glimpse of it in my last meditations… I was taken abroad and felt the vastness of the universe, it was so beautiful and powerful to feel that force. Then Mucca came and told me that he was going to take me out of this dream that we call the universe, into reality. I asked him how I could take that step, and what I would be experiencing. He said that that was something that I would experience soon, now I was sill in service. He told me to go back and share as much as I could before entering the dieta: sing, heal, guide, be there for people as much as you can. Then after that you leave everything behind, to come to me without any attachments. Then you will see the answers to your questions.
And that is what I am doing here… This is what I was doing in Pisac in my last days; i worked 6 days, day and night, non-stop before leaving. Now here, i am helping these people as much as I can. Directing the whole thing, helping them to create something substantial, something long lasting; a place where many people can come to meet the Yawanawa Indians, a place were people can come to meet the plants in a true way, a sacred way. What they do is creating it according to their traditions, their linage. A beautiful combination…
Slowly I am getting ready for this experience. Luis is a man of few words, I am not even sure if he sings during ceremonies. But being now here in the jungle for a few days, I got the feeling that not much singing is needed…
Here the people let the plants sing…
I am looking forward to the time coming up. This time is still a busy time; a time of preparation, and as a 2 meter tall white guy, it is hard to hide here between these small beautiful people. From Monday on it will be just me and Luis in the jungle; nothing and nobody else. 3 months long…
In that time I will be completely unreachable, there will be no way to contact me. This will be my last communication till somewhere in February.
What a gift is this in my life, what a present… I look forward to bring these gift back to all of you…
I wish you all a merry Christmas!!
May the long time sun
Shine upon you
All love surround you
And the pure pure light
Guide your way on
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