Yawanawa – Dreaming about the Plants
Yawanawa – Dreaming about the Plants
So there we were. The day of the opening of the Temple had arrived. The days before the men of the village were busy building the Temple. It was incredible to see how they had build it; just with materials from the jungle, strong trees, a certain kind of vines to bind all the things together like a rope. They worked so fast, so precise with so much knowledge of nature… in 5 days the whole temple, with a diameter of 9 meter was finished. They had collected 1000 leaves of Paia (the leaves of a kind of Palm tree) to cover the Temple. A few people had collected them for days in a row. In the beginning they would find the palms just around the center, after a couple of days they were walking 20 minutes to get them, and in the end they would walk over an hour to find them.
They would carry around 10 of them on their back, walk to the Temple with them, throw them on the ground, and immediately walk again into to jungle to collect more. They worked hard with concentration and a lot of Joy. I was in my hammock, watching, or playing with the children, talking to Luiz and Louisa. Sometimes I would get up and help them a bit, but we soon found out that it was only slowing down the process… HAHA!
We developed a very special relationship in that period. We loved each other very much, we were creating something very special together…
The temple was a milestone for the village. It was the first Temple in their village, and everybody was very proud of it. Everybody was exited for the first ceremony in the temple, and you could feel it everywhere. The energy that was around was just amazing. I had long talks with Luiz and Louisa. They told me many things about the jungle, the plants and the animals.
Walking through the jungle with Luiz, teaching us about the plants, was always very special. This man knows so much about the jungle… He knows thousands and thousands of plants; their names (in Yawanawa and Portuguese), their properties, how to use them, how to prepare them, for what they are for. He is a true master of the plants, and slowly a huge respect for him was growing inside of me. The other people around told me that he was the Yawanawa with the most knowledge of all the elders around. There was no one like him, they told me. Even the elders of the other villages, had tried to work with him, to pay him to come and work at their center. Luiz had always refused, staying true to his village, knowing that at one point somebody would come in to build him a center. And there I was…
He thought us many plants, and in that period he was teaching us different plants that can be used from people with cancer. I was fascinated… I have been working with people with cancer over the past few years, and am always looking for other modalities of healing. To find a big collection of plants for cancer here in the jungle was a true gift for me. He showed us plants for various types of cancer; cancer inside the body, cancer on the skin, plants that work for many kind of cancers, plants that work for one specific kind of cancer. In that time I learned about 25 different plants for cancer. He would talk about plants in the following way:
“This is a plant for breast cancer, this is the most strongest plant for breast cancer, if this plant doesn’t work, then only God would know.” Then another plant was the 2nd most important plant for breast cancer, it can be used together with the other one, or it can be used separately. It is very strong as well, just not as strong as the first most important plant for breast cancer. He would show us how to use the plant, many times it was a way of using only the leaves in a special way, like boiling them or a couple of minutes, then putting them wet on the skin with a bandage around them, and leaving them there for several days. “We are slowly learning that plants have a spirit, and that by working with the leaves of the plants, we connect with that spirit; the plants are like a doorway to connect with the spirit of the plants. In the end the spirit of the plants would be doing the healing, not the actual plants or leaves.”
I told him that in the western medicine, they would extract certain substances from a plant, and to use that component in a medicine. He told me that he knew that, and then explained me that in his experience, and in the knowledge of the indigenous people that was not clever. By extracting a certain part of the plant, and only using that part, you would loose the connection with the plant spirit, basically loosing a big part of its healing powers. He told us to use the plants in the way they want to be used; as pure as possible, respecting the old linages and traditions. It resonated with me very strongly… I have never felt the calling to use substances or for example psychedelics in my life. When the calling came in my life to drink Ayahuasca for the first time, I was a bit confused and worried: was I going to take a substance? Was I going to take a drug? It was a process that took few months, before I decided to go to Peru for the first time and drink the medicine. And Luiz explained me very clearly how they see the difference between a substance and a medicine, and it gave me a lot of understanding.
I asked him at one point how many people he had met in his life with cancer, or how many people with cancer he had given the plants. He said that he had not met a single person in his life with cancer yet. So I asked him how he knew about those plants for cancer, and how he knew which plant was for which kind of cancer, and how to use them? When I asked him those question, we sat down in the temple that had just finished. He wanted to speak to us…
There we sat, Edgi his son, Muca and me, in front of Luiz, it was a special moment. He started to speak: “One of you, only one, will have a dream. A dream with or without the medicine. And in that dream a man or a woman will come to you. That man or that woman will teach you about the plants, show you the plants, will teach you many things. It will only happen to one of you, and that one, will heal many people in his life. He looked us deeply in the eyes… At that moment I closed my eyes, and made the big commitment to myself, that I wanted to be that person, that I wanted to go to that place to learn from the dreams and the plants in the way he was describing it. I opened my eyes, looked back at Luiz and nodded to him, he nodded back.
Just a few days before in the middle of a ceremony, Luiz came to us and we talk about Ayahuasca. He told us many things, where it came from, what it does and how to work with it. At that moment he spoke to me and told me that I have a very deep connection with the spirit of Ayahuasca, a connection that he had not seen many times before. “You can drink 1 liter of Ayahuasca here, and nothing will happen to you. Your connection is so strong, you can take any amount and you will be fine.”
Hearing Luiz talk about the dreams, and about the connection the he saw between me and the medicine, I felt that I wanted to go deep in the following days, and there, that afternoon, I made a big commitment: That night would be the opening ceremony of the new Temple, I would be leading that ceremony, and afterwards I would start a stretch of 10 days and nights of drinking Ayahuasca. Every 3 or 4 hours I would drink a glass, day and night, and whatever would happen; I would continue. If I had not had a dream where a man or a woman would come to me to teach me about the plants during those 10 days, I would just continue, till it happened.
I told Luiz and Louisa about my plan, and asked them if they found it a good idea. Luiz nodded, and told me I could handle it, it would be very deep… But I could handle it. I asked them to help me go through it. When it was time to drink another cup, I asked them to give it to me, and even when I would refuse, to help me remind me of this commitment, and to make me drink it. They agreed to help me…
I felt it was going to be a very deep time, and I felt a bit of anxiety coming up. Also I felt nervous for the opening night. I haven’t felt nervous before leading a ceremony, but this time it felt different; It was going to be such a special moment. The first night in our new temple, many people of the surrounding villages would come, many Pagers (shamans) from other villages would be there. And I would be serving them a medicine, a medicine that I had met several years ago, a medicine they knew already for thousands and thousands of years… it felt very special to me, a great honor. They painted me that day like a warrior, my arms became cobras, my chest looked like an anaconda, my back like the backbone of a huge snake. It felt powerful.. Slowly people started to arrive, the time had come.
I had talked with the tribe in the days before about the children, and who they felt about them drinking Ayahuasca. Luiz told me that it was their tradition that children could drink the medicine when they were 18 years old. I told them about the Santo Daime and how they handle the children in the ceremonies. I told them they the ceremonies were open for the children, that next to the churches there would be a special house for children. During a ceremony the children could be there, a couple of woman would look after them, so the other mothers could be in the ceremony without having to worry about the children. There children play together, and they can go into the church; they are free. When they walk up to the place where they serve the medicine and ask, they will receive a small dose, and they would only receive 1 dose in each work, not more. Only when they ask, they would not ask the children if they want to drink.
I have visited some Santo Daime communities in Brazil, and to see the children there was just amazing. I was in a beautiful community in Maua, in the North West corner of Rio de Janeiro State. There the mothers drink the Santo Daime when they are pregnant, the children drink it already from a very young age, they grow up with it. What I have seen in that community was just profound… Some of those children are so beautiful, so full of light, their eyes are so bright. I have heard a lot about the rainbow children, the Indigo Children, and that was the first time I understood what those people were talking about; some of the children in that community were the Rainbow Children.
I told all this to the tribe, and invite them to feel into it. We had a meeting with all the mothers from the village, I spoke to the mothers, and then it was decided to open up the ceremonies for the children. Only when they would ask…
Everything was prepared; the firewood was piled up, the temple was cleaned, the medicine was ready. There were around 30 people that night. They had put up hammocks in many places, the temple was full, my house was full, people had put up hammocks between the trees just outside of the temple…
Luiz told me that it was time to start. With just a few Gasoline candles in the temple we started. The people that had hammocks outside of the temple came in and we all sat in a circle. Edgi was sitting to my right with his beautiful feathers, Muka was sitting to my left with his strong body painted like a warrior, and I was sitting in the middle, my Guitar close to me, the medicine on a small altar in front of me, my yellow feathers crowned me, my arms like cobras.
Edgi started to speak. The words that he was speaking were so beautiful…
“Dear people, dear Friends” he said, “Thank you all so much for being here with us for this very special night. Tonight will be the first ceremony in this new temple, the Temple of Centre Ceremonial de Vata Txanu. For Sete Estrella it is a very important moment, for the Yawanawa this is a very important moment. This is only the 3rd village in the history of the Yawanawa that is opening up to Western people. The 3rd village that is creating a center where people from abroad can come to learn and experience our traditions, our plants, our culture. Be in the forest, meet the animals, take our sacred medicines. We are so honored that you are all here to share this special moment with us, we are so grateful to have your alliances. And we are so grateful for Don Luiz, and the wisdom that he carries.
And above all we are grateful for a very special person that is with us here. A man who’s body is born n the Netherlands, with a white skin, and a tall body. A man from the Western world, coming to us from the other side of the big ocean. A man who had a dream of us, of Luis, and who followed that dream and found us.
A man with a body from the West, but with the Soul of a Yawanawa. “
My body was trembling hearing those words…
Then Luiz started to speak. He told that he was so grateful to his father, that had taught him all he knew about the plants. He was grateful to be serving his people with the knowledge of the plants. For all his life he had had the dream that somebody would come into his life to build a place where he could teach, where he could share his knowledge of the plants. Almost 2 years ago he received a dream, and in that dream God had come to him, telling him that a white man would come to his house, singing the name of God in his house. God told him to teach that person everything he knew, and that this person would come and build him a place to teach, a place to share his wisdom. In the Mariri festival 2013 we met for the first time, and since then he was waiting for me to come back. He had waited 1,5 years, and God kept telling him that I would come back, so he waited. And here I was; Vata Txanu. It was a very special moment in his life, he was very grateful it all had come to pass. The moment had come for more plants to go out of the forest, into the world. I was going to be the bridge for those plants to go out into the world. The Huni (Ayahuasca) and the Rape and already left some decennia ago in to the world to help humanity, now the time was ripe for more plants to leave the jungle to help humanity with the healing and awakening.
He asked me if I felt like speaking. I spoke (in my best Portuguese…)
“Dear People, welcome here tonight, thank you all for coming, thank you all for sharing this special moment.” I told them, “For me it is an honor to sit here in the middle of all of you. I am sitting in the middle of a dream. More than 1,5 year ago I had a dream, and in that dream I received 2 messages: Yawanawa and Cruzeiro do Sul. At that moment I did not know anything about the Yawanawa, did not know that it was a tribe in the Amazon, did not know about any one of you. I found out that Cruzeiro do Sul is a city in Brazil and some months later I was walking in Rio Branco and saw a shield that said: Cruzeiro do Sul – 800 km. I decided to follow that sign and flew to Cruzeiro do Sul the next morning. In that same dream I had seen a very wise man with one arm, looking at me. On the airport of Cruzeiro do Sul I met a man, and this man put me in a car and a few hours later I arrive at a small village at the shore of a big river. I stepped in a boat, and some time later I arrived in Mutum. Finding out it was one of the main villages of the Yawanawa Indians… My body was shaking, my heart was singing.
A couple of days later, walking through the jungle I met him.. A man with one arm, a great maestro: Don Luiz. And here we are… 1,5 years later, in the temple that I have build for him. A temple made of strong trees, covered with 1000 leaves of Paia, on a very sacred piece of land.
May this place be blessed, may this place be protected, may this place grow into a center where all the knowledge of the Yawanawa can take place, so it will be sustained and maintained for all future generations of the Yawanawa. May this place start to radiate all the knowledge of the plants, the animals and the Jungle; into the world, helping humanity with the awakening, with the healing, with the re-membering. May his place grow out into a center of Light and Wisdom, may we all be humble servants in this process, and may we all find healing and awakening, walking these steps together.”
“I am so grateful for all that I have received from the plants, so grateful for all that I have received directly and indirectly from the indigenous people, from the jungle. This is my gift of gratitude. This a gift to Don Luiz, a gift to the Yawanawa, a gift to all the Indigenous people, a gift to the mighty Amazon, a gift to the Earth, a gift to Humanity, and a gift to each single one of you. In gratitude, in love…”
“Here I have found my spiritual family, and I am so grateful, so honored to be sitting here with all of you. Thank you so much for helping me to re-member all that is already inside of me. Thank you so much for building this Temple together, strong trees, 1000 leaves of Paia, very good work! Thank you. Now, the time has come… Lets start, lets sing…”
There was a deep silence after all those words.
I took the bottle of Santo Daime in my hands and spoke my opening word for the ceremony. I took my time to open the ceremony, and to ask many beings to be present. Then I blew my prayers into the bottle and I start the first round of serving. It took quiet a bit of time to serve all the people present. Everybody went back to their hammocks again, some people came to sit around me, and there we were; in the first Sacred Ceremony of the new Temple that we had just created… I was looking around, in awe, in gratitude, in humbleness… What a moment… Living the dream.
There I Was, sitting in a place that I just had build, a place that I had seen in my dreams before, next to a man that I had met in my dreams, in a place that I had seen in my dreams… It felt unreal, beautiful, scary, amazing, humbling… So many feeling were coming into my body, and the Santo Daime slowly took me, the medicine was slowly singing her songs. Edgi was walking around, checking if everybody was OK, if everything was going well, now and then Muca would stand up and look into the forest, to see if there were any animals or other dangers, and I just sat there, holding the space, radiating as much love as I could. After around half an hour, I took my Shruti, and while the sacred sounds of India poored into the Jungle, I started to sing…
Padre de la Tierra
Ensenya me, cura me
Trabalho con me, entra me
That song was powerful… I have to admit that I was a bit nervous for that ceremony all day. To be serving the medicine to an Indigenous tribe that have been working with that medicine for thousands of years, in the environment where the plants come from… I was calming down, during that song, and was listening to the silence again. The ceremony was on!
Then I took the guitar and started to sing:
Yo Honro el Lugar que hay en ti
Donde Todo el Universo Esta
Yo Honro el Lugar que Hay en mi
Donde Todo el Universo Esta
I honor the space inside of you, where the whole Universe abides.
I honor the space inside of me, where the whole Universe abides.
Edgi came to sit next to me again after the song, after his round trough the Temple. We looked at each other, put our right thumb into the air; “Muito Bon!” “Very Good!”
We both had a big smile on our face… Edgi told me the people were ready for the 2nd serving, I looked him in the eyes, it felt so good. The way we were working together was so special, so precious. I served the 2nd serving, and Macu started to sing his beautiful Yawanawa songs. The ceremony evolved, it was so special, so beautiful.
It felt so unreal, to sit in the middle of my dream, my vision. That it all had manifested itself in pure synchronicity…
The ceremony took its time, and in the middle of the night some people started to go back to the village. There with the Yawanawa there was no official closing of the ceremony, when it was time to go home, it was time to go home. Some people stayed in the hammocks in the Temple, and others went home. When the ceremony was coming to an end I went to my hammock and for me that was the beginning of a deep journey. 10 days of a depth that I had not experienced before, a Journey that would bring me to new places…
Laying in my hammock at the end of the ceremony in the afterglow of the ceremony, still many people around, the insects were playing their symphonies, the bird singing their arias, Monkeys laughing through the night, and behind all those sounds there was a deep silence. Laying in the hammock I listened to that silence and my mind quieted down, my heart opened up, my eyes closed, and I surrendered to the days coming up. I had made the commitment to drink Ayahuasca for 10 days and nights, every 3 or 4 hours I would drink a glass, whatever would happen…
During a ceremony normally people will drink 1 till 3 glasses of medicine, with a majority of the people just drinking 1 serving. So to drink a glass every 3 or 4 hours, is very strong, especially over a period of 10 days and nights. In a way I was looking up to it, knowing that it would be difficult to keep drinking after a few days.
The first 3 days were good. In the daytime I would be moving around, helping with things at the center, going on jungle walks to learn about medicinal plants with Luiz, all while being in the middle of my 10 day ceremony. In the nights in would be in my hammock swinging in the Temple, or on the mattress laying in my Casita. The Journeys were deep. The first days were like a cleanse of my mind, my body, my emotions. Many things came by in my visions, things that happened, situations, conversations, people and much more. Being completely out of contact; no phone, no internet, no communication helped me all of that tremendously. There were almost no things that happened in communication, so my body and mind could clean out many things from the past. I just laid there, and let it happen, every 3 or 4 hours I would drink another glass of Ayahuasca. The medicine was standing next to me wherever I was. There was no electricity in the Jungle, there was no fridge, so the taste of the Santo Daime got more and more moldy. It got more and more difficult to drink it, and sometimes I would sit with the glass in my hand for more than half an hour, feeling many emotions coming up, before being able to swallow it.
After 4 or 5 days, I could hardly walk anymore. My body was so weak, my Journeys so deep. Getting out of the hammock was very difficult. Louisa, the wife of Luiz, helped me several times with eating, getting up to go to the bathroom (I mean to the next tree…). She helped me with so much love, so much dedication, it was amazing to feel her energy around all the time. I felt so safe, so taken care of, and protected with her around. I doubt if I could have gone that deep without her and Luiz present all the time.
Luiz would come and sit next to me several times. Then he would tell me a story, or teach me about several plants, animals, or other tribes. Being deep in altered states of consciousness, those stories were just amazing… Laying in my hammock, in the middle of the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil, deep on the energy of Ayahuasca, looking out, seeing a man with one arm sitting there; a true Meastro of the jungle, listening to his stories. During those days I lost many times the sense of reality. The veil between the dreamworld and 3D reality was fading… Rara Muka, the plant that is was dieting, was singing his songs.
And then, on day 6, something happened…
I was laying in the Hammock and felt a huge force coming into my body. I saw and felt the spirit of the Black Panther coming in. The Black panther is one of my spiritual animals and I have connected with him before. I see him as a beautiful, shining, strong, big animal. Sometimes laying in silence on a branch of a tree, almost invisible, in stealth, radiating his wisdom. Sometimes I see him roaring, running through the jungle. What a magnificent animal it is, it has taught me many things in the past years.
That day I felt him coming into my body. It was so powerful to feel his force, his wisdom. My body was moving, trembling, I had to get up. I almost jumped out of my hammock (after not moving for days..) and was walking with big steps, stamping on the ground, roaring like a painter. My fingers were tensed and wide open, my arms were to my side, shaking. I can imagine it must have looked a bit scary to the others… Edgi asked me if I was all right. I told him that I was OK, that I felt the black panther, and that it was strong, but that there was nothing to worry about; “Tudo Bon!” I almost shouted to him to give me another glass. He looked at me, saw that I was serious, sat down and poured me another serving. It must have been around 200 ml, which is a big dose compared to a regular dose of around 30 ml.
I drank in one time, kept pacing through the temple, roaring, and then went back to my hammock again.
It was if I was knocked out at once. I was taken to a place that I had not visited before… It became completely silent, my body was almost non-existing, it relaxed deeply. And suddenly I was in the middle of a strong vision…
I was sitting somewhere in the middle of the Rainforest on a piece of wood. A beautiful woman came to sit next to me on my right side, a woman that I already had seen before in my visions. “I am Madre Ayahuasca,” she said, “I am your mother.” I nodded. The black panther, in the shape of a man, came to sit next to me on my left side; “I am the black Panther,” he said, “ I am your father.” And like that a circle started to form, a circle of Elders. When the circle was full I looked around, there were no words spoken, just silence. It felt like a very deep moment, profound, something was happening.
Then Luiz, all this happening in the vision, stepped into the circle. He had a small glass in his hands. He walked up to me and offered me the glass; “This is Huni Shiwa,” he told me, “the medicine of Secrets.” I took the glass, looked at him in question if I should drink it, he nodded and I drank the medicine.
Then he started to talk more. He explained me many things about the medicine; What is was for, how to use it, the dosage. He showed me, in the vision, the plant; How it looked like, the flowers, he showed me the leaves, the upper side of the leaves, the down side of the leaves, the stem, telling me what to pay attention to in regards of finding the plant. He showed me how to prepare the medicine, we prepared it together in my vision. Then he showed me where the plant was growing; next to a small river on a very remarkable spot. He told me so much about that medicine in my Journey… Then he left again and walked out of the circle. I looked one more time around the circle, it was a deep and profound moment, and then I woke up again…
There I was laying in my hammock, in the Temple of the center, slowly getting back into 3D reality. I heard the music of the Jungle again. It took me a while to realize what just had happened…
I just came out of a dream, where a man was teaching me about the plants…
I closed my eyes again, a tear started to roll over my cheek and I cried. I cried, and the tears came from a deep place. So much gratitude I felt, so much humbleness… It had happened…
After a while I called Luiz, who was laying in his hammock close to me, in silence. He had been there all the time during my Journey. He came to sit next to me, and I told him all that had happened in my vision. He nodded… He told me that he had been there as well. This man had not drunk Ayahuasca form more than 16 years now, still he was able to travel to those places without any medicines. A true example for me…
He asked me if I remembered what he showed me, I told him all that I could remember, and he just listened in silence, sometimes asking me about a small detail.
Then he told me that he had heard about Huni Shiwa before, he knew about the medicine, the plant. But he told me that they have not found the plant yet, it was still one of the secrets of the Jungle… He asked me if he showed me a river in his dreams. I told him that I had seen a river in the vision, and that next to that river, on a very remarkable spot, the plant was growing. He asked me which river it was… What the hell! We are in the Amazon, with so many rivers… I had no clue what river it was I told him. He nodded… Next time I should ask him, which river it was, so we could go there and find the plant, find the medicine! We laughed… It was such a beautiful moment….
I gave him a big hug and thanked him… The love we felt for each other at that moment is difficult to describe…
In the evening he told me that now I had experienced how the Indigenous people had learned from the plants. This had been the way the plants had come to them; in their dreams, in their visions. Every generation a few plants would come to them like this, every generations they would receive a few new medicines.
And then I understood many things… How they know about all those plants, about all those medicines, all those animals. How they can know about plants for cancer, without ever meeting a person with cancer. How they have found out through out their history how to use those plants for healing and awakening.
That night, Edgi and Muca came back from a long day of hunting. Luiz told them what had happened. Their reactions were beautiful, there was not a single feeling of jealousy, they praised me, we hugged each other, they honored the vision, and we were all so happy. We ate small fried fish with our hands, a treat that was always a feast during the dieta, where we could only eat very limited food, not being allowed to drink any water for 3 months.
And then I drunk a cup again… I had a commitment of 10 days and nights, the Journey was not over yet.
“Strong Warrior, Strong Warrior!” they told me, with their right thumb in the sky.
And there I was again… In my hammock… Leaving the dream that we call life, into a world that was becoming more and more familiar to me. Into the reality, that we call a dream…
“And I am so grateful for this Life
And to be serving
The Will of the One”
~ Om Hari Om ~
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