Wisdom of nature

Sibundoy, Putamayo, Colombia.

I am in a little town called Sibondoy. It is hardly more than two streets. The surroundings remind me of the Alps. Time has stood still here. Ice cream is sold on the streets and a way of advertising is by a moving car with a loud speaker system on the roof. Now and then a cart with a mule passes by.

This region is known for its lively shamanism. After the retreat in NabiNunhue I went here, hunting for answers and experiences. The experiences are abundant but the answers are really few. Last two nights I participated in first a Peyote ceremony, led by Navajo Indians and second an ayahuasca ceremony led by Taita Juan Batista. It was quite a rare and special meeting of two traditions and two medicine plants.

The emphasis of the retreat in NabiNunhue was ‘connecting and harmonizing with nature’. What the indigenous traditions teach us is how to be in harmony with nature. What is your relationship with water? What is your relationship with the earth. A woman from Mexico told how she was astonished that water in Europe came from the tap and even in 2 varieties: hot and cold. She grew up in a village where drinking water was precious, more expensive than beer or Coca Cola. To get water for other household purposes she needed to walk far. It is not hard to imagine that she has a different relationship with water than me. Coming from a wet and wealthy country water was just always available.

Working with the medicine plants gives you an even deeper connection with nature. You literally swallow nature. Of course we don the same when we eat but the medicine opens up a dimension you might not know about. The potential is astonishing. During the ceremonies, especially the peyote ceremony, the singing is beyond belief beautiful. Since I am a very, very bad singer I can’t imagine to ever sing like that. I asked how the people learn. The answer was “the medicine teaches us”. The plant has consciousness and can communicate.

Now my problem and source of confusion is that the plant is not very willing to communicate with me. She did only once and it changed my life. It didn’t feel anymore like being intoxicated by some kind of substance but as if an otherworldly entity took me by the hand and started to show me things. I was in awe and deeply touched. It changed my life. I was shown the goodness of people even with their daily limitedness: how much we try to love and be loved given the emotional obstacles and barriers that life has given us. But I was also shown our Divine Nature: that underneath our humanity we are the most perfect, beautiful beings. We are light beings making a journey in a human body. Of course we should live according to the laws of the light beings. We should manifest and share light, not fear or darkness.

Imagine if the plant would allow me into this dimension during all 25 ceremonies I have done so far. Imagine the shamans who are brought up with this reality, who can move freely though all these worlds. The plant shows them through visions what medicine a patient needs, where to find it and how to prepare it. Can you imagine? Many pharmaceutical companies used the wisdom of the medicine people to find out which plants are useful for what diseases. 80% of known medicine has its origin in the rain forest.

There is this vast source of knowledge, wisdom and grace and I am not allowed into that dimension. I don’t understand. Tonight I will give it another shot. I ‘hired’ the shaman with whom I had the break through. It will be held at the same place where I was 3 years ago: in his house. I am hopeful but I am also close to accepting that this path is just not for me.

So I will post this, get something to eat and walk around a bit. In 12 hours from now I might have a new outlook on life. I really hope I will. And if not? Well, I will think about that tomorrow.


  1. Mam says

    I completely agree with Pausha!!
    You are fine as you are, your outlook on life is mostly beautiful, you think, say and write great things …… You don’t need a plant to teach you anything!!
    Nevertheless enjoy the experiences to come!

  2. Pausha says

    I did not suggest that Atalwin doesn’t need to learn anything from the plant, far from it 🙂 What struck me was what I read as a need to exchange Atalwin’s eyes for Atalwin-Shaman-Journeyman’s eyes, and I wondered at it.

    • Mam says

      I understood you very well, Pausha! With the next sentence I only expressed my own feelings. And Atalwin knows I do not share his excitement over the ayahuasca.
      By the way, nice to ‘meet’ you here!
      Love, Edith

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