Just a Family Meeting

¿Que hora es? – asks our Maestra Juana, as the day slowly changes into the night.

– Son las ocho. – somebody replies and, as with the touch of a magic wand, the rainforest starts its cacophonic concert of buzzes, pings, and rustles of hundreds of insects, birds, reptiles, and mammals. The jungle never sleeps.

Nature opens its portal. Permission to enter is given.
The night is about to unfold.

sss
Small Ceremonial Space, Maloka

The experience at the source is truly exceptional. Along with the first sounds of the creatures of the night, we are joined at the maloca by the locals. This is where the magic begins, the moment when a sacred ceremony turns into a family gathering.

A group of few adults, mostly females, arrives at the maloka, accompanied by their kids. A grandmother joins us shortly after, her arrival is announced by her humble smile, as she makes herself home next to Maestra. Youngsters giggle. Nothing here is planned, nothing is scheduled, folks arrive randomly, the place fills up quickly. They greet each other with gentle nods of their heads and, occasionally subtle handshakes. People just come in and make themselves home. It feels like home.

Maestra Juana 2
Maestra Juana

I see the mother of a village settling down comfortably in front of me on the other side of maloka, with her eight month old son cuddled to her breast, and her seven years old daughter next to her. She’s surrounded by other young mothers and numerous cousins.

I feel greatly touched. Humanly touched. Can one be given a more humble, humane invitation to nest in the intimate space of another family? Not only I feel accepted, I feel incredibly safe and, with no words exchanged, very well taken care of. It is an honor to be here and a duty of heart to pay those amazing people a tribute.

We drink the medicine. A small cup of love.
I made a bed for you inside of me. Please feel home.

naya

As the night unfolds, we dive deep into the mother’s realm. The kids sleep soundly around us, but the adults talk… silently.

Darkness thickens, space becomes dense and fogged. The sound of icaros merges with the cacophony of the rainforest outside. The candle goes out. Wild animals come closer lured by our sound and presence. Or… are they? The thick cloud of tobacco surrounds us with a sweet, rich smell. Every time a dark thought is had, sparks of Mapacho are produced by numerous pipes to wipe it away. Suddenly, Juana’s torch lights up in front of me with a frantic red glow. Slowly, she crawls towards me and finds her comfortable position. The light goes out again, but I can see her vividly. Or… can I? Her clear, sharp, high pitched, animal voice wraps around me like a cocoon, woven with the infinite threads of her creaking notes.

Come closer, my child, let me embrace you…
{Mato jowe ayunshon}
Come closer, my child…
{Mato ishon banonkin}
Come closer…
{Neska neska ranike}
Come…
{Non shawan anibo}
C.

I’m in.

Welcome to her realm, the land in between the lands, the source within the source, the motherboard, the void.
This is where home is.

This is where the voice comes from.
Stay awhile and listen.

jun

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