Story #5 - Singing with the Spirits: Discovering the 'Magic' of Indigenous Songs
The Power of Indigenous Songs: A Journey of Discovery and Healing
I would like to invite you all to a very special and unique week of ceremonies near Rio de Janeiro from November 10th to November 17th, 2023. I am planning to be there myself and hope to have a group of friends in attendance who will have read this newsletter. I have a group of 10 seats reserved for us and it will sell out very quickly, so I am saving a few priority seats for paid subscribers. These will be with my teachers from the Yawanawà “Sacred Village”. They have been on a one-year “dieta” themselves and will be presenting their new teachings. The Akasha retreat center is a reproduction of an indigenous village experience, though it’s only a two-hour drive from Rio, so it’s very easy to get to compared to the jungle (and everything is fully legal there). I have been to Akasha many times and it has always been a fantastic experience. If you would like to join or have questions please email Celeste at admin at paua dot life very quickly.
A few days ago I wrote about Kambo (a frog poison in my body) as I am continuing to write my stories. Someone asked me, “What will you do when you run out of stories?” I found it to be fun, so I took my paper journal and wrote down as many of the stories that were in my head as I could. After about an hour, I came up with more than 250 story titles, and more are coming to my mind every day. The more I am writing, the more I am having story ideas for years to come!
Today I write about the power of the indigenous songs, as this is one of the most incredible discoveries and experiences I’ve had there over the years.
During one of the many ceremonies I did during my year of cleansing in 2018, my interest in the songs kept growing. As I already wrote, I could feel that the songs seemed to all have a different purpose, and the visions seemed to respond to the shaman’s voice. The first visible proof of this was when the shaman stopped singing, my visions would stop. They would start again when the next song started.
For some reason I looked at the shaman while he was singing and opened my eyes. He was there with his feathers on, singing with his eyes closed. I closed my eyes and could still see him. Whether it was magic or imagination it did not matter so much, I could still see him with my eyes closed. This alone was very special. Let me write it again: I could still see him with my eyes closed. I was already fascinated by the beautiful geometries and constantly evolving worlds I could see in the previous ceremonies, but this was the first time I had this experience of continued visibility of a real person even with my eyes closed. I opened my eyes and he was there in the same place. I closed my eyes and he was still there looking exactly the same. What was happening? Was my brain just imagining he could see it? Could I actually “see” something without my eyes? The image I was perceiving with my eyes closed was exactly the same as with my eyes opened.
Suddenly, as I kept experimenting with closing and opening my eyes to compare the “two realities”, I started to see something different with my eyes closed, something “better”. It looked like a superimposed reality on top of reality, a bit like the filters on social media that will add a hat on top of your head that stays and moves with it.
What I saw were beautiful colors coming out of the shaman’s mouth. When he was singing, it seemed like a wave of a multitude of constantly changing colors. The color wave shapes were continuing far out of his mouth and spreading in harmony inside the room. They were going around participants’ heads. It was stunning and beautiful. When he would sing higher, the colors changed toward yellow and red, returning to cooler colors as he sang lower. He later started to play his guitar, and colors were also coming out of the guitar itself, with a special pattern at each move of his strumming hand. When he changed notes on the guitar, the colors immediately changed. There were lines of colors coming out of the guitar and they themselves started making geometric shapes as they went to the center of the room. Talk to me about magic…
After the ceremony, I went to talk to the shaman and asked, “How do you do that?”
The indigenous people don’t like such questions…perhaps because there are no answers. We also all see different things most of the time, even though I had many experiences where the whole group saw the same thing, such as in a group telepathy experiment. He simply answered, “Try singing, too.”
I told him that I was forty-five years old and an entrepreneur, and that I never sang in my entire life, nor have I ever touched an instrument. He told me to try anyway. Very few people sing in ceremonies, for good and bad reasons. The only truly good reason is to not disturb the ceremony and the work being done, as well as to respect everybody’s process. This is a valid point, and the main reason that nobody sings in most of the ceremonies I have been to outside of the jungle villages. It is only when I visited the villages that I understood that the shamans wanted us to sing (or at least the Brazilian tribe I was working with, the Yawanawà). They told me that if you sing along you help the work of the medicine, the visions get stronger, as does your own healing.
I said, “I don’t know how to sing, it will be horrible”. They answered that a ceremony was the best time to practice because the plant medicine would help me to learn. You probably heard the term “plant teacher” before. I never understood why would people talk about a plant as a teacher and could not imagine how a plant could teach you anything. This whole misperception of what these plants can do completely changed ceremony after ceremony.
The indigenous people want us to sing along—but nobody does. The energy in the room is always better and stronger when the group sings along.
Here is the basic rule that I wish someone had told me before participating in ceremonies.
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