I was in full swing with preparations for the coming healing ceremony when the delicate, nimble figure of Juan Guillermo, the Taita, dressed in hand woven blue striped trousers appeared on the patio. “Hola, hola!” he exclaimed and gave me a warm hug. His familiar broad smile and sparkling eyes touched me to the core. By the evening our pavilion, the site for the ceremonies, radiated with the soft glow of candles. The altar, decked with sacred objects, glistened with crystals. Fellow travelers sat around the periphery on cushions and mats in their chosen spots. There was an air of anticipation.
Juanito, as he is affectionately called, aided by his helpers arranged his corner spot, placing his hammock, the various cups, pitchers and batch of musical instruments Then he donned regalia. As he put on his ritual attire, the tiger tooth necklace and colorful plume headgear with feathers trailing all the way down his back, one tangibly felt his transformation into the power of his role as a leader and healer, the carrier of a living lineage of generations of his native ancestors of the Inga and Siona tribes from the Putamayo region of Colombia.
As we sat before him, the Taita explained the importance of having a clear intention for the ceremony and of being open to the sacred medicine. He suggested sitting upright as much as possible, trusting in the process. The ceremony underway, through timeless hours we sat, each of us absorbed in our indvidual processes, sharing sacred space. Towards dawn I was called for a healing. Brushing vigorously with a fan of leaves around my head and body, the Taita chanted in his native language and sprayed me with fragrant perfume.
I felt the rough edges of issues encountered during my journey melt into an other-worldly calm and well being as I sat before him. I felt his love and healing energy envelop me for timeless moments. “Dios le Bendiga,” I heard him enunciate in his familiar resonant bass voice. I gazed up into his compassionate eyes and felt at peace.
From that point I looked out at the assembled figures as the Taita moved out with his helpers among the participants dispensing hands on healing, the rustle of fans, a mist of spray, the music peaked while he worked as if in a frenzy, moving from person to person in a blur of healing activity. The image of the hundred-armed Bodhi Satva of compassion sprang to mind as I witnessed the scene.
Then his exquisite music began, “Sana me; sana me, cons su presencia sana me con su amor, il espiritu de dios!” (Heal me with your presence with your love, spirit of God!). His ankle bells clanking as he thumped his feet, Juanito picked up his guitar, then pan flute, then harmonica. He sang while his helpers Mitra and Leonardo, created a rhythmic trance background with their drumming.
As he sang Ninjo Salvaje, I focused on the words of this song which I have listened to over and over…
“Soy un nino salvaje inocente, libre, silvestre Tengo todas las edades, mis abuelos viven en mi. Soy hermano de las nubes, solo se compartir. Se que todo es de todos y que todo esta vivo en mi. Mi corazon es una estrella y soy hijo de la tierra viajo a bordo de mi espiritu y camino a la eternidad”.
(I’m a wild child, innocent, free, savage. I contain all the ages, my ancestors live in me. I’m a child of the clouds and I only know to share. I know that every thing is in everything and that everything is alive in me. My heart is a star and I’m a child of the earth. I travel aboard my spirit on the path to eternity).
May we all be wild and innocent children and join in coming back to our original nature, one with the earth!
Photo of Taita is by Genna Marie.