As you will see the it is a lot more ambitious than a collection of songs, it is designed as a journey through ayahuasca musical traditions, starting with the most ancient, in Ecuador and moving through Colombia, Perú, Brazil and finally the rest of the world.
The CD will be accompanied by ample notes in 2 languages as well as transcriptions and translations of the song lyrics.
What follows is a partial preview of the liner notes of about half of the tracks that will appear the 2 CD compilation.
About Songs of Ayahuasca
When we started with our ayahuasca documentary project in 2002, we had a simple objective: To make a film that documented all the different manifestations of ayahuasca culture(s). It took us a few years to realize how naïve we’d been. It was impossible, traditional ayahuasca cultures were just too too varied to fit into one film.. or even in 10 films.
I am glad we tried, though, in the attempt we got to witness the incredible richness and diversity of ayahuasca cultures which include:
-More than 70 Amazonian indigenous groups that use it (and quickly expanding to indigenous groups that didn’t have a history of previous use)
-Mestizo Vegetalismo and urban curanderismo
-The three main lines of syncretic churches in Brazil (Santo Daime, Barquinha and UDV plus numerous offshoots) some which have now expanded across the world
-Neoshamanic, psychedelic therapists and other alternative groups of every imaginable persuasion.
In the 10 years that we spent going from place to place, naively trying to fit all of the above in one film, it occurred to me that despite the enormous differences from group to group (in everything from the way the brew was prepared to philosophy and ceremony and dietary restrictions) there were a number of common threads throughout:
The first one was that everyone everywhere agreed that drinking ayahuasca was a Good Thing (this might seem obvious, but it’s more important than you think.)
The second common thread was that everywhere we went everyone sang to ayahuasca. These Songs of Ayahuasca, often inspired by Ayahuasca, to be sung for and during Ayahuasca, represent the musical embodiment of the Ayahuasca experience, they direct the experience, modulate it, sustain it, hold it and drive it.
Where there is Ayahuasca, there is song.
About the song selection
This collection represents a selection of some of my most cherished personal recordings after 10 years investigating traditional ayahuasca cultures in Brazil, Perú, Colombia and Ecuador. I organized the tracks it as journey, starting with the manifestations that are most ancient in origin and slowly moving towards the most modern, but always staying within the range of “tradition.”
In the past few years, with ayahuasca’s expansion there’s been an explosion of new Ayahuasca music being generated, some of which uses studio recording and modern instruments and amplification. I enjoy these new styles myself (and I have included some links at the end notes for those interested in finding more) but for this collection I have chosen to stick to tradition, by this I mean raw recordings, most time recorded live during real ayahuasca sessions and without any sort of instruments or amplification (the last 2 songs being the exception).
I’ve also done my best to transcribe and translate the lyrics so you can read the words as you listen and understand better what is being said.
The end notes include additional information, research and links in case you want to investigate further.
I hope you enjoy listening to these Songs if Ayahuasca as much as I‘ve enjoyed putting them together.
Jeronimo M.M. – Ibiza August 2016
1 – Fidel Andi Grefa - healing
Fidel Andi is a Kichwa healer from Tena by Napo River in Ecuador. He comes from a long family tradition of curanderismo and has a very interesting life as a indigenous rights & traditional medicine activist. This healing song was recorded live during an ayahuasca session (you will notice the throwing up in the background)
This is where the journey begins, for it is theorized by some researchers that the origin of ayahuasca use lies in this very geographical area, the Napo river, in Ecuador.
Here’s a quick summary of these theories: In the Pleistocene Age (2 million BC to 10000 BC) there were a series of glaciations that put most of the American continent under a sheet of ice. During these glaciations there were certain areas called Pleistocene refuges where the ice didn’t reach. In the entire American continent there were only 9 such refuges. It was vegetation from these areas, veritable centers of biological diversity that re-populated the continent when the ice ages passed. The Amazonian Piedmont of Ecuador and Colombia is recognized as one of the areas with the highest biodiversity in the world. All of it originated in the Napo Pleistocene Refuge, which includes the Napo River and spans the area between the Aguarico River and the Caquetá River in Colombia.
Most of the plant species in today’s Amazon come from that refuge, including -it is theorized- the ayahuasca vine. Thus the indigenous groups of that area are thought by some academics (G. Zuluaga, G. Highpine) to maintain the oldest, longest, traditions of ayahuasca use, starting with the Napo Runa (which would include Fidel) and then further down to the Siona, Kofan, Kamsá, Koreguage, Ingano and others. It is in these tribes where ancestral ayahuasca use can be proven. It is also among these groups that wild vine use is has prevalence over cultivated vines. Some academics (P.Gow, Brabec de Mori) believe that in other tribes ayahuasca use can be as young as a few hundred years old.
Fidel’s style of working is slightly different from what I have seen further downriver in that right after the effects are felt he will begin the individual healings which are fairly long in duration. So on any give night he won’t treat more than 8 people or so, after he's done he will talk in the patient's ear for a while, telling them you what he’s seen and giving advice.
When Fidel did his healing on me after singing the song that you hear here, he said the following on my ear:
“I looked at you and saw you are alright. It’s just that recently you were born again and that’s why you are still a bit weak, like a baby."
"In order to get strong you need to drink tobacco”
“Drink tobacco, how?” I asked
“You take a large tobacco roll and cut a slice, leave it in a glass of water overnight. In the morning you filter out the tobacco leaves out and drink the water on an empty stomach.”
“But if you leave tobacco in water over night the water gets really really dark” I said
“Precisely” he answered
“But I’ve drunk such tobacco juice before and it made really really sick”
He clicked his tongue
“That’s because you had NO FAITH in it."
"You have to drink tobacco.”
And with that he sent me back to my place.
It took me a few years to realize how right he’d been, but that’s another story for another time. I’ll just say that nowadays I drink tobacco as he prescribed, and it no longer makes me sick. I learned to have faith in tobacco.
2 - Humberto Piaguaje - Healing Song
This is a live recording of a healing performed by Siona Taita Humberto Piaguaje. Humberto is one of the sons of Francisco (Pacho) Piaguaje, one of the best-known shamans of the Putumayo River and founding member of the UMIYAC. The Piaguajes come form a long family of Siona shamans, as well as a long history of interaction with researchers. The number of people who have passed by the Piaguaje house since the 50s reads like a veritable who is who of Ayahuasca research: Richard E. Schultes, William Burroughs, Andrew Weill, Jean Langdon, Jimmy Weiskopf among others have spent time and written about the Piaguaje family.
In the previous song we spoke about the theory of some academics that the origin of ayahuasca use lies with the Napo Runa, and in general in the Amazonian Piedmont of Ecuador and Colombia. We are now a bit further downriver, in the border between Ecuador and Colombia. As you can hear there are similarities in the song.
Nowadays one can observe in these piedmont ayahuasca cultures mostly a therapeutic use of ayahuasca, usually in collective rituals, led by a healer, that include individual healings, usually at the end of the night. These rituals might actually be late adaptations to colonial forces that pushed shamanism into the corner, only allowing for its therapeutic expression, while repressing the more communal, mythical, and political side. We don’t know.
This aspect, the healings at the end of the night, are common to the Ecuadorean, Colombian, and Peruvian traditions I’ve seen, what’s different in Humberto’s Siona tradition is that the bulk of the Yage session is run not through song, but through silence. It is only at the end of the night, after drinking the second cup, that the taita begins to call the participants one by one, to sit in front of him and be healed, with the song that you can hear here.
4 - Emilio - Icaro
On the first song we spoke about the Pleistocene/Napo theory of ayahuasca dissemination. There is a second theory, championed by Cambridge anthropologist (and all-around beautiful person) Francoise Barbira-Freedman, who spent a number of years of researching Lamista shamanism and speaks Quechua fluently. According to Freedman the vector of expansion of ayahuasca throughout the Amazon are a series of migratory waves from Quechua Lamista populations who descended further and further into the lowlands and trading medicinal plants (including cursare and ayahuasca). Napo o Lamista? The jury is still out, I’ve seen academics argue quite passionately for either option. It is also possible that both things are true at the same time, since we are speaking of two separate river systems and each group could have taken ayahuasca down their own rivers.
In any case, we have arrived to the Lamista area of Perú, in the Alto Río Huallaga area, the area where I’ve done most of my fieldwork. This is high jungle (800m over sea level) the distinctly hilly area, where the Andes meet the Amazon. Because of its height and different soil composition this area of jungle is somewhat cooler but most importantly more bio-diverse than the flat, sandy soils of the low jungle. This bio-diversity manifests itself in a type of shamanism that have a much richer repertoire of plants than those of the low lands. Indeed Lamista Vegetalistas such as Emilio, consider ayahuasca just one more plant in a very large plant toolkit, that includes dozens of other purgas, and an equally large number of palos and dieta plants.
Emilio was born in the Alto Huallaga, in a hamlet a couple of hours away from Chazuta (where in the 40s Manuel Cordova Rios went to gather curare for NYC pharmaceutical companies)
Emilio's story is similar to that of many vegetalistas. After number of terrible working accidents he found himself chaining one therapeutic dieta after another, on the seventh dieta, one night the spirit “el genio” of the plants appeared to him in his dreams, and told him:
“It is high time you begin to cure, to soplar (blow tobacco) and pulsar (read people’s pulse)”
“But I don’t know how to do those things” Emilio answered
“We are about to teach you” Replied the spirit and they sang to him the icaro (song) that I have included here.
“Nothing is as marvelous” Emilio says in the interview “as when one hears a song in dreams and then wakes up in wonder.”
This icaro includes a number of structural features that are common to this cultural area. The icaro lists a number of plants, animals, spirits, and places and one by one calls them to come to the help of the curandero so that he might bring back the soul of the sick person. We’ll see this structure re-appear in the Peruvian icaros that follow as well.
In the following video he tells the whole story, sings the icaro and explains it line by line
Ikaro transcription & translation by Jaume Sanz Biset
ÑUKAmayay KAYAMUYKI IKARUytay KAYAMUNCHI
I call (the spirit of the sick person), we (the ones present) call (this lost soul)
IMALAYAy IKARUytay MUYU WAYRAy IKARUytay
Who do I call? I call the muyu wayra (spirit that causes “susto” and has trapped the sick person’s soul)
MUYU WAYRAy IKARUytay PUSHAMUYNAy ALMANTANAy
Muyu wayra, bring back the soul (of the sick person)
ÑUKANCHImay DEFENDENCHI IKARUYPI IKARERUy
We defend (the sick person) (with our) icaro (and the) icarero(s) (genios)
PAYKUNAMAN IKARERU NINANKUNAy SUPAY RUNAy
(We call) the icarero (genios) (and) the supay runa (devil-man, another genio)
ÑUKANCHIMAN KAYAMUNCHI WAKAMAYUy RUNAKUNAy
We call the guacamayos (the spirits of the parrots)
PAYKUNAMAN WAKAMAYUy NINANKUNAy IKARERUy
(We are calling the spirits of) the guacamayos (parrots) and the ikarero (genios)
PINSHARUNAy IKARUytay PAYKUNATAy CHASKIMUYNA
Pinsha (Toucan, its genio) catch (the muyu wayra)
URKU PUNTAy IKARERU PAYKUNAMAN IKARUytay IKARERUy
On top of the hill, there they are (Toucan, muyu waira y and the soul of the sick person)
AGUAJEPIn PUKLLAMUNKIay ÑUKANCHIMAN KAYAMUNCHI ALMANTANAy
(Now) you play in the aguaje (thorny palm) we call the (lost) soul
PUSHAMUYNAy IKARUytay IKARERU ÑUKAmayay KAYAMUYKI IKARUytay
Ikaro and ikarero (genios) bring (the muyu wayra), (thus I) call (you with) this song
IMALAYAy IKARUytay MUYU WAYRAy IKARUytay
Who (am I calling)? (I am calling) the muyu waira (the genio who caused this “susto”)
ALMANTANAy PUSHAMUYNAy IKARUyty KANTAMUNCHI
Bring the soul (of the sick person) (with the) icaro (that) we (are) singing
ÑUKANCHImay DEFENDENCHI IKARERUy
We defend (the sick person) (with the) icarero(s) (genios)
ÑUKAmayay KAYAMUYKI CHAYPINA CHAY PUKLLAMUNKIay
I call (the muyu waira). There you are (muyu waira) playing (with the soul.)
URKU PUNTAy PUKLLAMUNNA CHAYPI MAÑAY CHOKAMUYNA MUYU WAYRAy
(On) the top of the hill (the muyu waira) plays, there it crashes (with the rock walls)
IMALAYAy IKARUytay ÑUKAmayay KAYAMUYKI KAMERAMAN PUKLLAMUNKIay
Who am I (calling)? I call you (muyu waira), (you that) plays in the branches of the Came (Came Renaco tree, used to heal bones)
CHAYPI MAÑAY ALMANTANAy TRAPICHINAY IKARERUy IKARUytay
There I ask (of the sick man’s soul)(that with the muyu waira they move the branches of the Came tree, making a sound like the) trapiche
SHIMBILLOPIN PUKLLAMUNKIay ÑUKAmayay KAYAMUYKI YACUWAIRAy
(Now)(you muyu wayra) play in the Shimbillo (fruit tree)
I call you yacu waira (genio of the Shimbillo) (so that you bring muyu wayra)
IKARUytay PAYKUNATAy KAYAMUNCHI IKARUytay
(With the) icaro we call (the genios) (with the) icaro
YACU COCAy IKARUytay ÑUKAmayay KAYAMUYKI NEGRO NEGROy YACU RUNA
I call the genio of the Yacu Coca. You Yacu Runa (genio of the yacu coca) black black (I call you)
YACU SUPAY IKARUytay ALMANTANAy PUSHAMUYNAy
Yacu supay (genio de la yacu coca) bring back the soul (of the sick person)
ÑUKAmayay KAYAMUYKI ALMANTANAy DEFENDENCHI IKARUyty
I (with my icaro) call you (yacu supay) (so that) you defend (the soul of the sick person)
BOBENSANAy IKARUytay ÑUKAmayay KAYAMUYKI YACU WARMI IKARUyty
(with) the icaro of the Bobensana (medicinal plant) I call you yacu warmi (genio of the Bobensana) (so that you bring the muyu wayra)
BOBENSANAy IKARUytay ÑUKAmayay KAYAMUYKI YACU WARMI IKARUyty
(with) the ícaro of the Bobensana I call you yacu warmi (genio of the Bobensana) (so that you bring muyu wayra)
SIRENAmay YACU WARMI IKARUytay
(I call you) sirena (genio of the Bobensana). (I call you) yacu warmi
ÑUKANCHIMAN KAYAMUNCHI IKARUytay KAYAMUNCHI
We call with the icaro, we call
MUYU WAYRAy IKARUytay ATUNPLAYAY PUKLLAMUNNA
We call the muyu wayra (that now) plays (with the soul of the sick person) in a large river beach
CHAYPINA CHAY IKARERUy BANCORUNAy IKARUytay
There (is also) that bancoruna (genio) (I call him so that he brings the soul of the sick person)
BANCORUNAy IKARUytay ÑUKAmayay KAYAMUYKI
(with the) bancoruna (genio that brings the muyu wayra), I call you (muyu wayra)
LAGARTOmay BANCORUNAy PAYKUNAMAN YACU SUPAY IKARUytay
I call the bancoruna and the crocodile (its spirit).
I call the yacu supay (water devil)
(I call you) (so that you bing the lost soul)
TIBIWAMAN IKARERUy ÑUKANCHIMAN KAYAMUNCHI IKARUytay KAYAMUNCHI
To the genio of the Tibiwaman (bird) we call, we call
ALTOPURIY SUPAYRUNAy IKARUytay IKARUytay PAYKUNAMAN IKARERUy
On top of the road (is) the supay runa, we call him (to bring the lost soul)
PAYKUNATAy KAYAMUNCHI IKARUypy KAYAMUYKI
We call these ones, we call the genios
ÑUKAmayay KAYAMUYKI ALTOPURIY SUPAYWARMI IKARUytay
I call you supay warmi (genio) on top of the path, I call your power
TIBIWAMAN IKARERU PAYKUNATAy KAYAMUNCHI
We call to the genio of the Tibiwaman (bird)
TIBIWAMAN IKARERUy PAYKUNAMAN ALMANTANAy PUSHAMUYNAy
We call the genio of the Tibiwaman (bird) so that you bring (the lost soul)
ANGUILLAMAN IKARERU ÑUKAmayay KAYAMUYKI
I call the genio of the anguiia (eel fish)
ANGUILLAtay KAYAMUNCHI YACUSUPAY IKARUytay
(we) call the anguilla, (and the) yacusupay (genio of the anguilla)
ATUN COCHAy PUKLLAMUNNAy CHAYPINA CHAY MUYU WAYRAy
(in) a large lagoon (the muyu wayra) plays, there he plays
MUYU WAYRAy IKARUytay PAYKUNATAy IKARERU IKARUytay
We call (to the) muyu wayra genio
KAYAMUNCHI PAYKUNAMAN ÑUKANCHIMAN KAYAMUNCHI
We call to them (muyu wayra with the lost soul) we call
(we call their) ícaro, (their) genio
LOBO MARIN IKARUytay PAYKUNATAy KAYAMUNCHI
We call the genio of the lobo marino (giant otter), we call it (to bring the muyu wayra)
LOBO MARIN IKARERU PAYKUNATAy IKARUytay
We call the genio of the giant otter
(so that it brings the muyu wayra and returns the lost soul to the body of the sick person
5 - Jacques Mabit - Icaro de las Tribus (by Maestro Solon Tello)
Jacques Mabit was born in France where he studied medicine, and moved to Tarapoto, a few hours form Chazuta, in the late 80s to work with Doctors Without Borders. His encounter with traditional doctors and ayahuasca was to change his life forever. In 1992 he founded the Takiwasi center that pioneered the integration of western and Amazonian medicine for the treatment of drug addicts. He was one of the main characters in The Jungle Prescription.
In the 20+ years that the center has been running a veritable who’s who of ayahuasca shamans have spent periods there, these periods produced rich interchanges of knowledge and song. More 20 years later Mabit’s icaro repertoire contains dozens of songs, from many sources. The following song is one such example. This icaro is originally from Maestro Solon Tello (1918-2000) who was one of Iquito’s most respected vegetalistas. He lived to be 92, and ran ayahuasca sessions on the back of the kitchen of his Iquitos apartment.
6 - Jacques Mabit - Madrecita Ayahuasca (by maestro José Campos)
The story of this song goes like this: in 2007 while doing research for the film in Perú I met a man who was convinced he was possessed by the devil. I won't go into the details, he looked normal enough. I'll just say that when I met him he had been drinking ayahuasca for a few months with no major effects. The first 2 times I drank with him it was uneventful. The third time, however, something happened. During the session what he called his devil "came out" in the open for the first time. It just so happened that I was recording audio that night.
I will save you from that recording, suffice it to say it is some of the most hair-raising shrieking I have ever heard. The entire rom was terrified. When I revisited the recording I could barely listen for more than a few seconds. That night it took the curanderos all their power and more than an hour to get the situation to the point where the shrieks became a whimper.
When there was finally silence, the entire room breathed out a collective sight of relief.
When the room was finally at peace Jacques Mabit sang this ícaro: madrecita ayahuasca.
Mabit told me that the author of the ícaro is maestro José Campos. This ayahuasca song is almost a battle chant, meant to cast off evil, and claim the space back. Mabit calls to his side the spirits of the most powerful plants, and of everything he holds most sacred. It's almost a declaration of principles, a manifesto, stating where the curandero stands, and under which forces his sessions are run. As you will see it is also full of poetic turns, and inspiring calls.
I will say no more. I think the song speaks for itself.
The video has english subtitles, click on the gear icon to activate
6 - Jacques Mabit - Les Trefons (J. Mabit)
This is one of Mabit’s own icaros and the only icaro in the French Language I have ever heard. It is absolutely beautiful. Jacques told me the song, together with its melody came to him in a dream. Most icaros in Takiwasi have a very specific function, almost like tools. I’ve heard Jacques say that Les Tréfonds is an icaro for childhood issues & hurts.
8 - Jacques Mabit - Madre Ayahuasca (by Rosa Giove)
Jacques Mabit’s wife Dr. Rosa Giove is co-founder of Takiwasi and has been working side to side with him for more than 2 decades. She is also the author of a number of extraordinary icaros -although she would certainly disagree with the author title, arguing that she never composed the songs, she merely received them, in this aspect she's in agreement with vegetalistas and daimistas, who claim the exact same origin to their songs
Madre Ayahuasca is perhaps the best known of all of Rosa's icaros. It has transcended Takiwasi and taken a life of its own, I’ve heard it sang many times in many different places, often by people who didn’t know its origin.
Rosa wrote the first time she heard this song being sung to her was during an ayahuasca session. She says she saw a vision of a young girl flowing out of a bottle. It was ayahuasca, who started to dance around her, always playfully. The young dancer then became an old woman who kept dancing without losing her grace, then with a twinkle in her eye, she went back to being a young girl.
The girl then took Rosa by the hand and walked her across a great forest, all the way to the sea, then she took Rosa inside the water, in spite of Rosa´s resistance. To her surprise Rosa found there was nothing to be afraid of, the sea floor was full of fish, coral, and light, on the bottom of the sea was a chest, and inside Rosa knew was a part of her that she had locked up. Then and there she understood the mischievous look that ayahuasca had given her.
Rosa was then taken out of the water and through a trail lined with flowers, the path lead to a stone tower. Rosa understood that there was a treasure inside the tower, and that one could only access it if they had the key. Ayahuasca reappeared, dancing around Rosa, and Rosa realized that she'd had that key all along. However, the young girl explained, it is not enough to have the key, one must also find the door and the lock, and even then, one must know how to open it.
Rosa had the key and she realized could see the lock, but there was a strong feeling she shouldn't open that door, someone else must do it.
She realized that “Everyone must find their own role along the path of life, but also their own complement, the other that will make them whole.”
At that moment a song came to her, it started to play in her head. She tried to ignore it, but the icaro wouldn’t let her be, it kept returning, in dreams, in other ayahuasca sessions, until -against her own resistances- she had to sing it.
That’s how Madre Ayahuasca came to be
Madre Ayahuasca, madre …
Mother ayahuasca, mother
Llévame hasta el sol..
Take me up to the sun
De la savia de la tierra hazme beber
Make me drink of the sage of the earth
llévame contigo hacia el sol
take me with you towards sun
del sol interior hacia arriba,
from the inner sun, going up
hacia arriba subiré.
I will go up
Úsame, háblame, enséñame
Use me, talk to me, teach me
enséñame a ver, a ver más allá.
teach me to see, to see beyond
Madre . . .
Enséñame a ver,
teach me how to see
a ver al Hombre dentro del hombre
how to see the Man inside the man
a ver el Sol dentro y fuera del hombre
how to see the sun,
(that shines) inside and outside of man
enséñame a ver …
teach me how to see
Usa mi cuerpo, hazme brillar
Use my body, make me shine
con brillo de estrellas,
with the glow of the stars
con calor de sol,
with the heat of the sun
con luz de luna y fuerza de tierra,
with the light of the moon
and the strength of the earth
con luz de luna y calor de sol
with the light of the moon
and the heat of the sun
make me shine
Madre Ayahuasca … madre …
Mother ayahuasca… mother
10 - Rosa Giove - Icaro de la "S"
This is one of my favorite icaros from my favorite curandera, Dra. Rosa Giove. I'll let her explain it in her own words
"During a 2 year period I received a total of 6 icaros. They came to me in different places and times, without any premeditation on my part in terms of content or order. The songs always came to me unexpectedly and involuntarily, through visions, dreams, or the semi-dream state produced by dietas and ritual work with plant teachers.
This icaro corresponds to the base chakra, related to sexuality and the letter "S" It's represented by a small red snake, a fire snake, that starts its ascension (the awakening of Kundalini?) by crawling slowly towards the abdomen. It's related to the life energy, the body's healing power, and the ascending force of life that moves upward, towards the sun.
I listened to the small plant-woman sing this icaro to me with a soft voice, dragging all the SSSSS, as if emphasizing the snake's crawl. I looked at the other people in the ayahuasca session and saw a red glow in their base. Suddenly there was a voice is coming out me that I didn't recognize it as mine. It was singing this icaro"
Introdúceme en tu cuerpo
Introduce me in your body
desde allí yo te hablaré.
i’ll talk to you from there
Introdúceme en tu mente,
Introduce me in your mind
desde allí te alumbraré.
i’ll light your way form there
Introdúceme en tu corazón,
Introduce me in your heart
desde allí te daré calor.
i’ll warm you up from there
Oirás mi voz de serpiente
You will hear my snake voice
deslizarse en tu oído.
slide into your ear
Verás mi luz sin verla
you will see my light without seeing it
a través de Los sentidos...
through the senses
y mi calor te seguirá
and my warmth will stay with you
más allá del frío frío
beyond the cold cold
Y seré parte de ti,
And I will be a part of you
tierra lanzada al infinito...
earth flung into the infinite
Mi voz te susurrará
My voice will whisper
cosas que crees no saber.
things you think you don’t know
Dentro de ti vas a encontrar
Inside of you, you will find
la respuesta a tu ser
the answer to your being
Ocho (8), doble círculo fecundo
eight, fertile double circle
dos serpientes enroscadas,
two coiled snakes
que te hablan sin decir...
that talk to you without speaking
que te dicen sin hablar...
that speak without saying
Soy la energía en ti dormida,
I am the energy asleep within you
wake me up already
Quiero ascender, reptar de una vez,
I want to rise, crawl up
Cruzar el cero (O) ya,
cross that zero now
cerrar el círculo aquel,
and close that circle
donde la flor duerme en la cruz...
where the flower sleeps on the cross
Cuando el azul llegue a tu cara
When the blue reaches your face
y la luna a tu cabeza,
and the moon reaches your head
a su encuentro yo iré,
I will come to meet you
serpiente roja, desde la base,
red snake, rising from the base
a fundirme con el sol...
to meet with the sun
Y mi voz te guiará a través del agua
And my voice will guide you across the water
con el color del amor...
with the color of love
11 - Rosa Giove - Icaro de la "M"
I heard once Jacques Mabit say that rituals are a collection of gestures that are only operative when they are "the outward manifestation of an internal process." In other words, the same ritual could be a meaningless charade or a transformative experience, full of significance and power. It all depends on the intention (internal state) of the person performing the ritual.
New patients in Takiwasi, for example, before they join the other patients undergo an entry ritual where among other things, they make a fire, burn something of their past, walk around the fire backwards and then forwards, while inside a circle formed by his future companions, the other patients.
There are many such rituals in Takiwasi, patients plant a tree, make a mask of their negative face and then burn it, or, in this case, literally dig their own grave, and then lay on it, to be buried and reborn.
The common thread among all these rituals, is that they address -or make visible- what in my opinion is an important aspect of the recovery process in addictions: The reckoning of the patient with his past. Ayahuasca often brings in the former drug addicts vivid recollections of how much they have hurt themselves and other people, followed by a lot of guilt and shame over things they have done in the past. All of these rituals, the walking backwards, the planting the tree, address the issue in different ways, as they embody ways to the deal with negative aspects of a person's self and past.
The earth ritual is by far the most powerful. I think the images speaks for themselves, a symbolic death and rebirth of patient is being enacted. It's tough to watch, one can only imagine what it feels like. The patients take certain things from themselves and leave them on the earth. This is symbolized by the 3 coca leaves they throw in the river, and lay under their body to leave behind in their grave. They are given a tube to breathe and they are covered with soil. Halfway through their burial a sound is made by hitting a stone, so that the patient knows he's halfway through and he'll soon be coming out.
I've seen 5 patients got through this ritual, with very different reactions, some could barely stand being covered by the earth, others found being underground "extremely peaceful."
About the icaro
This song by Rosa Giove, is part of a series that she has been receiving for some time. The most popular icaro of the series is "Madre Ayahuasca" which has become something of an anthem.
This icaro of the "M" is part of the same series, but it is not a song to spirits, but to matter, to physical reality, to the body, and to the earth. This is the chakra that follows the sexual one, activated by the icaro of the "S" (see above.)
Here's what Rosa said about this icaro
"The second infra-umbilical chakra corresponds to the letter "M" which I visualize as solid, resting on the earth, concrete, material. It's a sound that comes from the belly, which is the cradle of our instincts, the origin of fear, life and death"
I have included 3 versions of the song. The first is sang by Rosa Giove herself, then Jacques Mabit, sings, then Jaime Torres, so you can heard it sang by all three main curanderos in Takiwasi. I also added English subtitles although as usual I fear some of the poetry is lost in the translation.
14 - Santo Daime - A Meu Pai Peço Firmeza
This song was recorded in the state of Acre, in the Brazilian Amazon. It is one of the opening hymns of a Santo Daime ritual, from the Padrino Sebastiao Hymnbook. For those unfamiliar with the Santo Daime it is a syncretic church that mixes European Catholicism, African spirituality, and the indigenous use of ayahuasca. It was founded by Raimundo Irienu Serra, a descendant of African slaves, who at the beginning of the last century was part of the first wave of immigrants to the jungle -the seringueiros or rubber tappers- who came in contact with the indigenous populations, and with ayahuasca. The result is a most wonderful combination of traditions. Daime rituals, or “works”, revolve around the singing of hymns. These songs of ayahuasca, often "received" under its effects hold and contain within them the "doctrina" the teachings, of the Santo Daime. Part spiritual revelation, part entheogenic inspiration, part Nordestino folk music. They are some of my favorite ayahuasca musics.
This congregation you see in the video is headed by Luiz Mendez, who lived with and met Irineu Serra while he was alive. This recording took place in Fortaleza, their ranch, where approximately five families of Daimistas live together and try to survive off the land.
Their ritual works take place in a wall-less building by the jungle’s edge. They were some of the most intimate, beautiful, and emotional Daime works I have ever attended. To this day they remain one of my fondest memories of Brazil. About 25 people, 10 of them children, sat around a table lighted by candles and sang for hours with almost no instruments, just the voices weaving in and out. It was simply one of the most beautiful collective songs of praise I have ever witnessed.
At the end of the night everyone stood up, held hands in a circle, and sang one last song. Holding my left hand was a child of about 10, holding my right hand was a very old man.
We sang like that, holding hands, feeling the circle of song and life pass through us and it must have been the Daime I drank, but I could barely hold back the tears.
A Meu Pai Peço Firmeza
A MEU PAI PEÇO FIRMEZA
To my Father I ask for firmness
E NÃO SAIA DA MINHA MENTE
And to stay mindful
DOU ENSINO A QUEM NÃO SABE
I give teachings to the ignorant
E ACONSELHO OS INOCENTES
And advice to the innocent
MEU PAI A TI EU PEÇO
I pray to you, My Father
E NÃO SAIO DO MEU LUGAR
to stay by my side
DAI-ME FORÇA E DAI-ME AMOR
To gimme strength, and gimme love
PARA EU PODER TRABALHAR
So that I do this work
MEU PAI A TI EU PEÇO
I pray to you, My Father
E AOS TEUS PÉS ESTOU
I'm at your feet
ROGANDO PELO POVO
Praying for the people
PARA SER MERECEDOR
to be worthy
OH! MINHA VIRGEM MÃE
Oh! My Virgin Mother
OH! VIRGEM PROTETORA
Oh! Virgin Protectress
ÉS RAINHA DO MAR
You are Queen of the Sea
ÉS MINHA PROFESSORA
You are My Teacher
OH! MEU BENDITO PAI
Oh! My blessed Father
OH! MEU JURAMIDAM
Oh! My people of Juramidam
CHAMA DE UM A UM
Call them one by one
PARA RECEBER O PERDÃO
to receive your forgiveness
SE TODOS CONHECESSEM
If everyone knew
O PODER QUE MEU PAI TEM
the power that my Father has
DEIXAVAM A ILUSÃO
They would leave behind
QUE É COISA QUE NÃO CONVÉM
their inconvenient illusions
O MUNDO ESTÁ EM BALANÇO
The world is in balance
E TUDO VAI BALANÇAR
And all will swing
MAS NOS PÉS DO MEU PAI
But at the feet of my Father
TODOS TEM QUE SE CURVAR
all must bow
16 - A Barquinha - Culto Santo & 17 - A Barquinha - Sao Sebastiao
These songs were recorded in one of the 3 Barquinha churches in Rio Branco. These churches were founded by Daniel Pereira Matos, one of Irineu Serras disciples. A Barquinha shares with the Daime many of its hymns and culture, but integrates more rituals of African/Umbanda origin. Daniel had a vision that his congregation was sailing towards God on a boat, so he called his church A Barquinha (the little boat) To this day its members, many of whom have never seen the sea, dress in homemade sailor uniforms to drink ayahuasca, pray, sing and dance.
The dance you can see in this video was the conclusion of many hours of singing in the temple. I'm not much of the dancing type, but to my surprise after a while I found myself joining the dance. While I was lost I the middle of the reverie I came to two no less surprising insights:
The first insight was that far from being a superstitious error, the act of devotion to the divine was somehow intrinsic to human beings. I let go of my postmodern skepticism, and had to admit that what I was witnessing: the praying, the singing, the dancing, seemed not deluded, or superstitious, but actually very natural: The expression of something that was very much not only integral dimension of the human experience, but also an important part of being alive.
The second insight -and this was quite a surprise- was that I realized in a flash that one day I would have children.
Both realizations were completely in contradiction with what I had been thinking and believing about religion, and about parenthood, up to that point. I was very surprised to find myself thinking these thoughts.
They marked a first step of what has been a long road for me. More than a decade I am the father of two girls, and I have a very different attitude towards spirituality... But at the time I didn’t know any of this would happen, I did feel I should give thanks, and dance, and that is what I did (as you can see in the video .-)
Recorded at Antonio Geraldo da Silva Filho´s church. Rio Branco, Acre, Brazil.
Begins with Salmo de Abertura e Fechamento do Trabalho, o 'Culto Santo. Followed by a hino-ponto de Abertura dos trabalhos do Parque (bailado) e, last a hino-ponto para São Sebastião.
18 - Raffaele Mackay & Fabian - Morning Improv
These two last songs are the only ones that stand outside of any indigenous/mestizo/syncretic traditions, but they are *so* beautiful I had to include them. We recorded them on the twilight of an ayahuasca session in Nabi Nuhue, Colombia, as the sun was coming up the Pasto mountains at the very entrance of the legendary Sibundoy Valley.
Rafaelle Mckay is an old friend, extraordinary vocalist, composer and voice coach from Montreal, she was accompanied by Fabian, Kahuyali Tsamani's apprentice, on the harmonica
19 - Raffaele Mackay & Nicolas Jolliet - Morning Improv 2
Here's another morning improv from the same day
Rafaelle Mackay on voice accompanied by musician, filmmaker, drone hacker, VR guru and all around cool guy Nicolas Jolliet