Telling the Siekopai Story with Jimmy Piaguaje Part 4

The Sacred Ceibo Tree

To watch the interview clip use the link below


"The elders have a lot of respect for the Ceibo tree.

According to our cosmovision, not only the ceibo tree but other trees as well, they have their own spirit.

When the ceibo tree grows, when it becomes gigantic, it becomes the home of the spirit of the wind, Jurí, and other spirits as well, whom we call the people of the forest.

The people of the forest are about the size of dwarves but they are not dwarves. They are invisible and they live in the gigantic ceibo trees. I used to hear them when I was a child.

They bang on the ceibo trees in the afternoon. In the virgin jungle, this sound can be heard, it’s amazing. It sounds like monkeys making the noise, but it’s not. My brother and I have tried to see them but they don’t let people see them.

Only when we take ayahuasca can we see them, or sometimes when they have something special to say, they reveal themselves. They might reveal themselves in order to grant a special power, to make someone into a good hunter, or a good fisherperson, or a healer, or to give someone a special plant.

That is the only time that they show themselves, other than that we can only hear them from afar. We use tobacco, we have always used tobacco, which the elders brought via the spiritual journeys they made during ayahuasca ceremonies.

It’s a very interesting thing. Our ancestors had a very special connection, a way to bring things. There are things that they have brought from the other world, very specific things which are now very scarce. In the Siekopai cosmovision, there are nine worlds.

Our ancestors knew the other worlds, there is heaven and there are worlds that are higher than heaven. Our ancestors could bring specific plants from these nine worlds, such as corn in many colours. Tobacco is a deep connection with the spirits.

We use tobacco to ask permission to enter the forest, or if we want to make a canoe from a tree. We blow the tobacco, ask permission and the tree comes down undamaged, to make a good canoe.

It’s about the respect that the elders had for the spirit, which allowed them to make canoes more easily or to get good wood”

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