YAGÉ CLEANS SOULS NEAR TO MEDELLÍN
In the vomit was reflected all his bad life. Between the ocher color of what had just left his mouth began to pass their evil deeds, drugs, laziness, liquor, envy, rampant sex and everything that once made him regret. Anguish seized him.
An hour before Carlos * had tasted the yagé. The mythical indigenous drink that for those who take it is a balm to find the truth and purify the spirit.
Carlos did not travel to the lower Putumayo or the Amazon to ingest it. At 40 minutes from Medellin, near Guarne, he had the opportunity to face the experience that for many indigenous communities in South America is the key to his knowledge.
Together with a family friend, Carlos came to the house of Taita,
a teacher of the indigenous indigenous culture of Putumayo,
who guides many people who want to find the truth and confront
their interior through the yagé ritual.
After seeing the bad of his life Carlos began to see colors in the sky. To feel a connection with nature. He heard how the distant noise of the cars that traveled along the Medellín -Bogotá highway broke down in his ears and saw the trees take animal figures.
After a period of repentance for wrongdoing, he looked up at the sky and felt the light illuminate his whole inner being. I felt the presence of God. An indescribable joy took possession of me and I understood the true objective of my existence, says Carlos.
The friendly family was made up of Felipe *, who took Carlos
to meet Taita, his brother, his mother and an uncle.
Felipe, after tasting the drink and confronting his behavior,
brought his brother with whom he had not spoken for a long time.
The yagé gave me a message. I had to finish the fights with my older brother. I brought it and made peace, says Felipe, a 25-year-old university student who has four takes.
The ritual The fourth time Felipe took was with his family. They arrived at the taita’s house about nine o’clock in the morning. There was his friend Jorge * and Diana *, a lady of about 50 years old, who lives in Medellin and has taken 13 times.
After greeting with the other takers, Felipe’s family proceeds to drink the medicine, as the taita al yagé calls it. It’s half past nine at morning. Taita comes out of the house with a tray with six jars full of yagé and an equal number of water glasses as pasantes.
Taita is a 64-year-old man, of medium height, who reflects a serene appearance. When he comes out he wears a white coat over his body. On the head a crown with feathers and neck several collars with jaguar, danta and tigrillo fangs. He also wears several colored beads on his chest.
After making a prayer to the recipients, he proceeds to deliver them one by one to Felipe and his family, to Jorge and Alvaro *, another young man who will try medicine for the first time. They cross themselves and with frightened faces they empty the contents of the glasses in one fell swoop.
Jorge has three takes. After the first take I fixed my relationship with my mother. We fought a lot and treated her very badly. This helped me too much, he says.
Yage is a very sacred medicine. A mirror of consciousness. When we take is because we have questions that are going to be found inside oneself. If you are good person you can look good arcana and you can investigate. If it’s bad, it’s going to look at demons. Although the bad can always be corrected, says the taita.
The takers, dressed in scarves, caps and bags for the cold, move away from the house and lie down on mattresses near a bonfire. There each one waits his turn to go into a trance. The night is not very cold and the wind makes the coals confuse with some lights of farms that are seen in the distance.
Close to the takers there is a recorder from which environmental music with sounds of the jungle comes out. In the place there are showers and toilets. Yagé, in addition to vomiting, causes diarrhea in those who swallow it. Up close the Taita takes care of them.
Medicine cleanses the body and the spirit. When there is a patient who has an ailment I take and I get inside of them to know where the disease is and to alleviate it. Thus, many patients who have not been able to treat conventional medicine have been cured, adds Taita.
At 11 in the morning and after vomiting, the drinkers go into a trance. All are still. Taita pokes the fire and passes over them saying a prayer in a low voice. Thus, he affirms, scares some evil spirits that haunt the place.
Three hours later only Alvaro gets up. He says he has not seen or felt anything. He came to take yagé from medellin, for several reasons, including ending his 14 years of drug addiction. Taita talks to him and after giving him a drink to vomit, about two in the morning, take another well filled with medicine. Alvaro goes back to bed.
When it’s three o’clock in the afternoon, Felipe’s mom and uncle are already awake. Felipe, his brother, Jorge and Alvaro are still asleep, they seem to be investigating. The taita rests near them in the house.
The silence and the diurnal darkness become light and song of birds at sunset. It smells like smoke. The morning arrived. The campfire went to rest. Takers have another face. Their faces look cheerful and their eyes shine differently than on the previous night.
Felipe and his brother researched a lot. They asked and resolved doubts. The yagé showed me some things that I have to correct, says Felipe, who looks his dirty face because of the vomit. His mom and uncle could hardly see anything. They were somewhat blocked, says the taita.
Jorge looks calm. It’s quiet. On the trip he seems to have seen things that make him thoughtful. Alvaro gets up giving thanks to God. At seven o’clock in the morning one by one they take off their shirts, they sit on a chair and the taita makes a healing so they can leave quietly.
Everyone leaves. In the house there is only Alvaro who the taita tells him that he still needs to clean himself more. He must make other shots to end his addiction problems and the bad life he has been living for years.
The takers leave the taita’s house and begin to descend towards Medellín. There goes Carlos. Also Felipe and his family. Same as Jorge. They all look thoughtful. They say they have removed a great burden from above. They leave with the strong conviction that they investigated the trip and the yagé helped them.
After this he leaves this place feeling a new man, wanting to restart his life again and with a sensation of full happiness.
Article of the newspaper TIME.
MAY 25 2018
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