Welcome to the next and last chapter of my Journey…
Finally getting to Santander was a relief. We swap the humid rainy season of Southern colombia for a generous sun filling up our hopes of finding a place to settle down and move on our new adventure.
It took us around 5 days of asking and wandering around before we actually encounter our little Paradise. In Colombia, looking for a place has its rules… you do not look up internet or agencies, you walk around villages and talk to people, ask, question, visit… it can be time consuming! The other thing is that you are being judged on your appearance and let me tell you that colombian mask are HUGE! Nobody is really themselves here but hold on a public image that can be sincerely grotesque once you start to understand more about the cultural code.
Masks and Gossips
People are so out of touch with their identity that they feed on anything. They are being molded by the system and just believe anything, biting on any news or stories around the village. It is without any doubt a huge lack in education – How to judge information without a good reference to compare it to!
For example, any “original” (aka not understood) behavior will be reviewed and justified by the most astonishing motives. For example, we got to now Silvano, a swiss expat running a small hostel in San Gill. During the last four years, he has been accused of selling drugs to foreigners and brimming the police (because foreigners were coming to his hostel and the pólice was coming every week to register them), Doing sex with tourist (because he would go on bicycle with guest and show them around) and many many more – Gossips fly everywhere in every directions!
A mask that makes me laugh… in colombia, you CANNOT SAY NO!!
So if a friend comes around and ask you to borrow you coffee machine but that you can’t or don’t want to… you say YES of course BUT I can’t give it to you right now for whatnot reasons SO please come back later. When that person will come back, the “victim” aka the owner will be hiding in the closet asking his partner to tell him he that is gone for the day…. Can you imagine how it is to do buisness here!!!!
So we had to move around cultural codes, for example saying we where student in Botanic and where looking for a quiet place to study plants - Maybe buying a pair of formal suits and shiny shoes would have been easier!
Posada Lina Luz
We finally hit the jackpot arriving in barichara and quite honestly I still can’t believe how much that place is perfect. We live in a small traditional house close to Barichara, a well known place for being genuinely authentic and truly peaceful. One of the first thing people tell you here: “you don’t need to close your door here!”.
La señora Lenie showed us around our Little nest: a 2 levels cabana catering as many as 7 people, an outside kitchen and a small garden with a perfect place at the back to organise outside ceremonies by the stars – our nights guardians.
With a dry climate, there is definitely a Mexican feeling around with cactuses and spiky bushes sucking the sun a bit everywhere. Blue sky and starry night ALL THE TIME. Note even a drop a sweat… ok maybe between 11 and 3am the shade is better, although the canyon breeze picks up around 12.30 soflty starting to sing along the cicadas celebrating the insouciance of Life!
Not far away passes El Camino Real, a historic path between Barichara and Guane used by the indigenous to travel the land. Tourists hike it in the day and we take it to go up and down to Barichara, some 45mins away. It’s become my daily sport, I use it to keep my body awake and keep me grounded after too much flying!
The local life is “mucho tranquilo”. First we connected with the local wildlife: dogs and chickens coming for left overs and attention. Our contact with the local are a bit distant but very healthy, we also have made some friends having a more open mind / alternative point of view on Life.
After a couple of weeks, we told the owners what we were really doing and surprisingly they are super chill about it, more curious than anything. So they started to send us local people to… I was very touch once to have that farmer coming to see us, spontaneously asking for help because he was heart broken and had lost the appetite for life!
Santander is THE land of Tobacco, the best ally “el hombre del tabacco”, Tupac. We bought some 5kgs of dried leaves for 2.50$ at the market! He uses it to make Hosca (or Rape) as well as ambile (tobacco paste mixed with vegetal salt) – two powerful medicines of multiple use.
Santander is also the most renowned place for Flying in Colombia, the best ally of “el hombre de los nubes”, me! Not too far is an amazing flying site located at the famous, gorgeous and breath taking Canyon Del Chicamocha . The local flying school is the chillest I’ve ever met, they trusted me right away and didn’t bother asking “Authority checked papers” that I didn’t have. I’m not flying much but still I appreciate the occasional Head in the Clouds feeling of absolute freedom as well as the chance to reconnect with my favorite element: AIR. The plan to teach Tupac how to fly is postponed to some possible future in the Alps – conditions are not good here.
Shamanic Healing and Training
Finally, FINALLY I could go on and start diving deeper into my spiritual hungers for mysteries , change and revelations.
I started by having some discipline and surrender more to the process. Which translates as “listen to your body, listen to the Ayahuasca, listen to Tupac… and be patient!” – HARD!
- Basically, I spent most of my time resting, vomiting my fears, shitting my emotions, connecting my spirit, vomiting again, resting …. soul cleansing !! -
I learned to be more in touch with my body and how I should work with ayahuasca. I liked doing a first take mid afternoon to enjoy the dusk energies and be taking a second one early at night to hopefully find some sleep around midnight. I wish I could have given it harder with the process but the body purging and my insomnia issues where hard on me. Eventually I could do 3 ceremonies a week but this was rare.
Rapidly, we began receiving people. The best part. Friends and travelers were staying with us a few days or more, taking advantage of the location as well as having a personal shaman available for ceremonies as much as all the talks and healings around. A little commune life was settling down at Lina Luz: sharing moments, singing songs, cooking food… good and simple. Just what I needed and was missing from the beginning of my trip when I stayed more around spiritual communities. The heart was slowly opening and building bridges, bringing delightful moments to be danced along…
We began to have all sort of new visitors: toads, snakes, chickens etc and my two new beloved friends: Blanca y Negra, the neighboors’dogs that adopted me without my consentment (!) … so we hang out together almost all day long, they hike up with me, go shopping, stop for coffee, sleep at the internet cafe and eventually make their way down, lovely beings!
To close the article, let me light up your heart with Han singing “ Serenita Bobinsana”, a beautiful song in ode to the shamanic plant Bobinsana, used to clean the blood.
With the following articles, I intend to take you deeper into the mysteries of Life as is it revealed to me.
I will make my best to share it with HONESTYand SIMPLICITY, bypassing the spiritual standards commonly frauded with OCCULTLY and SECRECY…