:: Coca Seeds ::

Seeds    Sewa    Track    Saminchaq    Hitcha    Ceremony    Light

…con profunda gratitud a la Madre de Ayu...

In December 2017, my husband Chris and I were fortunate enough to be invited to visit the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta region of Colombia for an intimate spiritual gathering of some 60 people in the beautiful setting of the Yumake Eco-Lodge in the rain forest. This gathering included an art exhibition - a collaboration between Dreams & Divinities and Seeds of the Anaconda - in which my Chiguexica Muisca was being shown along with about 50 other artists’ work. However, the heart and centre of our work in the retreat was a group of indigenous ceremonies with Muisca, Huitoto and Wiwa elders as part of an unfolding new sacred agreement with the Earth. Various ceremonies were held, including a Witoto mambeadero with tobacco and coca, a Word of Life ceremony, a Cacao ceremony, a Muisca ceremony of purification and renewal, ceremonies for blessing the waters of the world, as well as many songs and dances from the Muisca and Huitoto elders.


During many of these, the indigenous Colombians were chewing coca leaves – a sacred plant to many people across South America – and they were generous in sharing this with us, the international visitors: indeed, to swap handfuls of coca leaves is one of the traditional greetings between indigenous people in Colombia. The effect of coca is very different from cocaine, its more infamous extract: chewing the leaves awakens, and renders one more alert and attentive, but it also moves and opens the heart. There is a widened sense of compassion too, an unexpected (and delightful) surprise compared to the famously egotistical effects of cocaine.

Colombia 2

Another more profound surprise for me was the arrival, during the ceremonies at night, of very delicate visions, in soft shades and lines of green, silver and gold, with occasional hints of blue and yellow. They were subtle, and one had to remain alert and focussed for them to be visible, while the slightest distraction caused them to shimmer away. It was as if a delicate path – a caminito, a little road – into the heart of the forest was opening up to me. I knew I wouldn't be in Colombia for very long, and in the retreat for only eight days, so I paid close attention to this beautiful caminito gift.

Colombia 3

I had five gentle visions during the retreat - my husband Chris also had a coca vision - and on my return to Britain, I enfolded these into a single vision artwork with multiple titles: Ayuzule ~ Mebeakún ~ Seeds of the Coca Mother. Yet back home, the combination of indigenous ceremonies, songs, dances, cultural exchange, and simple yet beautiful emotional sharing with all the participants continued to inspire me, and this coca-given flow of creativity resulted in a total of five artworks. I decided to name this series Coca Seeds as, for me, each vision seemed like a sacred seed: just as the delicate forest caminito opened up to me for a short time, so each vision marked the beginning of a gentle inner transformation. Truly these eight days of ceremonies, nine nights of togetherness, in the pristine forests of Colombia were a life-changing experience for me, and one for which I will remain ever grateful and overjoyed.

Seeds    Sewa    Track    Saminchaq    Hitcha

coca leaves


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