Kogis, Guardians of the Earth
“The earth is diseased, trees are drying…new illnesses will appear and there will be no cure or medicines for them. Younger brother is violating fundamental principles continually…drilling, mining, extracting petrol, minerals…that’s damaging the world. Tell them to open their eyes, we can no longer repair the world, you must,” warns the Kogis – the last surviving Native American tribe from the pre-Colombian era.
Kogis believe their responsibility/sacred task is to sustain ecological and spiritual balance on earth – they are the keepers of the world with profound spiritual understanding of the bond between humankind and the natural world. Settled in the highest coastal mountain on earth – Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta – in northern Colombia, Kogis escaped the Spanish invasion 400 years ago and were forced to move into the highlands of Sierra Nevada. They are the descendants of the Tairona culture along with three other tribes Arhuacos, Wiwa and Cancuamo, who live in the same region.
From the hidden folds of the towering mountain they have watched our civilization, taking care of the ‘Great Mother’, their creator. An ancient culture that has survived the changing times, Kogis remain true to their indigenous traditions and profound spirituality in isolation from modern civilization for more than a thousand years. Their ways of life are in complete harmony with nature and they focus their energy on life of the mind rather than the body.
The unique structure of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta means that it is virtually a miniature version of the planet, and it represents every climate of the world. The mountain is quite literally a micro-cosmos, which contains every ecological zone in which most of the plants and animals of the planet can find homes.
Kogis call themselves ‘the elder brother’ of humanity living in the heart of the world (Sierra Nevada), and everyone outside it are known as ‘Younger Brothers,’ who according to them are destroying the natural resources.
Kogi Mamas – The Guardians of Gaia
Kogi shamans or Mamas are considered the enlightened ones, who watch over the community and maintain its purity. The training to become a Kogi Mama is rather extra-ordinary and rigorous – young acolytes are taken away at the age of 3 or 4 and are isolated in stone huts, at the base of glaciers, in complete darkness for as long as 18 years. This way they communicate with ‘Aluna,’ which is the ancient secret of the spiritual world, the thought process that shapes and maintains reality or the very source of life.
Mamas spends his entire life to create harmony in the spirit world and the one we are living in. They feel that the younger brother is destroying the world which will have dire consequences on survival of mankind. In this documentary ‘From the Heart of the World’, shot in 1989, Kogis give a strong warning to the ‘younger brother’ to give up on their self-destructive ways and respect Mother Earth. It’s a very insightful film that shows the Kogi culture and beliefs.
Now, 20 years since that documentary the Kogis have come up with another film called ‘Aluna’ – the mind within nature — to reiterate their warning to avert disaster before it is too late. They take us on a perilous journey into the mysteries of their sacred places to change our understanding of reality.
Writing this article was an eye-opening experience for me, thanks to Anahata for sharing the video link. An ancient civilization that is coming in contact with the western world to save Gaia, and how deeply connected they are to the inner realities of our world. The time has come to open our minds and change our very perception of the life as we know it!
Few facts about the Kogi tribe
- Kogi men eat coca leaves once initiated at the age of 18, the leaves have to be tended and pulled only by women. They believe that natural coca civilises men, its been their food for thousands of years, giving them important vitamins and helping them to stay without food and sleep for a long time.
- For the Kogis time is cyclical as opposed to linear time, which means continual re-creation of the world – birth, maturity, death and re-birth. In this cyclical life, the important stages of individual and collective life are marked by rituals.
- Conscience is paramount for the Kogis and they have to be watchful at all times.
- The seeds are blessed before its planted, because the Kogis believe that the crop won’t grow properly other wise