If you’re new to this blog, start by reading the first article – as the first page of a book.
I wake up early on this Thursday morning. 6:30. Maxime and I will attend the Corrente from 7:00 to 11:00, a 4-hours silent meditation, while João de Deus receives today’s hundreds of visitors. Maxime is already in the garden, doing his 5-minutes yoga practice. I instantly want to adopt this guys’ morning ritual. When he wakes up, he drinks a half-liter of water – a Japanese technique –, and then a glass of freshly squeezed lime juice and pulp, with honey and water: it cleans the mouth and the digestive system, and helps squeeze his stomach, limiting hunger. He waits at least an hour before eating anything, but today, he’ll wait till 11:00, when the free soup is given at Casa Dom Inácio, after the Corrente.
I met Maxime yesterday, at the cheapest Açai bar in town. I was there with Pamela. He came in to sell homemade vegan and organic pizzas and arepas. His food looked delicious. Blond curly hair, clear blue eyes, he was speaking a fluent Portuguese and was dressed very simply, very poorly. I instantly liked this very-well-adapted foreigner and wanted to know where he was from. He was French, from Nantes. I switched to French; he switched back to Portuguese. Maybe wanting others around to feel comfortable, understanding what we were saying. Maybe not wanting to attract attention as foreigners. I usually do the same thing. I liked it. I asked him if he knew any cheap hosting around there. He made some suggestions. Then I promised I would buy him a pizza later, when we would cross each other’s path again. Abadiânia is a very small village.
Four hours later, Pamela and I were walking around the dark streets, looking for this hostel that offered hosting for 50 Reais per night, Café da manhã included. We had been wandering for more than fifteen minutes in all the tiny muddy streets and couldn’t find this hostel anymore! That’s when we met Max for the second time, and he offered me to sleep on his couch for 30 Reais. Max happened to be a good friend of my Shaman. He was attending daily the activities at Casa de Dom Inácio de Loyola and planned to attend the Santo Daime (ayahuasca) ceremonies. What a coincidence! I accepted, sure it would be great to get to know him better. Max also gathered with the coolest artisans in town, those owning the most beautiful shops of Comida Bahiana, or precious stones and unique handmade clothes, shoes and jewelries.
It’s already 6:55 when Maxime and I leave his house for Casa Dom Inácio. My Shaman repeated many times I should get to the center by 6:45. His long legs helping, Maxime walks incredibly fast – and I must say I already walk way faster than all Brazilians! Even at this exhausting pace, we arrive at the center at 7:10. Maxime quickly enters the silent room. I have to go pee. When I come back, it’s too late to enter. The woman at the entry also informs me that I must cover my thighs for the corrente. I’ll have to invest in another piece of white clothes. It’s too bad. I’ll rather try to go to the waterfall, and attend the corrente tomorrow.
Maxime told me about the sacred waterfall yesterday. He says we must ask permission to the entities to go in.
- Which entities? I mean… who, physically, do you ask to?
- You can ask João de Deus when you meet him.
- Oh! Can I meet him again?
I thought I had to wait at least 10 days, taking the pills, before I could go back to meet him.
- Yes, clarified Max. If you haven’t had any surgery or intervention, you can go in the second-time line now. It is better to ask João de Deus, because he can give you a permission for many times.
João de Deus prescribed the sacred waterfall to Maxime anytime he feels he needs it. He tries to go everyday, as it really helps him.
Since I’m too impatient to wait two-hours before I can meet João de Deus, I decide to ask a smiley woman at the reception, for a one-time permission. She gives me the permission – no entities involved here, for sure – and explains, very warmly, how to get there and the main rules to respect. As indicated, I borrow a muddy path behind the Center to get to the Cachoiera Sagrada. It is not later than 8:00; the rising sun is still low on the horizon, shining timidly through my lashes, softly caressing my cheeks. Far away, I can see the mountains surrounding the little village of Abadiânia. The air is pure here; I breathe it in. As recommended on the Waterfall’s rules board, I start thinking about what I need help for, from the waterfall’s entities. Basically, I want to cleanse my mind. Purify my thoughts. And know what to do next.
After a 10-minutes’ walk, I get to the blue fence. It is left open, meaning there is nobody in there, and I can enter. I pause a second in the entry, hands in prayer to the heart, repeating silently my pedido, my demand, and I cross the door. I close it behind me and borrow the tiny path down to the bathing area. There, I take off my white blouse and black shorts – the one I could not enter the corrente with. I hesitate before removing my top. I haven’t brought any swimming suit, and hope the entities won’t be offended if I bath with my breast naked. Naked is natural, I think. Why would they be offended? After silently negotiating with them, I decide the entities have accepted, and take it off.
The waterfall is actually a single narrow stream, not larger than few centimeters, but very strong. We must bath twice: first to purify ourselves, then to receive the new energies. I step in between the rocks and dive my head under the heavy flow. It’s cold and strong, massaging powerfully my tissues and muscles. Please wash me. Please purify me. I ask. And I step out the flow. I breathe deeply, and step back under the waterfall. I bend my back slightly, letting my head drop back, positioning the flow on the top of my crane, into the flat area of the head bone. This area, they say, is where our kundalini energy should find its way up and out or the body, but rather gets blocked along the chakras on its way up. They also say this area of the crane is open when we are new-born babies, and later the bone forms to shut this opening.
I open my mouth to inhale more air and exhale even more. I move slightly so the powerful flow falls heavily on my shoulders, which always get tight from stress, along my column and down towards my lumbar bones, which support everything. Wishing to respect some of the rules – in this case the maximum 2 minutes bath –, I step out from the waterfall. I swipe out the water on my breast, belly and thighs, and put on my clothes. As I ascend the narrow path to the exit, I feel I want to cry. I haven’t cried for a very long period of time. Maybe not even since my arrival in Brazil, almost three months ago. Before – during childhood, teenage and early adulthood –, I used to cry daily or at least once week. Whatever the reason, I always felt crying was very good for me. It was purifying. Lately, I only have tears of happiness and gratitude. Why haven’t I cried of sadness for so long? Am I getting dry? Or am I happier? Less tragic? More detached? Is it something good or do I have blocked energies, without even noticing? I would like to cry now, but even then, I feel dry: I need to push the tears out. I need to remember the sorrow. I need to feel the pain. Thoughts come up to my mind. Till I grab one. A deep one. Slowly, my mouth pulls down, and my lips get torn, molding into this childish grimace kids do the instant before they start crying. A drop finally gets out of my right eye. The teardrop finds its way on my cheek. Another one comes out under my left eyelid. I start coughing. Like a kid. Pushing the tears out forcefully.
And I remember. My worst wound. Being separated from my mom. Having to live without her. Having to face this terrible world alone. Now tears flow easily. And, then, I remember the pain of all other separations. Separation from my brother, my sister and my father. The pain of loving, and the even worst pain of trying not to love. And I understand that feeling separated from my family, by distance or because we didn’t know how to love each other, has always caused my deepest sufferings. And I cry for all those moments I’ve cried as a kid, lips torn into a grimace, coughing loudly as I climb the muddy path up to the center. And then I am filled with love. For those people I have not chosen, but will always call my family. And I realize that – just as all everything I have let happen during my travel, not choosing but rather letting things appear on my path and welcoming every difficult situation as a challenge for self-growth –, I have not chosen my family. It has been chosen for me. And just like the encounters I make during my travels, the most important ones, I had not chosen. The most beautiful ones, I had not chosen. They were chosen for me, because they were the ones who would allow best my soul to grow. Family was chosen for our souls to grow together, help each other, love each other. And I feel, now, that what I want more than anything, is to be with MY family. I want to be with them. Now.
I had no idea if it had been the entities working on me, or just me finding a way to purify, and somehow, an old wound to purify. But later in the afternoon, I would share my experience with two friends I met through my shaman. One of them said she started crying very strongly right after she got out of the waterfall. The other one started vomiting. And we know vomiting is a way to purify physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Later the same day, Maxime would tell me that, with the New Moon happening, this time of the month is very important. Women, mostly, will face their deepest wounds. He wouldn’t know anything about my experience at the Cachoiera Sagrada, so I would tell him.
- I think that’s what happened to me this morning: I faced my worst wound.
— SUBSCRIBE to the blog to be emailed the next episode.