Amazon tribe creates 500-page traditional medicine encyclopedia

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  kavika  •  4 weeks ago  •  26 comments

By:   Wilmer Rodriguez Lopez (Mongabay Environmental News)

Amazon tribe creates 500-page traditional medicine encyclopedia
Update: Mr. Herndon appeared here on Mongabay's podcast in late 2017 to report that volume two has now been completed, and that the encyclopedia now spans 1,000 pages. In one of the great tragedies of our age, indigenous traditions, stories, cultures and knowledge are winking out across the world. Whole languages and mythologies are vanishing, and in […]

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


  • In one of the great tragedies of our age, indigenous traditions, stories, cultures and knowledge are winking out across the world.
  • Whole languages and mythologies are vanishing, and in some cases even entire indigenous groups are falling into extinction.
  • This is what makes the news that a tribe in the Amazon have created a 500-page encyclopedia of their traditional medicine all the more remarkable.

Update: Mr. Herndon appeared here on Mongabay's podcast in late 2017 to report that volume two has now been completed, and that the encyclopedia now spans 1,000 pages.

In one of the great tragedies of our age, indigenous traditions, stories, cultures and knowledge are winking out across the world. Whole languages and mythologies are vanishing, and in some cases even entire indigenous groups are falling into extinction. This is what makes the news that a tribe in the Amazon—the Matses peoples of Brazil and Peru—have created a 500-page encyclopedia of their traditional medicine all the more remarkable. The encyclopedia, compiled by five shamans with assistance from conservation group Acate, details every plant used by Matses medicine to cure a massive variety of ailments.

"The [Matses Traditional Medicine Encyclopedia] marks the first time shamans of an Amazonian tribe have created a full and complete transcription of their medicinal knowledge written in their own language and words," Christopher Herndon, president and co-founder of Acate, told Mongabay in an interview (in full below).

The Matses have only printed their encyclopedia in their native language to ensure that the medicinal knowledge is not stolen by corporations or researchers as has happened in the past. Instead, the encyclopedia is meant as a guide for training new, young shamans in the tradition and recording the living shamans' knowledge before they pass.

"One of the most renowned elder Matses healers died before his knowledge could be passed on so the time was now. Acate and the Matses leadership decided to prioritize the Encyclopedia before more of the elders were lost and their ancestral knowledge taken with them," said Herndon.

Acate has also started a program connecting the remaining Matses shamans with young students. Through this mentorship program, the indigenous people hope to preserve their way of life as they have for centuries past.

"With the medicinal plant knowledge disappearing fast among most indigenous groups and no one to write it down, the true losers in the end are tragically the indigenous stakeholders themselves," said Herndon. "The methodology developed by the Matses and Acate can be a template for other indigenous cultures to safeguard their ancestral knowledge."

AN INTERVIEW WITH CHRISTOPHER HERNDON, M.D.

Mongabay:Why is this encyclopedia important?

Chris Herndon (left) and Arturo, a shaman (right), look over drafts of the new encyclopedia. Photo courtesy of Acate

Christopher Herndon: The encyclopedia marks the first time shamans of an Amazonian tribe have created a full and complete transcription of their medicinal knowledge written in their own language and words. Over the centuries, Amazonian peoples have passed on through oral tradition an accumulated wealth of knowledge and techniques of treatment that are a product of their deep spiritual and physical ties to the natural world. The Matses live in one of the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet and have mastered knowledge of the healing properties of its plants and animals. Yet, in a world in which cultural change is destabilizing even the most isolated societies, this knowledge is rapidly disappearing.

It is hard to overstate just how quickly this knowledge can be lost after a tribe makes contact with the outside world. Once extinguished, this knowledge, along with the tribe's self-sufficiency, can never fully be reclaimed. Historically, what has followed the loss of endemic health systems in many indigenous groups is near total dependency on the rudimentary and extremely limited external health care that is available in such remote and difficult-to-access locations. Not surprisingly, in most countries, indigenous groups have the highest rates of mortality and disease.

Map showing much of Matses territory, though it does not include the Brazilian Matses communities in the Vale do Javari reserve. Image courtesy of Acate/Instituto Investigaciones de la Amazonia Peruana . Click image to enlarge.

The initiative is important from the Matses perspective because loss of culture and poor health care are among their greatest concerns. The methodology they pioneered to successfully protect and safeguard their own knowledge can serve as a replicable model for other indigenous communities facing similar cultural erosion. For the broader conservation movement, we know that there is a strong correlation between intact ecosystems and regions of indigenous inhabitation, making strengthening of indigenous culture one of the most effective ways to protect large areas of rainforest.

Mongabay:Why is now the time to record this information?

Christopher Herndon: The Matses knowledge and the accumulated wisdom of generations stood on the very precipice of extinction. Fortunately, there remained a few elder Matses who still held the ancestral knowledge as sustained contact with the outside world only occurred within the past half century. The healers were adults at the time of initial contact and had already mastered their skills before being told they were useless by missionaries and government workers. At the time we started the project, none of the elder shamans had younger Matses interested in learning from them.

One of the most renowned elder Matses healers died before his knowledge could be passed on so the time was now. Acate and the Matses leadership decided to prioritize the Encyclopedia before more of the elders were lost and their ancestral knowledge taken with them. The project was not about saving a traditional dance or costume, it was about their health and that of future generations of Matses. The stakes could not be higher.

Mongabay:What is the encyclopedia like?

Christopher Herndon: After two years of intense work by the Matses, the Encyclopedia now includes chapters by five Matses master healers and is over 500 pages long! Each entry is categorized by disease name, with explanation of how to recognize it by symptoms; its cause; which plants to use; how to prepare the medicine and alternative therapeutic options. A photograph taken by the Matses of each plant accompanies each entry in the encyclopedia.

The Encyclopedia is written by and from the worldview of the Matses shaman, describing how rainforest animals are involved in the natural history of the plants and connected with diseases. It is a true shamanic encyclopedia, fully written and edited by indigenous shamans, the first to our knowledge of its kind and scope.

Mongabay:How do you hope this encyclopedia could help conservation efforts?

Shaman and apprentice. Photo courtesy of Acate

Christopher Herndon: We believe that empowering indigenous peoples is the most cost effective and enduring approach for rainforest conservation. It is no coincidence that the remaining tracts of intact rainforest in the Neotropics overlap closely with areas of indigenous habitation. Tribal peoples understand and value the rainforest because they are dependent upon it. This relationship extends beyond a utilitarian reliance; there is a spiritual link to the forest, a sense of interconnectivity that is difficult to comprehend through the compartmentalized Western mindset but real nonetheless.

Many of the serious environmental threats in remote indigenous areas that you hear about in the news—petroleum, timber, mining and the like—are external industries that opportunistically prey on the weakened internal social cohesion of recently contacted indigenous peoples, their limited resources, and increasing dependency on the outside world. The unifying theme of Acate's three programmatic areas, sustainable economy, traditional medicine, and agroecology is self-sufficiency. Acate did not predetermine these three conservation priorities; they were set in discussion with the Matses elders who know that the best way to protect their culture and lands is through a position of strength and independence.

The encyclopedia was reviewed and edited over several days in a gathering of the Matses chiefs and remaining elder shamans. Photo courtesy of Acate.

From the global conservation perspective, the Matses protect over 3 million acres of rainforest in Peru alone. This area includes some of the most intact, biodiverse, and carbon-rich forests in the country. The Matses communities on the Brazilian side of the Javari and Yaquerana rivers frame the western borders of the Vale do Javari indigenous reserve, a region roughly the size of Austria that contains the largest number of 'uncontacted' tribes in voluntary isolation remaining the world. At the southern margins of the Matses territory, in the headwaters of the Yaquerana river, lies La Sierra del Divisor, a region of staggering natural beauty, biodiversity, and also uncontacted tribal groups. For these reasons, although the Matses may only number a little over 3,000 in total population, they are strategically positioned to protect a vast area of rainforest and a number of isolated tribal groups. Empowering them is high-yield conservation.

Mongabay:You mention that the encyclopedia is only Phase I of a broader initiative by Acate, what are the other components necessary to maintaining their traditional health systems?

Christopher Herndon: The completion of the encyclopedia is a historical and critical first step towards mitigating existential threats to Matses' healing wisdom and self-sufficiency. However, the encyclopedia alone is insufficient to maintain their self-sufficiency as their healing systems are based on experience that can only be transmitted through long apprenticeships. Sadly, due to outside influences, when we started the project none of the elders had apprentices. Yet, at the same time, most villages still depended on and actively utilize the medicinal plant knowledge of the remaining elder healers, most of who are estimated to be over the age of 60.

Giant monkey frog. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler

In Phase II, the Apprentices Program, each elder shaman—many of whom are also Encyclopedia chapter authors—will be accompanied in the forest by younger Matses to learn the plants and assist in treating patients. The apprenticeship program was initiated in 2014 in the village of Esitron under the supervision of elder shaman Luis Dunu Chiaid. Due to the success of the pilot in Esitron, it was unanimously agreed by the Matses at the recent meeting that this program should be expanded to as many villages as possible, with priority given to villages that no longer have traditional healers.

The ultimate objective of the initiative is Phase III, the integration and enhancement of 'Western' health delivery with traditional practices. Wilmer, a health promoter in the small clinic in Estiron and one of the apprentices from the pilot program provides a role model for other Matses health care workers. He understands that the future health of his people depends on the creation of dual, vibrant systems of health that allow the community to draw upon the best of both worlds.

In addition, it was agreed that our agroforestry work should be expanded to include medicinal plant integration. This will be based on the healing forest created by one of the greatest Matses healers in Nuevo San Juan and currently maintained by his son Antonio Jimenez. To an outsider, this forest looks like non-descript stretch of rainforest along the footpath to their farms, about a 10 to 15 minutes walk away from their village. In the presence of a master shaman pointing out the medicinal plants, you realize in a moment that you are surrounded in fact by a constellation of medicinal plants cultivated by the Matses healers for use in treatment of a diverse range of ailments. Many rainforest vines and fungi don't grow in open sun-exposed gardens and require rainforest ecosystems for their propagation. The placement of the healing forest 10 to 15 minutes away from their villages is characteristic Matses efficiency. If you have a sick child, you don't want to have to travel 4 hours to find the remedy.

Mongabay:The encyclopedia was written only in the Matses language to protect against bioprospecting and theft of indigenous knowledge. Are fears of biopiracy a real concern to the Matses?

Applied traditional medicine of the Matses. Photo courtesy of Acate.

Christopher Herndon: Unfortunately, history abounds with examples of theft from indigenous peoples. For the Matses in particular, it is all too real. The skin secretions of the giant monkey frog (Phyllomedusa bicolor) are used in hunting rituals by the Matses. The secretions, rich in a diversity of bioactive peptides, are administered directly into the body through application onto fresh burn or cut-wounds. Within moments, the toxins induce intense cardiovascular and autonomic responses, ultimately leading to a state of altered consciousness and heightened sensory acuity.

Although the range of the giant monkey frog extends across northern Amazonia, only the Matses and a small number of neighboring Panoan tribes have been recorded to use its powerful secretions. After reports of the Matses use of it emerged from the forest, investigations of the frog's secretions in the laboratory revealed a complex cocktail of peptides with potent vasoactive, narcotic, and antimicrobial properties. Several pharmaceutical companies and universities filed patents on the peptides without recognition of indigenous peoples for which it has long held a unique and important role in their culture. One antifungal peptide from the frog was even transgenically inserted into a potato.

The fear of biopiracy is unfortunately a door that has swung both ways. Many conservation groups and scientists in the Amazon have done projects documenting indigenous knowledge of local fauna, such as recording bird names, but have generally been completely hands-off when it came to medicinal plants due to the fears of being accused of facilitating biopiracy. Yet with the medicinal plant knowledge disappearing fast among most indigenous groups and no one to write it down, the true losers in the end are tragically the indigenous stakeholders themselves. The methodology developed by the Matses and Acate can be a template for other indigenous cultures to safeguard their ancestral knowledge.

Mongabay:What was Acate's methodology and how does it protect the knowledge?

Christopher Herndon: Acate and the Matses developed an innovative methodology to protect their ancestral medicinal plant knowledge from extinction while safeguarding the sensitive information from theft by outside parties. The Encyclopedia is written only in Matses. It is by and for the Matses and no translations will be made into Spanish or English. No scientific names are included nor photographs of flowers or other easily identifiable characteristics of the plants to outsiders.

Looking over the new encyclopedia. Photo courtesy of Acate

Each chapter of the Traditional Medicine Encyclopedia was written by a renowned elder shaman chosen by the community. Each elder was paired together with a younger Matses who over months transcribed his knowledge in writing and photographed each plant. The photos and text were compiled and typed up on laptop by Wilmer Rodriguez Lopez, a Matses who is an expert in a written transcription of their language.

At the meeting, the compiled Encyclopedia, the draft of which exceeded 500 pages in length, was collectively edited and reviewed by the tribal shamans over several days. The completed Encyclopedia is now being formatted and printed for the Matses, at their direction, and will neither be published nor disseminated outside of their communities.

We expect that the non-controversial success of the methodology pioneered by Acate and our indigenous partners will open the door for similar efforts across the Amazon and beyond. We are already seeing efforts by other organizations eager to replicate it.

Mongabay:Obviously the focus is on preserving Matses culture and knowledge, but their medical knowledge could theoretically help future peoples around the world. Are there specific conditions under which Matses shamans and the people would share their knowledge of Amazon plants and curatives? Or has trust been eroded too far?

Christopher Herndon: Acate cannot speak for the Matses on this matter. I can say from working with indigenous healers throughout the Amazon that I have found them to be generally open to sharing their knowledge, when approached with respect. They also have an intellectual curiosity regarding other systems of healing, including our own.

Matses village. Photo courtesy of Acate.

Some of mankind's most important pharmaceuticals, such as quinine and aspirin, have been developed through learning from traditional healers. Due to the political climate and international fears of biopiracy, it is challenging for even well intentioned pharmaceutical companies committed to equitable profit-sharing agreements to undertake such initiatives. Practically speaking, the complexity of indigenous knowledge and medicines is such that it is not possible to fully evaluate the phytochemistry within the timeframe that the knowledge is poised to be lost. The Encyclopedia, although not designed for this purpose, keeps options open in the future for the Matses; a future that, in contrast to most historical precedents, will be one of their own determination.

We should also not lose perspective that, until their encyclopedia, the Matses entire traditional health system was on the unchecked verge of disappearance due to influences of the outside world. The Matses live in remote areas for which external health provision is challenging and limited. The health dispensaries in many Matses communities, particularly the ones farthest upriver, chronically run short of the most basic medications, such as those used to treat falciparum malaria, an introduced disease. The Matses pay out of pocket for these outside medicines, which are a considerable expense for many elders without sources of income. The simple microscope for malaria smears was broken in almost every village that I have visited. Comparatively, we live in a world of health care abundance. If there is to be dialogue, in my view it should begin with how we can support them in the present rather than how they can help us in the future.

Mongabay:Many people view medicine and rainforest conservation as separate domains. How is health connected to the environment?

Christopher Herndon: The health of a people, their culture, and environment are inextricably linked. One should not think of the harsh medical and socioeconomic realities in Haiti without appreciating the context that 98% of the half-island country is deforested with much of the land, along with its future potential, eroded away. The border between Haiti and the adjacent Dominican Republic can be viewed from satellite as an abrupt transition from brown to green, the result of different approaches to resource use. Likewise, the images of Ethiopia that exist in the modern consciousness belie the fact that, a mere century ago, Ethiopia was a country with a significant amount of forest cover.

Clinic in Matses village. The Matses use both traditional healing and Western medicine, but supplying and running remote clinics is difficult. Photo courtesy of Acate.

Clinic in Matses village. The Matses use both traditional healing and Western medicine, but supplying and running remote clinics is difficult. Photo courtesy of Acate.

The fate of the Matses and their culture are forever bound to the future of their forests. By protecting their forests and strengthening their culture, you are protecting their health from a future blighted by diabetes, malnutrition, depression and alcoholism, the second wave of 'introduced' diseases that typically sets in indigenous communities a few short generations following contact with the outside world. Viewed in this way, biocultural conservation initiatives can be extremely cost-effective and preventative approaches to healthcare.

Mongabay:How could the encyclopedia help preserve the Matses culture?

Christopher Herndon: Sometimes change on the ground begins with something as simple and as powerful as an idea. The idea that your culture, traditions and way of life are not inferior or something to be ashamed of, as others may have told you. The idea that the rainforests you call home have a value infinitely greater than petroleum reserves or mahogany sourced to produce luxury furniture. The idea that your mastery of the rainforest environment does not make you primitive and backward, but rather positions you to be at the forefront of the global movement for conservation. The Encyclopedia is a tangible first step towards bridging an increasingly widening generational gap before it is too late. The Encyclopedia initiative renews respect for the wisdom of the elders and returns the rainforest to a repository of healing and a place for learning.

Mongabay:The encyclopedia was completed and finalized in a gathering of the Matses chiefs from across their land and the remaining elder shamans of the tribe. What was the atmosphere like at the meeting?

Herndon with shaman looking at medicinal plants. Photo courtesy of Acate.

Christopher Herndon: The unprecedented meeting was held in one of the most remote villages in the Matses territory. It is extremely difficult to describe in words the emotion felt by all in attendance as the elder Matses spoke of the battles they fought—literally—to defend the Matses territory and their way of life. Many were choking back tears as one elder after another called on the youth to seize this opportunity to fill the impending void left as the elders pass away, just as they did when their grandfathers were alive. I have been working in biocultural conservation in the Amazon for 15 years but it was one of the most inspirational experiences to hear the power of their oratory and the determination in their voices. You realize at once that the Matses are warriors at heart, who have long fought to protect their lands and they are going to continue that fight.

Update: Herndon appeared on Mongabay's podcast in late 2017 to report that volume two has now been completed, and that the encyclopedia now spans 1,000 pages.

Disclosure: Chris Herndon served on the board of Mongabay.org, while Mongabay founder Rhett Butler was on the board of Acate Amazon Conservation. Butler was not involved in the editorial process of this interview.

Header image: A Matses shaman named Cesar. Photo courtesy of Acate.

Article published by Jeremy HanceAgroforestry, Amazon People, Amazon Rainforest, Archive, Environment, Featured, Green, Indigenous Groups, Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Rights, Traditional Medicine, Tribal Groups
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Kavika
Professor Principal
1  seeder  Kavika     4 weeks ago

Publishing the medical book in their own language and protecting the knowledge is something that they and many tribes have learned when their knowledge is acquired through false promises and in the end, the con artists publish it and make money the Indians get nothing.

In our tribe/nation, the Midewiwin will not allow any outsider to see scrolls that contain a very large amount of information about our culture/medicine etc. We learned this lesson the hard way.

This is an amazing project and the way they went about it just as amazing. 

Update: Herndon appeared on Mongabay's podcast in late 2017 to report that volume two has now been completed, and that the encyclopedia now spans 1,000 pages.

 
 
 
Raven Wing
Professor Guide
1.1  Raven Wing  replied to  Kavika @1    4 weeks ago

Glad to know that their medical traditions and medicines are now saved from extinction for the benefit of future generations. I would like to have the book to keep on hand, as we never know when we might find ourselves in need of such information and don't have a computer or other device to access it from a CD or DVD.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
1.1.1  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Raven Wing @1.1    4 weeks ago

It is written in the Matses language, and they are not selling it or allowing any copies out of their tribe/people.

 
 
 
Raven Wing
Professor Guide
1.1.2  Raven Wing  replied to  Kavika @1.1.1    4 weeks ago

I can understand their desire to keep the book limited to their own Tribe. 

 
 
 
CB
Professor Principal
1.1.3  CB   replied to  Kavika @1.1.1    3 weeks ago

But, but, it's being shared already. Can the pharmacological folks with their 'money bags' be far behind? Wearing down people is a tactic and if need be, a strategy. Just saying.  And someone might can be persuaded to translate the books, like the writers themselves for the right dollar amount. 

I am curious how this is going to stay hidden from the world. . . now that the world knows about it. There will be treks to the Amazon regions pronto!

 
 
 
CB
Professor Principal
2  CB     4 weeks ago

I love this. It's powerful. And I hope it somehow will do the rest of us good. Good on the shamans for taking care of 'self' first and foremost, nevertheless!

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
2.1  seeder  Kavika   replied to  CB @2    4 weeks ago

Happy that you enjoyed it, CB.

 
 
 
CB
Professor Principal
2.1.1  CB   replied to  Kavika @2.1    4 weeks ago

I  enjoy the plan of these nations to take-charge of their proprietary medicinal data. We, all people, can probably use their knowledge and insights. One has to wonder if they will be sharing their encyclopedias with the nation and by extension the world.

What do yo think, can they handle the push-back (if and when it comes from western medical culture) or does it even matter?

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
2.1.2  seeder  Kavika   replied to  CB @2.1.1    4 weeks ago

I don't think that they will share it since the history of indigenous people has been that the western people promise them and say that they will help in various things and once they get the information they use it for self-promotion and making money and the indigenous are left with nothing.

 
 
 
CB
Professor Principal
2.1.3  CB   replied to  Kavika @2.1.2    4 weeks ago

I don't know about leaving indigenous people out this time; but., the 'handwriting is on the wall' that western society will capitalize the heck out of it with this fresh dose of insights and remedies to the ng degree. It's called "The American Way"!

On the other-hand, since the west is extraordinarily good with making money and inevitably, the sales "pitch" teams are already out in about trying to get/give "sign-up bonuses,' maybe the shaman and the people should get together the best western lawyers they can to keep control of this most valuable inheritance-about to be shared with the world.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
2.1.4  seeder  Kavika   replied to  CB @2.1.3    4 weeks ago
On the other-hand, since the west is extraordinarily good with making money and inevitably, the sales "pitch" teams are already out in about trying to get/give "sign-up bonuses,' maybe the shaman and the people should get together the best western lawyers they can to keep control of this most valuable inheritance-about to be shared with the world.

Money isn't the goal of the indigenous people, CB. Culture and knowledge mean much more than money to them. Recently US tribes have started to push back on this, first through a request and if not accepted a lawsuit follows. 

 
 
 
CB
Professor Principal
2.1.5  CB   replied to  Kavika @2.1.4    3 weeks ago
Recently US tribes have started to push back on this, first through a request and if not accepted a lawsuit follows. 

Can you elaborate? They don't like centralizing the knowledge of their peoples? What is the nature of the lawsuit?

 
 
 
bbl-1
Professor Quiet
3  bbl-1    4 weeks ago

Wonder if the American medical industry will take note and explore the benefits of natural compounds to replace some of the chemicals.  Cancer research comes to mind.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
3.1  devangelical  replied to  bbl-1 @3    4 weeks ago

big pharma is well aware that there is no profit in curing anything.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
4  seeder  Kavika     4 weeks ago
Wonder if the American medical industry will take note and explore the benefits of natural compounds to replace some of the chemicals.  Cancer research comes to mind.

This will answer your question bbl.

The Matses have only printed their encyclopedia in their native language to ensure that the medicinal knowledge is not stolen by corporations or researchers as has happened in the past. Instead, the encyclopedia is meant as a guide for training new, young shamans in the tradition and recording the living shamans' knowledge before they pass.
 
 
 
Gsquared
Senior Expert
4.1  Gsquared  replied to  Kavika @4    4 weeks ago

I'm of two thoughts about this.   I can fully understand not wanting to get exploited, but at the same time, if the knowledge could benefit humanity it would be nice to see it utilized for that purpose.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
4.1.1  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Gsquared @4.1    4 weeks ago

Sadly, they have been exploited as have many other tribes so their not willing to share for their self-survival. So many of the indigenous people of the Amazon have died defending their land and no one seems to care the same with central and south America. I can totally understand their position, G.

 
 
 
Gsquared
Senior Expert
4.1.2  Gsquared  replied to  Kavika @4.1.1    4 weeks ago

The situation in the Amazon is a travesty regarding both the treatment of the indigenous people and the habitat, which are inter-related problems.  The problems were accelerated and acutely exacerbated under the current, recently defeated, Bolsonaro regime.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
4.1.3  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Gsquared @4.1.2    4 weeks ago
The problems were accelerated and acutely exacerbated under the current, recently defeated, Bolsonaro regime.

That is true and Lulu was a huge supporter of the indigenous people the last time around and said he would be again.

 
 
 
independent Liberal
Freshman Quiet
5  independent Liberal    4 weeks ago

I traveled to the Amazon region and took part in a cleansing ritual with a well known shaman a decade ago. It was an incredible experience that gave me a radically new perspective on life. I shed my demons an was able to recognize my flaws as a human.

Not a single day has passed that I haven't been a kinder. Gentler, loving man since that experience. I no longer fear death because I understand. I no longer fear life because I have seen why I am here.

There are so many gifts that are available to us in the science of before modern times. I can only suggest that all of you take the journey in this realm of knowledge. Beauty and fulfillment await.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
5.1  JohnRussell  replied to  independent Liberal @5    3 weeks ago

You sound positively saintly. Would you lay hands on me and send me a fragment of your earthly holiness? I am but a small mind in an ocean of unfulfilled ramifications. 

 
 
 
GregTx
Junior Participates
5.1.1  GregTx  replied to  JohnRussell @5.1    3 weeks ago
I am but a small mind

You do realize that somewhere down the road, that's going to be quoted right?

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
5.1.2  JohnRussell  replied to  GregTx @5.1.1    3 weeks ago

All minds are small. Unless one is an enlightened soul which traverses astral planes faster than a speeding bullet. 

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
5.2  seeder  Kavika   replied to  independent Liberal @5    3 weeks ago

That is quite the story, where in the Amazon and what was the tribe that you met with?

 
 
 
pat wilson
Professor Guide
6  pat wilson    4 weeks ago

^^^^^

Bot ?

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
6.1  JohnRussell  replied to  pat wilson @6    3 weeks ago
Bot ?

You are on the right track Pat. 

 
 

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