Barrel Cactus

Barrel cactus flower, Arizona

This was taken near  ‘Wet Beaver Creek’, in the high desert country south of Sedona.  I loved the colour of these flowers, especially in combination with the red rock earth.  There are hazards to getting this close-up to cactus  however – the photographer received an unexpected knee acupuncture…

The Kogi and the Mamos

I recently remembered a fascinating book I had bought in the early 90’s, Alan Ereira’s ‘The Heart of the World,’ based on his BBC documentary of the same name.  Alan was a BBC journalist who received a call out of the blue, from the Kogi people of Colombia to make a documentary film to carry their warning to the world, about the environmental destruction they could see and the need for our western civilisation (they call us ‘The Younger Brother’ who is destroying the world through our ignorance) to change, to respect the Earth as a living being.

The Kogi are one of the few people to have survived the Spanish conquest of South America, and the encroachment of the modern world, by retreating further into their impenetrable mountain jungle.  Their spiritual leaders, called the ‘Mamos’ are raised from birth in darkness for a period of 18 years so that their spiritual sight is fully developed, before they see daylight.  They actually see from their hearts.

A Mama explains “Everything we do is an event not only in the physical world but also in the spirit world. We live in a world shaped in spirit. Every tree, every stone, every river, has a spirit form, invisible to the Younger Brother. This is the world of aluna, the world of thought and spirit.  Aluna embraces intelligence, soul and fertility: it is the stuff of life, the essence of reality. The material world is underpinned, shaped, given life and generative power in aluna, and the Mama’s work is carried out in aluna.”

Now the Kogi are making a movie about their way of life, and philosophy, to try to teach us the danger which they perceive the world to be in.

“The Kogi are profoundly frightened by what we are doing to the world, but also well aware that we have no understanding of the forces which we are unleashing. They believe that the only hope of survival for mankind is if we can learn why they are so scared, and they know that we will only believe what we can see”

For more, see the Aluna movie website here »
Read an interview with a Kogi spokesman on a visit to London, here »

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