In honor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, let us reflect on the potent words of a woman, inhabitant of the Amazonian rainforest, and the leader of the Waorani people, Nemonte Nenquimo:
“I never had the chance to go to university, and become a doctor, or a lawyer, a politician, or a scientist. My elders are my teachers. The forest is my teacher. And I have learned enough (and I speak shoulder to shoulder with my Indigenous brothers and sisters across the world) to know that you have lost your way, and that you are in trouble (though you don’t fully understand it yet) and that your trouble is a threat to every form of life on Earth.
You forced your civilisation upon us and now look where we are: global pandemic, climate crisis, species extinction and, driving it all, widespread spiritual poverty. In all these years of taking, taking, taking from our lands, you have not had the courage, or the curiosity, or the respect to get to know us. To understand how we see, and think, and feel, and what we know about life on this Earth.
I won’t be able to teach you in this letter, either. But what I can say is that it has to do with thousands and thousands of years of love for this forest, for this place. Love in the deepest sense, as reverence. This forest has taught us how to walk lightly, and because we have listened, learned and defended her, she has given us everything: water, clean air, nourishment, shelter, medicines, happiness, meaning. And you are taking all this away, not just from us, but from everyone on the planet, and from future generations.
It is the early morning in the Amazon, just before first light: a time that is meant for us to share our dreams, our most potent thoughts. And so I say to all of you: the Earth does not expect you to save her, she expects you to respect her. And we, as Indigenous peoples, expect the same.”
Nemonte Nenquimo’s whole letter is here.
Let Nemonte’s words lead you to formulate an intention for your journey. We will use our time in the circle this week to listen deeply and learn from this voice of the rainforest. She is addressing us.
What do you experience when you journey on her words? What guidance do you receive? What practices are you guided to adopt or what changes might you consider?
Listening is what we’re working on in this journey. May we enter the landscape of this journey with the intention of opening to the wisdom of this new, and profoundly ancient, perspective.
The land where we live is an elder and a source of wisdom.
Make an effort to spend some time outside, listening, as your offering this week. We will share stories (and souvenirs) of the experience.
If you do not yet have a “sit spot,” a place in nature you visit regularly, this would be a lovely way of honoring Nemonte and the original stewards of the lands where you live.
This is a free, online journey circle offered by Gaia Shamanism on Wednesdays from 4-5:30 pm PDT. If you would like to join us, feel free to email email@example.com. All skill levels welcome.