While we were there we got a cleansing from a Shaman, who happened to be a woman. Normally, shaman are men but this Tsachilan woman told us her story. She explained how her brothers were not interested in learning and becoming a shaman like their father, so the dad taught her how to be a shaman. This upset many in her community, but she still practices as she was taught. I've never experienced a "spiritual cleanse" like this before. It was interesting; she had me hold a heavy stone in my left hand in my lap, and she whistled a tune. I asked her what the tune was for and she explained it was the voices of nature singing. The shaman was very interesting and I'm happy to have met her.
This lady also told us about her life with an abusive husband and two children. She is now running the museum with her children and trying to preserve her culture by providing guided tours around her property. Her story is incredible, and she is a strong figure for women and Tsachilas.
During this day trip, we got stuck in Santo Domingo because of the rainy weather. (The road to the nature reserve closes often because the rain has been causing landslides.) The shaman said we could stay the night with her and she'll serve us dinner and breakfast. Our dinner was a piece of chicken wrapped in banana leaves with lime and wild cilantro cooked over a fire, served with plantain and rice. We ate the savory meal by the fire in the dark and she told us the legends of the Tsachilan rain god, moon god, and sun god. She then gave us Tsachilan names. She named me Quimi. It means hummingbird in their language. She said she chose this name for me because like a hummingbird I seem delicate and flighty, but these are not weak qualities. She said the hummingbird provides balance and harmony in nature and without them the flowers would die.
Speaking of hummingbirds and nature, I've been seeing these little creatures all over the place! I love the nature here, and I'm trying to soak up as much as I can before I leave.
These lines on the arms and legs are supposed to symbolize protection.
This is the table the shaman had set up for our cleanses, and these are the items she used.
There are so many things I could add about the Tsachilas, but I don't think I can fit it into a whole post. Please feel free to ask questions! I wrote down notes during our talks about the legends and their culture; I'm happy to share! Alright Quimi out. Goodnight.