Deep in the jungles of the mountains called the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in Colombia live a tribe of people known as the Kogi. Their culture pre-dates the formation of Colombia, and have lived isolated lives for hundreds of years, since the time of the Spanish conquests.
As might be expected, the Kogi People have a special connection to Nature. In fact, they believe that their purpose for existence is caring for the entire world – not just them. As such, in 1990, the tribe had contacted the world outside in a documentary by the BBC. They had warned the industrialized world that catastrophe awaited them if they continue on their ways. However, their warnings had gone largely unheeded which had left them confused.
In 2013, they had invited Alan Ereira, a filmmaker, to try and convey their message once more. The resulting documentary showed us a glimpse into the Kogi People’s connection with nature, and where it originates from.
The Cosmic Consciousness Known As ‘Aluna’
The lifestyle of the tribe is based on their belief in “The Great Mother”, whom they call “Aluna”. She is also a creator figure who is believed to be the force that causes Nature. They consider Earth as a living organism whose “children” are humanity. They warn that our devastation, exploitation, and plundering is weakening The Great Mother which will ultimately destroy us.
Similar to other ancient tribes, they also have a revered mountain known as the “Gonawindua”, or which we call the Pico Cristobal Colon. The mountain is considered to be the World’s Heart, its caretakers are the Kogi or, in their words, the “Elder Brothers”. They call the civilization outside the “Younger Brothers” – exiled from the World’s Heart a long time ago.
The priests of the tribe are known as the Mamas (or the “Sun”) while their healers are called curanderos. Every individual with this post was identified when they were born via a process of divination. Upon being selected to be a Mama, the child will then be raised inside a cave. The child will not be allowed to see any hint of daylight until they turn 9 years old.
Another Mama is tasked with raising the child while inside the cave. However, the biological mother is allowed to enter the dark cave to breastfeed. For the Kogi, this cave represents the womb of Aluna. Both the mother and the Mama will raise the child by telling them stories and asking them to sense and feel the presence of Aluna.
At times, the infant might be taken outside at night to help sense and feel Aluna’s qualities. However, at that time too, the child will be blindfolded. When the child grows up, they become a Mama – one of the guides and guardians of the tribe. The majority of Mamas are males. However, sometimes, women are also divinely selected and are then similarly trained to become a priest.
They Are Desperate To Make Us Heed The Warning
In the 2013 documentary, these Mamas share their legends about them “levitating”, telepathically communicating to spiritual and supernatural powers, and having secret knowledge. Their training teaches the infants to hear the songs and rhythm of the crickets and learn how to live during the night. Similarly, the birds’ morning songs teach them about life during the day.
The Kogi fear that we, their younger brothers, have caused a destructive and immense imbalance. This is why they keep trying to convey their warnings. Take a look at the 2013 documentary here:
However, we are yet to listen to them.