On this day I-Ya-Pari sets off on the trail in the dense forest to her grandmother’s ajoupa (house), carrying with her in her terite reed woven basket some manioc bread, a ball of freshly made cacao, some vanilla pods and some hot peppers as gifts for her Atabey (Grandmother). As she walks along the foot path, she is fascinated by the beams of light that pierce through the thick rainforest canopy, they stand like translucent pillars within the backdrop of broad leaf vines cling to and hanging from the enormously large ancient trees. On the trunks of the trees she can see the ants carrying cut leaves on their backs as they follow their trails to and from their anthills, the cicadas are singing, the spiders are spinning their webs, everything is as it should be. The earth is warm, humid and soft under her bare feet, and here and there along the path, riding upon the moisture filled air, there are sweet scents, spicy scents, musky scents, as the forest flowers acknowledge her passage. I-Ya-Pari is happy, it is the first time that she is going alone along this path to visit Atabey Sa-Isii-Ma, she is now seven years old and her mother had set her off on the trail knowing that she would be well and that it was time for her to spend some special time with her Atabey.
Along the path I-Ya-Pari crosses a small shallow stream that flows from one of many springs higher up in the mountains. Here she takes a sip of the cool, clear, pure mountain water and looks for one of her friends, the little green frog, who loves to sit under one of the tall lily leaves waiting for his meal to come flying by. He is there, singing away to his friends who are all along the stream, and they are all singing with him. In I-Ya-Pari’s eyes the stream is alive, as it comes gently flowing down its narrow passage through the thick moss covered rocks, it bubbles, sings and swooshes along its way. Delicate lace like ferns and white flowered lilies adorn its banks, and it swirls gently around the rocks laid in a path through the stream that she must take in order to continue along her way.
Up in the canopy the birds are singing, building and repairing nests, the bees and the butterflies are visiting the orchid flowers, the forest is teaming and humming with life and activity. As she gets closer on the path to her Atabey Sa-Isii-Ma’s ajoupa (house) she can hear a familiar humming, as her grandmother is working around her medicines, holding sacred space and keeping an eye out for her arrival. As she approaches, her grandmother calls out to her:
‘There you are I-Ya-Pari! What a beautiful path you have walked today, you are now old enough to hear one of my most wonderful stories. Come! Let us drink some cacao, I have prepared a special place where we can begin our conversation with Kuma (Mother Nature).’
I-Ya-Pari gives her grandmother the terite basket, they enter the house and refresh themselves with vanilla spiced cacao, and then go off into the woods, to where Atabey Sa-Isii-Ma has prepared a spot for them by placing a beautifully woven blanket under the largest tree in the forest. She places a water bowl in the center of the blanket and lights some copal in a specially prepared incense burner. They both sit on the blanket and the magic begins.
Atabey Sa-Isii-Ma begins to hum, she is humming to contact the spirit of Mother Nature, Kuma. As she hums she sways back and forth and the air becomes electric, with the presence of spirit, the sounds of the forest disappear into silence. Kuma is here and begins to speak to I-Ya-Pari through her grandmother.
‘‘Welcome child of the forest and clouds, we are happy that you have joined us for the telling of the tale of To-Be-Come-In. In the beginning of time when the dawn of life was conceived, the Heart of Sky, named Hunrakan with the two thunders, Newborn Thunderbolt and Sudden Thunderbolt came together to think and to speak together with the Fire Serpent of Vision named Kauil. And then, the earth arose because of them, it was simply their word that brought it forth. For the forming of the earth they said ‘Earth’. It arose suddenly, just like a cloud, like a mist, now forming, unfolding. Then the mountains were separated from the water, all at once the great mountains came forth. By their genius alone they carried the conception of the mountain-plain, whose face grew instant groves of trees.
And the Fire Serpent of Vision, Kauil, was pleased with this:
‘It is good that you came, Heart of Sky – Hunrakan, Newborn Thunderbolt and Sudden Thunderbolt, our work, our design will turn out well.’
And the earth was formed first, the mountain-plain. The waters were separated when the great mountains appeared; their branches wound their ways among the mountains. The sky was set apart, and the earth was set apart in the midst of the waters. In the center of the Earth, the Sacred Garden known as Tamoanchan came into being, by their genius it came forth. And the Fire Serpent of Vision, Kauil, was pleased with this, then they came together again Heart of Sky – Hunrakan, Newborn Thunderbolt and Sudden Thunderbolt, they thought and they spoke again.
And through their words, in the center of Tamoanchan came forth the Great Tree, whose roots go down deep into the nine lower worlds of the waters below and whose branches rise up into the thirteen upper worlds of the waters above. And the Fire Serpent of Vision, Kauil was pleased with this, and then they came together again, Heart of Sky – Hunrakan, Newborn Thunderbolt and Sudden Thunderbolt, and they they thought and they spoke.
They spoke the words, and everyone of these world were created differently, and everyone of them has its own sound, and just as a tree is connected through all of its parts, all of these worlds are connected to each other as one. And the Fire Serpent of Vision was pleased with this, and said to Heart of Sky – Hunrakan, and to Newborn Thunderbolt and to Sudden Thunderbolt, ‘Our work, our design, will turn out well.’
I-Ya-Pari, know that each part of the tree is important as each part helps and supports the life of the other part. And, just as you saw as you came along the forest path to your Atabey Sah-Isii-Ma’s house, there are different activities and different animals and plants amongst the roots, on the trunk and amongst the branches of the trees in the forest, and so it is with this Great Tree in the center of Tamoanchan.
We are now sitting here at the center point, the portal into the realm of the spirit world, a doorway between the above worlds and the below worlds. This Great Tree in the center of Tamoanchan is very special, it is not like any tree you have ever seen, as it is the portal To-Be-Come-In. It is the portal into time. This Sacred Garden, Tamoanchan and the Central Great Tree portal, is guarded by the Lord of the Tree, whose name is Yahaute. It is Yahaute who allowed you to come down to us, to your mother and father, to your Atabey, to this human world. You came to us through this portal To-Be-Come-In.
Remember now child of the forest and of the clouds! Within the Great Tree is a living road of light and fire who is the Sovereign of Lineage, Kauil, the Fire Serpent of Vision, the mother-father of life, of humankind, giver of breath, giver of heart, bearer, upbringer in the light that lasts of those born in the light, begotten in the light. Kauil is knower of everything, and who is within you and within all of creation.
When you shall blow the sacred conch, when you shall light the sacred fire and when you shall dance around the sacred tree you shall be Bringing Down the Sun beyond the sun, you shall be bringing down the Fire Serpent of Vision. When you need to travel through the worlds of spirit for the vision work that you will be doing as part of your lineage, it is through the Great Tree Portal that you will travel, and you will do so with the help of the Fire Serpent of Vision, Kauil. Know that those who work with the Fire Serpent of Vision can never be deceived, and know also that a time will come in the future when these teachings will be corrupted so that humankind will fear the Fire Serpent of Vision; your descendants will forget my name, our teachings and our ways; they will fall into forgetfulness and into the darkness of ignorance.
Guard these words of the teachings within your heart, guard them within the power of light and love for your descendants. There will be those who will find their way and come looking for these words of the teachings, and through the power that is within your heart, they will find them once again, they will find their way to the Sacred Garden Tamoanchan, back to me and to the Fire Serpent of Vision, Kauil.’’
With these words, Kuma blessed I-Ya-Pari with O-Piai, and left her with a gift, a mark of ‘sovreignty’ within her soul, to assist her descendants to reconnect with the flowers of life upon the Central Tree and be awakened by the divine perfume of awareness.
Written by - Harira Oraro
The Wood Fairy – La Fée des Bois has permission by the author to publish this story.