Anders Wyman - The Sacred root - Kava
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
The Sacred root – Anders Wyman
It is late afternoon. A warm light finds its way into the imwayim, a meeting place cut out of the dense forest and shaded by magnificent banyan trees. Men and boys are gathered in the open space. They are naked except for penis sheaths made of shredded leaves. The color of their athletic bodies is the same as that of the black, trampled ground. Small leaf huts that are used when the weather is bad stand at the outskirts of the clearing, but there is no rain in sight. Everyone sits or lies down outdoors, forming small groups.
The island of Tanna, which lies in the southern part of Vanuatu, is a network of such meeting places. Imwayim are connected to each other by paths cut through the dense, tropical greenery. They are used for informal gatherings, dances, and ceremonies: Boys retreat here and remain in seclusion for months during the annual circumcision rites. This is also where men gather each evening to share the sacred kava drink that allows them to commune with their ancestors