Cordova Rios, Manuel - Listen for my instructions and have no fear
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Bruce Lamb – Wizard of the Upper Amazon
‘We have night work to do’ he said ‘It will take another cup of honi xuma to make it effective. You will find this second cup even more illuminating. Listen for my instructions and have no fear."
He built up the smoldering fire so there was a dancing flame in the gathering dusk. Then he handed me another large cupful of the clear green liquid, which I drank without hesitation.
There was an almost immediate reaction. As the darkness deepened I became aware of an acute depth of visual perception far beyond anything known to me before. The mighty trees around us took on a deep spiritual quality of obedient benevolence that set the character of the whole scene. As the fire died back down to a glowing coal, the darkness settled over everything. At the same time my visual powers were so augmented that I could see things that in other circumstances would have been totally invisible to me.
This explained how the Indians could travel with ease through the forest and even hunt at night.
A passing firefly lit up the scene with a brilliance that seemed to approach the light of day. My sense of hearing was also much more acute. I could separate the night sounds far and near. When a cricket buzzed nearby I could see him in the dark on a stem rubbing his legs against the sound box of his body. A group of small yellow frogs up in a nearby tree started an alternating exchange of a bell-like call, "chill-ing, chill-ing," echoing back and forth with the exquisite clarity of a small silver bell. From the treetops there drifted down on a descending air current the heavy musky fragrance of a night-blooming orchid.
In my state of heightened sense perception, this was almost overwhelming in its intensity and it overflowed into indescribable sensations of taste……………
The call of an owl, "whooo whooo," floated on the still night air and was answered in the darkness.
"You will learn to see and hear at night as clearly as the owl," was the chief's comment. And I felt that it was true. With chants and the calls of the various animals, the chief evoked in my visions vivid episodes in the lives of the nocturnal forest animals. The chants, the calls and the visions they brought were all to become part of my own repertory.
The morning sunlight breaking through the forest canopy awakened me from a strange sleep that I could not remember falling into. Orientation with time and space returned, but only slowly. I felt as though I were coming back from a distant journey to unknown and unremembered places.
The chief offered me a calabash of thick fruit gruel to drink, which helped my senses return to reality. We soon walked, at Xumu's usual measured, deliberate pace, back to the village.
I was still kept on a strict diet, and it turned out that this was to be a period of intensive training for me. Once every eight days I would have a session of visions with the chief. These included examination of plants and their various uses both as food and as medicine, as well as further study of the animals. During the time between sessions I was taken often to the forest on both day and night trips with small groups of hunters. On these excursions I found to my delight that the intensified sense of perception and increased awareness of my surroundings originating in the sessions with the chief stayed with me. In the forest my companions would point out origins of sound and smell and continually test my progress in becoming completely one with the forest environment.
After each series of four sessions with the chief eight days apart, I would have an equivalent period to work with and absorb the new experience and knowledge. A strict diet was still kept up, and then another series of vision sessions would begin.
At times during all this, which went on for months, I became nervous, high-strung and afraid of going insane. The chief and the old women noticed this. They took pains to explain and reassure me that as long as I followed the diets and instructions everything would come out well.