The Life of a Medicine Man
I am standing close to a river – I can hear the water flowing and I can see big trees around me. I’m gathering water to bring back to the tribe. I am alone as I’m walking back to our community. We’re living in the middle of the jungle. There’s a cleared space with a fire in the center. It’s the area where people live and socialize. I can see people gathering, telling stories and enjoying each other’s company. It’s a sharing community with not too many people.
I’m wearing a collar underneath the chest. It looks almost like a necklace, but it is part of the clothing and used for protection. I am a man, I have longer hair and a darker skin. I have some earrings and tattoos, which seem to come from rituals, that we do in our community.
There is a lightness in the energy. Laughter and connection in the tribe. It seems that people really care for one another. All generations are living closely together – like a family. I can see a mother caring for her child and elders sitting by the fire and telling stories. People really seem to be supported.
There are other communities further away. It’s a friendly connection between the communities, but they don’t really interact a lot. There are not too many people living in the jungle, and we’re hunting, so we’re all keeping and respecting space. We only take what is necessary and what is needed. So the focus is more on the people and living in harmony. We are living in the jungle, so we’re always in nature – of course when sleeping protected from wild animals – but otherwise just barefoot, eating outside and being in the forest. There is no disconnection to nature and the earth but rather an integration. A peaceful community.
We’re sleeping in huts high up. I see myself climbing up a ladder which is built in into the trees. Not really separate but integrated. The hut is a small space with something like a bed. It’s very basic inside, it’s a place to sleep and for shelter, just for the immediate family. There are more huts around.
I have a young wife and a child. She has long hair like I do. She is very gentle and kind. She isn’t wearing anything, but we have sheets to protect us from the cold. I have a son. We’re not really counting age, but he is very young.
Changing scene (moving forward in time):
I’m seeing another woman. We’re standing at an open area, and she’s telling me that we should go back. Each community has a boundary – an area where they go to hunt and gather water and this time I’m outside that boundary. She is not part of my tribe. She’s living in a different community. Her energy is very different as well. There’s a newness and excitement to be with her, but it feels strange because things are in harmony at home. Still this idea of adventure and wanting to interact with more people from different tribes makes me go with her.
I see myself dividing time between the two communities. Going back and forth. I realize that to stay in one place I wouldn’t learn as much. I’m accepted by both communities. But this one is more energetic and enthusiastic. My tribe was more calm, harmonious and quiet while this one is more active and there’s more movement. The balance between the two seems to be what I was looking for.
I have knowledge of medicine, and I’m taking care of others doing basic duties. There seems to be a greater expectation in the second community to do more. Especially the father of the other woman I was with is accepting me as part of their tribe. He is the leader. He is wearing lots of colors. He is friendly but very ambitious and has high standards. It feels like there is a lot of striving – sometimes a little controlling, not like in other communities just accepting the flow of things. The energy is more buzzing and sometimes there is not as much harmony.
The other tribe was more relaxed, but I just wanted to do more, and now I have more duties in both. When I look at it, it’s kind of the other side of the same coin. It’s just two different communities taking on life and I realize now that I was looking for something, that I could have found in my community.
As I get older, I decide to spend all my time at the first community. With age, I realized that I want more stillness, peace and connection and that my priorities are not so much about excitement anymore but just about being present with what is. I wanted something that was more focused on what was essential and the priorities and energies of the two were very different.
It was okay that I went back. There were no consequences for me choosing my original tribe – they understood my choice. The woman from the second tribe met somebody else who was more in alignment with her energy. There are no repercussions. I went back to spend time with my parents and my immediate family, and it was accepted. It was like easy come and easy go, but my knowledge was needed less over there because they had their ways of doing things. Still I learned a lot about hunting and different ways of building. This knowledge is helpful just in the case if we’re low on food or needing extra shelter.
When I returned, I was at an age where I was able to teach and share my knowledge about plant medicine. I am just showing some younger men and women which plants to combine. The juice of some leaves can be extracted for a drinkable medicine for healing.
As I was teaching, I knew that they understood and retained that knowledge. It was very calm, and I knew that I was being listened to because they picked up very quickly. I’m pointing out different trees and explaining their properties. Also, I’m showing them which plants can be eaten, which ones not and which ones can be grinded to make into an herbal medicine. It feels nice to walk through the forest without anyone needing to know what we’re doing and where we’re going.
Also, I’m looking after my old parents. I’m giving them medicine to maintain their strength so that they’re not under any pain. They spend a lot of time in bed, and soon they will make the transition. Death is viewed as something natural. Of course there is grief in the community but life is a cycle. Children are growing up, so there is a constant continuation.
When someone dies, there is just a simple burial. It seems that we’re burying them right underneath the main area of the camp. Almost like we’re walking upon our ancestors. That there is this idea of not keeping things separate. It’s like they’re still with us, like we’re supported by the shoulders of our ancestors and that they are the foundation where we build things on.
Last day in this body:
I’m sitting by the fire and preparing myself. Everyone is asleep, and I’m just spending time alone with my thoughts. I am not old, but it feels like something intentional. Unlike my parents, it’s more of a choice and an inner feeling that my work here is done. Upon leaving, it was my responsibility to make sure that everything continues when I’m gone. I feel at peace and I take a medicine to end my life. I leave without any pain.
The first thoughts upon leaving my body are that I fulfilled the work that I needed to do. I had to teach about the plant medicine and look after my older parents. Having the child and being with my wife, but also exploring this other community was part of my journey to learn to focus on my real priorities. I learned to follow through and take responsibility. I also realize now that everything I needed was right there all along and that everything else is just a distraction – still a very important one.
The connection to this lifetime is that I am teaching and sharing my knowledge. Obligation to the family structure is different though. By not having children in this life – neither me nor my sister – we’re ending the continuation of the disharmony and the cycle of karma, that has been passed on through generations. We’re stopping the line and with it those patterns. If there were harmony, peace and connection, the continuation of those qualities would be important. But if that doesn’t exist then there is no such need. Not wanting to contribute to those qualities is like breaking the cycle. But it doesn’t mean that one life is better than the other and that there is a preference between the two – the past life and this one. Different things are needed in different circumstances. It’s the same with the two communities. Every tribe has a different energy and some of those may or may not resonate.
Why did you choose this family?
I felt that there was more to learn for me. Choosing this family that has a lot of issues and karmic baggage, I had to force myself to learn new things and to see them from a different angle because I was feeling very peaceful and awake with my family from the past life. So it was to push myself – not to solve, fix or change anything – but more to be aware of my own values.
The communication in the family is off. There is no true listening and everyone is kind of in their own bubble, pushing and projecting that bubble of perception onto others. It’s the dynamics between each other which is very imbalanced – a lot of anger, blaming and stories from the past about what person I am, or they see me as. They have a different way of looking at life, which is less harmonious and peaceful – like the other tribe.
This is also shown in the physical body in my elbows. There is a disconnection and a lot of resistance – like “pushing against the wall”. The elbows connect to the arms – so to flexibility and carrying things. The energy stops moving and there is a blockage. Instead of having this resistance, I have to approach it in a different way. Not so much in resisting verbally or with action but in my mind – stopping those words from affecting me so that they can continue with their behavior but that this energy would not reach to me.
It’s about acknowledging what they’re feeling. They have a lot of things suppressed, and they are resistant to feeling, communicating and resolving those things in order to move forward. That sometimes results in unconscious behaviors, and it’s important for me to have boundaries and to see them within those boundaries.
The best is to practice love and kindness and not to identify with what they say because this identification just stops me from being able to do what I need to do in the world. It was also part of choosing this family so that I don’t feel as much obligation for them and that I’m able to follow my own path and travel, explore and connect to my spiritual practices.
My focus should lie on the connection with nature and the people around me, the teaching and sharing of my knowledge; on showing compassion and practicing being present, focused, aware and intentional. It’s about simplicity –not about striving to do or require anything.