The Portal

Yesterday I was talking about being between two worlds. I’m about to go through the portal, it’s the eight hour boat ride on the Amazon river. A full day. 

Remember stargate? On the other side everything is different. Whatever way of thinking I am expecting is going to be different. 

When I arrived first at the Yawanawà village I introduced myself as “Loic” and the Chief Nixiwaka told me: No, no, you are from here you just don’t remember. Another life. Your name is “Yawa Mashkuru” which means “Yawa bald man”. I smiled but I did not realize what happened that day. 

Since then I often find myself being two people in one body. Yawa Mashkuru talks to Loic and tells him he should never drink alcohol ever again (alcohol is forbidden at the village). Then Loic says “but wait I’m French I’m going to have that glass of wine” and even possibly that steak frites. Then Yawa says “you’re destroying the Amazon forest eating that steak”. You get the idea. Permanent duality. 

Tomorrow I will be on this boat for eight hours again after a 24 hours trip to Brazil and another 24 hours in transit in Brazil. You have to deserve going through the gate, it took me 72 hours trip from San Francisco, 5 planes and a day on the boat. It’s all worth it just to go through that portal.

On the other side I will be someone else. I will have a different name. I will be sometimes wearing feathers on my head without anyone telling me I am an idiot for doing cultural appropriation and that I am insulting the indigenous trying to look like them. 

The reality is that passed the gate my friends there like that I become “one of them”. They paint my face and body. They bless the feathers and pray on them before putting them on my head in a ceremony. It is difficult to believe and describe but I love it. 

I embrace it fully. I don’t judge. They say I am someone else so be it. I embrace their culture and forget Loic and the rules of the “modern world” at least for a few weeks. I forget the conditioning I have had on me since I was a child. 

I am mostly surrendering to what nature and the Yawanawà people tell me. Everything they believe and do is different than what I know. I am not saying everything is better, far from it. These people are human beings too, they have their issues. There are no therapists in the forest though. 

Life becomes much more magical when you switch your brain from “believe what I see” to “see what I believe”.

They have been living like this for a long time, I feel I can trust them.