“The Younger Brother is damaging the world. He is on the path to destruction. He must understand and change his ways, or the world will die…”
~Arhuaco Mamo Luis Guillermo Izquierdo
The Arhuaco tribe comes from the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. They are a wise people with heightened spiritual awareness and connection to God. Their tribe is comprised of 22 small villages. Their way of life is based on a worship of the Earth and custodianship of Mother Nature. They consider themselves to be “older brothers” to the western world and to the rest of humanity. Their tradition has been one of the most preserved and kept secret in these times of globalization, living in near isolation for the past 5 decades. However, they feel a great responsibility to begin to share their wisdom and reverence for the Earth and to help restore harmony for the planet. It is for this reason that they have started sharing their wisdom and traveling outside of their territories to help us, their younger brothers.
Each one of the villages has a Mamo, a chief or medicine man that presides over the village. To become a Mamo, a young boy is selected from candidates and undergoes a nine to fifteen year training that involves living in isolation in a cave while the elders come and teach them everything they must know to be the leader of their community.
Like many other indigenous tribes, there are initiation rites for the children when they enter adolescence. For many of the men, it is to undergo the process of becoming a mamo. Another initiation that the men of the tribe receive is the transference of the sacred wisdom of the poporo. The poporo is a hallowed gourd (shown in the photo all three of the Arhuaco men are holding one). that comes with a very sacred prayer and meditation. Through an intricate process, pulverized seashells are mixed with the coca leaf in ritual. This prayer is given to a boy in a special ceremony where at the beginning he enters as a boy and by the end of the ceremony is recognized as a man in his community.
When a woman reaches puberty and receives her first menstruation, she too is initiated. For the women, the art of weaving the sacred mochila bags is their form of communion with the Great Creator. These bags are a central part of their culture and the tribe’s main source of income. Because they live without electricity, their daily routines are based around the hours of sunlight. The women rise at 4am, with the first signs of life, and begin their day. They weave from sunrise to sunset, a form of deep prayer and communion with the force of life. It can take up to one month to complete a mochila bag. Their mochilas are made of handspun wool from their own animals and are very durable (these bags can last decades).
The weaving of the mochila represents all of Creation. They begin at the center of the bottom of the bag which represents the uterus, and the needle with which they weave represents the fertilization of the seed of life. Through this action, they weave their prayers into the mochila as a spiritual payment for all of humanity.
We are grateful and humbled to carry Arhuaca bags on our site. Check out these beautiful weavings and purchase one today! Your purchase directly supports the Arhuaca peoples and the preservation of their ancestral wisdom.
If you are interested in learning more about these wisdom carriers, check out this beautiful film on youtube about the message from Kogi elders. The Kogi and the Arhuaco, along with the Wiwa tribes are all relative tribes and descendants from the ancient Tairona civilization):