The Sikuani Way of Life


Have you ever heard of the Sikuani indigenous community in Colombia? The Sikuani people are known as the guardians of nature and believe in the power of dance to transform the world and awaken humanity. In this post, we’ll be diving into the rich traditions of the Sikuani and exploring their unique cultural beliefs.

At The Casa de Pensamiento, a place of spiritual healing and growth, the Sikuani dance to find the light and awaken the humanity within each person. This “house of thought” is a testament to their belief that everything on Earth is alive and that they must ask for permission to use nature’s resources. The Sikuani show their deep reverence and respect for the Earth through this tradition.

Leonel, a traditional dance leader, has been listening to the songs transmitted from the sky since he was five years old. These songs come from the Tsamanimonae, the first gods who danced for the creation of mankind, and they hold a special significance to the Sikuani. Therefore the Sikuani not only create through dance, but also heal and awaken love within each person, helping everyone to find their purpose. Tsamani is the leader of the group – he would transform into a hummingbird to go into the sky and identify where the group should go.  So the hummingbird is very meaningful to the Sikuani.

At one time, the Sikuani were nomads. However, they found refuge in the plains of Colombia, away from the dangers of the government, paramilitars and narcos. Abuelo Clemente, the wisdom keeper of the family, guides the Sikuani and helps to keep their traditions and beliefs alive.

The Journey at the Kaliawirinae Community

Roey and I recently had the privilege of participating in a special ceremony with a Sikuani shaman who traveled from Colombia to share the medicine of Yopo in Ecuador. During this experience, the shaman shared his people’s origin story, which was captivating and beautiful. We felt a deep connection to the Sikuani people and their customs after being enthralled by the tale of the gods who danced for the creation of everything on this planet.

So when the shaman invited us to visit the Kaliawirinae community in Meta-Puerto Gaitan for their annual dance to start the year, we eagerly accepted. Upon arriving on the 5th of January, we were eager to learn more about the Sikuani way of life.

Nadia, Roey in in front of casa del pensamiento

Our first stop was Abuelo Clemente’s Casa de Pensamiento, or house of thought. Here, we spent six hours learning about the three main plants the Sikuani work with – Caapi, Yopo, and Tobacco – and listening to Abuelo Clemente’s teachings. He spoke about the challenges facing humanity today, including addiction to our devices, the rise in mental illness, and the importance of protecting nature.

Abuelo Clemente also shared that the Sikuani people believe that everything on this earth is alive, and that it is their custom from birth to ask for permission to use the things that God created. He talked about how the Sikuani are guardians of nature and that they dance to awaken humanity and heal mother earth.

“This dance is about forming a new humanity for future generations.”

It’s fascinating that the world is now seeing a shift, with more and more people from modern societies seeking to learn about ancient traditions like the Sikuani, while some indigenous people are rejecting their ways and seeking to live life more like the modern world. But Abuelo Clemente shared a beautiful message – that it’s time to unite and weave our traditions together for a better world. This is exactly what we aim to do at Vikara, where we support individuals on their own journeys of healing and transformation.

The next day, the dance began. Gathering inside the Casa de Pensamiento, 70 of us were ready to follow Abuelo Clemente and traditional dance leader Leonel as they expertly led us through hours of songs and dance. Chewing on Caapi vines, inhaling Yopo, and armed with our chi-chis or maracas, we participated in an awe-inspiring ceremony that lasted for three days. During this time, we had the opportunity to connect with the Yopo medicine and gain deeper insight into ourselves and our lives, while also sharing our intentions with the universe.

Moreover, we left the experience with full hearts, having met beautiful souls and learned so much from Abuelo and Yopo. Inspired by this, we plan to visit more indigenous communities in the future, in order to support and learn from them as we continue our own personal journeys of healing and growth. For those who are interested, we would love to create more opportunities for our community to come together, grow and learn, so please do not hesitate to let us know if you would like to join us on these trips.

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