In early June 2014 I was interviewed by Tim Lynch of GreenPlanet FM. What follows is the interview (in audio), and the write-up it was presented with on the radio station web site. It’s 1 hour long. Please sit back and enjoy.
The Kogi, descendants of the vast Tairona civilisation, and indigenous to Colombia, are perhaps the last pre-Colombian civilisation still living with their ancient culture in tact. For over 500 years they have been living high in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain range, hidden away from the outside world.The Kogi world centres around the profound understanding and direct perception of ‘Aluna,’ the creative spiritual dimension of The Great Mother. Descriptions of Aluna suggest it is akin to the Australian Aboriginal dream-time. The Kogi know the Earth to be a living being, arising from Aluna, and that all phenomena on Earth originate from this spiritual dimension. They maintain that our actions of exploitation, devastation, and plundering for resources, and—more importantly—the misuse and abuse of our human energy is weakening the spiritual organisation of the Earth. They see that this is leading humanity and the planet away from the Original Intention of The Great Mother… toward our eventual destruction. They are aware this is not the first time there has imbalance and destruction of this kind, although it is perhaps the first occurrence on such a global scale.
Jonathan has spent much of his life extensively exploring the inner and outer worlds looking for answers and solutions to how we can live in accordance with Nature, physically and spiritually—holistically. What he found was a common thread of ancient wisdom weaving through all original traditions, cultures, and religions. He identified this thread of common yet ancient knowledge as the Wisdom of the Heart—of the Spirit of Man. Whilst tracing and mapping this wisdom, he noticed it was typically fragmented, with seemingly disconnected pieces spread out across the world, across a multitude of cultures and traditions. What’s more, it is often overlaid with localised beliefs, superstitions, and practices that came from an unoriginal source—typically through the invention of people under the influence of self-centredness, greed, and spiritual ignorance.
In the early 1990’s, when he was around 17, Jonathan watched the documentary From the Heart of The World: Elder Brother’s Warning (1990) broadcast by the BBC. In this film the Kogi warned, that based on their observation of ecological changes in the Sierra Nevada, the world is facing an ecological and spiritual catastrophe.
In the late 1980’s the Kogi had invited Alan Ereira, then working for the BBC, to film their message. They wanted to warn the rest of the humanity that it needs to radically change its way of living, and its exploitative attitude to the natural world, if it is to avert this catastrophe.
They refer to most of humanity as Younger Brother and to themselves as the Elder Brothers. In their cosmology, ‘Elder Brother’ refers to those beings who agreed at the beginning of time to live in total accordance with the Original Knowledge of the Divine Mother, whereas ‘Younger Brother’ are those who chose to live more like a free-agent, independent of the Mother.
Upon watching this documentary Jonathan knew in his heart he would one day meet the Kogi, and would become immersed in their ancient cosmology. It was not, however, until twenty-one years later that his premonition came to pass. In early 2013 he met his mentor—a spiritual master from Colombia—who works very closely with the Kogi Mamas.
The Mamas oversee the day-to-day lives of the Kogi. ‘Mama’ (sometimes pronounced ‘Mamo’) essentially means ‘one who is illuminated by the sun’ or simply ‘the Sun’, and they (both male and female) are what we might refer to as the shaman/priests of the Kogi people. Becoming a Mama typically requires 18 years of intensive training (although sometimes only 9 years, and occasionally as much as 27), almost entirely in darkness, living nocturnally and in caves or huts specially assigned to this purpose. During those 18 years the apprentice will only interact with other Mamas, and the elements of Nature, receiving deep initiation into what the Kogi refer to as the ‘Original Knowledge of the Mother.’ A fundamental outcome of this training is that a Kogi Mama has ongoing and direct perception of Aluna as he or her primary reality.
The Kogi, like nearly every other ancient culture of the world, know their role as human beings is to fully cooperate with The Mother of the Earth in the important task of maintaining the balance of Her creation—the Earth, the solar system, and the Universe at large. The Kogi maintain that they, and their ancestors the Tairona civilisation, have been living this way—in service to the workings of the Mother—for thousands of years.
The challenge they face today, as does humanity as a whole, is that younger brother is causing so much imbalance the Kogis’ task of maintaining balance is become increasingly difficult to fulfil. After more than 500 years of seclusion and secrecy, they are reaching out to younger brother to co-operate in restoring and maintaining spiritual harmony on Earth.
The Kogi Mamas maintain that ‘Original Knowledge’ was bestowed upon all ancient peoples by the Mother “in the beginning,” but that in most parts of the world it was—over many millennia—lost, or distorted to the point of no longer being effectual. Every major and minor civilisation, and many indigenous cultures, have collapsed as a result. The Kogi Mamas have dedicated themselves to holding this ‘Original Knowledge’ in a pure form, and they have seen there are people among younger brother who are capable receiving it and playing an important part in restoring natural order.
In this interview, Jonathan mentions the Australian Aborigine as another culture that has a very different cosmology from our own. He mentions how from their perspective a didjeridoo (or ‘yidaki’, as it was traditionally called), for example, is “birthed” into being—the tree grows it, and when viewing the trees in the spiritual dimension of the dreamtime, the Aborigines see which tree is birthing a yidaki . The right tree is approached and the branch removed, and the yidaki is ready made, requiring very little human input to fashion it. This is an example of unity consciousness with the environment that they are fully embedded in.
In regard to the Mamas, they are concerned that the vast majority of human beings have little, if any, real knowledge of three important facts. Namely, “Who we are, as spirit“; “Where we come from, as spirit“; and, thirdly, “Why we are here, on Earth, as spirit“. To the Kogi this is an unimaginable predicament for a human being to live with. They see this as being at the very root of what leads Mankind to live so out of accordance with the harmony and order of Life—of The Mother.
How often do most of us stop in our busy lives, to ask What is the function and intention of this synthesis of light and energy and consciousness and physical matter that we call you and I?
The Kogi wish to remind us how important it is we recover our original knowing and essence; to restore our consciousness of the Mother and our place in Life and the natural world. Within the Original Knowledge there are specific methods and means for us, as human beings, to piece ourselves together again, reinstating our integral state of spiritual impeccability. As a spirit having a human experience, this means to finally come into alignment with ourselves, our spirit, with our source, and the Divine.
Jonathan mentions that the Kogi live together in cooperation with Life, with Nature, with Divine Forces, spiritual allies, and most of all with The Mother and Father creator. He sees that our penchant for staunch individualism cuts us off from the fabric of life, which undermines our holistic power and potential to function in accordance with, and in service to, the totality of All-that-is. Instead we work against Life—often with the best of intentions—destroying much of the natural world in our wake; and we blindly call this “progress”.
Jonathan also points out that in our Western culture, we lack a visceral relationship with the mountains, rivers and streams, the trees, the ocean and the lakes within the local environ of our place of birth. These natural phenomena are the foundational elements of what the Maori refer to as our whakapapa, or genealogy, which not only incorporates but is fundamentally based upon our connection to the natural world. For traditional cultures, genealogy devoid of the natural world is as strange and unnatural as a human baby emerging into being without a mother and father at all involved in the process. It’s simply not how human life comes about.
The Kogi maintain that the most basic principle forgotten by younger brother is that of “sacred reciprocity“. In the simplest of terms, we take with little consideration of what must be given back in equal measure, in order to maintain balance. All life, according to the Kogi (and other indigenous cultures) is based on this fundamental principle of reciprocity; that all phenomena are a two-way relationship. To take, without giving in return, is at the very core of our tendency toward imbalance and disharmony. The Kogi actively and consciously give reciprocity for everything, and the life of a Mama is one of constant reciprocity with The Mother.
Jonathan points out that the idea of a Divine Mother is universal within humanity. All ancient cultures, religions, and spiritual traditions recognised the Divine Feminine aspect of the Creator. This is also reflected in the workings of the material world. As above, so it is below. At the most pragmatic level, we are all born from a mother, and our mother is our closest connection to our source. For the Kogi everything in this world has a mother—every species, all rivers, lakes, plants, mountains, even the sun has a mother.
With Judaic-Christian cosmology being the predominant spiritual paradigm in our Western culture, many of us have lost touch with the Divine Mother as a living reality, even as an idea. She is found throughout the ancient Gnostic (early Christian) texts, and in the ancient texts of Egypt, and beyond—all at the roots of Judaism and Christian cosmology—but this knowledge was systematically eliminated by the patriarchy of the Roman Empire in the formative days of the Christian religion. As part of that agenda, millions of woman were killed across Europe, in an attempt to eradicate the knowledge and practices of the Divine Feminine.
Jonathan points out that remnants of our appreciation of the Divine Feminine are found scattered throughout the English language. For example, the word ‘matter’ comes from Greek mater which means mother. In Greek the word for the Earth is ‘Gaia’, which refers to a feminine Goddess deity who is the Mother of the Earth. The word ‘Terra,’ which in English refers to Earth, is Roman for a Goddess who is the personification of the Earth. The term Terra Mater was a common reference to the Mother Earth.
For the Kogi, as it was for other ancient cultures, the Divine Feminine was recognised as the most intimate contact we have with the Divine. To negate and deny Her is to cut ourselves off from our original essence and source.
Jonathan sees that the present patriarchal relationship we have to life has disenfranchised us as spiritual beings. We live under the cultural assumptions, delusions and maxims of “survival of the fittest,” and “it’s a dog eat dog world,” and the notion that nature exists in a state of competition and dominance of the strongest over the weakest. When in reality science is increasingly discovering that nature in fact operates through intelligent co-operation, mutual and universal benefit, and perpetual reciprocity. Our false notions of conquest, dominance, and self-centred gain at the expense of those we share this world with have proven themselves to be unsustainable, and essentially represent a form of culturally accepted insanity—a mild form of psychosis—with diabolical consequences.
You and I started out in life through profound sacred alliance with our biological mother, whose body nurtured us into physical being for nine months, after which we were then (ideally) fed with the milk of our mother’s breast. Our mother and father are not independent agents separate from nature and the Earth. They are a part of the living matrix of the Earth, as are you and I.
Jonathan sees it as his calling to play what part he can in reminding people of their timeless origin, and passing on the Original Knowledge as the essential means to restore within ourselves that which is Real, Living, and spiritually essential.