The Path of Peace
Maria Alice Campos-Freire is one of the Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers, a group of women dedicated to promoting peace and understanding through Indigenous wisdom. Campos-Freire is from Brazil, where she is a madrinha (spiritual leader) of the Santo Daime community Céu do Mapia and the founder of Centro Medicina do Floresta (Forest Medicine Center). She spoke in November 2010 at the Earth and Spirit Council in Portland Oregon, a talk from which this article is adapted.
When I look inside my heart and think about the next generations, I ask myself, “What is the main seed that I can plant on their behalf?” That seed is peace. This is also what moves us grandmothers to cross the planet in all directions. When we met, we had never seen each other before, and we came from the four directions. We were talking about everything that concerns us in the world: destruction of nature, persecution, oppression of the traditions, and the sacred medicines and sacred lands. Through those things we discovered that although we speak nine different languages, we had only one voice.
Humanity is full of deep wounds, and everybody feels more comfortable thinking that someone else is responsible for the wounds they carry. That’s a wheel that never finishes rolling: if nobody takes responsibility, then it will continue rolling forever. So that’s what we are doing.
We really need to stop that wheel, that karma, because this is the time for the accomplishment of the prophecies. We say prophecies, but there is only one: it’s all about peace, because of what happened in the very long past that broke this harmony that the Creator planted. It was an imbalance, all about one person wanting to be more than the other, wanting to have more than the other. It’s very ancient, and we are not to blame someone else for the sorrows we carry, because all of us, we have been rolling through so many different lives: we have been in so many different places, tribes, cultures; we have been the one that kills and the one that is murdered; we have been all that. Now it’s the end. Now we need to agree. We need to forgive ourselves first of all and forgive each other and get rid of this baggage, because this is very old, and this is not what we want to leave to our children, to our grandchildren.
We want them to repair what we have done, all the damage that we human beings have caused to nature, to our own nature. When I speak about nature you think that is something else, but we are nature: we are water, we are fire, we are air, we are earth. I look at the nature that surrounds me, at the plant kingdom, the fungus kingdom, the waters, the sea, the rivers, the forest, the winds, the birds, the animals. When I look at nature like this, I can see in the mirror, I can see that same beauty exists within me and within all my brothers and sisters, and that we really need to overcome the impediment that blocks us to embrace all. That’s the only really good seed that we can plant for the future, for our children.
Native people are being displaced, but still you find that the forest is there, the traditional medicines are there that can heal all those terrible diseases that peoples have. Those diseases were created by this imbalance, this imbalance that is within people. They lost their memories, their connections with their purpose. They don’t know what they are doing on the earth, and they are transforming all that into wounds: the environment is being damaged by all kinds of stuff, including chemicals and bombs.
The seed of war is there also, each time you want to judge your neighbor, to accuse someone, to blame the other one, to put responsibility on others about what’s going wrong in our lives. It’s because we don’t take responsibly.
When the forest is destroyed, within a day or two a new forest grows spontaneously. That’s a big teaching for us, that nature has this capacity of recovering from any destruction. That’s the message of life. You cannot kill life, you cannot kill the spirit; the spirit is eternal. The memory is eternal, we just need to go back and search and we will find it.
These are simple things, basic stories, but we live from basic things: we eat, we drink, we breathe. That’s the way we live; we can’t live any other way.
So that’s why we are here: We are all the same tribe. That’s beautiful, but also very serious—when we give this seed to our children, we have to do it the right way. We need to heal our hearts and the differences that we still carry. The time is very advanced. Nature is showing us through typhoons, climate change, and the other things that are happening. So when are we going to find that direction? This is not very difficult, because the Native ancient traditions, they carried the ways, and they are very similar all over the world. They carried the prayers, so we just need to come back to our source, because all of us have that source. There is nobody who is an orphan before the Creator; everybody has this father/mother Creator. So we just need to search within us in our image, that’s what the sacred medicines of the traditions protected. And now they became available because of that accomplishment of the prophecies. Now peoples are meeting each other, to achieve the last details of this accomplishment. The time is here.
This article was produced with the generous partnership of the Earth and Spirit Council.