Imagine what it’s like to be part of a group of 897 thousand people who know much more about the history of their territory than the other 207 million people who also live in it. Imagine that you are not descended from Europeans, Africans or Asians, but that you come from the Tradition of the Moon. Try to imagine what kind of behavior would be invoked in you if you discover that you belong to that tradition!
Consider that your ancestors have been walking over this land for at least 12,000 years, perhaps never having crossed the oceans. The stories you know about your people and the land you live in were told by those who heard them being told, passing them on by word of mouth. You are the result of the choices and discoveries of ancestors who did not have access to what was being thought on the other side of the world, and so created, discovered, or invented their own way of nourishing, protecting, socializing, and relating to the divine. Let’s narrow down the focus: if you are part of the Tradition of the Moon, you may well be one of the 146,000 Tupi-Guaranis, the largest indigenous language branch in Brazil.
Of the hundreds of ethnicities that have inhabited South America over thousands of years, the Guaranis and the Tupinambás found in Brazil stand out, each with their specific traits. At some historical moment, there was a split between them, the Tupinambas being supported by a more warlike philosophy, and the Guarani being more focused on devotional practices. The Tupinambás followed the Tradition of the Sun – they were warriors, travelers, navigators, expansionists. They crossed Brazil leaving traces of their culture and language. They developed the art of conquest through battle, hunting, and agriculture. They created their medicine by controlling the spirits of nature, and they handled rains, plants, and cultivation. On the opposite side, its people, the Tupi Guarani, followed the Tradition of the Moon and wove a knowledge focusing on the inner Earth and the inner self. Their ancestors developed the medicines of dream, reflection, philosophy, and art. They sought to learn of the foundations of existence itself from the spirits of nature, developing their spirituality with great refinement.
The Guarani people’s capacity for abstraction runs counter to the idea of savagery so often attributed to indigenous people. Savages wouldn’t have a book of ancient chants called ayvu-rapyta, which means “the foundations of being,” with the power of taming the Thunder and the Wind, or the Soul and the Mind.
As for you Guaranis, to pray is to be verticalized, integrated with heaven and Earth. For this, it is necessary to dedicate oneself to the understanding and expression of devotion, of sacred fervor, through prayer, dance, and chants.
Our Father, the Great Mystery, the first
before creating for himself,
in the course of his evolution,
his future home,
sustained himself in the Void.
Before there was sun
he existed by the reflection of his own heart
and made use of the sun within his own
With the dedication and activity of the chants, one can obtain the onhemonkandire, which means finding the way to immortality without going through physical death. If we were to say that there is a resemblance of the onhemonkandire to other cultures, would you believe it?
The Way of the Cross of the Christians, for example, is the way that leads to the death and resurrection to eternal life. It is remarkable that, similar to your people, so many others have been concerned with the question of eternal life. Even more remarkable is that you have envisioned the possibility of a “resurrection” still in this life: the death of the old “self” and the rebirth of the immortal being.
Perhaps the mysterious link that binds you to all the peoples of the world is the daily perception of the sun’s birth and death, and the moon’s serenity, capable of illuminating the paths amid the darkness. These luminaries taught you and the Tupinambás different ways of feeling the world and interacting with it.
We imagine that you may have separated yourselves from the Tupinambás precisely so that the knowledge of the inner path might be preserved. Thus, while the Tupinambás exposed themselves, fought and were practically decimated, your people, the Guarani, were able to nurture and carry with them all the mystical knowledge forged inside the forests.
My dear, if you were to discover the way of the Guarani, perhaps you could find explanations for much of what is going on inside you, an underground inheritance of a primitive unconsciousness and a strong spirituality.