Saturday, March 12, 2011



The term caboclo has multiple meanings in Brazil. In earliest usage during colonial times it meant friendly or "tame" Indian. Later, it came to refer to the afro-indio-european racial mix and also to the simple people who live close to the forests and rivers of Amazonia.

On the spiritual plane, the Afro-Brazilian religions celebrate the caboclos as spirits or entities of the forest who are warriors defending the abundance of Nature or messengers delivering cures and good medicines to the needy.

On a personal note, in some quarters here in Acre I am known as the Caboclo Americano, a label that brings forth both delight and laughter because of the contradictions involved. In Brazil, Americans are generally perceived as complicated city folks whereas caboclos are perceived as simple forest people. That someone might actually embrace such contradictions by being of both is "off the map." But, the truth that I believe says that we need a new map, an ancient-future one. We need warriors of nature and lovers of the future. And this requires that we find a way to mix the simple harmonies of the past with the complex cacophonies of modernity.

From the past, here are some of the traditional Umbanda songs.

One of the most loved songs tells of Jurema (the spirit of clear water) and of her love for wearing a plume of green. Indeed, one might consider Cabocla Jurema as the Princess of Green. Here it is as sung by one of the giants of Brazilian popular music, Maria Bethania.

And again, sung here by our dear friend Nei Zigma during a visit to Fortaleza. This simple version, with the sounds of children in the background, touched me deeply. It still opens my heart and brings tears to my eyes.

The lyrics are:
Cabocla your plume is green
your plume is green
is the color of the sea

is the color of Cabocla Juremá
is the color of Cabocla Juremá
is the color of Cabocla Juremá


I go bathe myself
in the clear waters
in the waters of Jananina
there in clear waters

There are many ways that the caboclos call, from the fierce voice of the warrior to the sweet call of the lover, but the message is always the same:
If we give love and protection to Nature, the result will be abundance for all.

Caboclos and Abundance

The calls of the caboclos are growing stronger. They are arriving more often and many of my friends are responding. We are reaching out to each other. We are carrying a dream of acting together. Together, we want to deliver a vision. For the future.

I asked the Oracle of the I Ching of what it thought of such a project...

Heaven and Earth embrace, giving birth to Peace.

The Superior Person serves as midwife,
presenting the newborn gift to the people.

The small depart; the great approach.
Good fortune.


1 comment:

Erayna said...

Lou, my Caboclo guides have been arriving more often lately also, and working through me in my bodywork to heal people...