San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Shaman Proposes Payment Plan for Planet

LONDRES, Aguirre Laureno Chaparro comes from the heart of the Americas with a message: Rent is due.

Chaparro is a mamo, or shaman, of the Ika indigenous people who live in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range in northern Colombia. Wrapped in the traditional white dress of his people, his head adorned with a cylindrical white hat meant to represent the snow covered mountains of his homelands, Chaparro traveled to a private nature reserve near the Costa Rica s Southern Pacific coast with a mission, and a unique proposal.

As first Spanish colonizers, then Colombian farmers, encroached on their homeland, the Ika and other indigenous groups living in the region have preserved their culture by retreating further into the Sierra NevadaMountains an area they believe to represent the heart of the living Americas.

At the same time, Chaparro people have been making offerings to the planet, which they call pagamentos or payments, to compensate for the food they eat and resources they, and all the other humans in the Americas, use.

The pagamentos are a collection of sacred items as well as energy the shamans channel down from the stars, which is then buried in the earth and revitalizes the planet’s energy, Chaparro said.

Where you live, you have monthly payments. You have to pay for water, for electricity, everything, Chaparro said in fluid, but clearly not natal Spanish. From my spiritual perspective, I don t drink water for free. I don t breathe the air for free. I don t cut down trees for free.

Chaparro and his people who call themselves Elder Brother believe that, with fewer and fewer of their people living their traditions and making the vital payments to the earth, they can no longer balance out the damage being done by the rest of us who they call Younger Brother to the Mother Earth.

If there are millions of people living like this, how is the mother s energy not going to run out? he asked.

So, he explained, his elders gave him permission to come down from the mountains, learn Spanish, live among the Younger Brother. He got an e-mail address and has begun the paperwork to form an indigenous association with the purpose of buying back the land surrounding the Sierra NevadaMountains so the Ika and other indigenous groups still living there may restore it to its natural condition, helping to heal the heart of the hemisphere, he says.

And Chaparro has a unique proposal: Little Brother can begin to pay his part by helping the Ika buy back their land.

It s similar to carbon sequestering, but its spiritual carbon sequestering, said Gustavo Caldarelli, who runs the private nature EcoEra Rainforest Reserve, where Chaparro stayed.

Carbon sequestering is the basis for the concept of carbon neutrality, where businesses or individuals pay to preserve the corresponding amount of forest that will absorb their greenhouse gas emissions.

Here is an opportunity to give back, with money, by helping us buy back the mountain, Caldarelli said.

Caldarelli met Chaparro during a trip to Colombia and became convinced he needed to join the mamo s cause. Caldarelli, an Argentinean who runs a business restoring Victorian houses in San Francisco, California, also brought Chaparro to Costa Rica to heal his property, which is based around the 1,000-meter butte Cerro Nara, located near the rural community of Londres, inland from the central Pacific town of Quepos and Manuel Antonio National Park.

I know that Cerro Nara has deep wounds from deforestation, the killing of animals and all the devastation that has happened here, Caldarelli said.

Caldarelli also explained that the indigenous people who once lived on his property, centuries ago, the Quepoa, are descendents of the Tairona people of Colombia. The Ika are one of four groups living in the Sierra Nevada also believed to be descendents of the Tairona, and so are relatives of the original inhabitants of the EcoEra reserve, Caldarelli explained.

Chaparro brought two pagamentos from Colombia for Cerro Nara, which, in addition to helping heal the land, restored an energetic link with South America that was severed by the creation of the Panama Canal, the mamo explained.

For more information on EcoEra or the Ika efforts to purchase land in Colombia, contact Gustavo Caldarelli at 2779-1053.


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