Across the world gathers a global community of conscientious men, women, and children gather around the fire and indigenous prayers to walk a path of the sacred plant medicines, of great healing, of powerful prayer, of traditional songs, of deep commitment, and of honoring the Great Spirit inherent on all things, big and small, animated and still, visible and invisible. From the two legged to the four legged, to the ones that fly, to the ones that swim, to the great ones that have not moved for eons, these people worship the Earth, the Sky, the Sun. They choose to live in harmony with all beings on this planet as they are our relations and ancestors. They shy away from gurus and ideologies, receiving strength, clarity, wisdom, wellbeing, and prolonged guidance from the masters of consciousness, the sacred visionary plants (Las Plantas Sagradas).
Since I first arrived in Latin America in 2014, I began to walk this path, alongside shamans, traditional healers, 'curanderos', 'yageceros', 'peyoteros', 'temazcaleros', and many other powerful, magical, and mysterious figures. In this process I have seen many things that many modern cultures have discarded, and I have seen many unexplainable, magical things that not everyone may come to experience, nor begin to believe is possible. But for the profound teachings, and the deep healings of mind, body, heart and soul I have experienced, I express gratitude to my path, to the Great Spirit, to Pachamama, the Mother Earth, to the Grandfather and Grandmother plant spirits; Yagé, Ayahuasca, Peyote, Santo Daime, San Pedro, Kambo, Tobacco, Mama Coca, amongst many others. My journey has brought me from the dark and humid sweat lodges to the sacred desert of Wirikuta, Mexico, to the Vision Quest in the Cordilleras of Colombia, to the healing huts of indigenous shamans of the Amazons. I have met many great people along the way, with great hearts, and great minds, all praying and walking this path for the same reason, to create a better life for themselves and for all their relations, now and 7 generations forward.
These images are an ongoing collection of portraits, landscapes, traditions, beliefs, and unique moments of my personal experience walking the medicine path and the Red Road of the First Nation peoples' legacies. Beyond being my photographic subjects, these people are my family, those of whom I can trust my life and my secrets. I honor my path alongside theirs in sharing these images with the viewer, so that the world may rejoice to know, that there are many good souls out there, fighting for our Mother Earth, for the evolution of mankind, and the transcendence of consciousness through faith, prayer, music, and great internal changes. The divine exists everywhere, especially within ourselves, and as our ancestors had predicted, the time to awaken and unite as one human race is now.
Alejandro rakes the camp grounds in preparation for the Vision Quest as the sun sets over the tipi and jungle forage.
Traditional medicine man and 'yagecero' Argemiro, prepares his personal belongings for his 7th 'Hamblecha,' or 'Vision Quest'.
Smudging the path with 'copalera' in hand, Catalina leads the procession of visionaries through the jungle to their allocated places of power where they will be praying, meditating, and fasting for four days.
Taita Andres of the indigenous Embera people. Although young he is recognized as one of the high priests of his people, holding vast information about plant medicines and the invisible spirit world.
The sweat lodge, or 'Inipi", meaning "to be born again" in Lakota, is the place where visionaries begin their 4 day Vision Quest. Through sweating, chanting and praying, temporarily leave behind the world, their fears, their emotions, their sustenance, and their comforts in order to purify and receive the visions from the spirit of the mountain. Here they begin the four day fast without food, water, sleep, and speech.
Taita Leonel of the indigenous Embera people. A traditional 'curandero' and medicine man who works with the spirits of the tobacco plant and mushrooms.
Rosa, one of the 21 visionaries who will be fasting the four days during the Vision Quest, leaves behind an offering of flowers to the spirit of the forest and the mountain.
Carolina, one of the supports at the camp, who will eat, drink, sleep, and pray for the visionaries during their 4 day fast in the mountain.
Tomás, a traditional medicine man, originally from Mexico, smoking a cigar in a sacred way to pray for the visionaries and for the wellbeing of all attendees during the Vision Quest.
Mau Tanka, a powerful medicine man of the Red Road and Sun Dancer, is known to be responsible for introducing the Lakota and First Nation traditions of the Native Americans to Colombia.
Abuela Ana Lucia of the indigenous Embera people of Colombia, playing her small drum after having quested for 4 days during the Vision Quest.
The visionaries return from questing and fasting 4 days in the mountain, bringing their prayer staffs and offerings to be burned to the fire.
Visionaries offer their prayers to the sacred fire during the Closing Ceremony of the Vision Quest.
Visionary Danit makes her prayers and offerings to the sacred fire under a full moon during the Vision Quest.
Visionaries and Supports gather around the sacred fire to bear witness to the prayers the questers offer up to the sacred fire during the Vision Quest.
Florida, Valle de Cauca, Colombia, home and birthplace of various medicine men and women, including Citlali, Argemiro, and Mau Tanka.
Citlali, a 'yagecera,' or traditional medicine woman, collects flowers and medicinal plants at the local market in Florida, Colombia.
Ortiga, a medicinally purifying plant, covered in large thorns that emit a numbing venom, inflaming the skin when applied by strong (or soft) blows of the branch upon a person. The plant is used to stimulate circulation, the immune system, and to clean the person energetically.
Citlali, 'yagecera' and traditional medicine woman, smudges her home with a 'copalera' to purify the energy of the space.
Citlali's altar, honoring the Orixa, Yemanjá, deity of water and of the ocean. Besides working with plant medicines, Citlali has a long history with the Yeruba traditions of Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America.
Argemiro, 'yagecero' and traditional medicine man prepares to blow the conch shell to convoke and salute the 7 directions of the universe during a prayer and offering to the spirit of the water with a large group of attendees.
Carolina and Giscela smoke pure tobacco cigars whilst making a women's offering to the Earth outside their home in Santa Elena, Colombia.