Sunday, 12 March 2017
THE DEFINITION OF A SEMECHICHI - WHICH IS SYNONYMOUS WITH WHAT YOU CALL A 'MEDICINE MAN/SHAMAN/ HOLY MAN (or woman) IN TRADITIONAL LOKONO-ARAWAK CULTURE
General representation of a Shamaness
THE STANDARD DEFINITION OF A SHA·MAN
a person regarded as having access to, and influence in, the world of good and evil spirits, especially among some peoples of northern Asia and North America (also Central & South America and the Caribbean). Typically such people enter a trance state during a ritual, and practice divination and healing.
synonyms: medicine man/woman, healer
IN LOKONO-ARAWAK CULTURE A SEMECHICHI IS A SYNONYM FOR A - SHAMAN/MEDICINE MAN/HOLY MAN (or woman)....and while you CAN be a HEALER and use plants and prayers to heal others and NOT be a SEMECHICHI/SHAMAN/MEDICINE MAN/HOLY MAN (or woman) ...you CANNOT be a SEMECHICHI/SHAMAN/MEDICINE MAN/HOLY MAN and NOT ALSO be a healer. The Semechichi must know all the healer knows and more, and he/she takes MANY YEARS to master this knowledge....it cannot be acquired on any short-term training course.
Also, you cannot be a Semechichi (etc.) if you do NOT have the gift of premonition AND dreams ...why you may ask? Because the people are depending on YOU as the 'bridge between the living and the dead' to FORESEE danger before it befalls the people....what good or use is a Shaman who cannot predict an important future event that the lives of the people depend on knowing in advance?
From early childhood you will hear the pre-teen child (usually from 4 years old) tell you of their dreams and premonitions, and of the spirits of the dead that appear to them throughout their lives....you know then that this child was born with the qualities it needs to become a Semechichi....it is not something you can 'train' to become if you do not have these qualities....it is either in your DNA or it is not.
The Great Apache leader Geronimo was FAMOUS for having the gift of premonition AND dreams, so too the famous Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse of the Lakota, and ALL the Indigenous leaders of renown that you care to recount...although for the latter is is a very natural thing for an indigenous person to have regular dreams, maybe not 4 times a night as I get when i'm most lucky, but not 'never' either....I always grew up hearing my mother describe her dreams and encouraging me to share mine, just as I encourage my own sons & daughters to share theirs...it is a normal part of the family routine to listen to each other describe the dream we had last night...and often the younger ones will ask for the interpretation if they don't understand it due to the symbolic nature of it.
For further clarification however, when we say 'Holy Man' we do not think that the human being who is our Semechichi is 'Holy' - in the false sense that devout Catholics think of their Pope as being 'Holy' (Divine), or that Tibetan Buddhists think of the Dalai Lama as being 'Holy'(Divine) - for like Jesus said (and we always believed long before we ever heard of Jesus) "NO MAN IS HOLY - ONLY GOD/THE CREATOR/THE GREAT HOLY SPIRIT/THE GREAT MYSTERY/MASTER OF ALL LOVE AND LIFE - IS HOLY"....so for us a 'Holy Man' or 'Holy woman' is just an ordinary person whom the Great Holy Spirit has ALLOWED to harness & conduit it's divine love and light for the healing of others....that is all.....it does not mean that the 'Holy Man' (or woman) is some perfect being that never says or does anything imperfect....it would be utter stupidity to believe such a thing.
Additionally, all Lokono-Arawak Village Chiefs (Kafotay) traditionally were hereditary (we never voted for our leaders - it was the responsibility placed on certain bloodlines of the people), sometimes father to son, but also father to brother, father to nephew, father to uncle etc - but your Clan descent was NOT reckoned through your father - only your mother, your father only planted a seed in your mother - your mother grew you in HER body for 9 sacred months - your body belongs to your MOTHER (that is why your mothers people are YOUR people)....though you will inherit memories from both parents and it will co-mold your personality.
Furthermore - it was normal in the Eagle Clan (not sure about the others - but likely it was the same) for OUR hereditary Chiefs to be Shaman-Chiefs (a blend of BOTH the earthly responsibility to lead the tribe AND the spiritual responsibility to consult with the ancestors in order to forewarn & heal others).