NATURE HEALS: BLESS, PRAY AND BATHE WITH HERBS
To start our conversation I will introduce myself:
My name is Maria Ariete dos Santos Mendonça Costa. I live in the city of Santarém, in the Heart of the Amazon, in the State of Pará, specifically in northern Brazil. I was born with a supernatural gift, because since I was a child the Spirit Guides were already manifesting themselves to me. These Guides are also known as Enchanted, who are people who did not disembody but went missing in time and went to live in the Enchanted, enchanted places found at the bottom of the river, in the woods, in the quarry, in the desert, in the mine, in Arwanda, among other places unknown to us.
It was on this life journey that I had the privilege of having Tóia Jarina as my spirit guide. And for this, I was cared for by Cabocla Mariana, by Seu Zé Mineiro, by Dona Maria Mineira and Seu José Boiadeiro. And they all use herbs in their healing work.
For those who do not know them, I would like to talk a little about them: Tóia Jarina and Mariana are Turkish princess sisters who came to live in the Amazon. They are guardians together with their sister Herondina. Seu Zé Mineiro, Dona Mineira and Seu José Boiadeiro are part of their league: cattlemen, cowboys, “cangaceiros” and others.
I'd like to talk about herbs now. Have you ever stopped to think that the use of herbs is part of our human history?
Indigenous peoples in their shamanic rituals use herbs to scare away evil spirits and make enchantments through their beverages and ritual baths. Groups of African origin also use herbs to heal wounds, smoke and make scented baths.
Here, in northern Brazil, especially in the indigenous and “quilombola” communities, herbs are often used in the preparation of teas, baths, prayers, foods. Just from this small prose we can notice that herbs are essential in our lives and so we must think about the preservation of our large natural pharmacies, among them, the Amazon Forest.
The Amazon is the largest pharmacy on the planet. In it are the cure of all diseases, since the Bubonic Plague that has passed through the planet, as our current plague of Covid-19, as well as those that will still appear in the future. But unfortunately the situation of the Amazon in recent years is catastrophic: deforestation, illegal mining, burning, pollution of rivers, air and soil... We have to preserve the lungs of the world before it's too late. The more that the trees fall to the ground, the more pandemics will arise. Indigenous peoples are aware of the great healing power of the Amazon, but the white man does not care and every day continues to destroy our Great Mother more and more.
It is in this context that I come to talk about blessing, an ancient custom from the times of our ancestors. During those times, when a child would fall or have a fever, the child was taken to be blessed; or when a person becomes mufina, loses weight, becomes ill is a sign of weakness, the famous olho gordo (jealousy) that can even kill if not taken away; there are people who look at a plant and it will die. In this case only a benzedeira (healer) can help, there is a benzimento (healing/blessing) for everything. The blessing is carried out with the aid of a specific prayer and can be done with herbs, garlic, real macaw feather, rosary, scarf or band, holy water, plant bark, smoke, incense, depending on the custom of each benzedeira or prayer.
Sometimes, depending on the state the person is in, the benzedeira may prescribe an herbal bath. The herbal bath is a bath that relaxes the spirit, it is like food for the spirit. Without a doubt, people who know the herbs have this in mind.
But it's not just any plant we use to make an herbal bath. It is necessary to know the purpose and be careful with the amount, because in some baths, if the person is very weak, he feels the strength of the herbs. Another orientation is to rest when taking an herbal bath.
Currently I do scented baths, also known as herbal baths, but it is worth mentioning that currently the herbs are very expensive and so it becomes difficult for people to look for these types of spiritual rituals. Even when they need it badly. That is why we need to be aware of the preservation of our herbs and plants. This is extremely necessary. We have to think about preserving our backyards, making vegetable gardens, teaching people how to grow plants and sharing our teachings.
To complete my share, I will teach you a Cleansing Bath and an Herbal Bath to Open Paths. Both complement each other:
1 - Coarse salt (one handful)
2 – Exsicata leaves (one packet)
3 - Ammonia (measure 1 cap of the product)
4 - Water (one bucket)
Mix everything in a bucket with water and rub the Exsicata leaves. The amount will depend on how many people will take the bath. Above we have the measure for one person. Take it from the neck down. Soon after take the bath to Open Paths.
Herbal Bath to Open Paths
1 - 8 Variegated Shell Ginger Leaves
2 - 8 Orange tree leaves
3 - Water
Mix everything in a bucket with water and rub Variegated Shell Ginger leaves
along with the Orange Tree leaves. You can use it to wet your head if you prefer. Let it dry on the body naturally.
Maria Ariete dos Santos Mendonça Costa - Pará, Brazil