Kogi - Tairona



The Tairona were a precolombian civilization in the region of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in the present-day Magdalena and La Guajira Departments of Colombia, South America which goes back to the 1st century AD and showed documented growth around in the 11th century. The Tairona people formed one of the two principal groups of the Chibcha and were pushed into submarginal regions by the Spanish conquest. The Kogi indigenous people who live in the area today are direct descendants of the Tairona.

Knowledge sources about the precolombian Tairona civilization are limited to archaeological findings and a few written references from the Spanish colonial era. A major city of the Tairona and archaeological site is today known as Ciudad Perdida (Spanish for "Lost City"), it was discovered by treasure hunters in 1975. The Tairona are known to have built terraced platforms, house foundations, stairs, sewers, tombs, and bridges from stone. Use of pottery for utilitarian and ornamental/ceremonial purposes was also highly developed.


Tairona Gold Pendants - Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

The Tairona civilization is most renown for its distinctive goldwork. The earliest known Tairona goldwork has been described for the Neguanje Period (from about 300- 800 AD) and its use within the Tairona society appears to have extended beyond the elite. The gold artifacts made comprise pendants, lip-plugs, nose ornaments, necklaces, and earrings. Gold cast Tairona figure pendants (known as "caciques") in particular stand out among the goldworks of precolumbian America because of their richness in detail. The figurines depict human subjects - thought be noblemen or chiefs - in ornate dresses and with a large animal mask over the face. Many elements of their body posture (e.g., hands on their hips) and dress signal an aggressive stance and hence are interpreted as evidence for the power of the wearer and the bellicose nature of Tairona society.




The Kogi


The tribe known as 'Los Kogui' are today's custodians of the Tairona culture. They have a population of approximately 12,000 people. The and are called the Kogi. The Kogi plant crops and live off the land. They prefer not to mix with outsiders. Few Colombians, or those from the outside worlds, are allowed to enter their mountain. They marry in their culture. The Kogi constantly move about from place to place, between their different abodes spread among the different levels of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. This is looked upon as taking care of their nutritional needs without abusing the environment.

The Kogi or Cogui or Kagaba, translated "jaguar" in the Kogi language are a Native American ethnic group that lives in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in Colombia. Their civilization has continued since the Pre-Columbian era. The Kogi language belongs to the Chibchan family.

The Kogi claim to be descendants of the Tairona culture, which flourished before the time of the Spanish conquest. The Tairona were forced to move into the highlands when the Caribs invaded around 1000 CE, according to the Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress which allowed them to evade the worst effects of the Spanish colonization. Like so many ancient myths concerning holy mountains at the "centre of the world", their mythology teaches that they are "Elder Brothers" of humanity, living in the "Heart of the World" (the Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta). Those not living in the Heart of the World are called "Younger Brothers." Their mythology suggests that these Younger Brothers were sent away from the heart of the world long ago, seemingly in reference to these same Carib people who are said to have originated from South America.




The Mountain

The Sierra Nevada, in the shape of a pyramid, rises from the sunny coasts of the Caribbean tropics to the chilly, snow-capped peaks that reach a height of 17,000 feet above sea level, all in only 30 horizontal miles. Within just fifty kilometres the northern slopes descend from snow capped peaks to the turquoise waters, tropical jungle shores and coral reefs of the Caribbean ocean.


Day and night are of equal length all year round.

The area has every eco-system in its 17,000 km2 area (8,000 sq. miles) You can find coral reefs, mangroves, arid deserts, rain and cloud forest, and in the higher elevations, plains and snow-capped peaks with temperatures close to 20 degrees C. The highest peak is the Pico Simon Bolivar at 5,775 metres.

In 1965, archeologists found the remains of a lost Tairona religious center and called it the 'Lost City.' It is a three-day hike in dense jungle to witness a true wonder of the past. It is believed that there are two more lost cities.

These highlands are inhabited by the Gods and the spirits of the dead. A universe of signs and symbols, this territory is a veritable "open book" which is their bridge to the world and their collective history.

The Kogi believe the Sierra Nevada to be the 'Place of Creation' and the 'Heart of the World'. They call themselves the Elder Brothers of humanity and consider their mission to care for planet. They understand how the planet works as an integrated unit rather than the separation of all things in our worlds.

Much like other ancient tribal civilizations, that still exist on the planet, they believe themselves to be the custodians of the planet Earth here to keep things in balance.




Spiritual Beliefs


The Kogi base their lifestyles on their belief in "The Great Mother," their creator figure, whom they believe is the force behind nature, providing guidance. The Kogi understand the Earth to be a living being, and see the colonizers' mining, building, pollution and other activities damaging the Great Mother.

From birth the Kogi attune their priests, called Mamas, to the mystic world called Aluna. It is in this "spirit-realm" that the Mamas operate to help the Great Mother sustain the Earth. Through deep meditation and symbolic offerings, the Mamas believe they support the balance of harmony and creativity in the world. It is also in this realm that the essence of agriculture is nurtured: seeds are blessed in Aluna before being planted, to ensure they grow successfully.

They achieve this through meditation wherein they communicate with all living things on the planet - humans, animals, plants, rock, etc.

They live in Aluna, an inner world of thought and potential. From Aluna they astral travel or remote view to places both on and off the physical planet. Their sacred lands are perceived as a metaphysical symbol of cosmic forces within the whole world - an oracle of the natural balance and health of the planet.

As with other indigenous tribes, Kogi society has changed little in the past five centuries. They survived as a culture because the Kogi focus all their energy on the life of the mind as opposed to the life of a body or an individual. Fundamental to that survival is the maintenance of physical separation from their world and the rest of humanity. They are very protective of their sacred space and the dense jungle is not kind to tourists.

They worry about the destruction of the rain forest as well as the planet itself. This area embraces some of the most biologically diverse tropical rainforests on the planet. The Kogi are inseparable from the rainforest habit in which they have lived since the dawn of time.

Through oracle propheices and message with Spirit, they are aware of a great change that is coming now to planet Earth. Their Mountain is dying, symbolizing this transition. Similar to what many other tribes around the world see is a world that was about to be destroyed by the misuse of consciousness. Then they saw the emergence of light consciousness as part of the process of humanity emerging as a race of beings in higher evolved light bodies. This strongly connects with the metaphysical teachings of our times.




Shamanic Practices - Coca Plant


Shaman are called Mamas

Kogi Mamas are chosen from birth and spend the first nine years of childhood in a cave in total darkness learning the ancient secrets of the spiritual world or Aluna. They are the priests and judges who control Kogi society.

All major decisions and shamanic work are done by Divination. All is the world of Aluna, so the Mamas see a reflection of the physical world first in the spiritual world. If Aluna is the Mother, then the Kogi listen to the Mother by divining. This lost technique of divination is what keeps the Kogi world in balance and order.

The Mamas - as with other spiritual tribal leaders around the world - are worried that the Younger Brother has not heeded the first warning. If the Sierra Nevada or the Mother dies, the world will also die.

They use the coca bush for many things. Myths reveal that it was the Aluna herself who instituted coca chewing among the Kogi and who gave a lime gourd to her first son, as a symbolic wife. Other myths tell that coca was originally discovered in the flowing hair of a young girl who let her father only participate in its use. An envious and jealous young man transformed himself into a bird and, after watching the girl bathing in the river, seduced her. When he returned home and changed back into human shape, he shook his hair and out of it fell two coca seeds.

Small plantations of coca shrubs are found near all Kogi settlements, and provide the men with tender green leaves, plucked by the women. All adult men chew the slightly toasted leaves, adding to the moist wad small portions of lime. Coca shrubs are planted and tended by the men but the leaves are gathered by women. Periodically the men toast these leaves inside the temple, using for this end a special double-handled pottery vessel. This ritual vessel made by a Kogi priest can be used only for the toasting of coca leaves.

When chewed with coca, lime is a substance which helps the mucous membranes in the mouth absorb the alkaloids in the leaves. The Kogi produce Lime by burning sea shells on a small pyre carefully constructed with chosen splints. The fine white powder is then sifted into a ritual gourd which is carried by all men.

The Lime container consists of a small gourd which is slightly pear-shaped and perforated along the top. While all lime gourds consist of the same raw material, the wood of the stick which is inserted into it, must correspond to the patriline of the owner. Each patriline uses a different wood taken from the trees belonging to certain botanical species. The length of the stick may vary from 20 to 30cms. and, together with the degree of surface polish, these various characteristics identify its owner. An initiated Kogi man will easily recognise the patriline of his companions, simple by looking at their lime sticks.

The symbolic importance of the lime container and its stick is manifold. In one, most important image, the gourd is a woman. During the marriage ceremony the mama gives the bridegroom a gourd with these words: "Now I give you a lime gourd; I give you a woman." He then hands the bridegroom the lime stick and orders him to perforate with it the gourd at its upper end, thus symbolising the act of deflowering the bride.

Both men and women say quite openly that coca chewing has an aphrodisiacal effect upon male sexuality, and newly wed couples are very outspoken about this. Male initiation, marriage, and habitual coca chewing are three elements which coincide at a certain period in a young mans life. Young men sometimes say that they dislike coca chewing but most of them, sooner or later, yield to the pressures exercised by the priests and the older generation, and adopt the habit.

While slowly chewing some twenty or thirty toasted leaves, the man will wet the lower and slightly pointed end of the stick with saliva and will insert it into the gourd. Withdrawing the stick again he will put the adhering lime into his mouth. Immediately he will rub the stick around the top of the gourd in a circular motion. Eventually, this daily repeated action of rubbing the stick on the gourd surface begins to form a thin layered crust of yellowish-white lime that covers the upper part of the container. Some old lime gourds display a disc shaped accretion of up to 10cms. in diameter, carefully fashioned by the gourd's owner.

The many symbolic meanings of coca chewing and of the physical objects involved in this act, form a coherent whole. In macrocosmic perspective, a lime gourd is a model of the universe; the stick when inserted, becomes a world axis, and knowledgeable men will be able to talk at great length, explaining the structure of the universe in terms of levels, rims or directions appearing on the gourd.

On another scale, the gourd can be compared to the Sierra Nevada; the lime-splattered upper part are the snow peaks, and the stick is the world axis. Certain mountain peaks, crowned with white, rocky cliffs, are the Sun's lime containers, and so are all the temples and houses.

The coca plant is an integral part of the Kogi way of life, deeply involved with their traditions, religion, work and medicine. Perhaps the most ancient use of coca in South America is its employment in shamanistic practises and religious rituals. The mild mental excitation induced by chewing the coca leaves enables the shaman to enter more easily into a trance state in which he could communicate with the spiritual forces of nature and summon them to his aid.

Large scale deforestation and clearing of the jungle is posing a massive threat to the natural habitat of the Sierra Nevada and its flora and fauna. In recent years the sinister illusion of the marijuana cultivation practised by settlers from inland and fueled by encouragement by the Columbian and International mafia has destroyed vast areas of the jungle.




Twentieth Century

As the world becomes 'smaller' - and 'old' meets 'new' - even the most ancient civilizations will become part of the evolution now occurring for all of humanity as a race. Nothing in human history ever remains the same as we move through our journey back to our spiritual origins.

In 1990 the Kogi decided they must speak out to the rest of the world. They had survived by keeping themselves isolated but they decided that it was time to send a message to the Younger Brother. They could see that something was wrong with their mountain, with the heart of the world. The snows had stopped falling and the rivers were not so full. If their mountain was ill then the whole world was in trouble.

The Mamas sent one of the Kogi who spoke Spanish to contact a British film maker who was in Colombia at that time. They asked the BBC to make a film to tell the Younger Brother about their concern. It was called 'The Elder Brother's Warning 'or' The Message from the Heart of the World'. Alan Ereira, the producer, has also written a book about the Kogi called The Heart of the World.

Since the film was brought out many changes have taken place. The film had a major impact on the Colombian Government and also on the grave robbers. The grave robbers felt that they should stop because they felt bad about disturbing their ancestors. There are now two Kogi members of parliament. The Tairona Heritage Trust was set up to support the Kogi and to buy back some of the original Kogi lands to give them a passage to the sea.




Contemporary Kogi

The Kogi people live largely in peace amongst themselves and their environment. They use slash-and-burn farming methods; each family tends farms at varying altitudes of the Sierra, producing different crops to satisfy the range of their needs, they also raise cattle on the highlands.


Kogi People Wikipedia





Kankurua huts

To penetrate a Kankurua is to enter into contact with the nine worlds and the nine states of consciousness that make it up. Some say they have moved beyond verbal language, using tones to create colorful images in their minds rather than thoughts expressed as sentences. Some Kogi speak telepathically to each other.

According to Drunvalo Melchizedek ...

The Kogi do not see us as 'sleeping' as many of the Hindu and Oriental religions do. The Kogi see humans as dead, shadows of the energy of what they could be. This is because they do not have enough life force energy and consciousness to be classified by them as real people.

The Kogi set out to find out why the 'dead ones' were still on Earth. As they searched the living vibrating records of this reality, they found exactly where and why it had happened. Some of the 'dead ones' had become alive, and had created a dream with enough life force to save the world as we know it.

They created a parallel world where life could continue to grow, a world where the dead could become alive. The Kogi were so specific to locate exactly who these people were that were creating this change that had altered the world's destiny.

The Kogi see these people with living bodies with light around them, people who had activated their Light Bodies or in the ancient terms, their Mer-Ka-Ba.





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