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Brazil

Day 17: Alto Paraíso de Goiás

 
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With Tatiana at the first waterfall.
Michael Palin - Brazil'I used to live in big towns,' Tatiana tells me, 'but the energy is so confused. Here we just have the nature and the sun. Love comes from the earth.' I nod. It would be rude not to. I rather want to get back to witchcraft. 'Is there a concentration of witches here in Alto Paraíso?'

'Oh yes. This town has a very strong female energy. Men go, but the women stay. Women make things happen here.'

'Like?'

'A woman runs the supermarket. Women run the restaurants.'

We're at the first pool by now. The stream is quite narrow here and it's a bit of a squash getting all the witches close to the water. When they're in position Tatiana, looking in her element, stands on one side of the pool, tree branches forming an arboreal halo behind her, and issues various incantations and leads her followers, who now number about ten, in various stretchings of arms and raising and lowering of haunches.

At the next waterfall there's more room and most of the witches opt for total immersion. Rose leaves are scattered on the waters and scented oils are dispensed. By the time they reach the top they are ready to be finally cleansed. This is the most impressive of the falls. The water tumbles about fifteen metres down a series of steps before splashing into a capacious pool with sheer rock on three sides. At the top of the fall I can see an elderly hippy, all in white, reclining against a rock. He's smoking a pipe, chanting and gently shaking a maraca. The witches stand in a circle, roses are laid out and oil is rubbed on stomachs. Yemanjá has been propitiated and the earth will be blessed. As Tatiana explains, the goddess will evoke in them beauty, prosperity, kindness, motherhood, sensuality, lightness, wisdom, joy and strength. It's a touching, rather beautiful little scene. Basil is less easily moved than I am. 'Desperate Housewives go swimming,' he mutters darkly.

We walk around the town before heading back home. There doesn't seem too much of what I would call normal commerce here. Most of the shops sell crystals of one kind or another and couples with dreadlocks emerge from pousadas
I don't see energy. If anything, I see a rather pleasant lack of it.
 
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The highest waterfall and the highest state of enlightenment.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Brazil
  • Chapter: Day 17: Alto Paraíso de Goiás
  • Country/sea: Brazil
  • Place: Alto Paraíso de Goiás
  • Book page no: 81

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