Humans as Keepers of the Universe : Water Cycle in Native Colombian Cosmology

Název česky Lidé jako strážci vesmíru : Vodní cyklus v původní mytologii Kolumbie
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VINŠOVÁ Lucie

Druh Další prezentace na konferencích
Fakulta / Pracoviště MU

Filozofická fakulta

Citace
Popis Indigenous communities living since time immemorial in secluded areas of Colombian mountains have always recognized the crucial importance water has to the well-being of their society and to Life in general. They possessed a surprisingly detailed knowledge of the water cycle and linked the beginning of the Universe and the birth of all living beings to water. The role of humans was to watch over the delicate balance the cosmos was once created into. The ability to efficiently and sustainably manage their water supplies was on the ideological level supported with water related myths and strengthened with rituals regarding agriculture and healing. Thus the people were continuously reminded of the essential role water played in their life and in their natural environment, which they considered their home. With páramos (alpine tundra ecosystems – the main source of water in the Colombian Andean areas) being continuously threatened by mining industries and with climate and civilization related changes altering the delicate cycle of water, people as a species have seemed to fail retaining the title of the “Keepers of the Universe”. Last year, at the 11th Annual Conference in Edinburgh, I introduced some essential cosmological principles of the Misak and Nasa tribes (communities living in the mountainous areas of south-west Colombia). This year, I would love to focus on cosmological beliefs and rituals of these tribes in connection to one of the most prominent features of ecology- the water cycle. During my study, I will compare the knowledge and beliefs of the aforementioned ethnic groups with the Kogis (a very unique tribe living in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia, which is well known for its deliberate seclusion from the outside world). I will provide insight into mythological and cosmological motifs linked to the importance of water (creation myths, creatures impersonating the water element, the birth of legendary chieftains etc.), the way it is manifested in religious and healing rituals, and the original role of human beings as keepers of this life-giving force. At the end, I will 37 sketch out the recent threats human activities represent to the fragile ecosystems of páramos and the efforts to save them.
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