What is so relevant about Natem that it has to be mentioned? As it has been said in other articles, the native tribes in the Amazon give special importance to rituals, because they allow people to contact the spirits and share a magic time with their fellows, and Natem is a particular ritual that enhances these features.
During the Natem ceremony, natives gather themselves to drink a bitter beverage that is believed to purge their dark energies and let themselves loose for a few hours. Why is Natem so important? Because it is a plant that has been used for many centuries in the Amazon Rainforest as a gate. Natem unlocks the secrets that the spirits have for their protected people in a very personal way.
What is Natem?
Natem is a natural purgative which is known with many names, but Ayahuasca is the best known one. This plant allows people who drink it to enter a world of spirits through hallucinations. Every single person will experience different visions as they drink the beverage. Lucidness is part of the process, but some natural reactions such as body shaking and nausea are expected.
The ritual will be performed by a shaman, better known as “uwishin”, who gives the drink to the gathered people, which can be even young children. The ritual will have a particular reason or no reason at all: it will depend on the shaman.
The shaman prepares the beverage with the vine bark, which is peeled and mixed with a number of chacruna leaves which must be cut before dawn to be fresh and keep their essence. Sometimes other plants could be added to strengthen the potency of the healing effect.
These plants are later boiled at a slow pace for many hours, until the shaman obtains a brown mix that will be the final drink. During this process, the shaman sings a chant called “anent”, to call the god Ayumpum, who is believed to be the god that taught the tribe how to prepare the beverage. This god is called to protect the shaman during the ritual.
- He will introduce himself to explain the relevance of the ritual, and the cultural meaning it brings to his people: seven energy centers are believed to be inside each person, and they open completely with Natem. Shamans also state that with Natem you would be able to visit your beloved ones and see if they are fine.
The shaman goes around the circle and gives a tobacco extract, and then gives the Natem drink to open up the minds of each participant. He touches the head of each drinker while singing and dancing to the spirits, to enable their visit.
This is a purge that will release participants from their negative energies and clean them from the inside.