SHAMANS, COCA & COLOMBIA
The cultivation and use of coca in Colombia
is part of an ancient culture and tradition.
Coca has been used by chieftans and shamans
for thousands of years, and continues to be used
in prediction rituals, curing the sick and sacred offerings.
The shaman's treasured ceremonial vessel was the "poporo",
a container (often made of solid gold) which held
powdered lime, made from ground and heated sea shells.
The shaman would chew coca leaves during religious ceremonies,
and dip a stick into the poporo adding a small amount of lime
increasing the effect it had in activating the powers
of concentration, memory and spiritual vision.
The most treasured symbol of Colombia's
indigenous pre-Colombian culture is the famous
"Poporo de Quimbaya" (300 A.D.),
a solid gold lime vessel in the shape of a gourd
with 4 rounded globes, now owned by the
Republic Bank of Colombia.
Today's shamans continue to respect the
power and spiritual use of coca in their religion.