Kogi Culture and Cultivating Harmony
ON YOUNGER BROTHER: ‘Up to now we have ignored the Younger Brother. We have not deigned even to give him a slap. But now we can no longer look after the world alone. The Younger Brother is doing too much damage. He must see, and understand, and assume responsibility. Now we will have to work together. Otherwise the world will die.’
ABOUT COCA: The Kogi believe that natural coca civilizes men. The toasted coca leaf they chew is as far from refined cocaine as rye bread if from whisky. It has been a food for thousands of years for native Americans giving them important vitamins and enabling them to endure long periods without food and sleep.
ABOUT THE POPORO: The Poporo is a gourd which contains powdered lime made by burning seas shells which the Kogi collect from the Caribbean coast and extract with a stick which is used to wipe the lime on to a wad of coca leaves in their cheeks. For a boy the giving of the first poporo by the Mamas marks his rite of passage to manhood.
The Kogi believe the Poporo is the mark of civilization, eating from it reminds a man of what he is and keeps him in harmony with the Great Mother (the earth). The ring of calc which builds up around the rim of the gourd is saliva mixed with shell dust. It’s a bit like a book. They say, ‘We write our thoughts in it.’