Houses of Feminine Thought, or Casas de Pensamiento Femenino (Nujué in the Kogi language), are sacred spaces designed to safeguard the ancestral memory and deep intelligence of the earth, as sustained by the feminine forces that are the heartbeat of community life. These sacred houses are built specifically for new generations of women to learn traditional knowledge from the grandmothers, spiritual authorities (Mamos and Sakas), sages, and ancestors of their lineage(s). In a world where modern technology and money have increasingly become a distraction, these Houses of Feminine Thought are dedicated to the sole purpose of educating the youth and reconciling the community with the medicine of the territory—the forests, the water, natural cycles, earth cycles, moon cycles, the harvest, medicinal plants, the birthing of children and their upbringing, and the traditional principles that are built on an ancestral understanding of the laws of nature.
In this part of the world, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta region of Colombia, the highest coastal mountain region on earth, you can stand on the Caribbean sands and on a clear day see snow 19,000 feet above. It is truly magical, like nothing else the planet has to offer. Because of this unique terrain, the indigenous communities that live in the higher altitudes continue to have an uninterrupted connection to their ancient ways of honoring life. It is one of the last places on earth where an indigenous cosmology continues to thrive undisturbed and is one of the final frontiers for being able to remember our direct connection to mother nature. Because we are increasingly losing this sacred connection and have begun already to see the repercussions of what this loss means for the health of the world, we must act quickly to preserve and safeguard these original ancestral practices, full of powerful knowledge about medicine, spirituality, and ceremony intended to keep the balance with nature, so that we may keep the balance with life.
In recent decades, the indigenous peoples of the Sierra have created new villages in the lower altitudes of the mountainous region, as they work to reclaim the full extent of their traditional sacred territory. While these newer villages remain fully integrated into the indigenous way of life, they are also much more exposed to outside influences, and the elders in the higher altitudes recognize an urgent need to strengthen the transmission of ancestral wisdom, and particularly feminine wisdom, to the young people living in the lower altitudes.
This project, arising out of a deep collaboration with these traditional elders, aims to facilitate this transmission. Building these Houses of Feminine Thought is the key way to keep alive the respect and knowledge of the ancient ways that have been honored for longer than most cultures can remember. In order for these traditions to continue, we must help connect the memories of the elders with the behaviors of the youth. Building these houses is a dream, decades in the making, and connected with those who have a direct relationship with the people of these villages at every level. These ancient traditions cannot be researched online nor can they be found in books or magazines. This is a way of life that must be learned from the generation that still remembers, before it is too late.
With your help, we will build four Houses of Feminine Thought that traditional elders will use to convey their wisdom to the younger generation. Sylvie and Richard, our partners in Colombia, will be working closely with the indigenous communities to realize this vision. This is a powerful way to help preserve ancient knowledge and to legitimize and guarantee the survival of the indigenous peoples of northern Colombia and their sacred territory, which contains a very rich and unique ecosystem.
In the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, a region referred to as the “Heart of the World”, the health of a community is dependent on the woman being the Heart of the House. The woman is the same as the fertile black earth––the only place in which the seeds can grow. Her understanding of how nature works provides the foundation for the wellbeing of the family. She is the keeper of knowledge; the guardian of the seed of life itself. Without her, the continuation of this important and ageless wisdom cannot survive.
These houses, or altars, will be built in strategic locations across the lower altitudes of the Sierra to ensure the continuation of a spirituality that teaches that we are—each of us—crucial threads in the web of life. When one thread becomes weak, the web can no longer hold together the whole. These houses will form part of a sacred network of Houses of Feminine Thought that includes the high Sierra and extends throughout Colombia’s ancestral territory—and they must be completed now, before the area becomes too weak to hold on to this way of life. The Houses of Feminine Thought bring medicine and spiritual healing to the communities, and to the Earth. These houses are also meant also to act as points of intercultural exchange between our world and theirs, teaching us to expand our understanding of the profound role that women play in the conservation of our planet for future generations.
The Kogi, Arhuaco, Wiwa, and Kankuamo are the four indigenous peoples that inhabit the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta territory. They hold a very ancient knowledge about the medicine of the earth and play a critical role in conserving the equilibrium of nature across communities around the globe. It is our profound hope that through building these sacred spaces we will help people remember and honor women as the life-giving force of humanity.
By supporting this mission, we are helping to expand feminine consciousness in the world, preserving ancestral knowledge, and fostering a compassionate and generous relationship with our planet.
Your generous hearts are needed to realize such a massive undertaking. Every donation given will go towards bridging the world of the elders to the world of the next generation… before it is lost forever.
Did you know that many companies will match their employees’ donations? This is an incredible way to amplify the impact of your generous donation. Please remember to apply for a corporate match if your company offers one.
Please consider making a donation to The SOFIE Foundation and help us spread the word.
PROJECT COSTS (USD)
Costs Per House
Travel & Expense: $4,717
Project Total (4 Houses): $90,350
WHO IS INVOLVED
Sylvie Decaillet—Sylvie, or Selva, has dedicated her life to loving service and the reconciliation of human beings with the original wisdom of nature and spirits. She has worked for more than 20 years on the path of healing, drawing on her deep connection to nature and ancestral knowledge. Living in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia, she collaborates with the main indigenous communities of this sacred territory—the Kogi, the Arhuaco, Kankuamo, and the Wiwa—and with other indigenous communities around the world. Working as a midwife, she also studies traditional midwifery practices of various cultures and shares this knowledge both in Colombia and abroad. Being the mother of five children—born through natural births in nature—is the inspiration for her deep work with women and families, planting seeds of reconnection with Mother Earth and the web of life.
Richard Décaillet Quintana—Richard is a visual artist and audiovisual producer and director with training in art, experimental film, and holistic science. His work has been exhibited in galleries and institutions in a number of countries. He has produced and directed documentary film and series, features, sound, and VR/XR pieces, and has worked on art and film projects with indigenous communities since 2003. He is a co-founder of the artistic collective and audiovisual production company 4Direcciones and of the nonprofit organization 7Flechas. Décaillet is currently working on art, science, and spiritual workshops and an itinerant festival and platform of digital contents called “Osos de Anteojos” (Spectacled Bears), a project which combines art, activism, and environmental education for children and families.
4Direcciones—4Direcciones is an art project and a production company that explores the relationship between art, spirituality, and territory through documentaries, feature films, animation series, art, sound, exhibitions, and live events. We are committed to creating high-quality cultural, indigenous, and environmentally conscious content and events to inspire people and spark change.