The creation myth of the Guarani

By Alexander Fritzen, November 2013

How eurythmy from the Neuwied Waldorf school came to the Rhineland-Palatinate Music School and went from there to Brazil, to the Favela Monte Azul, and finally into the jungle to the “Arapoty” native peoples cultural centre.

“Making the apparently impossible possible – that nurtures the spirit of a school” (Coenrad van Houten). This motto was turned into reality by Silvia Vögele, eurythmy teacher at the Neuwied Waldorf school, and Winfried Vögele, instrumental teacher and conductor at the Rhineland-Palatinate Music School. If in 2008 it was the message of peace from the indigenous population of New Zealand, the Waitaha, which the couple and 180 pupils presented in Dornach at the world teachers’ conference, then in 2013 it was the creation myth of the Brazilian Guarani people. 

Class 12 of the Neuwied Waldorf school worked together with 39 volunteers from classes 2-7 on the Guarani story in eurythmy. Winfried Vögele specially composed the stage music for symphony orchestra and girls’ choir. Then, on 1 and 2 June, 180 pupils enthralled an audience of more than 1,300 people in Ransbach-Baumbach town hall with their symphonic eurythmy project, of which Doris Ahnen, education minister in Rhineland-Palatinate, had become the patron.

Children from the Favela included

After the two performance in Germany, the class 12 rehearsed the same piece in Portuguese with new movements; the trip to Brazil was to start as early as 14 June with 48 pupils and eight teachers from both schools. That was not, of course, a sufficient number of performers for such a complex stage project. But that is where Ute Craemer stepped in. For many decades she has led the Favela Monte Azul in São Paulo in a unique way and some years ago she made a written record of the myth, handed down by word of mouth, and translated it into German. It was she who encouraged the children in the Favela to rehearse the remaining eurythmy roles. All the necessary costumes were brought along in twenty suitcases. The reduced German orchestra was also supplemented by the Favela’s string orchestra of which Renate Ignacio-Keller has been the conductor for many years.

But that was not all: the eurythmist Marissa Bernardi from the São Paulo Waldorf school was enthused by the idea and inspired sixty class 11 pupils to become involved. Together with Kaká Werá Jecupé, the Guarani who told the creation story, the “Multicultural” festival was born.

Kaká Werá Jecupé and the music students of his Arapoty native peoples cultural institute prepared the audience for the creation story with an opening act. The electrifying drumming skills of the native peoples could then be experienced close up when they joined in with the symphony orchestra.

There were seven performances in total over fourteen days; five of them were with the eurythmists, two were concert performance with only a speaker.

“Everything has been thoroughly planned, but be prepared for things to change.” This sentence accompanied the group on a daily basis because demonstrations in São Paulo made many things unpredictable: could the Brazilian Waldorf pupils be taken to the state theatre in time? Were the roads closed, passable or not? Should the performance perhaps be cancelled? After all, ten years ago the favela next to the state theatre was considered to be one of the most violent in the world. The pupils survived these trials with incredible patience and flexibility. Even the accommodation in the Favela with fifteen people in a small room, a single shower and one toilet for all was borne heroically.

Eurythmy symphony in the jungle

After São Paulo, the group headed for the jungle to the Arapoty native peoples cultural centre, the training centre for native wisdom and venue for the annual meeting of the chiefs of the different Guarani tribes in Brazil.

Everyone stood on top of the hill around the warming fire, a mighty full moon overhead; Kaká Werá said the earth’s satellite had not been so close to the earth as in this night for centuries.

The native people welcomed everyone to this historic moment with the words: “Think big, then dreams come true.” The jointly created Hallelujah was the gift to this place, its people and ancestors.

Before moving on to Rio de Janeiro for four days, the pupils gave another two performances at the São Paulo Waldorf school. It receives no state support and has to take mainly children from the upper classes of society. The pupils experienced at first hand the polarity between poor and rich: the simple but lively life in the Favela and the feudal life of the Waldorf pupils in houses with video surveillance and security zones.

A country full of crime and corruption, we had been warned, but the performers were supported by many positive forces and everything went well.

Monte Azul has eighteen place for volunteers wanting to do a voluntary social year and three of the pupils applied immediately. They will return there – may it encourage others to experience and support the work of the charismatic Ute Craemer.

Assuming that promised funding can be obtained, Kaká Werá plans a reciprocal visit to Germany with students from his cultural centre in 2014. In this way the encounter between the cultures, which started in such an impressive way this summer in Brazil, could continue on into the future.

The Guarani creation myth

The “primal father” of the  Guarani people, who created himself in the void of the night of creation, is Namandu. From this all-embracing unity arose a duality (the divine maternal principle) and that produced Tupa, the trinity.

The creation of the world

Tupa, “the trinity”, created the earth through the power of the word. He “takes care of the great affairs in world events” and needing a helper for that chose a human being to continue the work of creation on earth. He called him Tupamirim, the little creator. And Tupa gifted Tupamirim with the divine creative power of speech: what you think and speak, that you will create.

Earthly human beings

Tupamirim, “our original ancestor”, had not yet become earthly. He first had to learn to live on earth. Tupamirim went to learn from stones, plants and animals, the classic “realms of nature”.

The fourth step, the incarnation in his own body, only became possible with the help of mother earth. She formed the human body from clay and water into which entered “to learn much about the earth”.

Tupamirim for the first time saw his image reflected in water and called out joyously: Mavuzimim! (How lovely!) And since he also creates what he speaks, the first female human being was born out of the water as his likeness.

History and prophecy

Once Tupamirim and Mavuzimim had fulfilled their tasks as little creators, they left the earth and became sun and moon. Human history begins with their children.

A dispute arose between the two eldest brothers and the “first murder on earth” occured, there was conquest and suppression of those who have “remained behind” because half of the tribe had moved away “across the great river” and on its return recognised neither “tribe nor brother”.

The prophecy tells of how the “three great tribes” (white, yellow and black) arose from the group which originally emigrated and how they are now returning and encounter the fourth tribe, the red people. “Great confusion” follows, but “after one revolution of the wheel of time” a new people can be born through this encounter: the children of the golden people.


There is a DVD about the Guarani Project 2013 which can be obtained from Neuwied Waldorf School from December.


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