TIERRA MI CUERPO, AGUA MI SANGRE, VIENTO MI AIRE, FUEGO MI ESPIRITU
As shared in the book Sastun, Dr. Rosita’s apprenticeship with Don Elijio Panti in his final years was the impetus for the beginnings of this healing knowledge reaching the wider world.
Rosita and her family moved to Belize in the early 1980s to live closer to the land. There she set up her herbal clinic and sought knowledge on the medicinal properties of local plants. One day, an elderly man found his way to her. As they traded stories about linden leaves he introduced himself. In Rosita’s own words, she “nearly dropped her glass jar”. Before her stood the most esteemed healer in the region.
After many tears and failed attempts at convincing Don Elijio to take her on as a student, he had a dream vision. In a field of corn planted by Don Elijio’s own hands, he shared that he had received a clear directive to teach Rosita, and the condition he placed on this was she would need to promise to look after his people after he was gone.
Rosita, now in her eighties, resides in Belize to this day. In the years between then and now, her efforts and those of many others have gone towards supporting traditional healers and their families. Maya children are supported to learn about their medicinal plant knowledge at bush medicine camps and in classrooms. The healing traditions taught to her continue being offered with prayer by the hands of hundreds around the world.
Rosita also received much wisdom from the late Ms. Hortense Robinson. Seemingly destined to her path, Hortense descended from midwives on both sides and took her first breath on the island of Cozumel, home of Ix Chel's sacred temple. Known as Mil Secretos, her extensive knowledge of medicinal plants was pivotal to the Belize Ethnobotany Project, a profound labor of love co-created by Rosita and Michael Balick of the New York Botanical Gardens. Hortense’s expertise in tending the womb and supporting birth, as well as her deep love for children, plants and animals live on as forces that inform and illumine the Arvigo Techniques® as we know them today. Other important souls to be honored include Don Jeronimo Requina, Don Elijio's mentor in healing, Ms. Beatrice Waight and Ms. Juana Shish.
It is important to understand that we live in a time after these relationships, where healing and restoration for the harms inflicted on indigenous peoples the world over are rightfully being centered. Today, we have the honor and privilege of being connected to and supporting Don Elijio's descendants in the village of Tanah. It is a gift to hear remebrances and wisdom through the stories of Maria Garcia, his niece. She is also the chairperson of the Itzamna Society, an organization that stewards the Elijio Panti National Park, some 13000 acres of pristine old growth rainforest. On this land Don Elijio Panti once harvested medicines amongst ceremonial caves and ancestral remains. We recognize and honor the sacred waterfalls, ceiba trees, jaguars and other beings who are also part of the tapestry of this lineage.
During the pandemic, the Institute went through a radical reincarnation. We acknowledge that for her own reasons, Rosita has chosen to teach exclusively with the Abdominal Therapy Collective. We honor her as a sovereign being and in reverence to the profound teachings she has shared with us with continue in the Spirit of integrity and community care. Some videos sharing more on the transition of the Institute are available here, here, here and here.