Garifuna people believe illness is caused by a lost connection between us (realm of man) and the Ancestors (realm of spirit). The role of the healer in our tradition is to repair the connection, thereby restoring health to the complete individual. Indigenous Garifuna healings are usually conducted in the context of a ceremony, where elements, totems, and the ancestral spirits of both the healer and the heal-ee are consulted with for help. My people are descendants of the Kalinagu Indians who migrated to the Caribbean from South America in the 11th century and later united with Africans who escaped slavery.
Our healing traditions derive from both Africa and those of the South American rain forest. Our ancestors left the Antilles of the Caribbean and traveled west towards the Bay Islands. The journey continued, creating Garifuna settlements along the coastlines of Guatemala, Nicaragua, Belize, and Honduras; where I was born into a long succession of matriarchal Garifuna healers who will forever be my teachers.
The Ancestral healing methods I hold dear were transmitted through my mother, grandmother, and great grandmother. I now live in Belize where I maintain a traditional healing practice, and facilitate Mountain Spirit Wellness Retreats. In the effort to preserve and protect the treasures of my ancestors, I founded the Wagiya Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of our Garifuna healing and spiritual traditions.
My name is Ana Nicolasa Arzu, known as Arzu Mountain Spirit. The people who really love me and know me just call me Arzu. I am a traditional healer, writer, life coach, teacher, and presenter of talks and workshops on Garifuna spirituality, healing methods, and medicinal plants.