In more than one Brazilian tribe of Indians — and I am guessing that very similar patterns can be found in other cultures throughout the world — the Pajé begins his life as the strange one, the person that does not fit, the outcast within his tribe. He then goes out in a spiritual journey through the world, during which he doesn’t belong anywhere, he is completely lost and ultimately alone. In the end, he returns and can, finally, take his position as the tribe’s priest, magician and healer, second in authority only to the Cacique. Maybe Pajé can be accurately translated as shaman.
Now many — but I am really talking a big bunk of people here — many of my friends went to live abroad. And talking to then, i always get that feeling — if they don’t tell me outright — that they did so because they really couldn’t feel to belong here, in Brazil, with their family and friends — and they didn’t feel like playing the roles expected of them.
Now it all feels a bit naïve to me, that most of them will come back and become not only a part of everything that they didn’t believe in, but an important part, an honoured part.