While in Costa Rica I had the opportunity to visit with a BriBri shaman. He welcomed me into his Conical House, the sacred place were he works, healing his community through a combination of spiritual practice and herbal medicine. The Conical house is constructed of entirely natural materials and built to reflect the order of the universe. He explained that the house comprises four levels, like tiers, that symbolize the four levels of consciousness. The ground level being the human realm, the second belonging to the plants, animals and rivers, the third assigned to the spirits who cause disease and grief, and the fourth being reserved for Sibu, a God-like creator.
He told me that upon death the souls of the BriBri people descend to a heaven located beneath the surface of the earth. The Conical house exists as the physical mirror of what exist underground, like two cones connected at the base. I left the Conical house considering the idea of heaven existing underfoot and how this concept might facilitate a deeper connection to the environment. It demonstrates that in order to look to heaven we must look down- at our own feet on earth.