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No man is an island, entire of itself;

every man is a piece of the continent,

 a part of the main.

If a clod be washed away by the sea,

Europe is the less,

as well as if a promontory were,

as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were:

any man's death diminishes me,

 because I am involved in mankind,

and therefore never send to know

for whom the bells tolls;

it tolls for thee.


John Donne

Meditation XVII

Devotions upon emergent occasions



There is a sea made up of unfathomable waters: the sea of emotions. It is host to converging torrents, attacks, rages and intensities, which seem to be contained by the over-estimated dam of reason. However, behind the concrete bounds of our logical life, lies an ocean that is endlessly swelling.


These waters free themselves via many different escape routes. The liberation that crying provides is much more than a form of therapy; in essence, it is a connection, an unequivocal expression of a powerful emotion. In this sense, professional weepers have been the quintessential officiants of the merciful ritual of crying.


Nonetheless, the act of crying has been persecuted to such an extent that the very idea of a professional weeper is, in the best of cases, a cause of discomfort today. Since the beginning of humankind up until a few decades ago, all over the world these priestesses played their liberating, cathartic role. Their tears, which were sometimes collected in lachrymatories, were then buried next to the deceased as proof of the sadness left in his or her wake.


Now the crying has stopped and the weepers and lachrymatories have been forgotten, we have been left dry in a desert of self-inflicted exile, disconnected from our internal and external waters. We are anaesthetized in an oasis that is nothing but a mirage, pursuing headlong towards evasion, pleasure, speed and power. Our emotions are imprisoned, condemned to be ignored and never to manifest themselves. There is no faucet for them.


However, in the remote desert of Sechura, in Peru, unquenched by water for a long time now, there are still some professional weepers along with the last tears. Although they do exist, there are not many of them and certainly not enough for all our tragedies, our silent pain, our hurt and losses. There are not enough tears for the world’s pain, for our pain.


Yet, they continue to exist and if during the dark night of the soul you hear their sobbing, do not ask the weepers for whom they weep. You will know they weep for you.


Antonio Briceño

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