Singing to the Plants: A Guide to Mestizo Shamanism in the Upper Amazon

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UNM Press, Jan 15, 2010 - Social Science - 544 pages

In the Upper Amazon, mestizos are the Spanish-speaking descendants of Hispanic colonizers and the indigenous peoples of the jungle. Some mestizos have migrated to Amazon towns and cities, such as Iquitos and Pucallpa; most remain in small villages. They have retained features of a folk Catholicism and traditional Hispanic medicine, and have incorporated much of the religious tradition of the Amazon, especially its healing, sorcery, shamanism, and the use of potent plant hallucinogens, including ayahuasca. The result is a uniquely eclectic shamanist culture that continues to fascinate outsiders with its brilliant visionary art. Ayahuasca shamanism is now part of global culture. Once the terrain of anthropologists, it is now the subject of novels and spiritual memoirs, while ayahuasca shamans perform their healing rituals in Ontario and Wisconsin.

Singing to the Plants sets forth just what this shamanism is about--what happens at an ayahuasca healing ceremony, how the apprentice shaman forms a spiritual relationship with the healing plant spirits, how sorcerers inflict the harm that the shaman heals, and the ways that plants are used in healing, love magic, and sorcery.

 

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Contents

Chapter 21
Chapter 22
Chapter 23
Chapter 24
Chapter 25
Context and Sources
Chapter 26
Chapter 27

Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Ayahuasca
Chapter 20
Chapter 28
Chapter 29
Chapter 30
Meeting Modernity
Chapter 31
Chapter 32
Chapter 33
Chapter 34
Chapter 35
Appendix A
Appendix B
Notes
References Cited
Index
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

Stephan V. Beyer has a law degree and doctorates in both religion and psychology, and has previously published three books on Buddhism and Tibetan language and religion. He has been a university professor, a trial lawyer, a wilderness guide, and a peacemaker and community builder. He studied wilderness survival among the indigenous peoples of North and South America, and sacred plant medicine with traditional herbalists in North America and in the Upper Amazon.

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