Many years I lived in Amazon Region. The pre-Columbian cultures, which inhabited the Amazon forest, were wiped out or forcefully converted to Portuguese or Spanish cultures. The ultimate followers of the ancient ways backed up the river, looking for seclusion, killing intruders. Huaurani, Shuar, Achuar tribes are the last remnants of the ancient Amazon Tribes.
Now, as I write, these last cultural survivors are under the assault of timber, oil and evangelist interests. Few more years and the ancient wisdom and knowledge will be lost. The Amazon Culture is a perfect example of a total adaptation of man to the environment. He helps nature to produce all basic foods. He harvests and uses the Amazon forest for timber, fibber, medicine and fuel. Hunting with blowpipe and curare poison is a unique occurrence. Psychotropic plants play an important part in a spiritual development part of The Amazon Culture.
According to ancient lore, Father-Sun give 3 plants to man: Coca, Ayahuasca and Manioc.
COCA - Without the help of Coca leaf, above 3,000 m. (9,000 ft), it is impossible to live. Not a cocaine alkaloid punch to the nose, just few cups of Mate de Coca tea, during the day, takes away the altitude sickness in highlands of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. That's simple!
AYAHUASCA - A cultivated vine is brewed on the fire with Chalipanga leaves for few hours. The Yagè drink opens a spiritual channel to meet with our ancestors. No decision, affecting the tribe, was made without drinking Yagè the night before. Ayahuasca Vine is a cultivated plant. The forest provides none. The Amazon Shaman is the man who met his spiritual guardian and adviser. In Achuar terminology, the spiritual ally; guardian and adviser spirit is called ARUTAM. Man, to accomplish himself in a lifetime, must meet his spiritual ally.
MANIOC (MAMA) - The main ingredient of Chicha; the healthy food-drink of Amazon. For Chicha, Achuar women cultivate in gardens (Chacras) 17 types of MAMA; the sweet manioc (Yuca, Casava). Originally, to make Chicha, cooked mama was mashed then fermented with saliva. Now, few Chichas are made with saliva, most are made with addition of ripe plantain or sweet potato. In Chacras, Achuars grow 22 types of sweet potato, 15 types of bananas, 12 types of yams, 12 types of beans. In addition they plant psychotropic plants, vegetal fish poisons, medicinal plants, fibber, die plants, etc.
In Virtual Amazon, Rafal, welcomes you to explore the ethnic, spiritual and botanic aspects of Amazon Culture. You will learn.
In Real Amazon, my wife Jimela guides some of you on a jungle trip to Yagè ceremony. You will practice what you learned; you will know.
The Spirit of Anaconda and the music are alive in the Amazon
The music from Amazon forest.
They are from Puerto Misahualli, Napo
In 2000, they won Ecuador's folk dance competition
Then each year, they prove to be the best again, wining the golden leaf of Huayusa award during the Fiestas de Tena.
ANACONDA (Los Patihuaris) folk dance presentation is an unforgettable performance. The original music reflects traditional melodies of this part of the Amazon River. A spectator is mesmerized by rhythmic sounds of a turtle shell, a bamboo rattle, a three strings violin, a mini-guitar, a guitar, and a big drum. Girls swing grass skirts... boys, with curare blowpipes, circulate and wave between them... while an elder keeps the guard.
They are attending the shaman.
The Shaman invokes the spirit of anaconda. The warriors protect him. The women shaman, followed by her maids, brings the calabash of a magic drink. The anaconda spirit guides the shaman into the world of spiritual foresight. After drinking the ayahuasca, he asks anaconda for a protection, while dancers portray the movement of anaconda's body. He leads his dancers in a mystic dream induced by ayahuasca vine, while musician play and sing the story. The dance finishes as the Shaman offers his woman partner, the anaconda queen, to the serpent. All dancers form a protective circle around them. The following silence... is interrupted by loud applauds.
A Splendid sight and sound, an opera in the jungle...
PUERTO MISAHUALLI is a small village at the end of a road. It's a door to the amazonian jungle of Ecuador. This popular tour destination rests at the junction of two rivers, Napo and Misahualli. From the village, riverboats transport visitors to rustic cabins (cabañas) situated near native villages. In this part of the world, people speak kitchwa language. Exp: pagaracho - thank you.
NAPO RIVER enters into the headwaters of Amazon River. From Napo, Francisco de Orellana discovered the Amaru Mayu (The mother serpent of the world) River, and later changed its name to Amazon.