- A people of the Peruvian Upper Amazon. Interest in Conibo culture and shamanism is largely dominated by interest in their use of ayahuasca or yagé. Halfway through the year Michael Harner spent with them (1960–61), he felt drawn “to study their spiritual life, the cosmology and their religion” and was told that there was only one way to learn: not by asking questions but by taking the shaman’s drink, ayahuasca. Nonetheless, Harner’s “core shamanism” definitively rejects the use of hallucinogens even while asserting that it is rooted in methods of achieving altered states of consciousness and journeying to other worlds that would be recognizable to Conibo shamans. Ayahuasca visions are understood by Conibo shamans to be provided by “eye spirits” and include dramatic and vivid formal designs and patterns with healing properties. When these touch the shaman, they become songs and can then be sung into a patient.
Historical dictionary of shamanism. Graham Harvey and Robert J. Wallis. 2007.