- Many of the most significant developments in the study of shamanism in recent decades have come from those interested in Amazonia. Similarly, the influence of South American shamanism on neo-shamanism and Cyberian shamanism is considerable. While much of the popular interest has been in the use of hallucinogenic, psychotropic, or vision-inducing plants, the more fundamental role played by tobacco has not received sufficient attention. It is notable, for example, that among the Araweté, a nonshaman is called a “noneater of tobacco.”Shamanism in South America is divided, broadly speaking, between Amazonian practices and those of the Andes. Juan Ossio usefully details the major differences. In the Andes, shamans are healers hired by clients, and they largely attempt to purify and “raise” (levantar) their patients by means of instruments displayed on a table. These include elements drawn from indigenous cultures and others associated with Christianity, and they are set out in an organizational pattern that replicates the “recurrent Andean representation of order, in which complementary opposites are mediated by a unifying principle.” Trance is used to identify and expel “evil forces,” to aid “journeying” toward sources of power, and to facilitate communication with the tabled objects. In Amazonia, by contrast, shamans enforce law and order, especially by combating sorcery or witchcraft and other assaults on or within communities. Amazonian shamans heal using tobacco and “sucking cures.” In both areas, shamans may be aided by powerful plants, particularly ayahuasca in Amazonia and San Pedro in the northern Andes, but further south in the Andes hallucinogens are replaced by coca.Ossio also notes that these performative and ideological differences arise from the nature of their broader cultures. The highly differentiated societies of the northern coast of Peru, with economies and modes of subsistence that generate trade surpluses, have developed hierarchical and bureaucratic political systems. “Social control was, and continues to be, a basic responsibility of the state more than that of ritual specialists.” Amazonian societies are “politically stateless and less differentiated” and “depend basically on shamanism to keep social control.” In both areas, shamans are present not only in small villages but also in the cities. This illustrates the ability of shamanism to evolve in relation to broader cultural, political, economic, and epidemiological contexts. For example, Neil Whitehead argues that “dark shamanism” or kanaimà is “an authentic and legitimate form of cultural expression and is mimetically linked to the violence of economic and political ‘development.’” It is also entangled with experiences of waves of disease that have resulted from European colonization. Shamanic vitality may also be illustrated by the inclusion of outboard motors among the other-than-human persons or powers with whom animist shamans may now engage. Further, it is significant that shamanic knowledge and practices have influenced the evolution of local forms of Christianity in South America, including the development of groups that use ayahuasca and similar plants sacramentally.
Historical dictionary of shamanism. Graham Harvey and Robert J. Wallis. 2007.
Look at other dictionaries:
South America — South American. a continent in the S part of the Western Hemisphere. 271,000,000; ab. 6,900,000 sq. mi. (17,871,000 sq. km). * * * Continent, Western Hemisphere. The world s fourth largest continent, it is bounded by the Caribbean Sea to the… … Universalium
South America — is a continent of the Americas, situated entirely in the Western Hemisphere and mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and… … Wikipedia
South America — South A|mer|i|ca the fourth largest ↑continent in the world, between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, which goes from the southern coast of the Caribbean Sea (in the north) to Tierra del Fuego (in the south). It includes the Andes Mountains, the… … Dictionary of contemporary English
South America — S continent in the Western Hemisphere: c. 6,900,000 sq mi (17,871,000 sq km); pop. c. 318,000,000 South American adj., n … English World dictionary
South America — noun 1. a continent in the western hemisphere connected to North America by the Isthmus of Panama (Freq. 3) • Derivationally related forms: ↑South American • Members of this Region: ↑Latin America • Instance Hypernyms: ↑continent … Useful english dictionary
South America — Most of South America had become dominantly Roman Catholic by the time Protestants began to develop their missionary programs. The exceptions were Guyana and Surinam, which were under British and Dutch control, respectively. As with most of … Encyclopedia of Protestantism
South America — South′ Amer′ica n. geg a continent in the S part of the Western Hemisphere. 331,000,000; ab. 6,900,000 sq. mi. (17,871,000 sq. km) South′ Amer′ican, n. adj … From formal English to slang
South America — geographical name continent of the western hemisphere lying between the Atlantic & Pacific oceans SE of North America & chiefly S of the equator area 6,880,706 square miles (17,821,029 square kilometers) • South American adjective or noun … New Collegiate Dictionary
South America — noun The continent that is the southern part of the Americas. It is east of the Pacific Ocean, west of the Atlantic Ocean, south of North America and north of Antarctica … Wiktionary
South America — /saʊθ əˈmɛrɪkə/ (say sowth uh merikuh) noun a continent in the southern part of the western hemisphere, joined to Central America by the Panama Isthmus and bounded by the Caribbean to the north, the Pacific to the west, and the Atlantic to the… … Australian English dictionary