By Rebecca R. Stone

Shamanism--the perform of getting into a trance kingdom to adventure visions of a fact past the standard and to realize esoteric knowledge--has been a huge a part of lifestyles for indigenous societies during the Americas from prehistoric occasions until eventually the current. a lot has been written approximately shamanism in either scholarly and well known literature, yet few authors have associated it to a different major visible realm--art. during this pioneering examine, Rebecca R. Stone considers how deep familiarity with, and profound recognize for, the extra-ordinary visionary reviews of shamanism profoundly affected the inventive output of indigenous cultures in imperative and South the US prior to the ecu invasions of the 16th century. utilizing ethnographic debts of shamanic trance studies, Stone defines a center set of trance imaginative and prescient features, together with more advantageous senses, ego dissolution, physically distortions, flying, spinning and undulating sensations, synaesthesia, and actual transformation from the human self into animal and different states of being. Stone then lines those visionary features in historical works of art from Costa Rica and Peru. She makes a resounding case that those works, particularly these of the Moche, depict shamans in a trance country in any other case show the perceptual event of visions via growing intentionally chaotic and distorted conglomerations of partial, inverted, and incoherent pictures.

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Additional info for The Jaguar Within: Shamanic Trance in Ancient Central and South American Art

Sample text

I suddenly saw a man running. He was a messenger. I had to slow down and placed myself next to him. That is, next to his face, since . . only my soul participated. My soul is a sphere of some 7 cm. in diameter, pure energy, and it rotates on itself at such enormous speed that it would be the same if it didn’t. ” (In Naranjo 1973: 178–179) m u LT i P L i C i T y a n D f L u x Visions, whether geometric or narrative in content, are characterized by their fundamental multiplicity and flux. A very high number of percepts rapidly change into other things, just as the person can experience profound shifts in personal identity, as we shall see in chapter 2.

This animation doubly applies to the effigy, an object directly made to encapsulate only secondarily the shaman’s bodily appearance and primarily his essential nature as a locus of sensory and transformational activity during trance. I argue that ancient Central and South American artists created effigies of shamans in trance primarily to be understood as containers for the shamans’ essence identities, places for their visionary selves or spirits, rather than as images or illustrations of terrestrial, corporeal beings.

It so happens that the Indians have asked white men what those strange things [apara- tos ] are which run so swiftly along the street: they had seen automobiles, which of course, they were not acquainted with (Harner 1973a: 169). Don José Campos, a shaman from southeastern Peru, told me he knew a ninety-year-old indigenous man who had never left the jungle physically but from his ayahuasca journeys could draw planes, boats, motors, and computers (personal communication 2003). Such incidents appear highly persuasive that the Other Side is a powerful place from which to accurately view mundane time and space.

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