Animism in Rainforest and Tundra, 1



Too Many Owners

Carlos Fausto


pp. 30-2 terms in various Amazonian languages for 'owner/controller' (including for 'divine guardian of a species of mortal animals', or for a shaman's 'spirit-guide') and for 'owned/controlled' (including for mortal animals as 'pets' of their divine guardian, or for a shaman's 'spirit-helpers' who are subordinates of a spirit-guide)
























c^oz^ka-ksi-ty ('watcher-over, carer-for')

p. 32 the nature of ownership by a divine guardian over an animal-species

For the C^imane, divine"masters of animals usually keep their 'children' in an enclosure, releasing them slowly to be hunted by humans ([Daillant 2003]:303)."

For the Arara, divine "owners of animal species keep their 'creatures' in a box ... (Teixeira-Pinto 1997:97)."

Daillant 2003 = Isabelle Daillant : Sens dessus dessous ... des chimane d'Amazonie bolivienne. Nanterre : Socie'te' d'ethnologie.

Teixeira-Pinto 1997 = Márnio Teixeira-Pinto : Ieipari : sacrifi`cio ... entre os i`dios Arara (Caribe). Sa~o Paulo : Editora Hucitec/ANPOCS/Editora UFPR.

p. 32 the nature of controllerhood by a shaman over spirit-helpers

"Shamans also store their auxiliaryspirits in containers. Some keep them inside baskets and feed them tobacco; others insert them into their own bodies in the form of resins or stones.

The Waya~pi o~pi-wan caterpillars, who are the shaman's auxiliary spirits, are contained within his body, wrapped in tiny slings, just as the shaman himself is wrapped in the webs linking him to the masters of animals (Gallois 1996:46-47).

This is likewise the case of the Kanamari dyohko, solidified bits of plant resin that are kept by shamans within their own bodies, but may also be placed in baskets ... (Costa 2007:381-83). ... the shaman's auxiliaries appear, simultaneously, as internal and external parts of the owner-master".

Gallois 1996 = Dominique T. Gallois : "Xamanismo waia~pi : nos caminhos invisi`veis, a relac,a~o I-Paie". In :- E. Jean Matteson Langdon (ed.) : Xamanismo no Brasil : novas perspectivas. Floriano`polis : Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina . pp. 39-74.

Costa 2007 = Luiz Antonio Lino da Silva Costa : As faces do jaguar : ... mitologia entre os Kanamari da Amazo^nia Ocidental. PhD thesis. Programa de Pós-Graduação em Antropologia Social, Museu Nacional, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro.

p. 33 dignitaries wearing of trappings of a leopard

"Even the mild-mannered Upper Xingu` chief covers himself in parts of a jaguar body when he ritually greets dignitaries from other villages : a belt and hat made from the animal's pelt, a necklace made from its claws."

pp. 35, 43 primaeval Dream-Time

p. 35

[quoted from Guss 1989, p. 52] "The First People lived just as shamans do today, in a polymorphous state in which no boundaries eixisted. It was a time ... when Heaven and Earth were still connected and the distinctions between species not yet recognized. Only when these divisions solidified did the First People {i.e., the primordial deities} finally remove themselves from Earth, leaving their forms {viz., geographic shapes or whatever} behind as reminders of what this Dream Time had been like. After their withdrawal from the Earth, each of the First People became the 'Master' or arache of the species they engendered."

p. 43, n. 11

"'primitive society' appears as a kind of ... nightmare (pictured as a dream) 'from which nothing escapes ... since all exits are closed' (Clastres 1978:147-48)."

Guss 1989 = David M. Guss : To Weave and Sing : Art, Symbol, and Narrative in the South American Rain Forest. Berkeley : Univ of CA Pr.

Clastres 1978 = Pierre Clastres (translated from the French by into Portuguese by Théo Araújo Santiago) : A sociedade contra o estado. Rio de Janeiro : Francisco Alves Editora.

pp. 35-6 divine owners of species in forest and in cosmos

p. 35

"As Descola (1986) has shown, ... For the Achuar, the forest is the plantation of Shakaim, wild animals are the young kin of the mothers of the game, and cultivated plants are cared for by Nunkui, the spirit-woman who gave rise to cultigens. ...

Referring to the Guarani {Warani`}- Kaiowa`, ... : '... All the elements composing the current Cosmos possess owners, constituting domains and reflecting ... the Universe's hierarchisation' (Mura 2006:234-35). ...


p. 36

Miran~a, fr example, conceive the forest to be the domain of the animal masters, who 'reign there ...' (Karadimas 2005:342)."

"Before Yekuana men can take the canes used to make their famous bicolour flat baskets, they must ask a shaman to negotiate with Yododai -- the {divine} master who plants the canes and protects them (Guss 1989:106-7)."

Descola 1986 = Philippe Descola : La nature domestique : symbolisme et praxis dans l'e'cologie des Achuar. Paris : Maison des Sciences de l'Homme.

Mura 2006 = Fabio Mura 2006 : A` procura do "bom vivir" : territorio, tradic,a~o de conhecimento e ecologia dome`stica entre os Kaiowa`. PhD thesis. Programa de Pós-Graduação em Antropologia Social, Museu Nacional, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro. &

Karadimas 2005 = Dimitri Karadimas : La raison du corps : ide'ologie du corps ... chez les Miran~a d'Amazonie colombienne. Paris : Peeters.

p. 38 commingling of intentions of shaman with intentions of associate spirit-helpers

"'the shaman is a multiple being, a micro-population of shamanic agencies sheltering within a body : hence neither are his "intentions" exclusively "his," nor can he ever be certain of his own intentions' (Rodgers 2002:121)."

"Who is the Parakana~ curer, the dreamer or the dreamt ... (Fausto 2001a:357-69)?"

Rodgers 2002 = D. Rodgers : "A soma ano^mala a questa~o do suplemento no xamanismo e menstruac,a~o ikpeng". MANA 8.2:91-125.

Fausto 2001a = Carlos Fausto : Inimigos fie`is ... na Amazo^nia. Sa~o Paulo : Edusp. (review : )

p. 38 metaphysical requirement (as required by divine custodians of animal-species) to maintain for any wild animals those animals' viewpoints (so that the divine species-owner of those animals as "pets" can employ that viewpoint, when seeing through the divinity's pets' eyen)

"In Amazonia, ... since we can never know who adopted whom or who controls whom, to be powerful {by being empowered by divine custodians of animal-species}, shamans must ... ensure that the subjectivity of their wild pets is preserved, which means that they {the wild animals} can never be entirely tamed {by humans} (Fausto 1999:949)."

Fausto 1999 = Carlos Fausto : "Of ... Pets : ... Shamanism in Amazonia". AMERICAN ETHNOLOGIST 26.4:933-56.

pp. 39, 44 homologue, of Caucasoid-to-AmerIndian relationship, with owner-pet relationship

p. 39

"Contemporary ethnographic literature presents us with many instances in which relationships with whites {Caucasians} are assimilated to a master-pet relation."

p. 44, n. 14

"the western Parakana~ equated whites with powerful dream enemies, who are conceived as the dreamer's pets (Fausto 2002a, 2002b)."

Fausto 2002a = Carlos Fausto : "The Bones Affair : Knowledge Practices ... Seen from an Amazonian Case". J OF THE ROYAL ANTHROPOLOGICAL INSTITUTE 8.4:669-90.

p. 39 according to the Paumari : shaman as employer of theriomorphic helper-spirit

"'The shaman is .. of the itavari ... a governor. Whatever the shaman tells him {the itavari}, he must do and obey, like an employee.' (Bonilla 2007:355)"

{This is likewise the case for Siberian shamans, who regularly (in dreams) send their theriomorphic helper-spirits on errands of locating a patient's soul captured by a sickness-spirit.}

Bonilla 2007 = Oiara Bonilla : "O bom patra~o ... : ... come`rcio na cosmologia paumari". MANA 11.1:41-66.

pp. 39-40 according to the A`vilaRuna : supernatural controllers of animals

p. 39

"historical relations of ... indigenous cosmology is also found among the A`vila Runa of Ecuador (Kohn 2002 ...).

Here the animal masters express different figures of authority from the precolonial, colonial and postcolonial past.

{Likewise, for the Yekuana, the arac^e (divine owners of animal-species) are involved with history in such "towns created by the Dutch and Spanish" ("YRS") as AMenAdIn~a (AMuAY on the Parawana` paeninsula) and Angostura (on the Orinoco).

... the main owners live ... within the Sumaco volcano, linked by

p. 40

roads to other smaller town where less important owners live. ... Both towns ... are ... places of abundance in which the most powerful masters walk around with jaguars by their side like pet dogs (Kohn 2007:109-20)."

Kohn 2002 = E. Kohn : Natural Engagements and Ecological Aesthetics among the A`vila Runa of Amazonian Ecuador. PhD thesis. Madison : Univ of WI.

"YRS" = David Guss : "The Yekuana Road to the Sacred". ANTROPOLOGICA 68 (1987):49-58.

Kohn 2007 = Eduardo O. Kohn : "Animal Masters and the Ecological Embedding of History among the A`vila Runa of Ecuador". In : Carlos Fausto & Michael Heckenberger (edd.) : Time and Memory in Indigenous Amazonia. Gainesville : Univ Pr of FL. pp. 106-29.

p. 41 Amazonian sagas about twins

"as a socio-cosmic idiom, an asymmetry based on birth order must be introduced. This is the case of the twin sagas analysed by Le'vi-Strauss (1991) ... . ... Birth order can also serve as a socio-cosmic ruler for marking hierarchical differences between segments of the same people, as occurs in the Upper Rio Negro system".

Le'vi-Strauss 1991 = Claude Le'vi-Strauss : Histoire de lynx. Paris : Plon.

p. 42 marriage between mortal shaman and immortal divinity : culminating in mutual parenthood of offspring of immortal nature

"some indigenous peoples conceive the shaman's relation with his auxiliary spirits as a matrimonial bond : shamans constitute spirit families by marrying a spirit and engendering spirit-children. Even in these cases however, there is,

on the one hand, an emphasis on paternity (a man begins his shamanic life as a husband and ends up as a father, a bond conceived to be more stable and secure);

{However, according to lore of the Qabbalah, to have progeny through praeternatural means (i.e., as a result of sexual intercourse in dreams) is deemed potentially perilous.}

and, on the other hand, a relative de-emphasis on affinity (D'Anglure and Morin 1998:67; ... Daillant 2003:313, 325; Miller 2007:200). It is ... in contrast to Siberian hunting shamanism (Hayamon 1990)."

{The contrast alluded to is a matter of fact that in Siberian shamanry acquisition of supernatural in-laws is much esteemed.}

D'Anglure & Morin 1998 = Bernard Saladin d’Anglure & Françoise Morin : "Mariage mystique et pouvoir chamanique chez les Shipibo d'Amazonie péruvienne et les Aleut du Nunavut canadien". ANTHROPOLOGIE ET SOCIE'TE'S 22.2:49-74.

Miller 2007 = Joan Miller : As coisas : os enfeites corporais e a noc,a~o de pessoa entre os Mamainde^ (Nambiquara). PhD thesis. Programa de Pós-Graduação em Antropologia Social, Museu Nacional, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro.


Marc Brightman, Vanessa Elisa Grotti, & Olga Ulturgasheva (edd.) : Animism in Rainforest and Tundra : Personhood, Animals, Plants and Things in Contemporary Amazonia and Siberia. Berghahn Bks, Oxford, 2012.