Warani` Shamans of the Forest

pp. 28-9, 32-3 vocation : being inducted into shamanhood by dead shamans in dreams

p. 28

"My father began appearing in my dreams. He set a crown of feathers on my head Ė the corona that all shamans wear. He also placed all the shamanic ornaments on my body and a sacred rattle in my hand. It was in dreams that my father taught me how to make these things. Sometimes he sang to me and said, "I am leaving this song for you." My father always came from the East, where the song originates".

p. 29

"After I began praying and dancing a lot, I had a dream that four dead shamans came to me from the West ... . ... Each spirit gave me a song. ... Then they took me to another space. ... I was taken to a large field not of this earth. It is in another place in space. There were many birds that ate special fruits. The shaman spirits said, "Now that you know this place, you should listen to this song." Then they sang a sacred song as I watched the sunset. A very bright light came to

p. 32

me, and then spirits who had human-like bodies arrived. These spirits were the word souls ... . They took me to the chief shaman who showed me how to baptize people. [note : "The Guarani baptism is a ceremony, ... lasting most of an evening, in which a person is given a soul-name ... . This name enables you to be recognized by the Guarani spirit world."] ... Finally he said, "We will now send you back to earth where you will stay awhile to help others." Then the four shaman spirits brought me back home."


"In my next big dream, the owners of the sacred songs showed me to way from the West, where the sun sets, to the East, where the sun rises. {Is this the path of the night-trek of the sun, under the world?} ... They explained

p. 33

that after our bodies die, our souls have to travel through a certain path. They said that East and West are where people go to live after death. ... [note : "For the Guarani, the sun rises every morning from the Land Without Evil, a sacred realm where there is no hunger or illness."] In the middle of [viz., going toward the north-and-south] the spiritual road there is a path that comes from the ocean. In the corner, there is a tree called the pindo. The pindo in my dream was sacred. It had a yellow light surrounding it. This tree bears a fruit {nut} with a protective shell. ... The shell held an eternal water {coconut-juice} inside.

After you die, you will travel past the point where this shell is laying {lying}. ... If your soul wants to go East, you are seeking perfection.


Along this way a mythological pair of scissors that we call mother scissors exists.

{Is the term "mother" in "mother scissors" indicative of a goddess, such as the scissors(Ch, p. 116, n. 103)-holding Chinna-masta, who


It is like a guillotine that constantly chops. ...

is beheaded as though with a guillotine?}


This was shown to me in my sacred dream. After you pass through the mother scissors, you will get to the place where many spirits and primeval animals reside. Wild cats, bird, and eagles".

Ch = Elisabeth Anne Benard : Chinnamasta : The Aweful Buddhist and Hindu Tantric Goddess. Delhi, 1994. http://books.google.com/books?id=VT3a-PrmXncC&pg=PA116&lpg=PA116&dq=

p. 36 being shewn cures in dreams

"I learned from my dreams that there are many types of sicknesses each with its own unique cure. I was shown these cures. ... The dreams like this came about once every twenty to thirty days. A different spirit came for each sickness. The spirits explained to me what to do and what I needed to know. ... Spirits teach a shaman how to heal, dance, sing, and live."

p. 58 acquisition, during dream, of power to see ailments within patientsí bodies

"In my dream ... I saw tiny insects all over my body, particularly on my arms and legs. ... I was told to listen very carefully. Then they gave me four different songs. ... After I had listened to the songs, I woke up. ... Then I discovered that I had a kind of X-ray vision and I could see inside people. ... . ... through singing and blowing I found I could cure people."

pp. 59-60 in dreams, songs telling of cures are received from spirits

p. 59

"Whenever you get a song from a spirit, usually a secondary song is also given. The second song same the same power as the primary song, but it is

p. 60

usually not sung. ... Through the songs you learn what plants to use. ... When a sick person comes to you, you dance and pray. Then you go to sleep and a dream tells you what plant the person needs. Dreams also tell you when a person is going to die. The sacred songs come from different places Ė East, West, North, South, and above. ...


For instance, if you want to know something about water, you will need a song from the North."

{The Chinese likewise ascribe the element water to the North.}

pp. 60-1 upon awaking, hearing spirits sing; seeing things by means of a rattle

p. 60

After eating as "medicine" (holy communion) pindo (coconut) and sweet potato, then "dream and when you wake up, itís possible that you will hear the spirits sing sacred songs."


"When I dance and shake my rattle, I am able to see things. Even the act of holding the rattle helps me to see. When I hold the rattle, I am holding a piece of the great holy rattle of the

p. 61

sky. When I pray I hear what is going to happen to another person."

p. 75 naming of babies by a shaman; knowledge by shaman of babiesí future

"In the baptism dance, I blow the spirit of the person and tell them the real name. I knew it ... because I asked the Great Father ... . ...

When a shaman finds out a personís name, he also sees the future of their life. The shaman knows whether that person will become a shaman."

p. 80 dreaming-soul

"There is a spirit in our chest near our heart. It protects us while we are asleep. When we sleep, this spirit goes to heaven. This is how we dream and have communication with heaven."

pp. 80-1 myth of deluge

p. 80

"Before there were people on earth, there used to be a temple and a sacred bamboo pipe for making music. ... At that time there was also a great shaman named Ava Taja. ... Then the rains came and covered everything. However, when the great water came, it never went inside the temple. It was because the shaman protected it with a trench. The water came like a waterfall {falling into the trench?} all around the temple, but the temple was like an island. ... When this great shaman stretched out his

p. 81

arms, all the good birds landed on him as if he was a tree. ... All the good animals, like the ones we eat today {i.e. game-animals}, were kept inside the temple. The other animals, like snakes and jaguars, were kept outside {apparently between the temple and the trenchesí waterfalls}.

He knew that the natural calamity was going to happen and warned everyone to ... plant special trees. He sang a song to help raise the people above the water. This song now helps to lift us high into the sky."

p. 81 tobacco & yerba-mate

"The holy tobacco exists in the center sky above the intersection of the four directions. ... The tobacco sends our message to God ... . ...

One of our secrets is that you can burn dries mate leaves instead of tobacco. This is a good thing to do."

pp. 88-9 word-soul and humansí animal-soul

p. 88

"Ayvu, "word soul," is ... realized when your heart is touched by the spirit and you are moved to express yourself through speech. ...

Every person has two souls that coexist. {cf. the Zulu 2 souls, one good and one evil, in each person} One, called ayvu, ... enters the body immediately after birth. This soul is identified with peace, gentleness ... . It is a word soul in the form of a flower, nectar, honey, corn, lightning, or dew and resides in the thoracic cavity of the body.


However, each person is also the inheritor of an animal soul {with the humansí "animal soul", cf. Aztec /tonal/}, asyigua>, which is harbored at the nape of the neck. This is the essence of an evil spirit or anang that we carry on our shoulders {cf. the Bodish soul perched on oneís shoulder} throughout our entire life. It makes us irritable, bad-tempered ... . ...


After death, the two souls separate. The Ayvu tries to reach the Land-Without-

p. 89

Evil, while the animal soul may turn into a fearful ghost. To drive the asyigua> away, ... perform a dance, in which two opposite groups of dancers run past one another, passing at a fast speed, in an effort to confuse the soul. In this way, the shaman can deliver the lost soul to a Tupa ["minor god" (p. 88)], who takes it to the land of the dead."

pp. 89-90 evil subterranean deities

p. 89

"We believe that there are evil beings who bring us pain. ... We call these evil beings ana[n]g. ... When

p. 90

we sing our sacred songs, pora>i, the anang emerge from the earth. They twist their bodies in gruesome ways and stare at us. Their look is very powerful. That is why we shamans donít open our eyes when we sing. We are afraid that we might be poisoned by the looks of the anang." {evil eye}

pp. 90-1 the altar, its variants & laterals

p. 90

"The Guarani cross ... is the intersection ... where the migratory birds, guyra marangutu, settle in the spiritual world.

The center piece of our altar is usually a cross ... . The altar itself is typically made of three vertical sticks. The center stick is the largest, ... a representation of the body of Nande Ru Pave (the father of each of us). ... its middle ... hangs the guembe (great corn). The upper end is ... over which the cross .. is hung. ...

The other variation of this arrangement consists of the cross laid out in the center of

p. 91

a board ... hexagonal with four flowery sticks, yvyra>i poty, each representing one of the four cardinal points.


It can even take the shape of the tape, a bird.

{The bird-shape (also used as, e.g., brick fire-altar according to the Brahman.a-s -- S`B5, p. xxix), must have been the truly indigenous Warani` original, judging from its association with "the migratory birds".}


The other elements of the altar are to ygary lateral sticks, one on each side. ... And on one stick a plant of corn is attached, and from the other stick, a sugar cane plant is tied. ... The altar also holds small bells on a rope, which is a place for the word-souls. In addition, there may be ... some carved wooden fish forms."

S`B5 = Julius Eggeling : S`atapatha Brahman.a Part V (SBE44) http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/sbr/sbe44/sbe44002.htm "the altar, which is described as three-cornered, like the heavenly bird Garud.a, and as being composed ... of gold bricks".

p. 91 pora>i

The shamanís song, pora>i, is the main weapon we use against the anang. The pora>i is the revelation of the divine beings ... . These revelations usually take place in our dreams. The power of our shamans comes directly from the songs, which come from dreams."

p. 103 out-of-body experience by author (B.K.)

"He placed his mouth upon my chest and blew into my heart. The air was not warm as I would have expected it, but was ice cold. I immediately felt like I flew out of my body and found myself flying in outer space. I saw the place he had been taken to in his first vision. He explained what happened as follows : "As the spirits once took me to another spiritual world, I asked them to take you their also. This is my way of teaching and empowering you with my sacred knowledge.""

PROFILES IN HEALING, Vol. 4 = Bradford Keeney : Guarani Shamans of the Forest. Ringing Rocks Pr, Philadelphia, 2000.