Shamanism -- critical concepts, 26

p. 155 pools & hills as supernatural vii (‘houses’)

"This image of subacquatic "houses," each one topped by the spiraling vortex of a whirlpool {cf. Siberian whirlpools are entrances to the divine worlds}, is interpreted by the Desana ... as a womb inside of which ... forces procreate and gestate fish and other water creatures.

In the Time of Creation it was people who were gestated there; from these pools emerged the first men ..."

"the hills are said to be "heads" ..."

p. 157 human maloca (longhouse)

"with the men’s door located in the center of the straight front wall, and the women’s door opposite it in the center of the semicircular back wall." {allusion to the curvature of women’s bodies}

pp. 158-159 primordial immigration




"The Desana say that in the beginning of time their ancestors arrived in canoes shaped like huge serpents. {cf. Norse dragon-ships} The passengers were agnatic brothers who were sitting in the order of their birth, and from them the different sibs are descended.


Each serpent was divided into a series of "compartments," ...

At the tip of the head was a hexagonal rock crystal representing the energy of the Sun Father who was guiding the anaconda.

Next came Chiefs, followed by Shamans; then came the Dancers, then Warriors and, finally, Servants.


... the snake divides into five major sections, with

the sixth point of reference, the rock crystal, just outside the men’s door which, traditionally, looks to the east." {cf. Navaho hogan’s door facing east}

p. 159 mythic supernatural interiors of natural tepui-s {cf. Daoist mythic divine worlds within earthly mountains}

"Inside the hill are

compartments, all occupied by the major species of game animals;

other animals sit on rafters and ledges;

some crouch in corners while

others hide under the roof.

All of them are half asleep, as if benumbed.

A huge anaconda is stretched out in the middle;

there are other monsters, such as jaguars and poisonous snakes, evil forest spirits ...

Another, important category of spirit-beings that occupy the hill houses are the "other people," the doubles, the Doppelga:nger of every person alive. {= Aztec tonal}

Some of the compartments are like geodes, globular bodies in a limestone matrix, coated inside with countless inward-projecting crystals."

p. 159 mythic supernatural interiors of water-houses

"They, too, are seen as large abodes divided into many recesses and chambers occupied by many-colored fish, crabs, snails, frogs, snakes, and other water creatures.

Slanting sunrays will penetrate into these depths, illuminating chains of glittering bubbles among which schools of multicolored fish may be seen flitting by.

Some of these chambers are set with brilliant crystals that glimmer with hidden reflections."

pp. 159-160 the divine Master of Animals



"the Master of Animals ... is ... a seducer who might appear as an incubus or a succubus. He incites people to incest; he tries to abduct women ...


But a the same time ... he is the gamekeeper who protects vital resources for the ulterior benefit of people."

the brain


physical structure of the brain


"what we call the left hemisphere is called "side one" and is more important than "side two," or our right hemisphere.

The great fissure is seen as a deep riverbed; it is a depression that was formed in the beginning of time (of mythical and embryological time) by the cosmic anaconda."


"The convolutions of the brain are called kae: and are seen in terms of compartments ... Each compartment is said to be a "deposit" that contains certain images or qualities. ... As a unit, each kae: contains a specific quality (buya`), image (keori`), and color (gohse`ri); it contains the peculiar odor of people (mahsa` se:riri) related to concepts, such as honesty, amiability, and spirituality; or it may lack a particular odor and thus indicate undesirable personality traits, such as unfriendliness ..." {cf. European phrenology}

"shamans speak ... of da`ri or "threads" that convey luminous impulses from one kae: to another." {= nad.i-s of yaugik physiology; "meridians" of Chinese}


hexagon models of the brain

"In one image the human brain is compared to a huge rock crystal subdivided into many smaller hexagonal prisms, each containing a sparkling element of color energy. {cf. the "crystalline sphaere" in mediaeval European cosmography}

In another image the brain is formed by a bundle of pencil-like hexagonal tourmaline crystals standing closely packed side by side; each crystal contains a sequence of colors which, from bottom to top, express a range of sensibilities. ["A "hill-house" can also be seen as a tourmaline crystal, the intensity of the colors varying from lighter on the top to darker at the bottom. ... the energy (boga`) contained in these prisms produced perceptible sound waves." (p. 175, n. 15)]

In another image a brain consists of layers of innumerable hexagonal honeycombs; the entire brain is one huge humming beehive, a wasp’s nest ...

Another image shows the brain divided into hexagonal columns, those of the left hemisphere having the widest possible range of colors, while those of the right showing only yellow, red, and blue ... Each column varies in intensity from top to bottom. "



other esoteric models of the brain

"A brain can be seen as

a bouquet of flowers,

a fluttering mass of butterflies,

a glistening swarm of tiny tropical fish, or

a quivering mass of multicolored frogs."

"Each kae: compartment has its specific name, for example, "the yellow place," "the place of rough stones," "the place of clay," "the place of crystal."" {cf. minerological description of the Tala netherworlds in Astika cosmography}

"the Indians point out that while "places" are called gorori`, by shifting the stress to the second syllable, as in goro`ri, the word comes to mean "flowers." Since flowers have many shapes, colors, scents, and textures, they combine many of the features which characterize ... a "state of mind," ..." {cf. FC}

specific kae:


"there is a certain kae: compartment which is said to contain a widowed woman, some grains of maize, and a lot of black ants." {cf. myth, in the Golden Ass by Lucius Apuleius, of goddess Psukhe who, when separated from her husband, relied on emmets to fulfill her task of sorting out the grains. (MC&Ps)}


"the "place of rough stones" is located in the left hemisphere and is occupied by large mammals of yellow, black, and red color, each animal representing a certain "state of mind."" {cf. animal-headed d. akini-s (witch-goddesses) occupying portions of the human brain in the Bar-do bTags-grol , i.e., rN~i-ma "Book of the Dead" (TBD, 12th Period)}

"... a "yellow place" located in the right hemisphere, which is inhabited by birds and young people."

"a kae: might comprise a number of certain small fish which are the favorite food of a certain acquatic bird. The fish own the remedy for certain diseases, but are willing to surrender it only in exchange for certain conditions under which the bird must promise not to pursue its prey." ["The fish in question is called vari`, a Cichlide, called "Juan Viejo," in Spanish vernacular. The stork is Jabiru mycteria." (p. 176, n. 16)] {cf. WARI, the capital in the highlands of Peru` before the hegemony by Ccuzco – in cichlid fishes, a female can become a male, just as a girl becometh a boy (ChFB) in several vaipulya sutra-s }

FC = E. Garzilli : "Flowers of Consciousness in Tantric Texts." In :- J. Vacek (ed.) : Pandanus (2000). Prague : Signeta, 2000. pp. 73-102.

MC&Ps =


ChFB = Nancy Schuster : "Changing the female body". In :- J. of the International Association of Buddhist Studies, Vol. 4 (1981), pp. 24-69.

pp. 163-164 the 2 cerebral hemisphaeres

left hemisphaere

right hemisphaere

e:me:ko`ri mahsa` ‘sun-people’

mahsa` ‘human’



"elder brother"

"younger brother"

pe~si~ro`~ {cf. /pensar/} ‘abstract thought’

pe~si~rnye` ‘expression of thought’

inyamahsi`ro~ ‘intuition’

yimahsi`ri ‘skill’

ideal, abstract


gahi` turi` ‘other world’

mari`a turi` ‘our world’

a~rimeta`~ro ‘abstract-first’

arimeta`nge: ‘existential-first’

mahs`~ro~ ‘wisdom’

mahsi`ri ‘knowledge’

p. 163 aspects of the left

"The left hemisphere is the seat of the cosmic energy of the Sun and contains all the "color energies" shamans believe to be inherent in rock crystal. It is the seat of all abstract shamanic wisdom and of the divine laws laid down by the Sun Father, the creator of the universe. It is also the seat of all shamanic utterances, of spells, songs and recitals, of all words of power.

It is the seat of music and dreams and, most importantly, of hallucinatory visions of abstract geometrical patterns."

p. 165 crossing athwart the mythic anaconda

"the central fissure of the brain must be transversed [traversed] from left to right. The image is that of ... the body of the anaconda and ... the stepping stones are the dark circular markings on the snake skin. Furthermore, since the huge serpent is moving and the glistening dark spots are half submerged, it is difficult to gain a firm footing ... It is important never to attempt a straight crossing, perpendicular to the river’s current ..."


"Within this wedge-shaped or, rather, cone-shaped space, two intertwined serpents are lying, a giant anaconda (Eunectes murinus) and a rainbow boa (Epicrates cenchris) ... The snakes are ... spiralling rhythmically in a swaying motion from one side to another. This rhythm, shamans say, is predictable and marks a daily, monthly, yearly pattern, so that the "crossing" must take into account the particular sway of the two gyrating serpents."


p. 169 intellectual qualities of particular (2 instances) musical instruments’ sounds

large flute

small whistle

"played only by adult men"

"blown by adolescent boys

is associated with "a multitude of fish running upriver to the spawning grounds"

early in the morning when they bathe in the river before dawn.

"sounds have a male odor,

The odor is the tune is ... male,

a very strong yellow color, and

the color is red, and

a very high temperature;

the temperature is hot;

the melody is said to be of a merry kind ...

the tune evokes youthful happiness and

which refers ... especially to breast-feeding in the first year of life." [flavor : milky]

the taste of a fleshy fruit of a certain tree."

p. 170 the 2 categories of phosphenes

"Linear forms , ... lines (straight, zigzag, dotted, undulating, radiating, etc.) pertain to the right hemisphere, while

closed forms, such as circles, square, diamonds [lozenges], spirals, or U-shaped labyrinths, pertain to the left."

Andrei A. Znamenski : Shamanism. RoutledgeCurzon, London, 2004. 3 Vols.

Vol. II, pp. 154-177 = 26. G. Reichel-Dolmatoff : "Brain and mind in Desana shamanism". [on the river Uaupe`s]