Spears of Twilight, 15-16 & 19-20


15. (pp. 231-251)

pp. 234, 236 soul; aura

p. 234

"The Achuar’s wakan corresponds ... to ... the soul : it is ... able to separate itself from the body, temporarily in dreams and visionary trances ... . ... Death ... results from the wakan’s deliberate decision ... . ... The wakan ... in other contexts ... can denote ‘a cast shadow’ or ‘a reflection in the water’."

p. 236

A shaman is "able to make out the coloured aura surrounds his colleagues when they are under the influence of natem."

pp. 236-7 herbs cultivated as remedies against ailments



its classification





snake-bite; dysentery







amaranth family




" "




mallow family




verbena family




"common stinging nettle"



16. (pp. 252-264)

pp. 259-60 musical instruments for particular caerimonies

p. 259

"pinkui, a long, transverse, two-holed flute

reserved for playing dancing music – as opposed to

p. 260

the short peem flute,

which is kept for anent."

p. 262 "love philtres"

"heart and brain of the grosbeak, a little sparrow with a red beak, ... soft, tuneful whistle"

"long, thin, barbed tongue of the toucan"

"considered by the Quichuas to be particularly effective for attracting women, the vulva of a freshwater dolphin worn as a bracelet."


19. (pp. 299-314)

pp. 299, 302-5 meeting of man with arutam

p. 299

"arutam only appears to those who have cleared a wide, unimpeded approach for him, literally a ‘path’ {"Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight." Matthaios 3:3)}, next to which the supplicant, positioned in his ‘resting place’ (ayamti), awaits the arrival of the wandering ghost."

p. 302

"the supplicant suddenly become aware of the echoes of a distant wind that swells into a hurricane and swoops violently upon the clearing at the precise moment when a strange or monstrous apparition gradually

p. 303

approaches him. It may be a gigantic jaguar with flaming eyes {"his eyes were as a flame of fire" (Apokalupsis of Ioannes 1:14)},

a pair of huge, enlaced anacondas,

an immense harpy-eagle,

a troop of armed strangers laughing sarcastically,

a truncated human body with limbs that crawl independently along the ground [cf. "fragmentation of the body" (supra, p. 208)], or

a great fiery head ["like a ball of fire" (p. 307), "ball of fire (payar)" (p. 308)] that falls from the sky and rolls convulsively toward him.

Despite the terror that seizes the supplicant, he has to touch the apparition with his hand or a stick. Thereupon it vanishes in a deafening explosion and the wind dies down as swiftly as it arose.

In the sudden calm, an imposing old man then materializes. He is arutam, in other words ‘the Ancient’ {cf. the "Ancient of Days" (Daniye>l 7:9, 22)} ... who, after testing the supplicant’s courage by adopting a terrifying avatar, now reveals himself in a benign form to deliver a brief message".

"the effects of arutam soon become manifest in a man in the way he behaves : he speaks out forcefully, particularly in ceremonial dialogues, is visibly at ease in all circumstances and can face danger and adversity with

p. 304


"The quest for an arutam needs to be repeated at regular intervals. ...

p. 305

Meeting with a new arutam seems not only to restore the strength ..., but also to increase it little by little, as he accumulates more visionary experiences".

pp. 305-6 meeting of woman with arutam

p. 305

The quaest for arutam "attracts above all the wives of men who are kakaram, or ‘strong’, that is to say those who have had many arutam meetings. What these women acquire, as well as longevity,

p. 306

is confidence in achieving perfection in their own areas of competence : skill in the cultivation and use of plants, pottery, weaving, raising dogs, and so on. ... In the same way as the men, some women go regularly to the ‘resting place’ to take stramonium ... . Occasionally they also meet arutam in dreams, without taking any stimulants".

p. 313 the aequivalent to Ac^uar arutam as known by another tribes

"the arutam of the Achuar seems to differ from the arutam of the Shuar, which itself differs from what the Aguaruna call ajutap."

Awaruna : "the vision ... is transformed into a new ajutap spirit at the death of the visionary."

S^uar : "Finding a new arutam speedily will furthermore check the gradual dissipation of the power of the old arutam soul, thereby contributing to an accumulation of power that will increase with each consecutive acquisition. At his death, [this process] produces as many arutam souls as he has incorporated in his lifetime."


20. (pp. 315-334)

pp. 315-7 tsentsak

p. 315

[in patient] "a short while ago he dreamed that that little birds were pecking at his body and penetrating his side – a classic omen for an attack of tsentsak."

p. 316

[in curer] "The music of his tsayantar has enabled him to arouse the darts that he has stocked within his body, making them vibrated in unison ... . This melodic excitation, presented as an operation designed to ‘seduce’ his own tsentsak, is addressed to a particular class of darts known as ‘ra[c]coon darts (entsaya yawa tsentsakri), which resonate with the music and song of the shaman and contribute to his internal harmony. To activate their response as successfully as possible, the uwishin must also be able to concentrate his mind at length upon images of vibration, such as humming-birds or dragonflies in stationary flight. In this way, all his senses combine in the experience of trance so as to turn ... into one great, immobile vibration."

p. 317

[in the process of curing] [The curer] "seizes the shinki-shinki, a sheaf of rustling leaves made specially for the purpose, and sets about rhythmically brushing them over the painful part of the body. This first phase of the cure is designed to anaesthetize the painful darts lodged in [the patient]’s body : doped by the smoke and cooled by the draught produced by the soporific movement of the shinki-shinki, they grow numb with cold, lose their virulence and will become easier to dislodge. ... It is at this point ... that [the curer] begins to whistle a little tune ..., keeping in time with his sweeping movements."

pp. 318, 320-1 the chant for curing

p. 318

"Making my Iwianch spirits rise up

I make them pass through the barrier of darts ...

p. 320

Unmoving, I wear the pasuk like a necklace ...

Relentlessly drawing the pasuk from the skies ...

p. 321

My Iwianch spirits, I make them turn blue in my very soul ...

The one called the porcupine of the heavens, that is the one I seize".

pp. 322-3 shamanic voyage during the process of curing; refrains of the curer’s song

p. 322

"Under the effects of the natem the voyage has begun and [the shaman]’s soul is so to speak split or even dispersed in many interconnected fragments. ... His eyes scan the patient’s body, determining, as if by radioscopy, the exact positions of the tsentsak that are at the root of the trouble. But his spirit is also moving through space at a prodigious speed to gather together the creatures whose assistance he is seeking and the spirits from which he draws his powers, while at the same time, like a reconnaissance plane flying over enemy lines, he is spying in the darkness on the movements of the adversary’s henchmen, who are flocking to tighten their evil hold upon the patient."

"The two dominant refrains – ‘tsumai, tsumai ...’ and ‘tarairira, tari-ri-ri ...’ are ... esoteric allusions in the song. The first [/tsumai/] ...

p. 323

designates ... shamans’ ability to move at great speed beneath the waters ... . As for ‘tari-ri-ri’, this is ... a stylized invocation addressed to the spirit Jurijri, who is ... responsible for watching over the animals and also one of the most loyal of the uwishin’s servants."

pp. 325-7 pasuk, generally

p. 325

"the ‘midnight-blue anaconda’ – kintia panki [/panki/ is ‘anaconda’ (p. 422)], which naturalists call the ‘rainbow boa’ – a reptile of iridescent blue {"The Brazilian rainbow boa ... appears metallic blue ... with a sparking iridescence" (S, p. 75a)} so deep that it seems to spread darkness around it ... . } It is following this example that ... ‘makes his soul become blue’ [p. 321 : "turn blue in my very soul"], that is to say camouflages it in darkness {or is this an allusion to the bluishness of the moon?} ... deep enough to hide it from an uwishin’s eyes sharpened by natem. ... .

... the black jaguar and the midnight-blue anaconda ... bear allegiance only to shamans, who treat them as if they were domesticated animals. Every uwishin has his own anaconda installed

p. 326

in an underwater cave beneath his home [atop "a cliff overlooking a deep bend in" a river (p. 326)]. Meanwhile, the even more powerful black jaguar is an attribute of only top-ranking shamans.

The anaconda ..., aided ... by its ability to carry a protective darkness around with it. It is also a vehicle in which the shaman’s soul can be temporarily embodied in order to spy out what effects his operations are having."

"The Tsunki [/tsunki/ are ‘river spirits’ (p. 424)] and their domesticated animals represent only a fraction of the creatures that make up this cohort of spirit helpers that the shamans call their pasuk. ...

S = David P. Badger : Snakes. 1999. http://books.google.com/books?id=uaF7u8k7alkC&pg=PA75&lpg=PA75&dq=blue+%22rainbow+boa%22&source=bl&ots=8NvrXekfA0&sig=CBdDlv5cLvv4FJkt6QGhmxGLASA&hl=en&ei=EkZETrmJO8_pgQe9vKyiCQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&sqi=2&ved=0CDEQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=blue%20%22rainbow%20boa%22&f=false

p. 326-7 first-ranking pasuk




"Apart from Tsunki, the first group comprises the spirits that watch over the destiny of animals ... :


Amasank, the hunter of toucans, who moves around in the tree tops, passing from one to another on a bridge of blowpipes;


Jurijri, the polygot conquistador, bearded and troglodyte, whose second mouth, concealed by his hair, devours disrespectful hunters [p. 420 : "responsible for watching over monkeys"];


and Shaam, the monster of the marshes, whose palpitating heart is exposed to the elements." [p. 132 : "the Shaam, invisible inhabitant of the marshes ... is reputed to carry its heart slung on its chest ... palpitating ..., ... plaintive moans ... it emits at dusk."] [p. 422 : S^aam " lives in marshes and manifests itself mainly by whispering sounds heard through the mists"]


"All these pasuk are themselves shamans, skilled at caring for the animals wounded by human beings".

p. 327 second-ranking pasuk

"the second-ranking pasuk ... all faithfully accomplish the bidding of those who control them. Two of these are particularly ... the Titipiur and the Nikru Iwianch. ...

The Titipiur prowls around houses at nightfall, easily recognizable by his melancholic cry, ‘Piia-piia-piia!’ ... . If no fire is alight to keep him at a distance, he comes in when everyone is sleeping to devour the livers of the victims designated by his master ... . ...

The Nikru Iwianch ... is a Herculean Black, wielding a huge sword and wearing enormous boots, who takes his prey by surprise when they are alone, batters them ... with his fists, then removes their clothes and seals all their bodily orifices, pinning them shut with small pointed stakes."

pp. 330-1 viewing tsentsak & sunkur

p. 330

"Uwishin claim that it is easy to distinguish an illness from a spell :

whereas tsentsak are visible in the patient’s body in the form of little bundles whose colour and luminosity vary according to the type of darts,

sunkur have ...

p. 331

a bronze vapour emanating from the organ that is affected."


"Tsentsak are connected by very long silvery threads

{cf. magical cord extruded by Australian aboriginal shamans}


to those who dispatch them and can thus continue to direct them from a distance.

{similarly to puppets controlled with cords : cf. certain Chinese deities regarded as puppets}


These threads can be seen only by uwishin who have taken natem, who compare them to the iridescent filaments of a spider’s web catching the light."

{"The Mental Body is our ... web of mental energy" ("HEF:MB").} {"The mental body is ... iridescent" ("EB", citing ThF).}

{Because these "threads" also enable the tsentsak’s "promptly returning to their former owner" (p. 337), the tsentsak might better be described as ‘harpoons’ than as ‘darts’.}

"HEF:MB" = "Human Energy Field – Mental Body" http://soul-essence.com/2009/02/20/human-energy-field-mental-body/

"EB" = "Energy Bodies" http://www.foundationsofmind.com/being-energy.php

ThF = Annie Besant & C.W. Leadbeater : Thought-Forms.

pp. 332-3 praeternatural perils to the shamanic curer in curing

p. 332

"By absorbing tobacco juice, he has formed a kind of viscous carapace inside his mouth and throat, thereby preventing the tsentsak that he sucks out of [the patient]’s body from slipping down into his own chest and stomach, from which position it could be ver difficult to extract them ... . The extraction of the darts is a very dangerous operation, during which the shaman risks himself becoming a victim of the harmful projectiles at which he is sucking. ... As [shamanic curer] himself possesses tsentsak of the ... type, identical to those he has discovered in [the patient], which he stores in his own neck and stomach, he can despatch his own darts to adhere to enemy ones, making them seize upon the latter as if magnetically. ... Protected behind a circular wall of tsentsak, he opens this no more than a crack in order to despatch his own darts and later to recover them, once their mission is accomplished. An operation such as this is only possible because the attacking tsentsak have been benumbed [as described on p. 317] and disoriented by the earlier treatment, and the threads that used to connect them to their master have been cut by [the curing shaman]’s tsentsak, and the pasuk that were guarding them have been dispersed by his own pasuk. But the most important thing is all this sympathetic medicine is to be in possession of tsentsak of the same kind as those causing the pain, for it is solely on account of this perfect homology that the latter ... are deceived by their identical appearance and seek, without distrust, to unite with them."

p. 333

"For these ‘darts’ that [the curing shaman] extracted were not really spat into his hand but

{Evidently, the praetense to spit them into the hand is intended to delude any other hostile tsentsak allied with those captured tsentsak.}


were blown into his wrist, where he will keep them for is own use, together with a few of his own tsentsak to guard them."

p. 333 the true nature of tsentsak & of tunc^i

"The tsentsak ... are animated principles or incorporeal automata that are as ... the mysterious entelecheia (‘actualities’) of classical philosophy. ...

{Is the author implying that the entelecheia are distinctly visible to praeternatural eyesight, as are the tsentsak?}

Similarly, tunchi is simply the word for a little spider that is clever at getting in everywhere, dragging its guiding thread along with it."


Philippe Descola (transl. from the French by Janet Lloyd) : The Spears of Twilight. New Pr, NY, 1996.