Sequence of Animal-Deities Encountred by Tropical-Forest Amerindian Shamans

Yanoamo tribe of Venezuela-Brazil borderland :

"So the apprentice began to know the Hekurá; first he learnt to invoke

the Hekurá of the toucan, then

the Hekurá of that smaller toucan,

of the little parrot, and

of the wood peacock with the white wings.

Then came the more difficult Hekurá: the great armadillo,

the little armadillo and so always new Hekurá, which only the oldest know how to invoke." Ettore Biocca : Yanoamo. 1965 (republished in 1996). cap. 9.


Secoya tribe in Ecuador :

p. 82 praeternatural leopards

"Only people who drink pehi` ... know the ultimate visions of the world. I was intoxicated [with pehi`] ..., during which time ... I saw all the jaguars ... --

the one with a very thin belly,

{wasp-waisted wasp-leopard?}

another with a twisted tail.

I met the underground jaguars ... . ... If you hear it roaring below the ground, ... that animal bursts out of the ground ... . ... Also, it has a tail, unlike {longer than (though "twisted", and in that way alike to?) that of} the pig."

pp. 87-91 terrestrial deities


deity category


butterflies & beautiful birds


sajino-s (collared peccaries [in the material world "a collared peccary ... was chased underground by dogs" (p. 108)]) at palm-nut trees

huangana-s ("white-lipped peccaries" [these immaterial praeternatural ones enable the shaman "to summon herds of white-lipped peccaries" (p. 107) in the material world so that hunters "just shot them with blowguns near the house"]) at morete-palm-nut trees


deer at pambil-palm-nut trees



huanta-s [hunting of which may praecipitate encountre with a male and female couple of an~ape:ke:-s (infra p. 138)]

tapir-s (those "of death" "are made of nothing but bones" whistling [whistling by such spirits being done "to trick and lure" human victims (p. 114)]) with frog-s

people who reside in the earth's interior

Ocome`, yellow-and-brown-bird deity, owner of fishes


Tsiayake: (another species of bird deity), owner of other fishes

Mecoye`ye:-s, fanged boa-s, which die only by their tail


human spirits (having personal names) who eat fungi growing on rotten wood

pp. 92-3 training; shape of universe

p. 92

training in yage wizardry is available only in the Putumayo river-basin.

p. 93

universe is 3-legged ceramic vessel

{cf. flying-saucers, which commonly land on 3 legs}

pp. 91-8 caelestial deities; metempsychosis for souls of non-shamans [whereas shamans remain in heaven without redincarnating]


deity category


"the spirit brought me to the highest place, and I saw the earth from there; the earth appears with a rainbow halo around it."


house of the sun, where people dry pointed palm-nuts; sorcery-darts from the sun [treatment to cure ailments caused by them : "ascend to the house of the sun and look into the large mirrors that Ese:pai has there" (p. 106)] ["Esepai, son of Nyanyuh, burnt and transformed into the sun." (p. 171, n. 96)]

{cf. Aztec god Nanahuatzin, who at Teotihuacan burned alive his own self [cf. spontaneous self-combustion] and thereafter became the sun, which rose when the people were transformed into stone}

Nuni-pai ('nuni-folk') [whose boats are some pink and others white (p. 94)] ["Nunipai are the people of nuni ... who had found the path of eternity {immortality} through nuni ..., people who had reached the sky and lived along the banks of the river of eternity." (p. 170, n. 86).] ["nuni`" is the herb which can cure from the effect of sorcery-darts (p. 106).]


"red dart spirits. Their paths look like cotton threads, and they have their houses some fifty meters from the edge of the sky."

{cf. is their redness that which is said in the Maori myth to be due to the blood of someone who fell down from the edge of the sky in heaven?}

Heaven is "dangerous because a big hole appears in the middle. Through this hole, which is about ten meters in diameter, you can contemplate the earth. You have to cross it if you want to get to God's house. For this, there's a footbridge of white iron {platinum?}, with railings to hold onto as you go. I crossed it, looking down ... . ... God lives with his wife. ...

He is N~an~e:,

{"Na~n~ae: (whose name also means moon)" (infra p. 170, n. 87)}

the God who fought the Thunder ... . [cf. p. 87] ...

{"Na~n~ae: cut him in half. (infra p. 170, n. 87) [so as to rendre him into "forked lightning"?]}

His wife is Repao, the Tapir's (hueque:) daughter ... ." name


"I took some steps, which sounded like the ringing of little bells."

{cf. the coyolli ('bell') of ("DLG") Aztec goddess Coyol-xauhqui}

"He [God N~an~e`] said to me as I was leaving, "Son, now you, too, are God.""

{"I have said, Ye are Gods; and all of you are all children of the Most High." (Thilli^m 82:6)}


"Mu:hu:, or Thunder, has his house in the sky ... . He beats on the walls of his house ..., and that's ... the thunder. The lightning bolts, he produces himself : he closes and opens his eyes, and the bolts fly out".

"The dead come ... . ... If they arrive anointed with nuni`,

{Only the soul of a dead shaman would be so anointed (infra p. 152).}

they have [on their immaterial body] the same design they had there [on their material body in the material world] and they go to their people [i.e., the religious society of shamans and shamanesses] in the sky.

{In Borneo, in order for persons to arrive at the best accomodations in in the divine world after death, they must be tatued on their material body while living with figures of the deities who recognize those figures on the immaterial body of the dead (souls).}

If they're not anointed, they stay in a hammock in Repao's house for four days. ... It's hard [for the living (viz., shamans visiting in immaterial bodies) and for most deities] to cross to the other side and not even the best healers can do it;

only Numi ke:ye {a category of mythic divine birds} can do it.

[/numi/ 'fragrant' + /ke:ye:/ 'parrot' (p. 171, n. 88)] {Perhaps these are the "green birds" which are mentioned as being in heaven (according to the Qur>an), for the various jnun are summoned by means of perfumes in current magical practices.}

For the crossing, the dead wear blue tunics and crowns."

{cf. the blue religious vestments worn by Cathar clergy and by Yazidi clergy}

"In Repao's house is an enormous nest of wasps. ...

{These evidently the custodians of the nuni` designs : cf. the wasps depicted on the clothing -- which wasps emanated as living wasps out of those depictions -- according to PV 4:2.}

In the peak of the roof is the nest of the watipu`, a bird like the hummingbird, the same size; under the nest are the hammocks that the dead lie in. ...

{Is the migration-journey led olut of Aztlan by god Huitzil-opochtli ('Hummingbird on the Left') intended as the dream experienced by souls of the sleeping dead?}

On the fifth day, ...


he feels himself dying again, and loses consciousness.

The first wind comes,

{1st trimestre of gestation}

then the second,

{2nd trimestre of gestation}

then the third wind blows him

{3rd trimestre of gestation}

across the waters

{of childbirth, amniotic fluid}

to the other side.

{another lifetime}

When he lands there, he's ... a ... child. ... Suddenly, one exclaims, "He's {or, She's} your son {or, daughter}!" ... to a woman {the child's mother}".

"DLG" = Susan Millbrath : "Decapitated Lunar Goddesses ... ." ANCIENT MESOAMERICA 8 (1997):185-206.

Thilli^m 82:6

PV 4:2 = Popol Vuh, Pt. IV, Cap. II.

pp. 103-5 spirits of poisons


invocational cure against poison

herb against same poison


"To heal snakebites, you have to speak directly to the chief of the snakes, Wiwati`."

bark of the an~ayo`ki vine


"another spirit who is the owner of the cate:te`wero[-]s, the whip scorpions ... lives in caves" {Thelyphonida (vinegaroon pseudo-whip-scorpions) eat crickets; similarly to the sa`balo-fish who eat "larvae of crickets" (infra p. 108).}

root of the sehua palm


"the pai hoyo spirit carries off the heart of the victim and stores it ... covered with a fan ... . ["The leaf fan, mamecoco in the Secoya language, is a common tool of shamanic practice among ayahuasca-drinking tribes." (infra p. 167, n. 72).] ...

"a certain treated liquid"

At that point, the spirit hangs the heart from a string in his own house as a memento. {viz., as if a freemasons' plumb-bob suspended from a plumb-line. cf. "the plummet in the hand of Zrub-babel" (Zkaryah 4:10).} Now, if the healer has good knowledge, he'll find the spirit and ... the heart, and with it, another healing.

This spirit has such power that can look at a man from far away ..., and

{cf. [on the facets of the plumb-bob] "the eyes of YHWH, which run to and fro through the whole Earth." (Zkaryah 4:10) But actual, because of the parallel passage "going to and fro in the earth, walking up and down in it" (>iyo^b 1:7), it can be discerned that those eyen are not of YHWH, but of S`, who is the true godhead of the Nabi>i^m.}

the man ... with his tongue sticking out ... . ...

{Is the tongue seized by a ro-lans?}

In those cases, the healer takes a spoon and applies a certain treated liquid".

{cf. "golden spouts, which empty the golden out of themselves." (Zkaryah 4:12)}

p. 103 "To a healer's vision, sickness forms something like a spiderweb that envelopes the victim."

p. 114 caerimonial flutes

"false shamans" play "bamboo flutes"

{in Omoto spirit-possession caerimonies, stone-flutes are played, resulting in spirit-possession by (mostly) foxes and badgers}

pp. 117-8 praeternatural cockroaches feed on human genitalia; praeternatural brain-eaters deafeningly paralyze

p. 117

"the periyaic, which is to say, the cockroach jaguar ..., turns into a cockroach ... . ...

p. 118

The male jaguars eat the vaginas, and

{praesumbly an allusion to sorcerers' praedilection to mouthe (lick and suck) the genitalia of females}

the female jaguars like the penises and testicles.

{praesumbly an allusion to sorcereresses' praedilection to mouthe (lick and suck) the genitalia of males}

Then they eat the cheeks".

{the "cheeks" [cheekiness] of dismembred goddess Coyol-xauhqui referred to "public dances in which women had the role of exchanging sexual innuendoes ... with men" ("RhLC", p. 55, n. 38).}

"sorcerers ... invite another type of jaguar down from the sky ..., which only liked to eat the brains of its victims. ... . ... this jaguar first gives an incredibly strong roar, leaving them deaf and paralyzed."

"RhLC" = Teresita Garza : "Rhetorical Legacy of Coyolxauhqui". In :- Michelle A. Holling & Bernadette M. Calafell (editrices) : Latina/o Discourse in Vernacular Spaces. Lexington Bks, Lanham (MD), 2011. pp. 31-56.

p. 135 underwater sucking-serpent

"The an~ape:ke: boa lives at the bottom of whirlpools. ... If the an~ape:ke: is hungry, it draws ... toward itself with ... its mouth. ...

{"IN A LARGE waterhole under the hill of Nohme ... a ... monster lives on water animals but sometimes it eats ... even people. It makes a great wind with its indrawn breath and sucks them right into its mouth. ...

One day the mother an~ape:ke: tunneled through the ground".

At once the animal began to break the earth and travel below the surface of the ground." ("SHN")}

"SHN" = "Snake of the Hill of Nohme". In :- Ruth Warner Giddings : Yaqui Myths and Legends. U of AZ Pr, Tucson, 1959. p. 171.

pp. 136-7 catfish of beheading

p. 136

"another man ... fell into the hole too, hanging onto his blowgun. ...

{Of the twin brethren who concealed themselves within their own blowguns,

p. 137

The last thing he saw was a vision of the an~ape:ke:'s head looming up in front of him". ["its head ... look's like an enormous catfish" (supra p. 135).]

one (according to an illustration to a Maya hieroglyphic-text) or both (according to the Popol Vuh) became catfish.}

p. 137 deity in water-spray

"If the boa dies underwater, it releases its witchcraft ..., sending a spray of water flying high up in the air."

{"In the S. Island, Tangaroa is said to have been seen in the misty spray of the sea when the sun shone on it." (MT&L, p. 179)}

MT&L = Kate McCosh Clark : Maori Tales & Legends. London : David Nutt, 1896.

p. 138 whirlpool of boat

At the "Stone Whirlpools",

{"Te Parata" (the Whirlpool) practiced "breathing" (MT&L, p. 180) : there was "training for the movements, the breathing" (PAPR, p. 51) for such karakia as that composed "to save ... from the whirlpool Te Korokoro o te Parata", so that Koro's "tautiti dance (where the hands and feet all move together)" (M-PCD, s.v. "Koro") may be the "movements" specified for this karakia.}

"the canoe was stuck on the an~ape:ke:'s back",

{"The bow of the canoe was also called Parata." (MT&L, p. 180)}

"and many tree trunks floated to the surface."

{"Whirling Logs" -- in the "whirlpool" ("WhL") of Water Monster -- form a cross (depicted in "NST"), reminiscent of "a big snake with a cross on its forehead" ("SHN"). Qayin, who is likewise marked on his forehead with a cross,"bit him like a serpent " (Zohar XXXII (54b), p. 231); THE WORD, vol. 10 (1910), p. 188 .}

PAPR = Te Miringa Hohaia, Gregory O'Brien, Lara Strongma (edd.) : Parihaka : the Art of Passive Resistance. Wellington : Victoria U Pr, 2001.

M-PCD = Edward Tregear : The Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary. Wellington, 1891. "Wh"

"WhL" = "Whirling Logs"

"NST" = "Navajo Sandpainting Textiles"

Zohar XXXII (54b)

THE WORD, vol. 10 (1909-10). Theosophical Publ Co, NY.

p. 141 midnight when the women were devoured

"The ceremony began at midnight;"

{Yama's sister is YAMINi ('Night') ("SY&Y") :

all women of the invited clan were, while the men were being entertained by a shaman of another family, devoured by water-leopards, "and since they had no women, they asked for the daughters and widows of that family."

whence the name Bin-YAMIN of the tribe all of whose women were slain, such that the surviving menfolk had to require wives from the other tribes (S^apati^m 21:7), obtaining daughters of the town Yabes^-gil<ad (S^apati^m 21:12-23).}

"SY&Y" = "Story of Yama and Yamuna"

p. 152 post-mortem adventure of shaman

"when I die, ... my spirit will leave the tomb and go to Ocutupe:. ... I'll go to meet the sky people, ... who never die or even experience fatigue. When you go to Mate:mo, the heaven of the Secoyas,

they give you pai nuni, some little drugs of life. You bathe your whole body in them ... .

{After death, it may be possible both to quaff and to bathe in Te Wai-Ora-o-Tane ('The Water-of-Life-of-Tane'), concerning which it is stated that by bathing in them one would be rejuvenated, alike unto the moon : "if he disappeared like the old moon ... -- he would have appeared to us anew after a time." ("MEWhP", p. 150)}

So I'll drink and bathe in nuni` ... . But I'll do some else too : in spirit, I'll keep on observing and directing you".

M-PCD, "H"

"MEWhP" = Elsedon Best : "Maori Eschatology : the Whare Potae". TRANSACTIONS OF THE NEW ZEALAND INSTITUTE 38 (1905):148-239.

p. 153 goddess sinking house into lagoon

"Rutayo [wife of Mu:hu: (p. 170, n. 87)], the Woman of Earthquakes ... can sink the house or garden, leaving only a kind of lagoon there."

{cf. heroine Baukis : her (and her husband Philemon's) town was sunk beneath "flooded marshes" (O:M 8:618 sq -- "Ph&B").}

O:M = Publius Ovidius Naso : Metamorphoses.

"Ph&B" = "Philemon and Baukis".

p. 153 healer in subterrean abode of praeternatural tapir

"the earth trembles too.

{This would be Ollin-tonatiuh 'Earthquake-Sun', the rising of the 5th sun.}

The drinkers [of yage] all freeze."

{"the world ... froze into solid ice. This was the end of Tokpa, the Second World." (BH, p. 16)}

BH = Frank Waters : Book of the Hopi. Penguin Bks, 1963.

Alfredo Payaguaje (Spanish ed. by CaboDeVilla; transl. from the Spanish by Nathan Horowitz) : The Yage Drinker. Cicame, Quito (Ecuador), 2007.