Maria Susana Cipolletti: El surgimiento de un shamán. Una anábasis y catábasis secoya (Siekopái, noroeste amazónico, Ecuador)


In the focus of this collaboration are two stories by the same narrator about the emergence of his shamanic vocation (Secoya, Ecuadorian Amazon). Told a few years apart, the stories show how the process of moving away from the influences of an American missionary institution and returning to one’s own traditions was accompanied by distressing existential processes, which included the suicide attempt. The question is posed about the silence of the speaker regarding two constitutive features of both Secoya shamanism and most Amazonian shamanisms: that of its specific power (rawē), the transformation into a jaguar, and the alliance with jaguars. The question is raised about the influences exerted by discourses outside the indigenous society, which only make the beneficial aspect of shamanism prevail, thus destroying the constitutive ambiguity of this phenomenon.

[Ecuador, Amazonia, Secoya, shamanism, life history]