Singing to the Plants: A Guide to Mestizo Shamanism in the Upper Amazon

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University of New Mexico Press, 2009 - Religion - 530 pages
6 Reviews
In the Upper Amazon, mestizos are the Spanish-speaking descendants of Hispanic colonizers and the indigenous peoples of the jungle. Some mestizos have migrated to Amazon towns and cities, such as Iquitos and Pucallpa; most remain in small villages. They have retained features of a folk Catholicism and traditional Hispanic medicine, and have incorporated much of the religious tradition of the Amazon, especially its healing, sorcery, shamanism, and the use of potent plant hallucinogens, including ayahuasca. The result is a uniquely eclectic shamanist culture that continues to fascinate outsiders with its brilliant visionary art. Ayahuasca shamanism is now part of global culture. Once the terrain of anthropologists, it is now the subject of novels and spiritual memoirs, while ayahuasca shamans perform their healing rituals in Ontario and Wisconsin.
"Singing to the Plants" sets forth just what this shamanism is about--what happens at an ayahuasca healing ceremony, how the apprentice shaman forms a spiritual relationship with the healing plant spirits, how sorcerers inflict the harm that the shaman heals, and the ways that plants are used in healing, love magic, and sorcery.

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Review: Singing to the Plants: A Guide to Mestizo Shamanism in the Upper Amazon

User Review  - Goodreads

A good generalistic coverage of contemporary plant spirit shamanism. Recommended reading for those students seeking deeper understanding is of the ayahuasca experience. Whilst some of the experiences ... Read full review

Review: Singing to the Plants: A Guide to Mestizo Shamanism in the Upper Amazon

User Review  - Goodreads

Informative. A wealth of information on shamanism throughout the Amazon in a general sense and mestizo shamanism of Northern Peru in particular. The section on Ayahuasca was also a wealth of knowledge. If you are interested in medicinal plants and shamanism it is worth the read. Read full review


Two Healers of the Upper Amazon
The Ayahuasca Ceremony
Shamanic Performance

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About the author (2009)

Stephan V. Beyer has a law degree and doctorates in both religion and psychology, and has previously published three books on Buddhism and Tibetan language and religion. He has been a university professor, a trial lawyer, a wilderness guide, and a peacemaker and community builder. He studied wilderness survival among the indigenous peoples of North and South America, and sacred plant medicine with traditional herbalists in North America and in the Upper Amazon.

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