ArawetĂ© – Indigenous Amazonian people whose shamanism is similar in some respects to that of neighboring peoples, and different in others. Eduardo Viveiros de Castro summarizes his rich ethnographic account of ArawetĂ© shamanism by saying that it does not involve any formal initiation. Certain recurring dreams, especially those featuring the Jaguar-Thing, may be signs of a shamanic calling. But what distinguishes a shaman is not his capacity for dreaming (which is also important for a killer), but rather his association with tobacco. The usual way of saying someone is not a shaman is petıArawetĂ© ĂŁ-ıArawetĂ©, a “noneater of tobacco.” Shamanic training involves a series of sessions of becoming intoxicated by this plant until the person is “made translucent” and the gods come to him.
Unlike other Amazonian shamans, those of the Araweté are not trained by spirits—“tutelary spirits do not exist”—but shamans have a broad relationship to all significant other-than-human persons in their universe. In addition to tobacco, the other “emblem of shamanism is the aray rattle.” All adult men possess such rattles and may shamanize to some degree. Healing by sucking out alien intrusions (e.g., darts), prevention of assault by enemies and the illnesses they may cause, and the returning of detached souls are common shamanic practices.


Historical Dictionary of Shamanism by Graham Harvey and Robert J. Wallis 2007


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