Sachamama is the jungle mother, Goddess of the Ecuadorian Amazon. She is a snake spirit—a gigantic, primeval, eared boa. Sachamama rose up from the underworld in the form of a two-headed snake, transforming into the Tree of Life. Now she patrols and controls the jungle.

Just like any ordinary snake, Sachamama can stay very still for very long, except in her case, exponentially so. Sachamama may stay in one position for centuries so that she begins to resemble landscape. Foliage, vines, and leaves grow over her, camouflaging her. She impregnates these botanicals with her power. When Sachamama finally moves, she has the effect of an earthquake: the ground splits open and trees topple.

Sachamama can bless, protect, and sponsor a shaman. She can also hypnotize and devour those who aggravate her. In the twenty-first century, the pendulum of renown has swung both ways for Sachamama. Amazonian shamanism and the ayahuasca rituals with which she is associated are no longer isolated and local but attract international attention. Shamanic-oriented tour ism is a growth industry in the Amazon; in this context, Sachamama is acknowledged as a great goddess and venerated worldwide. Where traditional religion is suppressed, however, Sachamama is reduced to a huge scary snake monster, subject of horror tales. Cryptid-hunters search for sightings of this giant snake.


Sachamama manifests as a huge two-headed snake with glowing eyes. But if her eyes are closed, she’s covered with foliage and she’s not moving, it’s very easy to overlook her presence.


Sachamama is a favoured topic of shamanic ayahuasca paintings.



Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses– Written by: Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.

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