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Day 5:

On the 5th day we went to Puorto Ayacucho, the capital of the state Amazonas near the border of Columbia. We flew with a small plane in which fit only 20 persons and we didn`t get all our luggage on board. One of our bags arrived just the next day. Luckily in it were the presents and clothes for the villages we wanted to hand out to the indians to be visited the next days, so that we didn't had to miss anything real important on this day.

In the evening we visited the shaman Bolivar, a Piaroa shaman from Caninuaga near Puorto Ayacucho. He had done a healing ritual the evening before and therefore he was really tired. But as charming as he was he answered our questions after his son being willing to translate. The young man in this village which we had foreseen to translate, a former aspirant in shamanism, wasnt't willing to do this job anymore because of one traumatic event during his apprentice. He didn't want to have anything to do with shamanism or people like us studying this kind of thing. He didn't told us the reason for his fear- no matter how hard we tried.

Bolivar smiled as we aked him where he could travel to with yopo. First he stayed quiet for a while but then he told us that he had visited the United States, Mexico and some other states of the earth. And after another pause he told us that he had seen the earth and the moon from above and that he had traveled to other planets where he had seen and spoken to beings living there.

He also told us that with the help of yopo he could change into a jaguar or a bird and could see the world with these eyes. So he could get important informations to answer questions being asked. This seems to be one method for shamans to find lost things.

The importance of flying can also be seen in the utilities for taking yopo. The inhalator for sniffing yopo is always made out of the bones from special birds. The inhalator has the form of a Y whereby the upper parts are put into the nose. With the end of it the yopo is inhaled. The inhalator has a thicker part in the middle the at as well as the endings. After usage the inhalator is cleaned really well with a bird's feather which is pulled through the bones.

Taking yopo during a ceremony the shaman does it like this: he takes the semen -looking like a green-brown substance- out of his small bag and makes a fine powder out of it. This powder is inhaled with the inhalator. In a ceremony this will be repeated for a few times, sometimes the whole night. All this stuff is in his small brown bag - you would never imagine what is inside.

During his apprentice the shaman has to do a strong diet. In Bolivarīs case not only the abstinance of fish and meat but also special fruits. This strong form of diet must be practiced during the first years to become a shaman. After that those rules become mostly unimportant during nomal life. But before special rituals he still has to do a strictly diet for about one wek.


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