Fieldwork in Religion, Vol 2, No 3 (2006)

The Use of Ayahuasca among Rubber Tappers of the Upper Juruá, translated by Robin Wright, revised by Matthew Meyer

Mariana Ciavatta Pantoja, Osmildo Silva da Conceição
Issued Date: 27 Nov 2008


The article is the fruit of co-authorship between an anthropologist with long research experience in the area of the Extractivist Reserve of the Alto Juruá, in the far west of the state of Acre in the Brazilian Amazon, and a rubber tapper who was first introduced to ayahuasca in the context of a rubber camp. His initiation has elements of non-indigenous and indigenous culture and results in a quite original synthesis, which is narrated in the first-person at the beginning of the article. The article traces the history of the introduction of ayahuasca, or cipó (vine), among the rubber tappers of the Alto Juruá in their relations with indigenous populations and their pajés (shamans), highlighting those rubber tappers who distinguished themselves as apprentices and became healers renowned among their contemporaries. Beginning in the 1980s the use of cipó occurs in the context of the struggle of rubber tappers against the rubber bosses, and ayahuasca mysticism merges with political conflict. New syntheses take place, now with the introduction of elements of the religious doctrine of Santo Daime.

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DOI: 10.1558/firn.v2i3.235

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