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  Amazonian Rituals

The Matses have numerous Amazonian “rituals of giving energy.” These rituals are all painful to a large extent and involve one person giving energy to another. The various rituals involve activities such as blowing a tobacco mixture (snuff) into another’s nostrils, pressing stinging nettles onto someone’s body, stinging someone with a giant ant, or administering an emetic (frog poison). The giver is often an older male who is knowledgeable and consequently holds much energy. The receiver is typically a younger male who has been enlisted for a specific task such as hunting. The Matses believe the receiver of the energy will become vigorous and more easily complete the task at hand.

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Text © 2007, Photos © 2007, Bjorn Svensson, all rights reserved, Amazonian Rituals.