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The invisible

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Davi Kopenawa Yanomami says:

When for the first time you sniff the powder produced from the yãkôanahi tree, the xapiripêspirits begin to gather around you. First, you hear from afar their chants of happiness, faint as the hum of mosquitoes. Then, when the eyes are dying off, one begins to see scintillating lights trembling up high, coming from every direction in the sky. Gradually the spirits reveal themselves, advancing and retreating with very slow dance steps. They are very small and painted in brilliant colors. Their heads are covered with white hawk down and their armlets are full of macaw and and parrot tail feathers.

They dance in a circle, unhurriedly. But suddenly, armed with large swords they split your spinal column in half. They cut off your head and your tongue. You feel and intense pain and loose your senses. Your corporeal envelope remains on the ground but the xapiripêfly far away, taking with them parts of your immaterial body. They lay these on their mirrors, at the edges of the sky, and paint them with red dye of annato. They scrape your tongue and cover it with white feathers. Later they reassemble your body, but back-to-front: they mount the head in the place of the hind-quarters, and the legs in the place of the arms. Once turned inside out, you can reply to the spirits and imitate their songs, you can be a shaman.

Published Dec. 21, 2020 1:33 PM