The Rainforest Shaman’s Cigar... is said to be his ‘eye’,
in which he sees... the mystical causes of illness: the rising
smoke is associated with his travel to the Thunders... the
Sun and other inhabitants of the upper cosmos.
Shamans, underwent a rigorous spiritual
enable them to undertake ‘vision quests’, in the course of
which they might
identify the cause of diseases and either
eject the evil intruder,
or retrieve the wandering soul... and
thus, restore the sufferer to health.
Tobacco played a central role
in the spiritual training... of
They believed that diseases... were caused by
forces, in one of two manners: These were either:
a form of possession, whereby an evil
the body of the sufferer,
making them ill;
or (2) soul loss, whereby
'the sufferer's soul, was
be drawn away, and or to have
wandered off... into reaches
the supernatural world, often
into the land of the dead’.
The special power of the Rainforest Shaman is due to their
ability to let the soul leave the body, and thus, cigar tobacco,
is associated with both... the independent existence of the
and the ‘direct line’ to the ancestral forces.
“Chaman” is “Shaman” in Spanish.
The spiritual journeys undertaken by initiate
were perceived as real quests, during the
the Shaman Priest... would encounter terrible
hazards. The priest Shaman for
example, endured a
series of perils,
while in his trance, similar to those set
out in computer games.
After clearing an abyss ‘filled
with hungry jaguars,
snapping alligators and frenzied sharks, all eager to
devour him’ the tobacco intoxicated Shaman... had
to pass places...
demons armed with spears
are waiting to
kill him, where
slippery spots, threaten
to unbalance and
where giant raptors claw him.
Finally, he must pass
through a hole in an enormous
tree, with rapidly opening and closing doors.
are the actual threshold between life
through the clashing doors, he
the bones of
who went before
but failed to clear the gateway.
Not finding his own bones among them, he returns
other-world... restored to new life.
A Tobacco Shaman used the weed, in almost every aspect
his art. Tobacco smoke was
employed as a diagnostic
to examine sick patients and formed a part of many
ceremonies, over which these doctor -
Ritual “smoke blowing”, by which a shaman might bestow
blessing or protection against enemies... both real and
was intended to symbolize a transformation,
which the tobacco smoke... represented a guiding spirit.
Shamans therefore, were
early proponents of passive
which they believed to be a force for