Annotated Suggested Readings and Acknowledgements

Yukuna dance mask for child
Yukuna dance mask for child apparently representing a human face. Collected by R.E. Schultes, Pirá Paraná River, Colombia. PM 50-2-30/7216

The topic of Amazonian rituals and the jaguar have received much attention in the anthropological literature for many years. A great number of authors have studied these societies and have given us works of the greatest scientific value. This list of suggested readings is simply a starting guide for those interested in the subject of Amazonian shamanism, rituals, and hallucinogenic plants in particular.

Århem, Kaj
1998    Makuna: Portrait of an Amazonian People. Washington D.C: Smithsonian Institution Press.
Århem’s book is an excellent study on the Makuna of the Colombian Amazon. It is beautifully illustrated with photographs. The text is easy for any educated non-specialized reader interested in Amazonian ethnology.

Cayón, Luis
2012    Pienso, luego creo. La teoría makuna del mundo. Bogotá: Instituto Colombiano de Antropología e Historia.
Cayón’s book is one of the best on the topic of the Yuruparí and Makuna ethnography.

Davis, Wade
1996    One River. Explorations and Discoveries in the Amazon Rainforest. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.
This book by Wade Davis develops around the life of great Amazonian ethnobotanist Richard Evans Schultes through the travels of the author (Davis) and one of Schultes’ most distinguished students.

2004   The Lost Amazon. The Photographic Journey of Richard Evans Schultes. San Francisco: Chronicle Books.
This book is a photographic history of the work of Richard E. Schultes in Colombia. Davis is one of the most knowledgeable authors on Schultes and the Amazon.

Fiori, Lavinia y Monsalve, Juan
1995    El baile del muñeco. Bogotá: Cooperativa Editorial Magisterio.

This is an excellent narrative of the dance “Baile del Muñeco” among the Makuna. The text is written from the point of view of a personal experience, which makes it very appealing.

Harner, Michael
1973    Hallucinogens and Shamanism. Oxford University Press.
An anthropological classic about shamanism and the use of hallucinogenic plants.

Reichel-Dolmatoff, Gerardo
1978    Beyond the Milky Way. Hallucinatory Imagery of the Tukano Indians. Los Angeles: UCLA Latin American Center Publications.

1987    Shamanism and Art of the Eastern Tukanoan Indians. Leiden: State University Groningen.
These two texts are essential reading for anyone studying shamanism and religion in native Amazonian societies. They are a profound and brilliant analysis by Colombia’s most renowned ethnologist of the 20th century.

Schultes, Richard Evans
1988    Where the Gods Reign. Plants and Peoples of the Colombian Amazon. Oracle, AZ: Synergetic Press.

Schultes, Richard Evans and Robert F. Raffauf
1992    Vine of the Soul. Medicine Men, their Plants and Rituals in the Colombian Amazonia. Oracle, AZ: Synergetic Press.
These two books by Richard Evans Schultes summarize his incredible research with hallucinogenic plants in Colombia. They are a voyage through photographs that he took during his 12 years of research in the country, supplemented with a few others from his closest friends and colleagues.

Schultes, Richard Evans and A. Hofmann
1992    Plants of the Gods. Their Sacred, Healing, and Hallucinogenic Powers. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press.
This book focuses in the use of hallucinogenic plants in different native societies of the Americas. It is an extraordinary synthesis of information that only a researcher like Schultes could put together.

Unión de Médicos Indígenas Yageceros de Colombia
1999    Encuentro de taitas en la Amazonia colombiana. Ceremonias y reflexiones. Mocoa: UMIYAC y Amazon Conservation Team.

These are the memoires of a meeting of Colombian shamans. It is an important text because it denounces the threats the Indians are facing in the struggle to protect their traditional medical knowledge and beliefs. This book is also translated in English.



Text for this Exhibition: Felipe Cárdenas-Arroyo


Special thanks to Jeffrey Quilter, Director of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, and all the Museum’s curatorial, archival, and anthropology library team for their permanent and patient assistance during my research with the Colombian collection, especially: Meredith Vasta, Stuart Heebner, Diana Zlatanovski, Laura Costello, David DeBono Schafer, Patricia Kervick, Katherine Myers, and Janet Steins.

For their review and sharing of their knowledge: Luis Cayón (University of Brasilia), and Roberto Pineda Camacho (National University of Colombia)

For their permanent institutional and scientific support: Víctor González, Fernando Montejo, and Álvaro Bermúdez (Instituto Colombiano de Antropología e Historia)

For her review of the English text: Margarita Cárdenas