Category Archives: south america

Is the Titanoboa the legendary Sachamama of Amazonian Mythology?

Titanoboa - Monster Snake

Titanoboa - Monster Snake swallowing a crocodile

Is the Titanoboa the legendary Sachamama of Amazonian Mythology?

Although this doesn’t have much to do with the theme of this blog, but when I saw the pictures of the snake – it was so gob-smacking that I wanted to post about it. Meanwhile I’m doing some painting and whilst waiting for the paint to dry on my latest masterpiece, it’s time to write about the Titanoboa. Then I started to ponder on a possible (albeit tenuous) link as it reminded me of the legends of the Sachamama (Mother of the Rainforest), an important motif in Amazonian mythology and featured prominently in many of the paintings of Pablo Amaringo.

Sachamama: Known as ‘The Mother of the Rainforest’. In the complex mythological world of the Amazon, the sachamama is a giant supernatural anaconda that, due to its immense size, can no longer move through the rainforest. When this happens it merges with the earth and becomes a part of the terrain. Trees, plants, and flowers grow around and on it so it becomes invisible and indistinguishable from the forest. It can leave its mouth wide open and unsuspecting hunters will walk straight in, never to be seen again.

Maybe just maybe that in the hidden depths of the Amazon Rainforest a Titanoboa lived during a time of human habitation – and thereby passed into the rich mythology of the Mundo Amazonica – just speculating.

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The History of Coca – The Divine Plant of the Incas

This magnificent book by W. Golden Mortimer, published in 1901 and long out of print, has been digitized by Microsoft for the  University of California and now available in the Open Internet Archive. The book contains nearly 200 hundred illustrations.

Mama Coca presenting the 'Divine Plant' to the Old World

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Coca Myths – a research paper by the Transnational Institute

A  very well researched and informative study from the Transnational Institute about the Coca (erythroxylum) plant.

Coca leaf divination with Doris Rivera Lenz (Cuzco)

Mama Coca presenting the 'Divine Plant' to the Old World

Coca Leaves

The Huitoto people use coca as part of the social and ceremonial traditions. Here is Mariano the shaman with a coca bush.

Ofrenda Ceremony in the Andes, Curandera Doris Rivera Lenz with coca leaves.

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Coca Leaf Products in Peru.

Coca (Erythroxylon coca). Products made from coca leaf in Peru.

Machu Picchu - Inca Wonder of the World

The Incas regarded coca as ‘the divine plant’ mainly because of its property of imparting endurance, nevertheless its use was entwined with every aspect of life; the art, mythology, culture and economy of the Inca Empire.

Millions of Indians have chewed coca on a daily basis for many hundreds of years, yet never has a plant been so misrepresented and its use so controlled by prejudice and ignorance, including up to the present day. The Conquistadors considered it an idle and offensive habit to be prohibited, but it was soon seen that the Indians could not work without coca even when forced to do so.

Frotacion de COCA - The Peruvian 'Tiger Balm' reinforced with Wira Sacha aka Sacha Inchi (Plukenetia volubilis)

Coca Leaf products - Coca Candy

A packet of Coca Candy

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Lifting the ban on coca chewing – Bolivia’s proposal

As documented by the Transnational Institute:

The 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples – recently endorsed by the United States in December 2010 – states that “indigenous peoples have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions.”

The decision to ban coca chewing fifty years ago was based on a 1950 report elaborated by the UN Commission of Inquiry on the
Coca Leaf with a mandate from ECOSOC, after a brief visit to Peru and Bolivia. The head of the Commission, Howard B. Fonda, gave an interview in Lima in September 1949, before beginning his work:

“We believe that the daily, inveterate use of coca leaves by chewing … not only is thoroughly noxious and therefore detrimental,
but also is the cause of racial degeneration in many centers of population, and of the decadence that visibly shows in numerous Indians – and even in some mestizos – in certain zones of Peru and Bolivia. Our studies will confirm the certainty of our assertions and we hope we can present a rational plan of action … to attain the absolute and sure abolition of this pernicious habit.”

To misquote Frank Zappa ..Imperialism is not dead it just smells funny.

Mama Coca presenting the 'Divine Plant' to the Old World

The Huitoto people use coca as part of the social and ceremonial traditions. Here is Mariano the shaman with a coca bush.

Ofrenda Ceremony in the Andes, Curandera Doris Rivera Lenz with coca leaves.

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Shamans of Peru – Photo Gallery

Artidoro - Amazonian Shamanbanjos florales (floral bath) with javier arevalo& howardg charingShipibo shaman Benjamin and Mestizo shaman RolandoShipibo Shaman Benjamin Ochavano, preparing AyahuascaSan Pedro shaman Don Leopoldo at ritual MesaDoris Rivera Lenz at Ofrenda ceremony
Doris Rivera Lenz with coca at ofrenda ceremonyGuillermo Arevalo - Shipibo ShamanEnrique Lopez - Shipibo ShamanJavier Arevalo & Howard G CharingShipibo Ayahuasca Shaman - Leoncio GarciaJuan Navarro San Pedro, "cactus of vision", shaman with healing Mesa
Las Huaringas Maestro Shaman, "cactus of Vision", Juan Navarro and sonenrique brewing ayahuascajavier_arevalo_with backdropMariano - Huitoto Ayahuasca Shamandon_leopoldoMestizo Shaman Rolando with medicinal plants
shaman Wilson MontezGuilermo ArevaloHuitoto shaman with coca bushhuitoto shaman with howardShaman Artidoro at MishanaShaman Artidoro showing ant nest with floripondo

Shamans of Peru, a set on Flickr.

A Photo Gallery of some of the Peruvian Shamans that we have worked with over the years.

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Interviews with Shipibo Ayahuasca Shamans – Part 1

Interviews with three Shipibo Shamans, Benjamin Ochavano, Leoncio Garcia, and Enrique Lopez by Howard G Charing and Peter Cloudsley

Leoncio Garcia - Shipibo Shaman

Enrique Lopez - Shipibo ShamanLeoncio Garcia - Shipibo Shaman

Benjamin Ochavano preparing Ayahuasca

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Escenas Del Paraiso – Scenes of Paradise

‘El Dominical’ review of the art exhibition ‘Amazonica’, at the Centro Cultural Ricardo Palma in Lima, Peru.This would be of interest to students taking online college art classes.

A crude translation of the feature;

Forty Amazon artists from different generations, trends and styles come together in a charity show at the Centro Cultural Ricardo Palma de Miraflore. The objective is to obtain funding to develop cultural programs for children in our forest.
The Amazon is a woman, “says the artist Gino Ceccarelli.” And a woman is the most beautiful display of creation “. That’s why his paintings are always women who are merged with nature, relating to the many stories he heard as a child about the mythical goddesses, counted wise river towns, who met at sunset to watch the death of the sun between infinite forest. draws on ancient wisdom of founding myths of ancient explanations of the world, but also more contemporary material flows. This communion is rooted in the Amazonian wealth of art today. There are pictures to prove themselves by Gino Ceccarelli (Italian father and mother Amazon), based on myths and legends, or the whole aesthetic of pop and kitsch Christian Bendayán or visual strength of Harry Chavez.
A powerful art

The discovery of the Amazon by Lima has revealed, among other things, a powerful art that draws on ancient wisdom of founding myths of ancient explanations of the world,

Several generations

This exhibition, called “Amazonica”, brings together forty artists Amazon, from the masters of the sixties and seventies to young exponents of the latest generations. They can be works of the great painter Pablo Amaringo shaman of the pioneers of integral art of the Amazon as Cesar Calvo de Araujo and Eduardo Meza Saravia, young and talented artist like Rember uitoto Yahuarcani and Roldan Pinedo Lopez, a native of the district Yarina Cocha, who developed techniques of the Shipibo-naturals Conibos.
The presence of the nature

According to the artist Gino Ceccarelli, who has supported in the conservatorship of the sample, if a large communicating vessel uniting all artists Amazon, this would be the natural landscape. “We all start from the strong presence of nature is so powerful and so strong that it may go unnoticed. Every day there are spectacular sunsets, the colors are so intense that even light gray are. The presence of the nature
has influenced each of us is a great starting point from which arise all other aspects. ”

The reinvention of myth

Then, the other major recurring theme in art Amazon is the recreation of myth, allegory, that magical and religious vision of the world that characterizes oral people connected with the environment around them. “The Amazon is the latest magic corner of the planet, hence different energies converge, very powerful magmas, which are expressed in shamanism, religion, faith healing, witchcraft, this is manifested in pictures. The heritage that we have all the Amazon is the oral literature. Since children have heard stories that reinvented with the passage of time, “says Ceccarelli.
The Artists displaying their works at the exhibition;

Ronald Alvan , Alberto Ayarza, Christian Bendayan, César Calvo de Araujo, Lastenia Canayo, Cesar Calvo de Araujo , Enrique Casanto , Harry Chávez , Gino Ceccarelli , Maximino Cerezo , Victor Churay, Samuel Coriat , Nancy Dantas , David Hewson, Orlando Izquierdo, “The Ocelot” , Emilio Lopez , Eduardo Meza Saravia, Joseph Morey, Dimas Paredes , James David Paredes , Gerardo Petsaín , Harry Pinedo, Roldán Pinedo , Reninger Reategui, “Rucoba” , Diana Riesco), Hildebrand Rivers, Brus Rubio, Miguel Saavedra , Malena Santillana , Sixto Saurin, Fernando Sovero, Luighi Tang, Elena Valera, Celia Vasquez, Juan Manuel Vasquez , Armando Williams, Rember Yahuarcani, Santiago Yahuarcani

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The Ayahuasca Visions of Pablo Amaringo – Encanto Rumi

This stone is forged in space and brought down to earth when summoned by the sumiruna (the highest grade of shaman) for initiating his disciples in voyaging to other galaxies. The sumirunas below are learning how to receive spiritual fire and how to withstand extreme conditions which they will experience on their lone voyages.

The eagle represents the sublime beauty of the stone, the jaguar its magnetic power and the bull its soul. Above you see the puya runas (cloud people) and the guacamayo runa: people with the head of a guacamayo and the body of a man.

Encanto Rumi  is featured in the book ‘The Ayahuasca Visions of Pablo Amaringo’  published by Inner Traditions 2011. Authors Howard G Charing and Peter Cloudsley.

Visit the website of the book for articles and interviews with Pablo Amaringo, also photo galleries and see the paintings with summary narratives.

To purchase high quality fine art reproductions of the paintings visit our store at;

The Ayahuasca Visions of Pablo Amaringo by Howard G Charing and Peter Cloudsley

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