The Evolution of the painting ‘Chacruna Versucum’ (Canción de la Chacruna) by Pablo Amaringo
Two versions of this painting are presented in the book ‘The Ayahuasca Visions of Pablo Amaringo’. We originally had Chacruna Versucum professionally photographed in April 2007. The following year Pablo showed us a revised version of this work. This was an exception as he had painted over the original canvas (something that he did not usually do). Pablo commented that on reflection he regretted repainting the canvas, and this is one of the reasons we felt it important to include both versions. We talked with him to understand his thinking and development between the two paintings. Versucum is a Latin word meaning “verse,” or “canto.” (Note that both versions are dated 2003 on the paintings.)
Chacruna Versucum 2003 Version (Summary Narrative)
The five dryads sing gently to heal through the circle of chacruna leaves; they transmit love and healing energy. These fairies accompany the plants of the rainforest. They represent the five outer senses, and the many inner faculties which are derived from them: intelligence, consideration, knowledge, discernment, spiritual perception and wisdom. In the central circle the celestial aspects of chacruna are represented by the circle of leaves while the ayahuasca vine represents the Earth.
Chacruna Versucum 2007 Version (Summary Narrative)
This is the second version of the painting which was painted on top of the first. In the centre Pablo added the triangle of life to represent body, soul and spirit, and the triangular geometry of the human body. The triangle has an eye on each corner to symbolise intelligence, wisdom and the merging of wisdom with ignorance. Our inner depths are reflected through our eyes. Pablo adds the golden horses around the circle to represent the energy from working with ayahuasca and also elaborates on how the yacurunas kidnap the man fishing from his canoe in the cocha.
Pablo said “After I had painted the earlier version, I realized that chacruna has many other attributes and I wanted to emphasise its celestial aspects. This is the reason why I have painted this second”
Note: Ayahuasca is a sacred medicine of the indigenous people living in the Upper Amazon area of South America. Ayahuasca is a name derived from two Quechua words: aya means “spirit, ancestor, deceased person,” and huasca means “vine” or “rope.” Hence it is known as “vine of the dead” or “vine of the soul.” It is important to note that the term ayahuasca refers to both the vine itself (Banisteriopsis caapi), and the psychoactive brew made from combining the vine with at least one other ingredient, typically the leaves of the chacruna plant (Psychotria viridis). The vine is an inhibitor that contains harmala alkaloids, and the leaf contains vision-inducing alkaloids (DMT). Chacruna (Psychotria viridis) leaves are boiled with the ayahuasca vine to produce the ayahuasca brew.
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The Ayahuasca Visions of Pablo Amaringo
Pablo Amaringo at Usko Ayar 2007