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Observations placeholder

Reichel-Dolmatoff – Amazonian Cosmos - Desana Creation Myth



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Reichel-Dolmatoff – Amazonian Cosmos

In the beginning there were the Sun and the Moon. They were twin brothers. [The notes here say they were joined twins – androgynous]

At first they lived alone, but then the Sun had a daughter, and he lived with her as if she were his wife. The Moon brother did not have a wife and became jealous. He tried to make love to the wife of the Sun, but the Sun heard about it. There was a dance up in the sky, in the house of the Sun, and when the Moon brother came to dance, the Sun took from him, as a punishment, the large feather crown he wore that was like the crown of the Sun.

He left the Moon brother with a small feather crown and with a pair of copper earrings.

From that time on the Sun and the Moon have been separate, and they are always far apart in the sky as a result of the punishment that the Moon brother received for his wrong-doing.

The Sun created the Universe and for this reason he is called Sun Father (page abe). He is the father of all the Desana. The Sun created the Universe with the power of his yellow light and gave it life and stability.  From his dwelling place, bathed in yellow reflections, the Sun made the earth, with its forests and rivers, with its animals and plants. The Sun planned his creation very well, and it was perfect.

The world we live in has the shape of a large disk, an immense round plate. It is the world of men and animals, the world of life.

While the dwelling place of the Sun has a yellow colour, the colour of the power of the Sun, the dwelling place of men and animals is of a red colour, the colour of fecundity and of the blood of living beings.

Our earth is maria turi (mari/our, turi/level), and is called "the upper level" (vehkamaha turi) because below is another world, the "lower level" / dohkdmaha turi. This world below is called Ahpikondia, Paradise. Its colour is green, and the souls of those who were good Desana throughout their lifetime go there. On the side where the sun rises, in Ahpikondia, there is a large lake, and the rivers of the earth pour into it because all flow toward the east.

Thus, Ahpikondia is connected to our earth by the water of the rivers. On the side where the sun sets, in Ahpikondia ,lies the Dark Region. This is the region of night and is an evil place.

Seen from below, from Ahpikondia, our earth looks like a large cobweb. It is transparent, and the Sun shines through it. The threads of this web are like the rules that men should live by, and they are guided by these threads, seeking to live well, and the Sun sees them.

Above our earth, the Sun created the Milky Way. The Milky Way emerges as a large, foaming current from Ahpikondia and runs from east to west. Strong winds rush through the Milky Way, and it is blue in colour. It is the intermediate region between the yellow power of the Sun and the red colour of the earth. For this reason, it is a dangerous region because it is there people establish contact with the invisible world and with the spirits.

The Sun created the animals and the plants. To each one he assigned the place he should live. He made all of the animals at once, except the fish and the snakes; these he made afterward. Also, together with the animals, the Sun made the spirits and demons of the forest and the waters.

The Sun created all of this when he had the yellow intention- when he caused the power of his yellow light to penetrate, in order to form the world from it.

The source of the experience

South American shamanism

Concepts, symbols and science items

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps