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This book, which covers Visions and hallucinations, explains what causes them and summarises how many hallucinations have been caused by each event or activity. It also provides specific help with questions people have asked us, such as ‘Is my medication giving me hallucinations?’.

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Observations placeholder

Reichel-Dolmatoff – The Tukano Indians - The Milky Way



Type of Spiritual Experience


This must be one of the most fascinating and annoying passages in the whole book.

On the Map of the Egg I have put together I have not been able to place the Loom - where perceptions ultimately  go, but it is clear from this observation that the Indians see perceptions as being processed near the level of the Milky Way. In effect it is not the Intelligences that are the Planets that process perceptions but the Intelligences that are the Signs of the Zodiac [according to the Indians anyway] and this does seem to tie in with other observations.

Remember that Reichel Dolmatoff was thinking physically and the Indians were talking symbolically, so he probably understood nothing of this and could easily have written it down wrong.

The 'rising river' is the second abyss.

Eagle is symbolic


A description of the experience

Reichel-Dolmatoff – Amazonian Cosmos

The Milky Way is conceived as a large skein of fibers of the cumare palm (Astrocaryum) that floats in a turbulent current arching over the Earth. This current is called mirunye boga/"wind skein," and comes from the lower zone, flowing from east to west.

The fibers of cumare, which are yellow or whitish, symbolize sperm among the Desana, and the Milky Way is interpreted as an immense seminal flow that fertilizes all of the intermediate zone.

This principle of fertilization has, however, a somewhat ambivalent character. In the first place, the Milky Way is the zone of communication where contact between terrestrial beings and supernatural beings is established. These contacts are obtained by means of hallucinogenic drugs or, at least, by means of visions induced by a state of profound concentration.

The Milky Way is directly designated as the "zone of hallucinations and visions" into which the paye and other persons who take a hallucinogenic drug can penetrate and thereby pass from one cosmic level to another. This zone is dominated by Viho-mahse, the divine personification of the viho powder (Piptadenia) who, in a state of perpetual trance, travels along this celestial way observing the earth and its inhabitants.

In their trance the payes rise to the Milky Way to ask Viho-mahse to serve as intermediary with the other divine personifications, Emekori-mahsee, Diroa-mahse, or Vai-mahse. But on the other hand, the Milky Way is the dwelling place of the sicknesses. It can be thought of as a large, rising river in whose turbulent and foaming waters float residue and waste; these are the essences of putrefaction and, consequently, are very dangerous pathogenic factors for living beings.

Putrefaction is the same as illness, and Viho-mahse can channel the current in such a way that illnesses come to contaminate the earth. The Milky Way is also the place where the vultures live, or the "ancient eagles."

The source of the experience

South American shamanism

Concepts, symbols and science items

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps