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Reichel-Dolmatoff – The Tukano Indians - The paths on death



Type of Spiritual Experience


There is the red route and the blue route.  The Red route is the path of the Sun and no reincarnation, the Blue route is the path of the Moon and the path of reincarnation.

This is embodied into Desana myths, as can be seen, although it has taken on a slightly destructive sinister aspect the way they describe it.  In other cultures, the spirits fly off to the symbolic Moon they are not 'eaten'.

The symbolic seems to have take on a literal meaning here.

A description of the experience

Gerardo Reichel-Dolmatoff – Amazonian Cosmos

The informant believes that only a small percentage of souls go to Ahpikondia  - the Sun ……….the moon descends at times and seeks out the lonely cemeteries of the Desana.

He removes the pale resplendence of his crown of white feathers and puts it in a tree, together with his long earrinqs of shiny copper, before opening a grave to devour the body and bones of the dead.

After he has satisfied his appetite, he puts on his headdress again and ascends to the sky. In many cemeteries, the Desana say, the bodies of persons who have just died have disappeared, devoured by the moon.

But the moon also has beneficent powers. Dew is called dihsiko, the "saliva of the moon”.

Mainly this liquid produces the growth of plants, but it also influences beneficently the gestation of women who are pregnant. In the nights of a full moon, these women will sit talking outside of the  malocca, receiving the fecund power that emanates from the lunar rays.

The source of the experience

South American shamanism

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps