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Reichel-Dolmatoff – The Tukano Indians - Yellow, Honey and Semen



Type of Spiritual Experience


Loads of correspondences - spirit, spirit input and spirit output and all its symbols in the Indian symbol system

A description of the experience

Reichel-Dolmatoff – Amazonian Cosmos

The Creation of the Universe was the result of the "yellow intention" or "yellow purpose" of the Sun. The yellow colour … symbolises semen among the Desana and plays an important role in the image that is held of the Universe, especially on ritual occasions.

In invocations to the divinities, the Desana generally make reference to different shades of this colour: light yellow, clear yellow, dark yellow, opaque yellow, and so on; but all these nuances are associated with the concept of semen.

…... This yellow colour is then expressed in many ways. In its liquid form semen is symbolized, among other things, by saliva and honey;  in a mineralized form by crystal or quartzite;  in other organic forms by a series of animals of yellow colour-the squirrel, the tinamou, macaw, and so forth, and by certain edible worms whose meat is white and soft; in a vegetable form by manioc starch, by cotton, and by the fibres of the cumare palm.

All of these elements, animate or not, contain in themselves the fertilizing energy of the Sun and are, therefore, of great importance in religious thought and in shamanistic practices.

The source of the experience

South American shamanism

Concepts, symbols and science items

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps