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Anthropologist Hugh Brody at the October Gallery

hb-with-Una-and-Piet-Rooi

Readers may be interested in an upcoming talk at the October Gallery in London. Hugh Brody, an anthropologist and filmmaker who is among the foremost authorities on hunter-gatherer cultures, will be appearing on 29th October 2013, discussing his 40-year career studying, living with, and fighting for hunter-gatherer peoples, and how these cultures raise huge issues relevant to us all. We can highly recommend his book The Other Side of Eden, about the Arctic Inuit, and his recent DVD Tracks Across the Sand, which follows efforts to assist Kalahari Bushmen with their land rights claims.

For more details on the talk, check the Facebook page.

In Search of the Serpent, St. James Wine Vaults, 10 St James St. Bath, BA1 2TW. Sunday June 9

Donal Ruane will read sections from his forthcoming book ‘In search of the serpent’. The talk will mainly cover the spiritual crisis that sent him into the Amazon jungle over a decade ago on a profound journey deep into myself. It is a universal story of self-discovery and healing that needs to be told because it provides a portal into an arcane world of ritual magic and the real living breathing spiritual world that exists now and always – within and around us all.

Included in this talk will be a discussion of the importance in Amazonian magic of: the traditional dieta; receiving icaros (magic melodies); arcana (protection and defense); near death experiences; encounters with ‘spirits’ and the need to stay grounded while following this path.

WHERE? St. James Wine Vaults, 10 St James St. Bath, BA1 2TW. Sunday June 9 Doors open 2:00pm / starts 2.30pm

Don Pablo Amaringo dies.

It is with great regret and sadness that I announce today that Don Pablo Amaringo died at 9.30am (UK time) this morning November 16 in the Regional Hospital in Pucallpa. Don Pablo had been sick and in hospital for the past three weeks as a result of an infection he picked up after returning from Lima. He will be buried in Pucallpa on Wednesday November 18.

Blueberry clip

An interesting scene from Jan Kounen’s film Blueberry. The sequence is directly inspired by Kounen’s own ayahuasca experiences.

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Ayahuasca Visions gallery

In 1991, in collaboration with anthropologist Luis Eduardo Luna, Pablo Amaringo released a book of his visionary paintings called Ayahuasca Visions: The Religious Iconography of a Peruvian Shaman. Here are some of the paintings from that book:

You can also download a PDF which includes Pablo’s description of his paintings: Ayahuasca Visions by Pablo Amaringo.

Pablo Amaringo paintings (angels)

Shipibo Indians

A Shipibo woman

The Shipibo-Conibo consist of around 35,000 people living in three to four hundred villages located north and south of the town of Pucallpa on the Ucayali River, which connects Cuzco to the Brazilian Amazon.

They speak a language of the Panoan family, though some of them are starting to learn Spanish. Despite 300 years of sporadic contact with white or mestizo civilization, and massive conversion to Christianity in the 1950’s and 60’s the Shipibo-Conibos maintain a strong identity and retain their ancient ways. They are known for their intricate designs on their pottery and their bright clothing.

The Shipibo-Conibos are primarily hunters and fishermen, using some slash and burn farming, and still today none of the villages use electricity; machetes and spears are the primary tools. All of the villages use barter for trade, but their proximity to the burgeoning town of Pucallpa makes it inevitable that the people will soon be drawn into modern trade and exploitation.

Information taken from the Peruvian Amazon Indian Institute

Pucallpa

With a population of nearly 200,000, Pucallpa is Peru’s fastest growing jungle town, situated on the banks of the Ucayali river in the heart of the Amazon basin.

Pucallpa

Like most third world communities, it has all the problems associated with hastily built frontier towns: bad roads, a lack of even the most basic sanitation facilities, and various other economic deprivations. Most of the population live a subsistence existence in one or two roomed wooden huts. Medical and educational facilities are severely limited.

Pucallpa is a commercial centre and the logging, rubber and oil industries provide much of its revenue and contribute much to the rapid deforestation of the area.

The Usko-Ayar art school

Usko Ayar studentsUsko-Ayar (Usko in Quechua means ‘spiritual’ and Ayar means ‘prince’) was set up in the summer of 1988 with some financial aid from the Finnish Government when Pablo Amaringo decided to transform his home into a painting school, with the help of anthropologist Luis Eduardo Luna. Here, several dozen young people and children receive instruction on painting, drawing, speaking English and an appreciation of the rich botanical diversity of the jungle.

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Dreamflesh Journal Interview

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The following interview with Donal Ruane was conducted in May 2006 by Gyrus, and was first published in Dreamflesh Journal Vol. 1.

Gyrus: What strikes you as unique about the experience of ayahuasca?

Donal: It’s a difficult question to answer, as I get more experienced. The reason being that my experience of ayahuasca varies according to who I drink it with, and the brew. It appears to me that how the brews are made, and the additives that are used, and the set and setting in which it is consumed, very much alter the experience.

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