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List of Illustrations
Preface and Acknowledgements


  • Shamanism: Origins and Key Features
  • Yanomami Shamanism: A Cross-Cultural Perspective
  • The Book’s Subject Matter and its Guiding Principles
  • Fieldwork Setting and Methodology
  • The Book’s Outline

Chapter 1. Life on Top of the Old Sky: Yanomami Habitat, Ethnographic Setting and Local Histories

  • Yanomami Habitat
  • Historical Migratory Movements and Encounters
  • The Sweeping Winds of Change and its Consequences
  • Platanal and Sheroana-theri at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century

Chapter 2. Inside the Boa’s Abdomen: The Yanomami Cosmos

  • Holographic Totality of the Yanomami Cosmos
  • No Patapi tëhë: The Ever-present Mythical Time of Creation
  • Origin Myths

Chapter 3. Hekura, Body and Illness

  • Shamans and Hekura
  • Epena: Transformative Substance and Aliment for Hekura
  • Shamanism in Myths and in Contemporary Context
  • Yanomami Conception of a Person and Causes of Illness

Chapter 4. Hekuraprai: Corporeal Cosmogenesis

  • Summary of the Initiatory Ordeal
  • Transformation into Hekura: Day-by-Day Process
  • Cosmic Body and its Dynamism
  • First Trance: Re-experience of Death and the Beginning of Hekuramou

Chapter 5. Oneiric Encounters

  • Hekuramou and Expansion of Shamanistic Powers
  • Dreams and Shamanism
  • Dream Lucidity and the Transitional States of Dream Consciousness
  • Dreams, Illness and Healing

Chapter 6. Shamanic Battlefield: The Pendulum of Life and Death

  • Shapori’s New Identity and Social Obligation on the Intracommunal Level
  • The Dialectics between Defensive and Offensive Hekuramou
  • Body Intrusion and the Dynamics of the Cosmic Flow
  • Shaporimou and Intersubjective Knowledge Diffusion

Chapter 7. Two Pathways to Curing and in Between: Biomedical and Shamanic Treatment in the Life of Yanomami

  • Shamanism and Biomedicine: Compatibility and Differences
  • Dynamics of Doctor-Shapori-Patient Interaction
  • Yanomami Responses to Diarrhoea, Malaria and Respiratory Infections

Chapter 8. Return of the Ancestors: The All-pervading Shawara, The End of the World and the Beginning of a New Epoch

  • The Origin of Shawara Epidemics
  • Further Expansion of the Shawara Concept
  • The End of the World and the Beginning of Another Cosmic Cycle

Postscript: Recent Developments

Glossary of Yanomami Terms

The Living Ancestors

Shamanism, Cosmos and Cultural Change among the Yanomami of the Upper Orinoco

Zeljko Jokic

296 pages, 20 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78238-817-3 Hb Published (September 2015)

eISBN 978-1-78238-818-0 eBook