Monday, January 31, 2011

The Magical Designs of the Shipibo Indians of Peru

Have you ever wondered what inspired the designs of the indigenous peoples?

There are instances when design inspiration comes from an other worldly experience.

He reports that Shipibo shamans believe that taking Ayahuasca permits the shaman's soul to leave his body in the form of a bird which then can fly to a distant enemy at night. This bird then changes back into the shaman's human form so he can destroy the sleeping enemy. Shipibo WomanUnder the influence of the Banisteriopsis drink mixture, the Shipibo Indians often report seeing giant anacondas, poisonous snakes, and jaguars. Less frequently, other animals are observed in their visions. In addition, Harner reports that often a shaman, taking the drink, believes he acquires giant snakes which are to be his special demons to be used in protecting himself against other shamans in supernatural battles. The Shipibo shamans, under the influence of the drug, believe they imprison other persons' souls with supernatural boats whose demon crews are led by a yellow jaguar and a black puma.

The pineal gland is your third eye. It is usually illustrated in art as a pinecone. This eye is actually a small gland in the center of the brain, which we’re told is to help balance both the left and right brain when working properly.

This gland secretes a serotonin known as DMT or Dimethyltryptamine that is nicknamed to be the spirit molecule, because it’s the very tryptamine that helps us fall asleep. This gland is called an eye because it has a retina and is built like our exterior eyes. This eye opens when lights are off, or we close our eyes. In Matthew 4:16 “the people sitting in darkness saw a great Light; and to those sitting in the region and shadow of death, Light sprang up to them,” Isa. 9:1-2. This eye is home to visions, dreams, ideas and imaginations. There has been an interesting study of the brain chemistry of schizophrenics and creative people. The basis of the conclusion of this was the chemistry from the third eye. Schizophrenic behavior occurs when the third eye is awake when the person is awake.

By Howard G Charing,

The intricate Shipibo designs have their origin in the non-manifest and ineffable world in the spirit of the Rainforest and all who live there. The designs are a representation of the Cosmic Serpent, the Anaconda, the great Mother, creator of the universe called Ronin Kene. For the Shipibo the skin of Ronin Kene has a radiating, electrifying vibration of light, colour, sound, movement and is the embodiment of all possible patterns and designs past, present, and future. The designs that the Shipibo paint are channels or conduits for this multi-sensorial vibrational fusion of form, light and sound. Although in our cultural paradigm we perceive that the geometric patterns are bound within the border of the textile or ceramic vessel, to the Shipibo the patterns extend far beyond these borders and permeate the entire world.

One of the challenges for the Western mind is to acknowledge the relationship between the Shipibo designs and music. For the Shipibo can “listen" to a song or chant by looking at the designs, and inversely paint a pattern by listening to a song or music.

The Shipibo believe that our state of health (which includes physical and psychological) is dependent on the balanced union between mind, spirit and body. If an imbalance in this occurs such as through emotions of envy, hate, anger, this will generate a negative effect on the health of that person. The shaman will re-establish the balance by chanting the icaros, which are the geometric patterns of harmony made manifest in sound into the body of the person. The shaman in effect transforms the visual code into an acoustic code.

A key element in this magical dialogue with the energy which permeates creation and is embedded in the Shipibo designs is the work with ayahuasca by the Shipibo shamans or muraya. In the deep ayahuasca trance, the ayahuasca reveals to the shaman the luminous geometric patterns of energy. These filaments drift towards the mouth of the shaman where it metamorphoses into a chant or icaro. The icaro is a conduit for the patterns of creation which then permeate the body of the shaman’s patient bringing harmony in the form of the geometric patterns which re-balances the patient’s body. The vocal range of the Shipibo shaman’s when they chant the icaros is astonishing, they can range from the highest falsetto one moment to a sound which resembles a thumping pile driver, and then to a gentle soothing melodic lullaby. Speaking personally of my experience with this, is a feeling that every cell in my body is floating and embraced in a nurturing all-encompassing vibration, even the air around me is vibrating in acoustic resonance with the icaro of the maestro. The shaman knows when the healing is complete as the design is clearly distinct in the patient’s body. It make take a few sessions to complete this, and when completed the geometric healing designs are embedded in the patient’s body, this is called an Arkana. This internal patterning is deemed to be permanent and to protect a person's spirit.
The smaller flowing patterns within the geometric forms are the radiating power of the Cosmic Serpent which turns this way and that, betwixt and between constantly creating the universe as it moves. The circles are often a direct representation of the Cosmic Anaconda, and within the circle itself is the central point of creation.

In the Western tradition, from the Pythagoreans, and Plato through the Renaissance music was used to heal the body and to elevate the soul. It was also believed that earthly music was no more than a faint echo of the universal 'harmony of the spheres'. This view of the harmony of the universe was held both by artists and scientists until the mechanistic universe of Newton.

Joseph Campbell the foremost scholar of mythology suggests that there is a universe of harmonic vibrations which the human collective unconscious has always been in communion with. Our beings beat to the ancient rhythms of the cosmos. The traditional ways of the Shipibo and other indigenous peoples still reflect the primal rhythm, and their perception of the universal forces made physical is truly a communion with the infinite.

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