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October 2021

The significance of drug-induced perceptual changes among the Kashinawa of eastern Peru

Journal/Book: Anthropos. 1999; 94: Editions St-Paul, Perolles 42, CH-1700 Fibourg, Switzerland. Anthropos Inst. 501-514.

Abstract: This article deals with the transformative perception processes characterizing the drug-induced experiences of the Amazonian Kashinawa Indians after the ingestion of Banisteriopsis caapi, mainly known in the literature under the name of ayahuasca or yage. With progressing drug effects, the everyday perceptual order is abolished and replaced by the synaesthetic determined vision of a preformal world which is filled by the Kashinawa with mythological/cosmological significance: in a reversal of the process of differentiation, the fragments of splintered creation fuse into unity through a synaesthetic viewing during the visions. Thus the principle of transformation characteristic of original creation is not revealed semantically but experienced in a bodily-sensual way.

Note: Article Keifenheim B, Feurigstr 34, D-10827 Berlin, GERMANY

Keyword(s): Amazonia; Kashinawa; anthropology of the senses; visual anthropology; cultural concepts of perception; visual practices; hallucinogenic experiences; drug-induced perception processes; synaesthesia

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