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Matsés-Mayoruna Indians - Poison Frog Ceremony

Mayoruna Poison Frog Ceremony

Page 4 of 5

My friend Jason also participated in the ceremony.  First he drank a type of "chicha" (fruit juice) that was bright orange.  This is important as taking "kambo" on an empty stomach can be painful and cause "dry heaves."  Next he snorted a tobacco mixture ("nu-nu") that was blown into his nose by one of the Mayoruna. Three small points were burned on his arm. After peeling off the outer skin layer, the poison frog mixture ("kambo") was applied. Within several minutes his heart rate accelerated and his body and mind responded to the toxin in a manner that could only be described as intense. Although "kambo" is not hallucinogenic in the sense that LSD or ayahuasca is, my friend experience a dream-like state.  After resting, Jason told me that his perception of the world changed and he would never see things the same after this experience with "kambo."

Later that night, I remember one of our group teasing Jason that the frog toxin ("kambo") was changing him and that his face was beginning to resemble a frog. Cheerful and cordial as always, Jason smiled and winked at me and I could see that our friend that had made the comment had missed something; my friend Jason had dared to explore a world few outsiders ever experience, not the realm of the frog, but the world of the Mayoruna Indians.


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