Mayoruna Poison Frog Ceremony
Page 3 of 5
Tchampicassi is very fair and a natural blonde, which is not all that unusual among the Mayoruna. It seems that until recently, the Mayoruna kidnapped white women and integrated them into their tribe. In fact, the movie "The Emerald Forest" featuring "Tommy," the blue-eyed American boy who was kidnapped by Amazonian Indians in Brazil and raised by them as one of their own, was reported by the director (John Boorman) to have been based on real life events involving the Mayoruna-Matses Indians.
Using my camcorder mounted
on a tripod, I filmed Tchampicassi injecting frog poison for the first time
in her life. At the beginning of the ceremony, she was cheerful and
laughing. I watched as her mother used a stick from a fire to burn two
points on her abdomen. After burning the skin, her mother actually
peeled and removed the upper dermal layer using her fingers as forceps.
Next the frog poison mixed with human saliva (to activate it) was applied to
the wounds. Within a few minutes, the formerly cheerful woman changed and
drifted off into another world. Almost immediately after the application of
Phyllomedusa bicolor emetic, she began to throw up, hence this ceremony is
referred by some as a purgative or cleansing ritual. Later, she became
drowsy and slept on a woven palm leaf mat. To truly appreciate how frog
poison is used by indigenous Amazonians, you need to view my
Amazonian Indian documentaries that feature Amazonian medicines and are available on DVD and instant download.
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