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Arawak Religion

Subject Religion

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631181392.1995.x


[ xxiii ] Arawak-speaking peoples are widely distributed throughout the north and north-west of the South American continent. The best descriptions of their religions are from the Northern Maipure (Baniwa, Guajiro) and pre-Andean (Campa, Amuesha) peoples. In Baniwa religion, the salvific powers of the Creator/Transformer Yaperikuli overcome the primordial forces of chaos, creating order in the world ( see C reation myths ). The Creator's son, Kuwai, an extraordinary being whose body is the source of sacred music, represents ancestral power, invoked in initiation rituals today. The more powerful S hamans and chant specialists, key figures in religious life, have been considered saviours like the Creator. Guajiro religion centres on two divine principles in complementary opposition, manifest in the Lord of the Rains (Juya) and powerful female beings (Pulowi) associated with dangerous places and sickness. Through the way of the souls of the deceased, humans participate in the divine essence since the dead return to the earth in the form of rain or supernatural beings to perpetuate life and death. Most Guajiro shamans are women. For the Campa of eastern Peru, creation is the history of transformations that change the earth and its primal inhabitants into their present form. In their festivals the Campa seek a personal interaction with these transformative divinities through the use ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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