Thursday, 16 July 2009

The spiritual World

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The Amazonian world of people, animals and plants also includes spiritual beings, souls of dead ancestors, mythical creatures and supernatural animals.

People communicate with spirits in many ways, sometimes entering the spirit world through religious rituals, dreams or visions, or by using herbal drugs which can send them into a trance. Spirit mediums or shamans and priests, usually men, are trained to deal with spirits in this way, on behalf of other people seeking spiritual support and protection.

Knowledge of the spirit world is passed on through tales and legends, and also through masked representations. Spirits sometimes appear as masks, made and worn by men, who are thus transformed into the spirits themselves. They appear particularly at important ceremonies, such as those marking important stages in people's lives.

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