Friday, July 27, 2018

Someone asked me this question about sapo/kambo/the Matses

Someone asked me if the Matses used different parts of the body to elicit different effects from sapo, the frog medicine that's administered into small burns on your body. They were hoping I would say something like: Well, if your chacras were closed, they would.......bullshit. Here is how I responded, and it's only from my experience but I do have experience with them:
With the Matses back in 1985-2000, there was very little consideration of dot placement. Burns were universally on the upper left or right bicep for men, with the occasional exception of some young buck who insisted he get them across his chest, above the heart. That request was always met with laughter by the elders who thought it was ridiculous but would serve it that way on request. For small kids who were sick, it was given on the forearm, generally, to break a sweat. For women thought to be pregnant it was given on the inner wrist, just a touch. 
Later, during the first trimester, a very small amount was administered to the labia to provoke urination that the midwives would read to see if the embryo was male or female, healthy or not. And if it was a female they did not need, or if it was unhealthy, a second administration to the labia would produce an abortion. I was never invited to watch those female procedures, so I'm going on what I was told, not personal experience. 
There was absolutely no consideration as to where it would be stronger: ie, the chacras. The Matses used this as a utilitarian hunting medicine, sickness medicine, abortive. No ritual, no singing, no dancing, just apply and walk away and let the recipient deal with it while everyone else ate a tapir or boar or crocodilian. 
I still am with the Matses a full month a year and have never seen that differ. You are sick or lazy, need to abort, or are not hunting well, you are getting sapo, whether you want it or not. 
The best that can be said is that in true Pervian form, they laughed while you suffered. Same as if you broke a hip. They would just laugh and laugh and never for a minute consider your broken hip. 
Their world was a rough place. It's now gotten soft, what with having agriculture and iphones and electricity. In those days they were still stealing machetes, shotguns, women. Different world.

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