Talking With the Spirits, 8-9



[Spirit-]Mediumship in Brazil : ... African Gods

Bettina E. Schmidt


p. 209 mediumistic continuum

"Malandrino (2006) speaks of a continuum mediu`nico (medium continuum) of Umbanda, Kardecism and Candomble`, the three major religious traditions in which mediumship plays a central role. ... the term Espiritismo is sometimes used as an umbrella for religions utilizing mediumship."

Malandrino 2006 = Brígida Carla Malandrino : Umbanda : mudanc,as e permane^ncias. Sa~o Paulo : Editora PUC-SP.

p. 210 Umbanda & Candomble`

"Malandrino (2006) emphasizes the African elements of Umbanda and categorizes it as an Afro-Brazilian religion".

"the Bahian version of Candomble` ... emphasizes the Nago nation (derived from the ... Yoruba). Other versions of Candomble` are based on Je^je (derived from the Ewe-Fon), and Angola (... Bantu). Reginaldo Prandi (2005) categorizes Candomble` and the other Afro-Brazilian religions as ethnic religions ... of the Brazilian soul."

Prandi 2005 = J. Reginaldo Prandi : Segredos guardados : orixa`s na alma brasileira. Editora Univ de Sa~o Paulo, Companhia das Letras.

p. 211 African religions in states of Brazil



Tambor de Mina



Rio Grande do Sul


Rio de Janeiro



p. 213 Umbanda categories of spirit-guides

"Usually the Umbanda cosmos embraces seven or eight types of entities, such as ...

boiadeiros (spirits of cowboys),

ciganos (spirits of gypsies),

marineiros (spirits of sailors) ... ."

p. 213 wide variety of potential deities in Umbanda

"In one terreiro I have seen an altar for extraterrestrials

next to one for North American Native Americans,

as well as symbols for Celtic deities,

all typical of the symbolic and ritual diversity of Umbanda".

p. 221 African-style apparel

"wear demonstrably 'African' ... colours ... .

{e.g., brown}

... it is not enough to dress in African-style ... during festivals; it is more important to show in everyday situations one's commitment to an Afro-Brazilian religion."

p. 224 a remnant portion of a deity

"caboclos enter the body of the medium as external entities that will leaves after the possession episode.

Part of the orixa` remains, however.

[cf. infra p. 237, for the Akwaio : "which stay with him all the time".]

... an orixa` rises ... up to the head when it takes over the control of the body. ... Following this definition one could indeed compare the orixa` possession with the divine inspiration."

Following this definition one could indeed compare the orixa` possession with the divine inspiration. But ... the opposite is in-fact the case."

[The passage "the opposite is in-fact the case" is a reference to pp. 219-23 supra, wherein various Pentacostal Christian denominations are described as practicing "exorcism" on any possessing-deities who name themselves (when inquired of) as Yoruba (or as Fo,n) deities.]

{The possessing-deities praesumably name themselves howsoever the mortal inquiring of them may wish. Pentacostals wish for an African deity to exorcize, so the possessing-deities (who arrive at the Pentacostal caerimony in a timely manner, so as to praesent themselves in order to be duly exorcized) when in the praesence of Pentacostals obligingly name themselves accordingly, and likewise obligingly depart whenever they are expected to in the exorcism-caerimony. Such deities are superbly theatrical actors, eagre to entertain an audience of attentive mortals. [written Feb 17 2015]}



Incorporation into Ayahuasca Use

David Luke


pp. 229-30 voluntary spirit-possession enabled by ayawasca

p. 229

"One of the core features of Umbanda is the utilisation of trance 'incorporation' -- a term preferred by practitioners (e.g., Marques, 2007) ... for what has elsewhere been voluntary possession (e.g., Oesterreich, [1930]), or trance or spirit possession (e.g., ... Klass, 2003 ...) ... .

p. 230

Slowly, ... there has been ... fusion of these two techniques of magico-religious practice (Dawson, 2011, 2012) ... within Santo Daime church combining both incorporation and the ingestion of psychedelic potions within the same ritual, a combination that is appropriately termed Umbandaime. ...

The question arose as to why there is an apparent absence of incorporation with traditional plant psychedelic use, when so many other ... paranormal or parapsychological practices abound with these substances ... (e.g., see Luke, ... 2012)."

{The reason why entheogenic drugs are not usually employed in achievement of spirit-possession is that spirit-possession is achieved through enhancement of aisthetic-artistic sensation (such as, appretiation of combined hymn-chanting and musical instrumentation), whereas such sensation is usually dulled (instead of enhanced) by means of drugs. [written Jan 23 2015]}

Marques, 2007 = A. A. Marques, Jr. (transl. by D. Thornton) : "Incorporation of Umbanda by Santo Daime". In :- Tambores para` a Rainha da Floresta. ("Drums for the Queen of the Forest".) master's thesis, Pontifi`cia Universidade Cato`lica de Sa~o Paulo.

Oesterreich, 1930 = Traugott Konstantin Oesterreich (transl. from the German by D. Ibberson) : Possession, Demoniacal and Other ... . London : Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co. Ltd, 1930. (reprinted 1966 New Hyde Park (NY) : University Bks)

Klass, 2003 = Morton Klass : Mind Over Mind : the Anthropology ... of Spirit Possession. Lanham (MD) : Rowman & Littlefield.

Dawson, 2011 = Andrew Dawson : "Spirit, Self, Society in ... Santo Daime". In :- Andrew Dawson (ed.) : Summoning the Spirits. London : I.B.Tauris. pp. 143-61.

Dawson, 2012 = Andrew Dawson : "Umbandaization of Santo Daime". NOVA RELIGIO 15.4:60-84.

Luke, 2012 = D. P. Luke : "Psychoactive Substances and Paranormal Phenomena : a Comprehensive Review". INTERNAT J OF TRANSPERSONAL STUDIES 31:97-156.

{It may, furthermore, be required that the aisthetic-artistic sensation responsible for spirit-possession, be sensed through the material body, rather than (as would be much the case with a psychedelic) through a subtle (astral or mental) body. This limitation may be due to the accrediting of a subtle body's response needing to be approved through a propre spirit-guide, who is not-as-yet available to ordinary drug-ingesters. [written Jan 23 2015]}

p. 231 history of Umbandaism within Santo Daime

"some English language texts are available that plot the history and contemporary practice of Umbandaime (e.g., Dawson, 2010, 2011, 2012; Marques, 2007; Polari, 1999)".

Dawson, 2010 = Andrew Dawson : "Taking Possession of Santo Daime". In :- Bettina E. Schmidt & Lucy Huskinson (editrices) : Spirit Possession and Trance : New Interdisciplinary Perspectives. London : Continuum, 2010. pp. 134-50.

Polari, 1999 = Alex Polari de Alverga : Forest of Visions : Ayahuasca, Amazonian Spirituality and the Santo Daime Tradition. Rochester (VT) : Park Street Pr. (transl. of :- Alex Polari de Alverga : Ayahuasca. Barcelona : Obelisco, 1994.)

pp. 231-2 Ze`lio de Moraes

p. 231

"the earliest agreed progenitor of Umbanda is ... Ze`lio de Moraes who, in 1920, defied the usual Kardecist Spiritist practices ... during a se'ance when he incorporated both indigenous (caboclo) and African slave (preto velho) spirits of the dead, rather than the usual Caucasian ones

p. 232

(Brown, 1994). Sometime later in the 1920s, Moraes set up the first Umbanda 'centro' in Niteroi, which then moved to central Rio [de Janeiro] where it flourished. Combining ... Spiritism and ... the incorporation of Orixa`s (deities, ... of Yoruba origin) ..., Umbanda ... spread widely during the 1970s and 1980s and had 17,000 registered centros by 1990 (Brown, 1994 [1986])".

Brown, 1986 = Diana DeGroat Brown : Umbanda : Religion ... in Urban Brazil. Ann Arbor : UMI Research Press, 1986. STUDIES IN CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY, no. 7. (Morningside edn. 1994 NY : Columbia Univ Pr)

pp. 232-4 Santo Daime & its offshoot & congener

p. 232

"Santo Daime emerged from the jungles of Acre in western Brazil in the 1930s. ... the healer Raimundo Irineu Serra (Mestre {'Maestro, Master, Magister'} Irineu) ... using ayahuasca in a shamanic manner ... developed its use as a sacrament in a ... religion ... given to interaction with nature spirits, though not spirits of the dead (Dawson, 2011, 2012). This first Santo Daime community was called Alto Santo and fractured in the 1970s, following Mestre Irineu's death, when Padrino Sebastia~o Mota de Melo broke away and founded Centro Ecle`ctico da Fluente Luz Universal ... (CFLU...) branch, which ultimately situated itself in Ce`u do Mapia`, Amazonas ... ."

"Having also practiced with Mestre Irineu in Rio Branco, Acre, ... Daniel Pereira de Mattos (Frei {'Fre`re, Friar, Frater'} Daniel) established the Barquinha (little boat {'barque'}) religious community there in 1945 ... (Labate, 2006)."

"the Unia~o do Vegetal (UDV) ... began

p. 233

its lineage independently of the Santo Daime and was officially established in Porto Velho (state of Rondo^nia) in 1965 by ... Jose` Gabriel da Costa (Mestre Gabriel), although it was also reputedly founded at the Sunta ... on the Bolivian-Brazilian border (Goulart, 2006)."

"the UDV do not incorporate (Goulart, 2006), whereas the Barquinha do (Arau`jo, 2006 ...) ... . Nevertheless, the Barquinha refer to their incorporation mediumship as a less complete embodiment of spirits with the term 'irradiation', in that the

p. 234

spirit radiates through them rather than fully incorporating (Frenopoulo, 2006)."

Labate, 2006 = Beatriz Caiuby Labate (translated by Robin Wright) : "Brazilian Literature on Ayahuasca Religions". FIELDWORK IN RELIGION 2.3:200-34.

Goulart, 2006 = Sandra Lucia Goulart (transl. by Christian Frenopoulo) : "Religious Matrices of the Unia~o do Vegetal". FIELDWORK IN RELIGION 2.3:286-318.

Arau`jo, 2006 = Wladimyr Sena Araújo (transl. by Robin M. Wright) : "Barquinha : ... Cosmology in the Making". FIELDWORK IN RELIGION 2.3:350-62.

Frenopoulo, 2006 = Christian Frenopoulo : "Healing in the Barquinha Religion". FIELDWORK IN RELIGION 2.3:363-92.

p. 235 Siberian shamnism

Shamans "enter the ... 'spirit-world' ...

{by dreaming of it}

for ... 'magical flight' or 'soul flight'".

{by dreaming of being a bird}

pp. 236-9 other entheogenics which, having been ingested, either summon deities the waking world; or else, facilitate meetings with recognizably divine entities in the dream-universe

p. 236

"the Amanita muscaria mushroom-using Chukchi engage in spirit possession".

p. 237

"with the Akawaio whose incorporation occurs on an ongoing basis with multiple spirits, so that the shaman's body can house his own spirit and numerous others, which stay with him all the time (Butt, Wavell & Epton, 1966) in what Lewis (1978) describes as a constant state of latent possession."

{This would be similar to the lodging of multiple spirits in the human practitioner's body, with the S^uar : as with the S^uar, the Akawaio employ "tobacco" (supra p. 236) for this.}

p. 238

"the Yanomami of Venezuela (e.g., Jokic[`], 2008b) ... utilize 'epena' or 'yopo' snuff (usually derived from Anadenanthera peregrina seeds), and incorporate various hekura spirits.

{"the neophyte undergoes an intense experience of death through dismemberment by the spirits" (Jokic`, 2008b -- "YShI"). [Cf. Bodish gCod]}

... the Mitsogho people of Gabon ... utilise both iboga (Tabernanthe iboga) and incorporation in their rituals

p. 239

(Maas & Strubelt, 2003), although this is apparently reserved for the female Ombwiri (or Ombudi) trance possession initiates only, who may use iboga to assist in their vision of the healing genies (Goutarel, Gollnhofer, & Sillans, 1993)."

Butt, Wavell & Epton, 1966 = Stewart Wavell; Audrey Butt Colson; Nina Consuelo Epton : Trances. London : George Allen & Unwin. (reprinted 1967 NY : Dutton)

Jokic`, 2008b = Z^eljko Jokic` : "Yanomami ... Postmortem Consciousness in Transformation". ANTHROPOLOGY OF CONSCIOUSNESS 19.1:33-59.

"YShI" = "Yanomami Shamanic Initiation".

Maas & Strubelt, 2003 = U. Maas & S. Strubelt : "Music in the Iboga Initiation Ceremony in Gabon". MUSIC THERAPY TODAY 4.3.

Goutarel, Gollnhofer, & Sillans, 1993 = R. Goutarel, O. Gollnhofer, & R. Sillans : "Pharmacodynamics and Therapeutic Applications of Iboga and Ibogaine". PSYCHEDELIC MONOGRAPHS & ESSAYS 6:70-111.

p. 239 shape-shifting : shifting one's consciousness out of the human body into the body of a beast

"Stone (2011) notes that shamanic transformation into a jaguar

{in a dream, by dreaming of being a jaguar/leopard}

is still a widespread belief in the Amazon.

{wrong terminology! Dreaming of being a beast is not a matter of "belief"; it is an experience which is experienced regardless of whatever "belief" one may (or may not) adhaere to.}

However, it ha been noted that ... shamanic incorporation -- if that is what it is -- of animals is not of a specific ... animal but of the spirit of the "tiger-in-general" (Gauld, [1982], p. 17)."

{A dream-body (human, bestial, or otherwise) which one may occupy in a dream is not essentially related to any material body (alive or dead) which may exist in the waking universe. Such dream-body, however, must be a specific body (there not quite being such a thing as any totally abstract "body-in-general"); though it would normally have to be a body not occupied by another consciousness during that interval of time -- in constrast to co-occupation (with another consciousness -- which would be the author's apparent understanding here of "shamanic incorporation") constituting the rather unusual status of dreaming about undergoing spirit-possession. [written Jan 23 2015]}

Stone 2011 = Rebecca Stone : The Jaguar Within : Shamanic Trance ... . Austin : Univ of TX Pr.

Gauld, 1982 = Alan Gauld : Mediumship and Survival : a Century of Investigations. London : Heinemann. (reprinted 1983 London : Paladin)

p. 240 not "objective"??!

"report of lycanthropy ... were in truth only lycanthropy experiences rather than actual objective shapeshifting phenomena."

{The lycanthropy experience is as "objective" as any event in the material universe; for subtle (astral and mental) bodies (and other subtle substances and subtle "objects") can have effects (often confirmed in laboratory-tests) on the material universe, just as the material universe is deemed "objective" praecisely because events in the material universe can have effects in subtle universes (including the mortal mind -- which is itself not quite of an "objective" nature! -- and which is the sole means whereby mortals are aware of events in the material universe).}

{What lycanthropy experiences are not, how-be-it, are mere "strictly material" events; though they are both objective in their own universe, and able to have observable effects in the waking universe.}

p. 240 "moot point"?

"the hundreds, or perhaps thousands ... of hekura that exist include the moon spirit, the darkness spirit, the spirit of the whirlpool, and the Milky Way spirit (Lizot, [1985]) ... .

Furthermore, it's a moot point whether a line can be drawn between incorporation by the spirits of the deceased and the spirits of nature.

{"Spirits of the dead" are never involved in an "incorporation/possession" episodes/events in pure archaic/primitive traditional religions, be they AmerIndian, African, or whatever : instead, "incorporation/possession" episodes/events always involve deities customarily residing in some other plane-of-existence (and who may or may not have a discernable relationship to some factors inhaerent in the material waking-universe).}

... with the incorporation of hekura spirits, the shaman sings the spirits -- which are between a few millimetres and a couple of inches in size -- into their chests, where they can be commanded {implored, not "commanded"} ... to help cure sick kinsman".

Lizot, 1985 = Jacques Lizot (transl. by Ernest Simon ) : Tales of the Yanomami ... in the Venezuelan Forest. CAMBRIDGE STUDIES IN SOCIAL ANTHROPOLOGY, 55. Cambridge Univ Pr. (Canto edn. 1991, Cambridge Univ Pr)

{The deities actually encountred in "incorporation/possession" episodes/events are, in fact, those revered in non-class-ruled societies -- all such deities being (on the basis of S`'s, in the Book of >iyo^b, being an inveterate accuser of ploutokrats, namely of those ploutokrats' generally being guilty of gross irreligious hypocrisy), in fact (in Christian terms, and in all ruling-class-promoted religions) so-called /diaboloi/ (/devils/). So as to evade the "criminal" charge of being arrant devil-worshippers (meaning, subversive promoters of a program for eliminating the system of ploutokrateia), in class-ruled societies spirit-media (spirit-incorporaters) employ the device of feigning that their (actually rather powerful) "devils" are mere souls of dead people (and therefore supposedly powerless to overthrow the ploutokrateia). This is a mere bluff, a hoax, but effective at allaying suspicions. [written Jan 23 2015]}

p. 241 "in trance"?

[quoted from McKenna, 1992, p. 58] "The shaman is ... able to abandon his body {inaccurate : usually while dreaming the shaman is in occupation of a dream-body, which is at that time "his"} and undertake cosmic journeys "in the spirit" (in trance)."

{Not primarily. The traditional Siberian shaman's "cosmic journeys" are always undertaken in dreams, never in trance (trance, achieved by prayerful rite, being useful merely for inviting divinities to visit the material world, where at a se'ance those divinities may impress the audience with sounds and lights) and never by use of any drug. McKenna himself ingested drugs, which can enable one to see (while awake, usually with one's eyen shut) another world, but not particularly to visit it bodily (as can be done by shamanic dreaming).}

McKenna, 1992 = Terence McKenna : Food of the Gods. NY : Bantam Bks.

p. 242 (citing Jokic` 2008a) Buriat divinity-incorporated mediumship

"traditional Buriat shamanism ... is now being revived, except that shamans now practice a kind of amnesiac incorporated mediumship,

and indicate that they have not yet developed the skills required to attain the amnesia-less trance magical flight of their forbears."

{There is not, and never was, any such thing as "trance magical flight", which was never done by their forbears. Instead, travels were undertaken in dreams, often in the guise (body) of an animal (flying in a bird-body, swimming in a fish-body, sprinting in deer-body).}

Jokic` 2008a = Z^eljko Jokic` : "The Wrath of the Forgotten Ongons : Shamanic Sickness, Spirit Embodiment and Fragmentary Trancescape in Contemporary Buriat Shamanism". SIBIRICA 7.1:23-50.

{Anthropologists at universities in the United States almost never (at least not in recent decades) make the gross blunder of praesuming that "magical flight" can be undertaken in trance by shamans; that error is, however, so pervasive with European (including British) anthropologists that it would appear that the governments of those countries must be compelling their universities to misrepraesent the facts here. The closest activity to "trance magical flight" actually possible is projection of the astral body; but the trance employed for this purpose is that of the hypnopompic state, which is a state (often employed for this purpose by drug-ingesting European witches, but never by drugless shamans) wherein no motion of the material body is feasible (nor is the material body even sensed); in contrast to the trances publicly performed by shamans, which involve strenuous and very agile material-body activity. (Oddly, anthropologists -- even American ones -- seem to be aware of astral projection (in traditional tribal societies) only in the context of a result of drug-ingestion, though modern occult litterature is replete with descriptions of it in non-drug-involved contexts by congenital psychikoi/pneumatikoi.)}


Jack Hunter & David Luke (edd.) : Talking With the Spirits : Ethnographies from Between the Worlds. Daily Grail Publ, Brisbane, 2014.