Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
No Cover Image

Shamans of the Foye Tree

  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Shamans of the Foye Tree
    Book Description:

    Drawing on anthropologist Ana Mariella Bacigalupo's fifteen years of field research,Shamans of theFoyeTree: Gender, Power, and Healing among Chilean Mapucheis the first study to follow shamans' gender identities and performance in a variety of ritual, social, sexual, and political contexts.

    To Mapuche shamans, ormachi, thefoyetree is of special importance, not only for its medicinal qualities but also because of its hermaphroditic flowers, which reflect the gender-shifting components ofmachihealing practices. Framed by the cultural constructions of gender and identity, Bacigalupo's fascinating findings span the ways in which the Chilean state stigmatizes themachias witches and sexual deviants; how shamans use paradoxical discourses about gender to legitimatize themselves as healers and, at the same time, as modern men and women; the tree's political use as a symbol of resistance to national ideologies; and other components of these rich traditions.

    The first comprehensive study on Mapuche shamans' gendered practices,Shamans of theFoyeTreeoffers new perspectives on this crucial intersection of spiritual, social, and political power.

    eISBN: 978-0-292-79526-6
    Subjects: Anthropology, Sociology

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  4. CHAPTER 1 Introduction: The Gendered Realm of the Foye Tree
    (pp. 1-16)

    Since 1991, when I first began working with Mapuche shamans in the Bio-Bío, Araucanía, and Los Lagos regions of southern Chile, I have been intrigued by the myriad meanings of thefoyetree, also known ascanelo(Drimys winteri), and its connection with the many gendered dimensions of shamanic powers, identities, and practices (Figs. 1.1 and 1.2).Foyetrees are sacred trees of life that connect the natural, human, and spirit worlds and allow Mapuche shamans, ormachi, to participate in the forces that permeate the cosmos. They are symbols ofmachimedicine, andmachiuse the bitter leaves and...

  5. CHAPTER 2 The Ambiguous Powers of Machi: Illness, Awingkamiento, and the Modernization of Witchcraft
    (pp. 17-43)

    “That place is charged with witchcraft,” Machi Pamela said as I drove her through the lush green countryside to the lakeside tourist town of Rukalikan, where the paved road ended. It was February 1995, and we were on our way to the home of Segundo and his family, whom Pamela believed had been hexed by akalku, or witch. “The oldkalkufrom the top of the hill envies them because Segundo got more land,” she explained. She catalogued the family’s afflictions for me:

    The house creaks and the dogs bark because of the witchcraft. They have bad luck. They...

  6. CHAPTER 3 Gendered Rituals for Cosmic Order: Shamanic Struggles for Wholeness
    (pp. 44-80)

    The struggle for wholeness—the melding of all the world’s experience and knowledge—is central to the practice ofmachiin Chile today. Mapuche people, marginalized by the Chilean state socially, economically, and politically, link individual and social order with cosmological order. Both social and cosmological relations affect individual health and illness. A healthy person and body offer a model of social harmony and cosmic wholeness. Disruptions or transgressions of social or moral norms and failure to fulfill commitments to kin, ancestor spirits, and the Mapuche deity Ngünechen produce individual and social illnesses as well as cosmological chaos.¹

    To help...

  7. CHAPTER 4 Ritual Gendered Relationships: Kinship, Marriage, Mastery, and Machi Modes of Personhood
    (pp. 81-110)

    Kinship, marriage, and mastery—the closest and most durable gendered social relationships among Mapuche—are used bymachiin ritual to create bonds with the spirit and animal world.Machiare individual women and men in their everyday lives, but in ritual contexts their sex and age become secondary as they engage in various relational personhoods that link them with animals and spirits.

    In this chapter I explore the ways in which spiritual kinship ties, spiritual marriages, and relationships of mastery betweenmachi, animals, and spirits—manifested during initiation, healing, and death rituals—reflect historical ethnic and national relationships, social...

  8. CHAPTER 5 The Struggle for Machi Masculinity: Colonial Politics of Gender, Sexuality, and Power
    (pp. 111-139)

    One long winter evening in August 1629, in a hamlet headed by Longko Maulican south of the Bio-Bío River in Chile, amachi weye, or male shaman, healed a bewitched native boy with the help of ancestral spirits and afoyetree. Longko Maulican’s slave, Francisco Núñez de Pineda y Bascuñán, a twenty-two-year-old of Spanish descent, born in Chile, watched wide-eyed and terrified in a dark corner. To him, themachi weye’s appearance and spiritual practices were those of aputo, or male gender invert, a perverse sodomite engaged in devil worship:¹

    An Indian with such a horrible figure entered....

  9. CHAPTER 6 Machi as Gendered Symbols of Tradition: National Discourses and Mapuche Resistance Movements
    (pp. 140-163)

    Machi María Ángela smiled straight at the camera and beat on her shamanic drum as she posed for photographers beside Chilean president Eduardo Frei at the presidential palace on August 5, 1999. She wore the festive garb of Mapuchemachi: heavy silver jewelry, a black wool shawl, a blue apron with lace, and multicolored hair ribbons tied in a rosette on her forehead (Fig. 6.1). Frei performed Mapuche ritual by holding a branch of the sacredfoyetree and drinkingmuday. He recognized the ethnic dimension of Mapuche problems and promised to “construct a democratic coexistence based on respect and...

  10. CHAPTER 7 The Responses of Male Machi to Homophobia: Reinvention as Priests, Doctors, and Spiritual Warriors
    (pp. 164-211)

    Eugenio and Daniel—bothlongkoof their respective communities—drank a carton of Gato Negro wine as they mused about my research on malemachione summer evening in December 2001. The two drew on Chilean homophobic discourses to joke about the manliness, gender performances, and sexuality of malemachi. They applied to malemachithe derogatory Chilean terms “coliwilla,” “maricón,” “marica,” and “homosexual” and viewedmachias effeminate, transvestite, deceitful, cowardly, and passive. Yet, paradoxically, Daniel and Eugenio also respected malemachiand recognized the importance of their traditional co-gendered performances and transvestism during rituals that ensured health, wholeness,...

  11. CHAPTER 8 Female Machi: Embodying Tradition or Contesting Gender Norms?
    (pp. 212-252)

    Mostmachiin Chile today are women, and Mapuche use the Spanish feminine articlelain conjunction with the wordmachi. Some Mapuche argue thatmachiare predominantly women because “women stay at home and follow Mapuche ways more than men.” Others stress that women are more accepting of their calling. According to Machi Ana’s son: “Men decide not to becomemachibecause they are embarrassed. But women are braver and prefer to becomemachithan always to be ill.” According to Jaime, Machi Nora’s son: “Women recognize the signs ofmachicalling and go tomachito be cured,...

  12. CHAPTER 9 Representing the Gendered Identities of Machi: Paradoxes and Conflicts
    (pp. 253-260)

    Machi Abel was acutely aware of the power that Chilean majority discourses hold overmachi’s gender identities and sexualities. He argued that Chilean national discourses used the labels “homosexual” and “witch” as political tools to denigratemachiand Mapuche and to mold them to the gendered expectations of the Catholic state. He pointed to the unequal power dynamics that allowed national discourses to representmachirather than lettingmachispeak for themselves.

    For political purposes he also created a false dichotomy between Chilean colonialist discourses and Mapuche traditional discourses. He failed to acknowledge that Mapuche—including himself—used the terms...

  13. Notes
    (pp. 261-274)
  14. Glossary
    (pp. 275-278)
  15. References
    (pp. 279-306)
  16. Index
    (pp. 307-321)