Concepts of reality have many levels, some of which are gained by fasting and/or the use of certain plants that allow a person to view the past, present and/or the future. This is especially true for cultures that cherish and practice oral traditions and which thrive in parts of the world which have an abundance of flora and fauna, like those located in the Amazon basin of South America. The knowledge of the use and effects of these various plants in the Ecuadorian portion of the Amazon basin is held by persons known as Shamans. Dr. Juan Martinez, our guest in this edition of Radio Curious, is a professor of History and Anthropology at the University of Cuenca, in Cuenca, Ecuador. He has studied, written and lectured about the Shamanistic practices in the Ecuadorian jungle and the medicinal and spiritual effects of the plants native to the western portion of the Amazon basin. I spoke with Professor Juan Martinez in his office in Cuenca, Ecuador on November 17, 2005. He began our conversation by describing relationship of the people of Ecuadorian jungle to their worlds, the spiritual world, and the world in which they live on a daily basis.
Juan Martinez recommends “Amazon Worlds,” published by Sinchi Sancha.
Originally Broadcast: December 5,2005