The Satere-Mawe Tribe, an indigenous tribe from the Amazon rain forest (Brazil), has a very unique coming of age ritual. To become a man, a boy has to place his hands inside a gloves filled with a swarm of bullet ants. A sting from a bullet ant is ranked number one on the SSPI (Schmidt Sting Pain Index) which categorizes the pain from different hymenopteran stings. The pain has been equated to being shot or being set on fire.
The ants are caught in the jungle and placed, stinger first, in special woven gloves. As the drugs wear off, the ants become enraged and eager to sting. The boy must now place his hands in the gloves for 5-10 minutes and endure hundreds of stings. If he cries, he has to do the ritual over. The day the boy doesn’t shed a single tear, is when he is considered a “real man.”
The Guarani are a group of culturally-related indigenous peoples living in several different states, including Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia and Uruguay. The Guarani’s overall population is estimated at 257,400 people.
““The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.” – Frederich Nietzsche”