YUXIN (SOUL), Kaxinawá Shamanism, Brazil

The first sign that someone has the potential to become a shaman, a developed relationship with the world of the yuxin( soul), is failure in hunting. The shaman develops such a deep familiarity with the animal universe (or with the yuxin of the animals), including being able to converse with them, that he is unable to kill them: “and walking in the forest, an animal speaks to me. When he sees the deer, he calls out ‘hey, my brother-in-law’, and he stopped still. When a peccary came, ‘ah’, he called, ‘ah, my uncle’, and he stopped. Then in our language he says ‘em txai huaí!’ (‘Hey, brother-in-law!’), so he doesn’t eat it”.  Consequently, the shaman doesn’t eat meat and not just for affective reasons. The impossibility of eating meat is also linked to the muka (spiritual power)  and to the change in the senses of smell and taste of the person with matured muka in his heart. The taste and aroma of meat become bitter.” 

Text:  Kaxinawá Shamanism by Fany Pantaleoni / image:  Yuxin: alma by Ana Miranda.

The Letter (1925). Eliseu Visconti (Italian-born Brazilian, 1866-1944). Oil on canvas.

Thanks to a prize received in 1892, Visconti travelled to Paris, where he attended the École des Beaux Arts the following year. He also took classes at the Académie Julian and the École nationale supérieure des arts décoratifs, where he was a pupil of Art Nouveau master Eugène Grasset.