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Traditional uses –
“At the beginning of time, Father Sun practiced incest with his daughter who acquired Viho by scratching her father’s penis. Thus the Tukano received this sacred snuff from the sun’s semen. And since it is still hallowed, it is kept in containers called muhipu-nuri, or ‘ penis of the sun.’ “
This hallucinogen enables the Tukano to consult the spirit world, especially Viho-mahse, the “ snuff person “, who from his dwelling in the Milky Way, tends all human affairs.
Shamans may not contact other spiritual forces directly, but only through the good graces of Viho-mahse. Thus the snuff made from the bark represents one of the most important tools of the paye or medicine man.
Some tribes, e.g. the Bora and Witoto swallow pellets made from the paste of the bark resin. In Venezuela, shamans smoke the bark at dances when curing fevers.
In Colombia, shamans among the Barasan, Makuna, Tukano, Kabuyare, Kuripako, Puinave, and other tribes in Eastern Colombia, employed the snuff for diagnosis, prophecy, divination, and other magico-religious purposes.
but only through the good graces of Viho-mahse. Consequently the snuff represents one of the most important tools of the medicine man.
The snuff is highly prized in the upper Orinoco and the Rio Negro of Brazil. The snuff is generally referred to as Epana, Ebena, Nyakwana and Parica.