Social Life of Spirits, 8



Paje` Dreams, Chants, and Social Life

Ana Stela de Almeida Cunha


p. 252 terminology

p. 252,


its meaning

n. 8:1


central space for congregation in a terreiro

n. 8:2


"Doctrines are songs that are pronounced ... for calling encantados ... . ... "The doctrine is the the trademark of an encantado ... . It is what makes him appear ... or take our side.""

n. 8:3


"encantado lineages"

n. 8:4


"people of mixed {mestizo} white and Amerindian heritage."

n. 8:5


"Tambor de Mina and Paje` entities ... who lived a carnal life but

who disappeared and became enchanted."

{This likewise happened with, e.g.,^k, Mos^eh, and Romulus..}

n. 8:6

festa; cura

"festas (parties) and curas (healings) :

in the former the encantados only enter to play, dance, and talk, but in the latter ... they provide cures".

{Cf. the book entitled Some Spirits Heal, Others Only Dance.}

pp. 158-9, 253 Paje` & dreaming

p. 158

"the entities that appear in Paje` -- an African-based religion

{/Paje`/ is originally the term for 'shaman' among, e.g., the Hohodene Baniwa on the Aiary River (MJShNA, p. xi et passim), and among the Yawanawa` ("ShYP").}

that is extensively practiced on the western border of Maranha~o state, in northeastern Brazil -- ... sing upon arrival, talk to people, and provide remedies for those with spiritual or physical problems."

p. 159

"interactions between there and here worlds ... : through the Paje`'s dreams (in which they enter the encantaria world)"

{"Dreaming is the special province of paje`s, or shamans. ... shamans can act in their dreams to bring about events [in the waking-world]." ("DPC", p. 108)}

p. 253, n. 8:15

"The encantaria is where the encantados live ... . ... The access between "this" world and the encantaria is given in specific spaces, such as

water holes, certain tree trunks, and bays; that is, these places act as portals between two worlds."

{These may be visited (pilgrimage) or dreamt of.}

MJShNA = Robin M. Wright : Mysteries of the Jaguar Shamans of the Northwest Amazon. Univ of NE Pr, 2013

"ShYP" = "Shaman of the Yawanawa` People".

"DPC" = Waud H. Kracke : "To Dream, Perchance to Cure". In :- Jadran Mimica (ed.) : Explorations in Psychoanalytic Ethnography. Berghahn Books, 2007. pp. 106-20.

p. 160 the designation /paje`/

[transl. from Ferretti 2001, 20] "In Maranha~o the term "Paje`" (or healer) is used to designate both religious specialists from indigenous cultural traditions

[p. 252, n. 8:7 "The noun, Paje`, denotes both the practitioners and the religion". ]

and the most syncretic of black cultures, ...

{borrowing from AmerIndians}

such as those currently found in the peripheries of Sa~o Luis or beyond"".

Ferretti 2001 = Mundicarmo Ferretti : "Pureza Nage^ e Nac,o~es Africanas no Tambor de Mina do Maranha~o". REVISTA CIENCIAS SOCIALES Y RELIGIO`N / CIE^NCIAS SOCIAIS E RELIGIA~O 3.3:75-94.

p. 161 putative nationalities of families of divinities in the encantaria


family of divinities

Tu:rkiye {originally, Pavo bird divinities?}


Surrupira {whistling tapir deities? /Surrupira/ may be a pun on /susurr-/ 'whistle', for /currupira/, a whistling animal.}


"Le`gua Boji Bua`"


Austria {originally, Easter rabbit divinities?}


p. 162 variant categorization of divinities

[transl. from Ferretti 1992, 8] "Entities classified as peers in one terreiro can be seen by others as voduns ... . Others can be classified as voduns by some and as Caboclo by others."

Ferretti 1992 = Mundicarmo Ferretti : "Repensando o Turco no Tambor de Mina". AFRO-A`SIA 15:56-70.

p. 162 mental telepathy

"one of the Paje`s affirms : "... encantados pick up more of our manner and ... we also come to understand the encantados better."

And, as in the words of another Paje`, "The closer we are to them, the more they understand us, until it reaches the point that spoken communication is no longer required; it [communication] is all {conducted} in thought.""

pp. 163-4 Joa~o de Mata

p. 163

"Joa~o de Mata, the Caboclo da Bandeira (Flag Caboclo), ... presents himnself as an old, wise, hunched Amerindian ... . ... He has many children and siblings ..., as well as cousins ... . ...

p. 164

Despite being from the Mata line, the Flag Caboclo (Joa~o de Mata) is enchanted in the Itacolomy rock ... : ...

I am a Flag Caboclo, of ariri leaf

I am a Flag Caboclo, Itacolomy rock".

p. 165 sons of Joa~o de Mata

"I am Red Prawn ["Camara~o Vermelho" {Vermilion Shrimp}]

from Arac,aji beach

Prawn ... son of the Flag King

I am Joa~o Guara`

Son of the Flag King".

p. 165 daughter of Joa~o de Mata

"I am a warrior woman

My name is Iracema

Daughter of the Flag Caboclo".

pp. 165-6 contrasts between the Flag (Bandeira) Family and the Le`gua Boji Bua` Family

p. 165

"Caboclos of this [Bandeira] family ...

(according to many Paje`s, ... only drink water from a gourd);

{Cf. the religious custom, in India, of drinking only from a coconut-shell.}

they are serious entities and not very playful --

in comparison to Le`gua Boji Bua`'s family, who ... always play

p. 166

with the audience, telling ... jokes and actively participating in the festivities."

p. 167 dreamings as settings for entring into, and experiencing, the encantaria universe

"Dreams, however, indicate a distinct form of materialization,

{Actually, they indicate a distinct form of dematerialization, for the dream-universe is very

definitely no part of the material plane!}

requiring the Paje`'s entrance into the encantaria world ... --

{Entrance into the dream-world is, of course, achieved by departure out of the material plane, which detachment from materiality can be described as /dematerialization of the self/.}

it is ... the distribution of materiality,

{Nay! There is no trace of materiality (anna-maya-kos`a) in the dream-body (svapna-kaya).}

while also being a solitary exercise, felt only by the adept.

{There are, however, shared-dreaming methods of visiting sites in the dream-world in the verifiable company of other adepts.}

Among the accounts given by Paje`s, ... are ... how they first made contact with their head {ori} encantados; invariably this takes place through dreams ... .

Somtimes this happen in a more diffuse and gradual manner,

{aequivalent to gradual enlightenment}

other times not so, and

{aequivalent to sudden enlightenment}

the Paje`s say that they lucidly experienced the dream,

{were aware that they were dreaming, and

through complete immersion in the encantaria universe."

that they were thus then in a divine world}

{The authoress is, in these sorts of passages, misusing the word /materialitas/ : she ought to be applying instead the word /substantia/ (/ousia/), so as to affirm a consubstantiality of the dream-bodies with the subtle bodies ( experienced in projection-transvection (of devilish witchcraft, pharmakeia diabolike).}

p. 168 effects of encantaria world on material-world marriages, and on knowledge of remedies and of cures

"he has already had three failed (earthly) marriages because of incantaria women {goddesses},

{Any such failed marriage would be to the detriment of a materialisitic spouse, who could be divinely blamed for such impiety.}

and the guidance he receives for the preparation of remedies and cures is provided through dreams, when he travels to the fundo (deep) and receives the necessary instruction and preparation."

"Evidently, relations with each {otherworldly and thisworldly} wife are distinct, as in the following ... : "... the wife from the deep ... is always provoking the wife (the here {material-bodied} wife). But ... my [here-]wife has an understanding ..., and often she attends to my deep wife's requests ..." ... .

But this understanding relation ... is not common, and the rupture of marriages due to jealousy or intolerance is more frequent among the Paje`s."

{In Haiti, however, it is usual and regular to consider as an honor that one's spouse may have another, divine, spouse (visited in dreams).}

p. 168 are women actually sexually "assaulted" by gods?

"Accounts by female Paje`s indicate the possibility of assault by encantados rather than marriages; these tend to refer to entities that become enamoured with them".

{Because Spanish (and European generally) officially (i.e., authorized by the political state)-praescribed customs demand that women resist males (including male gods -- but is Virgin Mary ever claimed to have resisted being impraegnated by God the Father?), women in European colonies would regularly be severely punished (unless they were licensed prostitutes) for voluntarily having sexual relations with any male to whom they were not married. Therefore such women will always make the claim that they were sexually "assaulted" by a god whenever the relationship is actually consensual.}

{Although official myths of mortal women's being sexually assaulted by male deity are commonplace in Hellenic literature, it is most likely that there, also, the allegation of resistance by mortal women is no more than merely a very unrealistic literary device.}

pp. 169-70 significance of dreaming

p. 169

"many of the Paje`s are preparados (prepared or initiated {consecrated} for religious life) during dreams in the encantaria; an encantado prepares and is responsible for a future Paje` ... . The Paje`s' dreams operate as a possibility of entering into a restricted universe, the encantaria, where he or she dives into another world ... . ...

By entering into that universe, the Paje`s are introduced into the entities' {social} networks and social life; ... many marry encantados ... .

p. 170

... These relationships occur invariably through dreams ... : ... if the despreparados (unprepared) look at an encantado or go to their land, they would never return -- the possibility of transiting between these two universes is reserved for the initiated {initiated by a deity, in a dream} and those with the dom (the gift or vision {-- also granted by a deity}). Thus, ... to dream with the encantaria is have ... the risk of becoming entrapped in that land. And, having ... the experience of encantaria dreams is a gift (Boyer 1996)."

Boyer 1996 = Ve`ronique Boyer : "Le don et l'initiation". L'HOMME 138:7-24.

p. 254, n. 8:23 multiple divinity-controls for each shaman

"The Paje`s have

an encantado guide,

{who is to suggest whither to wend one's way}

a counterguide,

{who is to suggest whither not to wend one's way -- as was the usual function of the daimon of Sokrates}

a boss, and

{This "boss" would be identical with the antar-yamin (inner controller'); sadhana known as yama would be appropriate for this. There may be two such controllers : for Swedenborgians, one is to control one's understanding, and one is to control one choices.}

one or two revellers. ...

{If 2, then one would be of the gendre same as, and the other of the opposite gendre from, the person whose material body is being possessed.}

If the {male} Paje` has great affinity with his (female) reveller ... he will acquire the [female reveller]'s characteristics and can even become effeminate". {Likewike, praesumably, a female Paje` could acquire masculine habits from a male spirit-reveller.}

{This may well be the usual cause (aitiology) of homosexuality in humans. If so, the cure for homosexuality would somehow have to deal with (cajole, appease) spirit-revellers. [written Jan 19 2015]}

{When it is stated that "people have two Spirit Guides or Guardian Angels throughout their life, ... One ... a female and the other ... a male" ("CYPSG"), these would be anima and animus.} {The reveller of opposite gendre is apparently is apparent distinct from the possessing-deity of opposite gendre described in Ryukyu spirit-possession as temporarily (only while immersed in actual possession-trance) imparting, to the material body of a possessed person, behaviour appropriate to the opposite gendre.}

"CYPSG" = "Contacting Your Personal Spirit Guides".

pp. 173 party-celebration for deities

"the Paje`s' songs and doctrines differ ...

when there is a chamamento, or call;

when the encantado is already trabalhando (working); and

during the despedida, when the encantado leaves. ...

The inauguration of a party in a Paje` barraca~o almost always takes place with

a chamado called the Imbarabo^,

then songs for the voduns -- usually songs to Averequete -- and

then to the house dono (owner{-spirit}, or the Paje`'s {spirit-}guide),

the counterguides, the families {of spirits} or nac,o~es (nations), and

finally the Paje`'s {spirit-}revellers."

pp. 174-5 Bade`

p. 174

"Bade`, a vodun ..., like the encantados, also has siblings, a father, and a mother; Sogo {Sogbo/Sagbata}'s son and brother of Averequete

p. 175

and Loco {Fo,n deity equivalent to Yoruba Iroko`[, the latter perhaps cognate with /<iraq/ and/or /Iroquois/]}.

pp. 175-6 delaying a trance; lyrics of the ritual performance

p. 175

"the Paje` ... begins to feel the first calafrios (chills), one of the indications that he will go into a trance. He ... puts perfume on

the back of his head,

{the place of Id.a, in Kun.d.alini yoga}

to delay the encantado/vodun. ... The Paje`s then begin to chant doctrines -- messages from the vodun, such as ... . ...

Oia Verequete said to inform

He is ... Governor in the sea. ...

... note here that the Paje` ... by transferring action to the drums ... is no longer the agent ... . ...

[p. 255, n. 8:30 : "Here agency is ascribed to objects, apparently lifeless "things". {Wrong! The term "drums" is intended (by metonymy) to imply /the human drummers/.} A more rigorous discussion of this topic {the topic of ritual metonymy as a means of not directly mentioning the deities involved??} can be found Henare, Holbraad, and Wastell (2007).]

p. 176

A ritual follows and the doctrines are sung for Cearencinho (head{-spirit} of the house {dynasty of spirits}), then for Ze` Raimundo (the counterguide), and then, having carried out all the ceremonies required for the despacho, the Paje`s begin to chant ... warning the audience

that the drum rhythm has turned or changed) to mina,

[p. 253, n. 8:12 : "mina (Tambor de Mina) is considered the practice of spell casting".]

they begin to chant doctrines for different families {of spirits}. ... .

... it is (the encantado) Joa~o da Mata who speaks; the Paje` is already in a trance and the song brings the Flag King to the house."

Henare, Holbraad, & Wastell 2007 = Amiria Henare; Martin Holbraad; & Sari Wastell (edd.) : Thinking Through Things : Theorising Artefacts Ethnographically. London : Routledge.

pp. 177-8 conclusion

p. 177

"This article sought to portray the social life of spirits (encantados) through ... eight different Paje` houses (Tambor de Mina healings) in three different municipalities from the Baixada Ocidental region of Maranha~o ... . ...

The text attempted to show the importance of dreams ... in a process of learning between Paje`s and encantados, who move back and forth between the fondo and the earth. The social

p. 178

networks between religious adepts and spirits are shaped and strengthened primarily through the dreams of Paje`s, who enter the encantaria universe, and words (mostly sung) when the encantados enter into their medium's crown {sahasra-ara} to provide consultations, to sing, and to refine their relations with humans."

{The relatively more fundamental importance of dreaming (which is emphasized by AmerIndians), more so than of trancing (which is emphasized by Africans), would tend to indicate a basic orientation of this religion (as more AmerIndian than African). Any other syncretism would likely develop similarly, being as the divine worlds can better be understood (and therefore co-operated withal) by visiting them in dreams than by expecting emissaries (possessing-deities) emanating from those worlds to be able to provide to us by mere verbal descriptions of their worlds.}

p. 255, n. 8:31 instances of named AmerIndian deities accepted by religionists of mainly African descent in Brazil

"Amerindian encantados Urubu and Gamela, a clear reference to the Urubu Kaapor and Kanela {why is not /Gamela/ regarded more similar to the name of the Indonesian musical instrument /gamelan/?} indigenous groups : the first {former} ... from the Tupi-Guarani linguistic family, and subsequently {the latter} ... from the Je^ linguistic family ... -- ... Canela Ramcokamekra".


Ruy Blanes & Diana Espi`rito Santo (edd.) : The Social Life of Spirits. Univ of Chicago Pr, 2014.