The Jívaro: People of the Sacred Waterfalls

By Michael Harner

A classic ethnographic account of this freedom-loving people of South America, written for the scholar and layperson alike. The Jívaro (Shuar) are unusual among many shamanic peoples in the degree to which they focus on Middle World spirit helpers. The Middle World cross-culturally is complex in terms of the kinds of spirit helpers that can be found there; almost all can both help and cause trouble. In the Foundation's programs, spirit helpers are primarily sought in the Upper and Lower Worlds, where there are - as far as has been discovered - only compassionate helping spirits. That being said, the Jivaro provide a fascinating look at a shamanic people who work with Middle World spirit helpers in complex ways, with both healing and harmful results. The shamanic practices of the Shuar can be better understood after reading Michael Harner's Cave and Cosmos: Shamanic Encounters with Spirits and Heavens.


Part I: The Jívaro: Background
Jivaro-White Contacts

Part II: Shelter, Subsistence, and Technology
Technology and Crafts

Part III: Social Relations
The Household, Child-Rearing, and Kin
Visiting and Parties
Kakaram, the Powerful Ones
Shamans and Shaman Hierarchies
Trading Partners

Part IV: The Hidden World
The Arutam Soul
The Muisak
The True Soul
Shamanism and Illness

Part V: Cultural Change

Paperback $29.95

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What People Are Saying

"This thoroughly interesting book is based on fourteen months of field work among the Jívaro Indians of Eastern Ecuador. Although the Jívaro have long been regarded as unique and even bizarre, being the most warlike people in the Americas, the author has succeeded in communicating an understanding of them as human beings with basic needs and responses like our own."

— Gertrude E. Dole, Natural History

"This ethnography is one of the classics in the field of South America. The Jívaro (Shuar) represent one of the most imortant and politically well-organized groups of South American Indians and Harner's work reissued here will become the major introduction in English to these people for future students."

— Brent Berlin, UC Berkeley

"Harner, who based his account upon extensive anthropological field work among the Jívaro, has written books which appeal to both scholars and laymen. His book provides a select overview of these freedom loving people in a highly readable form which I highly recommend."

— G. Edward Evans, Library Journal