Gender and Dreaming in Mapuche Shamanistic Practices Essay

Gender and Dreaming in Mapuche Shamanistic Practices Essay

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In Machi ritual practices, wholeness or balance is associated with well-being and health, therefore the performative element of gender takes precedence over the concept of gender as associated with sex. In order to achieve wholeness, it is necessary to encompass male and female principles, as well as those of youth and old age. When performing healing rituals, a machi will “assume masculine, feminine and co-gendered identities”, moving between these identities or combining them (Bacigalupo, 2007, p. 45). These co-gendered identities are fundamental to machi ritual practices. Because of the performative aspects associated with the taking on co-gendered identities, male machi will dress in traditional women’s clothing. This allows them to perform and embody the feminine aspects associated with healing and fertility. Altered states of consciousness such as dreaming, visions and trance states are also considered feminine characteristic By the same token, female machi have the ability to on the masculine aspects associated with warfare, aggression and hunting, although they do not dress in male clothing.
Colonial ideas continue to shape perceptions regarding gender in modern day Chile and persist in influencing Chilean attitudes toward the machi. Because of the co-gendered identities associated with Mapuche shamanism, the machi are considered effeminate and deviant in a country where concepts of power and prestige are closely linked to ideas of masculinity. Therefore, machi are further marginalized and ostracized. These views are not solely applied to the male machi, but are extended to the female practitioners who are labeled witches. However, male machi are forced to struggle to legitimate themselves and validate their religious pra...


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...2: Cuadro 5.1 Poblacion Total, por Pertenencia Algun Pueblo
Indigena y Tipo de Pueblo… [Data File] Retrieved from http://www.censo.cl/tabulados.aspx


Jung, C.G.
1954. The Practical Use of Dream-Analysis. The Practice of Psychotherapy. Pantheon Books.
New York.
Selby, Jennifer
2013 Notes from the Field: An Interview with Ana Mariella Bacigalupo. Anthropology News.
Retrieved from http://www.anthropology-news.org/index.php/2013/09/06/notes-from-the-field-an-interview-with-ana-mariella-bacigalupo/
Starr Sered, Susan
1994 Priestess, Mother, Sacred Sister: Religions Dominated by Women. Oxford University
Press. New York.
Tedlock, Barbara
2005 The Woman in the Shaman’s Body: Reclaiming the Feminine in Religion and Medicine.
Bantam Dell. New York.
Villalobos, Sergio R.
1992 Chile y Su Historia. Editorial Universitaria, S.A. Santiago de Chile.

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