Baniwa Shamanic Revitalization – Inauguration of the Shamans’ House

In “Baniwa Shamanic Revitalization – Inauguration of the Shamans’ House,” the Foundation for Shamanic Studies recounts their support of this important project. The Baniwa people, led by snuff-jaguar shaman “Mandu” Manuel da Silva, sought to preserve and pass on their shamanic knowledge and traditions. To achieve this, the Foundation helped in the creation of a documentary, organized meetings to discuss indigenous culture and shamanic traditions, and assisted in the construction of the Shamans’ House. The completion of the house brought many achievements, including the enrollment of 12 new apprentices for Mandu to teach. However, ongoing support is needed, particularly for the purchase of a new boat motor to aid in river travel, communication, and obtaining supplies for the village. Donations are urgently needed to ensure the continuation of this essential revitalization project.

In December of 2009, Dr. Robin Wright, an anthropologist and FSS field associate, attended the unique inauguration ceremony of the Shamans’ House in the remote village of Huapi, Brazil. The Foundation for Shamanic Studies had been approached by the Baniwa people, specifically by Mandu, the last and most powerful of the shamans, requesting assistance in preserving their traditions. The FSS readily approved funding for the project, aligned with its mission to preserve shamanic knowledge. The inauguration ceremony was filled with festivities, including the dance of the leafcutter ants, and marked the beginning of serious spiritual work led by Mandu and his 12 apprentices. The importance of the shamanic practice in healing certain ailments, which medical doctors cannot cure, was emphasized. The hope is to raise $12,000 to continue supporting the Baniwa Shamanic Revitalization project.

Baniwa Shamanic Revitalization - Inauguration of the Shamans House

Baniwa Shamanic Revitalization – Inauguration of the Shamans’ House


Congratulations! You’ve stumbled upon an incredibly fascinating event – the inauguration of the Shamans’ House in the Baniwa community. This is an occasion that is not only of immense cultural significance for the Baniwa people but also a momentous step towards the revitalization of their shamanic traditions. So buckle up and get ready to embark on a journey that will transport you into the heart of the Baniwa culture.


Before we dive into the inauguration ceremony, let’s take a moment to understand the context behind this momentous occasion. The Baniwa Shamanic Revitalization project aims to preserve and promote the indigenous shamanic knowledge of the Baniwa people, who inhabit the Aiary River region in the heart of the Amazon rainforest. Driven by a deep desire to safeguard their ancestral wisdom from being lost over time, the Baniwa community embarked on a mission to revitalize their shamanic practices.

Baniwa Shamanic Revitalization

For generations, the Baniwa people have relied on the guidance and wisdom of their shamans in navigating the complexities of life. However, with the encroachment of modernity and the erosion of traditional practices, the continuity of their shamanic knowledge was in jeopardy. Determined to prevent the disappearance of their cultural heritage, the Baniwa community embraced the revitalization of their shamanic practices as a means of reconnecting with their roots.

Invitation from the Baniwa People

The Baniwa community extended an open invitation to individuals and organizations passionate about the preservation of indigenous cultures to join them in their quest. One such individual who heeded this call was Dr. Robin Wright, a renowned expert on shamanism and Director of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies, an organization dedicated to the preservation and exploration of shamanic traditions worldwide.

Dr. Robin Wright’s Involvement

Dr. Wright’s involvement in the Baniwa Shamanic Revitalization project proved to be a pivotal turning point. Impressed by the sincerity and determination of the Baniwa people to revive their shamanic practices, the Foundation for Shamanic Studies wholeheartedly committed to supporting their endeavors. With their backing, the Baniwa people were able to move forward with their objectives, which we’ll explore next.


The inauguration of the Shamans’ House is just one aspect of the Baniwa Shamanic Revitalization project. Let’s take a closer look at the objectives that were set out to promote and preserve indigenous culture and shamanic traditions.

Filming and Creation of a Documentary Record

To ensure the Baniwa people’s heritage isn’t lost in obscurity, the project aimed to document their shamanic practices through a comprehensive documentary. This film would serve as a lasting record of their traditions and allow future generations to learn from the wisdom of their ancestors.

Organizing Meetings on Indigenous Culture and Shamanic Traditions

Creating awareness and understanding among a wider audience was crucial in garnering support for the Baniwa community’s efforts. The project involved organizing meetings, conferences, and workshops to shed light on indigenous culture and share insights on shamanic traditions.

Construction of the Shamans’ House

The centerpiece of the project was the construction of the Shamans’ House, a sacred space where the Baniwa shamans could conduct their rituals and ceremonies. This physical space would serve as both a stronghold for the preservation of their traditions and a beacon of hope for future generations.

Support from the Foundation for Shamanic Studies

The Foundation for Shamanic Studies played a pivotal role in supporting the Baniwa community in their endeavor. Let’s explore their mission and the extent of their support.

Mission of the Foundation

The Foundation for Shamanic Studies is committed to the worldwide preservation, study, and teaching of shamanic practices. Their mission aligns perfectly with the goals of the Baniwa Shamanic Revitalization project, making them ideal partners in this cultural endeavor.

Approval of Funding

Recognizing the significance of the Baniwa Shamanic Revitalization project, the Foundation for Shamanic Studies approved funding to aid in the realization of the community’s objectives. This financial support was crucial in ensuring that the Baniwa people’s cultural traditions could be revived and safeguarded for posterity.

Support for Revitalization of Baniwa Shamanism

Through their partnership with the Baniwa community, the Foundation for Shamanic Studies provided expert guidance, resources, and training to the Baniwa shamans to assist them in their journey of revitalizing their shamanic practices. This support helped empower the Baniwa people to take charge of their cultural heritage and ensure its preservation.

Request for Assistance

While the Foundation for Shamanic Studies’ support was invaluable, the Baniwa community still needed additional assistance to bring the project to fruition. Let’s delve into their specific requests.

Specific Aid Request

One of the urgent needs identified by the Baniwa community was the acquisition of an outboard motor for transportation purposes within the Aiary River region. This motor would greatly facilitate their ability to travel swiftly and efficiently, enabling them to expand their reach and share their cultural knowledge with neighboring communities.

Outboard Motor Purchase

To fulfill this need, the Baniwa community sought financial support to purchase and maintain the outboard motor. Their reach would extend further, allowing them to engage with more communities, share their cultural practices, and create a network of support to ensure the continuity of their traditions.

Fundraising Goals

The Baniwa community set ambitious fundraising goals to secure the necessary funds. They reached out to individuals, organizations, and communities around the world who shared their passion for indigenous cultures and shamanic practices, inviting them to contribute whatever they could to make this dream a reality.

Importance of Continuing the Project

The Baniwa Shamanic Revitalization project was not a one-off event but an ongoing endeavor. By obtaining the outboard motor and securing the required funds, the Baniwa community could continue their work in preserving their cultural heritage, fostering understanding, and building bridges between different communities.

December 2009: Dr. Robin Wright’s Journey

Fast forward to December 2009, Dr. Robin Wright embarked on a journey that would mark a turning point in the Baniwa Shamanic Revitalization project.

Arrival at the Shamanic Center

Dr. Wright’s arrival at the Shamanic Center was met with a warm reception from the Baniwa community. The air buzzed with excitement as the community eagerly anticipated the momentous events that were about to unfold.

First Look at the Shamans’ House

Dr. Wright’s first glimpse of the newly constructed Shamans’ House left her in awe. The traditional architectural design, adorned with intricate carvings and vibrant colors, breathed life into the structure. It was a true testament to the craftsmanship and dedication of the Baniwa people.

Greeting by Local Students

As she stepped foot inside the Shamans’ House, Dr. Wright was greeted by a group of local students. They were eager to share their knowledge and learn from her expertise, a beautiful exchange of wisdom that underscored the spirit of collaboration and intergenerational learning at the heart of the project.

Festivities and Ceremony

The inauguration of the Shamans’ House brought the Baniwa community together for a day filled with jubilant festivities and profound ceremony.

Fish Tank Display

One of the highlights of the celebrations was a mesmerizing display of a fish tank, meticulously arranged to depict scenes from Baniwa mythology. This artistic spectacle showcased the interconnectedness of their beliefs, nature, and shamanic practices, captivating the imagination of all who witnessed it.

Dance of the Leafcutter Ants

The rhythmic beat of drums echoed through the Shamans’ House as the Baniwa shamans performed the evocative Dance of the Leafcutter Ants. This mesmerizing performance not only honored their ancestors but also served as a reminder of the importance of unity and collective purpose within the community.

Gift Exchange

To commemorate this momentous occasion, Dr. Wright, representing the Foundation for Shamanic Studies, presented the Baniwa community with a symbolic gift. This gesture symbolized the partnership and shared commitment to the preservation of indigenous cultures and shamanic traditions.

Speeches and Compliments

The air was filled with a sense of pride and joy as community leaders, elders, and representatives from various organizations took the stage to deliver heartfelt speeches and compliments. Their words acknowledged the significance of the Shamans’ House and the tireless dedication of the Baniwa community in revitalizing their shamanic practices.

Importance of the House Project

The Shamans’ House stood as a physical manifestation of hope for the Baniwa community. It served as a focal point where generations could gather, learn, and pass on the wisdom held within their shamanic traditions. Its construction paved the way for the resurgence of Baniwa shamanism, solidifying its place in the tapestry of human heritage.


As we reach the end of our journey into the heart of the Baniwa Shamanic Revitalization project and the inauguration of the Shamans’ House, we are left with a profound sense of awe and admiration. The dedication of the Baniwa people to preserve their cultural heritage and revitalize their shamanic practices serves as a powerful reminder of the value and importance of indigenous knowledge and traditions. Through the support of organizations like the Foundation for Shamanic Studies and individuals like Dr. Robin Wright, the Baniwa community’s dream becomes an inspiring reality. The inauguration of the Shamans’ House represents not only a tangible accomplishment but also a beacon of hope for the continued preservation of indigenous cultures worldwide.

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