THE TUKANO STORY – DESCRIPTION 1 – RALPH METZNER, PH.D. OF THE GREEN EARTH FOUNDATION
The Tukano people of the Vaupés region of Colombia say that the first people came from the sky in a serpent canoe, and Father Sun had promised them a magical drink that would connect them with the radiant powers of the heavens. While the men were in the “House of the Waters,” attempting to make this drink, the first woman went into the forest to give birth. She came back with a boy radiating golden light, whose body she rubbed with leaves.
This luminous boy-child was the vine, and each of the men cut off a piece of this living being that became his piece of the vine lineage. In a variation of this myth from the Desana (from the same region), the serpent canoe came from the Milky Way, bringing a man, a woman, and three plants for the people – cassava, coca and caapi. They also regarded it as a gift from the Sun, a kind of container for the yellow-gold light of the Sun, that provided for the first people the rules on how to live and how to speak. (Metzner 2006)
THE TUKANO STORY – DESCRIPTION 2 – DR. R.E. SCHULTES AND DR. A. HOFMANN
Once upon a time, a long, long time ago there lived among the Tukanoans a woman, the first woman of ‘creation’ who drowned men in visions. To the Tukanoans intercourse is a visionary experience in which men are ‘drowned in visions’.
The first woman became pregnant by the sun-god who had impregnated her through the eye. The child was born in a flash of light. The woman, whose name was Yaye, cut the umbilical cord and rubbed its body with magical herbs thus shaping its body. The child became known as Caapi, a narcotic plant, who lived to become an old man. He jealously guards his hallucinatory powers, his Caapi, which is the source from which the Tukanoan men received their semen.
The myth essentially tells the story of the alchemical marriage, in which wo/man seeks union with the god-source, divine power of creation. Thus the religious experience is also always a sexual one. To quote Schultes and Hofmann: For the Indian, “the hallucinatory experience is essentially a sexual one… to make it sublime, to pass from the erotic, the sensual, to a mystical union with the mythic era, the intrauterine stage, is the ultimate goal, attained by a mere handful but coveted by all.”
Taken from ‘Encounters with the Amazon’s Sacred Vine’ by L. E. Luna & S. F. White:
“The ayahuasca plant has its otherworldly origin in mythic time: either it comes from the incestuous union of the Sun Father and his Daughter, or the secret knowledge from the subaquatic realm, or the cadaver of a shaman, or the tail of a giant serpent joining heaven and earth. These diverse indigenous groups all believe that the visionary vine is a vehicle which makes the primordial accessible to humanity.”
“One example of this phenomenon is the Desana myth (transcribed by G. Reichel-Dolmatoff) of the Snake-Canoe descending from the Milky Way with the first inhabitants of the world, which is transformed into the High River Fire Canoe carrying yagé (ayahuasca) people.”
“It was a woman. Her name was gaphi mahso/Yaje Woman. It happened in the beginning of time. In the beginning of time, when the Anaconda-Canoe was ascending into the rivers to settle mankind all over the land, there appeared the Yaje Woman. The canoe had arrived at a place called dia vii, the House of the Waters, and the men were sitting in the first maloca (a kind of central village hut) when the Yaje Woman arrived. She stood in front of the maloca, and there she gave birth to her child; yes, that was where she gave birth.
The Yaje Woman took a plant and cleaned herself and the child. This is a plant the leaves of which are red as blood on the underside, and she took these leaves and with them she cleaned the child. The leaves were shiny red, brilliant red, and so was the umbilical cord. It was red and yellow and white, shining brightly. It was a long umbilical cord, a large piece of it. She is the mother of the yaje vine.”