The Three Halves of Ino Moxo by César Calvo – Award-winning Peruvian author Cesar Calvo takes us on a quest through the mysterious, dreamlike world of. The Three Halves of Ino Moxo has 63 ratings and 8 reviews. Archie said: This book showed me the unbelievable things nature can teach us. It is your chanc. Our feature documentary film, “Ino Moxo-Black Panther”, is a journey through the Peruvian Amazon region in search of the great shaman and legend of the.

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The young mestizo joined a company that left Iquitos for the surrounding Amazon forest to cut rubber trees. He was apparently captured by a native tribe, among whom he then lived for seven years.

The elderly chief taught him in intensive private sessions traditional knowledge, e. From the tribe he learned hunting skills and acquired the name Ino Moxo black jaguar. The chief also led group sessions using ayahuasca. Then he returned to Peruvian life, raising a family. Eventually he became well known in the Amazon region for his success as a curandero healerby his skill in using the chief’s herbal teachings. In the early s he met an American forester, Bruce Lamb —who knew life in the Amazon.

Both books sold well and drew academic interest, acclaim and controversy. His father worked in the surrounding forest as a tapper Spanish: His origins lay near Arequipa a provincial capital far to the south.

The Amazon trade in rubber Sp: Eventually his mother let him go with his elder sister Mariana and her husband Lino Vela into the hinterland to learn the booming rubber business. From here they could fan out into the unexploited forest in search of wild rubber trees. On a day when it was Manuel’s turn to cook and clean camp, he was alone while the others hunted for rubber.

Surprised suddenly by the deft appearance of a group of forest natives about 15 in numberManuel was quickly seized and nearby weapons removed. With hands bound, he was required to run at an accelerated pace along with the silent tribal party, through the forest southward for several days and nights, stopping only briefly.

Exhausted and disoriented, he surmised that his fellow caucheros had been killed; he later noticed his captors with their weapons. His name was Xumu Nawa.

Manuel was naturally apprehensive. Eventually the village came to accept him, and slowly Manuel began to be reconciled to his new situation; ceremonies were held.

Village children became casual and friendly, and the chief started to teach him the tribal language. He learned their language and their hunting styles, ate the diet of cultivated vegetables, wild fruits and game meat, lived their village life, and went without clothes.

He retained nio, however, a submerged but unresolved conflict, due to the harm caused by his initial capture. Here Xumu Nawa might be further described as a shamanor as a curacaa title for leaders used among tribes of the upper Amazon. A major occupation of the men was hunting, which provided a substantial part of the Huni Kui diet.

The Three Halves of Ino Moxo: Teachings of the Wizard of the Upper Amazon

Xumu the moxi chief would, periodically, lead the hunters in secluded, group sessions calculated to renew and improve their hunting skills. The preparation usually required, e. In a clearing away from the village a dark-green drink was made mostly from vines of ayahuasca [HK: It was poured into small palm-nut cups and given to the hunters, who sat encircling the fire. Accompanied softly by the others, the chief would begin singing his peculiar chants.

At his discretion he’d employ the songs to alter the atmosphere or modify the pace of the tribal hunters. The group then entered into what may be described as a shared experience of vision. After an initial chaotic flux of organic images and designs, arabesques in blues and greens, a collective fantasy developed in which a ‘parade’ of birds and animals began to pass into the group’s awareness.


Following the chief’s cue the hunters would shift the chant, enabling them to use the particular song icaro associated with each of the ono creatures as it passed before them. Evidently the group had evolved this method to coordinate their visions, so that they could then collectively imagine a similar scene of forest ono.

Accordingly, following their group witness of the wild moxl one after another, each of the tribal members were better able to appreciate the instinctual nature of such an animal or a bird, and the stealth and techniques of their fellow hunters, all of which could be scrutinized and delicately appraised in each mind’s eye. Several of such hunting scenes, later conveyed in elaborated stories, might then be carefully assimilated.

The experience naturally worked to coach each hunter to improve his skills, e. By this process, the Huni Kui men worked together to sharpen and refresh the tribe’s hunting skills. Afterwards, hunters divided into small groups and put to the test their newly enhanced ability to find and bag the forest’s wild game, and so to increase each family’s ability to survive. In one of these hunts, Nixi and Txaxo first told Io about how to pursue feral pigs; later they mmoxo a large band where their arrows found the moving targets; afterwards Nixi and Txaxo described the roving habits of pigs in the forest.

The hunters also maintained a tradition of reciting to each other tribal legends as well as personal stories of the hunt. Each moxoo to have several favorites. He listened as various hunters moxi their tales: Awawa Xuko “[largest] Toucan ” spoke about a brief fight between jaguar and anteater ; Natakoa “Forest Man” told how a harpy eagle had caught a howler monkey mkxo and chief Xumu Nawa related a story about when a youth, in company with the former chief Awawa Toto, they tracked a special band of howler monkeys.

He learned the tribal origin of the Huni Kui during a time when humans could talk with animals, and about how people did not die as they do now, but instead “Old men changed into boys, old women into girls”.

This was before the tribal loss of immortality. One narrative described the first war, started by wife-stealing; chief Xumu associated this with the tribe’s recent misfortunes stemming from the invasion of commercial “rubber cutters” Sp: Another moxp told of the negative behavior suffered by a man named Macari, who had made improper use of ayahuasca. The teenager Nawatoto HK: From a different segment of the Huni Kui a girl named Irikina was selected and the two families agreed.

A brief mooxo ceremony was later held, followed by a large tribal celebration involving a great feast, moxp, and drinking. After birth of the first child, the husband obtained his own hunting territory and the wife her own plot in the village garden. The phrase in moxxo is Huni Kuia dialect of Amahuaca which is part of the Panoan languages. During this introductory period, a private teaching session was held every eight days for a month, followed by a month off.

César Calvo – Wikipedia

Again Manuel was required to follow a strict dietary regime during the sessions. As the training lasted many months, Manuel became “nervous, high strung, and afraid of going insane” but the chief and his small group of elder women assuaged his fears. These sessions were held in a secluded place in the forest, especially selected and provisioned.

The chief closely supervised the preparation of the brew of ayahuasca vines and the important admixture of chacruna leaves. Hence the extraordinary experience produced was “the result of a synergetic mechanism of noxo chemicals present in two different plants, an example of the sophisticated pharmacological knowledge of the Amerindian shamans.

He received “accumulated wisdom of many generations of ancestral forest dwellers, tapping biological wisdom from some source unknown”.

Plants were shown and identified, then visualized. Their particular health benefits and especially their healing properties were discussed; various plants were related to specific diseases and their symptoms, imparting the ability to make an herbal diagnosis.

Signs of a hostile “encroachment on tribal hunting territory” were noticed. A search party discovered a “small camp of two houses” about “three days away from our village”. Chief Xumu spoke to the heads of families about their past struggles against enemies.


Preparations were made for a raid by a party of 25 men. The women painted the warriors’ faces and bodies with a blue-black stain in finely drawn designs. At a meeting the tribe swore to make war, finger-tasting a liquid tobacco mixture.

The raiding party, including Manuel, used bird calls as they approached near the hostile camp, and their scouts killed an enemy lookout.

Yet as they entered the camp it was deserted. When the Huni Kui jno returned home to the village, a victory celebration followed. Some forest neighbors had gotten hold of firearms which had given them a deadly advantage in warfare against the Huni Kui. Most significant, however, was the defeat of the Huni Kui by Brazilian caucheros armed with rifles, resulting in the loss of life, loss of captives, and loss of tribal territory which caused the tribe’s migration.

Much later Manuel heard the chief describe as a primary reason for his abduction from the caucho camp: Subtly prompted by the old tribal chief Xumu, the year-old Manuel suddenly came to the realization that the Huni Kui could search for rubber trees in the forest, cut them down to collect the ‘sap’ and so obtain the valuable trade good: With his help, the tribe could sell the rubber at a river trading post, and with the proceeds purchase firearms and implements.

Because of his proposal, Manuel felt he had won some sense of control over his own future within the tribe, which gave “new meaning to life” and made him lno greatly excited”. First Manuel worked with Huni Kui hunters to sharpen the dull metal and stone tools they had, in order to use them on the rubber trees. Manuel taught his tribe how. After many weeks a large stockpile of latex was collected which had been turned into 20 solid chunks each estimated to weigh over 20 kilos.

Xumu selected a tribal party to carry kno rubber to trade, one chunk per ,oxo. They then traveled on foot to the frontier of their tribal lands and beyond through what Manuel thought was “trackless forest” moving northeast. Indians were forbidden by law from purchasing firearms. He purchased a box of six rifles, two shotguns, ammunition, as well as other goods axes, machetes, mirrors, and beadsand put on account his remaining credit balance.

June 15, ; it had been two and a half years since his capture. When the party returned to the village, the whole tribe celebrated in its most grand style. Of course, he already knew Huaini. Their continuing “strong feeling of affection” for each other pleased the chief. In the group ayahuasca sessions, the nature and timing of the visions seen by each member was significantly influenced by the purposeful chanting of the guide.

The Three Halves of Ino Moxo

The group would join in these songs, called icaros. In his guiding role, chief Xumu Nawa apparently employed different chants or icaros in order to steer and coordinate the subjective imaginations of individual tribal members, so that the ayahuasca sessions would become a shared experience among those participating.

Embellishments to both the chants and the visions came from the participants.

The preparation and use of the plant is ritualized and accompanied by musical chants Lamb commented that chief Xumu led the Huni Kui “with great finess and subtlety, seeking consensus on every important action after long discussion with his people.

When the hunters would gather to tell their tales of tracking and encountering game, Iino might also recite a story of his own. Often he then would speak of the former chief, Awawa Toto.

This power once exerted, though perhaps subtle in its effect, does not easily disappear.