Heinz And Maguire: A Comparative Analysis

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Within the section concerning metabolism and the functions of plant organs, Heinz and Maguire (1973:7, emphasis in original) relate a description given by one of their !kõ informants:
Plants breathe, as do animals and humans, but they only do so while they bear leaves. When the leaves turn brown they stop. In the following growth season they begin to breathe again through the leaf buds. Plants drink water with roots and stem. When it rains, the water runs down the branches and stem and it reaches the roots. The water enters the root and rises through the bark. The bark sucks the water up. The water does not leave the stem again. When a root is cut the water runs out and the plant dies. Plants not only drink rainwater but also dew.
Regarding sexual activity of plants, Namkwa, Heinz and Maguire's main informant, distinguishes between male and female plants. Male and female trees stand beside one another and are sexed by their relative 'beauty' (female trees are 'prettier' and stouter than males). They cannot move and consequently cannot directly copulate. Intercourse, according to Namka, is a service rendered to the trees by the rain occurring between the tree stem and the water.
From this union seeds are born
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The two epistemological positions are not in opposition to one another. Dowson fails to appreciate that rock art imagery concerns the complex interplay between animist beliefs and shamanic practice. I reiterate my point regarding Shipibo shamans' duty to recount their experiences within the spirit world to non-shamans - shamans enjoy a larger range of interactions with other non-human persons than others in their communities. Rock art appears to be, in part, a means by which shamans give access to their spiritual encounters to those who do not have the ability to have any of their
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