Fate, Fortune & Mysticism in the Peruvian Amazon

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2011-01-27
  • Publisher: Park Street Pr
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A medical anthropologist's account of fortune-telling and management of one's own destiny in Peru explains the fortune-telling naipes cards and how Amazonian shamans use them to diagnose clients' ills and looks at the Sacred Mystical Order of Septrionismo and its techniques for managing destiny While studying Amazonian shamans who use ayahuasca and Peruvian coastal healers who use mescaline cactus to treat psychological illness, Marlene Dobkin de Rios learned about the naipes cards - fortune-telling cards similar to the tarot used as part of the healers' method of diagnosis. Immersing herself in their culture, she began telling fortunes with the naipes cards and was surprised by the intimacy it induced in the native people she was trying to study as well as the profoundly accurate results she encountered. Finding herself pulled further and further into Peruvian culture, in 1977 Dobkin de Rios was initiated into the sacred mystical order of Septrionismo, which emphasizes specific techniques - such as meditation, ritual, and reflection - to manage one's future rather than depending solely on fate and fortune. Explaining how to use the naipes cards as well as examining the practices of the Septrionic Order, Dobkin de Rios explores her experiences with both traditions through the lens of her anthropological and psychological training, describing how these diverse encounters opened her mind to the powers of divination as well as taught her the means of directing her own destiny.

Author Biography

Marlene Dobkin de Rios, Ph.D. (1939-2012), was a medical anthropologist, associate clinical professor of psychiatry and human behavior at the University of California, Irvine, and professor emerita of anthropology at California State University, Fullerton, where she taught from 1969-2000. A former Fulbright scholar, she was the author of several hundred professional articles and eight books, including The Psychedelic Journey of Marlene Dobkin de Rios.

Table of Contents


Fortune-Telling Cards,
Mystical Reflection in Peru

Part One
Destiny, Fate, Fortune, and Poverty
Reading the Naipes

1    The History and the Structure of the Naipes

2    The Naipes
Images and Meanings

3    Belen
The Culture of Poverty, the Naipes, and Love Magic

4    Marlene, the Fortune-Teller
Seeing Magic from the Inside

Part Two
Destiny and Personal Control

Septrionic Concepts in Mysticism

5    The Sacred Mystical Order of Septrionism
A Peruvian Spiritualist Religion

6    Septrionic Concepts
Destiny, Personal Control, and Poverty

7    Fate, Fortune, and Mysticism
A Clearer View





Septrionic Bibliography


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