Late one evening I wander into James beach bar in Maglaralto, Ecuador. Out of the blue my old San Francisco crony, John, says “You’re interested in Shamans. Let me show you Shamans from the altiplano in Bolivia. “
I’m alternately startled and stunned. These Shamans and Shamanas who converse with the animal world, the plant world and the netherworld of many different spirits, created the most beautiful sacred costumes I’ve ever seen. In the most humble of material dwellings they’ve created and wear mystical art of the highest order.
In this part off world, it’s taken for granted priests can communicate with other spirit forms, even the dead, and help translate their messages for us. With Shamanic help, I even know of people who wanted to and did communicate not only with grandmother but with their dead dogs. That seems extraordinary in the North American material world and not so extraordinary in parts of South America where magical realism is nearer to the heart.
Photos by Thomas Rousset & Raphael Verona