What does Warao mean?
Warao = boat people; wa = dugout canoe
Where are corpses buried in Warao tradition?
The corpse is buried in a dugout canoe that represents the womb of the goddess of the forest
How is the spirit world divided?
The spirit world is divided into the deities of the world of Light and the world of Darkness (the underworld)
What is food for the spirits of the world of light?
Food for the spirits of the world of light consists of flour, honey and tobacco smoke.
What does the light shaman deal with?
The light-shaman deals with fertility and communicates with the spirits of light
What is food for the spirits of the world of darkness?
Food for the spirits of the underworld consists of human flesh and blood
What does the dark shaman do?
The dark-shaman communicates with the spirits of the dead and when ordinary people or children get sick and die, it is thought to be the work of the dark shaman who has to supply the souls that feed the spirits of the dead
Why is the dark shaman necessary?
The dark shaman is necessary because the primordial connection between the living and the dead was broken so there is no other way for the spirits of the dead to receive the nourishment that they need. According to the Warao, if the dark shaman did not nourish the spirits of the dead, the world would come to an end.
Who is an immortal after life guaranteed for?
An immortal afterlife in the heaven of the gods is guaranteed only to shamans and master craftsmen like the boat-builders, basket-weavers and hammock-makers.
What happens to ordinary people after they die?
The deaths of ordinary people and especially children provide the souls that are food for the spirits of the underworld.