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Luisa Cadena, "Their flowers are their clothes: on the dress of plant men"

From interviews with Tod D. Swanson

Cite video as:
Tod D. Swanson, "Luisa Cadena, 'Their flowers are their clothes: on the dress of plant men.’” Youtube video. 5:33 May 13, 2016.


Luisa Cadena narrates an ayahuasca vision from her childhood in which various plants including ayahuasca, yaji, tobacco,wayusa appear to her as male healers dressed in beautiful clothes which are their flowers.

English translation

Oh! That! The Ayahuasca spirit. Yage spirit! All (those plants) have spirits (supayuj). I had gone to Rutunu. My father took me there. They say my health was damaged. A witch had asked for my hand in marriage. He was from here, a man called Rangu. They say he was from Napo, Alligator's son. I was the age of my granddaughter. "You have been witched," they said. My mother took me upriver to the late Justo Lluvia. Way up the Rutunu to a place called Cumal. There they made me drink two bowls! Of ayawaska. See? Two! Then I was unconscious. I fainted see? Then he said to me. …. He came. See? The first to come was Tobacco Man. Now he said to me, "I have come to blow (smoke) on you. You are not going to die. Ayawaska should not have made you so drunk.” "See! This is the bad guy [indicating Ayawaska Man]. He did this to you. He is the bad guy." And when I looked I saw that Ayawaska Man is covered in flowers. Yage Man is covered in flowers. Tobacco Man is covered in flowers. Wayusa Man is covered in flowers. When I looked I saw them lying there like soldiers. He was a tall tree. I mean a tall man! This Wayusa. He came and stood there. "These guys are coming see?" he said, "But I am going to cure you. You will revive." I had not yet regained consciousness. I was still passed out. You were seeing this? Yes I saw this while I was unconscious. The clothes of the Tobacco Man are his flowers. His dress. Those are his clothes. The tobacco flower. What does the wayusa man look like? He is a big old man. A tall man. His clothes are wrapped around him tak! His flowers. The wayusa flowers are his clothes. What color? His clothes are bright purple. White and deep purple, purple, purple. Wayusa has beautiful flowers when it matures! At our place there is a big old ways tree like this! Those flowers are his clothes. Just like we wear clothes? He stood there clothed like that wearing pants. He was a man. Ayawaska came. He was a man too. He was also dressed as a man with very yellow clothes. "These are my clothes!" he said. And then Yage came. What color were Ayawaska's clothes? Yellow. They were yellow. Ayawaska flowers are yellow. Then Yage came too. Yage Man. "He is Ayawaska Man," he said. "And I am his companion. He is like my boss and I am his secretary." "Like many people have. That is how I am," he said. He wore yellow clothes around him, “Tak!.” He came dressed. "I am Yage Man," he said, "and he is Ayawaska Man. And this big man, the man who can defeat us, is Wayusa Man," he said. "He is the one who overpowers us.” He was beautifully dressed in his flowers. "It is me," he said. If you drink remembering... They drink, they will drink remembering me. If you drink me... I am a strong man. If they drink me thinking of me always, and if they drink tobacco water they will live strong. But I wonder if it is true. The Aucas (the Achuar) are sick and they live drinking wayusa. The Napos live drinking wausa too. We don't drink it and we get sick all of the time. "I am the one he said. That is the reason they value me.” "I am not a man who gets sick. But the ones who drink tobacco are stronger than I." Then Tobacco was standing like just over there see? Wearing very beautiful clothes with a headdress tied around his head like a hat. "I am Tobacco Man'" he said. I walk smoking with tobacco powder in my mouth. Everyone drinks me. “They drink my flowers,” he said. And they do not just drink me for no reason. They drink me because of my clothes. Now I am going to cure you," he said to me. "Then my mother said, “Quick! squeeze out some tobacco juice. That will revive her”. I heard that. I saw that although I was drunk, lying there like I was dead.

Kichwa Translation

Not available.

Spanis translation

Not available.


Not available.
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