androgyny, Yuruparí, Yagé, body, patrilineal ideology


In this comment on Stephen Hugh-Jones’s "Thinking Through Tubes" Françoise Barbira Freedman offers a feminist meditation on the semiotics of androgyny in Northwest Amazonian shamanism, ritual life and mythology. By focusing on processes of detotalization and retotalization that move beings from an androgynous state to a single-sex identity and back again, Barbira Freedman reveals a dynamic "one sex, two genders model of androgyny" that could not be further from a concept of androgyny as blurred gender. These movements in and out of a one sex state are largely the preserve of men so that androgynous features of the cosmos are invoked and harnessed to support a patrilineal ideology.