indigenous peoples, Chaco, rituals, myths, transformation


Based on the inspiration Peter Gow takes from Lévi-Strauss' canonical formula or double twist and his concept of ensemble, this article aims to illustrate by analogy how the rituals of female initiation, such as the Yammana of the Enlhet-Enenlhet, or male initiation, such as the Debylytá of the Yshiro, exemplify a regional system of "transformation of transformations." In this sense, Gow uses Lévi-Strauss' formula to analyse the myths of the peoples of southeastern Peruvian and western Peruvian-Brazilian Amazonia as a "very specific type of mythic transformation caused by the presence of thresholds, whether cultural or linguistic." The records of the rituals (and myths) of the indigenous peoples of the Gran Chaco, ancient and contemporary settlers near and on the banks of the Paraguay River, such as the Enxet, Enlhet, Enenlhet, and Maskoy of the Enlhet-Enenlhet linguistic family and the Yshiro Ebitoso and Tomarâho, is very extensive. Without completely abandoning the "controlled" comparison of myths, we apply this formula to the rituals of the Chaco peoples, whose vitality is dithering (and, in fact, transforming) under the current historical conditions.