Nuveausapien's Reviews > The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge

The Cosmic Serpent by Jeremy Narby
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's review
Aug 09, 2008

really liked it

Author, Jeremy Narby, guides the reader through his exploration of shamanic practices in the Amazon. This autobiographical account of the anthropologist's journey into apparent scientific enlightenment through the use of ayahuasca, a hallucinogenic utilized by the indigenous healers called ayahuasqueros due to their use of the plant in ceremonial practice. Through his extensive investigation of corroborative data in the fields of anthropology, molecular biology, and genetics which are extensively referenced and exhaustively footnoted, Narby is able to make persuasive arguments for stricter adherence to the scientific model, relaxation of the narrow horizon being explored by the current school of anthropology and the allowance for and the integration of more "primitive" viewpoints.

Thoroughly surprising in it's candor and objectivity, this work may not breathe the much-needed life into the field of indigenous social study, but may pique the curiosity of a grad student somewhere on holiday who may return to their studies with a new respect for the possible validity of a native shaman's ideas of life and it's origins and how that may open the doors to understanding how that data could return valuable benefits to us over-educated Westerners.

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