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55 G/wi themselves refuted (Silberbauer 1981: 203). The Hei//om are argued to use a kind of hallucinogen to trance (Schatz 1993: 12). Still others argue that the Ju/’hoansi use psychoactive plants to induce trance (Winkelman & Dobkin de Rios 1989). In this understanding, some rock art imagery is now suggested to be evidence that Maluti San used a certain aloe-like plant to induce trance visions (Loubser & Zietsman 1994). These authors identify the Caledon Valley plant motif as Brunsvigia radulosa (Loubser & Zietsman 1994: fig. 1), which they note contains alkaloids known to stimulate the central nervous system. They argue that Maluti San valued B. radulosa for its psychotropic qualities to induce trance visions and hallucinations (ibid.: 612). The psychotropic elements of such plants are contained in the alkaloids, resins, glucosides and essential oils found in the leaves, bark, stem, flowers, sap, roots or seeds of the plants (Drury 1991: 40). These plants, often called ‘sacred plants’, are a central feature of shamanism in most Indian societies of South America where they are valued as transformative agents for trancers to gain access into the spirit realm, for example, among the Shipibo, the Cashivo and other Peruvian Amazon Indians (Dobkin de Rios 1989), the Mazatecs and Zapotecs of Oaxaca, the Nahua Indians of Puebla and the Tarascana of Michoacan, to name a few (Drury 1991: 50, 52). It has been observed that the regions richest in naturally occurring psychotropic plants are Mexico and South America. In these regions such plants are used extensively in shamanic rituals (Drury 1991: 45). Although a few cases have been documented, psychotropic plants do not appear to be used shamanically to any great extent in Africa and Australia (Schultes 1976; Drury 1991: 41). Reasons for such disparities are not clear, but one explanation might be that there are research imparities in these continents compared to the Americas and northern Europe. In the Kalahari, however, the San themselves deny that

Continuity and change in San belief and ritual  
Continuity and change in San belief and ritual  

A thesis submitted to the Faculty of Arts, University of the Witwatersrand,Johannesburg, for the degree of Master of Arts. 2002, by Siyakha...

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