Tuno El Curandero / Tuno the Healer Maestro De La Medicina Folklórica En La Edad Moderna En Peru

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This is a translation of conversations between Dr. José Gushiken and Eduardo (Tuno) Calderón, a native curandero, or healer of mental, spiritual, and physical disease. Looking first and briefly at Calderón’s life and initiation into the mysteries of curanderismo, the reader gets a wonderful insight into the center of curing, the Mesa or ‘Table’, an altar that stands at the nexus of many universal forces: good and evil, the living and the dead, harm and blessing, witchcraft and medicine, male and female, curse and cure. Tuno’s description of this Table remains one of the most complete discussions of this important gateway into other worlds. Tuno also introduces colleagues and mentors, the practice of the curandero from Peru to Guatemala, family, herbalists, mountain fastnesses. He explains the uses of native plants, some of them with surprising hallucinogenic effects; and other objects with familiar, almost pedestrian provenance, like Tabu perfume, water, rocks, whiskey, or tobacco. This study will interest anthropologists, folklorists, physicians, historians of medicine. Facing page translations.


“. . . marks an important contribution to several neglected areas of anthropological study: native health practitioners, cultural syncretism and cross-cultural relations. . . . The study indicates the Tuno’s life and work was a mosaic of bits and pieces of numerous cultures and sub-cultures. These include strong influences from indigenous and western health practices, popular Catholicism informed by formal studies in a seminary, athletics, the plastic/visual arts, entrepreneurship, and philosophy. Tuno comes across in Gushiken’s work as very complex human being. . . . in spite of it being a universal phenomenon, cultural syncretism is difficult to understand. Tuno the Healer is an important contribution for understanding the phenomenon.” – Joseph Juke Pansini

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