21 December 2011

Hammocks, barbecues, and vomiting-sticks

Smithsonian has an article on the history and legacy of the Taino (the inhabitants of Hispaniola who greeted Columbus on his arrival).
If you have ever paddled a canoe, napped in a hammock, savored a barbecue, smoked tobacco or tracked a hurricane across Cuba, you have paid tribute to the Taíno, the Indians who invented those words...
The object in the embedded photo?  That's a Taino vomiting stick carved from a manatee bone, and decorated with a bat.  They used it to "cleanse" themselves before partaking of hallucinogenic drugs.  Which I suppose makes it a fore-runner of the modern tongue blade.


  1. I knew this sounded familiar, and realized that it's very close to a line from a book I started this weekend, titled Even Cowgirls Get The Blues by Tom Robbins (1976). I've only just started so don't have much in way of comment on the book, nor really much on the subject itself. Mostly one of those "whoa that's crazy, I should share this" moments.

    [Also, I am one of those long time lurkers that suddenly interjects with a (pseudo) relevant comment that you mentioned recently.]

  2. Jeff, that's not a book I've read, so it's just a (weird) coincidence.

    Thank you. (you may now return to lurking...)

  3. I wouldn't be so sure of the cleansing for a hallucinogenic experience (you think they wouldn't fast for a spirit journey?), as much as cleansing during a hallucinogenic experience. Almost all DMT-based entheogenics tend to really 'launch off' after throwing up soon after the onset of the main effects. This is a very classic effect and feature of for example different brews of ayahuasca. A vomiting stick would make the act quite a bit easier, especially since the person is likely to be quite engaged in the experience to begin with...


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