thout materiality. It's as if some perversely nostalgic logic applies wherein the spirit-form can only exist as an active agent th
rough the erasure of its material form. Creation requires destruction-hence the importance of the Cuna lan
d of the dead where images float in such abundance; hence the phantasmagoric quality of photographs. But then there is the ash! No longer the immateriality of appearance, of spirit. Just matter itself! The uttermost matter of matter. The end of form. A pile of ash to be daubed on the tongue, in the case of talking birds, or around the house of
the snakebitten in the silent village so as to entertain the malevolent spirits gathering in force. Through burning to ash is thus enacted the strange Frazerian logic of Sympathy, of Imitation and Contact, of copy and sentience-and I cannot but once again be mindful of the configuration of the wooden figurines,
outer form European (imitation), inner substance Indian (contact)-that provides the curer with (images of) active spirit-helpers. The point of my emphasis here is the assertion from the ethnography that the magically important thin
g is the spirit of the wood in its carved outer form. Might not the burning of the pages of the Bible, of history books, of parrots be equivalent to this carving of wooden figurines followed by the conceptual erasure of the material outer form the mate
He and his wife, Linda Vigil López, live in Socorro with their chihuahuas.