Stung into Action!

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A Brief History

On May 15, 1998, Barbara Ehrenreich’s Blood Rites: Origins and History of the Passions of War recounted one of the most frightening displays of masculine toughness perhaps ever practiced in human history!

Digging Deeper

Imagine having cuts and bruises all over your chin, arms and chest, a result of being continuously whipped.  If that is not bad enough, an open basketwork frame of stinging ants is pressed against your body, and you are itching like crazy!

The worst part about all of this torture is that it is not a form of punishment!  So, why would an entire village put a young boy through such pain – for nothing?

Well, that is how the Taulipang Indians of the Guianas, a tribe in South America, initiate a young boy into manhood.  According to Taulipang Indians, the whipping purifies the boy and gives him strength.

A cut on the chin are believed to help make him an expert with his blowpipe, while those on the arms improve his archery. The agony of ants is said to ‘refresh him, keeping him active and wide awake!  If the boy shows any sign of fear or feeling of pain, the entire ritual is repeated; however, these painful ceremonies are not reserved only for the puberty rites. Many people of the tribe undergo it quite freely as they regard the pain that comes with it as a form of tonic! They also claim that it help fight disease and improves their humor and hunting skills.

The Taulipang Indians sure are brave people!  Question for students (and subscribers): Do you think you could ever survive a million ants crawling all over you?  Please let us know in the comments section below this article.

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Historical Evidence

For more information, please see…

Ehrenreich, Barbara.  Blood Rites: Origins and History of the Passions of War.  Holt Paperbacks, 1998.


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