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Kené – Shipibo Vibrational Design
Written on November 14, 2014
According to the cosmology of the Amazonian Shipibo-Konibo people, the primordial anaconda Ronin, brought the Universe into existence by singing a song that was depicted in the patterns of her skin. This conveys an understanding that existence is essentially comprised of vibrations, encapsulating the connection between the energetic and material worlds and expressing the link between light and sound.
This sheds light on the popular understanding and perhaps over simplification of the complex geometric designs seen in Shipibo art. These intricate patterns, called kené, are seen in Shipibo pottery, embroidery, ink work and visionary paintings and are thought to be illustrations of the underlying vibrational make up of the universe.
The serpentine energy of Ronin can be seen expressed in these traditional Shipibo kené designs, and every plant, animal and person is thought to possess their own unique design. The visionary state brought about by ayahuasca medicine is thought to reveal these energetic patterns to the ayahuasca healers. Spiritual imbalance and illness in a patient can be perceived as breaks in or misalignment of that person’s kené. Disorder in a person’s pattern can be repaired by healers through the application of medicinal animal or plant vibrations via healing songs called icaros. These songs are sung as a tool, which can correct imbalances in a person by bringing their energetic designs back into cohesive harmony.
video by Keith Rozendal
In posting this informative video, we feel the need to respond the video’s conclusion that the true meanings behind the kené designs have been lost. This limited view acts on an anthropological presumption that this knowledge is purely cultural or mythological and does not consider the ability humans have to connect directly with the spirits of the plants and animals to regain and recover the deeper meanings existing behind the kené pattern. Nor does it recognize that these deeper meanings are a result of an experiential knowingness that comes from the realm of each individual’s relationship with their own specific plant and animal teachers and allies.