Analysis Of The Midnight Velada

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Throughout the entirety of recorded history, the power of words (whether they be spoken aloud or simply read to oneself) has continuously made an enormous impact within all cultures around the world. With outlets like poems, songs, stories, and even symbolic writing, civilizations have been able to develop multiple beliefs and practices through the use of words. A piece of poetry - or rather, a chant - that has become extremely significant in the cultural world of the Mazatec people comes from a piece of work called “The Midnight Velada” that is traditionally known to be performed by one of the most famous shamans alive, María Sabina. What is so exceptionally meaningful about this particular poem is the actual background behind the…show more content…
Sabina is most commonly recognized as a healer and spiritual leader among the Mazatec people that became extremely prominent in their community from the mid 1950s, till her death in 1985. What made her so well known by the people of the Sierra Mazateca, as well as the western world, was her unique approach to the midnight vigil, or the velada, as it is most commonly known by the Mazatecs. Álvaro Estrada recalls experiencing one of Sabina’s memorable veladas with his photographer in his biographical novel María Sabina: Her Life and Chants in the following entrance:
The simple hospitality of our hosts and their children and relatives...the chanting of María Sabina…[her] percussive artistry and her solo dancing in the pitch darkness- combined with the distant worlds I was viewing with a clarity of vision never approached by eyesight in daylight...all these effects...shook us both to the core of our beings (13).
The effect of this particular poem did not only become an integral part of the Mazatec’s culture, but it also began to directly influence the people of the western world, as well. Beginning in the mid 1950s, following the rise of Sabina’s vigils, westerners came from all around to experience the world of hallucinogens that the Mazatec people offered during their veladas. Famous musicians from the likes of Led Zeppelin,

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