The following article is concerned with the analysis of the symbols of eagle and jaguar in the native cultures from the Amazon area, which, have inspired, among others, Chilean author Isabel Allende in her novel
The animal motives become an integral part of the cultural tradition of the South American indigenous tribes that the author mentions. Legends and myths that the inhabitants of the rainforest keep to this day often describe the relation between person's life and the surrounding nature. In this respect, eagle and jaguar play an important role.
From an anthropological point of view, the native peoples of the Amazon are closely tied with these animals. Their culture contains customs and rituals in which they imitate these worshipped animals. The aim of these rituals is to acquire animal hunting skills and strength.
In literature, this connection can be even stronger. There are occasionally marriages between an eagle or jaguar and human characters, who live side by side. Such connection is not possible with other animals like sloths or monkeys. The reason for this is primarily the fact that only jaguars and eagles make living in a similar fashion to human characters of native myths. They hunt like people, eat what humans do and they share the same hunting grounds and habitat.
In the novel, Isabel Allende refers to the jaguar and eagle as totem animals. They are symbols of profound connection between humans and nature. In the course of the story, the eagle and jaguar accompany the young heroes Alexander Cold and his friend Nadia on their initiation journey through the forest. At the end of the story, the young couple comes back to the civilization to convey the message of the indigenous people of Amazon, seeking an end of the bloodshed these tribes face.
- Isabel Allende
- totem animal