A near-death experience among the Mapuche people

Juan S. G�mez-Jeria
1993 Journal of Near-Death Studies  
This paper describes a possible near-death experience (NDE) among the Mapuche people of Chile. The individual reporting the experience was in a cataleptic-like state for two days, the experience itself occurring at the end of this period. Some common features of NDEs, such as encounters with deceased people and being sent back, are present, together with clear evidence that past and present cultural environment shape in part the content of mental experiences. Most near-death experiences (NDEs)
more » ... re influenced by culture (Counts, 1983; Pasricha and Stevenson, 1986), despite some cases in which personal or cultural beliefs clash with mental events (Abramovitch, 1988) . In this paper I report a possible NDE showing that religious beliefs and historical events contribute to the individ ual's report of his experience. As this NDE occurred among the Mapuche people, a brief account of their history and religious beliefs is pertinent. The Mapuche ("land people," from "mapu"=land and "che"=people) inhabited the central and southern regions of Chile and Argentina when the Spanish conquerors arrived. Their heroic resistance against the Spanish, which lasted for 350 years, ended with the annexation of the last remaining Mapuche territory to the Chilean state in 1882 Juan S. G6mez-Jeria, Lic. Q., is Associate Professor of Chemistry at the University of Chile. This work was funded in part by the University of Chile (DTI Project Q-3064). The author thanks Editorial Andros Bello for permission to translate the near-death account into English. Reprint requests should be addressed to Lic. G6mez-Jeria at the Univer sidad
doi:10.1007/bf01078239 fatcat:lxbnauj7fbbllguglxvq4hfj54