Nantar Arutam

NantarArutamArutamVital force that gives and takes strength.



Vital force that gives and takes strength.

Beyond time, it’s neither good nor bad. Arutam is. You cannot hear it or talk as you usually do, there is a special kind of death related to seeing him, a twilight of the self. He is in the thunder and the waterfalls, in everything that evaporates, in the rain and the cloudy days too. You will know when Arutam is near, everything ceases to be, but you must fast, fast with your eyes, neutralize the body, cover yourself with the minimum, your skin becomes a radar, you obtain a new vision.


Ruby of the space, its difficult to catch the Nantar, it abides between dawn and day, electric and magnetic, earth and breeze, it abides in the neck of Arutam. To see Nantar is to stop looking. Nantar remains the dreamer of the essential in life, and their unique role in the play. There is no difference between the dust and the dreamer, when this is realized, Nantar appears.

-Taken from an oral story from my travels into Shuar Territory, Taisha, Morona Santiago, Ecuador.

For the Shuar people of the Amazon, the world is filled with entities or spirits, archetypes that represent the nature of humans and their different states. On one side, Nantar represents the sublime and ethereal; the natural occurrences that can be observed in a contemplative state of mind. Arutam, on the other hand, is the action, is the warrior; it is the sound of the inner thunder; it is the beginning of the destruction of life as it is. It is through the personal relation with these entities, that the Shuar acquire a deep understanding of the self and a profound connection to nature. Nature becomes the manifested space where the meetings between humans and the spirit take place.

How can the sound of a rising hummingbird be photographed? Or the touch of the wind? The changing of the light? The humidity before the rain starts? Nature is a multi-sensory experience; it can become so enigmatic that we describe these instances as unreal or surreal.

The Shuar use names to give them an identity and form. Nevertheless, these entities are parts of the psyche, and thus, accessible to everyone. This way of thinking is ontological; concerned with the essential dimensions of Being, as Heidegger would put it, it is “meditative thinking.”

It is in the most subtle and abstract events that the mind can be interrupted from everyday reasoning and logic. This project is an exploration of the world through an animistic perspective; it is my intent to bring us closer to a sense of wholeness by investigating the very nature of how other cultures observe and commune with the environment. Some philosophies teach us how to live in balance, which is both a personal and universal aspiration, yet, not an easy one to find, and one worth exploring.

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