Chonta wood. It's hard to believe that a scrawny palm with long aggressive thorns covering its entire trunk could have such a wide variety of uses. In fact, since ancient times, the chonta palm has been important to the livelihood of indigenous peoples in the Amazon region. Also, today, artisans are taking this pre-colombian knowledge a step further to develop exclusive pieces of art and design with chonta. Carved into ceremonial staffs, the hard, dark wood, from the jungles across the Andes, imparts strength and protection. During healing ceremonies, shamans sprinkle the staves with agua florida or flower water and move the staff down the left side of the petitioner, then set it in the ground or on the floor upright in front of the mesa. They are often called dagas, daggers, because they cut away disease-causing energies.
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