The Huichol Indians are a small tribe of approximately 15,000 living in central Mexico near Ixtlan in the Sierra Madre Mountains. They are said to be the last tribe in North America to have maintained their pre-Columbian traditions. Huichol shamans and healers practice today as they have for generations. In part, their survival is due to the focus of their traditions.
They have no history of war. Rather than training for war, they train their hearts to open to the healing powers of love and to the celebrations of life through the seasons. Because of this, they are famous for their strong ceremonial tradition, rich mythology and incredible visionary artwork.
Primarily an agricultural people, the Huichols are dependent upon corn, planting their fields along the steep slopes of their mountain homeland. Corn is life for the Huichol Indians. The yearly cycle of preparing the fields, planting, growing, and harvesting the corn is surrounded by religious ceremony, as is all of Huichol life.
Huichol life is a continuous cycle of ritual and devotional exercises designed to help them stay connected to the Ancient Ones-Tate Wari (Grandfather Fire), Takutsi Nakawey (Grandmother Growth), Kauyumari (our brother, the Deer Spirit), and Tatei Yurianaka (Mother Earth), among others. The Huichols say that during ceremony, they are inviting these spirits to come into the circle of life to be with them- to help empower them and their families, and to help the universe stay in balance.
Shamanism is an ancient healing tradition and moreover, a way of life. Huichol shamanism honors all of creation, especially the spirit of nature- the power of the animals, the winged ones, the minerals, and plants. This shamanic tradition involves healing and empowerment through personal transformation and direct experience as well as the healing of our families, communities and our environment. By following the shaman's path, we can truly learn to inhabit the earth and our being with gentleness and respect.
The Huichol say we are created from the elements of the natural world- fire, air, water and earth. Because of this, each of us is a miniature universe, a mirror of both the natural and the spiritual worlds. All the knowledge and secrets of these two worlds are inside of us and everything is perfectly arranged. Shamanism teaches us to tap into that arrangement, to understand and to live in harmony with the natural and spiritual worlds.
Ceremony, sacred dance, vision quest, and pilgrimages to places of power in nature are all essential aspects of shamanism. Through these techniques, the shamanic circle embraces us unifying our lives with strength, healing and love.