The trip ( Huichol,Peyote & The Blue Dear)
Long ago I started to tell stories within my paintings, this, is about the Huichol people...
The Huichol or Wixáritari are Native Mexicans, living in the Sierra Madre Occidental range in the Mexican states of Nayarit, Jalisco, Zacatecas, and Durango. They are best known to the larger world as the Huichol, however, they refer to themselves as Wixáritari in their native Huichol language.
For the Huichol people, art is a means of encoding and channeling sacred knowledge. It is considered a form of prayer, providing direct communion with the sacred realm.
In the Huichol culture, art and religion are inextricable. The shaman links the community with the spirit world, from where their creativity pours forth as a gift from their deified ancestors - to be given back as offerings to the gods.
Each year, the Huichol embark on pilgrimages to the sacred land of Wirikuta to hunt the "Blue Deer" (peyote, a desert cactus with hallucinogenic properties)
The pilgrims - individuals and families, young and old - bring offerings in return for the gift of making art and entering the priesthood. The ceremonial offerings - pictures, masks and candles - are considered material forms of prayer.
The Huichol believe their deified ancient ancestors, the First People, once dwelled in the Wirikuta desert and were driven out into the Sierra Madre Occidental to live a mortal agrarian existence. The pilgrims, led by a mara'akame (shaman) to cleanse the way, travel 600 miles round trip to re-enter the sacred land.
During the trip, they perform a series of rituals and ceremonies to transform themselves into deities. At different locations, they adopt more and more of their divine identities and assume the feelings and attitudes attributed to the First People
If the ceremonial thoughts and actions are properly performed, the peyote will be found and "slain" with a bow and arrow. A slice of peyote will be given to each of the peyoteros who will then have their own personal visions. They will talk to God, receive instructions and will, thereafter, sing, cure, or create.
This moment of sharing the peyote is the fulfillment of the highest goals in Huichol religious life. They have traveled to paradise, transformed themselves into deities and communed with the gods, and then return as mortals.
From the ecstasy of that experience the artwork of the people is born.
THE SUN - Brings light and illumination to the world. Tayaupa is father sun, master of the heavens, and his wife is the Eagle, mother of the sky and goddess of life. The Huichols believe all living things receive their power from the sun, and that He guarantees healthy crops and abundant food.
PEYOTE CACTI - Symbol for life, sustenance, health, success, good luck, and acquisition of shamanic powers, the peyote appears in practically all Huichol art and is considered a gift from the gods to the people to enlighten their lives and bring them into the mystical realm.
JAGUAR - Messengers of the god of fire, Tatewari, they are guardians of the sacred vows taken by shamans during their years of initiation. Called Mayetse, they are given the power to devour the spirits of those who fail.
WOLVES - Carrier of spirits, Kumukemai, the wolf, is honored in all peyote ceremonies. Many Huichols believe they are descendents of the "Wolf-People" of primordial times.
Shamans claim to possess the power to transform themselves into spirited wolves.
DEER - The spirit guide Kauyumari, who leads the shamans on their visionary pathways and teaches them how to gain their special knowledge. One of the most commonly seen motifs, the deer, maxa, in Huichol, often appear in male and female pairs, symbolizing the unity between men and women on their spiritual journey. Legends about the deer abound in Huichol culture. The deer mother is the guardian spirit, the important animal in Huichol shamanism.
The Ojo de Dios or God's eye is a ritual tool, magical object, and cultural symbol evoking the weaving motif and its spiritual associations for the Huichol and Tepehuan Indians of western Mexico. The God's Eye is symbolic of the power of seeing and understanding that which is unknown and unknowable, "the mystery". The four points represent the four elements: earth,fire, air and water. The Huichol call their God's eyes Sikuli, which means "the power to see and understand things unknown."