Mexican Necklace made by the Huichol people.
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The Huichol people
The Huichol are part of the Mexican people currently living in northern Jalisco, part of Nayarit, Zacatecas, and Durango. They live in the mountains running through these states. They live quite isolated. The Huichol preserved their now ancient customs. Nowadays there are about 15,000 to 20,000 remaining Huichol.
The Mexican Huichol people are famous for their brilliantly colored bead-art. These mosaics include sacred Huichol imagery and patterns. These include plants and animal motifs. In the case of their beaded wooden animal heads, take on the actual shape of those entities.
The Huichol call themselves Wirrá’itari in their own language, which means “wizard”. The Wirrá’itari tribal native language is also called Huichol. It is part of the Uto-Aztec language family. Their closest relatives are the Cora. The Wirrá’itari most likely migrated to the area they now inhabit during the Spanish conquest.
About the Huichol
The Huichol are Indian people living in western Mexico. There are about 15,000 to 20,000 Huichol. They inhabit the Western Sierra Madre, in the states of Jalisco, Nayarit, Durango, and Zacatecas. The Huichol live quite isolated from the rest of the world. They are agricultural people and have common land ownership. The Huichol people have their own religion. It has an animistic and shamanic character. Every year they take a trip to San Luis Potosí to collect peyote for their religious rituals.
Religious rituals & politics
The Huichol enjoy a reasonable degree of autonomy. They have two governments. One autonomous and one that deals with the Mexican government. The Mexican government created separate drug laws for the Huichol people. These laws give the natives the right to consecrate their sacred peyote cactus medicine. The peyote cactus plays an important role in their religious rituals. For a long time, the Huichol kept politically aloof. This has changed in recent years. Today, some municipalities in the north of Jalisco have a Huichol mayor.
Shamanism is an ancient healing tradition and moreover, a way of life. Huichol shamanism honors all of creation, especially the spirit of nature and the power of the animals. 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 they are created from the elements of the natural world- fire, air, water, and earth. 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.