Wixarika Symbology

Wixarika Symbology

These symbols come from the Wixarika tribe commonly known as the Huichol. The Wixarika have for hundreds if not thousands of years communicated with their God’s through symbols like these. Medicine men or Shaman use the hallucinogenic peyote cactus to speak with their gods who tell them where to hunt the deer and when to plant the corn and the people make offerings made up of symbols to thank the God’s.

Corn – the lifeblood of the Huichol. A gift from the gods. There are five colors of corn that come from Great Grandmother’s five daughters.

Peyote – a sacred cactus. The doorway to the spirit world, it grew from the foot prints of the gods or heart of the deer and is what the mara’akame or shaman eat to communicate with their gods.

Deer (Tail) – are gods who give their lives so that the tribe can eat. They are spiritual guides who teach the Huichol how to make offerings to appease the gods.

Peyote Sun – with prayer arrows as rays, it represents the male energy that comes down so the corn will grow. It is the master of the heavens with the wisdom of the sacred peyote cactus.

Drums – used by the shaman during the harvest ceremony to thank the gods for the successful corn harvest.

Feathers – used by the shaman on their wands or muvieri to communicate with their gods. The most powerful come from the tail of the Royal eagle or hawk.

Gila Monsters – reptiles with magical healing powers. They are used by mara’akame or shaman to cure the sick. 

Bees – create the wax the Huichol need to make candles. They pollinate the fruit trees and their honey is an important nutrient in their diet.

Salamanders – evolved out of the ocean. They are the reptiles responsible for bringing the clouds that bring the rain.

Spiders – employed by the gods to ensure that the ceremonies and traditions are properly carried out. The fear of a spider bite ensures the gods that the ceremonies will be carried out.

Snakes – sacred messengers, they take the messages from the mara’akame or shaman up to the gods and come back in the form of rain.

Fish – special offerings used in ceremonies to feed the gods. They live in the rivers and in the ocean. It is from the fish in the ocean that life began.

Scorpions – feared and respected. One of the leading causes of infant mortality. They are employed by the gods to protect the peyote where it grows in the desert.

Wolves – the Huichol believe that their ancestors were wolves. Powerful shaman can become shape shifters turning from human into the animal form of a dog or a wolf.

Butterflies – a symbol of good luck. Something the Huichol strive to transform into with its grace as it floats from flower to flower through the air.

Rattlesnakes – the tongue of the Great Grandfather Fire, or Tatewari, they teach the mara’akame or shaman how to heal.

Eagle – a female deity who is married to the Sun. She flies over the Huichol and protects the community.

Pilgrims – Huichol who go on the arduous journey to leave offerings in the many sanctuaries including Wirikuta where the sacred peyote cactus grows.

Shaman – spirit guides and medicine men. They communicate with the gods and perform the rituals and ceremonies where the Huichol ask their gods to bring the wind that sends the clouds that contain the rain the corn needs to grow.

Fire – light, warmth, the power to cook. It is considered one of the oldest most important deities, Tatewari who must be fed.

Flowers – sometimes shown with a stem and other times without.

Prayer Arrows – the points of contact between God and man. They are left in sanctuaries to ask favors of the gods.

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