The Galeria Tanana is a non-profit gallery that supports the Huichol Center for Cultural Survival and Traditional Arts located in Huejuquilla el Alto, Jalisco, Mexico.
Huichol art dates back millenia. During spiritual rituals Shaman have visions which are then transcribed into carvings, yarn art, and have evolved into t-shirts, boxed note cards, framed art and downloadable animations. Each image has spiritual meaning.
Huichol art is personal and captivating, with intricate designs, vibrant colors and sacred symbols. It is an expression of deeply held spiritual beliefs.
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.
For more info visit the website at TheHuicholCenter.org
Your involvement and donations help to fund the Huichol Center and continue its mission to protect the Huichol Homeland and help the Huichols become a sustainable people in these trying times.
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