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WIRIKUTA and the wixaritari-HUICHOL peyoteros

The Wixaritari (Huichol) are a prehispanic shamanic tribe from Mexico who resisted conquest and foreign incursion for 500 years and have continued their mystical traditions, connection to the land and consumption of the peyote (hikuri) cactus for millennia. Today, they live in the Sierra Madre Occidental range in the states of Nayarit, Jalisco, Zacatecas, and Durango. Despite this, the Huichol claim that they originated in the state of San Luis Potosí, in the Wirikuta desert. Once yearly, some Huichol journey back to Wirikuta, their ancestral homeland, to perform "Mitote" Peyote ceremonies.


We started building a relationship with the community around Wirikuta in 1999. This sacred place is a key site for peyote conservation and Huichol spirituality.  Traditionally, Wirikuta is where Kauyumari - the blue deer - becomes híkuri (peyote) and is offered to cure and heal. Tatewari (Our Grandfather Fire) led the first peyote pilgrimage to Wirikuta and the participants follow in their footsteps in order to "find their life".


For the Wixárika people, peyote is the most sacred plant they have. They also call it tutu-five-color flower, in relation to the five colors of their corn. It is a fundamental pillar of their culture, as expressed by an elder of the community of San Andrés Cohamiata:


"He is the great teacher who is guiding us, through him we know ourselves, we connect with nature and gods. The híkuri is manifested in the voice of the kauyumari to say what we should do, whom we should remember and venerate. It unites us with our past, family and couple. In it, we learn the art, the songs, the ceremonies, the offerings we make. He has always been here to guide us, to remind us who we are, who we should always be. “



As humanity, we have been learning about this plant for thousands of years. Peyote buttons have been found in caves and ritual sites dating more than 7,000 years old - this is indicated by the C.14 dating records of the plant (Davis,1996). There are more than 50 alkaloids found in this sacred plant, including mescaline. For this reason, he is also known as the "master of the desert". Others call it "the grandfather" because a large peyote may take more than a century to grow. With each peyote grandfather, we eat a century of light and wisdom.


We eat these grandparents only in Wirikuta. Wirikuta is the main ceremonial center of the Wixáritari (Huicholes). Each year, different members of all ages of the Wixáritari communities of Nayarit and Jalisco make a pilgrimage to this ceremonial center, the sacred valley, and the sacred mountain “el quemado”. The Wixáritari identify the peyote with the deer and undertake an authentic annual hunt with arrow and bow to obtain the Híkuri. In Wixárica cosmogenesis it is in this place where the sun was born, Wirikuta is the center of the world, the place of the ancestor gods, the place where the sacred life of the tribe originates. ​​​​

The A'i Council of Elders, 2024

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