Symbols in Huichol Art

Symbols in Huichol Art

Native Mexicans called the Huichol or Wixaritari live in the Sierra Madre Occidental range in several Mexican states from Nayarit to Durango. Huichol art is famously known throughout Mexico and is a living testament of the beauty of the Mexican folk art. Its artistry manifests in different forms, but the most popular include embroidered painting which utilizes dazzling yarns, beaded animals and jewelry. Each element of Huichol art wouldn’t be complete without the varied symbols and spiritual messages that are depicted.

Divine Art
The Huichol people see art as a way of communicating holy knowledge. Their art is soulful and conveys their deep connection with the spiritual world. Huichol art pieces signify deeper meanings through a number of symbols. Here is a list of the symbols that are commonly present in Huichol art.

PEYOTE
Known as Jicuri, the plant of life. This small delicate cactus, speaks of deep and closed relationships with the gods. Peyote is the sacred medicine the Huichol people traditional consume to make a connection with the spiritual word during cerenmonies.

THE SERPENT
The serpent is much respected within Huichol culture for it guards the corn and peyote from rats and pests. The Huichol people adhere to their faith, that the rain is made up of a multitude of little snakes.

TAKUTZI NAKAHUE
The mother of all divine beings and corn. It is symbolized by the holy tree, the armadillo, the bear, the water snake and rain.

FIRE
A treasured gift from the gods, also called Tai. This Huichol art symbol is believed to have given the Huichol people an eye to see the future.

HEALING WANDS
Also known as Muvieri. Every healer has this symbol on his or her medicine basket.

PATH OF LIFE
Curly lines represent the “vine of life”, which the Huichol Goddess of Life gives to the soul of every living things at birth. This vine serves as a holy connection to the breath of the goddess in the spirit world.

WOLF PEOPLE
For the Huichol, the wolf people were one of the earliest settlers on earth who act like humans. Tacutsi, the goddess of life, was their first teacher and taught them the secrets of good living, including how to battle hunger and cold.

THE SUN
Brings light and brightens the world. Tayaupa is father sun, master of the sky, and his wife is the Eagle, mother of the sky and goddess of life.

DEER
The holy guide Kauyumari, leader of healers on their psychic journeys and the one that taught the Huichol the way towards divine insight. The deer, maxa, in Huichol, often came out in pairs of male and female, which symbolizes the bond between a man and a woman in their holy adventures.

FLOWERS
Used in the healing process and present in all Huichol celebrations. During healing ceremonies, the patient’s head is often blessed with flowers.

BIRDS
Very much respected and important symbol. They served as a channel of communication with the gods.

TURTLES
Ensures the purity of water and its abundance in underground springs. Touted as the helpers of the rain goddesses.

SCORPIONS
Respected but feared. Used by healers to fight bad luck and demons.

SALAMANDERS
Works for the rain mother. They are associated with water and rain. They shook the clouds to make rain fall.

JAGUAR
Emissary of Tatewari, the god of fire. Protector of holy promises made by the healers during their initiation rites.

EAGLES
Represents the Mother Eagle, Mother of the Sky and Queen of Heavens. Werika, the eagle is appreciated and known as the most beautiful of all birds.

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