Shaman's Mirror, 10-16



Sacred Colors


pp. 165-6 colors speak when deities disclose themselves visibly

p. 165

"color was {is} a language used by the gods and spirits ... to communicate with a shaman. ...

Alternate states of consciousness may be entered through ... rhythmic percussion (drumming or rattling). Then a person may experience entry into another world or communicate with power animals or other power beings."

{Actually, the worlds of deities can be entred by mortals only during dreaming; but deities may, by means of drumming (and/or other music), be invited out of their dream-world to visit mortals in the waking-world.}

"ayahuasca seems to generate powerful {supernatural} ... visions. The ethnobotanist Wade Davis (1998, 159) described seeing ... snakes, the sky opening, and rivers unfolding as though blossoming."

p. 166

"Many people who eat peyote report seeing brilliant colors and vibrating

patterns, often in geometric or lattice-like shapes (Cordy-Collins 1989, 41-43). ...

Ramo`n Mata Torres (n.d., 107 ...) describes :

[translated :] a marvelous world of color ... . ... There are in front of me shapes of rhomboids, squares, stars, triangles ... . It is a world of ... shapes that seem more logical than the world we usually see and more geometrical than the world we know.

Geometric color imagery is only one type of peyote-induced experience. The Huichol say that it is only a beginning. ... However, a person who develops shamanic abilities goes beyond {geometric} imagery ... entering into direct communication with gods, spirits ... . ... During some ceremonies, I have eaten peyote and experienced ... seeing spirits such as deer and hearing voices speak to me."

Davis 1998 = Wade Davis : The Clouded Leopard. Vancouver : Douglas & McIntyre.

Cordy-Collins 1989 = Alana Cordy-Collins : "The Origins of Huichol Art". In :- Susan Bernstein (editrix) : Mirrors of the Gods. San Diego Mus of Man. pp. 41-50.

Mata-Torres = Ramo`n Mata-Torres : Peregrinacio`n del Peyote. Guadalajara : Casa de las Artesani`as del Gobierno de Jalisco.

pp. 167-70 synaisthesia

p. 167

[statement by E.C.V. :] "The colors are words, and they are magical songs. ... They are words, and they understand each other. ... They come from the gods, and they arrive with you and ["you have to say them"]."

p. 168

"[E.C.V.] seems to be describing a phenomenon whereby colors and visual pictures are perceived by means of multiple senses, by the mouth {as flavors} and the ears [as sounds] as well as by the eyes. ... However, there are cases of people who can combine sensory perception, in a phenomenon known as synaesthesia. ...

p. 169

[E.C.V.]'s experience may be compared to Gebhart-Sayer's (1985) description of a Shipibo shamanic ceremony in Peru. The Shipibo shaman sees designs float down during the ceremony. When the designs reach the shaman's lips, he sings them into songs. When the songs come into contact with the patient, the songs turn back into designs, which penetrate the patient's body and heal the illness. The shaman also states that the songs have a fragrance, which itself is powerful. There is a striking similarity to

[E.C.V.]'s description of the visual image that reaches the shaman's mouth, where it turns into song."

[supra p. 167 : "The vision is just a period of ... singing ... : with the image that is opening up your mouth, the image that is coming to your body."]

"he [E.C.V.] did see something when the ceremonial violin or guitar was played. What he saw was ... a kind of wind or transparent wave coming out of the instruments."

p. 170

"They are words that originate as colors."

Gebhart-Sayer 1985 = Angelika Gebhart-Sayer : "Geometric Designs of the Shipibo-Conibo in Ritual Context". J OF LATIN AMERICAN LORE 11.2:143-

p. 171 the places of the deities are seen in dreams

"the gods ... understand each other, they speak to each other. And by means of this, of colors, they translate ["relay communications to the shaman"] from the sacred places ["sacred caves ..."]. For this reason, all of us ... base ourselves in the colors from these [sacred] places, ... using the colors of the gods. ... Of those who listen to the places of the gods, they ... dream, they see {in their dreams}, and they make their designs on the basis of the songs of the gods. ... One can draw what one sees through dreams."

pp. 173-5 specific divine colors (as sent by deities and seen by the shaman)

p. 173

Table 10.1 : "brownish orange" (tarauye), "yellow", "bluish pink" (talauye), "purple", "violet", "blue", "cholcolate brown", "dove-grey brown".

p. 174

These "colors depicted the sacred words which come from the sun. The colors bear ... independent confirmation ... that colors are words that the gods use to communicate with, and of the actual colors used."

p. 175

"the colors usually come in combinations, not singly. That is, one usually sees a group of colors together in a communication from the gods."

pp. 176-7 divine deer as elemental-spirits

p. 176

[dialogue :] "The blue deer (Hui. : Maxa yuawi) is ... well-known ... because that is how the shaman sees it. ... The blue deer comes from the ocean. ...

Mara tu:ra is the name of the white deer. Wiru: tara is the name of the yellow deer. ...

Yellow? Then you know where the spirit comes from ...

p. 177

And then a wind comes."

pp. 178-80 strong colors; magical air at night; facial painting of deities

p. 178

"Fuerte colors, such as ... blue, yellow, red, and pink ..., ... is capable of ... communicating with the places that are sacred sites."

p. 179

"At night, ... The shaman is seeing everything ... When he is singing, that is when a magical air comes to him and he hears it."

p. 180

"Pink or orange ... mean the colors of the ["face"] painting of the gods. ...

Green means ... peyote."

p. 181 standard directional colors

in Canada


(Dura`n 1971, p. 392, Plate 35)





red "where the sun rises"




blue "Chapala"




black "where the sun sets and the souls of the dead go"




green "Ututavita -- a sacred cave in Durango"


yellow {which is likewise the Chinese color of the centre}


white "the clouds"

Dura`n 1971 = Diego Dura`n (transl. by Fernando Horcasitas & Doris Heyden) : Book of the Gods and Rites ... . Norman : U of OK Pr.

p. 184 sun-god on water

"a cave with a spring in it ... Aariwameta. The cave ... shows the sun god floating on the surface of the water. ... this image is what a person with shamanic vision sees upon looking into the water of the spring."

p. 187 Flower-World of the Yaki

"The Yaqui's spiritual Flower World is called huya aniya. It is the world ... where ... In the heart of the mountains are snakes with rainbows (that is, multiple colors of light) on their foreheads, which can give spiritual power to human beings (Spicer 1980, 64)."



Artist as Visionary


pp. 198-9 artists' sources

p. 198

"I found it was not uncommon for painters to point out to me which paintings were their own visions and which were not ... ."

p. 199

"Some artists ... use dreams and visions of the supernatural plane. Moreover, some artists use their own dreams and visions, while others borrow the dreams and visions of mara>akate."

"The statements of the artists I interviewed indicate that peyote itself is not a principal source of designs."



Deified Heart


p. 201 opening one's self to the deities

"The important question was whether the artist's soul or spirit was open to the god. If the soul was open, then ideas, images, and inspiration would flow in to the artist. The art could then be said to be shamanic or spiritually inspired".

"Anderson (1990, 152-3) ... wrote ... that "true art comes from the gods, and is manifest in the artist's mystical revelation of sacred truth.""

Anderson 1990 = Richard L. Anderson : Calliope's Sisters. Englewood Cliffs (NJ) : Prentice-Hall.

p. 204 kupuri

"He called both the soul and the fontanelle kupuri in Huichol and alma in Spanish. A mother goddess, Tatei Niwetukame, places kupuri in a baby's head just before birth. It is placed in the soft spot where the bones have not yet closed ... .

{"When Spider Woman uncovered them ... at the time of the dark purple light, Qoyangnuptu, ... They soon awakened and began to move, but there was still ... a soft spot on their heads" (BH, p. 5).}

{According to the Yellow Book of Lecan ("TBR"), great goddess Mor-ri`gan ('Phantom Queen') suffered being punctured by a "spear on the top of her head." (HLI, p. 134)}

Kupuri is attached to the head by a fine thread, like a spider's silk (P. Furst 1967, 52)."

{perhaps either the silvern cord connecting with the astral body, or else the golden cord connecting with the mental body}

[quoted from Myerhoff 1974, p. 154 :] "A great many plants and animals and all people have this kupuri or soul-essence;

{This would imply that a great many species of plants and of animals, and all humans, are quite capable of projecting their astral, mental, and causal bodies.}

it is ordinarily visible only to the mara>akame ... as

multicolored wavy lines connecting the person's head ... with a deity. ...""

{A "multicolored" connecting cord would imply projection of the causal body.}

BH = Frank Waters : Book of the Hopi. Viking Penguin Bks, 1963.

"TBR" = "Tain Bo Regama" ("Apparition of the Great Queen") in the Yellow Book of Lecan.

HLI = A. H. Leary (transl.) : Heroic Legends of Ireland.

Furst 1967 = Peter T. Furst : "Huichol Conceptions of the Soul". FOLKLORE AMERICAS 27:39-106.

Myerhoff 1974 = Barbara Myerhoff : Peyote Hunt. Ithaca (NY) : Cornell U Pr.

p. 205 iyari

"Furst ... noted only that ... the soul is called back and captured in the form of a luminous insect {firefly?} called xaipi>iyari (Hui. : "xaipi" meaning "fly" and "iyari" meaning heart ...)."

{According to the Yellow Book of Lecan ("TE"), goddess E`tai`n, having become a purple fly, was captured by god Aengus.}

"in describing the soul that comes back ... as a luminous fly ..., [R.M.S.] ... used the word "iyari," not "kupuri. ...

[p. 204 "The mara>akame hunts for the soul and ... seeing the soul in the form of a tiny insect, he or she catches it".]

Perrin (1996, 407-410) identified the {distinction} between kupuri and iyari, ... to distinguish the capacities of the two."

"TE" = "Tochmarc Etaine" ("The Wooing of Etain") in the Yellow Book of Lecan.

Perrin 1996 = Michel Perrin (transl. by Karin Simoneau) : "The Uruka`me, a Crystallization of the Soul". In :- Stacy B. Schaefer & Peter T. Furst (edd.) : People of the Peyote. Albuquerque : U of NM Pr. pp. 403-28.



Arte Ma`gico -- Magical Power


p. 215, Fig. 13.1 lightning-drum

"When the shaman beats the drum, lightning comes out of the drum at night."

{A "sound ... like thunder" was made by a divine "drum" (HChM, p. 33).}

HChM = Lihui Yang & Deming An : Handbook of Chinese Mythology. Oxford U Pr, 2005.

pp. 218-9 faith/belief

p. 218

""Opening the mind" ... can give a person shamanic vision ... . However, ... this could happen only if the person had faith and believed in the gods and their powers."

p. 219

[said by E.C.V. :] "As long as you have faith or belief in it ... if you feel that you want to know about the things of the gods, it can concentrate you ["meaning "to focus or increase shamanic ability""]."



Shamanic Art


p. 227 Tepehuane

"The Tepehuane speak a Uto-Aztecan language closely related to Pima and Papago. They live ... in northern Nayarit and Durango. ... They use macuche (wild tobacco) in their ceremonies rather than peyote".

pp. 230 & 232 exotic beadwork

p. 230

"carved wooden jaguar heads covered with beads ... had been invented ... in the early 1980s. ...

p. 232

In the 1990s, ... Dealers began giving the Huichol exotic items to bead, such as fanciful wooden masks carved in Guerrero ..., gigantic wooden jaguar statues".

p. 234 non-Wic^ol indigenous art-coo:peratives

"Sna Jolobil, a cooperative organized by an American, has allowed Maya women to control production and maintain high prices for ... weaving and embroidery (... Morris 1987).

Among the Inuit of Canada, cooperatives controlled the output of lithographed prints ... of numbered editions. ... (Myers 1984)"

Morris 1987 = Walter F. Morris Jr. : Living Maya. NY : Abrams.

Myers 1984 = Marybelle Myers : "Inuit Arts and Crafts Co-operatives in the Canadian Arctic". CANADIAN ETHNIC STUDIES 16.3:132-52.





p. 248 taught by a deity

[E.C.V.] "no one taught me ..., no one. ... I learned all by myself ... From Tatewari, the fire god."

p. 249 only artists understand their own art-work

"The Huichol idea that only the original artist can say what a painting means is very different from the Western tradition of art criticism."

{This is due to the fact that the indigenous art may record an unpublished myth, or a personal dream (known only to the artist).}



Antient Aisthetics


pp. 250-1 there are variants of myths

p. 250

"Commercial {cordedworks} are a repository of a great deal of information about Huichol shamanism. I have re-

p. 251

corded dozens of variant versions of myths, many of which do not appear in the anthropological literature. ... They describe the Huichol deities, along with their appropriate clothes, face paintings, animals, and attributes."


Hope MacLean : The Shaman's Mirror : Visionary Art of the Huichol. U of TX Pr, Austin, 2012.