Shaman's Mirror, 4



Gifts for the Gods


p. 36 making ritual objects

"making a prayer arrow (Hui. : u:ru:) ... . He cut a thin came ... and whittled a pointed tip of reddish-brown brazilwood ... . ... red and blue paints ... drews zigzag lines down the sides of the cane. Then he cut a tiny pair of wrist guards (Hui. : matsuwa) and sandals ... . He tied these to the cane and added a tiny round netted deer snare (Hui. : nierika)."

"a woman ... spread beeswax around the edge of the doll's skirt and decorated the doll's face, heart, and hem with beads. The doll was to be left in the field as an offering for abundant crops."

pp. 37-8 various ritual offerings (including by other tribes)

p. 37

"Diego Dura`n (1971, 269) recorded that Aztec women made offerings to Chalchiuhcueye, goddess of springs and waters by throwing ... dolls ... into the streams and springs.

Far to the north, early-twentieth-century Paiute continued to leave offerings of beads at a sacred site known as "doctor" rock (Wheat 1967, 20).

Prayer arrows called paho[-]s are an integral part of Hopi relations with their deities (Malotki and Gary 2001, 77, 101).

Lumholtz (1900) illustrates ... Huichol offerings. ... A gourd-shell bowl (Hui. : xukuri ...) may have tiny wax figures of people pressed into the side, their eyes and hearts sketched by a few dots of colored beads. Other offerings include flat wooden boards (Hui. : itari, also ...

p. 38

itali) used as a base for bowls and statues, and statues of deities ..., carved in wood or stone."

Dura`n 1971 (from the Spanish of 1581) = Diego Dura`n (transl. & ed. by Horcasitas & Hayden) : The History of the Indies of New Spain. NY : Orion.

Wheat 1967 = Margaret M. Wheat : Survival Arts of the Primitive Paiutes. Reno : U of NM Pr.

Malotki & Gary 2001 = Hopi Stories of Witchcraft, Shamanism, and Magic. Lincoln : U of NE Pr.

p. 38 yarn-embroidery in mythology

"According to Huichol mythology, ... Once {embroidered}, things "simply came to life, and the world knew them as real ... plants, animals ..." (Zingg 1938, 629).

"According to Schaefer (1989, 192), ... When Takutsi Nakawe, the earth-creator {creatrix} goddess, spun the first thread, she spun her memory (Hui. : iyari, "heart-soul-memory") into it, thus creating the world and life".

Zingg 1938 = Robert M. Zingg : The Huichols. NY : Stechert. [reprinted Kraus 1977]

Schaefer 1989 = Stacy B. Schaefer : "The Loom and Time in the Huichol World". J OF LATIN AMERICAN LORE 15.2:179-94.

pp. 39-40 god-disks

p. 39

"God disks are round stone disks carved out of solidified volcanic ash (tuff). Designs are ... incised into the stone. Often,

the god disks have a hole in the center

{same shape as the Chinese ritual Pi disk (often carven out of jade) emblematic of the sky}

so that the eye of a god may look through the disk into the world of human beings. Sometimes a family will place a god disk on their altar in the small family temple {chapel}, or god house, called a xiriki ... . Others embed a god disk in the wall of the xiriki over the door. A god disk is also buried in the floor of the community temple (tuki), and offerings for the gods are placed under the disk."

p. 40,

Fig 4.3

"Stone disk (tepari) ..., used as a stand for a statue of the god in a Huichol temple. The center is marked by a small round mirror called the "eye of the

god" (sikuli)."

pp. 41-2 terms for 'yarn embroidery'

p. 41

"Some authors have used "itari"as the Huichol term for yarn {embroideries} generally. ... Juan Negrin (1979, 25-26) defines itari as "a bed on which the ancestral gods come to rest ... ." Itari is also the name of a ceremonial mat that the mara>kate use as a kind of portable altar. ...

p. 42

Knab (2004, 268) records a third term, wewia, for yarn {embroidery}".

[p. 255, n. 4:2 : "Perhaps Knab's term "wewia" is realted to the word wewiakate, a word ... translated as "dioses" (gods)."]

Negrin 1979 = Juan Negrin : "The Huichol Indians". UNESCO COURIER (Feb):17-27.

Knab 2004 = Tim Knab : Mad Jesu`s. Albuquerque : U of NM Pr.

pp. 42-3, 46 nierika & mirror

p. 42

"The word "nierika" is derived from niere, "to see," and ka, "habitual" (Liffman 2002, 140). ...

p. 43

A third kind of nierika is ceremonial face painting. The Huichol paint elaborate designs on their faces during ceremonies such as the peyote pilgrimage. The paint is made from a yellow root called uxa, which grows in Wirikuta.

Through the painting, a person's face literally becomes a repraesentation of ... the god."

{The deity being honored by a caerimony would be praesent during it, watching its performance; and would be flattered at humans' repraesenting their faces as that deity's at that event.}

p. 46

""Nierika" means a face ... the face of the gods ... which remains here with the person." "nierika ... is the face of the gods that a person sees when looking into a shaman's mirror. Once the person has seen the face of the gods, he or she carries that face in the mind.

... also translated the word "nierika" as mirror : "'Nierika,' this means the

p. 47

mirror. It is used to cure or, accordingly, to see what there is {within the patient's body?}. ...

It is the mirror of the Deer God." ... . Dura`n described ... Tezcatlipoca that carried "... a mirror.

{The world-directions scene commencing (as 1st page) each of the codices of the Borgia type is centred in one codex on a Deer-god and in another codex on Tezcatli-poca. Among Siberians and AmerIndians, Ursa Major is usually a deer, but in MesoAmerica is Tezcatli-poca.}

This ["mirror"] indicated Tezcaltipoca could see all that took place in the world with the reflection ... .

{Similar is said of Prester John.}

It was called Itlachiayaque, which means Place from which He Watches" (1971, 99)."

Dura`n 1971 [from the Spanish of 1579] = Diego Dura`n (transl. by Fernando Horcasitas & Doris Heyden) : Book of the Gods and Rites ... . Norman : U of OK Pr.

p. 49 dream-catcher : Arapaho & Hopi passage through the cosmos by means of a shield-shaped vehicle or a basket

"The miniature deer snare is attached to a prayer arrow as a prayer for shamanic ability.

{Shamanic ability is always conferred upon one in one's dream (by deities encountred in the dream); so that such a "deer snare" is intended to beckon such a dream about deities.}

One way of thinking about it is as a snare to trap the Deer God, Tamatsi Kauyumari, who may confer the ability to dream and envision.

{The intention is more polite than such a brief statement might suggest! The so-called "Deer God" is an actually anthropomorphic deity deliberately disguised as a deer (in the dream) : a talking deer, who therein explicateth how human hunters, also disguised as deer, can sneak up on deer (in the waking-world) in order to kill them. The function of the "deer snare" is to guide the prayer for such a prospective dream through the dream-world (much as Abaris rode on arrow to its Huperborean destination) to the abode of the so-called "Deer God", so that such"Deer God" will receive the prayer and [with the Deer-God's attention (merely!) thus snared] thus come to meet the mortal dreamer at a rendezvous within the mortal's dream.}

The tiny snare is remarkably similar to a "dream-catcher," ... made by Native people in Canada.

I wonder whether the modern dream-catcher comes from an older concept, perhaps once widespread throughout North America's Native peoples

{Historically, AmerIndians have been so severely persecuted (by, e.g., the U.S. Army, incited by Christian missionaries) on account of their beliefs-and-practices concerning dreaming, that they have long since ceased (for fear of being further so persecuted) telling ousiders much of anything about their cherished dreamings. So, this understanding may as yet be quite "widespread", as much so as ever; but held covertly and secretly, waiting for the demise of Christianity (especially in the United States) before it may be fully disclosed.}

and still practiced by the Huichol.

{Indigenous religions of these sorts are as yet in vogue also in such regions as Oaxaca, etc.}

Klein (1982, 21-25) writes of the "plaited door," a netted hoop ... that represents a "means of passage through the cosmos."

{A parallel from Europe would be the weaving of fate/destiny by the Nornir. (Such fate/destiny may be regarded of pathways of feasible future events.)}

The netted hoop ... To the Yucatec Maya ... represented the ability to traverse the universe.

The Arapaho said a netted hoop represented {ability to traverse} the entire cosmos ... and believed that it conferred

the ability to fly.

{through the dream-world, in one's dreams?}

Hopi myths contain references to a flying textile, basket, or shield that transported people to the world of the gods and [of the] animal spirits (Malotki and Gary 2001, xi, 65-69, 70ff, 79, 228-231). Perhaps these ... are figurative references to the shaman's ability to travel to another plane [of existence]".

{aequivalent to a flying carpet (1001 Nights, originating in Mosul), flying bowl-shaped vehicle (literature in Yemen), and flying-saucer (originally Chinese)}

Klein 1982 = Celicia Klein : "Woven Heaven, Tangled Earth : a Weaver's Paradigm of the Mesoamerican Cosmos". In :- Anthony F. Aveni & Gary Urton (edd.) : Ethnoastronomy and Archaeoastronomy in the American Tropics. Annals of NY Acad of Sciences. pp. 1-35.

Malotki & Gary 2001 = Hopi Stories ... . Lincoln : U of NE Pr.

{Even in greater danger than AmerIndians (from persecution by Christians) is the general population of persons of European descent, among whom "psychiatrists" with impunity make arrests and hustle into torture-chambres for undergoing agonizing and death-resulting tortures -- an ongoing system of terrorization being inflicted upon the non-Christian population, as severe as the death-concentration-camps of the Nazi era.}

pp. 49-50 praeternatural colored lights (indicating ethical character) of surroundings of subtle bodies of persons

p. 49

"According to ... Huichol consultants, shamans can see

designs of colored lights on people's faces and around their bodies.

{Once (decades ago, in B., GA), I saw a line of praeternatural point-lights (each of a different hue) extending partway around the body (at belly-level) of my wife of the time.}

Some have told me it looks as though the person's face is painted

p. 50

with colored lights.

The colors give shamans information about people's character and state of spiritual development. Different colors may represent different [moral] characters or varying levels of spiritual growth. ...

{The colors in the ordinary aura (which is the aitheric net separating the material from the astral body) indicate merely transitory moods. Moral character (attitudes for treating with other mortals) may be indicated by colors in the net separating the astral from the mental body; while spiritual attainment (attitudes for treating with immortal deities) may be indicated by colors in the net separating the mental from the causal body. [written Mar 19 2014]}

There is some confirmation in myth ... . Zingg (1938, 617) recorded ... : "... when

the great gods of the sea

{The god of the sea is Varun.a, who is stated in the R.c Veda to untie the tied prisoner.}

were baptizing the bad shaman, jimson-weed-man, to wash out some of his villany, the color of his nealika changed to correspond to the change in his heart." ...

Some people appear very beautiful to a shaman ... because of a beautiful light that only the shaman can see. ... However, people can seek spiritual development {i.e., resolve to become a shaman}, at which time their face painting changes. ... Hence, acquiring visionary colored lights is part of the process of becoming a shaman. Some consultants have told me that people {who have resolved to become, or who have become, a shaman} can lose their lights if they go off the shaman's path".

Zingg 1938 = Robert Zingg : The Huichols.

pp. 50-2 uxa 'spark'

p. 50

"during the peyote pilgrimage, the pilgrims use uxa ... . ... Lumholtz (1900, 196) translated "uxa" as

"spark," and ... a spark is a flash of light ... .

{White lights, sometimes of such brief duration as to be described as "sparks", are often witnessed around attendees' heads during the Yuwipi caerimony (of the Sioux), when the celebrant, who hath been tied up, is miraculously untied [cf. Varun.a].}

p. 51

I would suggest that the designs painted with uxa root are ...

{Are the designs repraesentative of the "wheel of time" asked about by Us`anas [whose name /US`A-/ is evidently cognate with Wic^ol /US^A/ ("uxa")] according to Maha-bharata 12:270-2 -- ID, p. 104?}

prayers asking the gods to bestow ... {praeternatural}

colored lights on the pilgrims."

{It may be intended that such prayers be guided by the sparks [witnessed during Yuwipi], toward the deities intended as recipients of such


"The real uxa is the ...

flower of the peyote. ...

{Waterman ("DD-S") identifieth day-sign Xochitl as the yellow blossom of the cactus. The color yellow is likewise assigned to the Star of David, which is 6-pointed : cf the 6-petaled waterlily of the cakra (Svadhis.t.hana) assigned (according to the S.CN) to the makara of Varun.a.}

During the pilgrimage ceremonies, the shaman touches the flower of the peyote to the cheeks, heart, wrists, and legs of each pilgrim."

Thp. 52

"there were two forms of uxa. One is male and yellow {blossom} and ... has rocks surounding it ... . The other uxa is female and whitish {blossom} ...; it grows elsewhere at a sacred spring. ... Bauml's (1994, 194) consultants ... mentioned two forms of uxa -- a white form, which grew in a ... canyon, and a yellow form, which grew in Wirikuta."

Lumholtz 1900 = Unknown Mexico.

ID = N. N. Bhattacharyya : Indian Demonology. Manohar Publ, Delhi, 2000.

"DD-S" = Waterman : "Delineation of the Day-Signs".

S.-CN = Nirupan.a.

Bauml 1994 = James A. Bauml : Ethnobotany of the Huichol .... PhD diss, Claremont.

p. 54 glitter (glint/sheen) = Stilbon

"Reichard ... found ... "... glint or sheen as an essential part of an animal, object or person ..." (1950, 250-51 ...).

{Cf. the antient Hellenic term /Stilbon/ ('glitter') for 'planet Mercury', which planet is reckoned in the Puran.a-s as /BUDHa/, a term cognate with /PUTH-agora-s/, where /agora/ is 'marketplace', whereover praesideth Hermes/Mercurius.}

The glint can be seen as a haze or sheen around all natural forms."

{Is ability to see this, denotive of being a Buddha? (Buddhahood is said to be achieved by observing (while seated under the appropriate tree) the rising of planet Budha.)}

Reichard 1950 = Gladys A. Reichard : Navaho Religion. NY : Bollingen Foundation.

p. 55 succession of different-color rays [cf. planetary rays]

"An orphan boy offered himself for sacrifice ... . When the boy rises as the sun, ...

{This boy is evidently the Huichol aequivalent to Aztec Nanahuatzin (boy who according to Sahagu`n volunteered to be immolated so as to become the sun).}

[quoted from Furst 2003, p. 37] When a ray emerged, one ..."... comes, yellow." Then another ray would break through ..., "... a blue one ... .""

{The several rays emitted from the sun are described in the Puran.a-s as being each of a different color.}

Furst 2003 = Peter T. Furst : Visions of a Huichol Shaman. Philadelphia : U of PA Mus of Archaeology & Anthropology.


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