Shaman's Mirror, 5-9



Sacred Yarn


pp. 57-9 sacred embroideries are left in sacred caves, in order for the deities to be able to impart dreaming-power

p. 57

"The sacred yarn {embroideries} are taken to particular sacred sites, such as caves ... . In his case, ... The result was that over the course of five years, he developed the ability to dream and see images. ...

p. 58

[said by E.C.V.] And then I asked at the sacred cave ... at Wirikuta. And then, between that time and five years later, I began to dream. ...

p. 59

And ... I dream. When I am sleeping, they are teaching me everything."

pp. 60-1 disposal of sacred yarn-embroideries : from chapel to cave

p. 60

"the sacred caves, ... that is where the painting should be left {permanently}."

dialogue : "keep it {temporarily} in your god house {chapel} ["xiriki"] here? Or [in] your temple ["tuki"] here?

... Yes ... ... Then after a year, I take them to the sacred site. ... That's where I leave them. ... .

p. 61

... that ["the power"] withdraws itself ... {unless} you ... take it to those places {so as to leave it there permanently}."

pp. 63-4 religious use of flowers (according to other authors)

p. 63

"Jane Hill (1992) has described a widespread Uto-Aztecan complex of flower symbolism that is related to a spiritual "Flowery World.""

p. 64

"Zingg collected a myth that prescribes the appropriate offerings for Stuluwi`akame, a ... goddess of [the water-spring] Tatei Matinieri. Her offerings include "... itali [yarn-embroideries] ... ornamented with flowers ..., so that she would be pleased with their fragrance" (2004, 128). These could be either actual flowers or flower designs."

Hill 1992 = Jane H. Hill : The Flower World of Old Uto-Aztecan". J OF ANTHROPOLOGICAL RESEARCH 48, No. 2:117-33.

pp. 65-6 the colors & the designs are received from deities

p. 65

"many colors coming forth when he makes contact means the sacred colors he receives in communication with the gods. ... visionary experience guides the choice of colors, not rules made by humans."

p. 66

"Moreover, the person who originates yarn-{embroidery} designs should operate out of some shamanic or visionary ability."

pp. 69 & 71 snake-deity

p. 69

"a coiled serpent with a head ... representing Aariwama, a rain goddess. ...

p. 71

That is the one that sends the water {i.e., rain}, that snake. At the same time, that snake is also lightning bolts, that create thunder. That ... snake ... goes about among the clouds."

p. 72 Scorpion & Deer

"a scorpion ... represented the sacred site of Paritsika, Lord of Deer."

{"In the Madrid Codex 44B and C, a scorpion is shown holding a deer by its right leg with a rope." (OM--"H&F-D")} {"a scorpion, and in each case the claw at the end of the tail grasps a cord to which a deer, rabbit, or fox is attached." (SMT, p. 98)}

OM--"H&F-D" = Richard L. Dieterle : Orion Mythology. 9. "The Hand and the Fire-Drill".

SMT = Cyrus Thomas : A Study Of The Manuscript Troano. Washington (DC) : Gvnmt Pr Off, 1882.

p. 73 copal is burned as a praeventive ransom forestalling future sickness

""copal" means ... sacred fire. ... The person made that ... after finishing a series of pilgrimages ... . ... If not, they will capture you again. ["The gods will say :"] "... bring us something to eat ... We are going to make you sick.""

p. 74 sacred bowls as emblems in geography

"Kindl (2003, 187 ff) received ... explanation ... that ... bowls represented sacred sites and sacred geography".

{Perhaps indented hill-tops are intended by the bowls. As an instance of such a sacred indented hill-top, "The summit of Tosal Cawi is like a shallow dish" (QD, p. 253).}

Kindl 2003 = Olivia Selena Kindl : La Ji`cara Huichola : un Microcosmos Mesoamericano. Licenciada thesis, Escu Nat de Antropologi`a e Historia (INAH/SEP), Mexico City.

QD = HeatherValencia & Rolly Kent : Queen of Dreams : the Story of a Yaqui Dreaming Woman. Simon & Schuster, NY, 1991.

pp. 75-6 snake on disk (a carving extant within a cave, sacred to the Wic^ol)

p. 75

"Aawariwama is the ... goddess whom Lumholtz called Mother East-Water (1900, 163). ... Some authors have transcribed her name as "Nu>aariwame" or "Ne>ariwama.""

p. 76

[quoting Zingg 2004, pp. 157-60] "The girl spat in the centre of the cave, and there was a teapa`li ["god disk"]. She spat again and this time a snake appeared on top of the teapa`li. ...

{Cf. Agatho-daimon as divine serpent wrapped around altar-disk.}

This cave is na>aliwaeme kokolita ... . ... [The people] were to have a ceremonial bath in the waters of the cave ... .""

pp. 78-9 miscellaneous petroglyphs

p. 78

"Lumholtz ... In eastern Sonora ... recorded [1891] finding petroglyphs similar to those found in Arizona, including ones of deified dragonflies ... . ...

p. 79

Lumholtz (1902, 2:109) located another group of "pickings" in two caves on Mesa del Nayar. The figures represented mainly snakes, suns, and female genitalia".

Lumholtz 1891 = Carl Lumholtz : "Report on Explorations in Northern Mexico". BULL OF THE AMER GEOG SOC 23, n. 2:386-402.

p. 79 mythic Hewi folk

"The Huichol themselves told Zingg (1938, 355-357) that they were not the earliest inhabitants of the Sierra, and that

a semimythical people called the Hewi preceded them."

{Cf. the name of the <aWWI^m (with their capital later at <IWWah), who are said to have antedated the Pilis^ti^m?}

Zingg 1938 = Robert M. Zingg : The Huichols. NY : Stechert.

pp. 80-1 Flower-Skirt earth-goddess

p. 80

"Petroglyphs are closely associated with ... the Fremont culture of southern Utah. ...

p. 81

Even more striking is the similarity between Fremont culture rock carvings of magnificently dressed people [p. 82, Fig. 5.4] and the goddess Tateituli Iwiekame [written "Tataei Ituli Iwiekame" in Fig. 5.5, p. 82]

(Flower Skirt)

{cf. [Sioux] "flowers made her robe" (VW, p. 209)}

as depicted ... with all her accoutrements, including her earrings, her arrows (stripes on her shoulders), and her uxa ..., which shine ... (star-shaped figures)."

VW = Margot Edmonds & Ella Clark : Voices of the Winds. Facts on File, 1989.

p. 83 string-pictures [not very similar to those made by the Wic^ol, howbeit] in a Navaho myth

[quoted from Faris 1990, p. 206] "she [Spider Woman] insisted that the Dreamer learn how to make the pictures and the Spider Woman ... made string figures all over him from feet to head ... .

{These string-pictures were evidently fastened to Dreamer-Boy's body by being stretched around it, enclosing his body in a sort of net. The "string-pictures" may be intended as "cat's-cradle" string-figures and may have been strung together around his body.}

They made thirty-two string pictures over the boy and after the treatment the boy ... learned them all by heart."

Faris 1990 = James C. Faris : The Nightway. Albuquerque : U of NM Pr.





p. 94 power-sites (around Los Angeles, CA)

"Myerhoff introduced Ramo`n [scil., Medina Silva -- "His Huichol name was U:ru: Temai, meaning Young Arrow Person (P. Furst 2003, 34)" (supra p. 91)] to Carlos Castaneda, her schoolmate at UCLA and author of the ... Don Juan "novels" ... . The two men ...

spent a happy day together visiting power spots in the hills around Los Angeles."

{These "power spots" would have been sites sacred to the local Cahuilla Indians.}

Furst 2003 = Peter T. Furst : Visions ... .

pp. 95 & 98 instances of myths early illustrated by yarn embroideries

p. 95

"a woman being tempted by Kieri; the deer god Tamatsi Kauyumari shooting Kieri with an arrow; and Kieri in his death throes."

p. 98

"a man in the rafters of a house,

a cord tied to his testicles. As the woman delivers the child, she pulls on the cord

{cf. the myth, in the Edda, of how goddess Heid-ru`n pulled on the testicles of Loki, when his testicles were tied to her body}

"so that her husband shared in the painful ... experience of childbirth" (reproduced in Berrin 1978, 162 ...). ... Schaefer (1990, 204-205) ... cites ... Furst, who said that it might come from an old trickster legend about

Tamatsi Kauyumari."

{Therefore, is Tamatsi Kauyumari = Loki? If so, then do cf. Tamatsi Kauyumari shooting of Kieri (supra, p. 95) with Loki's successfully aiming the shot at Baldr (according to the Edda).}

Berrin 1978 = Kathleen Berrin : Art of the Huichol Indians. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Schaefer 1990 = Stacy B. Schaefer : Becoming a Weaver : the Woman's Path in Huichol Culture. PhD diss, U of CA at Los Angeles.





p. 115 stages of shamanic curing ability

"She said that one first gains the ability to see inside the body and to see what looks like a fly or moth circling around in the belly.

Then the gods may tell the novice shaman what to do about it.

Curing children's diseases comes next, and some people {curers} spend years at this stage.

The final stage is to be able to cure all forms of disease."

pp. 120-1 Wic^ol diagram of the Earth

p. 120

"Representations of the fire god, the sun god, the deer god, and the vulture god occupy the four directions ... . The world is surrounded by with the water of the oceans, and four eagles guard the four corners of the earth."

p. 121

[translated from Negri`n 1986, pp. 61-2] "Our Mother the fertile Earth (Tatei Yurianaka) ... is like a huge bowl ... . Her boundaries extend as far as that place where the heart and thoughts (iyari) of our great-grandparents ["the "gods""] can be heard. ... The large white ring defines the circumference of the Fertile Earth : it is sown with symbols that represent vision (nierika, represented as little blue spheres) and the spiritual life (tukari, represented as little yellow flowers) of our collective Forefathers. The center ["a blue circle"] is is the collective soul (kupuri), the only source of all life."

Negri`n 1986 = Juan Negri`n : Nierica : arte contempora`neo huichol. Mexico City : Museo de arte Moderno.

pp. 130 & 131 & 162 instances of visionary experiences recorded in yarn embroideries

p. 130 "a mara>akame in ceremony talking to a giant deer, which hovers over the fire; the colors represent {depict} the mara>akame's power, which lights up the night sky like a searchlight (Fig. 9.4; McLean 2005, 67)."

p. 162, Fig. 9.4 : "During a nighttime ceremony, the [deer-]deity hovers over a shaman, whose offerings are ... copal incense, the food of the deer god."

p. 130 "his painting of ... spirit and owl is based on a vision he experienced ... . He saw these spirits come into the house one night and offer him powers."

p. 131, Fig. 7.3 : "death, represented by a skeleton. The owl is the companion of death. However, other powers, ... the sun and the deer, will not let death take the person. The mara>akame bargains with death, promising him offerings in return for the patient."



Making Yarn


pp. 136 & 139 & 141 bees' wax; natural dyes; shapes of wooden backing-planks

p. 136

"The ... wax is called cera de Campeche and comes from a particular type of bee ["stingless" (supra p. x)] ... . It is dark orange and smells like honey."

p. 139

"Schaefer (2002, 47-48) ... collecting information about plant dyes ... records the use of wild indigo for blue, a form of marigold (Tagetes erecta) for yellow, a cosmos for orange, brazilwood for reddish purple, and palo dulce (Eysenhardtia polystachya) for blue-green."

p. 141

"the sacred offerings may be made in irregular shapes, such as the oval and bottle-shaped forms collected by Lumholtz and Zingg (Berrin 1978, 152-153)."

Schaefer 2002 = Stacy B. Schaefer : To Think with a Good Heart : Wixa`rika Women, Weavers, and Shamans. Salt Lake City : U of UT Pr.

pp. 143-4 dialectal words used by Wic^ol

p. 143

"Some words are from rural Mexican dialects, such as "macuche" for "tobacco," or "ocote" (from the Nahuatl "ocotl" for "pine." Other are

p. 144

Spanish terms that have special meanings fr Huichol; for example, Huichol use the word "tendedera," which can be translated as "drying blanket" ..., for an itari, the mat that the shaman spreads on the ground as an altar during a ceremony."



Colors Speak


pp. 146-7 patterns are seen by ingesting peyote

p. 146

"Huichol interest in color is linked to their religion and, in particular, to peyote. Many people who eat peyote report seeing

p. 147

brilliant colors and vibrating patterns. ... According to Eger Valdez (1978, 47, 51) and Schaefer (1990, 127), Huichol artists value these colors and patterns and ... reproduce them in their weaving and embroidery. My own Huichol consultants have told me they saw embroidery patterns while eating peyote."

p. 147 paucity of colors formerly used by Wic^ol

"in the 1920s, ... they used only blue and white or black and white for beadwork.

For textiles, they used the natural colors of sheep wool, ... brown, black, and white."

pp. 157-8 ascending

p. 157

"According to Lumholtz (1902, 2:204) : "Life is a constant object of prayer with the Huichols; it is, in their conception, hanging somewhere above them, and must be reached for." ...

p. 158

One Huichol ceremonial object collected by Lumholtz (1900, 62) ... is a miniature carved-stone staircase. Lumholtz was told that it represents travel, especially the travels of the gods ... . The Preuss collection in the Berlin Ethnological Museum has a version of such a staircase shaped more like a pyramid ... (Valdovinos and Neurath 2007, 51)."

Valdovinos & Neurath 2007 = Margarita Valdovinos & Johannes Neurath : "Instrumentos de los dioses ... de la coleccio`n Preuss". ARTES DE ME`XICO, no. 85:50-63.


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