Mexico possesses a rich variety of ancient cultures that inhabited its landscape for thousands of years. Some of these civilizations are better known than others. You have probably heard about the Aztecs, fearless warriors, fond of bloody sacrifices. Or the Mayas, the creators of complex structures such as pyramids and a calendar that got us a bit worried in 2012.
There were other cultural groups spread throughout Mexico, and some of them are still around, keeping their cultural heritage very alive today. One of these groups is the Huichol.
Also called Wixaika (“the people”) is a colorful community of indigenous citizens of Mexico. They settled along the Sierra Madre Occidental in the states of Jalisco, Nayarit, Zacatecas, and Durango. Research has shown that the Huichols have been around for at least 15,000 years.
Huichols are famously known because of their colorful artwork, where they show their deep devotion and close relationship with the world. Land and territory have spiritual meaning for the Huichols, and this also determines their actions and reactions.
Huichol art is full of symbolism, including elements such as fire, earth, water, air, deer, peyote, serpents, scorpions, and gods’ eyes pointing to the four cardinal points. All of this shows their intricate connection with nature, which stands the test of time.
The Huichols have kept their culture alive by passing their stories from the older to the newer generations. These colorful stories are about their love, respect, and care for the world they live in.
In this article, we are going to share one of the Huichol folkloric tales, a story about the journey of creation, of those who embark on the journey towards life.
Huichol Cosmovision: The Place Where It Begins
The first human, Watacame, was walking through a dark field, harvesting plants with his female dog, Tziku Mayuri. Suddenly, the clouds open up, giving way to a female figure. This figure came down next to Watacame and presented herself as Takutzi Nakawe, his Grandmother, the Rain.
Although the woman looked very familiar to him, Watacame was surprised by her visit. In this dark place, he had never seen anyone else. Only he and his faithful dog were there all the time.
Takutzi Nakawe told Watacame that of all of her children, he was the one who closely observed nature. Therefore, he was the one able to learn from it and protect it.
Grandmother Rain told him to build a steady raft, which can withstand five days of storms for him and his faithful dog companion. “I will find you after the five days” she added.
For five days, the rain did not stop, and the earth filled up with water until Takutzi Nakawe came down from the clouds and the rain stopped. She told Watacame that water was needed to create a new world, that the water was part of him and he part of it.
Grandmother Rain said to Watacame that now it was time to create a new world. Opening her cape, she let out all the Gods and told them to go and populate the earth. Each of them would find a place where they belong and that place will be sacred. They were all elements of nature from a small scorpion to a deer, they were all Gods.
Watacame walked alongside the Gods for a long time. Time as we know it did not exist yet, so he did not know for how long they walked. Some of the Gods found the places they belong and stood there.
While walking, Watacame and the remaining Gods heard the sound of drums. This music guided them towards the sun. When they finally found the sun, the Earth became alive. The light made everything come to life. Every plant, tree, and animal in the land and the sea came to be. It was the beginning of the new world.
Keeping stories alive
Here at Conrad Punta Mita, we try to keep the colorful heritage of the Huichol people from the area alive, to honor the bond of the Huichol with nature, and to spread awareness about the importance of our natural surroundings.