Nierikas, or intricate Huichol patterns and designs depicting shamanic journeys and visions, are created by pressing wool or silk yarn into bee’s wax melted onto a wooden base. They illustrate the Huichol belief that humans are connected to all things in the natural world, and therefore must serve as nature’s protectors. It is believed that Nierikas allow the Huichol people to communicate and connect with the spirit world. Often, they are made after ceremonies to capture the messages and images from the shamanic journeys. When they are finished, the yarn paintings are left in sacred places.
This Neirika, handmade by a Huichol Indian in Mexico, depicts Werika, the Eagle Goddess, Queen of the Heavens, soaring above a fire. The Huichols believe that fire is one of the most valuable gifts from the gods. Tatewari, the spirit of fire, is responsible for bestowing visions. Throughout the Neirika, Kayumari, the spirit of the blue deer, is present. Kayumari is one of the greatest Huichol guides, for it teaches Shamans to learn, navigate visions, connect with the spirit world, and heal. Above the corn stalks, which are imperative to Huichol survival, is the sun, representing light and illumination in the world, and giving all living things their power. The Nierika is filled with flowers, candles, which are linked to the light within the human spirit, prayer arrows, feathers, and spirits. This yarn painting, like all other Neirikas, is sacred. It was created to connect this world to Spirit, to open pathways for visions and insights, to praise and thank the world that surrounds us.