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.
Measures 6 x 6 inches
This yarn painting depicts the pacaflor, hummingbird, drawing the nectar of the peyote flower, which is filled with the healing and enlightening energy of wisdom, knowledge, and power.
The inscription reads: “The hummingbird and the peyote flower are one aligned in knowing the medicinal powers of the peyote and the hummingbird is used to clarify ones path from spirit.”
Believed to be messengers to and from the gods, all birds are held in great regard. The shamans use tail and wing feathers of eagles and hawks in their rituals and ceremonial chanting. The double-headed eagle is another common design, representing the shaman’s omnipotent power to see in all directions. (The hummingbird in particular brings in the high frequency of the energy of pachamama and the flowers and their healing powers.)
Considered a very valuable gift from the gods, fire is called Tai. Tai is believed to enable the Huichol to have visions. The fire god, Tatewari, is always honored at Huichol ceremonies, and receives many offerings such as corn meal, sacred water and much of the art that they make.
Used to express gratitude or requests to the gods, called Urus, prayer arrows, like gourd bowls, are ceremonial objects through which the gods are believed to give their blessings. Special prayer arrows have crystals attached to them, representing the spirits of departed ancestors.
Symbol for life, sustenance, health, success, good luck and acquisition of shamanic powers, the peyote appears in practically all Huichol art and is considered a gift from the gods to the people to enlighten their lives and bring them into the mystical realm.
White: Cloud Spirits.
Red: The East, fire, masculinity.
Blue: The South, Pacific Ocean, water, rain, femininity.
Green: The Earth, the Heavens, healing, the heart, grandfather, growth.
Yellow: A special root from Wirikuta used for face paint in ceremonies.
Orange: “Wirikuta,” the sacred land where the Huichol believe life began and also where they gather peyote.