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Men at Wirikuta

Wirikuta is a site, sacred to the Wixárika (Huichol) Indians high in the mountains of central Mexico, between the Sierra Madre Oriental and the Zacatecas ranges, near Real de Catorce. In Wixárika cosmology, the world was believed to have been created in Wirikuta.


The sun made its first appearance in Wirikuta,[1] and it is the sacred land of the Wixárikas (Huichol's) deified ancestors. They have sacred places on each one of the cardinal directions and the center.

  • Teakata (Santa Catarina, Jalisco), Center
  • Huaxamanaka (Cerro Gordo, Durango), North
  • Haramara (San Blas, Nayarit), West
  • Xapawleyeta (Isla de los Alacranes del Lago Chapala, Jalisco), South.
  • Wirikuta, East.

Huichols carry out yearly pilgrimages to Wirikuta or Huiricuta between October and March, they follow the journey of their deities from Haramara's sea to the place where the Sun appeared (Reunax), the Cerro Quemado (Leunaxü). Those Gods were guided by Tatewari, the Grandfather Fire. There, a Deer (maxa) used his horns to rise the sun to the sky, illuminating the world.

In order to follow the sacred journey, every year the maraka'ames (chamanes) travel 250 miles (400 kilometers) from wixarica's area in Jalisco to San Luis Potosí. At the beginning they walk towards Takata, a sacred area in Sierra Madre Occidental where the temple guard (xuxuricare) will ask for a safe journey. The next step is kalihuey, a Main Temple where they join Wixarica's authorities. They collect peyote - a cactus containing hallucinogens - along the way, they believe the peyote enables the Wixarica (Huichol) to commune directly with their ancestors and deities.

During the journey two children have to walk with their face covered and people can only drink water, the journey is in a silent contemplative status. After consumption of the Peyote at Wirikuta, an ancient ritual begins to unfold consisting of a confession of sexual sins in front of a fire that invokes Tatehuari while a Maraka'me hits their legs with a stick so that they may remember correctly and not omit any detail.

At the end they collect hikuri and take it back to their homes, recreating life's cycle.

Proposed mining[edit]

The Wirikuta, a sacred place for the Huichol peoples, is being threatened by First Majestic Silver, which has obtained permission from the Mexican government for its proposed La Luz Silver Project for the extraction of silver in the Sierra Decatorce, even though it is transgressing the law in covenants that protect the area Wirikuta and the Wixarika peoples at national and international levels.[2]

The mining site represents a threat to the environment balance and health of the population in the area. It is adding greater social impacts through the division of local peoples. Chemical substances used in the mining process from previous mines are destroying resources at various levels, which are creating impact on the environment and human health. For example, the mining sites will consume vast quantities of water in an already arid region.


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