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Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments:
An Entheogen Chrestomathy

Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D. and Paula Jo Hruby, Ed.D.
Author Index | Title Index

La Vida de los Huicholes [The Life of the Huichols].

Torres, Ramon Mata. (1980).
Guadalajara: The author.

ISBN: None

Description: Paperback, 126 pages. Tomo I (book I of a set of II), originally published in 1971. Translated by Catherine Finerty. Numerous photographs. The text is in both Spanish and English.

Contents: 6 chapters in Spanish each followed by an English translation.

Excerpt(s): A priest of the Huichol religion, a shaman-called in Spanish a "cantador" or "curandero" and in Huichol a maraakame-is the rock on which the Huichol tradition, culture and spirituality rest and are kept pure. "He helps the mother so the baby will be born well; he baptizes it and initiates it into the mysteries of the gods; he unites man and woman in marriage; he conducts the soul of the dead to its final abode." A maraakame is like a seaman who sails the ocean from shore to shore but always belongs to his homeland.

As priest he sings at the feasts and the rites. He prays that the rains be abundant. He prays that there will be neither sickness nor hunger. He prays that there will be no epidemic or damaging wind. He prays that there will be no trouble in the Community. He prays that justice and righteousness will prevail. He prays that the crops will be good and that life will be healthy and long. He can talk with the gods and perceive things distant and hidden. To him all is clear and transparent. He knows what causes a death and can predict one.

The maraakame is the Huichol doctor. He is the one who is acquainted with medicinal plants, the one who performs magic rites and who exposes witchcraft and sorcery. He is the wisdom of the Community. (page 21)

... The following dialogue was taped and faithfully transcribed: ...

"Anyone who's going to be a maraakame has to eat peyote to commune with a god?"



"Much. He is going to eat a lot the first time."

"How much?"

"The first time I ate twenty-four tiny ones, tiny, tiny, like tiny deer, like that I ate down twenty-four. I put them together in a big prayer bowl I was carrying and I ate them."

"Did they make you see things?"

"Yes. Set aside that way in a pile, the twenty-four. I ate them. It's good! It isn't bitter a bit. At the end it was sweet, sweet, not a bit bitter. Then a person wants to eat more. ... Then when I finished all the peeled peyote I had, then, after three hours had gone by, then I saw like beautiful, beautiful, like you see in the movies, like that." ... (page 21)

"Anybody who's going to be a maraakame goes and lies down on the Peak of the Cantador, on his back on top of the rocks. Why does he close his eyes? Why does he go there? So God will speak to him?"

"Yes. So God will speak to him."

"What god?"

" Kauyumari."

This compilation by Thomas B. Roberts & Paula Jo Hruby, © 1995-2003 CSP

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