Sumary of Inside a Peyote Pilgrimage:
- Surrounding him were 25 members of his community, including his wife and children.Everyone in the group was searching for one thing: the psychedelic plant known as peyote, or hikuri — a small, squishy cactus camouflaged underneath the shrubbery.Mario and those alongside him are members of the Mexican Huichol, or Wixárika, people, and hikuri is their lifeline.
- Whatever they found would be brought back to their village for use in their daily religious rituals.Spread across the rugged Sierra Madre Occidental range, the Wixárika are an Indigenous people with an estimated population of 45,000.
- Within their culture, peyote is far more than just a hallucinogenic cactus.
- Groups travel — these days by car, trucks and buses — under the direction of a leading shaman, or maraka’ame.Under Mexican law, only Indigenous groups are authorized to harvest and ingest peyote.
- The women wore vibrant colored, hand-sewn dresses.
- Scarves protected their hair from the sun.The men wore white shirts and pants, with embroidered depictions of deer, peyote and other symbols.
- A fiddler played a joyful tune in the background.After traveling overland for a week, we finally reached our area, known as Bernalejos.“It is the largest church in the world,” Mario proclaimed as we stepped into the desert.The families rested for a while, but there was no time to sleep.
- The largest peyote patches sat beneath shrubs covered in thorns;