Westerners as Mara'akate

Westerners as Mara'akate

Elder shaman Eliot Cowan with his wife Vickie and a Huichol family.

As part of an initiative under the guidance of Tatewarí, (our Grandfather Fire in the Wixárika language) Don David Wiley and Don Eliot Cowan were instructed to travel to the Huichol Sierras to the village of San Andrés Cohamiata in 1998 to begin establishing formal relationships with the mara’akate lineages of that location. Through a connection with their Tatuwani (traditional governor) and their kawiterutsirri (council of elders) the authorities recognized both of them and the group they were leading as mara’akate, instructed, apprenticed and initiated under the direction of Tatewarí. From that point on we were referred to by local governance members and elder assembly officially and affectionately as Grupo Tatewarí.

Western mara'akate Lisa Lichtig and Patrick Hanaway
Western mara'akate Lisa Lichtig and Patrick Hanaway in front of our Tuki (ceremonial structure) near San Andres Cohamiata. The entire medicine path group visits San Andres at least once a year.

In the Wixárika homelands, we have a compound where we do our work near a local village and have our own ceremonial temple (Tuki). Outside of the Sierras, we established another, more accessible Tuki in Tepoztlán, Mexico. It has been consecrated and registered by the elders of San Andres Cohamiata. Grandfather Fire provided the authority for us to establish our own council of elders, called kawiteros or kawiterutsirri, to guide and support the integrity of the medicine and path. The non-profit Temple of Sacred Fire Healing was established to provide protection for our work and the work of related spiritual healers.

We continue to deepen in our knowledge and understanding of the tradition through our relationships in the Wixárika Homelands, along with our continued pilgrimages, ceremonial obligations and studies. We bring our knowledge and learning into our communities and families with the purpose of helping people live good lives, connected to the sacred.

For deeper context see the article - Life Transformed by Fire

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