Huichol Mara'akame (shaman) Susan Skinner

Susan Skinner

Summertown, Tennessee

Susan Skinner

Summertown, Tennessee

I feel as though my paths began as a child. The wonderment of this world has never left me. My first call to service came as a teenager and led me down many paths until I began to search for a teacher when I was in my thirties. At that time, I began looking towards native spirituality as it was what came and felt natural to me. I practiced meditation, earthskills, energy healing, and herbalism until I took Plant Spirit Medicine with Eliot Cowan in 1999. I was finally at home in my developing sense of other ways to communicate with nature and spiritual beings. This was my calling, but before then I did not have a relationship with anyone to help me navigate the landscape or a grounded tradition to rely on up until meeting Eliot, and a seemingly coincidental set of meetings and circumstances that led my husband and I to Mexico in 2003.

We traveled to the Mexican highlands and to speak with don Lucio Campos de Elizade, a granicero and Caporal Mayor (weather worker, ceremonial leader and elder) in the Nahua tradition. In years prior to this, my husband had a close encounter with lightening and was told he should see don Lucio to find out if the weather beings were calling him. Don Lucio confirmed that was the case and then turned his attention to me saying I already knew the weather beings so, of course, I should be initiated as well. Several days later, we were “crowned” as weatherworkers and the learning and practice of that tradition began.

A couple of years later at a fire with Tatewari during our spring weatherwork ceremonies, I was told I would be given a dream. After receiving the dream that I knew was related to this message, I came before a group of Mara’akate of the Wixiarika (Huichol) tradition. After recounting the dream to them it was determined I was being called to apprentice in the tradition of the Huichol Indians of Mexico's Sierra Madre mountains.

I pilgrimaged as an apprentice for nine years, learning to drop my mind centered resistances and worked to learn a different but grounded view of life so that could serve my people. I had asked for help and to be with the elders so that I could learn. The outcome looks nothing like what I could have imagined but that is the way of the mind, isn’t it?! My initiation along with five others was performed under the guidance of don Jose Sandoval, an elder and native Huichol tssaurikame.

I now live and practice in Summertown and Nashville, Tennessee but every year to fulfill the responsibilities that my traditions entail, I travel to sacred places in the Huichol homelands in the Sierra Madres and the Nahua's Tepoztlán Valley and to be immersed in these ancestrally-related traditions. This keeps me humble and grateful and helps me to deepen my understanding of the land on which we live and to live through the perspectives that have existed for many generations before our modern culture.

Patience is a virtue

They are two of China’s most eminent classical artists. Yu leads no fewer than three major ensembles there: the China Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Shanghai and Guangzhou symphonies.

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