An Online Archive of Huichol Art, History, and Culture


Photograph ©Juan Negrín 1973 - 2010
Our Grandfather Fire at Burnt Peak


“ This is the deity of fire who lives in the sacred desert of Wírikuta,where we journey to ask him to help us and we hear his requests; where he was born in the East and it is called burning rock. Here, Our Grandfather appeared for the first time in the shape of Fire.”

What we are contemplating is Tatewarí, Our Grandfather, who transformed himself into fire and is the prototypal Huichol shaman. His very fingers are like the feathers of a shaman’s healing arrow. His birthplace is like a seat at the top of Xeunaxu, Burnt Peak, where Our Father rose to become the sun. Two peyote cacti symbolize Wírikuta, ‘where Our Ancestors paint sacred designs on the faces of the pilgrims’ who ingest it in the desert at the threshold of the peak. The deer heads are Our Elder-Brothers, the messengers between Tatewarí and us, who allow the pilgrims and Our Grandfather to be aware of each other’s mutual needs or vows.

Artist: José Benítez Sánchez, 1973, 1.22 x 0.80m.
Interpretation by Juan Negrín based on a taped explanation with the artist.
Photograph & Text ©Juan Negrín 1973 - 2010 All rights reserved