Friday, January 22, 2016

Real de Catorce Mexico Part 4 of 5. Wirikuta

Wixaritari Indians, or Huicholes as we the rest of us call them, have a ceremonial center outside Real de Catorce, up in the hills they call Wirikuta. For Wixaritari it’s a sacred land, they believe it is the center of the universe. They march from the states of Nayarit and Jalisco for about 43 days every year to perform a ceremony  and come to this place to make offerings to their Gods. Just because it is not well known it doesn't mean it lacks importance. For them this place is like the Vatican to Catholics or Mecca to Muslims. Given the importance for this tribe, the state government has protected this area declaring it the Wirikuta Reserve.  

There are tours to Cerro El Quemado (Burnt Hill) where the Wirikuta ceremonial center is located, and it is accessible only on horseback from Real de Catorce. This is not the route the wixaritari follow. This road is for us the curious tourists who crave to satisfy our thirst of adventure. This is Cerro El Quemado.

I’m posting a photo instead of a sketch. During the ride there, my survival instinct completely overshadow my determination to sketch this trip. My hands gripped the head of the chair, I was in fact gripping my body and soul to the noble horse. -Just trust the horse- I told myself constantly during our way up there. Over an hour later we reached the top, the reward was incredible. The amazing view left us breathless. And there it was, the Wirikuta Ceremonial Center which consisted in 4 circles formed with stones. Each one had an opening that means an entrance for the Wixaritari. Benito, our guide, explained the way we should enter the circles and so we did. Once in the center we tried to ignore the music of the radio that a family who reached the top brought with them, despite our hopes to find the place empty, since it was the low season. Each of us prayed and thanked the Wixaritari Gods, we stood there respectfully for about 5 minutes in silence, aware of our own existence and the noise of the radio disappeared. It was brief spiritual moment. 

Benito knew I wanted to sketch. He insisted in me making a sketch. It took me only 15 minutes, including the coloring. It's the only sketch I did that day, but it was meaningful. Ahead, another 70 minutes of ride were waiting for us. The next day, to sit would be a challenge. Click here to read part 5.

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