Rediscovering my homeland – Mexico 2016

Words – Eduardo Villanueva
Mamiya 6 | Nikon F6
120 and 35mm film

Guadalajara – Tepatitlan – San Andres Cohamiata – San Jose – San Blas

Longs walks, Morelia’s Hilton cantina beer sessions, sunbathing, Mexican blues and having some Pulque de Reyes were some of the things we did while spending a few days in Guadalajara. First Sunday we hit the road 100 km north to Tepatitalan. There we visited Ene, a friend and artist who has transformed his old family Hacienda into an art studio space.

Our main travel mission started on Wednesday morning. Alex and Yigo joined us for the trip north. We drove the free road, direction Zacatecas, heading up to the mountain range of Sierra Madre Occidental. Rain-less landscapes, deep house, and experimental electronic music mixed with mystical cactus and Mountain Scenery. After a 10-hour drive, we got to Huejuquilla the last town before entering the Sierra Madre – the land of the Wixárikas. (continued below)

Early the next morning we hit the road. Before leaving we met Josefina, a Wixárika lady who asked us for a ride all the way to the town of San Andres Cohamiata. I decided to join Josefina on the back of the truck, we had all kinds of weather back there, was fun with Josefina sharing a few stories of her life walking this road. Soon we reached the main entrance of the Wixárika lands. There the Huichol authorities stay while their ceremonies take place to protect the entrance. After some serious questioning of our intentions, they finally smiled and let us in.

“HIKURI NEIRRA – LA DANZA DEL PEYOTE” (THE DANCE OF THE PEYOTE)

There we visited Manuel, a boy I met in la Sierra during my first visit. During that visit I had left Manuel my address and phone number without knowing that 2 days later I would see him again in Guadalajara. Manuel ,13 years old, and his two of his friends of 11 decided to spontaneously hitch hike all the way to the city and come stay for a week. After his visit I felt welcome to come back to his home and have been going back to visit regularly.

Without knowing it we had arrived during Hikuri Neirra – a Wixárika celebration to the Hikuri (peyote). Every year in epoch of dry seasons they realize this propitiatory experience across which the forces of nature are invoked so that they nourish the time of sowing and harvest that they approach. Each of the stages come together with rites, dances, and songs that are offered to the ground, the rain, the sun and the fire, testimony of the indigenous Wixárika cosmology.

The next day we moved on to the nearby town of San Jose where we celebrated Hikuri Neirra together with another friend Mikaela and her family.  They welcomed us with food and invited us to take part in a sacrifice ceremony of one of their cattle.

During the evening we hung out around the backyard of the Cailiwey (Wixárika temple) having some beer, tequila and mezcal and sharing stories with the people. Soon the night came and we set up our tents close by and soon we were sleeping. Little did we know the Wixárika’s chanting would last all night long just a few meters from our tents!

After a restless nights sleep we decided to move on in the direction of the pacific coast. It was beautiful to drive the sierra road. Big mountain scenery and an amazing sunset. After the 12-hour drive down the windy road, we finally got to San Blas, an old beach town where I had been together with Mickey just four years ago. It was kind of symbolic to end our adventures back in the same place as a few years ago. Beautiful Travels.