The Huichol way of life is rich with ceremonial practices. There are specific ceremonies for the four seasons, which are intended to bring balance and harmony to each individual, the community and all of life. The ceremonies are a time for the people to come together and focus on the spirit world, this normally hidden universe that runs parallel to our world. The shamans work to bridge these two worlds in order to bring “kupuri” or life force into the bodies and souls of the people. The Huichol say that this in turn imparts good health and good luck to all.
One of the most important of the Huichol ceremonies is the “Dance of the Deer.” This ceremony offers the chance for people to dance their prayers into the altar of Mother Earth. It is also a way to connect with the Deer Spirit, probably the most important of the Huichol animal powers. The deer is seen as an elder brother, a guide, which the shamans use to navigate the spirit realm and also for healing. In the Huichol mythology, the gods and goddesses taught the deer in ancient times. He was the first student of shamanism, the first to learn the secrets of the original shaman, Grandfather Fire. It I because of this that the deer is so revered and such an integral part of Huichol ceremonial practice.