MEDIA & PRESS INFORMATION
Our mission is to share the authentic indigenous teachings of the Huichol culture around the globe. We strive to help people connect with their inherent connection to nature, while giving back to our cultural heritage through our sustaining support of the Huichol people.
April 30, 2015Read the Article >
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Summer retreats to be held at ‘places of power’ in nature SANTA CRUZ, CA – Brant Secunda, renowned Huichol shaman and founder of the Dance of the Deer Foundation, will lead two retreats this summer in some of the most beautiful places on Earth. The 19th Annual Shamanic Retreat in Alaska, “A Living Dream,” will take place June 28-July 6, 2014 in and around Juneau, AK. The 33rd Annual Healing Retreat in Mt. Shasta, CA, “The Healing Mountain,” will take place July 23-27, 2014 at the base of the mountain. The retreats are attended by people of all ages from around the world who come together to live in community, experience pilgrimage, listen to ancient stories of creation, and learn the practices of shamanic healing, drumming and singing. “These retreats are an opportunity to connect intimately with the land and with ourselves, and to gain the power, vision and clarity Mother Earth has to offer. The Huichols believe every human being can learn to walk the shamanic path. As we participate in this age-old tradition, we remember the sacredness of life and understand our shared responsibility as human beings living on the earth. In this way we can inhabit the earth with gentleness and respect,” said Brant Secunda. “I have been attending Brant’s retreats for more than twenty years, and get so much out of the experiences. Brant teaches us how to recognize and approach places of power in nature, helping us bring that power into our lives. I’ve learned how to listen more closely to my dreams, and I have a renewed sense of purpose and balance in my life” – previous program participant. The settings for the retreats are chosen as inspiring places in nature where participants can connect with spectacular landscapes and wildlife. The Alaska location looks out over one of the state’s largest sea lion rookeries, with waters teeming with whales, porpoise, seals, river otters and spawning salmon. The surrounding forest is home to caribou, moose, deer, and bald eagles. The Mt. Shasta location has been known for centuries as a profoundly beautiful, sacred and healing place of power. For more information see www.shamanism.com/programs About Brant Secunda Brant Secunda is a shaman, healer, and ceremonial leader in the Huichol native tradition of Mexico. He completed a 12-year apprenticeship with Don José Matsuwa, the renowned shaman who passed away in 1990 at the age of 110. Don José adopted Brant as his grandson, leaving him in his place to help carry on the practice of Huichol Shamanism. Since 1979 Brant Secunda has been the Director of the Dance of the Deer Foundation Center for Shamanic Studies and leads seminars and pilgrimages worldwide. Brant is also the co-founder of the Peace University in Berlin, the American Herbalist Guild, and the Huichol Foundation. His work has been documented on television, radio, and in articles and books worldwide. He is the co-author of the award-winning book Fit Soul Fit Body: 9 Keys to a Healthier, Happier You. For more information, please visit www.SHAMANISM.com Contact Kaia Roman, Dance […]
April 15, 2014Read the Article >
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We’ve been busy! First of all, we have some new faces on our team. Nicole Silvers came on board this summer, but she may still be a new face for some of you (better a late introduction than never). She’s been doing a wonderful job, handling our communications, phone and email inquiries, and simply being a pleasure to be around for all who meet her. Most impressively, she’s put up with our jokes. If you haven’t yet been introduced, give us a call and you’ll be sure to reach her. Many of you already know Mats Allen, as he has been involved with the Foundation since he was born and has been coming to our retreats around the globe since he can remember. His father Mark Allen has also been a long time student of Brant’s and is the co-teacher of our Fit Soul Fit Body programs. Now, Mats is finally an official part of our team, managing our websites and online application development. He’s been an awesome asset and you can all look forward to more great things to come from him, like our online Image Gallery… …launching today! For those of you in Europe, you likely already know Yoko Bergheimer. She’s come all the way from Germany to our headquarters in California to be our full-fledged winter intern. Her mother Utah manages our european office, so she came well-prepared. Already, she’s done an amazing job translating our website to German! Yes, finally the german speakers can enjoy our site. We’re also currently looking to hire a Social Media & Marketing Coordinator. If you’re interested or know someone who you think might be perfect for the job, please take a look at our careers page. Brant has been busy as usual. Last month he came back from Germany, where he led an all-night Deer Dance to welcome the new year. Then our East Coast OnGoing Group met along the gulf coast of Florida and earlier this month he gave the keynote lecture at the Peace Symposium in the Bahamas. Last week, he and I both journeyed all the way to New Zealand for the 2nd annual Voices of Sacred Earth Eco-Festival. With over 1000 attendees, it was an energetic gathering outside of Auckland, at a serene retreat center. Brant led three Deer Dance ceremonies and offered three workshops during the 3-day gathering. It was an amazing time and great to connect with so many people striving to walk a sacred path on our Mother Earth. Over the next couple of weeks, things start to really pick up and we’ll be heading to Mexico, to visit the Huichol for their spring ceremony. Then back to Germany and Crete and on through spring we go. We look forward to staying in touch and hope to see you at one of our upcoming programs. Keep an eye out for our next email, which will have program updates and some special discounts. And in the meantime, take some time to listen to our […]
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Shamanism?
Shamanism is an ancient healing tradition and moreover, a way of life. It is a way to connect with nature and all of creation. The word shaman originates from the Tungus tribe in Siberia. Anthropologists coined this term and have used it to refer to the spiritual and ceremonial leaders among indigenous cultures worldwide. The word shamanism can be used to describe the ancient spiritual practices of these indigenous cultures. Clearly the countless similarities between various ancient traditions played a role in the continual generalization of the word.
Over the past few decades the term “shamanism” has been popularized throughout the western world, especially in new-age circles. Today, it can be difficult to distinguish between traditional forms of shamanism and modernized, often esoteric practices that utilize the term.
One could view shamanism as the universal spiritual wisdom inherent to all indigenous tribes. As all ancient spiritual practices are rooted in nature, shamanism is the method by which we as human beings can strengthen that natural connection.
Who is Brant Secunda?
Brant Secunda is a shaman, healer and traditional ceremonial leader who completed a 12-year apprenticeship with Don José Matsuwa, the renowned Huichol shaman who passed away in 1990 at the age of 110.
For over 30 years, Brant has been leading conferences, workshops and retreats around the globe. He is a co-founder of the American Herbalist Guild, the Peace University, and the Huichol Foundation. He is also the co-author of the award-winning book Fit Soul Fit Body, 9 Keys to a Healthier, Happier You.
How did Brant Secunda become a shaman?
When he was 18 years old, Brant Secunda traveled from his native New York to the remote Sierra Madre Mountains in Mexico to find the Huichol people. He was adopted by the revered Huichol shaman Don José Matsuwa and underwent a rigorous 12-year apprenticeship with him. Brant was initiated into the Huichol Indian tribe through a five day vision quest, a period of isolation in the wilderness without food and water, in a sacred cave in the Huichol Sierras known to the Huichols as the Cave of Grandmother Growth.
Other rites of passage included capturing and releasing a wild rattle snake with his bare hands to face his fear of death, enduring a fourteen month fruit fast to enhance his sensitivity to the natural world, and surviving a nine day vision quest so that he may, according to Huichol cosmology, learn the language of the gods. The nine-day vision quest, considered lengthy by Huichol standards, along with several other five-day vision quests, helped to establish him as a respected initiate within the Huichol nation.
Who are the Huichol people?
The Huichol Indians are a small tribe of approximately 35,000 living in central western Mexico near Ixtlan in the Sierra Madre Mountains. They are said to be the last tribe in North America to have maintained their pre-Columbian traditions. Their shamans and healers practice today as they have for generations. In part, their survival is due to the focus of their traditions, as well as their remote mountainous territory. The Huichol way of life continues today much as it has for thousands of years. Still without electricity or running water, the Huichol people rely on their relationship with nature to sustain their communities.
Huichol is a term given by the Spanish. In their own language, they refer to themselves as VIRARICA, which translates as “The Healing People.” The Huichol were once considered a Nation of Shamans. Today, there are still many shamans who continue to perform ceremonies and heal the people.
What is shamanic healing and how does it work?
Ancient shamanic healing techniques have been passed down for thousands of years. Today, shamans continue to heal through shamanic methods and practices that work with an individuals spiritual and physical energy; realigning a patient’s energy.
What does Dance of the Deer Foundation do?
The Dance of the Deer Foundation is dedicated to the continued survival of the ancient indigenous way of the Huichol. Brant Secunda and Don José Matsuwa founded our organization with this vision and today, we continue to support the Huichol people and their culture.
Don José emphasized to Brant that the cultural survival of the Huichol people depended upon external awareness of the Huichol way of life. In 1979, Brant Secunda established the Dance of the Deer Foundation Center for Shamanic Studies to disseminate and preserve Huichol culture, practices, and traditions, and to provide direct assistance with the goal of promoting self-sufficiency and economic independence.
As executive director of the Dance of the Deer Foundation, Brant Secunda instituted and maintains the functions of the foundation and conducts seminars, pilgrimages, and retreats on Huichol shamanism worldwide.
What is the Huichol Foundation?
The Huichol Foundation was started in order to expand the long-standing project for the Huichol Indians and to garner greater international support for their culture.
What is the book Fit Soul, Fit Body about?
Together with 6-time Hawaii Ironman World Champion Mark Allen, Brant founded Fit Soul Fit Body to help bring together the worlds of fitness and spirituality.
What is Shaman Chocolates?
Brant founded SHAMAN Organic Chocolates to help create direct support for the Huichol people. 100% of their profits go back to help Huichol villages.
How can I get involved?
Seminars, pilgrimages, and retreats on Huichol shamanism are offered worldwide through the Dance of the Deer Foundation. The website www.shamanism.com offers a wealth of information including the Shamanism Journal, with new articles uploaded monthly. You may also sign up for the monthly e-newsletter.