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The Art of Chanting

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Chanting can be found in all major religions and spiritual traditions worldwide. The Huichol see the art of chanting as one of the highest and most difficult forms of spiritual practice. The ceremonial shamans are often referred to as the “singing ones.” They utilize the ancient chants to alter reality, both in the spiritual paradigm and in our everyday life, with things such as the weather.

Chanting is one way to alter consciousness and create a link to the divine. Specific tones can help to “open the heart” and shift our mental state into a more peaceful and harmonious phase.

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Brant Secunda

Brant Secunda

Shaman & Healer

Brant Secunda is a shaman, healer, and ceremonial leader in the Huichol Indian 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. Brant Secunda is the adopted grandson of Don José and was chosen by Don José to take his place to help carry on Huichol Shamanism. He is the co-founder of the American Herbalist Guild, and the founder of the Huichol Foundation. 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. His work has been documented on television, radio, and in articles and books throughout the USA, Europe and Japan. He is the co-author of the award-winning book Fit Soul Fit Body: 9 Keys to a Healthier, Happier You.


  • Mark Allen

    Mark Allen


Mark Allen Do the Huichol people use chanting?
Brant Secunda Chanting is a very important and essential part of Huichol culture and of Huichol traditions of shamanism. Shamans are often called the singing ones in Spanish, the ones who sing, because they sing the sacred songs. The songs of creation, the songs of the ancient ones, and in fact, when a Huichol shaman is singing, they are listening to the deer whisper the songs into their ear, and then they sing out the beautiful songs of the deer, of the ancient ones. They also use chants as a way to manipulate the weather. Sometimes if they want it to rain, they sing for the rain. They sing to the cloud spirits to let the rain come down. Chanting is definitely an important part of Huichol shamanism. They also use, sometimes they will use chants as away to heal people.
Mark Allen That would almost defy a modern paradigm of reality, that you could sing, and the rains would come.
Brant Secunda Definitely, and on one hand you could say, "Well, maybe the rains would have arrived anyway, even without the song." Maybe that's true, and maybe it's not true. For the Huichols, it's definitely a reality that they believe in. You sing to the clouds, and they have a vision, or an image of an old lady siting up in the cloud spirits, with long, gray hair, and she keeps it up in the hairnet. When she hears good songs and good prayers, she lets her hair down. That's the rain coming to the Earth. It's a beautiful image, actually. For the Huichols, it's not defying their model of reality. It might defy our model, but for the Huichols, it's totally normal.
Mark Allen What kind of an effect would those chants have on the people as they're sitting there listening to the shamans chant?
Brant Secunda It puts them into trance. It shifts their consciousness. You can also use the chants as a way to go on a journey. When the shamans sing to you, your spirit can fly. Your heart can fly into a sacred doorway that connects you to all of creation. Just by hearing the chants, you can have your consciousness shift.
Mark Allen It can connect you to all of life, it sounds like.
Brant Secunda It can.
Mark Allen Heal your spirit as well?
Brant Secunda Heal your spirit, heal your body, heal your soul.
Mark Allen: Amazing.