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Connecting with Nature

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Huichol traditions are closely linked to the earth, its’ elements and seasons. In this interview, Brant explores how we can bring positivity, balance and meaning into our lives by incorporating shamanic practices such as speaking our dreams to Grandfather Fire and breathing in the beauty of Grandmother Ocean.

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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 Connecting with nature is a very big theme for shamanism. How can people practice that? How can they make their own connections with nature?
Brant Secunda That's an important question because I think people will benefit from shamanism and the teachings when they practice it on a regular basis. One way would be if you live near the ocean, go to the ocean, listen to the sounds of the ocean and breathe those sounds into your heart and into your soul. This can bring happiness. Just to do that for even a few minutes of the day can really help to transform your life. If there's a river, you go to the river and you do the same. You breathe the sound of the river into your heart and you let that, we say, bring you beauty for your life.

Water has the power of beauty according to Huichol cosmology. When you go to the water, you go to a river, you can just breathe that sound into your heart. Then when you breathe out, you give away any problems that you might have that might be holding you back from being happy or healthy. This is one of a few different exercises. Another exercise might be what you could do in the day is to tell your dreams, whatever dreams you've had from the night before. Tell those dreams to grandfather fire. Just to relate, you don't even have to speak out loud, but relate your dreams to the fire. When you do that, you're also bringing light into your life. These are a few practices.
Mark Allen A lot of people live in a city. How would they practice connecting with nature in an environment where they're not close to the ocean or not close to a river?
Brant Secunda That's a good question. No matter where you are, whether you're in a cave in Mexico or whether you're in downtown New York City, there's still the sunrise. There's still the sunset. People can learn to connect with the spirit of the sunrise, watch a sunrise or watch a sunset in a big city. That can bring such joy to people's hearts when they watch the sunlight coming in the morning or when they watch a sunset. It's so beautiful and pretty.

That's the way to work with shamanism in the city or you find a place where there's earth. No matter what city you're in, there's always a park or always a place where there's earth underneath you. You go to a place and you can just stand there and visualize the love or feel the love of Mother Earth coming up into your body because we say the power of Mother Earth is love. You can just stand there on the earth no matter where you are and just imagine or just feel that love of Mother Earth coming up into your body, into your heart. Just to feel this can really bring a lot of positive feelings to a human being's body or heart.
Mark Allen It sounds so simple, but so profound. How can we remember to do these practices?
Brant Secunda That's the challenge. We all know what to do or we think we know what to do, but we forget. Don José always told me, "Wake up, grandson. Always pay attention. Always remember what to do." The Huichols call this having memory. You just concentrate as much as you can every day. What do I have to do to make my life spiritual? What can I do to make my life have meaning? Just by standing on the Earth or doing these exercises, I told you, brings meaning to your life?"
Mark Allen That's beautiful. Thank you.