Renowned shaman, ceremonial leader and respected elder of the Huichol people, Don Jose Matsuwa dedicated his whole life to the sacred path of the shaman and it is his life and vision that are the inspirations for the Dance of the Deer Foundation, founded by both Don Jose Matsuwa and Brant Secunda.
This interview explores Brant’s experience and memories with his adopted grandfather and mentor.
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.
I asked him one time, "Why me, Grandfather? How did I wind up your grandson? Why am I the one that you've taught?" He shrugged and he goes, "Well, I guess that was just your good luck." He loved to laugh. He loved to joke around. We teased each other all the time and we had a lot of fun together, but besides that he was just a remarkable, remarkable shaman. People would come to him from all the Sierra for healings or if he would go to town, he'd be stuck there a long time because people would find out he was there and he would be doing a lot of healings. He was a very compassionate and loving and kind human being. He wasn't jealous of anyone, which was one of his greatest qualities, and he was a incredibly strong, physically strong person. Even though he was little, he could still carry 100 pounds of fire wood or corn on his back straight up a mountain. That's a little about who was Don José.