Shamans are frequently good actors, and Ramon was among the best. When the mood struck him he would act Out the different characters and events of a story as he does in these pictures, taken as he played the parts of the two mythological archenemies, the sorcerer Kieri, also called “Tree of the Wind” (either Datura or the related solanaceous Solandra), who deceived the people into eating his hallucinogenic leaves, sap, and fruits, and Kauyumarie, the divine culture hero and Deer person, the ally of the peyote cactus. In the end, Kauyumarie wins the contest, killing Kieri with the fifth of five arrows. But Kieri is not really dead; he transforms himself into his plant form and flies away to live amid the high crags of the Sierra Madre.


“He was evil, this Kieri, evil. From the day he was baby he was deceiver, evil…”


“ He danced before the people and deceived them, telling them he was good to eat. But he was not good, he made them crazy, so that they thought they could fly. But they could not fly…”


“You see, he was evil, evil. And Kauyumarie was watching him, seeing how evil he was. ‘Ah,’

he said, ‘that Kieri is evil.”


“Seeing how evil he was, Kauyumarie told the Sun god, ‘I will learn all I can about this Kieri, this evil Tree of the Wind…”


“And Kieri saw Kauyumarie, and whoosh, came an arrow and hit him in the right side. ‘Ah,’

he said, ‘I am daying. You have hit me with your arrow. ’ But Kieri did not die… Another arrow, another, a fourth…”


“Woosh, came another arrow, the fifth. And Kieri was hit in the left side, there, where the heart is.”


“Pow. Kieri died, he fell dying.”

“Dying, he spewed out sickness. Kieri transformed himself into the Tree of the Wind, his arms, his body, everything. He became the Tree of the Wind, living there on rocks.”


Fotos: Peter T. Furst

Art of the Huichol Indians, The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco/Harry N. Abrams, Enc. , Publishers, New York, 1978.