Huichole Elder (Mara’akame): Blessing
GUADALUPE DE LA CRUZ
Guadalupe (Lupe) Rios de la Cruz, a Huichole Elder (Mara’akame): Blessing
In 2000, through Vivian Jake of the Paiute Pipe Springs Indian Reservation, I was invited to a large gathering (500 or more) of North and South America indigenous spiritual leaders from a multitude of different American Native ceremonial traditions. I was told that I was invited to this sacred gathering because of my understanding of the indigenous Sacred Prayer Pipe and Sweat Lodge Ceremonies but primarily because of my relationship with Clifford Jake.
Through this gathering held in Mexico’s Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range, wilderness area of the Sonora State of Mexico, I was introduced to and became quite familiar with the ceremonial traditions of the Tarahumara, Huichole and Tepehuan cultures. With the influence of these indigenous Medicine people, I began to understand the underlying spiritual consciousness of the healing and empowering ceremonial use of the breath and Peyote. This is when I first became acquainted with Guadalupe Rios de la Cruz (Lupe), the highly respected Huichole Mara’akame.
An interesting note: this was the ceremony in which Robert Boyll, and I met. I had the honor of him requesting me to drum (Peyote Water Drum) for him while he sang a number of Native American Church peyote songs. I have yet to hear anyone sing these sacred songs in a more profound manner than what he sang for these indigenous American Native spiritual leaders with a full moon shinning its gracious light upon this sacred ceremonial gathering.
I was invited to many more of these sacred gatherings, however, I only attended one other ceremony this one held in Mexico’s Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range wilderness area, of the Chihuahua State of Mexico. At this gathering, I received an in-depth understanding of the sacred loving use of Peyote from Lupe and I met and became friends with Jeffrey Bronfman (UDV v. United States). Through this particular ceremonial gathering, I truly ‘began’ to accept the sacred aspects of my Seminole heritage.
A year or so later, in September of 1991, while I was living in the remote community of Apple Valley, Utah, I was visited by Lupe, her two sisters, and other indigenous spiritual leaders from Mexico and Canada. I soon discovered that the purpose of Lupe’s visit was to bless me and my friend Jeffrey Bronfman (UDV v. United States) into her Huichole spiritual traditions. This particular blessing ceremony came about with a new moonlight blessing, on top of Smith Mesa, an outskirt plateau of Zion Park, Utah.
Books Concerning Guadalupe (Lupe) Rios de la Cruz, a Huichole Elder (Mara’akame); The Peyote Hunt: The Sacred Journey of the Huichol Indians (1976) by Barbara Myerhoff; ROCK CRYSTALS & PEYOTE DREAMS: EXPLORATIONS IN THE HUICHOL UNIVERSE, By Peter t. Furst
Guadalupe was a renowned Huichol mara’ akame, or shaman, whose life was devoted to maintaining the ways passed down to her by her ancestors. She was a gifted teacher, healer, singer, artist, ceremonial leader and inspiration to those of us fortunate to have spent time with her over the years.
She lived a good life, strong on her path, teaching and sharing with people who came from around the world to her humble rancho having heard of her big heart and her openness to helping others who came in a respectful way wanting to learn about her people and their wisdom ways. She led many pilgrimages to Wiricuta, the land of the peyote where Huichols travel yearly to find their lives and retrace the steps of the first Gods and Goddesses who sought to find the center of this Middle World.
I studied and worked with Guadalupe for over fifteen years. She was my spiritual grandmother after my own grandmother died. All the years that I knew her and under all the conditions and situations that I was privileged to see her in, she never once wavered in her devotion and dedication to her sacred work with the Huichol medicine ways. Her open heart was enormous. Her loving fierceness to honoring and respecting the ceremonies and right relationship with the spirits of the Huichol cosmology is something I will be forever grateful to have witnessed, as well as all the love that she shared in so many ways.
It was a great privilege to spend ten days with her this past February as her body grew less and less but her spirit grew stronger and stronger. The world has lost a wonderful woman, an extraordinary human being. May we all pray for her spirit and for the protection and support of the traditional medicine path she has passed on to those who knew her and to her niece, Maria Felix, in picking up the Medicine Bundle that has been given her to carry.
Vaya con Dios Abuela, pompadios por su vida.