Peyote Dance

Peyote Dance (H’kuli Dance)

To the Tarahumara (who call themselves Rarámuri) and Huichol Indians of northern Mexico, peyote, or híkuli, is the mescal button, derived from the tops of a cactus plant and used as a stimulant or hallucinogen during religious ceremonies. In October and November, they head for eastern Chihuahua to gather peyote. The peyote will be used in January in the dance that follows the deer hunt, because peyote is identified with deer. The dancers paint symbolic designs, such as corn, squash, and fruit, on their faces. They ingest peyote to induce a supernatural state and to encourage the growth of crops. The dance is characterized by sudden jumping and twisting movements; the beat is set by rubbing deer bones together or shaking deer-hoof rattles.
DictFolkMyth-1984, p. 861
Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
He was bewitched by the savage beauty of the country itself, the inhabitants' purity of countenance, and the Peyote dance. In A Voyage to the Land of the Tarahumara (Le Voyage au pays de Tarahumaras), he included two accounts of his journey to Mexico in 1936: "The Mountain of Signs" and "The Peyote Dance." Landscape had played an important role in Artaud's voyage into the land of the Tarahumara: sometimes it was just the setting for the events to take place; other times it played a vital and primal role in the creation of meanings, memories, and divine sensations.
His other works include Van Gogh, le suicide de la societe (1947), Heliogabale, ou l'anarchiste couronne (1934; "Heliogabalus, or the Crowned Anarchist"), and Les Tarahumaras (1955; Peyote Dance), a collection of texts written between 1936 and 1948 about his travels in Mexico.