Don José Matsuwa is the renowned Huichol shaman from Mexico who passed away in 1990 at the age of 110. He was a farmer, healer, and master ceremonial leader, and a revered and respected elder throughout the Huichol Sierra. He dedicated his whole life to completing the sacred path of the shaman and it is his life and vision that are the inspirations for the Dance of the Deer Foundation. Before he died he left Brant Secunda this message: “I leave you in my place. Tell your people to pray and follow the deer all the way to their hearts.”
Doña Joséfa Medrano is a singing shaman and healer. The wife of Don José, she was his partner in completing the sacred path of the shaman. She excels in the Huichol arts of embroidery and weaving which help to bring her visions alive. Together with Don José she has guided a family of 13 children, 75 grandchildren and great grandchildren. Doña Joséfa now takes Don José’s place as the elder and leader of her village.
Brant Secunda is a shaman, healer and ceremonial leader in the Huichol Indian tradition of Mexico. He completed a 12-year apprenticeship with Don Jose Matsuwa, the renowned shaman, who died in 1990 at the age of 110. Since 1979 Brant Secunda has been the Director of the Dance of the Deer Foundation, Center for Shamanic Studies. Having worked with the World Health Organization and the American Holistic Medical Association, Brant is integrating shamanism into the world of modern medicine. He is an internationally recognized shaman and healer. Brant Secunda leads seminars and retreats worldwide. His work has been documented on television, radio, and in articles and books throughout the United States and Europe.
The mission of the Dance of the Deer Foundation Center for Shamanic Studies is to preserve the Huichol culture and its shamanic practices and traditions. The foundation was established in 1979 by Brant Secunda to carry on the vision of his grandfather and teacher, don José Matsuwa, the renowned Huichol shaman. Don Jose’s vision was to leave Brant in his place to carry on the sacred traditions and to teach Huichol shamanism.
Don José believed that the healing traditions are available for everyone who has an open heart. He also believed that when people learn about the inherent beauty and healing power found in the Huichol way of life, they would want to support the cultural and spiritual survival of the Huichol Indians. To bring don José’s visions to life, Brant Secunda established the Dance of the Deer Foundation Center for Shamanic Studies.
The foundation sponsors Brant Secunda’s workshops throughout the world, including pilgrimages, vision quests, and holistic medical conferences. Participants learn the sacred Huichol traditions. These traditions reunite people to the source of all life in order to help heal the earth, our communities, and ourselves.
The Dance of the Deer Foundation works with several villages to provide economic solutions which help the Huichol people to return to their land, their traditional way of life, and their ceremonies. The foundation’s efforts have made it possible for the Huichols to move further away from town, to live more traditionally, to preserve their corn farming and sacred art traditions so that they are not forced to work on tobacco or coffee plantations or in other industrial areas. For this reason, proceeds from all the foundation’s activities go directly to the Huichols, to don José’s village and to their extended families. The Dance of the Deer Foundation is helping the Huichol Indians to maintain both their rich cultural heritage and their spiritual and healing traditions.