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Mingering Mike


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Ojo de Dios or Nierika Project

The Ojo de Dios or Eye of God is a ritual tool, magical object and cultural symbol evoking the weaving motif and its spiritual associations. For the Huichol peoples of northwestern Mexico, The God's Eye is symbolic of the power of seeing and understanding that which is unknown and unknowable, The Mystery.

The God's Eye, is a simple or complex weaving made across two or more sticks and is thought to have originated with the Huichol Indians of Jalisco, Mexico. The Huichol call their God's eyes Sikuli, which means "the power to see and understand things unknown." When a child is born, the central eye is woven by the father, then one eye is added for every year of the child's life until the child reaches the age of five.

God will watch the binder (or the person for whom the God's Eye is wrought) and grant health, fortune, longevity and auspiciousness. This spiritual ritual tool has been respectfully acculturated and given a life and attributed meaning as process art and as a teaching tool for Scouts because they are easily and readily made.

One understanding of the ojo de dios according to Harvey (c1973) is of a: "wand" (the eye) through which the eye of god will see the supplicant. Harvey states that: "The cross of the ojo de dios is that of the legendary four directions: earth, fire, water, and air. It is not in any way the cross of Christ. Their art is directed to the gods of nature." (Harvey, c1973: 9-12)
The nierika may also be understood as a shield which we interpret as a metaphorical protective device shielding against temptations or distractions along the ritual and spiritual path. Nierika is also referred to as a mirror with two faces; often both sides are covered with yarn designs and the hole in the middle of some forms of nierika is considered a mirror or often a small glass mirror is evident. The nierika is a reciprocal magical conduit or path: the ‘eye’, 'hole' or 'mirror' is the magical portal through which humanity and deity perceive each other.

The Nierika, in ritual use, is a face; of the sun, of the earth, of a deer, the wind, the peyote, and the face of the person making the offering. The nierika is also a portalling device that facilitates entry into other states of consciousness or the "spiritual world". For the Huichol there are five directions, each of the cardinal points and the fifth, the central point or “eye” is the spiritual, source of visions, power and enlightenment.

Working our way to at least 130 God's Eyes in honor of the union of our dear friends Petrova Giberson and Mike Smith.
Some of my cohorts so far: Hazel Blake, Ed Brown, Lauren and Ryan Tuxedo, Chris McGrane, Adrienne Goloda, Kelly Parker, Ricky Marsee, and Jacklyn Brickman.
Excerpts taken from's_eye. Plenty more to read there.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008