Brant Secunda « SHAMANISM
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Brant Secunda

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Brant Secunda, originally from the east coast of the United States, left home the day after his eighteenth birthday beginning a journey that would change his life forever. He worked his way across America and then down the coast into Mexico, where he encountered an ancient culture hidden in the Sierra Madre.

It was a five-day walk to the village where Brant was headed, over mountains parched from lack of rain during the dry season. He had brought only a jug of water and a few pieces of fruit. This of course, only lasted him a few hours and by the third day of his journey Brant had become completely lost and was suffering from dehydration, heat exhaustion, and probably even heat stroke. He found himself wandering down a deer trail in the middle of the isolated mountains that define the Huichol territory. Fearing of eminent death, Brant wrote his parents a short letter with the hope that if someone should find him, they could send the letter to his parents so that they might know what had happened to their son. Finally, he went unconscious.

Soon after, Brant was awoken by some people splashing water over him, kicking him, and asking him, “Why are you laying there like some drunkard?” They were dressed in bright white costumes, embroidered with vibrant colors and vivid designs. He realized they were the Indians he had been searching for. They told Brant that the shaman of their village had had a dream about him two days earlier and that they had been sent out to rescue him.

This was the beginning of what would become a twelve-year apprenticeship, during which Brant was taught the way of the shaman and the intricacies of Huichol life. Don José Matsuwa, a revered Huichol shaman, put him through the shamanic training and adopted Brant as his grandson. Brant became not only a student to Don José, but also a friend and close companion on the path of Huichol Shamanism. Together Brant and Don José grew the five colors of corn, gathered firewood, and traveled to sacred places of power.

Throughout Brant’s apprenticeship, Don José told him that he would be teaching people in the modern world the ancient traditions of the Huichol people. And so, following his training, Brant traveled back to the United States to begin to share what he had learned. Soon he was traveling to Europe, teaching workshops, seminars, and conferences. Don José accompanied Brant many times to the United States and Europe, to spread the word that he was leaving him in his place to carry on Huichol Shamanism. Together they founded The Dance of the Deer Foundation, Center for Shamanic Studies as a way in which to cement Brant’s relationship with the Huichols. Brant and Don José were close companions and taught many seminars together until Don José’s death in 1990, at the age of 110.

Today, Brant continues the vision of his teacher through his work with the Dance of the Deer Foundation and numerous other projects devoted to the preservation of the Huichol culture. Brant founded Shaman Chocolates, an organic fair-trade chocolate company, which donates its profits and funds multiple projects to help the Huichol Indians.

Brant’s connection to the Huichol people remains strong. He is considered a participating member of Don José’s family village, actively taking part in ceremonies and celebrations throughout the seasons. Over the past decades Brant has encouraged the Huichol Indians to follow their traditions of artistic expression through his support of their visionary art. This has allowed the Huichols to stay in their villages, keeping their families together, and support themselves through the creation of their artwork, in this way continuing their ancient lifestyle.

By dedicating his life to the cultural survival of the Huichol Indians, Brant has helped not only this native nation of indigenous people, but he has also brought great joy and happiness to many in the modern world. Through his powerful teachings, he has touched the lives of thousands over the years. His healings have helped many overcome their suffering and his powerful ceremonies bless both body and soul, helping to heal both the individual and the greater community. Following Don José’s vision, Brant’s retreats at spectacularly beautiful places, such as the Italian Alps, the Alaskan wilderness and the Mediterranean isles help each participant to gain a glance into an age old culture and find clarity for their own future.

Brant’s story is a deeply influential one that is continuing to be written.