Ojo de Dios, Tribute to Nayarit Spiritualism
Tara A. Spears
The beautiful, handmade God’s Eye yarn weaving is a religious symbol of the Huichol Indians that still live in the Sierra Madre mountain range that includes the state of Nayarit. The bright colors on the geometric shapes are more than folk art. The traditional Ojo de Dios was proudly displayed by various age groups in the recent holiday parade. Although the Huichol Indians invented this art form, other groups throughout the world have popularized this craft as a symbol for a higher power.
In the Huichol spiritual practice, Ojo de Dios expresses a prayer that the “Eye of God” will watch over the individual or the person that it is made for. It is a physical representation of praying for health, fortune, and a long life. Some Christians interpret the symbol to be a prayer for “May God be with you and protect you.”
Significant components: The Ojo de Dios or God’s eye is a ritual tool, magical object, and cultural symbol evoking the weaving motif and its spiritual associations for the both the Huichol and Tepehuan Indians of western Mexico. The Indians believe that the God’s Eye is symbolic of the power of seeing and understanding that which is unknown and unknowable. The four points of the central weaving represents earth, fire, air and water- important natural elements. In the Huichol languge, they call their God’s eyes Sikuli.
The center of the eye stands for the power of seeing and understanding things we normally cannot see.
Some say it represents the cross of Jesus Christ, but originally this was not so. The Huichol people focused their worship on nature and the earth rather than a specific divine being. Other Indian tribes since have adopted the practice of making and using Ojos de Dios, and it has become a more Christian-centered item. Displaying a God’s eye is to invoke wishes of health, long life, and protection.
It was a stunning display to see a mass of bold colored Ojo de Dios moving down the avenidia with yarn streamers blowing in the breeze! The high school students from Conalep had a beautiful routine twirling the God’s eye to music; the reverse side had the Nayarit coat of arms.
The Ojo de Dios features four, eight or 12 sides, which are symmetrical. The sides of the object are made of wood, typically thin and flexible reeds. Yarn is then wrapped around the edges and sides to create an eye-catching pattern. In the exact middle of the Ojo de Dios is a rectangular piece covered in a contrasting color. These are typically 12 inches long, though some modern day examples are much smaller or larger, some measuring two feet or longer.
Purchasing an Ojo de Dios is bringing a touch of ancient spiritualism into your home. Its simple beauty is a charming addition to your art collection or it makes a unique gift.