Many of these revered presences included mountains, rivers, caves, and valleys. They were where spiritual illumination could be received, protection granted and gifts bestowed upon those who knew how to approach these hallowed places and build a special, connective relationship. Usually, these people would be called to a shamanic path that required devotion to these places and cycles of visitation, bringing specially prescribed offerings that would form the basis for reciprocation. The people and families of the villages would benefit from this irreplaceable help. This was more than belief. This was their experience and therefore, this living engagement was incorporated into the traditions, and faithfully passed on for countless generations.
The Wixárika (Huichol) word for them is Kaka+yarixi (pronounced kah-kah-oo-yah-re-ree) (Kaka+yari sg.), which implies an ancestral relationship to humans, inferring “those who came before us”, and that they are watching and influencing our lives.
As times changed and Euro-modernity, with its secular materialism, began to replace the sense of the divinely informative transcendent, new culture supplanted what had been learned and related to for thousands of years. The living wisdom that was passed on from generation to generation, usually in oral form, became forgotten, misinterpreted, or even rejected. The honoring of these godly manifestations and the effort and sacrifice required to engage them became neglected. Sacred landscapes are nowadays viewed simply as resources for exploitation or nonspiritual recreation.