Men's Role In the Milpa

The Huichol men of San Andres Cohiamata will prepare the milpa, the communal corn fields surrounding the ceremonial temple. All the men set out to plow these fields with horses and mules; where the terrain is steep and rugged, they use planting sticks.

When the teams reach the center of the field, a special ceremony takes place in which the temple members have numerous offerings which include votive arrows and candles, deer masks, votive gourd bowls, and miniature weavings for Tukutsi Nakawe (grandmother of growth and germination) and Yurienaka (moist mother earth goddess). The sacred ears of maize from the last harvest which have been safely guarded in the temple members’ god house are also placed here.

The shamans bless the animals, the plows and planting sticks, and the men bury all the offerings under the soil. Kernels from the sacred ears of corn are planted around the center of the milpa.

Excerpt from
To Think with a Good Hearth,
by Stacy Schaefer


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Men's Work

The male role of protection in service to the community needs to be remembered, honored and supported. When the strong and creative spirit of the masculine is present to complement the nourishing spirit of the feminine, there is joy, and life flourishes.

Gatherings For Men -
Gary leads monthly men’s fires and seasonal weekend camps to offer men time to come together to share their stories, their struggles, and their wisdom. With the spirit of Grandfather Fire as a guide, these circles allow for the burning away of what has limited us from being fully engaged in our relationships and in our communities.

“I recently attended the Men’s Gathering that Gary leads in Colorado and Utah. We had a small group of men from the local area as well as a guy who flew out from New England to join us. On the face of it, the weekend retreat was fairly simple, camping out and day hiking in the deserts of Utah. But by the end of our time—through Gary’s strong and quiet leadershipI found a sense of cohesion among us, of teamwork and camaraderie that is rare in our cold, cold culture. Returning home to my family and my daily work, I carried a stronger sense of groundedness in my own masculinity and a continued sense of connection to the men with whom I shared this experience.” John Walden, October 2010

Initiation For Youth - Gary serves an integral part on the support team for the Sacred Fire Community Lifeways Young Men’s Initiation and is the leader of the guardians, who serve the role of protection for Sacred Emergence, the Lifeways Initiation into Womanhood. These rituals offer community support for young people entering into adulthood and bring community together to acknowledge and appreciate men’s and women's authentic roles.

Young Men’s Initiation into Adulthood is a sacred rite of passage that recognizes the transformative spiritual force awaiting deep inside each young man to bring maturity, responsibility and wisdom to life. The ritual of initiation provides the catalyst for this transformation. 

For more on Initiation for young men, go to

Contact us or visit our Calendar of Events for a schedule of Men’s Fires and other activities.

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