In 1961, Fernando Benítez, well known Mexican journalist and historian, accompanied a group of Huichol Indians from the Sierra of Jalisco on one of their famous pilgrimages to Wirikuta “the home of the Peyote” in the far away deserts of San Luis Potosí. While some stages of the journey, the first experienced by a non-Huichol, were carried out by bus rather than the traditional thirty day walk, in most respects it was true to custom. Benítez’ account of the journey, its stops, shrines, personal encounters and ritual climaxes, provides a colorful description as well as an analysis of the symbolism and meaning of the peyote complex. Combined with this are the first person experiences and feelings of the author. The result is fascinating reading.

Lately the Huichol have been discovered by a wide variety of outsiders. The use of peyote has especially attracted attention—from social scientists to the far more numerous tourists, dropouts, and drifters in search of superficial adventure. This account, which sets the Huichol use of peyote in its proper context, points up the vast difference between Indian use of the hallucinogenic cactus and the experimentations of the casual “tripper.”

The book is illustrated with photos taken by the anthropologist Peter Furst on a similar trip some years later. As a whole it is an informative and authentic source on the modern Huichol.