Tree Of Life (Wiwong wacipi)
As seen from below, the tree of life tied by hundreds of prayer bags for the Sun Dance in Ixtlan del Rio, Nayarit, Mexico with the organization Raices De La Tierra. The Sun Dance is an ancient Lakota-Sioux ritual notoriously known for its blood offerings made by dancers to the Great Grandmother Earth, (Uncimaka), and to the Great Spirit (Wakantanka Tunkashila). Dancers have their skins pierced to be tied to the tree of life, which is in fact a recently cut tree slowly dying, yet permitting the connected dancers to enter the spirit world, receive visions, information, and other powers. Photography is strictly prohibited and often outright rejected due to the sensitive nature of the prayer, and the importance of preserving the sacred traditions without tarnishing them by misrepresentation. Fortunately, the elders in charge of the dance permitted me to capture some images with their permission.