Ojo de Dios (oh-ho-day-DEE-ohs) is Spanish for “Eye of God.” When the early Spaniards came to Mexico they encountered the Huichol (wet-chol) people who lived in the Sierra Madre mountains of Mexico. The Sierra Madre mountains are the large mountain range that you can see on the map running north and south. The Huichol Indians who lived in the mountains made God’s eyes (or Ojos de Dios) to watch over those who prayed at their altars. They were woven on to criss-crossing sticks, joining in the center. The ends of the sticks represented the basic elements–earth, water, wind, and fire.
The center of the eye stood 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. Making one is inviting the Eye of God to watch over them. Often they are made for little children as gifts. They accompany wishes of health, long life, and protection.
They are easy to make. All you need is 2 dowels, craft sticks, or any other sticks that are tied together at the center, and several colors of yarn. We like to use one multi-colored skein of yarn.
1. First, tie the sticks together to create a cross, and put a dab of glue on the knot to secure it. Begin weaving by wrapping the yarn around the stick centers in an X. Your goal is to cover the center square as completely as possible.
2. Once your center is covered, begin going around the center, over and around the sticks, one corner after another. The pattern will keep getting larger as you progress outward, creating a square pattern as you work your way out. When you’re ready for a new color, just tie the new color to the end of the first color and continue weaving and wrapping. If you are using multi-colored yarn, just keep going until it is big enough.
3. Once you’ve done all your colors tie it off at the end. If you’d like, you can leave enough of a string to create a loop to hang it from.
The Huichol people traditionally used very bright colors. Mexican art is known and recognized for it’s vibrant, bright colors and patterns. They create energetic and lively art and music. Choose colors that you love for their vibrancy and life!
Have fun making your own! Adios amigos!
More from Layers of Learning