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The spirit of Hurucan

In Houston and all along the Gulf Coast, we take hurricanes seriously---at least those of us who have grown up here do.

Hurricanes are large and dangerous weather patterns. It is smart to respect their power of destruction. To animists hurricanes are also vast spirits with minds of their own.

There is a reason we give each storm a personal name, even if we have forgotten why in the modern world. Our ancestors considered storms to be conscious beings. In the Gulf of Mexico, one of those types of storm beings became Hurucan, the spirit whose name became our word, hurricane.

To animists, the fact that storms are spirits means we can communicate with them. Shamans in indigenous cultures often journey to the spirit world to confront or head off the worst effects of dangerous storms so that their people will survive.

To animists today, the obvious question when a storm unexpectedly (to the meteorologists) changes direction at the last minute is this: Did someone or some people or groups intervene to cause the storm to change course? How can that work if people in different places are all trying to push the storm in different directions?

There is a very good book called Weather Shamanism that I reviewed in an article on this column awhile back called "Dancing with the Houston weather spirits," that you might want to read. I have included a link to to it below.

Somehow it seems more interesting during hurricane season if you live on the Gulf Coast.

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For more information on classic shamanic practices, visit Also, see the list of links to shamanism-related web sites near the lower right corner of this page.

White Cranes has been studying and teaching shamanic practices for over 20 years. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @whitecranes or at

To learn shamanic practices in Houston, you are invited to join the Houston Shamanism Meetup group,


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