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Title: Nagualism - A Study in Native American Folk-lore and History
Author: Brinton, Daniel Garrison, 1837-1899
Language: English
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A number of typographical errors and inconsistencies have been maintained
in this version of this book. Typographical errors have been marked with
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                          A STUDY


                 Native American Folk-lore
                        and History.


        DANIEL G. BRINTON, A.M., M.D., LL.D., D.Sc.,

  Professor of American Archæology and Linguistics in the
                University of Pennsylvania.


_Nagualism. A Study in Native American Folk-lore and History._

_By Daniel G. Brinton, M.D._

(_Read before the American Philosophical Society, Jan’y 5, 1894._)


1. The words _Nagual_, _Nagualism_, _Nagualist_. 2. The Earliest
Reference to Nagualism. 3. The _Naualli_ of the Aztecs; their Classes
and Pretended Powers. 4. The Sacred Intoxicants; the _Peyotl_, the
_Ololiuhqui_, the _Teopatli_, the _Yax Ha_, etc. 5. Clairvoyance and
Telepathy during Intoxication. 6. The _Naualli_ of Modern Mexico. 7. The
_Tonal_ and the _Tonalpouhque_; the Genethliac System of the Nahuas. 8.
The Aztec Sodality of “Master Magicians.” 9. The Personal Guardian

10. Folk-lore of the Mixe Indians. 11. Astrological Divination of the
Zapotecs. 12. Similar Arts of the Mixtecs. 13. Nagualism in Chiapas, as
Described by Bishop Nuñez de la Vega. 14. Nagualism Among the Quiches,
Cakchiquels and Pokonchis of Guatemala. 15. The Metamorphoses of
Gukumatz. 16. Modern Witchcraft in Yucatan and Central America; the
Zahoris and Padrinos.

17. Fundamental Principles of Nagualism, Hatred of the Whites and of
Christianity. 18. Its Organization and Extent; its Priesthood. 19. Its
Influence in the Native Revolts against the Spanish Power. 20. Exalted
Position of Woman in Nagualism. 21. This a Survival from Ancient Times.
22. A Native Joan of Arc. 23. Modern Queens of Nagualism.

24. The Cave-temples and the Cave-gods; Oztoteotl, Tepeyollotl, Votan,
etc. 25. The Sacred Numbers, 3 and 7. 26. Fire Worship of the
Nagualists. 27. Fire Rights Connected with the Pulque. 28. Fire
Ceremonies of the Modern Mayas. 29. Secret Significance of Fire Worship.
30. The Chalchiuites, or Sacred Green Stones. 31. The Sacred Tree and
the Tree of Life. 32. The Cross and its Symbolic Meaning. 33. The
Lascivious Rites of the Nagualists. 34. Their Relation to the Symbols of
the Serpent and the Phallus.

35. Confusion of Christian and Native Religious Ideas; Prayers of Nagual
Priests. Their Symbolic Language. 36. The Inquisition and Nagualism. 37.
Etymology of the Word _Nagual_. 38. The Root _Na_ in the Maya, Zapotec
and Nahuatl Languages. 39. The Doctrine of Animal Transformation in the
Old World. 40. The Doctrine of Personal Spirits in the Old World. 41.
Scientific Explanations of Nagual Magic. 42. Conclusion.


=1.= The words, a _nagual_, _nagualism_, a _nagualist_, have been current
in English prose for more than seventy years; they are found during that
time in a variety of books published in England and the United
States,[4-*] yet are not to be discovered in any dictionary of the
English language; nor has _Nagualism_ a place in any of the numerous
encyclopædias or “Conversation Lexicons,” in English, French, German or

This is not owing to its lack of importance, since for two hundred years
past, as I shall show, it has been recognized as a cult, no less
powerful than mysterious, which united many and diverse tribes of Mexico
and Central America into organized opposition against the government and
the religion which had been introduced from Europe; whose members had
acquired and were bound together by strange faculties and an occult
learning, which placed them on a par with the famed thaumaturgists and
theodidacts of the Old World; and which preserved even into our own days
the thoughts and forms of a long suppressed ritual.

In several previous publications I have referred briefly to this secret
sodality and its aims,[4-†] and now believe it worth while to collect
my scattered notes and present all that I have found of value about the
origin, aims and significance of this Eleusinian Mystery of America. I
shall trace its geographical extension and endeavor to discover what its
secret influence really was and is.

=2.= The earliest description I find of its particular rites is that which
the historian Herrera gives, as they prevailed in 1530, in the province
of Cerquin, in the mountainous parts of Honduras. It is as follows:

     “The Devil was accustomed to deceive these natives by appearing to
     them in the form of a lion, tiger, coyote, lizard, snake, bird, or
     other animal. To these appearances they apply the name _Naguales_,
     which is as much as to say, guardians or companions; and when such
     an animal dies, so does the Indian to whom it was assigned. The way
     such an alliance was formed was thus: The Indian repaired to some
     very retired spot and there appealed to the streams, rocks and
     trees around him, and weeping, implored for himself the favors they
     had conferred on his ancestors. He then sacrificed a dog or a fowl,
     and drew blood from his tongue, or his ears, or other parts of his
     body, and turned to sleep. Either in his dreams or half awake, he
     would see some one of those animals or birds above mentioned, who
     would say to him, ‘On such a day go hunting and the first animal or
     bird you see will be my form, and I shall remain your companion and
     _Nagual_ for all time.’ Thus their friendship became so close that
     when one died so did the other; and without such a _Nagual_ the
     natives believe no one can become rich or powerful.”[5-*]

This province of Cerquin appears to have been peopled by a tribe which
belonged to the great Mayan stock, akin to those which occupied most of
the area of what is now Yucatan, Tabasco, Chiapas and Guatemala.[5-†]
I shall say something later about the legendary enchantress whom their
traditions recalled as the teacher of their ancestors and the founder of
their nation. What I would now call attention to is the fact that in
none of the dialects of the specifically Mexican or Aztecan stock of
languages do we find the word _nagual_ in the sense in which it is
employed in the above extract, and this is strong evidence that the
origin of Nagualism is not to be sought in that stock.

=3.= We do find, however, in the Nahuatl language, which is the proper
name of the Aztecan, a number of derivatives from the same root, _na_,
among them this very word, _Nahuatl_, all of them containing the idea
“to know,” or “knowledge.” The early missionaries to New Spain often
speak of the _naualli_ (plural, _nanahualtin_), masters of mystic
knowledge, dealers in the black art, wizards or sorcerers. They were not
always evil-minded persons, though they seem to have been generally
feared. The earliest source of information about them is Father Sahagun,
who, in his invaluable History, has the following paragraph:

     “The _naualli_, or magician, is he who frightens men and sucks the
     blood of children during the night. He is well skilled in the
     practice of this trade, he knows all the arts of sorcery
     (_nauallotl_) and employs them with cunning and ability; but for
     the benefit of men only, not for their injury. Those who have
     recourse to such arts for evil intents injure the bodies of their
     victims, cause them to lose their reason and smother them. These
     are wicked men and necromancers.”[6-*]

It is evident on examining the later works of the Roman clergy in Mexico
that the Church did not look with any such lenient eye on the possibly
harmless, or even beneficial, exercise of these magical devices. We find
a further explanation of what they were, preserved in a work of
instruction to confessors, published by Father Juan Bautista, at Mexico,
in the year 1600.

     “There are magicians who call themselves _teciuhtlazque_,[6-†]
     and also by the term _nanahualtin_, who conjure the clouds when
     there is danger of hail, so that the crops may not be injured. They
     can also make a stick look like a serpent, a mat like a centipede,
     a piece of stone like a scorpion, and similar deceptions. Others of
     these _nanahualtin_ will transform themselves to all appearances
     (segun la aparencia), into a tiger, a dog or a weasel. Others again
     will take the form of an owl, a cock, or a weasel; and when one is
     preparing to seize them, they will appear now as a cock, now as an
     owl, and again as a weasel. These call themselves

There is an evident attempt in this somewhat confused statement to
distinguish between an actual transformation, and one which only appears
such to the observer.

In another work of similar character, published at Mexico a few years
later, the “Road to Heaven,” of Father Nicolas de Leon, we find a series
of questions which a confessor should put to any of his flock suspected
of these necromantic practices. They reveal to us quite clearly what
these occult practitioners were believed to do. The passage reads as
follows, the questions being put in the mouth of the priest:

     “Art thou a soothsayer? Dost thou foretell events by reading signs,
     or by interpreting dreams, or by water, making circles and figures
     on its surface? Dost thou sweep and ornament with flower garlands
     the places where idols are preserved? Dost thou know certain words
     with which to conjure for success in hunting, or to bring rain?

     “Dost thou suck the blood of others, or dost thou wander about at
     night, calling upon the Demon to help thee? Hast thou drunk
     _peyotl_, or hast thou given it to others to drink, in order to
     find out secrets, or to discover where stolen or lost articles
     were? Dost thou know how to speak to vipers in such words that they
     obey thee?”[6-§]

=4.= This interesting passage lets in considerable light on the claims and
practices of the nagualists. Not the least important item is that of
their use of the intoxicant, _peyotl_, a decoction of which it appears
played a prominent part in their ceremonies. This is the native Nahuatl
name of a certain plant, having a white, tuberous root, which is the
part employed. It is mentioned as “pellote” or “peyote” in the
_Farmacopea Mexicana_ as a popular remedy, but its botanical name is not
added. According to Paso y Troncoso, it is one of the Compositæ, a
species of the genus _Cacalia_.[7-*] It is referred to in several
passages by Father Sahagun, who says that it grows in southern Mexico,
and that the Aztecs derived their knowledge of it from the older
“Chichimecs.” It was used as an intoxicant.

     “Those who eat or drink of this _peyotl_ see visions, which are
     sometimes frightful and sometimes ludicrous. The intoxication it
     causes lasts several days. The Chichimecs believed that it gave
     them courage in time of danger and diminished the pangs of hunger
     and thirst.”[7-†]

Its use was continued until a late date, and very probably has not yet
died out. Its composition and method of preparation are given in a list
of beverages prohibited by the Spanish authorities in the year 1784, as

     “_Peyote_: Made from a species of vinagrilla, about the size of a
     billiard ball, which grows in dry and sterile soil. The natives
     chew it, and throw it into a wooden mortar, where it is left to
     ferment, some leaves of tobacco being added to give it pungency.
     They consume it in this form, sometimes with slices of _peyote_
     itself, in their most solemn festivities, although it dulls the
     intellect and induces gloomy and hurtful visions (sombras muy

The _peyotl_ was not the only herb prized as a means of casting the soul
into the condition of hypostatic union with divinity. We have abundant
evidence that long after the conquest the seeds of the plant called in
Nahuatl the _ololiuhqui_ were in high esteem for this purpose. In the
Confessionary of Father Bartholomé de Alva the priest is supposed to
inquire and learn as follows:

     “_Question._ Hast thou loved God above all things? Hast thou loved
     any created thing, adoring it, looking upon it as God, and
     worshiping it?

     “_Answer._ I have loved God with all my heart; but sometimes I have
     believed in dreams, and also I have believed in the sacred herbs,
     the _peyotl_, and the _ololiuhqui_; and in other such things
     (_onicneltocac in temictli, in xiuhtzintli, in peyotl, in
     ololiuhqui, yhuan in occequitlamantli_).”[8-*]

The seeds of the _ololiuhqui_ appear to have been employed externally.
They were the efficient element in the mysterious unguent known as “the
divine remedy” (_teopatli_), about which we find some information in the
works of Father Augustin de Vetancurt, who lived in Mexico in the middle
of the seventeenth century. He writes:

     “The pagan priests made use of an ointment composed of insects,
     such as spiders, scorpions, centipedes and the like, which the
     neophytes in the temples prepared. They burned these insects in a
     basin, collected the ashes, and rubbed it up with green tobacco
     leaves, living worms and insects, and the powdered seeds of a plant
     called _ololiuhqui_, which has the power of inducing visions, and
     the effect of which is to destroy the reasoning powers. Under the
     influence of this ointment, they conversed with the Devil, and he
     with them, practicing his deceptions upon them. They also believed
     that it protected them, so they had no fear of going into the woods
     at night.

     “This was also employed by them as a remedy in various diseases,
     and the soothing influence of the tobacco and the _ololiuhqui_ was
     attributed by them to divine agency. There are some in our own day
     who make use of this ointment for sorcery, shutting themselves up,
     and losing their reason under its influence; especially some old
     men and old women, who are prepared to fall an easy prey to the

The botanist Hernandez observes that another name for this plant was
_coaxihuitl_, “serpent plant,” and adds that its seeds contain a
narcotic poison, and that it is allied to the genus _Solanum_, of which
the deadly night-shade is a familiar species. He speaks of its use in
the sacred rites in these words:

     “Indorum sacrifici, cum videri volebant versari cum superis, ac
     responsa accipere ab eis, ea vescebantur planta, ut desiperent,
     milleque phantasmata et demonum observatium effigies

Of the two plants mentioned, the _ololiuhqui_ and the _peyotl_, the
former was considered the more potent in spiritual virtues. “They hold
it in as much veneration as if it were God,” says a theologian of the
seventeenth century.[9-*] One who partook of these herbs was called
_payni_ (from the verb _pay_, to take medicine); and more especially
_tlachixqui_, a Seer, referring to the mystic “second sight,” hence a
diviner or prophet (from the verb _tlachia_, to see).

Tobacco also held a prominent, though less important, place in these
rites. It was employed in two forms, the one the dried leaf, _picietl_,
which for sacred uses must be broken and rubbed up either seven or nine
times; and the green leaf mixed with lime, hence called _tenextlecietl_
(from _tenextli_, lime).

Allied in effect to these is an intoxicant in use in southern Mexico and
Yucatan, prepared from the bark of a tree called by the Mayas
_baal-che_. The whites speak of the drink as _pitarilla_. It is quite
popular among the natives, and they still attribute to it a sacred
character, calling it _yax ha_, the first water, the primal fluid. They
say that it was the first liquid created by God, and when He returned to
His heavenly home He left this beverage and its production in charge of
the gods of the rains, the four Pah-Ahtuns.[9-†]

=5.= Intoxication of some kind was an essential part of many of these
secret rites. It was regarded as a method of throwing the individual out
of himself and into relation with the supernal powers. What the old
historian, Father Joseph de Acosta, tells us about the clairvoyants and
telepaths of the aborigines might well stand for a description of their
modern representatives:

     “Some of these sorcerers take any shape they choose, and fly
     through the air with wonderful rapidity and for long distances.
     They will tell what is taking place in remote localities long
     before the news could possibly arrive. The Spaniards have known
     them to report mutinies, battles, revolts and deaths, occurring two
     hundred or three hundred leagues distant, on the very day they took
     place, or the day after.

     “To practice this art the sorcerers, usually old women, shut
     themselves in a house, and intoxicate themselves to the degree of
     losing their reason. The next day they are ready to reply to

Plants possessing similar powers to excite vivid visions and distort the
imagination, and, therefore, employed in the magical rites, were the
_thiuimeezque_, in Michoacan, and the _chacuaco_, in lower

=6.= In spite of all effort, the various classes of wonder-workers
continued to thrive in Mexico. We find in a book of sermons published by
the Jesuit Father, Ignacio de Paredes, in the Nahuatl language, in 1757,
that he strenuously warns his hearers against invoking, consulting, or
calling upon “the devilish spell-binders, the nagualists, and those who
conjure with smoke.”[10-‡]

They have not yet lost their power; we have evidence enough that many
children of a larger growth in that land still listen with respect to
the recitals of the mysterious faculties attributed to the
_nanahualtin_. An observant German traveler, Carlos von Gagern, informs
us that they are widely believed to be able to cause sicknesses and
other ills, which must be counteracted by appropriate exorcisms, among
which the reading aloud certain passages of the Bible is deemed to be
one of the most potent.[10-§]

The learned historian, Orozco y Berra, speaks of the powers attributed
at the present day to the _nahual_ in Mexico among the lower classes, in
these words:

     “The _nahual_ is generally an old Indian with red eyes, who knows
     how to turn himself into a dog, woolly, black and ugly. The female
     witch can convert herself into a ball of fire; she has the power of
     flight, and at night will enter the windows and suck the blood of
     little children. These sorcerers will make little images of rags or
     of clay, then stick into them the thorn of the maguey and place
     them in some secret place; you can be sure that the person against
     whom the conjuration is practiced will feel pain in the part where
     the thorn is inserted. There still exist among them the
     medicine-men, who treat the sick by means of strange contortions,
     call upon the spirits, pronounce magical incantations, blow upon
     the part where the pain is, and draw forth from the patient thorns,
     worms, or pieces of stone. They know how to prepare drinks which
     will bring on sickness, and if the patients are cured by others the
     convalescents are particular to throw something of their own away,
     as a lock of hair, or a part of their clothing. Those who possess
     the evil eye can, by merely looking at children, deprive them of
     beauty and health, and even cause their death.”[11-*]

=7.= As I have said, nowhere in the records of purely Mexican, that is,
Aztecan, Nagualism do we find the word _nagual_ employed in the sense
given in the passage quoted from Herrera, that is as a personal guardian
spirit or tutelary genius. These tribes had, indeed, a belief in some
such protecting power, and held that it was connected with the day on
which each person is born. They called it the _tonalli_ of a person, a
word translated to mean that which is peculiar to him, which makes his
individuality, his self. The radical from which it is derived is _tona_,
to warm, or to be warm, from which are also derived _tonatiuh_, the sun.
_Tonalli_, which in composition loses its last syllable, is likewise the
word for heat, summer, soul, spirit and day, and also for the share or
portion which belongs to one. Thus, _to-tonal_ is spirit or soul in
general; _no-tonal_, my spirit; _no-tonal in ipan no-tlacat_, “the sign
under which I was born,” _i. e._, the astrological day-sign. From this
came the verb _tonalpoa_, to count or estimate the signs, that is, to
cast the horoscope of a person; and _tonalpouhque_, the diviners whose
business it was to practice this art.[11-†]

These _tonalpouhque_ are referred to at length by Father Sahagun.[11-‡]
He distinguishes them from the _naualli_, though it is clear that they
corresponded in functions to the nagualistic priests of the southern
tribes. From the number and name of the day of birth they forecast the
destiny of the child, and stated the power or spiritual influence which
should govern its career.

The _tonal_ was by no means an indefeasible possession. It was a sort of
independent _mascotte_. So long as it remained with a person he enjoyed
health and prosperity; but it could depart, go astray, become lost; and
then sickness and misfortune arrived. This is signified in the Nahuatl
language by the verbs _tonalcaualtia_, to check, stop or suspend the
_tonal_, hence, to shock or frighten one; and _tonalitlacoa_, to hurt or
injure the _tonal_, hence, to cast a spell on one, to bewitch him.

This explains the real purpose of the conjuring and incantations which
were carried on by the native doctor when visiting the sick. It was to
recall the _tonal_, to force or persuade it to return; and, therefore,
the ceremony bore the name “the restitution of the _tonal_,” and was
more than any other deeply imbued with the superstitions of Nagualism.
The chief officiant was called the _tetonaltiani_, “he who concerns
himself with the tonal.” On a later page I shall give the formula
recited on such an occasion.

=8.= There is some vague mention in the Aztec records of a semi-priestly
order, who bore the name _naualteteuctin_, which may be translated
“master magicians.” They were also known as _teotlauice_, “sacred
companions in arms.” As was the case with most classes of the
_teteuctin_, or nobles, entrance to the order was by a severe and
prolonged ceremony of initiation, the object of which was not merely to
test the endurance of pain and the powers of self-denial, but especially
to throw the mind into that subjective state in which it is brought into
contact with the divine, in which it can “see visions and dream dreams.”
The order claimed as its patron and founder Quetzalcoatl, the “feathered
serpent,” who, it will be seen on another page, was also the patron of
the later nagualists.[12-*]

The word _naualli_ also occurs among the ancient Nahuas in composition
as a part of proper names; always with the signification of “magician,”
as in that of Naualcuauhtla, a chief of the Chalcos, meaning
“wizard-stick,” referring probably to the rod or wand employed by the
magi in conjuration.[13-*] So also _Naualac_, the “wizard water,” an
artificial lake not far from the city of Mexico, surrounded by ruined
temples, described by M. Charnay.[13-†]

=9.= The belief in a personal guardian spirit was one of the fundamental
doctrines of Nagualism; but this belief by no means connotes the full
import of the term (as Mr. H. H. Bancroft has erroneously stated). The
calendar system of Mexico and Central America, which I have shown to be
substantially the same throughout many diverse linguistic
stocks,[13-‡] had as one of its main objects, astrological
divination. By consulting it the appropriate nagual was discovered and
assigned, and this was certainly a prominent feature in the native cult
and has never been abandoned.

In Mexico to-day, in addition to his special personal guardian, the
native will often choose another for a limited time or for a particular
purpose, and this is quite consistent with the form of Christianity he
has been taught. For instance, as we are informed by an observant
traveler, at New Year or at corn-planting the head of a family will go
to the parish church and among the various saints there displayed will
select one as his guardian for the year. He will address to him his
prayers for rain and sunshine, for an abundant harvest, health and
prosperity, and will not neglect to back these supplications by liberal
gifts. If times are good and harvests ample the Santo is rewarded with
still more gifts, and his aid is sought for another term; but if luck
has been bad the Indian repairs to the church at the end of the year,
bestows on his holy patron a sound cursing, calls him all the bad names
he can think of, and has nothing more to do with him.[13-§]

=10.= A Mexican writer, Andres Iglesias, who enjoyed more than common
opportunities to study these practices as they exist in the present
generation, describes them as he saw them in the village of Soteapan, a
remote hamlet in the State of Vera Cruz, the population of which speak
the Mixe language. This is not related to the Nahuatl tongue, but the
terms of their magical rites are drawn from Nahuatl words, showing their
origin. Every person at birth has assigned to him both a good and a bad
genius, the former aiming at his welfare, the latter at his injury. The
good genius is known by the Nahuatl term _tonale_, and it is represented
in the first bird or animal of any kind which is seen in or near the
house immediately after the birth of the infant.

The most powerful person in the village is the high priest of the native
cult. One who died about 1850 was called “the Thunderbolt,” and whenever
he walked abroad he was preceded by a group of chosen disciples, called
by the Nahuatl name _tlatoques_, speakers or attorneys.[14-*] His
successor, known as “the Greater Thunder,” did not maintain this state,
but nevertheless claimed to be able to control the seasons and to send
or to mitigate destructive storms--claims which, sad to say, brought him
to the stocks, but did not interfere with the regular payment of tribute
to him by the villagers. He was also a medicine man and master of
ceremonies in certain “scandalous orgies, where immodesty shows herself
without a veil.”[14-†][TN-1]

=11.= Turning to the neighboring province of Oaxaca and its inhabitants,
we are instructed on the astrological use of the calendar of the
Zapotecs by Father Juan de Cordova, whose _Arte_ of their language was
published at Mexico in 1578. From what he says its principal, if not its
only purpose, was astrological. Each day had its number and was called
after some animal, as eagle, snake, deer, rabbit, etc. Every child, male
or female, received the name of the day, and also its number, as a
surname; its personal name being taken from a fixed series, which
differed in the masculine and feminine gender, and which seems to have
been derived from the names of the fingers.

From this it appears that among the Zapotecs the personal spirit or
_nagual_ was fixed by the date of the birth, and not by some later
ceremony, although the latter has been asserted by some writers; who,
however, seem to have applied without certain knowledge the rites of the
Nahuas and other surrounding tribes to the Zapotecs.[15-*]

Next in importance to the assigning of names, according to Father
Cordova, was the employment of the calendar in deciding the propriety of
marriages. As the recognized object of marriage was to have sons, the
couple appealed to the professional augur to decide this question before
the marriage was fixed. He selected as many beans as was the sum of the
numbers of the two proponents’ names, and, counting them by twos, if one
remained over, it meant a son; then counting by threes any remainder
also meant sons; by fours the remainder meant either sons or daughters;
and by five and six the same; and if there was no remainder by any of
these five divisors the marriage would result in no sons and was

It is obvious that this method of fortune-telling was most auspicious
for the lovers; for I doubt if there is any combination of two numbers
below fourteen which is divisible by two, three, four, five and six
without remainder in any one instance.[15-†]

The Zapotecs were one of those nations who voluntarily submitted
themselves to the Spaniards, not out of love for the Europeans, but
through hatred of the Aztecs, who had conquered them in the preceding
century. Their king, Coyopy, and his subjects accepted Christianity and
were generally baptized; but it was the merest formality, and years
afterwards Coyopy was detected secretly conducting the heathen ritual of
his ancestors with all due pomp. He was arrested, sent to the city of
Mexico, deprived of his power and wealth, and soon died; it is
charitably supposed, from natural causes. There is no question but that
he left successors to the office of pontifex maximus, and that they
continued the native religious ceremonies.

=12.= The sparse notices we have of the astrology of the Mixtecs,
neighbors and some think relatives of the Zapotecs, reveal closely
similar rites. The name of their king, who opposed Montezuma the First
some sixty years before the arrival of Cortez, proves that they made use
of the same or a similar calendar in bestowing personal appellations. It
is given as _Tres Micos_, Three Monkeys.

Unfortunately, so far as I know, there has not been published, and
perhaps there does not exist, an authentic copy of the Mixtec calendar.
It was nevertheless reduced to writing in the native tongue after the
conquest, and a copy of it was seen by the historian Burgoa in the
Mixtec town of Yanhuitlan.[16-*] Each day was named from a tree, a plant
or an animal, and from them the individual received his names, as Four
Lions, Five Roses, etc. (examples given by Herrera). This latter writer
adds that the name was assigned by the priests when the child was seven
years old (as among the Tzentals), part of the rite being to conduct it
to the temple and bore its ears. He refers also to their auguries
relating to marriage.[16-†] These appear to have been different from
among the Zapotecs. It was necessary that the youth should have a name
bearing a higher number than that of the maiden, and also “that they
should be related;” probably this applied only to certain formal
marriages of the rulers which were obliged to be within the same _gens_.

=13.= I have referred in some detail to the rites and superstitions
connected with the Calendar because they are all essential parts of
Nagualism, carried on far into Christian times by the priests of this
secret cult, as was fully recognized by the Catholic clergy. Wherever
this calendar was in use, the Freemasonry of Nagualism extended, and its
ritual had constant reference to it. Our fullest information about it
does not come from central Mexico, but further south, in the region
occupied by the various branches of the Mayan stock, by the ancestors of
some one of which, perhaps, this singular calendar, and the symbolism
connected with it, were invented.

One of the most important older authorities on this subject is Francisco
Nuñez de la Vega, a learned Dominican, who was appointed Bishop of
Chiapas and Soconusco in 1687, and who published at Rome, in 1702, a
stately folio entitled “_Constituciones Diœcesanas del Obispado de
Chiappa_,” comprising discussions of the articles of religion and a
series of pastoral letters. The subject of Nagualism is referred to in
many passages, and the ninth Pastoral Letter is devoted to it. As this
book is one of extreme rarity, I shall make rather lengthy extracts from
it, taking the liberty of condensing the scholastic prolixity of the
author, and omitting his professional admonitions to the wicked.

He begins his references to it in several passages of his Introduction
or _Preambulo_, in which he makes some interesting statements as to the
use to which the natives put their newly-acquired knowledge of writing,
while at the same time they had evidently not forgotten the ancient
method of recording ideas invented by their ancestors.

The Bishop writes:

     “The Indians of New Spain retain all the errors of their time of
     heathenism preserved in certain writings in their own languages,
     explaining by abbreviated characters and by figures painted in a
     secret cypher[17-*] the places, provinces and names of their early
     rulers, the animals, stars and elements which they worshiped, the
     ceremonies and sacrifices which they observed, and the years,
     months and days by which they predicted the fortunes of children at
     birth, and assign them that which they call the Naguals. These
     writings are known as Repertories or Calendars, and they are also
     used to discover articles lost or stolen, and to effect cures of
     diseases. Some have a wheel painted in them, like that of
     Pythagoras, described by the Venerable Bede; others portray a lake
     surrounded by the Naguals in the form of various animals. Some of
     the Nagualist Masters claim as their patron and ruler Cuchulchan,
     and they possessed a certain formula of prayer to him, written in
     the Popoluca tongue (which was called Baha in their time of
     heathenism), and which has been translated into Mexican.[17-†]

     “Those who are selected to become the masters of these arts are
     taught from early childhood how to draw and paint these characters,
     and are obliged to learn by heart the formulas, and the names of
     the ancient Nagualists, and whatever else is included in these
     written documents, many of which we have held in our hands, and
     have heard them explained by such masters whom we had imprisoned
     for their guilt, and who had afterwards become converted and
     acknowledged their sins.”[17-‡]

The Bishop made up his mind that extreme measures should be taken to
eradicate these survivals of the ancient paganism in his diocese, and he
therefore promulgated the following order in the year 1692:

     “And because in the provinces of our diocese those Indians who are
     Nagualists adore their _naguals_, and look upon them as gods, and
     by their aid believe that they can foretell the future, discover
     hidden treasures, and fulfill their dishonest desires: we,
     therefore, prescribe and command that in every town an
     ecclesiastical prison shall be constructed at the expense of the
     church, and that it be provided with fetters and stocks (con
     grillos y cepos), and we confer authority on every priest and
     curate of a parish to imprison in these gaols whoever is guilty of
     disrespect toward our Holy Faith, and we enjoin them to treat with
     especial severity those who teach the doctrines of Nagualism (y con
     rigor mayor á los dogmatizantes Nagualistas).”[18-*]

In spite of these injunctions it is evident that he failed to destroy
the seeds of what he esteemed this dangerous heresy in the parishes of
his diocese; for his ninth Pastoral Letter, in which he exposes at
length the character of Nagualism, is dated from the metropolitan city
of Ciudad Real, on May 24, 1698. As much of it is germane to my theme, I
translate as follows:

     “There are certain bad Christians of both sexes who do not hesitate
     to follow the school of the Devil, and to occupy themselves with
     evil arts, divinations, sorceries, conjuring, enchantments,
     fortune-telling, and other means to forecast the future.

     “These are those who in all the provinces of New Spain are known by
     the name of _Nagualists_. They pretend that the birth of men is
     regulated by the course and movements of stars and planets, and by
     observing the time of day and the months in which a child is born,
     they prognosticate its condition and the events, prosperous or
     otherwise, of its life; and the worst is that these perverse men
     have written down their signs and rules, and thus deceive the
     erring and ignorant.

     “These Nagualists practice their arts by means of Repertories and
     superstitious Calendars, where are represented under their proper
     names all the Naguals of stars, elements, birds, fishes, brute
     beasts and dumb animals; with a vain note of days and months, so
     that they can announce which corresponds to the day of birth of the
     infant. This is preceded by some diabolical ceremonies, after which
     they designate the field or other spot, where, after seven years
     shall have elapsed, the Nagual will appear to ratify the bargain.
     As the time approaches, they instruct the child to deny God and
     His Blessed Mother, and warn him to have no fear, and not to make
     the sign of the cross. He is told to embrace his Nagual tenderly,
     which, by some diabolical art, presents itself in an affectionate
     manner even though it be a ferocious beast, like a lion or a tiger.
     Thus, with infernal cunning they persuade him that this Nagual is
     an angel of God, who will look after him and protect him in his
     after life.

     “To such diabolical masters the intelligent Indians apply, to learn
     from these superstitious Calendars, dictated by the Devil, their
     own fortunes, and the Naguals which will be assigned to their
     children, even before they are baptized. In most of the Calendars,
     the seventh sign is the figure of a man and a snake, which they
     call Cuchulchan. The masters have explained it as a snake with
     feathers which moves in the water. This sign corresponds with
     Mexzichuaut, which means Cloudy Serpent, or, of the clouds.[19-*]
     The people also consult them in order to work injury on their
     enemies, taking the lives of many through such devilish artifices,
     and committing unspeakable atrocities.

     “Worse even than these are those who wander about as physicians or
     healers; who are none such, but magicians, enchanters, and
     sorcerers, who, while pretending to cure, kill whom they will. They
     apply their medicines by blowing on the patient, and by the use of
     infernal words; learned by heart by those who cannot read or write;
     and received in writing from their masters by those acquainted with
     letters. The Master never imparts this instruction to a single
     disciple, but always to three at a time, so that in the practice of
     the art it may be difficult to decide which one exerts the magical
     power. They blow on feathers, or sticks, or plants, and place them
     in the paths where they may be stepped on by those they wish to
     injure, thus causing chills, fevers, ugly pustules and other
     diseases; or they introduce into the body by such arts toads,
     frogs, snakes, centipedes, etc,[TN-2] causing great torments. And
     by these same breathings and magic words they can burn down houses,
     destroy the growing crops and induce sickness. No one of the three
     disciples is permitted to practice any of these arts without
     previously informing the other two, and also the Master, by whom
     the three have been taught.

     “We have learned by the confession of certain guilty parties how
     the Master begins to instruct his disciple. First he tells him to
     abjure God, the saints and the Virgin, not to invoke their names,
     and to have no fear of them. He then conducts him to the wood,
     glen, cave or field where the pact with the Devil is concluded,
     which they call ‘the agreement’ or ‘the word given’ (in Tzental
     _quiz_). In some provinces the disciple is laid on an ant-hill, and
     the Master standing above him calls forth a snake, colored with
     black, white and red, which is known as ‘the ant-mother’ (in
     Tzental _zmezquiz_).[19-†] This comes accompanied by the ants
     and other small snakes of the same kind, which enter at the joints
     of the fingers, beginning with the left hand, and coming out at the
     joints of the right hand, and also by the ears and the nose; while
     the great snake enters the body with a leap and emerges at its
     posterior vent. Afterwards the disciple meets a dragon vomiting
     fire, which swallows him entire and ejects him posteriorly. Then
     the Master declares he may be admitted, and asks him to select the
     herbs with which he will conjure, the disciple names them, the
     Master gathers them and delivers them to him, and then teaches him
     the sacred words.

     “These words and ceremonies are substantially the same in all the
     provinces. The healer enters the house of the invalid, asks about
     the sickness, lays his hand on the suffering part, and then leaves,
     promising to return on the day following. At the next visit he
     brings with him some herbs which he chews or mashes with a little
     water and applies to the part. Then he repeats the _Pater Noster_,
     the _Ave_, the _Credo_ and the _Salve_ and blows upon the seat of
     disease, afterwards pronouncing the magical words taught him by his
     master. He continues blowing in this manner, inhaling and exhaling,
     repeating under his breath these magical expressions, which are
     powerful to kill or to cure as he chooses, through the compact he
     has made with the Devil. Finally, so as to deceive the bystanders,
     he ends with saying in a loud voice: ‘God the Father, God the Son,
     and God the Holy Ghost. Amen.’

     “This physician or healer is called in the towns of some of the
     provinces _poxta vanegs_, and the medicine _gspoxil_; and
     everything relating to healing among the Indians to which they
     apply these terms means also to practice sorcery; and all words
     derived from _pox_ allude to the Nagual; for this in some provinces
     is called _poxlon_, and in others _patzlan_, and in many
     _tzihuizin_, which is something very much feared by the Indians. We
     have ascertained by the confessions of many who have been
     reconciled that the Devil at times appears to them in the shape of
     a ball or globe of fire in the air, with a tail like a comet.[20-*]

     “According to the most ancient traditions of these Indians this
     idol, _poxlon_, was one of the most important and venerated they
     had in the old times, and the Tzentals revered it so much that
     they preserved it innumerable years painted on a tablet in the
     above figure. Even after they were converted to the faith, they
     hung it behind a beam in the church of the town of Oxchuc,
     accompanied by an image of their god Hicalahau, having a ferocious
     black face with the members of a man,[21-*] along with five owls
     and vultures. By divine interposition, we discovered these on our
     second visit there in 1687, and had no little difficulty in getting
     them down, we reciting the creed, and the Indians constantly
     spitting as they executed our orders. These objects were publicly
     burned in the plaza.

     “In other parts they reverence the bones of the earlier Nagualists,
     preserving them in caves, where they adorn them with flowers and
     burn copal before them. We have discovered some of these and burned
     them, hoping to root out and put a stop to such evil ceremonies of
     the infernal sect of the Nagualists.

     “At present, all are not so subject to the promptings of the Devil
     as formerly, but there are still some so closely allied to him that
     they transform themselves into tigers, lions, bulls, flashes of
     light and globes of fire. We can say from the declaration and
     solemn confession of some penitents that it is proved that the
     Devil had carnal relations with them, both as incubus and succubus,
     approaching them in the form of their Nagual; and there was one
     woman who remained in the forest a week with the demon in the form
     of her Nagual, acting toward him as does an infatuated woman toward
     her lover (como pudiera con su proprio amigo una muger amancebada).
     As a punishment for such horrible crimes our Lord has permitted
     that they lose their life as soon as their Nagual is killed; and
     that they bear on their own bodies the wound or mark of the blow
     which killed it; as the curas of Chamula, Copainala and other
     places have assured us.

     “The devilish seed of this Nagualism has rooted itself in the very
     flesh and blood of these Indians. It perseveres in their hearts
     through the instructions of the masters of the sect, and there is
     scarcely a town in these provinces in which it has not been
     introduced. It is a superstitious idolatry, full of monstrous
     incests, sodomies and detestable bestialities.”

Such are the words of the Bishop of Chiapas. We learn from his
thoroughly instructed and unimpeachable testimony that at the beginning
of the eighteenth century Nagualism was a widespread and active
institution among the Indians of southern Mexico; that it was taught and
practiced by professors who were so much feared and respected that, as
he tells us in another passage, they were called “masters of the
towns;”[21-†] that they gave systematic instruction to disciples in
classes of three, all of whom were bound together by pledges of mutual
information and assistance; that a fundamental principle of the
organization and an indispensable step in the initiation into its
mysteries was the abjuration of the Christian religion, and an undying
hatred to its teachers and all others of the race of the white
oppressors; and that when they made use of Christian phrases or
ceremonies it was either in derision or out of hypocrisy, the better to
conceal their real sentiments.

There are a number of other witnesses from the seventeenth century that
may be summoned to strengthen this testimony, if it needs it.

=14.= In the _History of Guatemala_, written about 1690 by Francisco
Antonio Fuentes y Guzman, the author gives some information about a
sorcerer of this school, who was arrested in Totonicapan, and with whom
the historian had something to do as _corregidor_.

The redoubtable magician was a little old man, _viejezuelo_, and when
caught had in his possession a document giving the days of the year
according to the European calendar, with the Nagual, which belonged to
each one. That for January is alone given by our writer, but it is
probable that the other months merely repeated the naguals corresponding
to the numbers. It ran as follows:

  _Nagual Calendar for January._

  1. Lion.
  2. Snake.
  3. Stone.
  4. Alligator.
  5. Ceiba tree.
  6. The quetzal (a bird).
  7. A stick.
  8. Rabbit.
  9. A rope.
  10. Leaf.
  11. Deer.
  12. Guacamayo (parrot).
  13. Flower.
  14. Toad.
  15. Caterpillar.
  16. A chip.
  17. Arrow.
  18. Broom.
  19. Jaguar.
  20. Corn-husk.
  21. A flute.
  22. Green-stone.
  23. Crow.
  24. Fire.
  25. A pheasant.
  26. A reed.
  27. Opossum.
  28. Huracan (the thunder-storm).
  29. The vulture.
  30. Hawk.
  31. Bat.

When the sorcerer was examined as to the manner of assigning the proper
nagual to a child he gave the following account:

Having been informed of its day of birth, he in due time called at the
residence of the parents, and told the mother to bring the child into
the field behind the house. Having there invoked the demon, the _nagual_
of the child would appear under the form of the animal or object set
opposite its birthday in the calendar, a serpent were it born on the 2d
of January, a flower were it on the 13th, fire were it on the 24th, and
so on. The sorcerer then addressed certain prayers to the _nagual_ to
protect the little one, and told the mother to take it daily to the same
spot, where its _nagual_ would appear to it, and would finally accompany
it through all its life. Some, but not all, obtained the power of
transforming themselves into the _nagual_, and the author declares that,
though he could not cite such a case from his own experience, his father
knew of several, and reliable priests, _religiosos de fé_, had told him
enough examples to fill volumes.[23-*]

The tribes to which this author refers were the Cakchiquels and Quiches,
who spoke practically the same tongue. An examination of some of the old
dictionaries prepared by the early missionaries furnishes further and
interesting information about this obscure subject.

In the Cakchiquel language of Guatemala, the word _naual_ was applied
both to the magician himself, to his necromantic art, and to the demonic
agency which taught and protected him. This is shown by the following
explanation, which I quote from Father Coto’s _Vocabulario de la Lengua
Cakchiquel_, 1651, a manuscript in the library of the American
Philosophical Society:

     “_Magic_ or _Necromancy_: _puz_ or _naual_; and they were
     accustomed to call their magicians or sorcerers by the same terms.
     It was a kind of magic which they invoked in order to transform
     themselves into eagles, lions, tigers, etc. Thus, they said, _ru
     puz_, _ru naual_, _pedro læ cot_, _balam_, ‘Peter’s power, his
     _naual_, is a lion, a tiger.’ They also applied the words _puz_ and
     _naual_ to certain trees, rocks and other inanimate objects, whence
     the Devil used to speak to them, and likewise to the idols which
     they worshiped, as _gazlic che_, _gazlic abah_, _huyu_, _k’o ru
     naual_, ‘The life of the tree, the life of the stone, of the hill,
     is its _naual_,’ etc.; because they believed there was life in
     these objects. They used to have armies and soldiery to guard
     their lands, and the captains, as well as many who were not
     captains, had their _nauales_. They called the captain _ru g’
     alache; rohobachi, ti ru gaah, ru pocob, ru gh’ amay a ghay ti be
     chi naualil_ [he works magic with his shield, his lance, and his

     “To practice such magical arts: _tin naualih_ (‘I practice magic’),
     an active verb. They use it, for instance, when a man asks his wife
     for something to eat or drink, and she has nothing, owing to his
     negligence, she will say: ‘Where do you suppose I can get what you
     want? Do you expect me to perform miracles--_xa pe ri tin
     naualih_--that they shall come to my hands?’ So when one is asked
     to lend or give something which he has not, he will exclaim: _Tin
     naualih pe ri puvak_, etc. (‘Can I perform miracles,’ etc.)

     “It also signifies to pretend something, concealing the truth, as
     _xa ru naualim ara neh chu g’ ux ri tzih tan tu bijh pedro_, ‘Peter
     is feigning this which he is saying.’ They are also accustomed to
     apply this word to the power which the priests exert (in the
     sacraments, etc.).”

A long and foolish account of the witchcraft supposed to be practiced
among the Pokonchis of Guatemala, also a tribe of Mayan stock, is given
by the Englishman, Thomas Gage, who was cura of a parish among them
about 1630, and afterwards returned to England and Protestantism. He
described, at wearisome length, the supposed metamorphosis of two chiefs
of neighboring tribes, the one into a lion, the other into a tiger, and
the mortal combat in which they engaged, resulting in the death of one
to whom Gage administered absolution. No doubt he had been worsted in a
personal encounter with his old enemy, and, being a man of eighty years,
had not the vigor to recover. The account is of interest only as proving
that the same superstitions at that time prevailed among the Pokonchis
as in other portions of Guatemala.[24-*]

=15.= A really mighty nagualist was not confined to a single
transformation. He could take on many and varied figures. One such is
described in the sacred books of the Quiches of Guatemala, that document
known by the name of the Popol Vuh, or National Book. The passage is in
reference to one of their great kings and powerful magicians, Gucumatz
by name. It says:

     “Truly he was a wonderful king. Every seven days he ascended to the
     sky, and every seven days he followed the path to the abode of the
     dead; every seven days he put on the nature of a serpent, and then
     he became truly a serpent; every seven days he assumed the nature
     of an eagle, and then he became truly an eagle; then of a tiger and
     he became truly a tiger; then of coagulated blood, and he was
     nothing else than coagulated blood.”[25-*]

It may be said that such passages refer metaphorically to the
versatility of his character, but even if this is so, the metaphors are
drawn from the universal belief in Nagualism which then prevailed, and
they do not express it too strongly.

=16.= Among the Maya tribes of Yucatan and Guatemala we have testimony to
the continuance to this day of these beliefs. Father Bartolomé de Baeza,
cura of Yaxcaba in the first half of this century, reports that an old
man, in his dying confession, declared that by diabolical art he had
transformed himself into an animal, doubtless his _nagual_; and a young
girl of some twelve years confessed that she had been transformed into a
bird by the witches, and in one of her nocturnal flights had rested on
the roof of the very house in which the good priest resided, which was
some two leagues from her home. He wisely suggests that, perhaps,
listening to some tale of sorcery, she had had a vivid dream, in which
she seemed to take this flight. It is obvious, however, from his
account, as well as from other sources, that the belief of the
transformation into lower animals was and is one familiar to the
superstitions of the Mayas.[25-†] The natives still continue to
propitiate the ancient gods of the harvest, at the beginning of the
season assembling at a ceremony called by the Spaniards the _misa
milpera_, or “field mass,” and by themselves _ti’ch_, “the stretching
out of the hands.”

The German traveler, Dr. Scherzer, when he visited, in 1854, the remote
hamlet of Istlavacan, in Guatemala, peopled by Quiché Indians,
discovered that they had preserved in this respect the usages of their
ancestors almost wholly unaffected by the teachings of their various
Christian curates. The “Master” still assigned the _naguals_ to the
new-born infants, copal was burned to their ancient gods in remote
caves, and formulas of invocation were taught by the veteran nagualists
to their neophytes.[26-*]

These _Zahoris_,[26-†] as they are generally called in the Spanish of
Central America, possessed many other mysterious arts besides that of
such metamorphoses and of forecasting the future. They could make
themselves invisible, and walk unseen among their enemies; they could in
a moment transport themselves to distant places, and, as quickly
returning, report what they had witnessed; they could create before the
eyes of the spectator a river, a tree, a house, or an animal, where none
such existed; they could cut open their own stomach, or lop a limb from
another person, and immediately heal the wound or restore the severed
member to its place; they could pierce themselves with knives and not
bleed, or handle venomous serpents and not be bitten; they could cause
mysterious sounds in the air, and fascinate animals and persons by their
steady gaze; they could call visible and invisible spirits, and the
spirits would come.

Among the native population of the State of Vera Cruz and elsewhere in
southern Mexico these mysterious personages go by the name _padrinos_,
godfathers, and are looked upon with a mixture of fear and respect. They
are believed by the Indians to be able to cause sickness and domestic
calamities, and are pronounced by intelligent whites to present “a
combination of rascality, duplicity and trickery.”[26-‡]

=17.= The details of the ceremonies and doctrines of Nagualism have never
been fully revealed; but from isolated occurrences and partial
confessions it is clear that its adherents formed a coherent association
extending over most of southern Mexico and Guatemala, which everywhere
was inspired by two ruling sentiments--detestation of the Spaniards and
hatred of the Christian religion.

In their eyes the latter was but a cloak for the exactions, massacres
and oppressions exerted by the former. To them the sacraments of the
Church were the outward signs of their own subjugation and misery. They
revolted against these rites in open hatred, or received them with
secret repugnance and contempt. In the Mexican figurative manuscripts
composed after the conquest the rite of baptism is constantly depicted
as the symbol of religious persecution. Says a sympathetic student of
this subject:

     “The act of baptism is always inserted in their records of battles
     and massacres. Everywhere it conveys the same idea,--making evident
     to the reader that the pretext for all the military expeditions of
     the Spaniards was the enforced conversion to Christianity of the
     natives; a pretext on which the Spaniards seized in order to
     possess themselves of the land and its treasure, to rob the Indians
     of their wives and daughters, to enslave them, and to spill their
     blood without remorse or remission. One of these documents, dated
     in 1526, adds a trait of savage irony. A Spanish soldier is
     represented dragging a fugitive Indian from a lake by a lasso
     around his neck; while on the shore stands a monk ready to baptize
     the recreant on his arrival!”[27-*]

No wonder that the priests of the dark ritual of Nagualism for centuries
after the conquest sought to annul the effects of the hated Christian
sacraments by counteracting ceremonies of their own, as we are told they
did by the historian Torquemada, writing from his own point of view in
these words:

     “The Father of Lies had his ministers who aided him, magicians and
     sorcerers, who went about from town to town, persuading the simple
     people to that which the Enemy of Light desired. Those who believed
     their deceits, and had been baptized, were washed on the head and
     breast by these sorcerers, who assured them that this would remove
     the effects of the chrism and the holy oils. I myself knew an
     instance where a person of prominence, who resided not far from the
     City of Mexico, was dying, and had received extreme unction; and
     when the priest had departed one of these diabolical ceremonialists
     entered, and washed all the parts which had been anointed by the
     holy oil with the intention to destroy its power.”[27-†]

Similar instances are recorded by Jacinto de la Serna. He adds that not
only did the Masters prescribe sacrifices to the Fire in order to annul
the effects of extreme unction, but they delighted to caricature the
Eucharist, dividing among their congregation a narcotic yellow mushroom
for the bread, and the inebriating pulque for the wine. Sometimes they
adroitly concealed in the pyx, alongside the holy wafer, some little
idol of their own, so that they really followed their own superstitions
while seemingly adoring the Host. They assigned a purely pagan sense to
the sacred formula, “Father, Son and Holy Ghost,” understanding it to be
“Fire, Earth and Air,” or the like.[28-*]

Whoever or whatever was an enemy to that religion so brutally forced upon
these miserable creatures was to them an ally and a friend. Nuñez de la
Vega tells us that he found written formulas among them reading: “O
Brother Antichrist, Brother Antichrist, Brother Antichrist, come to our
aid!”--pathetic and desperate appeal of a wretched race, ground to earth
under the iron heels of a religious and military despotism.[28-†]

=18.= The association embraced various tribes and its members were
classified under different degrees. The initiation into these was by
solemn and often painful ceremonies. Local sodalities or brotherhoods
were organized after the manner of those usual in the Roman Church; but
instead of being named after St. John or the Virgin Mary they were
dedicated to Judas Iscariot or Pontius Pilate out of derision and hatred
of the teachings of the priests; or to the Devil or Antichrist, who were
looked upon as powerful divinities in opposition to the Church.[28-‡]

There were certain recognized centres of the association, near which its
most important dignitaries resided, and where their secret councils and
most imposing ceremonies were held. One of these was Zamayac, in the
province of Suchiltepec; a second near Huehuetan, Soconusco; a third at
Totonicapan, Guatemala; a fourth at Cancuc, Chiapas; a fifth at
Teozapotlan, Oaxaca; and a few others may be surmised.

The high priest who resided at each of these centres exercised control
over all the nagualistic teachers and practitioners in an extensive
district. On the occasion of an official inquiry by the Spanish
authorities it was ascertained that the high priest of Zamayac included
under his rule nearly one thousand sub-priests,[29-*] and no doubt
others of his rank were not less potent.

The unity between the members of the association over an indefinitely
wide area was perfectly well known to the Spanish priests and civil
authorities. The ceremonies, formulas and methods of procedure were
everywhere identical or alike. This itself was justly regarded as a
proof of the secret intelligence which existed among the members of this
cabalistic guild.[29-†]

To a certain extent, and at least in some localities, as Chiapas and
Guatemala, the priesthood of Nagualism was hereditary in particular
families. This is especially stated by the historian Ordoñez y Aguiar,
who had exceptional opportunities for acquainting himself with the

A traveler of the first decade of this century, who has left us a number
of curious details of the superstitions of the Christianized Indians in
Mexico of that day, Benito Maria de Moxò, informs us that he had
discovered the existence of different grades in the native soothsayers
and medicine men, and that all in a given locality recognized the
supremacy of one whom they referred to as “the little old man,” _El
Viejito_. But he was unable to ascertain by what superior traits or
rights he obtained this distinction.[29-§]

According to some authorities, the highest grade of these native
hierophants bore among the Nahuas the symbolic name of “flower
weavers,” _Xochimilca_, probably from the skill they had to deceive the
senses by strange and pleasant visions.[30-*] In the south they were
spoken of as “guardians,” which may have been derived from the classes
of priests so-called in the Zapotec religion.[30-†]

=19.= It will be seen from the above, that Nagualism, beginning in an
ancient superstition dating back to the time of primitive barbarism,
became after the Conquest a potent factor in the political and social
development of the peoples among whom it existed; that it was the source
from which was drawn and the means by which was sustained the
race-hatred of the native American towards his foreign conquerors,
smouldering for centuries, now and then breaking out in furious revolt
and civil war.

There is strong reason to suspect its power where, for obvious reasons,
it has not been demonstrated. It has always been a mystery and a matter
of surprise to the historians of Yucatan how rapidly spread the plans of
the insurrection which secured lasting independence for the natives,
after these plans had been agreed upon by the two chiefs, Antonio Ay and
Cecilio Chi, at the remote rancho of Xihum, in July, 1847. Such
unanimity of action could only have been possible through the aid of a
powerful, well-disciplined and widespread secret organization. There can
scarcely be a doubt they were the chiefs or masters of the redoubtable
order of Nagualism in the Peninsula.[30-‡]

There is no question that such was the case with the brief and bloody
revolt of the Mayas in 1761. It suddenly broke out in a number of
villages near Valladolid, Yucatan, headed by a full-blood native,
Jacinto Can-Ek; but some of the participants afterwards confessed that
it was the outcome of a conspiracy which had been preparing for a year.

When the appointed day arrived, Jacinto boldly announced himself as the
high priest of the fraternity of sorcerers, a master and teacher of
magic, and the lineal successor of the famous ancient prophet, Chilan
Balam, “whose words cannot fail.” In a stirring appeal he urged his
fellow-countrymen to attack the Spaniards without fear of consequences.

     “‘Be not afraid,’ he exclaimed, ‘of their cannons and their forts;
     for among the many to whom I have taught the arts of magic (el arte
     de brujeria) there are fifteen chosen ones, marvelous experts, who
     by their mystic power will enter the fortress, slay the sentinels,
     and throw open the gates to our warriors. I shall take the leaves
     of the sacred tree, and folding them into trumpets, I shall call to
     the four winds of heaven, and a multitude of fighting men will
     hasten to our aid.’”[31-*]

Saying this, he took a sheet of paper, held it up to show that it was
blank, folded it for a moment, and then spread it out covered with
writing! This deft trick convinced his simple-minded hearers of the
truth of his claims and they rushed to arms. He led them, clothed in the
robe of the Virgin and with her crown on his head. But neither their
enthusiasm nor their leader’s art magic availed, and soon Jacinto and
his followers fell victims to the stake and the gallows. After their
death the dance of “the tiger,” or of Chac-Mool--the “ghost dance” of
the Mayas--was prohibited; and the use of the sacred drum--the favorite
instrument of the native priests--was forbidden.[31-†]

In fact, wherever we have any full accounts of the revolts against the
Spanish domination during the three centuries of its existence in New
Spain, we can manifestly trace the guiding fingers of the powerful
though hidden hand of Nagualism. An earlier revolt of the Mayas in
Yucatan occurred in 1585. It was led by Andres Chi, a full-blood Indian,
and a descendant of the ancient royal house of the Cocomes. He also
announced himself as a priest of the ancient faith, a prophet and a
worker of miracles, sent to instruct his own people in a new religion
and to give them an independent political existence. Seized by the
Spaniards, he was charged with idolatry, sorcery and disturbing the
peace, and was ignominiously hanged.[32-*]

Not less definitely inspired by the same ideas was the Mixe Indian,
known as “Don Pascual,” who led the revolt of the Tehuantepec tribes in
1661. He sent out his summons to the “thirteen governors of the Zapotecs
and Chontales” to come to his aid, and the insurrection threatened to
assume formidable proportions, prevented only by bringing to bear upon
the natives the whole power of the Roman Church through the Bishop of
Oaxaca, Cuevas Davalos.[32-†]

Nearly the same locality had been the scene of the revolt of the
Zapotecs in 1550, when they were led by a native priest who claimed to
be an incarnation of the old god Quetzalcoatl, the patron deity of the

In the city of Mexico itself, in the year 1692, there was a violent
outbreak of the natives, when they destroyed three million dollars worth
of property. Doubtless this was partly attributable to the scarcity of
food which prevailed; but that the authorities traced it also to some
secret ceremonials is evident from the law which was immediately passed
forbidding the Indians to wear the _piochtli_, or scalp-lock, a portion
of the hair preserved from birth as part of the genethliac
rituals,[32-§] and the especial enactments against the _octli_.

As for the revolt of the Tzentals of Chiapas, in 1712, it was clearly
and confessedly under the leadership of the nagualistic priesthood, as I
shall indicate on a later page.

The history of the native American race under the Spanish power in North
America has never yet been written with the slightest approach to
thoroughness. He who properly qualifies himself for that task will
certainly reach the conclusion expressed a number of years ago by the
eminent American antiquary and historian, Mr. E. G. Squier, in these

     “Among the ruling and priestly classes of the semi-civilized
     nations of America, there has always existed a mysterious bond, a
     secret organization, which all the disasters to which they have
     been subjected have not destroyed. It is to its present existence
     that we may attribute those simultaneous movements of the
     aborigines of Mexico and Central America, which have more than once
     threatened the complete subversion of the Spanish power.”[33-*]

That mysterious bond, that secret organization, is _Nagualism_.

=20.= A remarkable feature in this mysterious society was the exalted
position it assigned to Women. Not only were they admitted to the most
esoteric degrees, but in repeated instances they occupied the very
highest posts in the organization. According to the traditions of the
Tzentals and Pipils of Chiapas, when their national hero, Votan,
constructed by the breath of his mouth his darkened shrine at
Tlazoaloyan, in Soconusco, he deposited in it the sacred books and holy
relics, and constituted a college of venerable sages to be its
guardians; but placed them all in subjection to a high priestess, whose
powers were absolute.[33-†]

The veracious Pascual de Andagoya asserts from his own knowledge that
some of these female adepts had attained the rare and peculiar power of
being in two places at once, as much as a league and a half
apart;[33-‡] and the repeated references to them in the Spanish
writings of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries confirm the dread in
which they were held and the extensive influence they were known to
control. In the sacraments of Nagualism, Woman was the primate and

=21.= This was a lineal inheritance from pre-Columbian times. In many
native American legends, as in others from the old world, some powerful
enchantress is remembered as the founder of the State, mistress of men
through the potency of her magic powers.

Such, among the Aztecs, was the sorceress who built the city of
Mallinalco, on the road from Mexico to Michoacan, famous even after the
conquest for the skill of its magicians, who claimed descent from
her.[34-*] Such, in Honduras, was Coamizagual, queen of Cerquin, versed
in all occult science, who died not, but at the close of her earthly
career rose to heaven in the form of a beautiful bird, amid the roll of
thunder and the flash of lightning.[34-†]

According to an author intimately familiar with the Mexican nagualists,
the art they claimed to possess of transforming themselves into the
lower animals was taught their predecessors by a woman, a native Circe,
a mighty enchantress, whose usual name was Quilaztli (the etymology of
which is unknown), but who bore also four others, representing her four
metamorphoses, Cohuacihuatl, the Serpent Woman; Quauhcihuatl, the Eagle
Woman; Yaocihuatl, the Warrior Woman; and Tzitzimecihuatl, the Specter

The powers of these queens of magic extended widely among their sex. We
read in the chronicles of ancient Mexico that when Nezahualpilli, the
king, oppressed the tribes of the coast, the _tierra caliente_, they
sent against him, not their warriors, but their witches. These cast upon
him their fatal spells, so that when he walked forth from his palace,
blood burst from his mouth, and he fell prone and dead.[34-§]

In Guatemala, as in ancient Delphos, the gods were believed to speak
through the mouths of these inspired seeresses, and at the celebration
of victories they enjoyed a privilege so strange and horrible that I
quote it from the old manuscript before me without venturing a

     “... Despues de sacrificar los antiguos algun hombre,
     despedaçandolo, si era de los que avian cogido en guerra, dicen que
     guardaban el miembro genital y los testiculos del tal sacrificado,
     y se los daban à una vieja que tenian por profeta, para que los
     comiese, y le pedian rogasse à su idolo les diesse mas

When Captain Pedro de Alvarado, in the year 1524, was marching upon
Quetzaltanango, in Guatemala, just such a fearful old witch took her
stand at the summit of the pass, with her familiar in the shape of a
dog, and “by spells and nagualistic incantations” undertook to prevent
his approach.[35-†]

As in the earliest, so in the latest accounts. The last revolt of the
Indians of Chiapas occurred among the Zotzils in 1869. The cause of it
was the seizure and imprisonment by the Spanish authorities of a
“mystical woman,” known to the whites as Santa Rosa, who, together with
one of their _ahaus_ or chieftains, had been suspected of fomenting
sedition. The natives marched thousands strong against the city of San
Cristobal, where the prisoners were, and secured their liberation; but
their leader, Ignacio Galindo, was entrapped and shot by the Spaniards,
and the mutiny was soon quelled.[35-‡]

=22.= But perhaps the most striking instance is that recorded in the
history of the insurrection of the Tzentals of Chiapas, in 1713. They
were led by an Indian girl, a native Joan of Arc, fired by like
enthusiasm to drive from her country the hated foreign oppressors, and
to destroy every vestige of their presence. She was scarcely twenty
years old, and was known to the Spaniards as Maria Candelaria. She was
the leader of what most historians call a religious sect, but what
Ordoñez y Aguiar, himself a native of Chiapas, recognizes as the
powerful secret association of Nagualism, determined on the extirpation
of the white race. He estimates that in Chiapas alone there were nearly
seventy thousand natives under her orders--doubtless an
exaggeration--and asserts that the conspiracy extended far into the
neighboring tribes, who had been ordered to await the result of the
effort in Chiapas.

Her authority was absolute, and she was merciless in requiring obedience
to it. The disobedient were flayed alive or roasted over a slow fire.
She and all her followers took particular pleasure in manifesting their
hatred and contempt for the religion of their oppressors. They defiled
the sacred vessels of the churches, imitated with buffoonery the
ceremonies of the mass, which she herself performed, and stoned to death
the priests whom they caught.

Of course, her attempt against the power of Spain was hopeless. It
failed after a bitter and protracted conquest, characterized by the
utmost inhumanity on both sides. But when her followers were scattered
and killed, when the victorious whites had again in their hands all the
power and resources of the country, not their most diligent search, nor
the temptation of any reward, enabled them to capture Maria Candelaria,
the heroine of the bloody drama. With a few trusty followers she escaped
to the forest, and was never again heard of.[36-*]

More unfortunate were her friends and lieutenants, the priestesses of
Guistiupan and Yajalon, who had valiantly seconded Maria in her
patriotic endeavors. Seized by the Spaniards, they met the fate which we
can easily imagine, though the historian has mercifully thrown a veil on
its details.[36-†]

=23.= Of just such a youthful prophetess did Mr. E. G. Squier hear during
his travels in Central America, a “_sukia_ woman,” as she was called by
the coast Indians, one who lived alone mid the ruins of an old Mayan
temple, a sorceress of twenty years, loved and feared, holding death and
life in her hands.[36-‡] Perhaps his account is somewhat fanciful;
it is so, indeed; but it is grounded on the unshaken beliefs and ancient
traditions of the natives of those climes, and on customs well known to
those who reside there.

The late distinguished Americanist, the Abbé Brasseur de Bourbourg,
during his long travels in Mexico and Central America, had occasion more
than once to come in contact with this trait of the ancient faith of the
Nagualists, still alive in their descendants. Among the Zapotecs of the
Isthmus of Tehuantepec he saw one of the queens of the mystic
fraternity, and he describes her with a warmth which proves that he had
not lost his eye for the beautiful.

     “She wore a piece of light-green stuff loosely folded around her
     form at the hips, and falling to a little distance above the ankle;
     a jacket of red silk gauze with short sleeves and embroidered with
     gold, clothed the upper part of her person, veiling her bosom, upon
     which lay a chain of heavy gold pieces, pierced and strung on a
     cord. Her rich black hair was divided on the forehead, and drawn
     back in two splendid tresses fastened with blue ribbons, while a
     white muslin kerchief encircled her head like the calantica of the
     ancient Egyptians. Never in my life have I seen a more striking
     figure of an Isis or a Cleopatra.

     “There was something strange in her expression. Her eyes were the
     blackest and the brightest in the world; but there were moments
     when she suddenly paused, leaned against the billiard table or the
     wall, and they became fixed and dead like those of a corpse. Then a
     fiery glance would shoot from beneath her dark lashes, sending a
     chill to the heart of the one to whom it was directed. Was it
     madness, or was it, as those around her believed, a momentary
     absence of soul, an absorption of her spirit into its _nagual_, a
     transportation into an unknown world? Who shall decide?”[37-*]

=24.= It would be a mistake to suppose that Nagualism was an incoherent
medley of superstitions, a mass of jumbled fragments derived from the
ancient paganism. My study of it has led me to a widely different
conclusion. It was a perpetuation of a well-defined portion of the
native cult, whose sources we are able to trace long anterior to the
period of the conquest, and which had no connection with the elaborate
and bloody ritual of the Aztecs. The evidence to this effect is cogent.

Wherever in later days the Catholic priests found out the holy places
and sacred objects of the nagualists, they were in-caves or deep
rock-recesses, not in artificial structures. The myths they gleaned, and
the names of the gods they heard, also point to this as a distinguishing
peculiarity. An early instance is recorded among the Nahuas of Mexico.
In 1537 Father Perea discovered a cavern in a deep ravine at Chalma,
near Mallinalco (a town famous for its magicians), which was the
sanctuary of the deity called _Oztoteotl_, the Cave God (_oztotl_, cave;
_teotl_, god), “venerated throughout the whole empire of
Montezuma.”[38-*] He destroyed the image of the god, and converted the
cavern into a chapel.

We cannot err in regarding Oztoteotl as merely another name of the
Nahuatl divinity, Tepeyollotl, the Heart, or Inside, of the Mountain,
who in the Codex Borgia and the Codex Vaticanus is represented seated
upon or in a cavern. His name may equally well be translated “the Heart
of the Place,” or “of the Town.”

Dr. Eduard Seler has shown beyond reasonable question that this divinity
did not originally belong to the Aztec Pantheon, but was introduced from
the South, either from the Zapotecs, the Mixtecs, or the Mayan tribes,
beyond these.[38-†] The Cave God of the Aztecs is identical with the
Votan of the Tzentals of Chiapas, and with the U-q’ux Uleuh of the
Quiches of Guatemala, and probably with the Cozaana of the Zapotecs.

The rites of all of these were conducted in caverns, and there have been
preserved several interesting descriptions of the contents of these
sacred places. That relating to the “dark house of Votan” is given thus
in the work of the Bishop of Chiapas:

     “Votan is the third hero who is named in the calendar, and some of
     his descendants still reside in the town of Teopisca, where they
     are known as Votans. He is sometimes referred to as Lord of the
     Sacred Drum, and he is said to have seen the great wall (which must
     have been the Tower of Babel), and to have divided this land among
     the Indians, and given to each tribe its language.

     “They say further that he once dwelt in Huehuetan, a town in the
     province of Soconusco. Near there, at the place called Tlazoaloyan,
     he constructed, by blowing with his breath, a dark house, and put
     tapirs in the river, and in the house a great treasure, and left
     all in charge of a noble lady, assisted by guardians (_tlapiane_)
     to preserve. This treasure consisted of earthenware vases with
     covers of the same material; a stone, on which were inscribed the
     figures of the ancient native heroes as found in the calendar;
     _chalchiuites_, which are green stones; and other superstitious

     “All of these were taken from the cave, and publicly burned in the
     plaza of Huehuetan on the occasion of our first diocesan visit
     there in 1691, having been delivered to us by the lady in charge
     and the guardians. All the Indians have great respect for this
     Votan, and in some places they call him ‘the Heart of the

The English priest, Thomas Gage, who was curate of a parish among the
Pokonchi Indians of Guatemala about 1630, relates his discovery of such
a cave, in which the idol was preserved, and gives this description of

     “We found the Idol standing upon a low stool covered with a linen
     cloth. The substance of it was wood, black shining like jet, as if
     it had been painted or smoked; the form was of a man’s head unto
     the shoulders, without either Beard or Mustachoes; his look was
     grim, with a wrinkled forehead, and broad staring eyes.

     “They boasted of this their god, saying that he had plainly told
     them they should not believe anything I preached of Christ, but
     follow the old ways of their forefathers.”[39-†]

The black color here mentioned was a relic of ancient symbolism,
referring to the night, darkness, and the obscurity of the holy cavern.
Vetancurt informs us that the priests of the ancient paganism were
accustomed to rub their faces and bodies with an ointment of fat and
pine soot when they went to sacrifice in the forests, so that they
looked as black as negroes[TN-3][39-‡] In the extract from Nuñez de
la Vega already given, _Ical Ahau_, the “Black King,” is named as one of
the divinities of the nagualists.

In some parts the principal idol found in the caves was the mummied or
exsiccated body of some former distinguished priest or chieftain. One
such is recorded by Bartholomé de Pisa, which was found among the
Zapotecs of Coatlan. It bore a name taken from the calendar, that of the
tenth day, and was alleged to be the preserved cadaver of a celebrated
ruler.[40-*] Another interesting example is narrated by Villa Señor y
Sanchez,[40-†] who describes it as an eye-witness. It was discovered
in a spacious cave located some distance to the west of the city of
Mexico, in Nahuatl territory, on the side of what was known as “the Sun
mountain”--_la Mesa de Tonati_. He speaks of it as remarkably well
preserved, “both the muscles and the bones.”

     “It was seated in an armchair which served for a throne, and was
     clothed in a mantle, which fell from the shoulders to the feet.
     This was richly adorned with precious stones, which, according to
     the native custom, were sewed into the texture of the cloth. The
     figure also wore shoulder straps, collars, bracelets and fastenings
     of silver. From its forehead rose a crown of beautiful feathers of
     different colors arranged so that one color should alternate with
     another. The left hand was resting on the arm of the chair, while
     in the right was a sharp cutlass with silver mountings. At its feet
     were several vases of fine stone, as marble and alabaster, in which
     were offerings of blood and meat, obtained from the sacrifices.”

The same writer refers to other examples of these sacred caves which he
had seen in his journeys. One was near the town of Teremendo, where the
sides and roof had been artificially dressed into the shape of huge
arches. A natural altar had been provided in a similar manner, and on
it, at the time of his visit, were numerous idols in the figures of men
and animals, and before them fresh offerings of copal and food.
Elsewhere he refers to many such caverns still in use as places resorted
to by the natives in _la gran Sierra de Tlascala_.[40-‡]

These extracts prove the extent of this peculiar worship and the number
of these subterranean temples in recent generations. The fame of some of
the greater ones of the past still survives, as the vast grotto of
Chalcatongo, near Achiutla, which was the sepulchral vault of its
ancient kings; that of Totomachiapa, a solemn scene of sacrifice for
the ancient priests; that of Justlahuaca, near Sola (Oaxaca), which was
a place of worship of the Zapotecs long after the Conquest; and that in
the Cerro de Monopostiac, near San Francisco del Mar.[41-*]

The intimate meaning of this cave-cult was the worship of the Earth. The
Cave God, the Heart of the Hills, really typified the Earth, the Soil,
from whose dark recesses flow the limpid streams and spring the tender
shoots of the food-plants, as well as the great trees. To the native
Mexican, the Earth was the provider of food and drink, the common Father
of All; so that to this day, when he would take a solemn oath, he stoops
to the earth, touches it with his hand, and repeats the solemn formula:
_Cuix amo nechitla in toteotzin?_ “Does not our Great God see me?”

=25.= The identity of the Tepeyollotl of the Nahuas and the Votan of the
Tzentals is shown not only in the oneness of meaning of the names, but
in the fact that both represent the _third_ day in the ritual calendar.
For this reason I take it, we find the number _three_ so generally a
sacred number in the symbolism of the nagualists. We have already
learned in the extract from Nuñez de la Vega that the neophytes were
instructed in classes of three. To this day in Soteapan the fasts and
festivals appointed by the native ministrants are three days in
duration.[41-†] The semi-Christianized inhabitants of the Sierra of
Nayerit, the Nahuatl-speaking Chotas, continued in the last century to
venerate three divinities, the Dawn, the Stone and the Serpent;[41-‡]
analogous to a similar “trinity” noted by Father Duran among the ancient

The number _nine_, that is, 3 x 3, recurs so frequently in the
conjuration formulas of the Mexican sorcerers that de la Serna exclaims:
“It was the Devil himself who inculcated into them this superstition
about the number nine.”[41-‖]

The other number sacred to the nagualists was _seven_. I have, in a
former essay, given various reasons for believing that this was not
derived from the seven days of the Christian week, but directly from the
native calendar.[42-*] Nuñez de la Vega tells us that the patron of the
seventh day was _Cuculcan_, “the Feathered Serpent,” and that many
nagualists chose him as their special protector. As already seen, in
Guatemala the child finally accepted its _naual_ when seven years old;
and among some of the Nahuatl tribes of Mexico the _tonal_ and the
calendar name was formally assigned on the seventh day after
birth.[42-†] From similar impressions the Cakchiquels of Guatemala
maintained that when the lightning strikes the earth the “thunder stone”
sinks into the soil, but rises to the surface after seven

The three and the seven were the ruling numbers in the genealogical
trees of the Pipiles of San Salvador. The “tree” was painted with
_seven_ branches representing degrees of relationship within which
marriage was forbidden unless a man had performed some distinguished
exploit in war, when he could marry beyond the nearest _three_ degrees
of relationship.[42-§] Another combination of 3 and 7, by
multiplication, explains the customs among the Mixes of deserting for 21
days a house in which a death has occurred.[42-‖]

The indications are that the nagualists derived these numbers from the
third and seventh days of the calendar “month” of twenty days.
Tepeololtec, the Cave God, was patron of the third day and also “Lord of
Animals,” the transformation into which was the test of nagualistic
power.[42-¶] Tlaloc, god of the mountains and the rains, to whom the
seventh day was hallowed, was represented by the nagualistic symbol of a
snake doubled and twisted on itself, and was generally portrayed in
connection with the “Feathered Serpent” (Quetzalcoatl, Cuculchan,
Gukumatz, all names meaning this), represented as carrying his medicine
bag, _xiquipilli_, and incensory, the apparatus of the native
illuminati, his robe marked with the sign of the cross to show that he
was Lord of the Four Winds and of Life.[43-*]

=26.= The nagualistic rites were highly symbolic, and the symbols used had
clearly defined meanings, which enable us to analyze the religious ideas
underlying this mysterious cult.

The most important symbol was Fire. It was regarded as the primal
element and the immediate source of life. Father Nicolas de Leon has the
following suggestive passage in this connection:

     “If any of their old superstitions has remained more deeply rooted
     than another in the hearts of these Indians, both men and women, it
     is this about fire and its worship, and about making new fire and
     preserving it for a year in secret places. We should be on the
     watch for this, and when in their confessions they speak of what
     the Fire said and how the Fire wept, expressions which we are apt
     to pass by as unintelligible, we must lay our hands on them for
     reprehension. We should also be on the watch for their baptism by
     Fire, a ceremony called the _yiahuiltoca_,[43-†] shortly after
     the birth of a child when they bestow on it the surnames; nor must
     the lying-in women and their assistants be permitted to speak of
     Fire as the father and mother of all things and the author of
     nature; because it is a common saying with them that Fire is
     present at the birth and death of every creature.”

This curious ceremony derived its name from the _yiahuitli_, a plant not
unlike the absinthe, the powdered leaves of which, according to Father
Sahagun, the natives were accustomed to throw into the flames as an
offering to the fire.[43-‡] Long after the conquest, and probably to
this day, the same custom prevails in Mexico, the fumes and odor of the
burning leaves being considered very salubrious and purifying to the air
of the sick room[TN-4][43-§]

The word _yiahuiltoca_ means “the throwing of the _yiauhtli_” (from
_toca_, to throw upon with the hands). Another name for the ceremony,
according to Father Vetancurt, who wrote a century later than Leon, was
_apehualco_, which has substantially the same meaning, “a throwing upon”
or “a throwing away.”[44-*] He adds the interesting particulars that it
was celebrated on the fourth day after the birth of the child, during
which time it was deemed essential to keep the fire burning in the
house, but not to permit any of it to be carried out, as that would
bring bad luck to the child.

Jacinto de la Serna also describes this ceremony, to which he gives the
name _tlecuixtliliztli_, “which means that they pass the infant over the
fire;” and elsewhere he adds: “The worship of fire is the greatest
stumbling-block to these wretched idolaters.”[44-†]

=27.= Other ceremonies connected with fire worship took place in
connection with the manufacture of the pulque, or _octli_, the fermented
liquor obtained from the sap of the maguey plant. The writer just
quoted, de Vetancurt, states that the natives in his day, when they had
brewed the new pulque and it was ready to be drunk, first built a fire,
walked in procession around it and threw some of the new liquor into the
flames, chanting the while an invocation to the god of inebriation,
Tezcatzoncatl, to descend and be present with them.

This was distinctly a survival of an ancient doctrine which connected
the God of Fire with the Gods of Drunkenness, as we may gather from the
following quotation from the history composed by Father Diego Duran:

     “The _octli_ was a favorite offering to the gods, and especially to
     the God of Fire. Sometimes it was placed before a fire in vases,
     sometimes it was scattered upon the flames with a brush, at other
     times it was poured out around the fireplace.”[45-*]

=28.= The high importance of the fire ceremonies in the secret rituals of
the modern Mayas is plainly evident from the native Calendars, although
their signification has eluded the researches of students, even of the
laborious Pio Perez, who was so intimately acquainted with their
language and customs. In these Calendars the fire-priest is constantly
referred to as _ah-toc_, literally “the fire-master.” The rites he
celebrates recur at regular intervals of twenty days (the length of one
native month) apart. They are four in number. On the first he takes the
fire; on the second he kindles the fire; on the third he gives it free
play, and on the fourth he extinguishes it. A period of five days is
then allowed to elapse, when these ceremonies are recommenced in the
same order. Whatever their meaning, they are so important that in the
_Buk Xoc_, or General Computation of the Calendar, preserved in the
mystic “Books of Chilan Balam,” there are special directions for these
fire-masters to reckon the proper periods for the exercise of their
strange functions.[45-†]

=29.= What, now, was the sentiment which underlay this worship of fire? I
think that the facts quoted, and especially the words of Father de Leon,
leave no doubt about it. Fire was worshiped as the life-giver, the
active generator, of animate existence. This idea was by no means
peculiar to them. It repeatedly recurs in Sanskrit, in Greek and in
Teutonic mythology, as has been ably pointed out by Dr. Hermann
Cohen.[45-‡] The fire-god Agni (_ignis_) is in the Vedas the Maker of
men; Prometheus steals the fire from heaven that he may with it animate
the human forms he has moulded of clay; even the connection of the
pulque with the fire is paralleled in Greek mythos, where Dionysos is
called _Pyrigenes_, the “fire-born.”

Among the ancient Aztecs the god of fire was called the oldest of gods,
_Huehueteotl_, and also “Our Father,” _Tota_, as it was believed from
him all things were derived.[46-*] Both among them and the Mayas, as I
have pointed out in a previous work, he was supposed to govern the
generative proclivities and the sexual relations.[46-†] Another of his
names was _Xiuhtecutli_, which can be translated “God of the Green
Leaf,” that is, of vegetable fecundity and productiveness.[46-‡]

To transform themselves into a globe or ball of fire was, as we have
seen (antè, p. 21), a power claimed by expert nagualists, and to handle
it with impunity, or to blow it from the mouth, was one of their
commonest exhibitions. Nothing so much proved their superiority as thus
to master this potent element.

=30.= The same name above referred to, “the Heart of the Town,” or “of the
Hills,” was that which at a comparatively late date was applied to an
idol of green stone preserved with religious care in a cavern in the
Cerro de Monopostiac, not far from San Francisco del Mar. The spot is
still believed by the natives to be enchanted ground and protected by
superhuman powers.[46-§]

These green stones, called _chalchiuitl_, of jadeite, nephrite, green
quartz, or the like, were accounted of peculiar religious significance
throughout southern Mexico, and probably to this day many are preserved
among the indigenous population as amulets and charms. They were often
carved into images, either in human form or representing a frog, the
latter apparently the symbol of the waters and of fertility. Bartholomè
de Alva refers to them in a passage of his Confessionary. The priest
asks the penitent:

     “Dost thou possess at this very time little idols of green stone,
     or frogs made of it (_in chalchiuh coconeme, chalchiuh

     “Dost thou put them out in the sun to be warmed? Dost thou keep
     them wrapped in cotton coverings, with great respect and

     “Dost thou believe, and hold for very truth, that these green
     stones give thee food and drink, even as thy ancestors believed,
     who died in their idolatry? Dost thou believe that they give thee
     success and prosperity and good things, and all that them hast or
     wishest? Because we know very well that many of you so believe at
     this very time.”[47-*]

Down to quite a recent date, and perhaps still, these green stones are
employed in certain ceremonies in vogue among the Indians of Oaxaca in
order to ensure a plenteous maize harvest. The largest ear of corn in
the field is selected and wrapped up in a cloth with some of these
chalchiuite. At the next corn-planting it is taken to the field and
buried in the soil. This is believed to be a relic of the worship of the
ancient Zapotec divinity, Quiegolani, who presided over cultivated

They are still in use among the natives as lucky stones or amulets. In
the Zotzil insurrection of 1869, already referred to, one was found
suspended to the neck of one of the slain Indians. It came into the
possession of M. Maler, who has described and figured it.[47-‡] It
represents a human head with a curious expression and a singular

From specimens of these amulets preserved in museums it is seen that any
greenish stone was selected, preferably those yielding a high, vitreous
polish, as jadeite, turquoise, emerald, chlormelanite or precious
serpentine. The color gave the sacred character, and this, it seems to
me, was distinctly meant to be symbolic of water and its effects, the
green of growing plants, and hence of fertility, abundance and

=31.= There is another symbol, still venerated among the present
indigenous population, which belongs to Nagualism, and is a survival
from the ancient cult; this is the Tree. The species held in especial
respect is the ceiba, the silk-cotton tree, the _ytzamatl_ (knife-leaved
paper tree) of the Nahuas, the _yax che_ (green, or first tree) of the
Mayas, the _Bombax ceiba_ of the botanists. It is of great size and
rapid growth. In Southern Mexico and Central America one is to be seen
near many of the native villages, and is regarded as in some way the
protecting genius of the town.

Sacred trees were familiar to the old Mexican cult, and, what is
curious, the same name was applied to such as to the fire, _Tota_, Our
Father. They are said to have represented the gods of woods and
waters.[48-*] In the ancient mythology we often hear of the “tree of
life,” represented to have four branches, each sacred to one of the four
cardinal points and the divinities associated therewith.

The conventionalized form of this tree in the Mexican figurative
paintings strongly resembles a cross. Examples of it are numerous and
unmistakable, as, for instance, the cruciform tree of life rising from a
head with a protruding tongue, in the Vienna Codex.[48-†]

=32.= Thus, the sign of the cross, either the form with equal arms known
as the cross of St. Andrew, which is the oldest Christian form, or the
Latin cross, with its arms of unequal length, came to be the ideogram
for “life” in the Mexican hieroglyphic writing; and as such, with more
or less variants, was employed to signify the _tonalli_ or _nagual_, the
sign of nativity, the natal day, the personal spirit.[48-‡] The ancient
document called the Mappe Quinatzin offers examples, and its meaning is
explained by various early writers. The peculiar character of the
Mexican ritual calendar, by which nativities were calculated, favored a
plan of representing them in the shape of a cross; as we see in the
singular _Codex Cruciformis_ of the Boturini-Goupil collection.

=33.= But the doctrines of Nagualism had a phase even more detestable to
the missionaries than any of these, an esoteric phase, which brought it
into relation to the libidinous cults of Babylon and the orgies of the
“Witches’ Sabbaths” of the Dark Ages. Of these occult practices we of
course have no detailed descriptions, but there are hints and
half-glances which leave us in no doubt.

When the mysterious metamorphosis of the individual into his or her
_nagual_ was about to take place, the person must strip to absolute
nudity;[49-*] and the lascivious fury of bands of naked Nagualists,
meeting in remote glades by starlight or in the dark recesses of caves,
dancing before the statues of the ancient gods, were scenes that stirred
the fanaticism of the Spanish missionaries to its highest pitch. Bishop
Landa informs us that in Yucatan the dance there known as the _naual_
was one of the few in which both men and women took part, and that it
“was not very decent.” It was afterwards prohibited by the priests. We
have excellent authority that such wild rites continued well into the
present century, close to the leading cities of the State,[49-†] and
it is highly likely that they are not unknown to-day.

=34.= Moreover, it is certain that among the Nagualists, one of their
most revered symbols was the _serpent_; in Chiapas, one of their highest
orders of the initiated was that of the _chanes_, or serpents. Not only
is this in Christian symbolism the form and sign of the Prince of Evil
and the enemy of God, but the missionaries were aware that in the
astrological symbols of ancient Mexico the serpent represented the
_phallus_; that it was regarded as the most potent of all the
signs;[49-‡] and modern research has shown, contrary to the opinion long
held, that there was among these nations an extraordinary and extensive
worship of the reciprocal principle of nature, associated with numerous
phallic emblems.[49-§]

Huge phalli of stone have been discovered, one, for instance, on the
Cerro de las Navajas, not far from the city of Mexico, and another in
the State of Hidalgo.[50-*] Probably they were used in some such
ceremonies as Oviedo describes among the Nahuas of Nicaragua, where the
same symbol was represented by conical mounds of earth, around which at
certain seasons the women danced with libidinous actions. Although as a
general rule the pottery of ancient Mexico avoids obscenity, Brasseur
stated that he had seen many specimens of a contrary character from
certain regions,[50-†] and Dr. Berendt has copied several striking
examples, showing curious _yoni_ symbols, which are now in my

We may explain these as in some way connected with the worship of
Pantecatl, the male divinity who presided over profligate love, and of
Tlazolteotl, the _Venus Impudica_ of the Aztec pantheon; and it is not
without significance that the cave-temple of Votan, whose contents were
destroyed by the Bishop of Chiapas, in 1691 (see above, p. 39), was
located at _Tlazoaloyan_, both names being derived from a root
signifying sexual action.[50-‡] The other name of the divinity, called
“the Heart of the Hills,” is in Quiche, Alom, “he who begets,” and the
Zapotec Cozaana, another analogue of the same deity, is translated by
Seler, “the Begetter.” Such facts indicate how intimately the esoteric
doctrines of Nagualism were related to the worship of the reproductive
powers of nature.

=35.= It will readily be understood from what has been said that Nagualism
was neither a pure descendant of the ancient cults, nor yet a derivative
from Christian doctrines and European superstitions. It was a strange
commingling of both, often in grotesque and absurd forms. In fact, the
pretended Christianity of the native population of Mexico to-day is
little more than a figment, according to the testimony of the most
competent observers.[50-§]

The rituals and prayers of the nagualists bear witness to this. It is
very visible in those I have quoted from Nuñez de la Vega, and I can
add an interesting example of it which has not heretofore been
published. I take it from the MSS. of Father Vicente Hernandez Spina,
cura of Ixtlavacan, in Guatemala, a remote village of the Quiches. He
wrote it down in the native tongue about forty years ago, as recited by
an _ah-kih_, “reader of days,” a native master of the genethliac art,
who had composed it in favor of a client who had asked his intercession.

     _Prayer of an Ah-Kih._

     “O Jesus Christ my God: thou God the Son, with the Father and the
     Holy Spirit, art my only God. Today, on this day, at this hour, on
     this day Tihax, I call upon the holy souls which accompany the
     sun-rising and the sun-setting of the day: with these holy souls I
     call upon thee, O chief of the genii, thou who dwellest in this
     mountain of Siba Raxquin; come, ye holy spirits of Juan Vachiac, of
     Don Domingo Vachiac, of Juan Ixquiaptap, the holy souls of
     Francisco Excoquieh, of Diego Soom, of Juan Fay, of Alonzo Tzep; I
     call the holy souls of Diego Tziquin and of Don Pedro Noh: you, O
     priests, to whom all things are revealed, and thou, chief of the
     genii, you, lords of the mountains, lords of the plains, thou, Don
     Purupeto Martin, come, accept this incense, accept to-day this

     “Come also, my mother Holy Mary, the Lord of Esquipulas, the Lord
     of Capetagua, the beloved Mary of Chiantla, with her who dwells at
     San Lorenzo, and also Mary of Sorrows, Mary Saint Anna, Mary
     Tibureia, Mary of Carmen, with Saint Michael the Archangel, the
     captain St. James, St. Christoval, St. Sebastian, St. Nicolas, St.
     Bonaventura, St. Bernardin, St. Andrew, St. Thomas, St.
     Bartholomew, and thou my beloved mother St. Catherine, thou beloved
     Mary of the Conception, Mary of the Rosary, thou lord and king
     Pascual, be here present.

     “And thou, Frost, and thou, excellent Wind, thou, God of the plain,
     thou, God of Quiac-Basulup, thou, God of Retal-Uleu, thou, lord of
     San Gregorio, thou, lord of Chii-Masa. [These are mountains and
     localities, and in the original there follow the names of more than
     a hundred others. The prayer concludes as follows:]

     “... I who appoint myself godfather and godmother, I who ask, I the
     witness and brother of this man who asks, of this man who makes
     himself, your son, O holy souls, I ask, do not let any evil happen
     unto him, nor let him be unhappy for any cause.

     “I the priest, I who speak, I who burn this incense, I who light
     this candle, I who pray for him, I who take him under my
     protection, I ask you that he may obtain his subsistence with
     facility. Thou, God, canst provide him with money; let him not fall
     ill of fever; I ask that he shall not become paralytic; that he
     may not choke with severe coughing; that he be not bitten by a
     serpent; that he become neither bloated nor asthmatic; that he do
     not go mad; that he be not bitten by a dog; that he be not struck
     by lightning; that he be not choked with brandy; that he be not
     killed with iron, nor by a stick, and that he be not carried off by
     an eagle; guard him, O clouds; aid him, O lightning; aid him, O
     thunder; aid him, St. Peter; aid him, St. Paul; aid him, eternal

     “And I who up to this time have spoken for him to you, I ask you
     that sickness may visit his enemies. So order it, that when his
     enemies go forth from their houses, they may meet sickness; order
     it, that wherever they go, they may meet troubles; do your offices
     of injury to them, wheresoever they are met; do this that I pray, O
     holy souls. God be with you; God the Father, God the Son, God the
     Holy Spirit: Amen, Jesus.”

Most of such invocations are expressed in terms far more recondite and
symbolic than the above. We have many such preserved in the work of
Jacinto de la Serna, which supply ample material to acquaint us with the
peculiarities of the sacred and secret language of the nagualists. I
shall quote but one, that employed in the curious ceremony of “calling
back the _tonal_,” referred to on a previous page. I append an
explanation of its obscure metaphors.

     _Invocation for the Restitution of the Tonal._

     “Ho there! Come to my aid, mother mine of the skirt of precious
     stones![1] What keeps thee away, gray ghost, white ghost?[2] Is the
     obstacle white, or is it yellow? See, I place here the yellow
     enchantment and the white enchantment.[3]

     “I, the Master of the Masters of enchantments, have come, I, who
     formed thee and gave thee life.[4] Thou, mother mine of the starry
     skirt, thou, goddess of the stars, who givest life, why hast thou
     turned against this one?[5]

     “Adverse spirit and darkened star, I shall sink thee in the breadth
     and depth of the waters.[6] I, master of spells, speak to
     thee[TN-5] Ho there! Mother mine, whose skirt is made of gems,
     come, seek with me the shining spirit who dwells in the house of
     light,[7] that we may know what god or mighty power thus destroys
     and crushes to earth this unfortunate one. Green and black spirit
     of sickness, leave him and seek thy prey elsewhere.

     “Green and yellow ghost, who art wandering, as if lost, over
     mountains and plains, I seek thee, I desire thee; return to him
     whom thou hast abandoned. Thou, the nine times beaten, the nine
     times smitten, see that thou fail me not.[8] Come hither, mother
     mine, whose robe is of precious gems; one water, two waters; one
     rabbit, two rabbits; one deer, two deers; one alligator, two

     “Lo! I myself am here; I am most furious; I make the loudest noise
     of all; I respect no one; even sticks and stones tremble before me.
     What god or mighty power dare face me, me, a child of gods and
     goddesses?[10] I have come to seek and call back the _tonal_ of
     this sick one, wherever it is, whithersoever it has wandered, be it
     nine times wandered, even unto the nine junctures and the nine
     unions.[11] Wherever it is, I summon it to return, I order it to
     return, and to heal and clean this heart and this head.”


     1. The appeal is to Water, regarded as the universal Mother. The
     “skirt of precious stones” refers to the green of the precious
     green stones, a color sacred to water.

     2. The question is addressed to the _tonal_.

     3. The yellow enchantment is tobacco; the white, a cup of water.

     4. That is, assigned the form of the nagual belonging to the sick

     5. This appeal is directed to the Milky Way.

     6. The threat is addressed to the _tonal_, to frighten it into

     7. The “shining spirit” is the Fire-god.

     8. The yellow tobacco, prepared ceremonially in the manner

     9. These are names of days in the native calendar which are

     10. The priest speaks in the person of his god.

     11. Referring to the Nahuatl belief that there are nine upper and
     nine under worlds.

From the same work of de la Serna I collect the following list of
symbolic expressions. It might easily be extended, but these will be
sufficient to show the figurative obscurities which they threw around
their formulas of conjuration, but which were by no means devoid of
coherence and instruction to those who could understand them.

     _Symbolic Expressions of the Nagualists._

     _Blood._--“The red woman with snakes on her gown” (referring to the

     _Copal Gum._--“The white woman” (from the whitish color of the
     fresh gum).

     _Cords_ (for carrying burdens).--“The snake that does woman’s work”
     (because women sit still to knit, and the cord works while itself
     is carried).

     _Drunkenness._--“My resting time,” or “when I am getting my

     _The Earth._--“The mirror that smokes” (because of the mists that
     rise from it); “the rabbit with its mouth upward” (the rabbit, in
     opposition to the one they see in the moon; with its mouth upward,
     because of the mists which rise from it like the breath exhaled
     from the mouth); “the flower which contains everything” (as all
     fruit proceeds from flowers, so does all vegetable life proceed
     from the earth, which is therefore spoken of as a flower); “the
     flower which bites the mouths” (a flower, for the reason given; it
     eats the mouths, because all things necessarily return to it, and
     are swallowed by it).

     _Fingers._--“The five fates,” or “the five works,” or “the five
     fields” (because by the use of his fingers man works out his own
     destiny. Hence also the worship of the Hand among the Nahuas as the
     god Maitl, and among the Mayas as the god Kab, both which words
     mean “hand”).

     _Fire._--“Our Father of the Four Reeds” (because the ceremony of
     making the new fire was held on the day Four Reeds, 4 Acatl); “the
     shining rose;” “the yellow flyer;” “the red-haired one;” “the
     yellow spirit.”

     _A Knife of Copper._--“The yellow Chichimec” (because the
     Chichimecs were alleged to tear out the bowels of their enemies).

     _The Maguey Plant._--“My sister, the eight in a row” (because it
     was planted in this manner).

     _A Road._--“That which is divided in two, and yet has neither
     beginning, middle nor end” (because it always lies in two
     directions from a person, and yet all roads lead into others and
     thus never end).

     _Sickness._--“The red woman;” “the breath of the flame;” “our
     mother the comet” (all referring to the fever); “the Chichimec”
     (because it aims to destroy life, like these savage warriors); “the
     spider” (because of its venomous nature).

     _Smoke._--“The old wife” (_i. e._, of the fire).

     _The Sun._--“Our holy and pockified Uncle” (referring to the myth
     of Nanahuatl, who was syphilitic, and leaping into the flames of a
     fire rose as the sun).

     _Tobacco._--“The nine (or seven) times beaten” (because for sacred
     purposes it was rubbed up this number of times); “the enchanted
     gray one” (from its color and use in conjuring).

     _Water._--“The Green Woman” (from the greenness which follows
     moisture); “our Mother, whose robe is of precious stones” (from the
     green or vegetable life resembling the turquoise, emerald, jade,

=36.= It might be asked how the dark arts and secret ceremonies of the
Nagualists escaped the prying eyes of the officers of the Holy
Inquisition, which was established in Mexico in 1571. The answer is,
that the inquisitors were instructed by Cardinal Diego de Espinosa, who
at that time was Inquisitor General and President of the Council of the
Indies, “to abstain from proceedings against Indians, because of their
stupidity and incapacity, as well as scant instruction in the Holy
Catholic faith, for the crimes of heresy, apostasy, heretical blasphemy,
sorcery, incantations, superstitions,” etc.

Energetic inquisitors, however, conceded very grudgingly this exemption.
In the imposing _auto de fé_ celebrated in the city of Mexico, in 1659,
a half-breed, Bernardo del Carpio by name, son of a full-blood Indian
mother, accused of blasphemy, etc., endeavored to escape the Holy Office
by pleading his Indian blood; but his appeal was disallowed, and the
precedent established that any admixture whatever of European blood
brought the accused within the jurisdiction of the Inquisition.[55-*]
Even this seems to have been a concession, for we find the record of an
_auto de fé_ held in 1609, in the province of Tehuantepec, in which
eight full-blood natives were punished for worshiping the goddess
Pinopiaa.[55-†] Mr. David Ferguson, however, who has studied extensively
the records of the inquisition in Mexico, informs me that in none of the
trials read by him has he observed any charges of Nagualism, although
many white persons were accused, and some tried, for consulting Indian

=37.= It will be seen from what I have said, that the rites of Nagualism
extended as widely as did the term over Mexico and Central America. It
becomes, therefore, of importance to discover from what linguistic stock
this term and its associated words are derived. From that source it is
reasonable to suppose the rites of this superstition also had their

The opinions on this subject have been diverse and positive. Most
writers have assumed that it is a Nahuatl, or pure Mexican, word; while
an eminent authority, Dr. Stoll, is not less certain that it is from a
radical belonging to the neighboring great stock of the Mayan dialects,
and especially the Quiche, of Guatemala.[55-‡] Perhaps both these
positions are erroneous, and we must look elsewhere for the true
etymology of these expressions. Unquestionably they had become
domesticated in both Maya and Nahuatl; but there is some reason to think
they were loan-words, belonging to another, and perhaps more venerable,
civilization than either of these nations could claim.

To illustrate this I shall subjoin several series of words derived from
the same radical which is at the basis of the word nagual, the series,
three in number, being taken from the three radically diverse, though
geographically contiguous, linguistic stocks, the Maya, the Zapotec and
the Nahuatl.

     _From the Maya, of Yucatan._

     _Naual_, or _nautal_, a native dance, forbidden by the

     _Naatil_, talent, skill, ability.

     _Naat_, intelligence, wisdom.

     _Naatah_, to understand, to divine.

     _Nanaol_, to consider, to contemplate, to meditate, to commune with
       oneself, to enter into oneself.

     _Noh_, great, skillful; as _noh ahceh_, a skillful hunter.

     _From Maya Dialects._


     _Naual_, a witch or sorcerer.

     _Naualin_, to tell fortunes, to predict the future.

     _Qui naualin_, to sacrifice, to offer sacrifices.

     _Na_, to feel, to suspect, to divine, to think in one’s heart.

     _Nao_, to know, to be alert or expert in something.

     _Naol_, a skillful person, a rhetorician.

     _Naotizan_, to make another intelligent or astute.

     _Natal_, the memory.

     _Natub_, the soul or shadow of a man.

     _Noh_, the god of reason (“Genius der Vernunft,” Scherzer).

     _Noh_, to fecundate, to impregnate (_Popol Vuh_).


     _X-qna_, to know.

     _X-qnaulai_, to know often or thoroughly (frequentative).

     _Naom_, wise, astute (_naom vinic_, hombre sabio).

     _Naoghi_, art, science.

     _Naoghibal_, memory.

     _Ghnaoghel_, a wise man.

     _Alaghom naom_, the Goddess of Wisdom.

     _From the Zapotec, of Oaxaca_.

     _Nana_, _gana_, _gona_, to know.

     _Nona_, to know thoroughly, to retain in the memory.

     _Nana ticha_, or _nona lii_, a wise man.

     _Guela nana_, or _guela nona_, wisdom, knowledge.

     _Hue gona_, or _ro gona_, a teacher, a master.

     _Na lii_, truth; _ni na lii_, that which is true.

     _Naciña_, or _naciina_, skill, dexterity.

     _Hui naa_, a medicine man, a “nagualist.”

     _Nahaa_, to speak pleasantly or agreeably.

     _Nayaa_, or _nayapi_, to speak easily or fluently.

     _Rigoo gona_, to sacrifice, to offer sacrifice.

     _Ni nana_, the understanding, the intelligence, generally.

     _Nayanii_, the superior reason of man.

     _Nayaa_,  } superiority, a superior man (gentileza, gentil hombre).
     _Naguii_, }

     _From the Nahuatl, of Mexico_.

     _Naua_, to dance, holding each other by the hands.

     _Naualli_, a sorcerer, magician, enchanter.

     _Nauallotl_, magic, enchantment, witchcraft.

     _Nauatl_, or _nahuatl_, skillful, astute, smart; hence, superior;
       applied to language, clear, well-sounding, whence (perhaps) the
       name of the tongue.

     _Nauati_, to speak clearly and distinctly.

     _Nauatlato_, an interpreter.

=38.= I believe that no one can carefully examine these lists of words,
all taken from authorities well acquainted with the several tongues, and
writing when they still retained their original purity, without
acknowledging that the same radical or syllable underlies them all; and
further, that from the primitive form and rich development of this
radical in the Zapotec, it looks as if we must turn to it to recognize
the origin of all these expressions, both in the Nahuatl and the Maya
linguistic stocks.

The root _na_, to know, is the primitive monosyllabic stem to which we
trace all of them. _Nahual_ means knowledge, especially mystic
knowledge, the Gnosis, the knowledge of the hidden and secret things of
nature; easily enough confounded in uncultivated minds with sorcery and

It is very significant that neither the radical _na_ nor any of its
derivatives are found in the Huasteca dialect of the Mayan tongue, which
was spoken about Tampico, far removed from other members of the stock.
The inference is that in the southern dialects it was a borrowed stem.

Nor in the Nahuatl language--although its very name is derived from
it[58-*]--does the radical _na_ appear in its simplicity and true
significance. To the Nahuas, also, it must have been a loan.

It is true that de la Serna derives the Mexican _naualli_, a sorcerer,
from the verb _nahualtia_, to mask or disguise oneself, “because a
_naualli_ is one who masks or disguises himself under the form of some
lower animal, which is his _nagual_;”[58-†] but it is altogether likely
that _nahualtia_ derived its meaning from the custom of the medicine men
to wear masks during their ceremonies.

Therefore, if the term _nagual_, and many of its associates and
derivatives, were at first borrowed from the Zapotec language, a
necessary corrollary[TN-6] of this conclusion is, that along with these
terms came most of the superstitions, rites and beliefs to which they
allude; which thus became grafted on the general tendency to such
superstitions existing everywhere and at all times in the human mind.

Along with the names of the days and the hieroglyphs which mark them,
and the complicated arithmetical methods by means of which they were
employed, were carried most of the doctrines of the Nagualists, and the
name by which they in time became known from central Mexico quite to
Nicaragua and beyond.

The mysterious words have now, indeed, lost much of their ancient
significance. In a recent dictionary of the Spanish of Mexico _nagual_
is defined as “a witch; a word used to frighten children and make them
behave,”[58-‡] while in Nicaragua, where the former Nahuatl population
has left so many traces of its presence in the language of to-day, the
word _nagual_ no longer means an actor in the black art, or a knowledge
of it, but his or her armamentarium, or the box, jar or case in which
are kept the professional apparatus, the talismans and charms, which
constitute the stock in trade or outfit of the necromancer.[59-*]

Among the Lacandons, of Mayan stock, who inhabit the forests on the
upper waters of the Usumacinta river, at the present day the term
_naguate_ or _nagutlat_ is said to be applied to any one “who is
entitled to respect and obedience by age and merit;”[59-†] but in all
probability he is also believed to possess superior and occult

=39.= All who have any acquaintance with the folk-lore of the world are
aware that the notion of men and women having the power to change
themselves into beasts is as wide as superstition itself and older than
history. It is mentioned in the pages of Herodotus and in the myths of
ancient Assyria. It is the property of African negroes, and the
peasantry of Europe still hold to their faith in the reality of the
were-wolf of Germany, the _loup-garou_ of France and the _lupo mannaro_
of Italy. Dr. Richard Andrée well says in his interesting study of the
subject: “He who would explain the origin of this strange superstition
must not approach it as a national or local manifestation, but as one
universal in its nature; not as the property of one race or family, but
of the species and its psychology at large.”[59-‡]

Even in such a detail as the direct connection of the name of the person
with his power of change do we find extraordinary parallelisms between
the superstition of the red man of America and the peasant of Germany.
As in Mexico the _nagual_ was assigned to the infant by a form of
baptism, so in Europe the peasants of east Prussia hold that if the
godparent at the time of naming and baptism thinks of a wolf, the infant
will acquire the power of becoming one; and in Hesse to pronounce the
name of the person in the presence of the animal into which he has been
changed will restore him to human shape.[59-§]

=40.= I need not say that the doctrine of personal spirits is not
especially Mexican, nor yet American; it belongs to man in general, and
can be recognized in most religions and many philosophies. In ancient
Greece both the Platonicians and later the Neo-Platonicians thought that
each individual has a particular spirit, or _daimōn_, in whom is
enshrined his or her moral personality. To this _daimōn_ he should
address his prayers, and should listen heedfully to those interior
promptings which seem to arise in the mind from some unseen silent

Many a member of the Church of Rome substitutes for the _daimōn_ of
the Platonists the patron saint after whom he is named, or whom he has
chosen from the calendar, the hagiology, of his Church. This analogy did
not fail to strike the early missionaries, and they saw in the Indian
priest selecting the _nagual_ of the child a hideous and diabolical
caricature of the holy rites.

But what was their horror when they found that the similarity proceeded
so far that the pagan priest also performed a kind of baptismal
sacrament with water; and that in the Mexican picture-writing the sign
which represents the natal day, the _tonal_, by which the individual
demon is denoted, was none other than the sign of the cross, as we have
seen. This left no doubt as to the devilish origin of the whole
business, which was further supported by the wondrous thaumaturgic
powers of its professors.

=41.= How are we to explain these marvelous statements? It will not do to
take the short and easy road of saying they are all lies and frauds. The
evidence is too abundant for us to doubt that there was skillful
jugglery among the proficients in the occult arts among those nations.
They could rival their colleagues in the East Indies and Europe, if not
surpass them.

Moreover, is there anything incredible in the reports of the spectators?
Are we not familiar with the hypnotic or mesmeric conditions in which
the subject sees, hears and feels just what the master tells him to feel
and see? The tricks of cutting oneself or others, of swallowing broken
glass, of handling venomous reptiles, are well-known performances of the
sect of the Aissaoua in northern Africa, and nowadays one does not have
to go off the boulevards of Paris to see them repeated. The phenomena of
thought transference, of telepathy, of clairvoyance, of spiritual
rappings, do but reiterate under the clear light of the close of the
nineteenth century the mystical thaumaturgy with which these children of
nature were familiar centuries ago in the New World, and which are
recorded of the theosophists and magicians of Egypt, Greece and
Rome.[61-*] So long as many intelligent and sensible people among
ourselves find all explanations of these modern phenomena inadequate and
unsatisfactory, we may patiently wait for a complete solution of those
of a greater antiquity.

=42.= The conclusion to which this study of Nagualism leads is, that it
was not merely the belief in a personal guardian spirit, as some have
asserted; not merely a survival of fragments of the ancient heathenism,
more or less diluted by Christian teachings, as others have maintained;
but that above and beyond these, it was a powerful secret organization,
extending over a wide area, including members of different languages and
varying culture, bound together by mystic rites, by necromantic powers
and occult doctrines; but, more than all, by one intense emotion--hatred
of the whites--and by one unalterable purpose--that of their
destruction, and with them the annihilation of the government and
religion which they had introduced.


[4-*] These words occur a number of times in the English translation,
published at London in 1822, of Dr. Paul Felix Cabrera’s _Teatro Critico
Americano_. The form _nagual_ instead of _nahual_, or _naual_, or
_nawal_ has been generally adopted and should be preferred.

[4-†] For instance, in “The Names of the Gods in the Kiche Myths,” pp.
21, 22, in _Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society_, 1881;
_Annals of the Cakchiquels_, Introduction, p. 46; _Essays of an
Americanist_, p. 170, etc.

[5-*] _Historia de las Indias Occidentales_, Dec. iv, Lib. viii, cap. 4.

[5-†] More especially it is the territory of the Chorti dialect, spoken
to this day in the vicinity of the famous ancient city of Copan,
Honduras. Cerquin lies in the mountains nearly due east of this
celebrated site. On the Chorti, see Stoll, _Zur Ethnographie der
Republik Guatemala_, pp. 106-9.

[6-*] Bernardino de Sahagun, _Historia de la Nueva España_, Lib. x, cap.

[6-†] Derived from _teciuhtlaza_, to conjure against hail, itself from
_teciuh_, hail. Alonso de Molina, _Vocabulario Mexicano_, sub voce.

[6-‡] Bautista, _Advertencias para los Confesores_, fol. 112 (Mexico,

[6-§] Nicolas de Leon, _Camino del Cielo_, fol. 111 (Mexico, 1611).

[7-*] Paso y Troncoso, in _Anales del Museo Nacionàl[TN-7] de Mexico_,
Tom. iii, p. 180.

[7-†] Sahagun, _Historia de Nueva España_, Lib. x, cap. 29, and Lib. xi,
cap. 7. Hernandez has the following on the mysterious properties of this
plant: “Illud ferunt de hac radice mirabile (si modo fides sit
vulgatissimæ inter eos rei habendæ), devorantes illam quodlibet
prsæsagire prædicereque; velut an sequenti die hostes sint impetum in
eos facturi? Anne illos felicia maneant tempora? Quis supellectilem, aut
aliud quidpiam furto subripruerit? Et ad hunc modum alia, quibus
Chichimecæ hujusmodi medicamine cognoscendis.” Franciscus Hernandus,
_Historia Plantarum Novæ Hispaniæ_, Tom. iii, p. 71 (Ed., Madrid, 1790).

[7-‡] _Diccionario Universal_, Appendice, Tom. i, p. 360 (Mexico, 1856).

[8-*] _Confessionario Mayor y Menor en lengua Mexicana_, fol. 8, verso
(Mexico, 1634).

[8-†] Vetancurt, _Teatro Mexicano_, Trat. iii, cap. 9.

[8-‡] Hernandez, _Historia Plantarum Novæ Hispaniæ_, Tom. iii, p. 32.

[9-*] Dr. Jacinto de la Serna, _Manual de Min stros[TN-8] de Indios para
el Conocimiento de sus Idolatrias y Extirpacion de Ellas_, p. 163. This
interesting work was composed about the middle of the seventeenth
century by a Rector of the University of Mexico, but was first printed
at Madrid, in 1892, from the MS. furnished by Dr. N. Leon, under the
editorship of the Marquis de la Fuensanta del Valle.

[9-†] MSS. of the Licentiate Zetina, and _Informe_ of Father Baeza in
_Registro Yucateco_, Tom. i.

[10-*] Acosta, _De la Historia Moral de Indias_, Lib. v, cap. 26.

[10-†] Of the _thiuimeezque_ Hernandez writes: “Aiunt radicis cortice
unius unciæ pondere tuso, atque devorato, multa ante oculos observare
phantasmata, multiplices imagines ac monstrificas rerum figuras,
detegique furem, si quidpiam rei familiaris subreptum sit.” _Hist.
Plant. Nov. Hispan._, Tom. iii, p. 272. The _chacuaco_ and its effects
are described by Father Venegas in his _History of California_, etc.

[10-‡] “In Mictlan Tetlachihuique, in Nanahualtin, in Tlahuipuchtin.”
Paredes, _Promptuario Manual Mexicano_, p. 128 (Mexico, 1757). The
_tlahuipuchtin_, “those who work with smoke,” were probably diviners who
foretold the future from the forms taken by smoke in rising in the air.
This class of augurs were also found in Peru, where they were called
_Uirapircos_ (Balboa, _Hist. du Perou_, p. 28-30).

[10-§] Von Gagern, _Charakteristik der Indianischer Bevölkerung
Mexikos_, s. 125.

[11-*] _Historia Antigua de Mexico_, Tom. ii, p. 25. Francisco Pimentel,
in his thoughtful work, _Memoria sobre las Causas que han originado la
Situacion Actual de la Raza Indigena de Mexico_ (Mexico, 1864),
recognizes how almost impossible it is to extirpate their faith in this
nagualism. “Conservan los agueros y supersticiones de la antigüedad,
siendo cosa de fe para ellos, los _nahuales_,” etc., p. 200, and comp.
p. 145.

[11-†] On these terms consult the extensive _Dictionnaire de la Langue
Nahuatl_, by Rémi Simeon,[TN-9] published at Paris, 1887. It is not
impossible that _tona_ is itself a compound root, including the
monosyllabic radical _na_, which is at the basis of _nagual_.

[11-‡] Sahagun, _Historia de Nueva España_, Lib. iv, _passim_, and Lib.
x, cap. 9.

[12-*] See Ch. de Labarthe, _Révue Américaine_, Serie ii, Tom. ii, pp.
222-225. His translation of _naualteteuctin_ by “Seigneurs du gènie”
must be rejected, as there is absolutely no authority for assigning this
meaning to _naualli_.

[13-*] _Anales de Cuauhtitlan_, p. 31. The translator renders it “palo

[13-†] _Les Anciennes Villes du Nouveau Monde_, pp. 146-148, figured on
p. 150. On its significance compare Hamy, _Decades Americanæ_, pp.

[13-‡] _The Native Calendar of Central America and Mexico_
(Philadelphia, 1893).

[13-§] Eduard Mühlenpfordt, _Mexico_, Bd. i, s. 255.

[14-*] The word is derived from _tlatoa_, to speak for another, and its
usual translation was “chief,” as the head man spoke for, and in the
name of the gens or tribe.

[14-†] The interesting account by Iglesias is printed in the Appendix to
the _Diccionario Universal de Geographia y Historia_ (Mexico, 1856).
Other writers testify to the tenacity with which the Mixes cling to
their ancient beliefs. Señor Moro says they continue to be “notorious
idolaters,” and their actual religion to be “an absurd jumble of their
old superstitions with Christian doctrines” (in Orozco y Berra,
_Geografia de las Lenguas de exico[TN-10]_, p. 176).

[15-*] For instance, J. B. Carriedo, in his _Estudios Historicos del
Estado Oaxaqueño_ (Oaxaca, 1849), p. 15, says the _nahualt_ was a
ceremony performed by the native priest, in which the infant was bled
from a vein behind the ear, assigned a name, that of a certain day, and
a guardian angel or _tona_. These words are pure Nahuatl, and Carriedo,
who does not give his authority, probably had none which referred these
rites to the Zapotecs.

[15-†] Juan de Cordova, _Arte en Lengua Zapoteca_, pp. 16, 202, 203,
213, 216.

[16-*] Quoted in Carriedo, ubi suprá, p. 17.

[16-†] _Hist. de las Indias Oc._, Dec. iii, Lib. iii, cap. 12.

[17-*] So I understand the phrase, “figuras pintadas con zifras

[17-†] _Popoluca_ was a term applied to various languages. I suspect the
one here referred to was the Mixe. See an article by me, entitled
“Chontales and Popolucas; a Study in Mexican Ethnography,” in the
_Compte Rendu_ of the Eighth Session of the Congress of Americanists, p.
566, _seq._

[17-‡] _Constit. Diocesan_, p. 19.

[18-*] _Constitut. Diocesan_, Titulo vii, pp. 47, 48.

[19-*] Rather with the Quetzalcoatl of the Nahuas, and the Gucumatz of
the Quiches, both of which names mean “Feathered Serpent.” Mixcohuatl,
the Cloud Serpent, in Mexican mythology, referred to the Thunder-storm.

[19-†] In his Tzental Vocabulary, Father Lara does not give this exact
form; but in the neighboring dialect of the Cakchiquel Father Ximenes
has _quikeho_, to agree together, to enter into an arrangement; the
prefix _zme_ is the Tzental word for “mother.”

[20-*] Father Lara, in his _Vocabulario Tzendal MS._ (in my possession),
gives for medical (medico), _ghpoxil_, for medicine (medicinal cosa),
_pox_, _xpoxtacoghbil_; for physician (medico), _ghpoxta vinic_ (the
form _vanegh_, person, is also correct). The Tzendal _pox_ (pronounced
_pōsh_) is another form of the Quiche-Cakchiquel _pūz_, a word which
Father Ximenes, in his _Vocabulario Cakchiquel_ MS (in my possession),
gives in the compound _puz naual_, with the meaning, enchanter, wizard.
Both these, I take it, are derived from the Maya _puz_, which means to
blow the dust, etc., off of something (soplar el polvo de la ropa ó otra
cosa. _Dicc. de la Lengua Maya del Convento de Motul_, MS. The
dictionary edited by Pio Perez does not give this meaning). The act of
blowing was the essential feature in the treatment of these medicine
men. It symbolized the transfer and exercise of spiritual power. When
Votan built his underground shrine he did it _à soplos_, by blowing
(Nuñez de la Vega, _Constitut. Diocesan_, p. 10). The natives did not
regard the comet’s tail as behind it but in front of it, blown from its
mouth. The Nahuatl word in the text, _tzihuizin_, is the Pipil form of
_xihuitzin_, the reverential of _xihuitl_, which means a leaf, a season,
a year, or a comet. Apparently it refers to the Nahuatl divinity _Xiuhté
cutli_, described by Sahagun, _Historia de Nueva España_, Lib. i, cap.
13, as god of fire, etc.

[21-*] _Hicalahau_, for _ical ahau_, Black King, one of the Tzental
divinities, who will be referred to on a later page.

[21-†] “Mæstros de los pueblos,” _Constitut. Diocesan_, i, p. 106.

[23-*] _Historia de Guatemala, ò, Recordacion Florida_, Tom. ii, p. 44,

[24-*] Gage, _A New Survey of the West Indies_, p. 388, _seq._ (4th

[25-*] _Le Popol Vuh, ou Livre Sacré des Quichés_, p. 315 (Ed. Brasseur,
Paris, 1861). In the Quiche myths, Gucumatz is the analogue of
Quetzalcoatl in Aztec legend. Both names mean the same, “Feathered

[25-†] Baeza’s article is printed in the _Registro Yucateco_, Vol. i, p.
165, _seq._

[26-*] “Wird ein Kind im Dorfe geboren, so erhält der heidnische
Götzenpriester von diesem Ereignisse viel eher Kunde, als der
katholische Pfarrer. Erst wenn dem neuen Weltbürger durch den Aj-quig
das Horoskop gestellt, der Name irgend eines Thieres beigelegt,
Mi-si-sal (das citronengelbe Harz des Rhus copallinum) verbrannt, ein
Lieblingsgötze angerufen, und noche viele andere aberglaübische
Mysterien verrichtet worden sind, wird das Kind nach dem Pfarrhause zur
christlichen Taufe getragen. Das Thier, dessen Name dem Kinde kurz nach
seiner Geburt vom Sonnenpriester beigelegt wird, gilt gewöhnlich auch
als sein Schutzgeist (_nagual_) fürs ganze Leben.” Dr. Karl Scherzer,
_Die Indianer von Santa Catalina Istlavacan_, p. 11, Wien, 1856.

[26-†] The word _zahori_, of Arabic origin, is thus explained in the
Spanish and English dictionary of Delpino (London, 1763): “So they call
in Spain an impostor who pretends to see into the bowels of the earth,
through stone walls, or into a man’s body.” Dr. Stoll says the Guatemala
Indians speak of their diviners, the _Ah Kih_, as _zahorin_.
_Guatemala_, s. 229.

[26-‡] Emetorio Pineda, _Descripcion Geografica de Chiapas y Soconusco_,
p. 22 (Mexico, 1845).

[27-*] Madier de Montjau, “Manuscrits Figuratifs de l’ Ancien Mexique,”
in _Archives de la Sociétè Americaine[TN-12] de France_, 1875, p. 245.

[27-†] Torquemada, _Monarquia Indiana_, Lib. xv, cap. 16.

[28-*] De la Serna, _Manual de Ministros_, pp. 20, 21, 42, 162. The
mushroom referred to was the _quauhnanacatl_, probably the same as the
_teyhuinti_ of Hernandez, _Hist. Plant. Nov. Hispan._, Tom. ii, p. 358,
who says that it is not dangerous to life, but disturbs the mind,
inciting to laughter and intoxication.

[28-†] Actual slavery of the Indians in Mexico continued as late as the
middle of the seventeenth century. See Cavo, _Tres Siglos de Mexico_,
etc., Tom. ii, p. 11.

[28-‡] Brasseur, _Hist. des Nations Civilisées de Mexique_, Tom. iv, p.

[29-*] _Informe del teniente general, Don Jacobo de Barba Figueroa,
corregidor de la Provincia de Suchitepeque_, quoted by Brasseur.

[29-†] Jacinto de la Serna says: “Los mæstros de estas ceremonias son
todos unos, y lo que sucede en esta cordillera en todas sucede.” _Manual
de Ministros_, p. 52. Speaking of the methods of the nagualists of
Chiapas, Bishop Nuñez de la Vega writes: “Concuerdan los mas modernos
con los mas antiguos que se practicaban en Mexico.” _Constituciones
Diocesanas_, p. 134.

[29-‡] He observes that there were “familias de los tales sabios en las
quales en manera de patrimonio se heredaban, succediendo los hijos á los
padres, y principalmente su abominable secta de Nagualismo.” _Historia
del Cielo y de la Tierra_, MS., p. 7. Ordoñez advances various erudite
reasons for believing that Nagualism is a religious belief whose theory
and rites were brought from Carthage by Punic navigators in ancient

[29-§] Maria de Moxó, _Cartas Mejicanas_, p. 270, (Genova, n. d.).

[30-*] “_Xochimilca_, que asi llamavan à los mui sabios encantadores.”
Torquemada, _Monarquia Indiana_, Lib. xv, cap. 16.

[30-†] In Nahuatl, _tlapiani_, a guardian or watchman. The Zapotec
priesthood was divided into the _huijatoos_, “greater guardians,” and
their inferiors, the _copavitoos_, “guardians of the gods.” Carriedo,
_Estudios Historicòs_,[TN-13] p. 93.

[30-‡] See Eligio Ancona. _Historia de Yucatan_, Tom. iv, cap. 1
(Mérida, 1880).

[31-*] The mention of the fifteen, 5 x 3, chosen disciples indicates
that the same system of initiating by triplets prevailed in Yucatan as
in Chiapas (see above, p. 19). The sacred tree is not named, but
presumably it was the ceiba to which I refer elsewhere. The address of
Jacinto was obtained from those present, and is given at length by the
Jesuit Martin del Puerto, in his _Relacion hecho al Cabildo Eclesiastico
por el preposito de la Compañia de Jesus, acerca de la muerte de Jacinto
Can-Ek y socios_, Dec. 26, 1761. It is published, with other documents
relating to this revolt, in the Appendix to the _Diccionario Universal_,
edited by Orozco y Berra, Mexico, 1856. On the prophecies of Chilan
Balam, see my _Essays of an Americanist_, pp. 255-273 (Philadelphia,

[31-†] Eligio Ancona, _Hist. de Yucatan_, Tom. ii, p. 452.

[32-*] See Pedro Sanchez de Aguilar, _Informe contra Idolum Cultores en
Yucathan_ (Madrid, 1639); Eligio Ancona, _Historia de Yucatan_, Tom. ii,
pp. 128, 129.

[32-†] The chief authority on this revolt is Juan de Torres Castillo,
_Relacion de lo Sucedido en las Provincias de Nexapa, Iztepex y Villa
Alta_ (Mexico, 1662). See also Cavo, _Los Tres Siglos de Mexico durante
el Gobierno Español_, Tom. ii, p. 41, and a pamphlet by Christoval Manso
de Contreras, _Relacion cierta y verdadera de lo que sucedio en esta
Provincia de Tehuantepec_, etc. (printed at Mexico, 1661), which I know
only through the notes of Dr. Berendt. Mr. H. H. Bancroft, in his very
meagre account of this event, mistakingly insists that it took place in
1660. _History of Mexico_, Vol. iii, p. 164.

[32-‡] See Brasseur de Bourbourg, _Histoire des Nations Civilisées de la
Mexique_, Tom. iv, 824.

[32-§] Cavo, _Los Tres Siglos_, etc., Tom. ii, p. 82. On the use and
significance of the _piochtli_ we have some information in Vetancurt,
_Teatro Mexicano_, Tom. ii, p. 464, and de la Serna, _Manual de
Ministros_, pp. 166, 167. It was the badge of a certain order of the
native priesthood.

[33-*] _Adventures on the Musquito Shore_, by S. A. Ward, pseudonym of
Mr. Squier, p. 258 (New York, 1855).

[33-†] Nuñez de la Vega, _Constituciones Diocesanas_, p. 10, and comp.
Brasseur de Bourbourg, _Hist. des Nat. Civ. de Mexique_, Tom. i, p. 74.

[33-‡] Herrera, _Hist. de las Indias Occidentales_, Dec. ii, Lib. iii,
cap. 5.

[34-*] Acosta, _Hist. Nat. y Moral de las Indias_, Lib. vii, cap. 5.

[34-†] The story is given in Herrera, _Hist. de las Indias_, Dec. iv,
Lib. viii, cap. 4. The name Coamizagual is translated in the account as
“Flying Tigress.” I cannot assign it this sense in any dialect.

[34-‡] Jacinto de la Serna, _Manual de Ministros_. p. 138. Sahagun
identifies Quilaztli with Tonantzin, the common mother of mankind and
goddess of child-birth (_Hist. de Nueva España_, Lib. i, cap. 6, Lib.
vi, cap. 27). Further particulars of her are related by Torquemada,
_Monarquia Indiana_, Lib. ii, cap. 2. The _tzitzime_ were mysterious
elemental powers, who, the Nahuas believed, were destined finally to
destroy the present world (Sahagun, l. c., Lib. vi, cap. 8). The word
means “flying haired” (Serna).

[34-§] Torquemada, _Monarquia Indiana_, Lib. ii, cap. 62.

[35-*] Fr. Tomas Coto, _Diccionario de la Lengua Cakchiquel_, MS., s. v.
_Sacrificar_; in the Library of the American Philosophical Society at

[35-†] “Trataron de valerse del arte de los encantos y _naguales_” are
the words of the author, Fuentes y Guzman, in his _Recordacion Florida_,
Tom. i, p. 50. In the account of Bernal Diaz, it reads as if this witch
and her dog had both been sacrificed; but Fuentes is clear in his
statement, and had other documents at hand.

[35-‡] Teobert Maler, “Mémoire sur l’Etat de Chiapas,” in the _Révue d’
Ethnographie_, Tom. iii, pp. 309-311. This writer also gives some
valuable facts about the Indian insurrection in the Sierra de Alicia, in

[36-*] The long account given by Mr H. H. Bancroft of this insurrection
is a travesty of the situation drawn from bitterly prejudiced Spanish
sources, of course, utterly out of sympathy with the motives which
prompted the native actors. See his _History of the Pacific States_, Vol
ii, p. 696 _sqq._ Ordoñez y Aguiar, who lived on the spot within a
generation of the occurrences recognizes in Maria Candelaria (whose true
name Bancroft does not give) the real head of the rebellion, “quien
ordenaba los ardides del motin; .... de lo que principalmente trataban
las leyes fundamentales de su secta, era de que no quedase rastro alguno
de que los Europeos havian pisado este suelo.” His account is in his
unpublished work, _Historia del Cielo y de la Tierra_, written at
Guatemala about 1780. Juarros, speaking of their rites, says of them:
“Apostando de la fé, profanando los vasos sagrados, y ofreciendo
sacrilegos cultos á una indizuela.” _Historia de la Ciudad de
Guatemala_, Tom. i, p. 17.

[36-†] Bancroft, ubi suprà, p. 705, note. One was hanged, whom Garcia
Pelaez calls “una india bruja.” _Memorias para la Historia de
Guatemala_, Tom. ii, p. 153.

[36-‡] Squier, ubi suprà, passim.

[37-*] _Voyage á l’ Isthmus de Tehuantepec_, p. 164. He adds a number of
particulars of the power she was supposed to exercise.

[38-*] “Que era venerado en todo el imperio de Montezuma.” See
_Diccionario Universal_, Appendice, s. v. (Mexico, 1856).

[38-†] “Dass der Gott Tepeyollotl im Zapotekenlande und weiter südwärts
seine Wurzeln hat, und dem eigentlichen Aztekischen Olymp fremd ist,
darüber kann kein Zweifel mehr obwalten.” See Dr. Seler’s able
discussion of the subject in the _Compte-Rendu_ of the Seventh
International Congress of Americanists, p. 559, _seq._ The adoption of
subterranean temples was peculiarly a Zapotecan trait. “Notandose
principalmente en muchos adoratorios de los Zapotecos, estan los mas de
ellos cubiertos, ò en subterraneos espaciosos y lòbregos.” Carriedo,
_Estudios Historicos_, Tom. i, p. 26.

[39-*] _Constituciones Diocesanas_, pp. 9, 10.

[39-†] Gage, _A New Survey of the West Indies_, pp. 389, 393.

[39-‡] _Teatro Mexicano_, Tratado iii, cap. 11. Mr. Bandelier has called
attention to the naming of one of the principal chiefs among the Aztecs,
_Tlilancalqui_, “Man of the Dark House,” and thinks it related to the
Votan myth. _Twelfth Annual Report of the Peabody Museum_, p. 689.

[40-*] Herrera, _Historia de las Indias Occidentales_, Dec. iii, Lib.
iii, cap. 14.

[40-†] Villa Señor, _Teatro Americano_, Lib. v, cap. 38 (Mexico, 1747).
Father Cavo adds that there were signs of human sacrifices present, but
of this I can find no evidence in the earlier reports. Comp. Cavo, _Los
Tres Siglos de Mexico durante el Gobierno Españal[TN-14]_, Tom. ii, p.

[40-‡] _Teatro Americano_, Lib. ii, cap. 11; Lib. iii, cap. 13.

[41-*] See Mühlenpfordt, _Mexico_, Bd. ii, pp. 200-266; Brasseur, _Hist.
des Nations Civ. de la Mexique_, Vol. iv, p. 821; Herrera, _Historia de
las Indias_, Dec. iii, Lib. iii, cap. 12, etc.

[41-†] _Diccionario Universal_, Appendice, s. v.

[41-‡] Their names were Ta Yoapa, Father Dawn; Ta Te, Father Stone;
Coanamoa, the Serpent which Seizes. _Dicc. Univ._, App., Tom. iii, p.

[41-§] Duran, _Historia de los Indios_, Tom. ii, p. 140. They were Tota,
Our Father; Yollometli, the Heart of the Maguey (probably pulque); and
Topiltzin, Our Noble One (probably Quetzalcoatl, to whom this epithet
was often applied).

[41-‖] “Fue el Demonio que les dió la superstición del numero nueve.”
_Manual de Ministros_, p. 197.

[42-*] _The Native Calendar of Central America and Mexico_, p. 12.

[42-†] Motolinia, _Ritos Antiguos, Sacrificios e Idolatrias de los
Indios de la Nueva España_, p. 340 (in _Coleccion de Documentos ineditos
para la Historia de España_).

[42-‡] Thomas Coto, _Vocabulario de la lengua Cakchiquel_, MS., sub
voce, _Rayo_.

[42-§] Herrera, _Historia de las Indias_, Dec. IV, Lib. viii, cap. 10.

[42-‖] _Diccionario Universal_, Appendice, ubi suprá.

[42-¶] [TN-15]‘Señor de los Animales.” _Codex Telleriano-Remensis_, Parte
ii, Lam. iv.

[43-*] See Dr. Seler’s minute description in the _Compte Rendu_ of the
Eighth Session of the Congrés International des Américanistes, pp. 588,
589. In one of the conjuration formulas given by de la Serna (_Manual de
Ministros_, p. 212) the priest says: “Yo soy el sacerdote, el dios
_Quetzalcoatl_, que se bajará al infierno, y subiré á lo superior, y
hasta los nueve infiernos.” This writer, who was very competent in the
Nahuatl, translates the name Quetzalcoatl by “culebra con cresta”
(_id._, p. 171), an unusual, but perhaps a correct rendering.

[43-†] His words here are somewhat obscure. They are, “El baptismo de
fuego, en donde las ponen los sobre nombres que llaman _yahuiltoca_,
quando nacen.” This may be translated, “The baptism of fire in which
they confer the names which they call _yahuiltoca_.” The obscurity is in
the Nahuatl, as the word _toca_ may be a plural of _tocaitl_, name, as
well as the verb _toca_, to throw upon. The passage is from the _Camino
del Cielo_, fol. 100, verso.

[43-‡] Sahagun, _Historia de la Nueva España_, Lib. iv, cap. 25.

[43-§] It is mentioned as useful for this purpose by the early
physicians, Francisco Ximenes, _Cuatro Libros de la Naturaleza_, p. 144;
Hernandez, _Hist. Plant. Novæ Hispaniæ_, Tom. ii, p. 200. Capt. Bourke,
in his recent article on “The Medicine Men of the Apaches” (in _Ninth
Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology_, p. 521), suggests that the
_yiahuitli_ of the Aztecs is the same as the “hoddentin,” the pollen of
a variety of cat-tail rush which the Apaches in a similar manner throw
into the fire as an offering. Hernandez, however, describes the
_yiahuitli_ as a plant with red flowers, growing on mountains and
hill-sides--no species of rush, therefore. De la Serna says it is the
anise plant, and that with it the natives perform the conjuration of the
“yellow spirit” (conjuro de amarillo espiritado), that is, of the Fire
(_Manual de Ministros_, p. 197).

[44-*] From the verb _apeua_. Vetancurt’s description is in his _Teatro
Mexicano_, Tom. i, pp. 462, 463 (Ed. Mexico, 1870).

[44-†] His frequent references to it show this. See his _Manual de
Ministros_, pp. 16, 20, 22, 24, 36, 40, 66, 174, 217, etc. The word
_tlecuixtliliztli_ is compounded of _tlecuilli_, the hearth or
fireplace, and _ixtliluia_, to darken with smoke.

[45-*] Duran, _Historia de los Indios de la Nueva España_, Tom. ii, p.
240. Sahagun adds that the _octli_ was poured on the hearth at four
separate points, doubtless the four cardinal points. _Historia de Nueva
España_, Lib. i, cap. 18. De la Serna describes the same ceremony as
current in his day, _Manual de Ministros_, p. 35. The invocation
ran:--“Shining Rose, light-giving Rose, receive and rejoice my heart
before the God.”

[45-†] A copy of these strange “Books of Chilan Balam” is in my
possession. I have described them in my _Essays of an Americanist_
(Philadelphia, 1890).

[45-‡] See his remarks on “Apperception der Menschenzeugung als
Feuerbereitung,” in the _Zeitschrift für Völkerpsychologie_, Bd. vi, s.
113, _seq._

[46-*] Sahagun, _Historia de Nueva España_, Lib. i, cap. 13. The Nahuatl
text is more definite than the Spanish translation.

[46-†] See my _Myths of the New World_, p. 154, _seq._

[46-‡] In the Nahuatl language the word _xihuitl_ (_xiuitl_) has four
meanings: a plant, a turquoise, a year and a comet.

[46-§] J. B. Carriedo, _Estudios Historicos del Estado Oaxaqueño_, Tom.
i, p. 82, etc.

[47-*] Alva, _Confessionario en Lengua Mexicana_, fol. 9.

[47-†] Carriedo, _Estudios Historicos_, pp. 6, 7.

[47-‡] In the _Revue[TN-16] d’ Ethnographie_, Tom. iii, p. 313. Some very
fine objects of this class are described by E. G. Squier, in his
“Observations on the Chalchihuitl,” in the _Annals of the Lyceum of
Natural History_, Vol. i (New York, 1869).

[48-*] Diego Duran, _Historia de los Indios de Nueva España_, Tom. ii,
p. 140.

[48-†] In Kingsborough, _Antiquities of Mexico_, Vol. ii, Pl. 180. On
the cross as a form derived from a tree see the observations of W. H.
Holmes, in the _Second Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology_, pp.
270, 271.

[48-‡] “Au Mexique, le cadre croisé, la croix en sautoir, comme celle de
St. André, avec quelques variantes, representait le signe de nativité,
_tonalli_, la fête, le jour natal.” M. Aubin, in Boban, _Catalogue
Raisonnée de la Collection Goupil_, Tom. i, p. 227. Both Gomara and
Herrera may be quoted to this effect.

[49-*] See a curious story from native sources in my _Essays of an
Americanist_, pp. 171, 172. It adds that this change can be prevented by
casting salt upon the person.

[49-†] Benito Maria de Moxo, _Cartas Mejicanas_, p. 257; Landa, _Cosas
de Yucatan_, p. 193.

[49-‡] Pedro de los Rios, in his notes to the Codex Vaticanus, published
in Kingsborough’s great work, assigns the sign, _cohuatl_, the serpent,
to “il membro virile, il maggio augurio di tutti gli altri.” It is
distinctly so shown on the 75th plate of the Codex. De la Serna states
that in his day some of the Mexican conjurors used a wand, around which
was fastened a living serpent. _Manual de Ministros_, p. 37.

[49-§] There is abundant evidence of this in certain plates of the Codex
Troano, and there is also alleged to be much in the Codex Mexicanus of
the Palais Bourbon. Writing about the latter, M. Aubin said as far back
as 1841--“le culte du lingam on du phallus n’etait pas etranger aux
Mexicains, ce qu’ etablissent plusieurs documents peu connus et des
sculptures découvertes depuis un petit nombre d’années.” His letter is
in Boban, _Catalogue Raisonné la Collection Goupil_, Tom. ii, p. 207. On
the frequent identification of the serpent symbol with the phallus in
classical art, consult Dr. Anton Nagele’s article, “Der
Schlangen-Cultus,” in the _Zeitschrift für Völkerpsychologie_, Band
xvii, p. 285, _seq._

[50-*] Cf. G. Tarayre, _Exploration Mineralogique des Regions
Mexicaines_, p. 233 (Paris, 1869), and _Bulletin de la Sociétè
d’Anthropologie de Paris_, Juin, 1893.

[50-†] _Sources de l’ Histoire Primitive de Mexique_, p. 81.

[50-‡] From _zo_, to join together. Compare my _Essays of an
Americanist_, p. 417 (Philadelphia, 1890).

[50-§] “El indio Mexicano es todavia idolatra.” F. Pimentel, _La
Situacion actual de la Raza Indigena de Mexico_, p. 197.

[51-*] The “holy souls” who are here appealed to by name are those of
deceased _ah-kih_, or priests of the native cult.

[55-*] See the _Relation del Auto celebrado en Mexico, año de 1659_
(Mexico, En la Imprenta del Santo Officio, 1659).

[55-†] J. B. Carriedo, _Estudios Historicos del Estado Oaxaqueno[TN-17]_,
Tom. i, pp. 8, 9 (Oaxaca, 1849). About 1640 a number of Indians in the
province of Acapulco were put to death for having buried enchanted ashes
beneath the floor of a chapel! (Serna, _Manual de Ministros_, p. 52.)

[55-‡] “Nagual ist in seiner correcten Form _naoal_ ein echtes
Quiché-Wort, ein Substantivum instrumentale, vom Stamme _naó_, wissen,
erkennen. _Naoal_ ist dasjenige, womit oder woran etwas, in diesem Falle
das Schicksal des Kindes, erkannt wird, und hat mit dem mexikanischen
_nahualli_ (Hexe), mit dem man es vielleicht in Verbindung bringen
möchte, nichts zu schaffen.” _Guatemala_, s. 238.

[57-*] The Abbé Brasseur observes: “Le mot _nahual_, qui vet dire toute
science, ou science de tout, est fréquemment employé pour exprimer la
sorcellerie chez ces populations.” _Bulletin de la Sociétè de
Géographie_, 1857, p. 290. In another passage of his works the
speculative Abbé translates _naual_ by the English “know all,” and is
not averse to believing that the latter is but a slight variant of the

[58-*] See an article by me, entitled “On the Words ‘Anahuac’ and
‘Nahuatl,’” in the _American Antiquarian_, for November, 1893.

[58-†] _Manual de Ministros_, p. 50.

[58-‡] Jesus Sanchez, _Glosario de Voces Castellanas derivadas del
Idioma Nahuatl_, sub voce.

[59-*] “_Nagual_--el lugar, rincon, cajon, nambira, etc., donde guarda
sus talismanes y trajes de encanta la bruja.” Berendt, _La Lengua
Castellana de Nicaragua_, MS.

[59-†] Emetorio Pineda, _Description Geografica de Chiapas y Soconusco_,
p. 23 (Mexico, 1845).

[59-‡] See his article “Wer-wolf,” in his _Ethnographische Parallelen
und Vergleiche_, p. 62, _seq._

[59-§] Richard Andrée, _ibid._, ss. 63, 64.

[60-*] See Alfred Maury, _La Magie et l’ Astrologie_, pp. 88, 89, 267,

[61-*] In the _Notice Preliminaire_ to the second part of his work, _La
Magie et l’ Astrologie dans l’ Antiquité et au Moyen Age_, Mr. Alfred
Maury admirably sums up the scientific resources at our command for
explaining the mystical phenomena of experience, without denying their
reality as actual occurrences.


Native words explained, _in Italics_; names of Authors quoted, in SMALL

  Achiutla, 40

  ACOSTA, J., 9, 34

  AGUILAR, P. S., 32

  _Ahau_, 35

  _Ah Kih_, 26, 51

  _Ah-toc_, 45

  Aissaoua, the, 60

  Alaghom Naom, a goddess, 56

  _Alom_, deity, 50

  ALVA, B. DE, 8, 46, 47

  _Anahuac_, 58

  ANCONA, E., 30, 31


  ANDREE,[TN-18] R., 59

  Antichrist, appealed to, 28

  _Apehualco_, 44

  AUBIN, M., 48, 49

  Ay, Antonio, 30

  Aztecan language, 5, 11

  Aztecs, 7

  _Baal-che_, 9

  BAEZA, P., 9, 25

  BALBOA, P., 10

  BANCROFT, H. H., 13, 32, 36


  Baptism, 27, 43

  Baptism by fire, 37



  BERENDT, C. H., 50, 59

  “Black King,” the, 39

  Blowing, as a rite, 19, 20

  BOBAN, M., 48

  “Books of Chilan Balam”, 45

  BOURKE, Capt., 44

  BRASSEUR (de Bourbourg), 25, 28, 29, 32, 33, 37, 57

  _Buk xoc_, 45

  BURGOA, P., 16

  CABRERA, Dr. P. F., 4

  Cakchiquel language, 20, 23

  Calendar, the native, 13-16, 45, 53

  California, 10

  Cancuc, town, 29

  Candelaria, Maria, 35

  Can Ek, Jacinto, 30

  Carpio, Bernardo del, 55

  CARRIEDO, J. B., 15, 30, 38, 46

  Cave God, the, 38, 41

  CAVO, P., 28, 32, 40

  Ceiba tree, 47

  Cerquin, province, 4, 5, 34

  _Chac Mool_, 31

  _Chacuaco_, 10

  Chalcatongo, 40

  _Chalchihuitl_, 39, 46, 47

  Chalcos, 12

  Chalma, place, 38

  _Chanes_, 49

  CHARNAY, D., 13

  Chi, Andres, 31

  Chi, Cecilio, 30

  Chichimecs, 7, 54

  _Chilan Balam_, 31, 45

  Chontales, 17, 32

  Chorti dialect, 5 n.

  Chotas, tribe, 41

  Clairvoyance, 9

  _Coamizagual_, 34

  _Coanamoa_, 41

  Coatlan, 40

  _Coaxihuitl_, 8

  _Cohuacihuatl_, 34

  _Cohuatl_, sign of, 49 n.

  Codex cruciformis, 48

  COHEN, H., 45

  Copan, ruins of, 5 n.

  _Copavitoos_, 30

  CORDOVA, J., 14, 15

  COTO, P., 23, 35, 42

  Coyopy, king, 15

  _Cozaana_, 38, 50

  Cross, as symbol, 42, 43, 48

  Cuculchan, 17, 19, 42

  “Dark House,” the, 38, 39

  Dawn, as deity, 41

  Dionysos Pyrigenes, 45


  Drum, the sacred, 31, 38

  Drunkenness, god of, 44

  DURAN, D., 44, 45, 48

  Earth, as deity, 41, 53

  “Essays of an Americanist,” 4, 31, 45, 49, 50


  “Field mass,” the, 25

  Fingers, names for, 54

  Fire worship, 28, 43, 45, 53, 54

  Four Winds, Lord of, 43

  Frog, symbol, 46



  GAGE, THOMAS, 24, 39

  GAGERN, C., 10

  Galindo, Ig., 35

  “Ghost dance” of Mayas, 31

  Gnosis, the, 57

  Goupil collection, 48

  Green stones, 46

  _Gspoxil_, 20

  Guatemala, 24, 39

  Gucumatz, king, 24, 42

  Hand, as deity, 54

  “Heart of the Hills”, 41, 46

  “Heart of the Maguey”, 41

  “Heart of the Towns”, 38, 39, 47

  HERNANDEZ, F., 7, 10, 28, 43

  HERRERA, A. DE, 4, 5, 11, 16, 33, 34, 40, 42

  _Hicalahau_, 21, 39

  “Hoddentin”, 44

  HOLMES, W. H., 48

  Honduras, 4, 34

  Huasteca dialect, 58

  Huehuetan, town, 28, 39

  _Huehueteotl_, 46

  _Huijatoos_, 30

  _Ical ahau_, 21, 39

  IGLESIAS, A., 13

  Inquisition, the, 54

  Intoxicants, 7, 9

  Istlavacan, town, 25

  Jadeite, 46

  JUARROS, P., 36

  Justlahuaca, 41

  _Kab_, the hand, 54



  Lacandons, tribe, 59

  LANDA, D., 49

  LARA, P., 19, 20

  LEON, Dr. N., 9

  LEON, N. DE, 6, 43, 45

  Life, ideogram of, 48

  Life, tree of, 48

  Lingam, the, 49

  Maguey, Heart of the, 41

  _Maitl_, the Hand, as deity, 54

  MALER, T., 35, 47

  Mallinalco, town, 34, 38


  Mappe Quinantzin[TN-19], 48

  MARIA DE MOXÒ, B., 29, 49

  MAURY, A., 60, 61

  Mayan stock, 5, 16, 24

  Mayas, 9, 20, 25, 45

  Mayas, revolts of, 30, 31

  Mexican language, 5

  Michoacan, 10

  Milky Way, as deity, 53

  _Mixcohuatl_, 19

  Mixes, tribe, 13, 17, 32, 42

  Mixtecs, tribe, 15, 16

  MOLINA, A., 6

  Monopostiac, Cerro de, 41

  MONTJAU, M., 27

  MORO, Sr., 14



  Mushrooms, intoxicating, 28

  _Na_, the root, 5, 11 n.[TN-20] 57

  NAGELE, A., 49

  Nagual, 4, 11, 17, 22, 58

  Nagualism, 4, 16

  Nagualist, 4, 17, 18

  _Nahual_. See _Naualli_.

  _Nahualtia_, 58

  Nahuatl language, 5, 12, 14, 41, 46, 57, 58

  _Nana hualtin_, 5, 6, 10

  Nanahuatl, a deity, 54

  _Naualac_, 13

  _Naualcuauhtla_, 12

  _Naualli_, 5, 10, 11, 12, 57, 58

  _Nauallotl_, 5, 57

  _Naualteteuctin_, 12

  Navajas, Cerro de las, 49

  Nayerit, Sierra de, 41

  Nezahualpilli, king, 34

  Nine, sacred number, 41

  Noh, god of reason, 56

  NUÑEZ, DE LA VEGA, 16, 28, 29, 33, 42

  Oaxaca, province, 14, 32, 47

  _Octli_, 32, 44

  _Ololiuhqui_, 7, 8, 9


  OROZCO Y BERRA, 10, 14, 31

  OVIEDO, 50

  Oxchuc, town, 21

  _Oztoteotl_, 38

  Padrinos, 26

  Pah-Ahtuns, deities, 9

  Pantecatl, deity, 50

  PAREDES, IG., 10

  Pascual, Don, 32


  _Patzlan_, 20

  _Payni_, 9

  PELAEZ, G., 36

  _Pellote_, 7

  PEREZ, P., 45

  Personal spirit, 11, 13

  _Peyotl_, the, 6-10

  Phallus, symbol, 49

  _Picietl_, 9

  PIMENTEL, F., 11

  PINEDA, E., 26, 50, 59

  Pinopiaa, goddess, 55

  _Piochtli_, 32

  Pipils, tribe, 33, 42

  PISA, B. DE, 40

  Pokonchis, tribe, 24

  _Popol Vuh_, the, 24

  Popoluca language, 17

  _Pox_, 20

  _Poxlon_, 20

  _Poxta vanegs_, 20

  PUERTO, M., 31

  _Quauhcihuatl_, 34

  _Quauhnanacatl_, 28 n.

  Quetzalcoatl, 12, 19, 26, 32, 41, 42, 43 n.

  Quiche language, 20, 23, 55, 56

  Quiches, tribe, 24, 25

  Quiegolani, deity, 47

  _Quilaztli_, 34

  _Quiz_, 19

  Reason, god of, 56

  “Restitution of the _tonal_”, 12, 52


  SAHAGUN, B., 5, 6, 7, 11, 34, 43, 46

  SANCHEZ, J., 58

  San Francisco del Mar, 41

  “Scalp-lock,” the, 32

  SCHERZER, C., 25

  SELER, E., 38

  SERNA, J., 9, 28, 29, 32, 34, 43, 44, 49, 52

  Serpent of the Clouds, 19

  Serpent, plant, 8

  Serpent, feathered, 12, 19, 42

  Serpent, which seizes, 41 n.

  Serpent, symbol, 49

  Seven, sacred number, 25, 42

  SIMÉON, R., 11

  Slavery of Indians, 28 n.

  Smoke, divining by, 10 n.

  Snake, symbol. See Serpent.

  Soteapan, 13, 41

  SPINA, V. H., 51

  SQUIER, E. G., 33, 36, 47

  STOLL, O., 26, 55

  Stone, as deity, 41

  “_Sukia_ woman”, 36

  “Sun Mountain”, 40

  Sun, name of, 54

  Tapirs, sacred, 39

  TARAYRE, G., 50

  _Ta Te_, 41

  _Ta Yoapa_, 41

  _Teciuhtlazque_, 6

  Telepathy, 9

  _Tenextlecietl_, 9

  _Teopatli_, 8

  _Teotlauice_, 12

  Teozapotlan, 29

  Tepeololtec deity, 42

  _Tepeyollotl_, 38, 41

  Teremendo, town, 40

  _Teteuctin_, 12

  _Tetonaltiani_, 12

  _Teyhuinti_, 28

  Tezcatzoncatl, deity, 44

  _Thiuimeezque_, 10

  Three, sacred number, 41

  “Thunder stone”, 42

  _T’ich_, 25

  Tiger dance, the, 31

  _Tlachixqui_, Seer, 9

  _Tlahuipuchtin_, 10 n.

  Tlaloc, deity, 42

  _Tlapiani_, 30, 39

  Tlascala, Sierra de, 40

  _Tlatoques_, 14

  Tlazoaloyan, 33, 39

  Tlazolteotl, deity, 50

  _Tlecuixtliliztli_, 44

  _Tlilancalqui_, 39 n.

  Tobacco, 8, 9, 53, 54

  _Tonal, tonalli_, 11, 15 n., 42, 52, 60

  _Tonalcaualtia_, 12

  _Tonalitlacoa_, 12

  _Tonalpouhque_, 11

  _Tonantzin_, 34

  _Topiltzin_, 41

  TORQUEMADA, P., 27, 30, 36


  _To Ta_, 41, 46, 48

  Totomachiapa, 40

  Totonicapan, 22, 28

  Tree, sacred, 31, 47

  Tree of the Cross, 42

  Tree of Life, 48

  Tres Micos, 16

  Trinity, the native, 41

  Triplets, 19, 31

  Tzentals, tribe, 16, 19, 21, 32, 33

  _Tzihuizin_, 20

  _Tzitzime_, the, 34 n.

  _Tzitzimecihuatl_, 34

  _Uirapircos_, 10 n.

  _U-q’ux-Uleuh_, 38

  VENEGAS, P., 10

  Venus Impudica, 50

  Vera Cruz, 13, 26

  VETANCURT, A., 8, 32, 39, 44


  Votan, 33, 38, 41

  WARD, S. A., 33

  Water, divination by, 6

  Water, as deity, 53, 54

  Were-wolf, 59

  Wisdom, goddess of, 56

  Witches, 10

  “Witches’ Sabbaths”, 48

  _Xihuitl_, 46 n.

  _Xihuitzin_, 20


  XIMENES, P., 20

  _Xiquipilli_, 42

  _Xiuhtecutli_, 20, 46

  _Xochimilca_, 30

  _Yahuiltoca_, 43

  Yanhuitlan, town, 16

  _Yaocihuatl_, 34

  _Yax che_, 47

  _Yax ha_, 9

  _Yiahuitli_, the, 43

  _Yollometli_, 41

  Yoni symbols, 50

  _Ytzamatl_, 47

  Yucatan, 9, 25, 30

  Zahoris, 26

  Zamayac, town, 28, 29

  Zapotecs, tribe, 14, 15, 32, 37, 38, 40, 47


  _Z me quiz_, 19

  Zotzils, revolt of, 35, 47

Transcriber’s Note

The following typographical errors and inconsistencies have been
maintained in this version of the book.

Typographical errors:

  Page  Error
  TN-1  Fn. 14-†  The footnote marker was missing in the original text.
                  It has been inserted based on context.
  TN-2  19   centipedes, etc, should read centipedes, etc.,
  TN-3  39   black as negroes should read black as negroes.
  TN-4  43   sick room should read sick room.
  TN-5  52   speak to thee should read speak to thee.
  TN-6  58   corrollary should read corollary
  TN-7  Fn. 7-*   Nacionàl should read Nacional
  TN-8  Fn. 9-*   Min stros should read Ministros
  TN-9  Fn. 11-†  Simeon should read Siméon
  TN-10 Fn. 14-†  exico should read Mexico
  TN-11 Fn. 17-*  enigmaticas” should read enigmaticas.”
  TN-12 Fn. 27-*  Americaine should read Américaine
  TN-13 Fn. 30-†  Historicòs should read Historicos
  TN-14 Fn. 40-†  Españal should read Español
  TN-15 Fn. 42-¶  ‘Señor should read “Señor
  TN-16 Fn. 47-‡  Revue should read Révue
  TN-17 Fn. 55-†  Oaxaqueno should read Oaxaqueño
  TN-18 61   Andree should read Andrée
  TN-19 63   Quinantzin should read Quinatzin
  TN-20 63   11 n. should read 11 n.,

The following words were inconsistently spelled or hyphenated:

  Bartholomé / Bartholomè
  Diœcesanas / Diocesanas / Diocesan
  Gucumatz / Gukumatz
  Moxò / Moxó / Moxo
  Quiché / Quiche
  Quichés / Quiches
  suprà / suprá

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