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.[24]

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.[25] So also Naualac, the "wizard water," an artificial lake not far from the city of Mexico, surrounded by ruined temples, described by D. Charnay.[26]

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,[27] 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 Saint is rewarded with still more gifts, and his aid is sought for another term; but if luck has been bad the

[24] See Ch. de Labarthe, Révue Américaine, Serie ii, Tom. ii, pp. 222–226. His translation of naualteteuctin by "Seigneurs du gèuie" must be rejected, as there is absolutely no authority for assigning this meaning to nautili.

[25] Anales de Cuauhtitlan, p. 31. The translator renders it "palo brujo."

[26] Les Anciennes Villes du Nouveau Monde, pp. 146–148, figured on p. 150. On its significance compare Hamy, Decades Americanae, pp. 74–81.

[27] The Native Calendar of Central America and Mexico (Philadelphia, 1893).

Page 9

Please email us if you are interested
in a PDF of any of the posted books.