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[35] 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 Bsha in their time of heathenism), and which has been translated into Mexican.[36]

"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."[37]

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)."[38]

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

[35] So I understand the phrase, "figuras pintadas coo zifra enigmaticas"

[36] Popolura 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.

[37] Constit, Diocesan, p. 19.

[38] Constitut. Diocesan, Titulo vii, pp. 45, 48.

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