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!"[51]

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."[52]

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.[53]

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.[54]

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.[55]

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

[51] Madier de Montjau, "Manuscripts Figuratifs de l'Ancien Mexiqne," in Archives de la Sociétè Americaine de France. 1855. p. 245.

[52] Torquemada, Monarquia Indiana. Lib. xv, cap. 16.

[53] 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.

[54] Actual slavery of the Indians in Mexico continued as late as the middle of seventeenth century. See Cavo, Tres Sigloe de Mexico, etc., Tom. ii, p. 11.

[55] Brasseur, Hist. des Nations Civilisées de Mexique, Tom. iv, p. 322.

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