Spanish authorities it was ascertained that the high priest of Zamayac included under his rule nearly one thousand sub-priests,[56] 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.[57]

To a certain extent, and at least in some localities, as Chiapas and Guatemala, the priesthood of Nagualists was hereditary in particular families. This is especially stated by the historian Ordoñez y Aguiar, who had exceptional opportunities for acquainting himself with the facts.[58]

A traveler of the first decade of this century, who has left us a number of curious details of the superstitious of the Christianized Indians in Mexico of that day, Benito Maria de Moxó, 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.[59]

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.[60] 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.[61]

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, smoldering 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.[62]

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-

[56] Inform del teniente general. Don Jacobo de Barba Figueroa, corregidor de la Provincia de Suchitepeque, quoted by Brasseur

[57] Jacinto de la Serna says: "Los maestros de estas ceremonías 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 Nuñes de la Vega writes: "Concuerdan los mas modernos con los mas antiguos que se practicaban en Mexico." Constituciones Diocesanas, p. 134.

[58] He observes that there were "familias de los tales sabios en las quales en manera de patrimonio se heredaban succediendo los hijos à 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 times.

[59] Maria de Moxó, Cartas Mexicanas, p. 270, (Genova, n. d.).

[60] "Xochimilca, que asi llamavan à los mui sabios encantadores." Torquemada, Monarquia Indiana, Lib. xv, cap. 16.

[61] 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 Historicos, p. 93.

[62] See Eligio Ancona, Historia de Yucatan, Tom. iv, cap. 1 (Mérida, 1880).

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