Your browser does not support script
TWV Presents...

Articles/Essays From Pagans

[Show all]

Views: 20,635,898

February 17th. 2018 ...

A Little Magickal History

Men and the Goddess

Pirates and Witches

An Open Fire: Healing from Within

November 15th. 2017 ...


Pagan Artist Trading Cards

September 30th. 2017 ...


August 31st. 2017 ...

The White Goddess: A Seminal Work in the Neo-Wiccan Movement.

Gudrun of the Victory Gods

The Goddess Asherah

July 31st. 2017 ...

Cernunnos: The Darkest Wood in the Moon's Light

Truth and Lies: Finding Wicca

Sin Eaters and Dream Walkers

July 2nd. 2017 ...

Back to Basics Witchcraft: Magical Creativity for Small Living Spaces

On Preconceived Pagan/Wiccan Political Affiliations

A Distant Thunder: Should You Care?

On Cursing: Politics and Ethos

Ares and Athena

July 1st. 2017 ...

Elements of Magic

June 1st. 2017 ...

Herbal Astrology

The Sacred Ego in Mediterranean Magical Traditions

La Santa Muerte... The Stigma and the Strength

The Lady on the Stairs

Nahualli: Traditional Aztec Witchcraft and Totems

April 30th. 2017 ...

Nazis Made Us Change Our Name

Why the Faeries?

The Wheel of the Year in Our Daily Lives

Tarot Talk: the Knight of Pentacles

March 30th. 2017 ...

Magic in Daily Life

The East and West of Wiccan Magick

Tarot Talk: the Ace of Swords

March 3rd. 2017 ...

Finding Balance: Discipline Wedded to Devotion

February 10th. 2017 ...

Understanding the Unseen

Kitchen Magic and Memories

January 10th. 2017 ...

The Gray of 'Tween

Becoming a Sacred Dancer

Little Dog, Big Love

December 9th. 2016 ...

A Child's First Yule

November 10th. 2016 ...

What Exactly Is Witchcraft?

A Witch in the Bible Belt: Questions are Opportunities

On Death and Passing: Compassion Burnout in Healers and Shamans

What I Get from Cooking (And How it’s Part of My Path)

October 10th. 2016 ...

Witchcraft from the Outside

September 11th. 2016 ...

Wild Mountain Woman: Landscape Goddess

How Did I Get Here? (My Pagan Journey)

September 3rd. 2016 ...

Rethinking Heaven: What Happens When We Die?

What is Happening in My Psychic Reading?

Nature’s Reward

August 12th. 2016 ...

When Reality Rattles your Idea of the Perfect Witch

Hungarian Belief in Fairies

Designing a Pagan Last Will and Testament

Past Midnight

July 13th. 2016 ...

What Every Pagan Should Know About Curses

Magic With A Flick of my Finger

Finding and Caring for Your Frame Drum

An Open Mind and Heart

June 13th. 2016 ...

Pollyanna Propaganda: The Distressing Trend of Victim-Blaming in Spirituality

Living a Magickal Life with Fibromyalgia

My Father, My First God

Life is Awesome... and the Flu

May 15th. 2016 ...

Wiccan Spirituality

Faery Guided Journey

How to Bond with the Elements through Magick

Magical Household Cleaning

Working with the Elements

April 2nd. 2016 ...

Becoming Wiccan: What I Never Expected

The Evolution of Thought Forms

The Fear of Witchcraft

Rebirth By Fire: A Love Letter to Mama Maui and Lady Pele

Magic in Sentences

Blowing Bubbles with the Goddess

March 28th. 2016 ...

Revisiting The Spiral

Still Practicing

Spring Has Sprung!

January 22nd. 2016 ...

Coming Out of the Broom Closet

Energy and Karma

Community and Perception

December 20th. 2015 ...

Magia y Wicca

October 24th. 2015 ...

The Dream Eater--A Practical Use of Summoning Talismans

Feeling the Pulse of Autumn

NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.

Article Specs

Article ID: 15912

VoxAcct: 453911

Section: words

Age Group: Adult

Days Up: 269

Times Read: 1,280

RSS Views: 10,464
Nahualli: Traditional Aztec Witchcraft and Totems

Author: Jessica Leigh
Posted: June 1st. 2017
Times Viewed: 1,280

In the older Mexican traditions, "a witch" is usually defined as a person, usually female, who only uses magick to harm. Amongst the Otomi people, for example, it is thought that you should do your best not to influence people too negatively or in any negative manner. This is because you may attract the attention of a Witch, who could be offended. You are to blend in with everyone, so to speak. This attitude is changing in modern times. Brujeria [Spanish for Witchcraft.] is being increasingly embraced. (It may be the influence of more modern traditions such as Wicca.) Most people use magick to cure, but also use Witchcraft and curing practices. These people are usually identified as "curers" [curandero] and their practice is passed down to apprentices. Its lineage based a majority of the time, similar to Gardernarian Wicca.

They are more common all over Central America now. Their practices may differ from area to area. (Not too dramatically though.) They're usually found in more rural areas where Catholicism did not quite take the hold that it did in bigger cities. (Their beliefs are less "Christianized" than ones in cities.) They tend to be more superstitious in these types of areas, maybe because of isolation. Practices and beliefs have the added the traditions of Catholicism mixed in with Pre-Colombian beliefs of Natives, such as the Aztecs and Mayans. This happens mostly in rural Mexico. The Aztec religion technically, still "lives" because of these practices.

Many times Brujas or Brujos are employed for the magickal prowess. (Brujas is the feminine term for Witch, while Brujo is the masculine term.) They can be employed for curses and curing. However, curing is the most common request of magickal practices there. The curandero will do anything from removing the evil eye, to cleansings, to healing ailments, and giving out herbal remedies. (When scientifically tested, it was found that traditional Aztec medicine was up to 60% effective in treating patients, which was a high rate for people without modern technology.) They might even remove curses cast by enemies or perform exorcisms.

Modern Aztecs still honor the old spirits that dwell in those places. (Animal spirits, earth spirits, spirits of the air, etc.) The curandero or Bruja can act as though they are a shaman at times, part-time magick user and part-time priest. (This is pretty close to how people used to be in the old ways, before civilization.) Their prayers also honor the earth, heavens, and underworld. They usually build their altars with the representation of these layers. (Animism is a concept, that everything has a spirit. Even inanimate objects. This is useful in incantations where you state your intention and will. It’s how you make objects yours own and how you direct energy, as well as in purification rites. Animism is inherent in all Mesoamerican beliefs. Even the modern ones are still popular like this.)

To Mesoamericans and modern Mexicans, reality is an appearance. Any sorcerer/Witch/skilled magick user knows that there are layers of reality under this one. That's why there are 9 layers of the underworld and 13 layers of the heavens. While the main cosmos is consisted of earth, heaven, and the underworld. [Earth is middle, underworld below, and heaven above.] Most of magick in Mexico and Pre-Colombia Mexico used the practice called dream working, where you use your dreams to manipulate reality, gather information, or cure someone and so forth.

The appearance of reality, layers of realities with in reality, is perhaps a very important part of magickal practice. Trickery and illusions in Mesoamerican magick is very much used and valued. The god of sorcerers himself, Tezcatlipoca, also known as San Simon or Maximon to modern Natives, often used trickery, which included appearance based magick to get what he wanted. [His nahualli is also a legendary jaguar.] These types of things are a good skill to learn if one travels to the otherworld or underworld, as one would encounter demons and spirits with ulterior motives. Also, stealth is a skill to be acquired so that one would not be seen by beings that might harm one.

Rituals may take place in the waking world, while the rest takes place in the other one, the realm of dreams, where the sorcerer or curer can travel to the underworld if needed. Caves, mirrors, and water are thought to be portals in this otherworld. (Any reflective surfaces count or places underground.) If one can't travel to the underworld or otherworld in dreams, one would do a ritual in a cave or the cave's entrance for example.

To ancient Mesoamericans and modern Natives of Mexico, animals are really important in magick. In traditional Aztec thought, everyone has a nahualli, an animal that shares its soul with you. However, a good sorcerer can obtain more nahualli. Though they will never share their souls (like the one you were born with) , you can obtain other nahualli through ritual, by stealing someone else's nahualli, or as gifts from the gods. (This is very similar to the modern belief of personal totem animals, and it has a modern name: nagual or nagualism.) One sort of ritual to get another nahualli is to hunt, kill, and eat an animal you want. Eating the animal …in magickal thought… is to "take its power" for yourself. [Think ‘you are what you eat’.] Life sustained on life, the cycle continues.

Animals are so important in magickal thought amongst the people of Mexico that where you're placed on the social ladder would have to do with your nahualli. The frequently seen animals [mice, skunks, pigs, cows, rabbits, etc] represent commoners, the regular folk who make up the majority. The uncommonly seen animals represent the "middle class". [coyotes, ocelots, etc].

The most powerful people on the social ladder [noble/ruling class] and the most powerful sorcerers are the infrequently, often times nocturnal, animals. [jaguar, owl, bear, etc] The most powerful and elusive of all these animals being the jaguar who is held at the highest level amongst most people in ancient and modern Mexico. Anybody with the born nahualli of a jaguar is thought to be endowed with being a powerful sorcerer and skilled at magick naturally.

In theory, one can influence reality through the otherworld. Like a ripple effect when you through a stone into water, in the dream world, you can turn into your nahualli, become in tune with it, and use its skills. This is especially useful if you have a flying type nahualli or totem, which can go into the heavens and travel at high speed.

1. Animal Souls and Human Destiny in Chamula by Gary Gossen (JSTOR article)
2. Tonal and Nagual in Otomi Thought by James Dow (JSTOR article)
3.Quiche Maya Dream Interpretation by Barbara Tedlock (JSTOR article)
4. Dialougue of the Earth and Sky by T. Knab, uk [website]

Copyright: I wrote the article, and published it on a few social sites. (Tumblr blog Azteca Memoria and Paganspace.) So if you see it republished there, it's me. I usually go by Jeth, ChaoticBlue/Bleu, or Witch of the Wild nowadays.

Picture is of the Black God of magick Tezcatlipoca. It was found in public domain on Wikipedia and is from the codex Borgia, originally. The author of the codex Borgia is unknown and from the 15th century.There is not copyrights for it.


Jessica Leigh

Location: Northfork, California


Author's Profile: To learn more about Jessica Leigh - Click HERE

Other Articles: Jessica Leigh has posted 2 additional articles- View them?

Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE

Email Jessica Leigh... (No, I have NOT opted to receive Pagan Invites! Please do NOT send me anonymous invites to groups, sales and events.)

To send a private message to Jessica Leigh ...

Pagan Essays

Pagan Web
8,000 Links

Pagan Groups
Local Covens etc.

80,000 Profiles

Home - TWV Logos - Email US - Privacy
News and Information

Chapters: Pagan/Heathen Basics - Pagan BOOKS - Traditions, Paths & Religions - Popular Pagan Holidays - TV & Movies - Cats of the Craft - Festival Reviews - Festival Tips - White Pages (Resources) - Issues/Concerns - West Memphis 3 - Witch Hunts - Pagan Protection Tips - Healing Planet Earth

Your Voices: Adult Essays - Young Pagan Essays - Pagan Perspectives (On Hold) - WitchWars: Fire in the Craft - Gay Pagan - Pagan Parenting - Military - Pagan Passages

Pagan Music: Pagan Musicians - Bardic Circle at WitchVox - Free Music from TWV

Vox Central: About TWV - Wren: Words, Wrants and Wramblings - Guest Rants - Past Surveys - A Quest for Unity

Weekly Updates: Click HERE for an index of our weekly updates for the past 6 years

W.O.T.W. - World-Wide Networking

Your Town: A Link to YOUR Area Page (The largest listing of Witches, Pagans, Heathens and Wiccans on the Planet)

VoxLinks: The Pagan Web: 8,000 Listings

Your Witchvox Account: Log in Now - Create New Account - Request New Password - Log in Problems

Personal Listings: Pagan Clergy in Your Town - Adult Pagans - Young Pagans - Military Pagans

Events: Circles, Gatherings, Workshops & Festivals

Covens/Groups/Orgs: Local Groups Main Page

Other LOCAL Resources: Local Shops - Regional Sites - Local Notices - Global/National Notices - Local Skills & Services - Local Egroups - Political Freedom Fighters

Pagan Shopping: Online Shops Index - Original Crafters Sites - Auction Sites - Pagan Wholesalers - Pagan Local Shops

Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2018 The Witches' Voice Inc. All rights reserved
Note: Authors & Artists retain the copyright for their work(s) on this website.
Unauthorized reproduction without prior permission is a violation of copyright laws.

Website structure, evolution and php coding by Fritz Jung on a Macintosh G5.

Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections (including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wren’s Nest, etc.) are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witches’ Voice, Inc. TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.

Sponsorship: Visit the Witches' Voice Sponsor Page for info on how you
can help support this Community Resource. Donations ARE Tax Deductible.
The Witches' Voice carries a 501(c)(3) certificate and a Federal Tax ID.

Mail Us: The Witches' Voice Inc., P.O. Box 341018, Tampa, Florida 33694-1018 U.S.A.
Witches, Pagans
of The World

Search Articles

 Current Topic
 Editorial Guide

NOTE: The essay on this page contains the writings and opinions of the listed author(s) and is not necessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.

The Witches' Voice does not verify or attest to the historical accuracy contained in the content of this essay.

All WitchVox essays contain a valid email address, feel free to send your comments, thoughts or concerns directly to the listed author(s).