Historical Reprints History Nagualism; A Study in Native American Folk-lore and History

Nagualism; A Study in Native American Folk-lore and History

Nagualism; A Study in Native American Folk-lore and History
Catalog # SKU3291
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name Daniel G. Brinton
ISBN 10: 1610336550
ISBN 13: 9781610336550



A Study in Native American
Folk-lore and History

Large Print

Daniel G. Brinton

The words, a nagual, nagualism, a nagualist, have been current in English prose for more than seventy years; they are found during that time in a variety of books published in England and the United States, yet are not to be discovered in any dictionary of the English language; nor has Nagualism a place in any of the numerous encyclopædias or "Conversation Lexicons," in English, French, German or Spanish.

--New Edition, large 15 point font



This province of Cerquin appears to have been peopled by a tribe which belonged to the great Mayan stock, akin to those which occupied most of the area of what is now Yucatan, Tabasco, Chiapas and Guatemala. I shall say something later about the legendary enchantress whom their traditions recalled as the teacher of their ancestors and the founder of their nation. What I would now call attention to is the fact that in none of the dialects of the specifically Mexican or Aztecan stock of languages do we find the word nagual in the sense in which it is employed in the above extract, and this is strong evidence that the origin of Nagualism is not to be sought in that stock.

3. We do find, however, in the Nahuatl language, which is the proper name of the Aztecan, a number of derivatives from the same root, na, among them this very word, Nahuatl, all of them containing the idea "to know," or "knowledge." The early missionaries to New Spain often speak of the naualli (plural, nanahualtin), masters of mystic knowledge, dealers in the black art, wizards or sorcerers. They were not always evil-minded persons, though they seem to have been generally feared. The earliest source of information about them is Father Sahagun, who, in his invaluable History, has the following paragraph: "The naualli, or magician, is he who frightens men and sucks the blood of children during the night. He is well skilled in the practice of this trade, he knows all the arts of sorcery (nauallotl) and employs them with cunning and ability; but for the benefit of men only, not for their injury. Those who have recourse to such arts for evil intents injure the bodies of their victims, cause them to lose their reason and smother them. These are wicked men and necromancers."

It is evident on examining the later works of the Roman clergy in Mexico that the Church did not look with any such lenient eye on the possibly harmless, or even beneficial, exercise of these magical devices. We find a further explanation of what they were, preserved in a work of instruction to confessors, published by Father Juan Bautista, at Mexico, in the year 1600.

"There are magicians who call themselves teciuhtlazque, and also by the term nanahualtin, who conjure the clouds when there is danger of hail, so that the crops may not be injured. They can also make a stick look like a serpent, a mat like a centipede, a piece of stone like a scorpion, and similar deceptions. Others of these nanahualtin will transform themselves to all appearances (segun la aparencia), into a tiger, a dog or a weasel. Others again will take the form of an owl, a cock, or a weasel; and when one is preparing to seize them, they will appear now as a cock, now as an owl, and again as a weasel. These call themselves nanahualtin."

There is an evident attempt in this somewhat confused statement to distinguish between an actual transformation, and one which only appears such to the observer.

116 pages - 7 x 8½ softcover
ISBN-10: 1610336550
ISBN-13: 9781610336550

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