Upon The Sacred, We Walk

“It would be a mistake to suppose that Nagualism was an incoherent medley of superstitions, a mass of jumbled fragments derived from the ancient paganism. My study of it has led me to a widely different conclusion. It was a perpetuation of a well-defined portion of the native cult, whose sources we are able to trace long anterior to the period of the conquest, and which had no connection with the elaborate and bloody ritual of the Aztecs.”

[…]

“Wherever in later days the Catholic priests found out the holy places and sacred objects of the nagualists, they were in caves or deep rock-recesses, not in artificial structures.”

[…]

“The intimate meaning of this cave-cult was the worship of the Earth. The Cave God, the Heart of the Hills, really typified the Earth, the Soil, from whose dark recesses flow the limpid streams and spring the tender shoots of the food-plants, as well as the great trees. To the native Mexican, the Earth was the provider of food and drink, the common Father of All; so that to this day, when he would take a solemn oath, he stoops to the Earth, touches it with his hand, and repeats the solemn formula: Cuix amo nechitla in toteotzin? ‘Does not our Great God see me?’”

~from “Nagualism. A Study in Native American Folk-lore and History” by Daniel G. Brinton

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