The Legend of Nahuales in Tuzantlán, Part 2


In my first blog post, I wrote about my father’s experiences with Nahuales. Most of his experiences with Nahuales were not bad. As I asked my mom to tell me what she had witnessed, I noticed that it was difficult for her to start talking.

My mom explained to me that in her opinion, Nahuales are evil. She believes this because a Nahual used her powers to cause physical and emotional pain to my grandmother. Before giving birth to my aunts, mother, and uncle, my grandmother, Balbina had four failed pregnancies.

I have translated what my mom said to me in regards to the Nahuales.

“Every time my mamá was pregnant, she suffered. Whenever she was about to give birth, she said she saw a black dog with red eyes at night time. She lost four children. They died before she could even give birth to them. My mom was always sick. It was strange because her stomach would get purple then black. She would get really depressed.

My father took my mother to a curandera because many people advised them to go with her. Her name was Octavina. Octavina assured my parents that she would heal my mamá since the first time she saw them. But she was not a bruja, she was a curandera. My mom used to tell me that Octavina gave her liquid herbal medicine, but she did not know exactly what was in them and she prayed a lot. She had catholic saints in her home, and she prayed a lot for my mom. She had an altar. And she performed a limpia(cleansing). This curandera told my mom that it was an evil Nahual causing her suffering. Octavina said that the Nahual was a woman who was in love with my father. Her name is Agueda Mejia. This lady wanted revenge because my dad ended up marrying my mother instead of her. She used her powers for evil, she was the black dog that my mother would see at night. But, Octavina healed her. Thanks to Octavina, my mother was able to give birth to me, your aunts, and uncle. She healed my mom! If it wasn’t for Octavina, we wouldn’t be here. After all of this, Carla (sister) was born.

Because of that woman, Nahual my mom suffered a lot. She was just jealous. It’s a shame.”

As my mom was telling me my grandma’s story, and about Octavina, the curandera, I remembered Ultima. When Antonio’s uncle Lucas was very sick, Ultima was their only hope. Octavina was my grandmothers only hope. Octavina’s and Ultimas healing methods were very similar. Although the church did not approve either Ultima’s or Octavina’s methods,  the Marez family and the Torres Garcia (my mother’s family) family were very thankful to the curandera.

Works cited

Anaya, Rudolfo A. Bless Me, Ultima. New York: Warner, 1994. Print.

Torres, Otilia. Personal Interview. 27 April. 2014.

Image: wikimedia <>

The Legend of Nahuales in Tuzantlán Part 1

Legend of Nahuales Final Post


The Legend of Nahuales in Tuzantlán, Part 2 — 5 Comments

  1. The black dog you described, who seemed to appeared at a moment when your grandmother was at a delicate state and was an easy prey, reminded me of a similar creature that is quite popular in English and Nordic European folklore. This evil creature also takes the shape of a dark hound and mostly appears during the night. They are known to be omens of a looming evil or doers of evil themselves.
    I enjoyed your post because it showed me how these gothic stories, despite their distinctive cultural differences, are in a lot of ways universal.

  2. Not to mention that any Harry Potter fan is familiar with a version of this legend. It also reminds me of Cerberus, the hound of the Greek underworld. It seems dogs have been associated with darkness and malign servitude for a very long time and across cultures.

  3. I always find it interesting how the Catholicism and the natural healing are fused together in these situations. The curandera uses her herbs and remedies but also prays on an altar to heal your grandmother. This combination of natural methods and spiritual ritual is very Chicano in that it is a representation of the mixture of culture between the Aztecs and the Spaniards. Before taking this course I would have never though that Catholicism and “witch craft” (of the curandera) could be combined to fight evil. These two spiritual perspectives are typically presented as opposites in typical American popular culture. The combination of the two speaks to the presence of an overall spirituality that is not defined by specific rituals but by various expressions.

  4. I have to say, this is my favorite Nahual story you presented. I enjoyed the writing style –where you allowed your mother’s voice to come through as first person. I think it read really well and flowed amazingly. Writing is definitely a strength for you :)

    I had never heard of these type of evil people, and it read like a Twilight film — but better! The similarities between Octavina and Ultima definitely struck out at me. I believe in curanderas and your mom’s story, although fantastical in many ways, reads as believable. I often wonder if folk tales such as this one are strictly hispanic tradition, Americans never quite believe the horror stories they tell. Yet, many of us do believe in evil spirits and wrongdoings. We can only hope to stay in the good graces of others.

  5. Las historians que se cuentan en nuestros pauses Hispano, Buenos en este caso Mexico vienen acompanadas de historia de nuestros antepasados, los nahuales me llevan a recordar a los Aztecs y a los Mayas con Toda Su creencia spiritual, Su historian y sues traditions que han pasado de generation en generation y que con los Anios se ha idol enriqueciendo, una vez mas seta historia que nos cuentas me recuerda a las que mi familiar, amigos y conocidos en Mexico Alguna vez me han contado gracias por compartirlo y sober to do es important déjarlo escrito, Para que quiza en el future nuestros hijos conozcan nuestras raices.