In my previous blog posts, I have written about the legend of Nahuales in my parents’ hometown, Tuzantlan, Puebla, Mexico. However, this legend has been heard of in Puebla’s neighboring states such as Oaxaca and Mexico (state). This legend is known across many regions in Mexico because the legend of the Nahuales has been around since the Pre Hispanic era. Many of Mexico’s ancient civilizations had Nahuales amongst their populations.
Mexico’s indigenous peoples believed in Nahuales or Nahualli which means, clothing of the skin (El Nahual). Nahuales were shamanes. It was believed that only if an individual got in touch with her/his spirit then she/he would be able to transform into animal form and use her/his powers. These were magical powers which were believed would be able to heal members of the community. Nahuales were protected by Tezcatlipoca, god of war and sacrifice.
It is unknown what happens when a Nahual transforms from human to animal form. There are some theories that describe this. One of them is the following, “The person simply disappears and becomes the animal he/she desires. The shaman is able to transfer his/her consciousness into the animal form” (El Nahual).
In the Aztec world, Nahuales were seen as a good thing. It is good to keep in mind that in this culture, animals were very close to the Gods. An example of this would be the God Quetzalcoatl which is known as the plumed serpent. Animals have a very significant role in myths such as the creation stories and the creation of elements such as fire and wind.
It is hard to know an exact version of the legend of the Nahuales because they are different depending on the region where it is heard. I also had a difficult time finding information about the Nahual online. Because of this, I used a website written in Spanish. Even in Spanish it was hard to find information. When I travel to Mexico I would like to explore the Legend of the Nahual even further.
“El Nahual.” Web log post. Escalofrio. Web. 30 Apr. 2014. <http://www.escalofrio.com/n/Hombres_Lobo/El_Nahual/El_Nahual.php>.