Werewolves and other werecreatures can be found all over the world and all throughout time. Countless cultures have their own unique werewolf tales and legends. Today we shall explore the ancient lore of South America, to a time when the nagual reigned, a being with many different manifestations.
In ancient Aztec lore, the nagual were originally the form that shapeshifting shamans assumed in order to perform various deeds – either good or evil, depending on their personality. Specific beliefs vary from area, but Nagualism is linked with the Mesoamerican calendric system, which was used for divination rituals. An individual’s birth date often determined whether or not they would become nagual.
The name Nagual (a werecreature), which is derived from the Aztec Naualii, can also be applied to a person’s familiar spirit or their totem spirit. To discover their Nagual, youths of Central America leave their villages to spend the night in a secluded place away from the others in their tribe. The animal that appears to them in their dreams is their Nagual, their spirit guide.
Now, in Mexican folklore, the Nagual is a bit different than those two above. They were once incredibly feared supernatural beings. Some of them have been described as a phantom standing about seven feet tall. The creature is covered with hair and has long arms and the feet and claws of a wolf. It also has the ears and mouth of a wolf, but has the facial expression of a wicked and evil human being. On top of its appearance, it also howls like a wolf, surely terrifying all who hear it. While it has the general look of a wolf, it also has the ability to shapeshift into the form of a snake, a puma or a wild dog.
There you have it Dear Readers, the very varied history of the Nagual. From shapeshifting shamans, to spirit guides, and eventually to monstrous beasts.
Which version of the Nagual is your favorite?
About the Author
Moonlight (aka Amanda) loves to write about, read about and learn about everything pertaining to werewolves and other supernatural beasties. She writes for top genre sites like Vampires.com and Werewolves.com. You will most likely find her huddled over a book of folklore with coffee in hand. Touch her coffee and you may lose a limb. You can stalk her via her Twitter.