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Nagual Oracles and Aztec Animal Meanings

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Exploring Nagual Oracles and Aztec Animal Meanings

Nagual oracles and Aztec animal meanings – This article about nagual oracles and Aztec animal meanings is based on the Tonalamatl (the Aztec “Book of Days”). There are 20 sets of trecena, or sets of 13-day periods and thirteen “hour” days. Each of these thirteen-time units was governed by a deity.  And, each deity was associated with a Nagual (also spelled Nahual, each pronounced na’wall). 

What’s a Nagual? We could say Nagual’s are like alter ego, or the representation of an animalistic aspect of Mesoamerican human or deity.   

The Nagual is a facet of consciousness that still runs untethered in the jungles, still beats its wings against moist clouds – the wild part of being that is still wholly primitive, free and unscrupulous.

Nagual Oracles and Aztec Animal Meanings
Nagual Oracles and Aztec Animal Meanings

In Aztec wisdom, Naguals are also considered guardian spirits. Shamans invite a guardian spirit into his body; it protects him from illness and from unfriendly forces in other worlds. Guardian spirits change over the years as the shaman’s needs change. If you have ever read any books by Carlos Castaneda, you may have learned a very specific context for nagual in shamanic journeys.

The non-ordinary reality is as real to the shaman as is the ordinary reality. The shaman is an individual who enters an ecstatic altered state of consciousness, which enables him to communicate with the guardian and helping spirits and draw upon enormous sources of power. The primary purpose of shamanism is the healing of body and mind. He heals himself and others.

The Nagual birds are partnered with one deity for each of the thirteen phases in a trecena.  Here’s a list of symbolic associations:

Aztec Animal Meanings and Nagual Oracles
Based on the Nagual Birds of the Thirteen Lords of Days

Name of DeityRulershipAssociated Nagual Bird
Nagual Oracles and Aztec Animal MeaningsXiuhtecuhtliLord of FireDiamond Blue Hummingbird
Nagual Oracles and Aztec Animal MeaningsTlaltecuhtliGod of the EarthEmerald Green Hummingbird
Nagual Oracles and Aztec Animal MeaningsChalchiutlicueGoddess of the WatersRoyal Hawk
Nagual Oracles and Aztec Animal MeaningsTonatiuhGod of the SunBeneficent Quail
Nagual Oracles and Aztec Animal MeaningsTlazolteotlGoddess of LoveExpansive Eagle
Nagual Oracles and Aztec Animal MeaningsTeoyaomiquiGod of the Fallen WarriorMighty Screech Owl
Nagual Oracles and Aztec Animal MeaningsXochipilliGod of MaizeBrilliant Butterfly
Nagual Oracles and Aztec Animal MeaningsTlalocGod of RainThe Golden Eagle
Nagual Oracles and Aztec Animal MeaningsQuetzalcoatlGod of of WindThe Proud Turkey
TezcatlipocaGod of BountyThe Horned Owl
Nagual Oracles and Aztec Animal MeaningsMictlantecuhtliGod of the UnderworldThe Mighty Macaw
Nagual Oracles and Aztec Animal MeaningsTlahuizcalpantecuhtliGod of SunriseThe Long-Tailed Quetzal
Nagual Oracles and Aztec Animal MeaningsIlamatecuhtliGoddess of the SkiesThe Rainbow Parrot

I offer these symbolic Aztec associations because I found the correspondences helpful in my ever-growing construction of symbolic framework’s

What do I mean by that?  Certain symbolic systems (like the Tarot for example) stand up by themselves, on their own symbolic merit.  This Aztec set of deities and their associations can offer cracks of clarity into otherwise hazy events in our lives.

For example: Let’s say the Quail is continually entering my awareness, and I want more clarity or meaning as to its presence.  I can garner more information from this occurrence by referring to the Aztec list Nagual bird lords. 

In this example, I see the Quail is associated with the Aztec Sun god, and also the number 4.   From here, I can explore other avenues of what I call “in-vision” by peering into systems such as elemental symbolism (fire, earth, air, water) or numerology, etc.

Essentially, these Mesoamerican insights provide more symbolic breadcrumbs for me to follow on a Path to deeper symbolic understanding.

Nagual Oracles and Aztec Animal Meanings
Nagual Oracles and Aztec Animal Meanings

Creating Your Own Nagual Oracles and Divination System

I’ve also crafted my own oracle/divination set from thirteen rune-like bits of wood based on this list of Nagual bird lords.   It’s been tremendously helpful (as have been the deities) in unearthing tricky meanings of various ilk.

You can create & utilize your own Nagual oracles too.  Here’s how:

  • Collect thirteen (shooter-marble sized) bits of material that appeal to you (wood, stone, chestnuts, etc). 
  • Engrave, carve or paint the numbers 1-13 on one side.
  • If you wish, you can also add a symbol representing each god-bird on the other side.  
  • Put them all in a clean, recycled soup can (or something similar).
  • Draw a small’ish chalk circle or lay a thread/string circle down on a flat surface. 
  • While contemplating a concept or question, shake your rune can and toss out your Nagual bird bits into the circle (think Yatzee!).
  • The bits that land in the circle are your oracle.  Study the Nagual birds/Aztec deities/numerals, etc. that correspond to the rune bits that landed in your circle.

Of course, you’ll find your own special way to honor the Aztec deities, as well as your own unique method of divining meaning from these fabulous archetypal figures. 

Just approach the process with honor and respect.  Have a genuine heart (Aztec energies don’t abide ulterior or non-virtuous motives well). I hope you enjoyed this information about Aztec animal meaning and Nagual oracles!

As always, thanks for reading!

Mighty brightly,

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