General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 19 Apr 2021/3 Alligator
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Aztec stone coyote figure

Coyote, Mexica (Aztec), stone, c. 1500 CE, 38 x 17 x 13 cms., National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City.

Animals were associated with temporality, as guardians of the lapses of time. An animal alter ego was assigned to every person, together with the sacred influences that acted upon him or her, based on the day of birth according to the ritual calendar. This alter ego shared that person’s fate and harbored a part of his or her spirit until death. Some people who had several of the most powerful animal companions, such as the jaguar, puma and the coyote, were able to transform themselves into those animals at will when in a state of sleep or ecstatic trance. These people were the sorcerers or shamans.

From The Aztec Empire, curated by Felipe Solís, Guggenheim Museum Publications, New York, 2004, p.70.

Photo by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore.

‘Witchcraft and Sorcery in Ancient Mexico’