The persecution of an alleged brujo "Nahual" by a town in Veracruz
In Mesoamerican mythology, the Nahuals are witches or supernatural beings that can take on animal form. Did they actually see it?
The chase started Monday night. Men, women and children from the small municipality of Soledad de Doblado, 30 kilometers from the port of Veracruz, Mexico, were walking the cobbled streets armed with stones, sticks and firearms.
"Be careful, it can do something to you, I don't know what can happen to you," one woman shouted to alert the others.
The "hunt" for the nahual had begun.
The supposed images of the persecution of this supernatural being are collected in Facebook videos posted by some of the people who were part of the mob.
Perhaps imprisoned in the collective hysteria, some neighbors claimed to have seen a figure with grey eyes climb a palm tree, around which they gathered, lighting it with lamps.
"Shoot!" said one. "There he is, his mother, gray. Hit him there!"
The barking of the dogs is incessant. The children's shouting can be heard far away, but the punishment doesn't stop. Until the so-called half-human, half-animal being flees, according to witnesses, into the heavens. "It flew, it flew, ah, su madre!"
When the municipal police went to the scene to convince the neighbors to return to their homes, since they were not complying with the sanitary measures imposed by the COVID pandemic, the nahual had already left.
Those who have read Carlos Castaneda and his mythical Don Juan Matus will be familiar with stories of brujos who have the power to transform into animals or even elements of nature, such as lightning or the smoke of a fire. Generally, these witches have evil intentions since the time of the arrival of the Spaniards, but this was not always the case.
A nahual can also be a totemic entity, a powerful animal with which many Mesoamerican cultures believed that each person is related to from birth. A guide or a protector who appears in dreams to give advice and who is told there is such a degree of bonding that when the guide animal dies, so does its human self, and vice versa, at least according to Nahualism.
The word nahual — or nahualli — comes from the Nahuatl and means "disguise," "hidden" or "skin." In pre-Hispanic times, Nahualli was called 'tla tlacatecolotl' — owl man — and was believed to appear only at night. Both Mexicas and yakis, tarahumaras or series, from the north of Mexico to the south of the United States, had their own nahualli.
If someone came to know their Nahual spirit, they could practice magic and transform themselves into the being. Many stories have survived from colonial times about Mexica and Spanish hunters who killed an animal at night and the next morning its body had been transformed into a human being.
Did the people of Veracruz see a gray-eyed nahual, as the supposed video shared by the Mexican newspaper El Universal suggests?
While some speak of collective hallucination — assuming the video is real — shouldn't we first ask ourselves about the meaning of 'real'? If we are mind and we are myth, if everything that surrounds us is pure construct, in the act of believing we make it real.
That is what magic is all about.