Toltec, Nagualism and the Confusion about Lineages
Author’s Note: This article was originally published here in early 2017 under this same name with a link to the original author’s (Donald Voss) article. On the chance that Don’s website goes down, his original article would be lost. This is a republication of his linked article, copied here in full-text, as a means to preserve the original content as a separate copy here.
Anyway, I am prompted to republish this, as the dissolution of lineages has come up recently, and this republication is solely intended for akashic record purposes only. But maybe it would be helpful for someone who would read it here.
Carlos Castaneda, the Toltec and “New Age” of Awareness
I think many of us know fairly well (some through David Icke’s books) of how the darkness grew and evolved for thousands of years in Europe, Australia and in modern America. But what of pre-Columbian America before the Aztec, Maya, and Inca?
The writer of this essay sums up what was going on in what is now known as Mexico, and then shares about the lineage of warriors who broke off from the darkness to embrace source creativity, and who survived until these modern times.
Their ways were called the Toltec Path, and were shared with us in an earlier wave of light-warriors, one of whom was Carlos Castaneda, who later wrote books about the breakaway from the morbidity of the darkness. Castaneda is considered by many to be the father of the new age movement that started in the 1960s.
The essay below (originally published here) describes the origins of the ancient (and sometimes old-world and morbid) Toltec, and explains the importance of distinguishing them from the “new” Toltec seers of these modern times.
Toltec, Nagualism and the confusion about lineages
FEBRUARY 12, 2011 BY DON VOSS
Recently there has been a frightening number of bandwagon effects surrounding these words. These words are intense and loaded. As a Toltec warrior and a person walking a path as a man of knowledge, it has come often to my attention that if it is said on Wikipedia and on some video on the internet it must be true. If enough people pass that along then it becomes accepted as fact. Clarifications are in order, and not from the internet, but from direct experience and connection to intent and hopefully well established lineages. This bandwagon effect is exactly what occurred in the first century to the nagual Yeshua Ben Joseph though in context he would have never used the word nagual, rather “gnostic” or knower of spiritual pathways.
Toltec means, has always meant “ancient builder” or “artisan.” As a culture the political expression of this group lived between the Mayan and Aztec cultures in an area around Teotihuakan between 800 ad and 1200 ad. Even then the term Toltec was a term from the nahuatl language which the Aztec used to refer to a place that they surrounded in awe and mystery as to what occurred in the past. The historical texts where burned by the Spanish priest in probably one of the saddest periods of book burning since Shi Huang Ti’s attempted to wipe out all previous histories of China in the second century bce. Thus the actual textural evidence is sketchy at best. Yet, there are lineages that picked up this term and used it as a self definition because the word Toltec means builder, creator or artisans. It allowed them to be creators of their own reality when they intended this self defining word.
What we do know is that the Toltec culture moved in and re-established dominance during the 8th century when the Mayan’s lost their power base in central Mexico. They were known, by the later peoples to have been a culture obsessed with the dreamtime. And in being obsessed, took the ceremonial idea that there are two worlds sitting side by side to a level of frantic political obsession. They focused much of their intention as a culture in creating a bridge between those worlds with human sacrifice. Originally those sacrificed in the Mayan cosmology prior to Toltecs were born in the dream city and thus held a position of reality that could thus be accessed by our physical point here. What was above the ground as pyramid structures was reflected below the ground as a mirror image. This obsession by the Toltecs became centered in the warrior clans of the political leadership. This was unsustainable, and eventually the people who lived within those political confines and domination of the priests and soldiers started to leave the cities to return to simpler life-ways. Thus the Toltec crumbled from within and the next culture, the Aztecs took up this practice with reckless abandon but with out the morbid obsession of the Toltec political base.
That’s the history. The lineages speak of the men and women of knowledge barely escaping this period when the Toltecs ruled. They destroyed their link to the morbid obsession with death and went under ground as secret groups of spiritual warriors establishing a new mood of knowledge. The same thing occurred with the Gnostics in the 3-4 century in Egypt and the middle east. The Roman empire crumbled from within and combined politics with a twisted version of Christian dogma burning as many books from the mystery schools as they could to dominate and become the new political/religious power base of the world. In Mexico of the 12th century, the leaders of these new Toltec lineages were shocked at the voracity which the warrior clans took on the Salvationism of the plumed serpent god as much as the Gnostics were of the crusades which resulted in their near extinction.
We have as a result, a term, Toltec, which was picked up by these men and women of knowledge that attempted to preserve ancient knowledge and perception in lineages of oral and secret traditions. In Mexico, these lineages, passed down generations, watched as the Aztecs ultimately fell under the weight of their own mythological obsession with Salvationism to an external force of Christianity, a variation of the same predatory Salvationism. Cultures crumble, yet under the radar the practices and abstract cores of these lineages survived.
This was the lineage that Carlos Casteneda stumbled on when he met Don Juan Matus (aka Juan Black Crow) a shaman of the Yaqui tribe, a brujo (though this term is not really accurate either) and a healer. DJ and his party of shaman/warriors shared this knowledge with Carlos and recognized that there was an end to the 19 generations of lineage keepers that had kept the oral traditions secret. Thus Toltec became a way for these lineages to connect to the energetic lineage which actually predates even the Toltec culture itself. The Toltec seers should thus be separated contextually from the culture of the Toltecs who ruled from 800-1000 ad…
Thus Toltec is merged with nagualism.. or the lineages of naguals. What does this term mean? A host of things and even this term is bad for it applies to numerous contexts and syntaxes within the abstract cores.
Ancient linguistic roots of the term nagual refer to the ability to shape shift into an animal. Going back literally 5000+ years the term meant becoming an animal so one could hunt the animal. In North America the term was nagi, spirit, and aligned with a period when the warriors and hunters would take on animal aspects as their “medicine” to shape shift and move through the spirit world and real world. They studied animals and plants for knowledge. Likewise, naguals were shape shifters who became animals in the ancient southern practices. Politically and culturally these naguals became powerful kings and set up lineages dedicated to animal powers and gods like the jaguar, eagle, crow etc. Ceremony became detached from actual practice and that lead to the Mayan, Nahuatl and other tribes of Mexico using these societies of warriors to unite the people in cities and trade centers. It was the domination of a priestly class over the population as a whole with the knowledge they kept among the few initiated leadership. Even the calendar was secret knowledge during that time. In the north these societies became holders of medicine, the elk society, the bear societies etc… Both north and south saw a decline in the actual practice of shape shifting into the morbid obsession with pursuing long life through attachment to the dream world in complex ceremonies and rites of initiation. They failed miserably to fight off the coming onslaught from the east and west.
Even before the Christian cultures destroyed the shells of culture in North and South America, the decent of practice into formalism had weakened these political entities and structures; this was no golden age! They actually died from diseases long before the final blow of Christianization. The shaman/healers were too weak and obsessed with a secondary world to make any actual healing take place when swine flue, small pox and the like decimated these ancient complex civilizations as ships landed at the edges of these continents and released animals, mostly pigs, into the wild.
Thus the naguals who kept the skill of shape shifting alive, reached back to ancient times and picked up the skill of shifting the assemblage point to alternative avenues of awareness and discovered a deep wealth of knowledge along their genetic and spiritual lines within. They realized the folly of nagualism as a religion and focused on nagual as the deep recesses of knowledge not necessarily attached to the world which they saw crumbling around them, the tonal… A word that harkens to the idea that the physical world vibrates or sings with great distraction attempting to entice people into thinking they must succumb to the dominant paradigm.
So nagual as a term became associated with two things simultaneously… first the wealth of dark knowledge beyond the tonal and second with people who could shift their perception and form to these deep recesses of knowledge. Nagual also meant teacher, lineage holder and someone who practices ancient nagualism without attachment to the religious fervor that brought an end to the cycle of old seers obsessed with death defying and creating dream cities.
Though Don Juan called his lineage “New Seers”, as reported by Carlos Casteneda, they were only new in reference to the “Old Seers” to which they were attempting to separate themselves. My preference as a Toltec, who uses this term in relation to being an artisan, creator, is to call that part of the lineages the Bridge Seers. My own teacher knew that his lineage was changing and morphing rapidly as the secrets got out… one of the only ways to preserve the knowledge was to start writing it down. And in writing it down this leads to the fixation of terminology and the disaster of it potentially turning into a fixated tradition yet again.
Within the lineages is great innovation… both in the terms they used to describe their experiences and the ones they passed along to the next generation. All lineage keepers freed their apprentices and students to come up with their own terminology. And therein is the problem. Now we have an internet where few can discern by words alone what the truth is behind the lineal knowledge that has been passed down generation upon generation. So Nagual now comes to mean something it was not intended to mean, “savior!” “leader!” and all the domination of self importance that comes with that association. The predatory parts of the Salvationist paradigm is working overtime to get people to bandwagon into a new variation of the same old thing that happened to Yeshua’s teachings in the first century. Even Siddhartha Gautama noted that there would come a point when the dharma would be so bleached out that the only way through was to destroy all structures around the dharma to re-invigorate the dharma beyond useless ceremony and pathetic Salvationism.
No nagual, that I have met, every wanted anyone to follow him or her. They were in alignment with the earth’s creative forces and created whatever means necessary to free the minds and spirits of those they came in contact with to walk the lineage forward into the future by becoming the best answer for the times at hand. If it no longer works, get rid of it… they had learned what the obsession with form and ceremony lacking in real intent could lead to… just look at any ceremony where the forms must be obeyed over the intent… Personally, I point to the seven sacraments of the church and how melba toasted that has become…. But this is true for all the major “religions”. They are sustaining ad infinatum the past without the link to the creative intent and variations which are rooted in evolution towards the future brought forth from the earth it(her)self always present in the now.
So a warning post must go up. It is good to do research and to study books. It is better to practice, often with a guide, which we call a benefactor. We call it benefactor because it means “good information” or knowledge. And then free the self to explore. The minute someone says submit to my authority, run as fast as you can in the other direction. Benefactor’s free people… priests and politicians do not.
And take it from me… don’t believe anything I have written here, test and find out for the self. We have infinite potential to be energetic beings manifesting a new creation every day. Don’t rely on the past, rely on the present and the efficacy of the warrior’s way to constantly be creators of a new millennium. Peace.