Mexican Brujx, Part 2: Shapeshifting Witches

Many pre-Colombian indigenous cultures had deep, complex belief in therianthropy, the ability of certain people to assume animal form. Evidence for this practice in Mesoamerica goes back to the Olmecs, in whose art we find multiple representations of the were-jaguar.

This particular sort of witchcraft was adopted by the Nahua peoples as well (such as the Mexica or “Aztecs”). In Nahuatl, a generic name for shape-shifting witches is mocuepani, meaning “one who transforms.”



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David Bowles

A Mexican American author & translator from South Texas. Teaches literature & Nahuatl at UTRGV. VP of the Texas Institute of Letters.