What Does Making Art Have To Do With Genocide?

The act of being tlamatinime comes from the corpus of philosophy and spiritual practice known as nahualismo – a gift from our Toltec forefathers, a tradition, like other great traditions: not only ancient, but robust and in full evolution.

When the Spanish and the Church came, circa 1492, they heard the word tlamatinime, a simple word that represents a philosophy and way of life, and they saw it referred to a highly evolved group of people. The word means “person who makes an art of their life.”

When Church and State observed the tlamatinime, they christened the people and the practice witchcraft, and as you may imagine that made things deadly. They saw the most polished and evolved of the Mexican society: teachers, priests, midwives, healers, sorcerers, and some “full out mystics,” as well.

The threat this tlamatinime situation presented to the Conquest by Spain and Church was clear. You can’t have conquered smart people being smart, if you’re just looking for labor, sex and money. One of the most infamous genocides in history began in earnest, and nahualismo went underground, so to speak.  

What the Conquerors didn’t realize was that all those effective people throughout Mesoamerican society all fed from the same tree of ancestral knowledge, the Toltec and Mayan ways, and nahualismo. The knowledge had been tested before.

And here we are now, 500 years later, with that knowledge available to a troubled world, after centuries of secrecy and censorship.

The Elder who said, “Full out mystics” also explains nahualismo as “the sticky substance of the tradition.” And yes, nahualismo defines the elegant, refined and precise handling of energy, perception and consciousness. And Tlamatinime is the portal of access.


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