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High Performance Symbolism: The Jaguar

By Rebecca

[Snip] Everyone is familiar with the animal, but we’re not talking about a mere mortal animal, we’re talking about the jaguar as something more than flesh; we’re exploring it as a symbol for larger things. Generally, you will find the jaguar being treated as a symbol amongst the native tribes of Central America since they derive most of their traditions from the ancient Aztec and Mayan cultures. Let me tell you, those Mayans and Aztecs respected the jaguar…and for more reasons than it could eat you!

For the Mayans the jaguar was the master of animals and a creature of the underworld. It was said that their eyes were a passage to the underworld, and more so, if you gazed into the eyes of a jaguar your future would be revealed to you. I’m guessing a one-way ticket to the underworld was a common prediction revealed through this practice! For the Aztecs the jaguar was the guardian of the four pathways of the world. To the Toltecs the jaguar represented the moon. (For those of you with inquiring minds, the eagle represented the sun.) The coming of twilight was attributed to a jaguar devouring the sun. You can imagine the Toltecian irony if somehow they stumbled across a jaguar eating an eagle!

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