A long time ago, in Mexico, before the Spanish conquer, one of the main civilizations was the “Nahuatl”, later known as the Aztec civilization, but Aztecs are just a small part of the whole “Nahuatl” civilization.
Nahuas said each culture has their own “cosmovision”. It usually refers to the way a certain civilization sees the universe, time, future, deities, destiny, spirits, medicine etc.
In the Nahua cosmovision the person’s soul is formed by 3 entities or essences.
It is very similar to the Greek theory of the “4 temperaments” (Also known as “The 4 Humors”).
Those entities were part of spirit but also vital fluids running through the whole body. The first one was in the head, the second one was in the heart and the third one was in the liver. These 3 entities must live balanced to have a healthy person, but if there is an unbalance, the person will get physically and mentally sick and if they don’t receive a treatment the person can even die.
Today I am only talking about one of these essences, known as “tonali”.
We can find the “tonali” mainly in the head but also it is running in our veins, it is part of our blood. Ancient Nahuas said “The heart is a tangible proof of the human’s soul”. The stronger the spirit is, the stronger the heart beats.
Tonali is in charge of the person’s vigor and energy for growth and development. The tonali regulates the body’s temperature. It can be cold or can be hot. Also the person’s character depends on it. “Tona” is a word related to the hot weather and the sun, therefore it is represented by a sun. It is like the internal sun in our souls.
The tonali may get weakened or can even leave the person’s body. When this happens, the person gets physically and mentally sick. The tonali may leave the body by 3 reasons: something that makes the person to feel suddenly scared/shocked, when a person is weaker because is too young or too old or when the person is drunk and they get weak enough that “evil spirits” may take the tonali with them.
There are 2 kinds of tonali: the hot one and the cold one. We receive our tonali at the moment we start living. Having a hot or a cold tonali depends on the day we are born and the difficulties faced at that moment.
Despite the tonali can be found in the head, it controls the person’s heart, feelings and emotions. It is said that people born with a hot tonali are “courageous warriors, daring, brave, fearless and intrepid”. They also have a lively cheerful spirit. It is said that some women’s tonali is so hot their personality may even look manly.
Meanwhile, people with a cold tonali get easily afraid while facing the war. It can be read in an ancient writing: “He was like a deer. He got afraid easily. He spent his time thinking about his worries with a trembling heart. He used to live feeling fear of everything. He wasn’t happy anymore, because he was worried all the time. He couldn’t enjoy and play anymore. There was no peace on his soul because everything was frightening. He was afraid of the future. He was afraid of making the same mistakes of the past”.
People, who let the fear to dominate their body, can even die of fear (like having a heart attack). They let their heart to get weaker by fear. They also let their heart to slowly die, little by little. The original word to describe this situation means “the death of the heart”. Once they surrender to the fear, to a dangerous situation, they get weaker and keep doing it again and again. They get worse with time if they don’t work on becoming stronger of mind.
Nahuas said that the tonali changes with the age. At first, it is cold and unstable, that’s why children get afraid more easily. With the time, the tonali gets hotter and stable, when the person becomes more mature. It reaches its peak point and then decreases. When the tonali gets colder, the person gets old and weak, the mind is weakened and leads to senile dementia.
Therefore, a cold tonali may also refer to an immature personality, an unstable person used to make tantrums. While a hot tonali, may refer to a person with a more mature personality. As an example, while facing a danger, a person with a cold tonali will run away and a hot tonali will stand up to fight and protect others, therefore it means a more mature personality.
“Despite the age, he was a person who protected others like if he was an elder… He wasn’t afraid. He even challenged [the danger], he followed the beast and became the pursuer instead of the persecuted”.
A person with a cold tonali will have the attitude of “avoiding responsibilities” instead of facing it. Will get tired easily; will give up, will find obstacles and everything will seem tough.
“They don’t even try. They give up even before trying. They surrender to their fears”. Also a cold tonally will always think that people wants to hurt him. “A cold tonali lives feeling suspicious, expecting for others to betray and hurt him, making up stories on their mind about others betrayal’s and is worried all the time, remaining mistrustful.”
Also the tonali is related to the body’s movement. It means that a person with a hot tonali has better abilities to run faster, to fight, to dance etc. Even if the person is getting tired, the hot tonali will give a “second wind” or a boost to keep going on when others are already tired.
A person with a favorable tonali may lose it or decrease its benefits through bad actions, while a person with an unfavorable tonali may get stronger through knowledge and a careful selection of actions.
In the ancient schools, the elders taught to the young ones:
“There is a common dream that everybody has: Being persecuted. While you sleep, your soul gets out of your body and spirits may reach it. You will be persecuted and those spirits will try to hurt you. There are 2 ways to react. You can run away or you can face them and fight. If you are a person with a cold tonali, you will feel fear, will run away but the spirit won’t go away, you can’t hide from it. It will follow you and even hurt you. If you are a person with a hot tonali you will take out your axe and attack the beast/spirit until it is dead or goes away. You can forge your tonali. When having one of those dreams, train yourself to be more courageous. Before running, think about it a little bit. When you are afraid you feel the cold and the shivers running over your body. Instead of letting the fear to take control over your body, you control it. Take a deep breath, focus your energy and feel the warm of the tonali getting hotter and hotter. Soon, that hot blood will run over your body. You will feel the warm covering you and this energy will turn into strength. You will feel the strength in your body. Feel it to fight, not to run away. Once your body is full with that hot tonali, you can take out your axe and defend yourself from any attacker. Start doing it in your dreams and then you will be able to do it while being awake”.
Of course it was a teaching in a time when every young man was a potential warrior. Later, with the Spanish conquer and the generalization of Christianity, the teaching was slightly changed. Instead of “taking out the axes” the advice was:
“While facing any difficult situation, don’t get scared. Don’t let others to intimidate you. Others will try to bulldoze your spirit. Don’t allow them to do it. There is no need to hurt others. Keep your spirit in the light. Determine yourself to stay with God and don’t let them to weaken your faith. Feel the safety of God’s protection and love. Feel his warm touch in your heart. Feel his support. Feel that warmness running from your heart to your brain. Get your mind stronger to not be deceived, tricked or fooled. Close your eyes, feel the warm running over your body, ask God for his support and take the first step with all the courage found in your body. Feel it like fire. If you focus on your goal and trust in God’s support, your faith will turn into courage, strong like a rock”.
These teachings basically said about turning your physical strength into internal strength. The consciousness is your main tool. Be aware of your feelings and re-direct them when they are going into a wrong way. “If you start feeling the cold over your body, stop for a second, focus and turn that feeling into a hot wave going into your head”.
The hot tonali must be forged, worked but also must be controlled or it may grow up like an uncontrollable giant. Despite most people wished for a hot tonali, it has its bad sides too, while a cold tonali has its good characteristics.
“There is the one who gets furious easily and gets completely crazy in the middle of the war, the one who gets violent at the slightest provocation. When feeling angry, this person will hurt whoever comes his way, being guilty or not. He may abuse of his power, hurt the innocents, the children, the domesticated animals, will hurt his wife in an outburst of jealousy, will hurt the weaker ones, will surrender to his sexual desires, to the envy and to the greed. He will let the fire grow until it chars his whole body and his inner spirit is just a bunch of ashes. The tonali and the heart are connected and an unbalance in one, may affect the other one. That’s why a person who can’t control their own tonali is one step closer to craziness. A tonali out of control may turn the heart into an evil heart that will have a desire for hurting others“. (They literally said that a heart may turn upside down [?] and then the person turns into an evil person).
This also may refer to an unbalance where the tonali dominates the other 2 essences.
A person with a cold tonali is described as a soft, generous person. “He was a loving affectionate person, able to feel other’s pain and shudder with it. He wasn’t attached to his riches. He was worried about his beloved ones. It was the most important thing for him. He worked hard trying to keep his beloved ones happy.” It also refers to a person who can feel empathy and create strong emotional bounds with other people, who can easily feel love for others. Also a cold tonali shows a curious person, in a kind/friendly way.
A hot tonali will be a highly sexual person, tending to be controlled by his own desires. A cold tonali will be less sexual, but will make love in a more sweet and loving way.
It is very important to keep the balance in the tonali because “Fear can be as destructive as evilness”.
If a person wants to give some strength to another one, or need to face together a great danger, they should hug each other constantly. While being together, their bodies will share and increase their temperature and therefore their tonali will get stronger. While hugging, instead of being 2 small tonali, they become one huge, stronger tonali. It is very important for a mother to hug her children, (who have a weak, immature tonali), to protect them and give them strength.
In the case of a mother and her child, 2 people who share the same blood, or a very close couple, the connection can be so strong that their tonali becomes one. Even if they are at different places, what happens to one person can be felt in the other one. If one person gets colder, the other one will feel bad without an apparent reason.
“Also an emotional pain may cause a sensation in the heart of tearing it apart (Actually known as ‘broken heart syndrome’). When there are wounds in the heart, the soul becomes exhausted and there is no energy to do anything, but when the heart is happy, the body gets hotter and the soul gets stronger”.
A person with a strong tonali will show it on his gaze. A person with a balanced tonali will have a strong gaze, but a person who let the evilness enter his body, while having a strong tonali may even hurt others, just by looking at them or wishing them mishaps.
The tonali can be also found in the body’s joints, like elbows, knees, and ankles. This means that a person with a hot tonali will have strong joints. The person can take steady steps. The person will walk with confidence and won’t fall down. “His steps were so strong that he could be heard by everyone and his enemies trembled just by hearing him or looking at the way he walked”. Also his arms will be strong to lift heavy things. “His arms didn’t shake. His arms made steady movements”.
(Mainly based on the article and research by Jaime Echeverria Garcia for the UNAM, sorry I am very bad keeping a track of the works cited).