The Serpent, the Jaguar, and the Eagle
People who live close to the land, the changing seasons of planting and harvesting, the movements of the heavens, and life and death are deeply aware of symbols that represent various aspects of their lives. Like many cultures of the past, the Toltecs were very connected to various animals, constellations, plants, crystals, the four directions, and the elements, such as earth, air, fire, and water.
They used these symbols in rituals and ceremonies to help them understand and safeguard their world. Many native peoples, including the Toltecs, used the serpent, the jaguar, and the eagle to represent stages on their journey into spiritual awareness.
When a Toltec apprentice begins to explore her life on this path, she is like the serpent. The serpent sees a pretty small piece of the big picture — its main interests are food and safety from its predators. It moves easily, even gracefully, through its element, but it never sees beyond it.
The serpent represents the new Toltec apprentice, exploring the mastery of awareness. Her view of the big picture of life is still limited to her immediate needs, such as food, the gratification of pleasures, and her fear of being judged or “eaten” by the judging human predators around her. With awareness — like the wise fish learning there is more to life than water — the apprentice desires more. It is time for her to become the jaguar.
The jaguar is a great hunter. This animal learns the behaviors and activities of its prey by waiting and watching. The jaguar patiently stalks its prey, and moves in deliberately and decisively for the kill. Jaguars are skilled at what they do, and they do not waste any energy doing it. Sometimes they hunt with others of their kind, but mostly they hunt alone.
As you imagine yourself growing in power on the Toltec path, see yourself as the jaguar. You are the stalker, in the mastery of transformation. Your prey are the judgments, fears, and lies that have been programmed into your mind by others. You study your prey carefully, and when you are ready, attack it, grab it by the back of the neck, and shake it until the old lies are gone from it. Changing old lies to new truth is the goal of the jaguar on the path of transformation.
The better you are as a hunter, the worse prey you are. The jaguar has no predator enemies. The mouse has many. The more skilled you become at identifying and eliminating the distorting lies in your mind, the less susceptible you are to their power. Instead of the lies hunting you, you hunt the lies. You become the Toltec jaguar.
The eagle is also a hunter, and is prey for no other. Eagles fly high above the land, and see the patterns, colors, and perfection spread out below them. They have no opinions or judgments about anything they see. The eagle hunts alone, and then soars gracefully with its fellow eagles on high updrafts, in silence.
When you become the eagle, you are the master of your intent, and the master of love and acceptance. You are a seer, open and perceiving without distorting the many magical manifestations of the creation. You do not react to your old judgments and fears, or those of others; you fly free from the old dream. You soar high on your own currents, and live your life impeccably and effortlessly. The abundance of the universe is yours, spread out below, awaiting your choice. You are a master in the Toltec eagle tradition.