[nah-gwahl, -wahl]
or nahual

In some Mesoamerican religions, a personal guardian spirit that resides in an animal. The person who wishes to find his nagual goes to sleep in an isolated spot, and the animal that appears in a dream or that confronts him when he awakens will thereafter be his guardian spirit. Many modern Mesoamerican Indians believe that the first creature to cross over the ashes spread before a newborn baby becomes the child's nagual. In some areas, nagual refers to the animal into which men with magical powers can transform themselves to do evil.

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