Cultural & Religious Prominence of the Jaguar
Revered in Mexican, South and Central American cultures as a god, the jaguar is associated with royalty and the less than regal aspects of human society such as war. In Mayan culture, the jaguar power animal was viewed as symbolic of darkness and the underworld.
In many tribes, such as in Mayan society, the jaguar was the force that kept man connected to all the elements that offer structure, balance, foundation, and energy to his life including fertility, the earth, and the darkness of the underworld. Along with the Aztecs and Mayans, the Inca also built temples to the jaguar.
The Jaguar In Folklore
Throughout ancient cultures the jaguar animal totem’s character was versatile when it came to storytelling. From trickster to powerful leader and warrior, the jaguar was also sometimes seen as a shape shifter. In some South and Central American tribes it is not uncommon for there to be stories of jaguars that shape shifted into human form in order to mingle and procreate with human women.
In Mayan culture, the jaguar represented the outsider. The large cat was a sacred figure that lived outside the confines of structured society and was considered the “lord of the animals.”
Jaguar & Your Desires
The jaguar has also been associated with the Roman god Bacchus. According to legend panthers supposedly nursed Bacchus. In some depictions he is also riding a chariot pulled by jaguars. While Bacchus is often thought of as the god of wine, he is also linked to the unleashing of desires. The panther is also a symbol of subconscious urges and desires. Both the Aztecs and Mayans spoke about the power of becoming half-jaguar and half-human. According to these cultures, a person who can become half jaguar and half human can be rid of all of his cultural restrictions and inhibitions. Such a person can finally act upon his hidden desires.