Date of Graduation

Fall 2010


Master of Arts in History



Committee Chair

John Chuchiak


witchcraft, magic, medicine, divination, inquisition, México, New Spain, Aztec, Méxica

Subject Categories



Information within the archives of the Inquisition indicates patronage and solicitation of native Mexica professional magico-medicinal healers and diviners by natives, mixed castes, and Europeans in order to alleviate the great multitude of imported and domestic diseases, veterinary complications, agricultural conditions, social injustices, future events, and origins of misfortune in colonial New Spain. Despite established Catholic orthodoxy, these native practitioners employed psychotropic and intoxicating substances in ritual magic and medicine in conjunction with prohibited idolatry, incantation, and ritual sacrifice. These native specialists found no sincere comfort or residence within imported Spanish religious and medical structures and Spanish officials failed to fully comprehend the integral correlation these magico-medicinal practitioners served in the perpetuation of idolatry and pagan culture. Despite prosecution in Spanish ecclesiastical courts, magico-medicinal practitioners both actively and passively resisted and endured imported Iberian norms in colonial New Spain. The great number of foreign and domestic diseases, in conjunction with the scarcity and inflated cost of Spanish doctors, the essentiality of native medicinal knowledge, demand for treatments, and magical services necessitated the continuance of these specialists' arts and magic throughout the colonial period.


© Cody Austin Wilson

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