Misc. source - Jaguars as naguals
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
The jaguar is important for shamans who often associate the jaguar as a spirit companion or nagual, which will protect the shamans from evil spirits and while they move between the earth and the spirit realm. In order for the shamans to combat whatever evil forces may be threatening, or for those who rely on the shamans for protection, it is necessary for the shamans to make a transformation and cross over to the spirit realm.
The jaguar often is chosen as a nagual because of its strength, for it is necessary that the shamans "dominate the spirits, in the same way as a predator dominates its prey" (Saunders 1998:30). The jaguar is said to possess the transient ability of moving between worlds because of its comfort both in the trees and the water, the ability to hunt as well in the nighttime as in the daytime, and the habit of sleeping in caves, places often associated with the deceased ancestors. The concept of the transformation of the shaman is well documented in Mesoamerica and South America and is in particular demonstrated in the various Olmec jaguar transformation figures (Diehl, p. 106).
Blue Maya warrior showing the jaguar head dress