There is little archaeological evidence (and lots of debate) surrounding the Toltec people. What we do know is that they were a pre-Aztec, Meso-American civilization, living in what is now Southern Mexico, around the tenth century. The “Toltec Tradition” however, doesn’t really refer to the historical Toltecs, but rather to a secret guild or society that was formed after the conquest of Teotihuacan.
The guild was comprised of a group of sages, shamans, and healers (known as Naguals) dedicated to the preservation of ancient spiritual knowledge. Their power and wisdom was highly revered by the Aztecs; so much so, that the word Toltec, in the Nahuatl language, came to mean “artist of the spirit.” As with many other ancient spiritual traditions, the sages passed down their teachings to a select few, in secret, for centuries.
Toltec-style Vessel 1. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons
Several decades ago, in the barrio of San Diego, a legendary healer named Mother Sarita, and her son don Miguel Ruiz, descendants of one lineage of Naguals, felt the time had come to begin sharing the wisdom and teachings with the world. Through their apprentices and don Miguel’s best selling books, they have been spreading the messages of unconditional love and personal freedom through the Toltec process of spiritual self-discovery.
The Toltec Tradition, as taught by don Miguel, is not a belief system. It’s not ritualistic or dogmatic in any sense. Rather, it’s a modern philosophy of life; a way of living in the world, similar to the Hellenistic philosophy of the Stoics. Among the deeper practices, one finds clear echos of the Hermetic and Alchemical esoteric traditions, as well as many principles of Tantric practice. The Tradition offers a method of inquiry or discovery that anyone can implement and test for themselves. In essence, the practice can be understood as a modern day path to enlightenment – a pragmatic approach to a releasing of the egoic mind, in order to discover and access the core of unconditional love. A transmutation of the fear-based emotions into love-based emotions, which cleanses and renews the soul itself.
By attaining mastery in each of the three spheres (Awareness, Transformation, and Intent) one systematically uncovers his existing beliefs, expectations, agreements, and assumptions. He sheds his conditioning, his fears, and his limiting beliefs, and is liberated to choose a truly authentic life of peace, joy, love, and incredible passion.
The teachings and wisdom of the Toltecs are the same universal wisdom that is found in all major spiritual traditions. What is distinct and unique about this particular method is its active contemplative approach. The Toltec path offers a practical and tangible framework for meditative inquiry and self-discovery, contrary to just trying to “quiet the thinking mind.” Although it is a completely self-contained spiritual tradition, the Toltec practices serve as a complement to various yogic, vedic, or buddhist systems.