The Toltecs, Ancient and Modern
Are you a Toltec?

Allan Hardman

There is very little agreement among the “authorities” about the people who lived in central Mexico two millennia ago known as the Toltecs. Some say they built the city and pyramid complex at Teotihuacán, and others say they came there after the decline and abandonment of that mysterious site. Some sources call the Toltecs a peaceful and spiritual society, and others imagine it as bloody warrior culture. The Toltecs left behind no written language, and the art that has survived offers few clues to their lives. The conflicting mythologies and histories about them have come mainly from the Aztecs, who came after them and found their city in ruins, the Spaniards who settled the area much later, and recent archeological explorations.

Here then is . . .

The Official Joydancer Mythology of the Toltecs

More than 2000 years ago, small tribes and villages lived in settlements throughout the central plains of what we now call Mexico. They farmed and hunted, and generally lived peacefully. For reasons that will probably never be known, there were individuals among these scattered peoples with a desire to form a new community of artists and spiritual seekers.

These seekers were drawn to an area with large caverns north of present day Mexico City, surrounded by old volcanic mountains. As their numbers grew, so did the size and sophistication of their city. In time, they began to build a complex of plazas, temples, and pyramids that grew and changed throughout the centuries. We now know these people as the Toltecs, and their city as Teotihuacán-- which means “The Place Where Humans Awaken and Remember Their Divinity.” In that Teotihuacán the mile long Avenue of the Dead with its temples and plazas, and the Pyramids of the Sun and Moon, shimmered white in the bright sun of the high plains. The sound of flutes and drums, and the smell of copal incense were always present in the air. Priests and masters trained their apprentices in the spiritual and physical crafts in this beautiful place.

As the power and beauty of Teotihuacán grew, new artisans of craft and spirit began migrating to Teotihuacán from distant parts of Mexico. They brought with them their unique art and spiritual perspectives, and established distinct neighborhoods in the sprawling city -- the most notable belonging to immigrants from Oaxaca to the south. In time, the population grew to nearly 200,000 people, with sophisticated farming, fresh water and sewage systems.

Typical ruler and warrior classes were absent in Teotihuacán. Decisions and leadership were provided by priests and civil servants, with input from the citizens. The Toltecs lived in relative peace and stability for several centuries. They were very connected to their environment, and used the cycles of stars and planets to bring order and direction to their society. Every 52 years, they reorganized the beliefs and structures of their society. Spiritual understandings were examined and expanded, and temples were rebuilt and pyramids enlarged.

The main “gods” of the Teotihuacanos were Quetzalcoatl, the plumed serpent representing the lowly snake combined with the vision of the Eagle, and Tlaloc, the god of rain and abundance. Since this was a culture based on “spirit” rather than “religion,” there were no angry or judging gods that demanded bloody sacrifices to appease them, like the Aztecs and Mayans (and most religions!) who came later.

Ultimately, in the cycle of Life, Teotihuacán fell to ruin. Perhaps, as some suggest, the highest priests stepped into that powerful vortex at the top of the Pyramid of the Sun and returned home. It is possible that the teachings became distorted by the desire for personal power, and the culture fragmented. Perhaps the pressures from overuse of the environment, or marauding tribes from elsewhere, caused the people to abandon the city. Whatever the cause, the powerful spiritual teachings have remained, passed from master to apprentice in an underground mystery school, revealed in our time by such teachers as Carlos Castaneda and Miguel Ruiz. It is time now for these teachings of the ancient Toltecs to once again be shared with all.

The word “Toltec” means “Artist of the Spirit.” These were people who created a community as well as a beautiful and powerful physical environment to support them in their quest for spiritual attainment. We are very blessed that the pyramids and temple complexes they built at Teotihuacán are still alive and well, and available for us to visit and use in the spirit for which they were built.

Are you a Toltec? Do you want to be an Artist of the Spirit? If so, we invite you to join us, using the tools and wisdom of this ancient culture, combined with modern methods, to free yourself from the burden of your past programming, and awaken to remember your Divinity.

Become a Joydancer Toltec, Dancing in Joy with Life.




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Allan Hardman is an author and expert on personal and spiritual transformation, relationships, emotional healing-- and a Toltec Master in the lineage of don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements.™ Allan teaches in Sonoma County, CA, and from “The House of the Eagles,” his winter home in Chacala, Nayarít, Mexico. He guides Journeys of the Spirit to sacred sites in Mexico, and hosts wellness vacations in Chacala. He is the author of The Everything Toltec Wisdom Book, and co-author of two books with Deepak Chopra, Caroline Myss, Dr. Andrew Weil, Prince Charles, and others. Visit Allan’s extensive website at, and TACO, his online spiritual membership community.