Since the sixteenth century, Central Mexican tiçiyotl (Nahua healing knowledge) has been portrayed as a male-dominated system akin to Western medicine. This has made Nahua women invisible in broader discussions of tiçiyotl. Though the historiography acknowledges that women were titiçih (healing ritual specialists), the scholarship has primarily focused on their role in midwifery. This article first uses early modern Spanish dictionaries to underscore discrepancies in the vocabulary used to describe indigenous healers. Then, using evidence from two sixteenth-century proceedings against Nahua women in Central Mexico (in conjunction with other primary sources), this article demonstrates that female titiçih were not analogous to Spanish midwives. Sixteenth- and seventeenth-century female titiçihlike their ancestors—were practitioners of tiçiyotl who gazed into water, hurled corn kernels, applied salubrious materials, and communicated with deities through entheogenic substances to keep their communities whole. Moreover, this article argues that scholarship must decolonize tiçiyotl in order to explore and understand its complexities. This can only be achieved by moving away from Western terms and frameworks that do not adequately describe Nahua ideologies.

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