Category Archives: Maya Astrology Information

13 Aj 1 Wayeb – The Second Day of Wayeb

13 Aj 1 Wayeb

The second day of the Wayeb is said to represent recognition of yourself, during your introspective period. Could we possibly have a more auspicious day for this? 13 Aj brings out the leader of people within you, empowered by the spirit world. It shows you your true strengths, how you are able to stand up for and sustain your community. Search inside yourself for what you bring to the world, and how you can create a more harmonious environment for your family and community.

The high energy of the 13th day also illuminates the dark corners. How can the energy of this day help you to overcome what you perceive as your failings or your weaknesses? Allow the energy to bring you strength, the backbone, if you wish to overcome these in the new solar year.

Pawahtuun, also known as Mam and god N. Known as the god of the Wayeb and the number five. An old man that carries a conch shell, who was both a beloved creator and a trickster. From the Dresden Codex
Pawahtuun, also known as Mam and god N. Known as the god of the Wayeb and the number five. An old man that carries a conch shell, who was both a beloved creator and a trickster. From the Dresden Codex

12 E’ 0 Wayeb – The First Day of Wayeb

12 E' 0 Wayeb

The posts that I am writing every day concern the days of the Chol Q’ij, the Mayan sacred or ritual calendar, which consists of 260 days. However, this is, of course, not the only calendar used by the Mayan people. One of the other calendars used is known as the Macewal Q’ij or Ordinary Days. This has been termed a civic or agricultural calendar, which may seem less grand than the sacred days, but without agriculture, the people would starve. There are ceremonies associated with certain days of the Macewal Q’ij, not least the arrival of the first day, the new Year Bearer. Kenneth Johnson wrote an excellent first hand account of his experience in Momostenango of the arrival of the new year bearer or Mam here

However, the new year is not here just yet, first we have to get through the Wayeb. These are the five days at the end of the 365 day count. They are thought of as a dangerous time, when the energy is confused to say the least. It is interesting to note that the final five days of the solar year are overseen by the previous incarnation of the same nawal. 12 E’ was the year bearer for 2011/2012. If we imagine reality as a ship and the year bearer as the captain, it is as if the captain has died and been replaced by the ghost of the previous captain. Maybe this is why this time is thought of as being so unpredictable.

Wayeb is seen as a time of introspection, a time when we take stock of what has happened over the previous year. It is seen as a time when public ceremony is avoided, some people do not wash or comb their hair, they may not leave the house. It is a time when the days are unsupported and misfortune may occur.

The introspection of the Wayeb and the overall energy of the day 12 E’ can result in a day when it is good to sit in silence and review all that your journey has brought you in the past year. What have you learnt, what have you discovered? What would you do again,  and what would you avoid if you could? How can you bring the lessons together into your personal story to take forward into the new solar year?

Pawahtuun, also known as Mam and god N. Known as the god of the Wayeb and the number five. An old man that carries a conch shell, who was both a beloved creator and a trickster. From the Dresden Codex
Pawahtuun, also known as Mam and god N. Known as the god of the Wayeb and the number five. An old man that carries a conch shell, who was both a beloved creator and a trickster. From the Dresden Codex

The Chol Q’ij and the Macewal Q’ij

As the Mayan new solar year approaches I have been thinking about the relationship between the Chol Q’ij, the 260 day Mayan sacred calendar, and the Macewal Q’ij, the 365 day Mayan solar calendar, or ordinary days. In the Macewal Q’ij, “new year” will occur on February 21st in 2016, and because of the lack of an intercalary day, February 20th from 2017 to 2020. The Macewal Q’ij consists of 18 months of 20 days, which are then followed by a period of 5 days known as Wayeb.

Each new solar year, a new year bearer (also known as Mam, grandfather, cargador or Year Lord) takes his seat. There are four year bearers in use here in Guatemala, these are Kej, E’, N’oj and Iq’. They cycle much as the days cycle; 2012 was 13 N’oj, 2013 was 1 Iq’, 2014 was 2 Kej, 2015 was 3 E’ and 2016 will be 4 N’oj. In 2017 the solar year will begin on the day 5 Iq’, so we see the same sequence of year bearers with the number increasing by 1 each time. These are the year bearers currently used by the K’iche’ people of Guatemala. Archaeologists give a slightly different count as they start their count, the Ha’ab, 40 days later. The year bearers are the same, but the number is increased by 1, making 2016 the year 5 N’oj. There is also another count which starts 13 days later, due to an extra 13 days being added in February of 2013, which changed the year bearers. This was known as the “Gran Wayeb” and while this has many logical reasons and has been adopted in some areas, I do not know many indigenous day keepers who have adopted it yet.

The Chol Q’ij consists of 260 days and is commonly seen as 20 periods of 13 days, which are sometimes referred to as trecenas. Each trecena has a different attribute depending on the days involved and their strengths. However, there is another way of counting the Chol Q’ij which co-ordinates it’s movements with that of the Macewal Q’ij; that is by counting 20 day periods. Each month of the solar year begins with a seating day, which is usually given a value of 0, and ends on a day numbered 19. Therefore, the first day of the solar year, consists of two components, and in 2016 will be 4 N’oj 0 Nab’e Mam. After 20 day have elapsed, the solar month will change and the month of Rukub Mam will start on the next N’oj day, the date 12 N’oj 0 Rukub Mam. I have compiled the dates into the table below to show the entire year.

What this table shows is that the bearer of the year presides over each of the Macewal Q’ij months, moving through each of his variations. He moves through the solar year twice, once thirteen times, then the second time five times (marked with a *), then through the Wayeb. The ** on the Wayeb marks that the year bearer only takes his seat for five days, and that it is the year bearer which governed for the previous appearance of this year bearer. For example, 13 N’oj was the year bearer of the year 2012, and 1 Iq’ was the year bearer on 2013. This seems hardly a coincidence and probably relates to the “Ghost” of the previous Mam taking responsibility after the current year bearer has “died”. The Wayeb is known as a time when public ceremony should be avoided, some people do not wash or comb their hair, they may not leave the house. It is a time when the days are unsupported and misfortune may occur.

Macewal Q'ij 2

When these cycles are compared with the life cycle of the maize, possible clarity occurs. The life cycle of the maize, the sustenance and substance of the people is 260 days. If Maize was planted on 21st February, it would be harvested on 7th November, which incidentally also around when rainy season usually ends. The maize grows and ripens, then the plant dies and is doubled over so that it dries out. In this way we see the 260 days as a cycle of life. From the 7th November through to 16th February there is no rain, so new life, the new sprouting of the maize, cannot occur. This is the second period of the year bearer, the 100 days, which could be seen as a journey through the otherworld, the world of the dead. We then have the 5 days of mourning, before the new year bearer takes his seat and the cycle of life begins again.

2015 – What Happened…..And When Will It Stop?

I have been asked a question a few times in the last few days regarding the energy of the year. It seems that many people found 2015 a very challenging year. They thought they were glad to see the back of it a couple of weeks ago, only to find out that challenging things are still happening. I want to write a much larger article on the 365 day count and the year lords, which I will reserve for the arrival of the new Mam in February, but for now I thought I would write something to give some of my frustrated friends a glimmer of hope.

Before I start I would like to clarify that I am basing my new solar count day on what my teacher observes, that the new 365 day count will begin on February 21st. There are some groups which are changing over to a new set of Year Bearers, which will begin their new year on March 6th, and the archaeological count used in Mexico and known as the Ha’ab will roll over on April 1st.

The Year Lord who took charge of 2015 was the Year Lord (or Mam) 3 E’. Much as I am writing about the energy of the day, the energy of an entire year can either be favourable or unfavourable. E’ is considered to be one of the more favourable Year Lords, bringing with it a spirit of travel and discovery, although is may also be somewhat restless at times. It is about more than just the physical journey, it is about our path in life and where that may take us. The number 3 is a challenging number which can represent blockages and obstructions, instabilities and difficulties, and here we have it connected with our life path. As you can imagine this can make for a rather challenging year, uncertainty and blockages in one’s path. The benefits of the E’ year not only muted, but turned into challenges.

On 21st February 2016, the new Mam will take his seat. This will be start the year 4 N’oj. N’oj is also considered to be a favourable nawal, it is a nawal of ideas, thought and intellect. It is the energy of the problem solver. It is coupled with the number 4, again thought to be a good, stable number. Representing the four directions and the fourfold aspects of the passage of the Sun – sunrise, midday, sunset and midnight, as well as the solstices and equinoxes. It stabilises that which it is joined with and can be seen as bringing the qualities of the nawal it is associated with into the physical world. Here we see it coupled with the nawal of ideas and intellect, which suggests that the energy which will be coming in will be more conducive to manifesting our ideas into reality.

Nature does not change in straight lines or square wave patterns, rather more like rolling sine wave type patterns. Just as the tides of the seas ebb and flow, so do the energies of the days and of the years. I will look at the patterns involved in the passing of the years in another article, but suffice to say there may be some changeover time between the year 3 E’ and the year 4 N’oj. However, I would expect that hopefully you should be finding life calmer and more stable by the end of February.

“To Err is Human; to Forgive, Divine” – Time to Wipe the Slate Clean

Phone Nov 2015 165I decided to write a special addendum to the energy of the day today, as it seems to fall in such an auspicious way.

Like many of my friends I make ceremonies to mark special points in time. As I follow the Chol Q’ij, the Mayan Sacred Calendar, I make ceremonies in particular on the 8th day of the trecena, the thirteen day period. I also mark the solstices and equinoxes with ceremonies. It is a way of following a natural rhythm of our planet and it’s cycles within our solar system. Whilst I choose to make long, somewhat elaborate Mayan Fire ceremonies, ceremony does not have to be like this. It can be as simple as lighting a candle and saying thank you. It can be writing down what you would like to bring into (or remove from) your life and putting the paper in a fire. It doesn’t have to take 2 hours!

My dilemma was on which day to mark the solstice, as the actual point of solstice is 10.48pm on 21st December here. I then wanted to look at the energy of both the 21st and the 22nd December. These were 7 Tz’ikin and 8 Ajmak, you can read all the detail about them by following the links.

Phone Nov 2015 164

I decided not to make my ceremony on the night of the 21st, but rather for the sunrise of the next day. The Mayan energy of the day starts to grow at sunset of the previous day. So here at about 6pm the energy starts to change to that of the following day, although in general the changeover does not fully happen until midnight. So, from 6pm, the energy of the day is still 7 Tz’ikin, but a growing amount of 8 Ajmak is present. As the solstice time is so close to midnight, the energy easily gives both options. Incidentally, this is also partially why I publish my daily energy readings here at sundown.

11751966_10152899558050653_3923868195060922920_nToday I read an article about a mistake someone had made. One of the comments on the article was “to err is human, to forgive, divine”. I realised that in that one phrase, the day Ajmak was perfectly summed up. I also realised the power of a winter solstice ceremony carried out on 8 Ajmak. Whereas much of the world will be celebrating “New Year’s Day” in about 10 days time, today, the first sunrise after the winter solstice, marks the first day of the new solar year. After six months of the days getting shorter, they will now begin to lengthen once again. The light has been reborn into the world, and the solar cycle of life starts again. As Ajmak represents forgiveness, and being forgiven, an 8 Ajmak ceremony seems like a particularly beautiful way to start the new solar year. 8 Ajmak is a day to wipe the slate clean; to release any guilt that holds you back by asking for forgiveness and to forgive those around you who you may be holding something against. In reality any grudges you hold have more effect on you than they do on the person you are holding them against.

I am sorry

Please forgive me

I love you

Thank you

Phone Nov 2015 166

What is Mayan Astrology?

Nawales in a ringMayan astrology is system of interpretation based on the Mayan sacred calendar of 260 days. There are at least two different counts of sacred calendar in use; one used by the Maya people, particularly here in highland Guatemala, commonly called the Chol Q’ij or Quiche count; and one used primarily in the “New Age” community often called the Tzolkin.

The cycle of 260 days is a harmonious fragment, a fraction which correlates and interconnects many aspects of our lives and reality. In its expanded form within Mayan Astrology, it can be closely related with the gestation period of human beings. Mayan creation stories relate that humanity was created from maize dough and oil, the maize grown at this latitude also having a life cycle of 260 days between planting (conception) and harvest (birth).

Isn’t astrology connected to the heavens?

Whilst these aspects are obviously terrestrial, the sacred calendar also relates to movements of the planets, particularly Venus and Mars. Mars has a synodic period, the time required to return to the same or approximately the same position relative to the Sun as seen by an observer on the Earth, of 780 days, exactly 3 revolutions of the 260 day calendar. Venus has a 584 day synodic period. During this time venus will appear as a morning star for 236 days, disappear for 90 days, reappear as an evening star for 250 days and finally disappear for 8 days before reappearing as a morning star. When Venus reappears as the morning star, it is not quite in the same position in the sky as the previous cycles. This gives rise to a second part of the harmonic, where the 584 day cycle is actually part of a 2920 day cycle. Venus can be seen in one of five different places, and 2920 days later will be in exactly the same place in the sky. This motion of Venus is recorded in the Dresden Codex, a Maya document from the 11th or 12th century copied from an earlier document created around four centuries earlier. The Venus table as it is known shows the day of the sacred calendar on which Venus will appear or disappear in each of its phases. This table, produced perhaps 1400 years ago is still accurate today. I have been making observations and using the internet to track Venus. Venus appeared on 13th December 2014 as an evening star on the day 11 Iq’ within the Quiche count of the sacred calendar, disappeared on 20th August 2015 on the day 1 E’, and then reappeared as a morning star on the day 9 Ajpu, 28th August 2015, exactly as shown in the table.

In this way we see that even after 1400 years the Quiche sacred calendar is still tied in to the motions of at least two of the closest planets in our solar system, the gestation period of humans and the life cycle of maize. It acts as a bridge between the heart of the sky (movements of the planets) and the heart of the earth (roots of the maize). As such it can be used to determine the interaction of the divine with the earthly plane, or as it we could put it the earthly life path chosen by ones soul.

So how does it apply to people?

According to Mayan astrology, you are born on one of the 260 days of the sacred calendar. This is known as your awach q’ij (face of the sun). It consists of a number between 1 and 13 and one of twenty nawales. Both the numbers and the nawales all have different characteristics. The combination of the number and the nawal is thought to determine your personality, your strengths and your weaknesses.

Additionally, this is modified by the year in which you were born. The 260 day sacred calendar interacts with a 365 day solar calendar known as the Ha’ab. The first day of the Ha’ab is known as the arrival of the Mam, or old man, the carrier of time. This is also known as the day 0 Pop, and colloquially as Mayan new year. Currently this occurs on 21st February, although it moves back 1 day every four years due to the lack of a leap day in the Ha’ab. Due to the way that the calendars engage, somewhat like gears in a clock, the first day of the new solar year can occur on one of only four of the nawales, which are known as year bearers. As there are 4 year bearers and 13 numbers, this gives a 52 ha’ab year cycle which is seen as an important cycle of life. It is said that the 52 years represent the time at which one becomes an elder. We can certainly understand this from more traditional societies, where at 52 years one has accumulated a great deal of knowledge and is probably a grandparent by that age. Within Mayan astrology, when you have completed 52 revolutions of the sun, you have spent a year getting to know each of the year bearers, and hence you have gained knowledge and experience from each of them. This 52 Ha’ab years is equal to 18980 days, or exactly the half way point of the 13 synodic cycles of Venus. The year bearer of the year in which you are born also gives you certain strengths and weaknesses, and in some ways can be seen as giving you a certain potential to fulfil within life. In order to fulfil this potential you receive a skill set from your number and nawal combination, and so both the sacred calendar and the solar calendar are involved in Mayan astrology.

From this combination we can derive a reading, which can help to highlight what qualities you carry, we are able to look beneath the outward personality at your true drives and motivations, what will bring you joy and where your challenges lie. A simple combination of number and nawal can be expanded to give what is known as the Mayan cross, which introduces secondary numbers and nawales representing your past, future, intuitive and physical aspects. This can further be expanded into a nine sign constellation showing the past and future of both your intuitive and physical aspects.

Some nawales carry the energy of the arts, some of plants, some of prayer makers and some of law keepers. However, in our world the idea of working in harmony with that which comes naturally is sacrificed in favour of that which pays well. When your daily work is in harmony with the energy of your nawal, you will have a natural talent at what you do. Most people will find this pleasing as they will be able to enjoy what they do and be successful at it.  Mayan astrology can be helpful to people who have reached a crossroads in their life, have become dissatisfied with their profession and are wondering what to do next. It can also be very useful to determine the talents of a young child so that materials which will bring out their natural talents can be made freely available to them.

If you are interested to schedule a reading with me, I am available to make them over Skype. You can contact me here to give me your name and birth information. I charge US$55 for a reading, which I can accept through PayPal. I look forward to hearing from you.

Why am I writing about Mayan Astrology?

Phone Nov 2015 196Some time ago I decided I wanted to write a book about Mayan Astrology. This has been a project that has been on my mind for at least five years. I have been asked by others, and it has been suggested to me by people I deeply respect that I put what I know on paper. I started meeting authors and decided that I would definitely do it, yet it is only now that I begin. I am sure that no one sets out with the intention of writing something which is less than what they consider to be the best book on their chosen subject matter, neither did I, but I now realise why it has taken me so long to get around to writing this. I wanted to have the most accurate book on Mayan Astrology available. I wanted it to be authentic from the point of view of what is practiced here in the highlands of Guatemala. I wanted it to be the most essential truth from the real calendars of the real living Maya people. All of these were obstacles which stood in the way of me writing. There is no one truth, each Aj Q’ij (Mayan Spiritual Guide / priest / shaman) will tell you something a little different about their perception of a Nawal, or what day to do a ceremony on, or what to use in ceremony. Perhaps it is our “Western” minds which try to categorise and define systems, we want to standardise everything into something which we can say is definite. Perhaps we are a little too left brained in these ideas, especially when we are dealing with a system which is essentially derived from a very right brained and heart combination. To try to put these ideas down is rather like taking a photograph of a moving, living thing. The photograph will give one perspective of the subject, but without personal observation it is impossible to truly understand the subject.

I wanted to do something anthropologically correct, well that has already been adequately covered by the wonderful writings of Barbara Tedlock and Kenneth Johnson, who reported so accurately on the procedures and practices of Maya spiritual guides in Momostenango. I realised that much of what I wanted to write about was not standard practice. It was my extrapolations and interpretations of practices and ideas. Every Aj Q’ij makes ceremony a little differently, every Aj Q’ij has slightly different ideas. They are working with their hearts and minds engaged with the Heart of the Sky and the Heart of the Earth. Their work is like painting, they may be painting a picture of the same subject, but they will use their own style and possibly their own palette.

I realised that the only option open to me is to set it out straight that this is my interpretation of Mayan calendar systems, of Mayan astrology, of Mayan shamanic practice. This is based on my experiences over sixteen years with people like my teachers Michael Baker, Alloa Patricia Mercier, Don Rigoberto Itzep Chanchavac, with Isaias Mendoza, Ingrid Arevalo, Dolores Ratzan, Nadia Petrova, Kenneth Johnson, Anita Garr and many other teachers, day keepers, observers and interested parties. From each came a part of the puzzle, an ingredient for the caldo. As Don Alejandro Cirilo Perez Oxlaj told me, “there is no right way, there is no wrong way, everyone does it in their own way.”

What I am working with has been applied over hundreds of readings with people and seems to be remarkably accurate. How and why it works is a mystery even to me, but I am hoping that some clarity will come as I write this. It is my clients and students that have encouraged me to do this, my peers and fellow adventurers that have helped to make this possible and my teachers that have inspired me. I thank you all.