Tag Archives: Aj Q’ij

8 Kej (24th August 2017)

8 KejThere are several days within the sacred count of days that we could term auspicious, then there are a few which represent very special themes. 8 Kej is one of them, perhaps second only to 8 B’atz.

During this trecena we have seen two days representing very specific characters within the Popol Vuj, Jun Ajpu and Wucub Kame. They play very special parts within the story, Jun Ajpu being one of the hero twins and representing “the birth of the sun”, “resurrection of the divine”, and could generally be assigned a title of Lord of Light. Wukub Kame is his polar opposite, “the ultimate death”, and we could see this character as the lord of darkness. In the last week we have experienced the energies of both of these archetypes and here in 8 Kej, it is as if they come together to bring wholeness to the strength. It is essential to be connected with the light, but in order to truly serve, the leader needs to have confronted and overcome the darkness within. Where Aj may represent the civic type of leader, the “Mayor”, Kej represents the spiritual leader or priest, making these experiences all the more important.

On the day 8 Kej the names of soon to be Aj Q’ijab, Maya spiritual guides, are presented to the patrilineage altars. It is also a day when high ranking Maya priests are initiated as Chuchq’ajawib, the so called mother-fathers. This role combines the strength of the father and the compassion of the mother. The masculine and feminine principles coming together to give the wholeness required of a true leader of their community. One of the key strengths of the nawal Kej is its grounded nature. It is related to the four pillars which bring stability to the world, and draws its strength from the natural world which exists in the space between Earth and Sky.

This is a day to embrace the strengths you draw from your existence in the natural world, particularly from the male and female essences of the properties of the four directions; vitality, spirit, wisdom and healing. It is an excellent day to be in nature, a day to make ceremonies to give thanks for, and receive, the strength and vital energy from the natural world.

Xbalamkiej, patron of the day Kej one of the hero twins from the Popol Vuh. From the Dresden Codex
Xbalamkiej, patron of the day Kej one of the hero twins from the Popol Vuh. From the Dresden Codex

Kej is possibly the strongest of the nawales, it is powerful, but in a different way to Kan. Kej is energetic, lively and determined. It is the nawal of nature, of the wilderness and it is this power that it draws on. The animal totem of Kej is the deer, but if you have fragile, new-born Bambi in mind, think again. This is the majestic stag, standing on the mountain surveying his domain. Whilst most nawales are not necessarily engendered, Kej is most definitely masculine. Both men and women that carry Kej as their nawal have great strength, although the men tend to hide their strength more. Kej women are particularly driven, resourceful and brave, sometimes to the point of being rather dominant. All radiate an aura of nobility, people tend to look to them to lead.

Kej is the nawal of the Mayan “religion”, a day of spiritual leaders, of shaman and of priests. It is these leaders who understand how to read the messages from the natural world, who help to keep our existence in balance with nature. It is a day to connect with the wilderness and draw the power of the natural world into you, to harmonise and replenish.

The number 8 is considered to be a number of wholeness. It can be seen as birth (1) and death (7) combined to represent the whole cycle of the soul. It can also be seen as the point where the four first men who raised the sky from the sea were joined by their wives and the world become whole. It is the most common day for ceremonies to be made, it is still in the balanced range of numbers and is an even number, which is also considered fortunate. As this wholeness represents every aspect of the energy of the day with which it is coupled, it is the wholeness of the nawal that is addressed in ceremony.

8 B’atz (21st March 2017)

8 B'atz

Wajxakib B’atz

Today is one of the most important days in the sacred calendar. It is the beginning of the new ceremonial cycle, the day of initiation of new day keepers, the day where the baton is passed from the old to the new. It is the day of celebration of the Chol Q’ij, the sacred calendar, which brings our ability to navigate through life using the cycles of sacred time. Interestingly, today the new moon also coincides with Wajxakib B’atz, giving an extra impetus to this energy of renewal.

The nawal B’atz represents the thread of time, and the sacred calendar is a representation of how that thread is woven to create reality. It is the nawal B’atz that brings the creativity to our world, re-creating and renewing all around us.

Both the number 8 and the nawal B’atz have a connection with gestation. It is said that the umbilical cord has 8 strands to it, and of course this brings the nourishment to the new life being brought into being. Here, within the Maya cross, we see 8 B’atz sitting between 13 Aq’ab’al (the conception from the ancestors) and 3 Kawok (the day of the midwife/birth process) preceding the day 4 Ajpu (the first day of the new world). It is on 8 B’atz that the new world receives its nourishment within the womb of creation, and this comes from the prayers and offerings made in the ceremonies. From the dawn of this day, the shrines and altars within the Maya lands will be packed with Aj Q’ijab making offerings and prayers on behalf of not just their communities, but the world as a whole. They are imparting the  love and wisdom of the old world into the new world which is being woven. This is the day where the seam is created joining the previous weaving of creation, completed on 7 B’atz (40 days ago), with the new weaving started in 1 B’atz (20 days ago). Here, the past and the future are joined.

We all have some talent to create, through words, music, food or images. We also have the ability to shape the world around us, our homes, our families, our communities. This is the day that we give thanks for our creative abilities, the day to gather inspiration from what you have created before and combine it with a new concept or method. Today we put all our love and energy into nurturing the new world soon to be birthed into being. It is the day where we embrace, and are empowered by, the wholeness of creation.

A dawn ceremony at the Nima Sabal altar in Momostenango on Wajxakib B'atz (11th July 2011)
A dawn ceremony at the Nima Sabal altar in Momostenango on Wajxakib B’atz (11th July 2011)

There are two nawales which bestow incredible talents, one of which is B’atz, the creative genius, the other N’oj, the intellectual genius. B’atz is the nawal of artisans and of weavers, but this is not just creation and weaving on the Earthly level. B’atz weaves the threads of time together to create reality. B’atz is the nawal of the sacred calendar, which could be considered to be the fabric created from these individual threads of time. If B’atz is clever enough to weave time into order, then of course it is clever enough to create more down to Earth trinkets. B’atz is the master artisan, creating whatever it chooses, at will. It is just as comfortable painting, as it is playing music or writing. The arts come naturally to this nawal. However, this can lead to issues when B’atz has to deal with those less talented than itself. This can lead to a certain arrogance around those who fail to achieve their standard of excellence.

Their talent draws attention, which is something B’atz craves. It is the nawal of the born entertainer, who can sing, dance and play all at once. This nawal is the life and soul of the party, it also makes excellent teachers, who hold the attention of students through entertaining them. It is a particularly fun loving nawal that feeds on the adoration of the crowd that it pleases.

It is a day to create, especially within the fields of the arts. It is also a day to weave your reality the way you see fit. Where Aq’ab’al was the conception, B’atz is the gestation. Now is the time to incorporate what you wish into the pattern before it is birthed.

The number 8 is considered to be a number of wholeness. It can be seen as birth (1) and death (7) combined to represent the whole cycle of the soul. It can also be seen as the point where the four first men who raised the sky from the sea were joined by their wives and the world become whole. It is the most common day for ceremonies to be made, it is still in the balanced range of numbers and is an even number, which is also considered fortunate. As this wholeness represents every aspect of the energy of the day with which it is coupled, it is the wholeness of the nawal that is addressed in ceremony.

8 Kej (7th December 2016)

8 KejThere are several days within the sacred count of days that we could term auspicious, then there are a few which represent very special themes. 8 Kej is one of them, perhaps second only to 8 B’atz.

During this trecena we have seen two days representing very specific characters within the Popol Vuj, Jun Ajpu and Wucub Kame. They play very special parts within the story, Jun Ajpu being one of the hero twins and representing “the birth of the sun”, “resurrection of the divine”, and could generally be assigned a title of Lord of Light. Wukub Kame is his polar opposite, “the ultimate death”, and we could see this character as the lord of darkness. In the last week we have experienced the energies of both of these archetypes and here in 8 Kej, it is as if they come together to bring wholeness to the strength. It is essential to be connected with the light, but in order to truly serve, the leader needs to have confronted and overcome the darkness within. Where Aj may represent the civic type of leader, the “Mayor”, Kej represents the spiritual leader or priest, making these experiences all the more important.

On the day 8 Kej the names of soon to be Aj Q’ijab, Maya spiritual guides, are presented to the patrilineage altars. It is also a day when high ranking Maya priests are initiated as Chuchq’ajawib, the so called mother-fathers. This role combines the strength of the father and the compassion of the mother. The masculine and feminine principles coming together to give the wholeness required of a true leader of their community. One of the key strengths of the nawal Kej is its grounded nature. It is related to the four pillars which bring stability to the world, and draws its strength from the natural world which exists in the space between Earth and Sky.

This is a day to embrace the strengths you draw from your existence in the natural world, particularly from the male and female essences of the properties of the four directions; vitality, spirit, wisdom and healing. It is an excellent day to be in nature, a day to make ceremonies to give thanks for, and receive, the strength and vital energy from the natural world.

Xbalamkiej, patron of the day Kej one of the hero twins from the Popol Vuh. From the Dresden Codex
Xbalamkiej, patron of the day Kej one of the hero twins from the Popol Vuh. From the Dresden Codex

Kej is possibly the strongest of the nawales, it is powerful, but in a different way to Kan. Kej is energetic, lively and determined. It is the nawal of nature, of the wilderness and it is this power that it draws on. The animal totem of Kej is the deer, but if you have fragile, new-born Bambi in mind, think again. This is the majestic stag, standing on the mountain surveying his domain. Whilst most nawales are not necessarily engendered, Kej is most definitely masculine. Both men and women that carry Kej as their nawal have great strength, although the men tend to hide their strength more. Kej women are particularly driven, resourceful and brave, sometimes to the point of being rather dominant. All radiate an aura of nobility, people tend to look to them to lead.

Kej is the nawal of the Mayan “religion”, a day of spiritual leaders, of shaman and of priests. It is these leaders who understand how to read the messages from the natural world, who help to keep our existence in balance with nature. It is a day to connect with the wilderness and draw the power of the natural world into you, to harmonise and replenish.

The number 8 is considered to be a number of wholeness. It can be seen as birth (1) and death (7) combined to represent the whole cycle of the soul. It can also be seen as the point where the four first men who raised the sky from the sea were joined by their wives and the world become whole. It is the most common day for ceremonies to be made, it is still in the balanced range of numbers and is an even number, which is also considered fortunate. As this wholeness represents every aspect of the energy of the day with which it is coupled, it is the wholeness of the nawal that is addressed in ceremony.

7 Kej (28th October 2016)

7 KejThe strong physical energy of the nawal Kej combines with the energy of the number 7, bringing balance to determination. This could be a perfect day to carefully apply your strength to situations in the physical world.

The nawal Kej can also be seen very much as representing the physical world, in particular nature and the wilderness. It differs a little from Ix, Ix represents Mother Earth, from whom the natural world extends. We see this in the pattern of the nawales within the calendar. The last time we encountered the number 7, it was 7 Ix. Now we see that has transformed to 7 Kej, as if we have moved from the plant to its flower, moving from Ix to Kej. Whilst Ix might also represent the more spiritual, etheric manifestation of the energy, Kej is somewhat like the distillation of the energy of the natural world into physical form. Ix might represent the spirit of the forest, Kej represents the physical presence of the stag moving amongst the trees.

Today is the day that the majestic stag stands on top of the mountain, or at least the summit of the pyramid of numbers. It is a day when you might be able to see the power of nature all around you, and draw your strength from this view. You might find that you have a great deal of energy, and you are not sure quite which direction to put it into. One of the lessons of days carrying the number seven is to make decisions. Imagine if you can see all the good ideas at once. It doesn’t matter which one you pick to follow, they are all beneficial. The important thing is that you make your choice, you decide to engage with that idea.

Allow the awesome power of nature to inspire you today, allow it to bring you strength. Put the strength associated with this majestic nawal into one or more idea and see where it might take you. Just remember that if you choose to engage with that energy, be gentle on those around you. Don’t allow your enthusiasm for your ideas to trample others in order to make your ideas happen. Instead use the energy you receive to inspire them, and step into the true nature of Kej, the benevolent, energetic leader.


Kej is possibly the strongest of the nawales, it is powerful, but in a different way to Kan. Kej is energetic, lively and determined. It is the nawal of nature, of the wilderness and it is this power that it draws on. The animal totem of Kej is the deer, but if you have fragile, new-born Bambi in mind, think again. This is the majestic stag, standing on the mountain surveying his domain. Whilst most nawales are not necessarily engendered, Kej is most definitely masculine. Both men and women that carry Kej as their nawal have great strength, although the men tend to hide their strength more. Kej women are particularly driven, resourceful and brave, sometimes to the point of being rather dominant. All radiate an aura of nobility, people tend to look to them to lead.

Kej is the nawal of the Mayan “religion”, a day of spiritual leaders, of shaman and of priests. It is these leaders who understand how to read the messages from the natural world, who help to keep our existence in balance with nature. It is a day to connect with the wilderness and draw the power of the natural world into you, to harmonise and replenish.

Number Sequence.jpg
The sequence of numbers as they appear with each appearance of a nawal. Here we see that the sequence begins with 1 and ends with 7, giving 7 as a number of finality.

The number seven is the mid-point of the range of numbers. It is known as a number of death and endings, which would seem strange as it is only half way through. It is another representation of the change of state of the soul, showing half of the journey (1-6) in the mortal world and half (8-13) in the otherworld.

The numbers of the days set out as a pyramid.
The numbers of the days as they appear through the trecena. Here they can also be set out as a pyramid, reaching the peak is also the end of a journey.

If we imagine the numbers 1 through 13 as a pyramid, the number seven would be at the top. Seven is the number of balance, it gives the ability to weigh up situations and see all points of view. While this may be very noble, it may lead to indecision.

13 Aj

13 AjWhilst the nawal Kej is better known as that of the spiritual leader, the day 13 Aj may have some similar reflections. Today the benevolent leader, represented by Aj, is charged with the energy of the spirit world, exemplified by the 13th day of the trecena. This is a day that the backbone is charged!

May the Heart of the Sky be in my heart,

May my heart be in the Heart of the Earth,

May the Heart of the Earth be in my heart,

May my heart be in the Heart of the Sky,

You have the ability to stand up straight and tall, and should you need a dose of bravery for a task, today is the day. If your spinal column is the lightning rod, today is the day that the lightning strikes. Of course, in order for this to not cause harm, the lightning rod needs to be well connected to the Earth. This is a day to ensure that you are well grounded in order to use this powerful energy beneficially. Providing you have your your roots firmly planted and your head held high, you can bring vast sustenance to your home, your family and your community. The energy of the spirit world works in harmony with the betterment of the physical world today. Fortune favours the brave, but remember that the true leader puts the best interests of their community first.


The nawal Aj is related to many things which generally revolve around leadership on an earthly level. It is sometimes known as the cornstalk, sometimes the staff of life. It represents the spinal column within the body, that which allows us to stand tall, proud and brave. As the cornstalk, it has its roots in the Earth, and its head in the sky. As we are the people of maize, if we wish to lead in a just manner, we should cultivate our connection with the Heart of the Sky and the Heart of the Earth.

Foliated crossThis is a picture of the carving at the top of one of my favourite Mayan temples, the Temple of the Foliated Cross on the site of Palenque (Bàakʼ) in Chiapas, Mexico. At the top of the tablet you see a bird, which represents the Heart of the Sky, the face with the large rectangular (crossed) eyes at the base of the cross represents the Heart of the Earth. The foliated cross is a stylised maize plant with the heads of humans emerging. This is Aj bringing life to the world. It is the central pillar, that which supports life. It is represented by the staffs carried by the elders of Mayan communities to this day. 

Aj is an authority, it is gentle, yet noble. It works quietly for the community it leads. It does not seek the limelight. This is a day that seeks sustenance for its people, that keeps everything in its rightful place. It is a day where we ask for the courage and bravery to stand up straight and tall, to do the right thing.

The number 13 is the final number. It represents the spirit world. It is said that on Halloween, the veil between the worlds is the thinnest. However within the sacred calendar, this thinning happens every 13 days. This connection with the spirit world creates a powerful day, where both the positive and negative aspects of the nawal it is attached to come through strongly. It is a very good day for activities such as divinations, however, ceremonies on 13 days are generally only carried out by the most experienced Aj Q’ij who understand how to work with that strength of energy.


 

“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

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.