As we travel through our lives, we are having a continuous and ongoing experience with the energy of the Earth. Many do not realise it, many choose to ignore it, but it is from the Earth than all material emerges.
Industrialised societies tend to see the Earth as an inanimate source of material wealth. Non-industrialised societies see her as a living entity with whom we can interact, and she carries the nawal Ix. So, it is on Ix days that prayers are offered at her places, the shrines and altars, her ears, to ask for what we need in our world.
When we understand our relationship with Mother Earth, we enhance our abilities to interact with this world. This can be seen as wisdom, at least with regards to thriving in our Earthly world rather than just surviving. The further we move through life, the more we gather with regards to our experience, and today we celebrate what we have gathered through life about our understanding of the way the world works. This is a day when we can draw on our life experience of how to make things work, how to draw upon our “magic” or our knowing of how to ask the Earth for what we need. We also draw on our experience of gratitude, our understanding that this is the lubricant to keep the energy moving. This is a day to be grateful for all you have gathered from Mother Earth throughout your life.
Ix is possibly the most feminine of the nawales. It represents the spirit of Mother Earth and could easily be seen as a Mayan representation of Gaia. Ix can be seen as a mothering energy, nurturing all things, but this should not be confused with weakness – the animal totem of Ix is the jaguar and it is as the jaguar that Ix is often known. The jaguar is, of course, powerful and stealthy. Ix also embodies these qualities. The jaguar is an animal of the night, slipping magically through the darkness, the spots of her back a representation of the milky way. She carries the sun on it’s nightly journey through the underworld.
The connection Ix has with the Earth gives it the ability to manifest material wealth. In the Mayan cross astrological configuration, Kame evolves to Ix. In the Popol Vuh, the sacred book of the Maya, the Hero Twins sacrificed themselves in the underworld (Kame) and then were resurrected as a pair of catfish, later to become travelling magicians (Ix.) They cut the heads off animals, then resurrected them, they even cut off each others heads and brought each other back to life. In these scenes they are shown with patches of jaguar skin on their clothing, a symbolism denoting that the wearer is a shaman. Thus through the symbolic death or sacrifice, the shamanic power emerges.
Whilst Ix has the power to engage with the magic of the Earth, it also has a tendency towards illness. This is particularly strong when the vain, ungrateful side of Ix emerges. The magic that runs through this nawal comes so easily, that sometimes it forgets that everything really comes from the Earth and it is to the Earth that we must show our gratitude. Ix is also the nawal of natural shrines and altars, the places where fire ceremonies are made to give thanks. A spirit of gratitude and humility keeps Ix healthy. Ix is of course deeply connected with the natural world and it is here that they find their wisdom, power and wealth. This is a day to give thanks, to remember gratitude, and a day to engage with your magic.
The number 12 is the penultimate number. In some ways it can be seen as the last Earthly number, the number 13 representing the spirit world. We travelled through the mortal world with 1 through 6, then the other world with 7 through 12. In this way 12 can be seen as a point of bringing all of the experiences into one bundle for presentation to the spirit world as we step into 13. As such, the number 12 brings a wealth of experience into one place, it is rather like writing an autobiography. It is totality, all that is, brought together.