Category Archives: Maya Astrology Information

The New Solar Year and the Flying Ant Correlation

There is something which has been interesting me for some time with regards to the months of the Solar calendar and the natural occurrences here. It is something that many scholars and mathematicians have worked with to a much deeper level than me, but something I wanted to write about for a while. This post may ultimately be more of a musing about an hypothesis rather than anything else, but I will present my observations from living here.

According to most of the Highland elders that I know, the New Solar year begins with the month of Nabe Mam on 20th February (2017-2020) and will move to 19th February in 2021. This is because it is a 365 day calendar and every 4 years the Gregorian leap day steps it back a day the following year. The Solar calendar has 18 “months” of 20 days, plus one month of 5 days usually known as Wayeb (from the Ha’ab calendar), but really should be known as Tz’api Q’ij if following calendars here in Guatemala. If you are familiar with the calendar I publish, you will see that each month of the solar year has a name, which often aligns to agricultural activities and natural phenomena, and it is to those that I am looking.

In the lead up to 2012, I came across a book published in Guatemala that proposed a Gran Wayeb, a 13 day period after the proposed new year date (22nd February that year) which would re-align the solar calendar and keep everything ticking along correctly. This would mean that the Year Bearers would change from Iq’ Kej, E’ and No’j to Tz’ikin, Ajpu, Kan and Tz’i. I saw this idea adopted by a few Aj Q’ij here, but it seems to have now been dropped as they reverted back to the original Year Bearers. In theory it was a great idea, to reset the calendar to ensure that the months stay in order, but unfortunately was not correctly executed. The reason being that we can find evidence that the year bearers have been the same at various dates in the past. Adding the extra 13 days takes us to March 6th, the first day of the solar year in 1961. This effective locks in a time period for new year which runs March 6th to February 22nd over 52 years, from where it resets. I rather see this as knowing our clock is wrong, but then arbitrarily resetting it to a date which does not have a logical anchor in the greater scheme of things. So, what might be the true date of the Solar new year?

One of my primary sources for information on this is the book “Maya Daykeeping – Three Calendars from Highland Guatemala” which lists some observations of Spanish priests from several hundred years ago. They give us some data to work with from calendars of 1685, 1722 and 1854. These calendars come from San Pedro la Laguna (1685), Quetzaltenango (1722) and Santa Catarina Ixtahuacan (1854), and so are highly relevant to this part of the country.

My issue started when I saw one of the big natural phenomena here; the emergence of the flying ants. It happens every May, for the last years around the middle of May, this year it happened 10th May, just a little bit early, usually just after the first rains. Yet, according to the agricultural calendar the seasons of the flying ants (Nab’ey Tumuxux and Ruk’ub Tumuxux) begin 26th November.

Another correlation point could be the harvest of cacao. The harvest will depend on where we are talking about and some communities can harvest year round. However, the Boca Costa region, the southern coastal plains of Guatemala which border Mexico in the North and El Salvador in the south, extending eastwards inland to the volcanic slopes of the highlands, this harvest is supposed to begin in October according to this paper

In the agricultural calendar, these months occur 280 and 60 days after the new year, giving us two points which could align. The big question would be are there more? If the calendar is re-aligned based on these two points, are there more months that line up and what would be the true start date of the Solar year?

What is the current solar calendar?

Here the current alignment of the months. It seems to me that some of the seasons cover a 40 day period with Nab’e and Rukub being their prefixes. Their meanings are:

Nab’e and Rukub Mam – First and second seasons of the early aged. Corn planted in this time is said to not come to its full potential, the milpa doesn’t reach its full height. Current season: 20th February – 31st March, one of the driest times of the year when planting without irrigation is not likely. However, it gives the whole rainy season for the maize to grow, so it would likely reach its full height.

Likin Ka’ – Season when the earth is soft and slippery because of heavy rains. Current season: 31st March – 20th April, still dry season right before the first rains.

Nabe and Rukub Toqik – First and second season of the harvest of cacao, season of flaying. Current season: 21st April – 31st May, just after the possible second harvest period according to this document which would end at the end of April.

Nabe and Rukub Pach – First and second season of hen hatching. Current season: 30th May – 9th July. I have no data (yet) on when the new hens are hatched, but I would have thought earlier in the spring, when the hens start laying again after their winter break

Tz’ikin Q’ij – Days of the birds. Current season: 9th – 29th July. Could relate to migratory birds arriving in the area on their journey between south and north America. We see this in October/November and March/April

Kaqan – Time of the yellow and white flowers. Current season: 29th July – 18th August. I have observed the hillsides turning yellow and white here in November, particularly at the end of rainy season. However, this timing does fit to some degree.

Ibota – Season of red colours and rolling up of mats. Current season: 18th August – 7th September.

Q’atik – Season of general sowing. Current season: 7th – 27th September. The heaviest of rainfall usually occurs in this time, and usually extend through to the end of October. It may be a time to sow, but flooding is often likely so it may wash away the tiny plants.

Iskal – That which is sprouting or to throw buds. Current season: 27th September – 17th October. Still heavy rain.

Pariche – Season of blankets to protect from the cold. Current season: 17th October to 6th November. When it gets wet in the highlands it gets cold, and at the end of rainy season it can get cold for sure.

Takaxepual – First sowing. Current season: 6th – 26th November. Usually the beginning of dry season. The rains have stopped.

Nabe and Rukub Tumuxux – Seasons of the flying ants. Current season: 26th November – 5th January. Dry season, some termites observed.

Qib’ixix – Smoke, burning of brushwood. Current season: 5th – 25th January. This is a common time for forest fires as people clear their fields with fires that get out of control.

Uchum – Season of second sowing. Current season: 25th January – 15th February. Height of dry season.

Tz’api Q’ij (Wayeb) – Closing days. Current season: 15th -19th February.

Alignment Points

So there are some more natural phenomena we can observe here in the highlands of Guatemala, but lets try an alignment based on these phenomena.

Tumuxux: Season of the flying ants. Let’s say May 15th based on previous years’ observations. Occurs 280 days after Nabe Mam, so let’s subtract 280 days to find a date of Nabe Mam according to observations: 15/05/2020 – 280 days = 09/08/2019.

Nabe Toqik: First harvest of cacao. Let’s say 1st October based on the pdf linked before. Occurs 60 days after Nabe Mam. 01/10/2020 – 60 days = 02/08/2020

It is difficult to select a precise date from these calculations, but we do have an important solar alignment around that time, the solar zenith transit. This happens between 11th and 13th August at this latitude. Could it be that this zenith transit marked the beginning of the solar year? After all there are 105 days between the first and second zenith transits (30th April and 13th August), meaning the other half of the solar year would be 260 days, linking the calendars together. How could this be resolved?

Last year I attended a very interesting presentation by Geraldine Patrick Encina, where she proposed something similar. That the solar year begins on August 13th, which is the base date for the haab’ for the Classic Maya. She also proposed a resolution to the year bearer question by suggesting the years began at different times of the day, you can find her work here. This resolution would create a massive change, including a change to the count which would mean our nawales would change. Scary territory!

How would the calendar match up if we did change to 13th August as a start to the new solar year?

(The dates in bold mark zenith transit days and equinoxes)

Nabe and Rukub Mam – 13th August – 21st September – Early aged meaning that corn doesn’t have enough time to grow before dry season comes? Rainy season likely to end by 5th November. If you  need 90 days of wet weather for the corn to mature, last planting date to get there would be 7th August, so planting in Nabe or Rukub Mam would suggest that there is not enough time to get a good harvest.

Likin Ka – 22nd September – 11th October – Slippery earth. The heaviest of rains tend to occur during this time, so some strong correlation here.

Nabe and Rukub Toqik – 12th October – 20th November. Harvest of Cacao. According to the document, in the Boca Costa this is cacao harvest time. Being as the calendars that this is taken from originate in San Pedro la Laguna, Quetzaltenango and Santa Maria Ixtahuacan, it is likely that the cacao harvest they refer to is that of the Boca Costa rather than the Franja Transversal del Norte.

Nabe and Rukub Pach – 21st November – 30th December. Hatching of hens. If hens are hatched in this time, just before the mother hens have their winter rest, the newly hatched will start laying from the end of March through to mid-April (14-16 weeks after hatching). In reality I have not observed a particular season when egg laying hens are hatched in particular.

Tz’ikin Q’ij – 31st December – 19th January. Season of the birds. There are certainly many migratory birds here at this time. It’s usually when the whip-poor-will birds sing all night. To hear them click here. These birds are also featured in the Popol Vuh as the guardians of the gardens of Xibalba, and were punished for sleeping on the job by being made to stay awake all night!

Kaqan – 20th January – 8th February. Time of yellow and white flowers. This does not really fit to my experience here. It’s dry season and most of the landscape is drying up and turning brown.

Ibota – 9th -28th February. Red colours and rolling up of mats. I have no experience of what this could relate to.

Q’atik – 1st – 20th March. General sowing. I guess that seed could be sown at this time in anticipation of the coming rains. I have certainly sown my garden at this time to get the plants established before the heavy rains begin at the end of April.

Iskal – 21st March – 9th April. That which is sprouting or throwing buds. Pretty obvious after planting that sprouting would occur. The first sporadic rains announcing the beginning of rainy season sometimes happen here, which would bring on that sprouting.

Pariche – 9th – 28th April. Season of blankets to protect from the cold. This really doesn’t fit. This is the warmest time of the year if the rains don’t come!

Takaxepual – 29th April – 18th May. First sowing. Maize sown at this time would be ready in early August when canicular would allow it to be harvested easily.

Nabe and Rukub Tumuxux – 19th May – 27th June. Seasons of the flying ants. This seems a little late in my experience, but maybe climate change has something to do with that. 9th May was the big emergence in my garden of the flying ants, this year, 16th May last year, but it is pretty close.

Qib’ixix – 28th June – 17th July. Smoke, burning of brushwood. Rainy season would make this unlikely as most things are pretty wet at this time of the year.

Uchum – 18th July – 6th August. Season of second sowing. This would be the last time that the second maize crop of the year could be planted and still have time to mature before the end of rainy season. It is 80 – 100 days after the first sowing, i.e. the first sowing has had time to come to maturity and be harvested allowing for two harvests in the year. Canicular would allow for the harvest to be taken in and dried somewhat, and the wet earth and promise of september rain would ensure that the second crop will grow.

Tz’api Q’ij –  7th – 12th August. Closing days. Final five days before the new year begins.


There is so much more investigation to do, so many elders to speak with before this could ever be something of a re-alignment. However, as this system is designed to key us into a more natural way of life, it would seem correct that we ensure that it aligns with natural phenomena. It would seem that a start date of 13th August would do that, although there are some which still do not align. It is also interesting to see that the equinoxes also fall on the first days of certain months of the solar calendar, Likin Ka and Iskal, as does the other solar zenith, of course with Takaxepual. Seeing these highly important celestial events highlighted in the solar calendar seems to add weight to the reason for it being kept, as well as it’s agricultural significance.

Solar Zenith – 13 Kej (30th April 2020)

Here, by Lake Atitlan in Guatemala, approximately 15 degrees north of the equator we observe the phenomenon of the solar zenith twice per year, but what is the solar zenith?

The zenith point is the highest point of the sun in the sky. This will occur at midday, when the sun crosses an imaginary line running from north to south known as the meridian. The path of the sun through the sky is called the ecliptic, and is also the line on which you can find the planets – it is the plane of the solar system. At the days of solar zenith, the meridian and the ecliptic will form a perfect cross at midday, with 90 degree angles in each quadrant. This means that the sun will be directly overhead, and our shadow, if we stand up straight, will be just a little puddle around our feet. The sun is perfectly balanced on both the east/west and north/south axes.

This phenomenon happens at all locations within the tropics, and at slightly different times. On the Tropic of Cancer, 25.4 degrees north of the equator, solar zenith is observed on just one day of the year, June solstice. The further south you go, the further the the difference in days increases up until you reach the equator, where the solar zenith occurs on the equinoxes. If you continue south to the Tropic of Capricorn, 23.4 degrees south of the equator, you find that again the solar zenith occurs only once, on December solstice.

For us here, it means that in the days between the first zenith transit at the end of April and the second in August (around August 11), the sun is effectively in the north at midday. It is not by a great amount (about 81 degrees above the northern horizon at midday) but it can certainly mean that planning a garden is not so easy.

Perhaps one of the most interesting things about the solar zenith is that the two occasions are 105 days apart. If we use the Mayan solar calendar, they count the solar year with 365 days. Therefore the “summer” period between the April and August zenith transits of 105 days means that the remainder of days, between August and April works out to 260 days, the number of days in the sacred calendar. This is a fact which convinced some scholars that the sacred calendar must have originated at a latitude of about 15 degrees north of the equator. There is also some other special Mayan numerology in the timing of the zenith passages, with each one occurring 52 days away from the June solstice – 52 being a number which occurs many times in Mayan mathematics. It is also interesting that the second zenith transit occurs around 11th August, which according to the GMT correlation, was the day of creation of the fourth age of the Sun back in 3114BC.

We can tell by the alignments of certain structures (for example El Caracol at Chichen Itza, The Palace at Palenque and stelae 10 and 12 at Copan to name just a few) that the ancient Maya were marking the sunrises and sunsets on zenith days, so it would seem that zenith days were of importance to them. There are also zenith tubes, long, vertical holes which could only illuminate the chamber below when the sun was directly overhead on zenith days.

Exactly what meaning was attributed to the zenith days is something I have yet to understand. However, there is a great deal of evidence that the April zenith day was seen as a day for general planting to start. Right now we are waiting for the rains to come. A few little sprinkles have happened to wet the earth up a bit, but the true rains are on their way. With this zenith coinciding with the days 13 Kej and 1 Q’anil, it would seem like an excellent time to connect with the spirit of the natural world and the ancestors (13 Kej) and plant your seeds for an abundant harvest (1 Q’anil) asking the sun to bless your crops.

The Trecena of Kej (23rd September – 5th October 2019)

The Trecena of Kej gives us the opportunity to reconnect to the energy of the natural world, strengthening the spiritual leader within each one of us.

I recorded my workshop yesterday to make a new video, but unfortunately, background noise has rendered it unusable. So, I will recycle this video from earlier in the year. The key points of the video are the same (so don’t be concerned that the dates on the video are January 2019), but it also gives us an opportunity to reflect on what happened to us the last time this trecena came around – where were we in the second two weeks of January, and what was going on in our lives?


The Inferior Conjunction of Venus – 12 Ajpu (31st October 2018)

Since the day 9 Tz’i (23rd February 2018) Venus has appeared in the west, in the evening sky. From August onward it became a little lower each night until it became lost in the glare of the sunset. Today, according to the Dresden Codex, is the first day of the inferior conjunction of Venus. Venus is passing between the Earth and the Sun, and as such is not visible in our night sky.

Venus as the evening star can be seen to represent the obsidian mirror, the dark mirror within us showing us the parts of our ego we would rather hide from the world. There has been a particularly strong cycle this time around, one which takes place every 8 years. The dark mirror has been intensified by the power of the year lord, which reached its peak intensity around mid-summer, the light of the sun illuminating not only the things we wish to hide from the world, but possibly the things we wish to hide from ourselves. It has the power to illuminate the half truths that we occasionally tell ourselves, stripping away the false support which comes from them and in turn replacing them with truth. It is on this truth that we can then build when Venus returns as the morning star, and we can move into a time of advancement and enlightenment.

In this cycle within the codex, the first day of the inferior conjunction happens on 12 Ajpu. This can be seen as the day on which we use our life experience to make a judgement between what is divine and what is not.

The inferior conjunction of Venus has coincided with some societal upheavals including the downfall of leaders occurring during or soon after. According to Bruce Scofield in his book How to Practice Mayan Astrology:

“Newsworthy events occurring at, or just after, the inferior conjunction are often characterized by impulsive human errors the lead to a levelling or crash of some sort.”



New Video – The Trecena of Kej (21st April – 3rd May 2018)

We are now entering the trecena of Kej. We can see this as a development from the connection with the spirit of Mother Earth that we learnt through the trecena of Ix being then grounded and manifested into the physical connection with the natural world that we can experience in the trecena of Kej.

Superior Conjunction of Venus Begins – 10 Ajpu (25th November 2017)

The cycle of Venus was used by the ancient Maya to time many ritual practices, including war and sacrifice. The heliacal rising of Venus, when Venus is seen to rise with the Sun, was seen as a particularly destructive and unsettled time.  Venus has been rising heliacally since 8 K’at (3rd April 2017). The period since the beginning of the heliacal rise of Venus seems to have been a great turmoil for many.  It was at its peak brightness on April 29th 2017 (8 Tz’i) and reached its greatest height (western elongation) on June 3rd 2017 (4 Kan), which could be seen as the height of its influence.

It is said that the light of the morning star illuminates that which has been hidden, it is an exposer of cover-ups, particularly those of a sexual nature. Additionally it is said that when Venus rises heliacally on a K’at day, the Venus deities spear  the old men, the rulers and kings. Has this morning star period seen older men in powerful positions falling from grace due to sex scandals?

On the day 10 Ajpu (25th November 2017), according to the Dresden codex, Venus will cease to be a feature in our morning sky. The morning star will disappear to the underworld, only to reappear as the evening star on 9 Tz’i Kame, 23rd February 2018.

This is a time that could be seen as a respite from the disturbing influence that Venus has. It can be a time to look at what went wrong and see how to avoid making the same mistakes in the future. It is a time to evaluate ourselves, and the leaders of our society, a time to address our values and the values of the society we live in, and a time to redress the balance.

The phases of Venus 2017/2018, Starting at the inferior conjunction on 13 Ajmak (26th March 2017). By Mark Elmy

5 K’at (21st August 2017) – US Solar Eclipse Special

The top bar is the sky band, and hanging from it is the glyph which signifies an eclipse. In the centre of the eclipse glyph is the sun glyph, denoting a solar eclipse. From the Dresden Codex.The total solar eclipse of today would have been something that the ancient Maya considered very important. The two most observed heavenly bodies are coming together in an action which will briefly turn day to night, which will stop birds from singing and make the people pay attention to what is happening above them. The temperature will drop as we are reminded where the energy which drives our life on this planet comes from. Many great articles have been inspired by this event, I just thought to add a little of my own perspective.

Apparently, there is a K’iche folk story in which the moon is the wife of the sun. The eclipse occurs due to a quarrel between the two, and the wife “takes a bite” out of the husband. Could this be seen metaphorically for the division which is currently so obvious, not just in the USA, but in many other parts of the world? This has been happening for some time, but right now the pressure really seems to be building, to me it feels the most chaotic that I recall in my lifetime. Society seems to be diverging between what could be seen as the brash, materialistic, masculine energy and the compassionate, caring feminine energy. This eclipse is literally drawing a line of division across the USA, cutting it in two, and beneath the line of totality lies the darkness. Perhaps this might serve to remind us of many things. The feminine (moon) is removing the power of the masculine (sun) as she takes her bite, her answer to their disagreement. With his power removed all becomes darkness, the energy of life disappears from our world.

Old man possum brings the nawal Iq’ to take the burden of time for the year. From the Dresden Codex.

This is all happening in the year 5 Iq’ (according to the traditional Highland count) and at a time when Venus is in the morning sky. The year 5 Iq’ has been with us since February, teaching us to work on our communication, but also bringing sudden and unexpected changes. The number 5 is also known to bring cause people to rush into things without thinking, suggesting that words may be said in haste and regretted later. This is how 5 Iq’ teaches us to be aware of our words. Venus was generally seen as male in the Maya pantheon, and the time of the morning star was also seen as an upset in society, particularly of the leaders. This may happen by shining the bright light of the morning star on the things which had been hidden, this is a time when scandals are brought to light. According to the Borgia Codex, when the heliacal rise of Venus (the day it appears to rise with the sun) occurs on a K’at day (as it did on 8 K’at in April of this year), it is the king/male ruler who is targeted by the Venus deities. Is this once again suggesting that the patriarchal system, or its figurehead, is particularly vulnerable at this time? Venus will continue to rise in the morning sky until 10 Ajpu (25th November 2017) when it will disappear for 50 days (90 days in the codex table) as it travels behind the sun from the perspective of the Earth in its superior conjunction with the sun.

Perhaps this suggests that the feminine energy needs to be listened to, that the quarrelling needs to be resolved before the feminine shows its full potential to eclipse the energy of the patriarchal society, and bring down its leader. This all happens of the day 5 K’at which might also suggest that we, as a society, need to work on bringing things together, it won’t just resolve itself. K’at has the possibility to gather great wealth, great abundance, but it also has the possibility to become the burden, the net in which we become ensnared. Of course, totality will pass, and the light will return, but perhaps this is a decision point. Will we choose to embrace the feminine and work together to our mutual profit, or will we choose to continue to be divided and trapped in the darkness?

For more information on the eclipse calculations of the ancient Maya, I would highly recommend visiting Biblioteca Pleyades. This is a very thorough and well written explanation of the eclipse table within the Dresden Codex.


The Return of Venus as Morning Star – 8 K’at

The cycle of Venus was of great importance to the ancient Maya, and often used to time ritual activities including warfare and sacrifices. Venus was generally seen to have an unsettling influence, particularly during the time of the heliacal rising of Venus.

Today we enter that period of potential turbulence, the first rising of Venus as the Morning Star. This is said to be the time when the influence of Venus “spears” certain victims. These victims are often leaders, and here, in combination with the nawal K’at, we might think of the influence of Venus leading to the capture of rogue leaders. Venus shines its bright light on the dark places, illuminating the things which have been hidden. It is possible that mistakes which were made during the inferior conjunction are highlighted now, especially if attempts have been made to cover them up. We may also expect a political downfall as a result of an earlier entrapment, something which may be symbolised by the influence of the energy of the nawal K’at.

This turmoil is affecting all of us on the planet, not just the leaders. Who ever holds “high position” would do well to avoid rushing into impassioned decisions  or judgement during the first few days of the Morning Star.

The complete table within the Dresden codex covers 13 cycles of 5 synodic periods of Venus, a total of 37960 days or 104 years less 26 days. This means that the last time Venus reappeared as the Morning Star was 29th April 1913. In the classic system of year bearers, 1913 was also the year 5 Iq’, so we should expect a degree of resonance between that time and our time. According to Wikipedia:

April 29, 1913 (Tuesday) Germany’s Foreign Minister, Gottlieb von Jagow, said in a speech at the Reichstag that German would respect the guarantees of Belgium’s neutrality, followed by Minister of War Josias von Heeringen, who pledged that “Germany will not lose sight of the fact that the neutrality of Belgium is guaranteed by international treaty.”
Germany would invade Belgium fifteen months later on its entry into World War I on August 2, 1914.

August 2nd 1914 was 460 days after the first heliacal rise of Venus on the day 8 K’at. This was approximately in the middle of the Evening Star phase of Venus, on the day 13 K’at, and equates to the day 7th July 2018. It would seem that this is an important time to keep our wits about us with regards to the words of people in power, and where those words may lead.

Lord of the Heliacal Rise with his spear ready to strike down his victims, from the Dresden Codex


The Inferior Conjunction of Venus Begins – 13 Ajmak

The cycle of Venus was of great importance to the ancient Maya, and often used to time ritual activities including warfare and sacrifices. Venus was generally seen to have an unsettling influence, particularly during the time of the heliacal rising of Venus.

Today is the first day of the inferior conjunction of Venus. Venus is passing between the Earth and the Sun, and as such will not be visible in our night sky. Since the day 10 Kame (19th July 2016) Venus has appeared in the west, just after sunset each night. From January onward it became a little lower each night and tonight it will be lost in the glare of the sunset for 8 days.

The inferior conjunction of Venus has coincided with some societal upheavals including the downfall of leaders occurring during or soon after. According to Bruce Scofield in his book How to Practice Mayan Astrology:

“Newsworthy events occurring at, or just after, the inferior conjunction are often characterized by impulsive human errors the lead to a levelling or crash of some sort.”

Today, the first day of the inferior conjunction happens on 13 Ajmak, a day very much associated with “human error”. The energy of the day 13 Ajmak gives a great potential for forgiveness, but this may ultimately be required as the energy of 13 Ajmak may also give rise to some of the greatest errors of all.

The phases of Venus 2017/2018, Starting at the inferior conjunction on 13 Ajmak (26th March 2017). By Mark Elmy