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 it’s roots in the Earth, and it’s 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.
This 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 it’s people, that keeps everything in it’s 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 Sacred Mayan calendar is often said to be a calendar of human life, and parts of it can be seen as a microcosm of the human body. The number five is one of these parts. It is representative of the hand with it’s five digits. It is with our hands that we work, and with what we earn for that work that we pay our debts. Five is also a number that relates to the sacred fire where we pay our debts with offerings and prayers. Five might be so busy working that it fails to remember what it is working for. It can also signify that what it is attached to becomes work, or is “hard work”.
The day 5 Aj is a great day to be doing some form of work on behalf of your community, your work and your input will bring great nourishment to those around you. It is a day for selfless work, a day with which we pay back for the support our families, friends and communities show to us.