5 Kame (19th February 2018)

5 KameThe nawal of transformation blends with the number of work, which can give a good impression of the sort of things today may hold in store. Just remember that some changes are more beneficial when they are clearly thought through.

Kame days can be days on which we face challenges, with an opportunity to overcome them and grow. These may be the things that we fear the most, the things that really frighten us. Kame brings us the strength to overcome these things should we choose to, and in order to do this, they have to present themselves to us. When they do, we are faced with a decision – do we tackle the issue or turn away from it. If we turn away, we just stay where we are for the time being, waiting for the next opportunity to grow. After all, the number 5 bringing the energy of hard work may mean that the next occurrence of Kame may be a more conducive day for it.

However, hard work does bring benefits, and putting work into stepping up to your challenges should bring results. The energy of the number 5 is also connected to rushing into things. This is possibly because in the Maya cross configuration for the number 5, we see 13 in the future, drawing it strongly forward. It gives an energy that is so focused on the future that it doesn’t always see what is around it. In the case of today it may lead you into your challenges not quite fully prepared. Take a breath rather than rushing headlong into things.

Another interpretation may arise through the nawal Kame representing the ancestors. This could be an excellent day to engage with, or carry on, the work once undertaken by your ancestors.

Kame relates to death, which often makes people nervous. However, this nawal is seen as an extremely positive day. Birth is the gateway into the mortal life, death the gateway into the eternal. In many shamanistic traditions, the initiate goes through several death experiences during training. This can be through the use of particular herbs, or sometimes through accident or illness. In these experiences the density of the mortal realm falls away and the greater understanding emerges. It can often be described as a spiritual transformation. In the Popul Vuh, the Mayan book of creation, the Hero Twins descend to the underworld, Xibalba, to confront the Lords of Death. They pass the many challenges set for them, but eventually end up being tricked by the Lord of Death. Instead of giving in, the Hero Twins choose to sacrifice themselves. They give instructions to a pair of seers to convince the Lords of Death to grind the Twins’ bones to dust and throw the dust in the river. Everything went according to plan and five days later the twins appeared as catfish in the river, then transformed into vagabond “magicians”. In this way we see a literal transformation from the crusader (Tijax) through death (Kame) to the higher self (Ix). This is the potential of the Kame day, to face ones fears and attain a higher perspective, to advance the journey of your soul. This is also a day to remember your ancestors and friends that have passed into the other realm, to remember what they taught you, and to thank them for their wisdom that helped you to grow.

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”.

Today is a day to work on your development, your transformation towards your better self. It is a day where you may be faced with decisions where you need to ask yourself “how would the person I would like to be handle this?” It is not necessarily a day when this choice will be easy, but your hard work will gain it’s rewards. It is also a day to thank your ancestors for the work they have put into your development.

5 Kame 4 Wayeb – The Fifth Day of Wayeb

The fifth day of Wayeb completes these days of introspection and retreat. In some ways, whilst this is the day when we can see the dawn of the new year coming, it may also be the most difficult day. It is the day when we start the process to emerge from the chrysalis.

There may be a crystallisation of the process which has been taking place though the days of Wayeb. Here, its combination with the day 5 Kame suggests that we bring what we have been working with through this period into the new year. The energy of 5 Kame suggests working an challenges which bring spiritual transformation, and this is how we can see the process we have undertaken through the Wayeb. Challenges have been presented to us, some things we can allow to die and fade away with the old year, so that we can move forward transformed into the new 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

4 Kan 3 Wayeb – The Fourth Day of Wayeb

The fourth day of introspection during the Wayeb is associated with definition, and in this solar cycle it is combined with the energy of a day which would suggest the stabilising of wisdom and power. We have passed through the three previous days and identified where we are. This time has you helped to identify your strengths and your weaknesses, and asked of you to accept all this as a part of who you are. Now with this knowledge and understanding of yourself, it is time to start charting your course for the coming year of 6 Kej. How do your strengths and talents guide you towards your destiny? How can they support your journey? How can you avoid making the same mistakes again? The combination of the energies would suggest looking inside yourself for common sense approach. The exercise will be to define the wisdom and empowerment you wish to bring into the world in the next solar cycle.  This is a day to understand  how to bring that power down to earth, to employ it practically for the good of all, sharing our Earthly wisdom.

Another representation of Pawahtuun, the god of the Wayeb, this time from the Paris Codex. From http://digital.library.northwestern.edu/codex/page6.html
Another representation of Pawahtuun, the god of the Wayeb, this time from the Paris Codex. From http://digital.library.northwestern.edu/codex/page6.html

4 Kan (18th February 2018)

4 KanToday the powerful and wise energy of the nawal Kan is tempered by the earthy and stable energy of the number 4. This can be one of the most favourable Kan days with an extremely useful energy.

Sometimes Kan days are difficult to negotiate. The power of this nawal can lead to occasional misjudgements of its application. Sometimes more energy than required is used to resolve a situation, which may cause further problems. However, today that is unlikely to be the case. The number 4 is considered to be on the calmer side of the trecena, between 1 and 5, sometimes thought of as the weaker side. However, it has very material properties which can bring the earth wisdom of Kan into the everyday realm, bringing the body lightning very much into the body. This could be seen as an Earth magic day, using primal energy to create physical stability, it can very much relate to the four sky serpents bringing the energy from the sky to the Earth, a day when the vision serpents may bring wisdom from the Heart of the Sky.

Due to the favourable and stable qualities associated with the number 4, the use of either power or wisdom to resolve an issue may work out well on this day.  It is important to remember the strength of this nawal and that a little goes a long way – don’t overdo it. If in doubt, choose wisdom over power.

The energy of Kan can manipulate through the illusions it creates, however, it is also the energy of Kan that helps us to see through the illusions created by others. Today stable, down-to-Earth wisdom may identify areas when we are being subjected to the illusions or manipulation of others, particularly those in power, or trying to have power over us. This common sense can be used to break through these illusions in order to bring empowerment to the many rather than the few.

An ancestor brings wisdom through the vision serpent. Feathered Serpent Diety, detail of Classic Maya lintel at Yaxchilan, from ''A Study of Maya Art'' by Herbert Spinden, 1913 {{PD-US}}


Kan is one of the more powerful nawales and it represents just that – power. It is connected to serpents, and serpent symbology is very strong in Maya mythology. In the past, lightning was referred to as sky serpents, and what is seen in the outer world is reflected by the inner world. The power of Kan comes from something which is referred to as itz or coyopa, the lightning in the blood. This is the power which may also be known as Ki, Chi, Prana, kundalini or “the force”. It is life force energy. Kundalini is a sanskrit word actually meaning coiled, like a snake. When working with any of these energies, training must be undertaken in order to understand how to use them. In it’s most positive aspect, the energy of Kan brings great wisdom; in it’s negative aspect, great destruction. A lack of understanding or control of this power can lead to undesirable consequences. The dark side of Kan can seduce with it’s power, and a very sexy power it is too, holding it’s prey in an almost hypnotic grip with it’s allure. It can become the ultimate ego trap.

However, it is also said that the feathered serpent Q’uq’umatz (also known as Kulkulkan or Quetzalcoatl) brought wisdom, through the sciences of astronomy and agriculture, to the ancient Maya. Here we see the positive aspect of Kan, where the ability to work with the body lightning brings great wisdom. People born on a Kan day can become some of the greatest healers or psychics, or they can become the darkest sorcerers and manipulators.

The number 4 is very important within Mayan mythology. Four represents the cardinal points, the four colours of maize, the four carriers of the year, the two equinoxes and two solstices, as well as midnight, sunrise, midday and sunset. The number four is representative of the four first men, who raised the sky from the sea to create the world we live on. In Mayan myth it is four pillars that support the sky from the Earth. As you can imagine, four is a number which represents stability, a solar number. Even though it is still low, it is thought of as a good number.

3 K’at 2 Wayeb – The Third Day of Wayeb

The third day of Wayeb focuses on acceptance. When we combine this with the day 3 K’at, we can understand that it can be about our acceptance of what we can gather within ourselves when we release our attachment to the outer world.

Whilst we have a requirement for the things which support us in the physical world, sometimes we cling tightly to them when they have already served their purpose. When it is time for them to leave, we obstruct our own development through our attachment. Today is a day to accept that these attachments are all transient in nature and at some point we have to release ourselves from what may have become clutter in our life.

Pawahtuun2

3 K’at (17th February 2018)

3 K'at

The energy of the nawal of gathering, abundance and ensnarement combines with the number of external challenges. This may be a day when what you try to catch slips through your net.

The day 3 K’at might be a rather difficult day on which to get things together, in whatever form. It could be seen as a day on which your burdens may really slow you down. The number 3 can represent obstructions and blockages in the outer world and, when combined with the challenging side of the nawal K’at, could lead to some potential stumbling blocks in life, particularly when it comes to collecting things together. The harvest is not yet ready, and you may find that your effort reaps little reward.

Perhaps a better use of energy would be to focus on what is holding you back internally. This could be an excellent day for an introspective analysis of the beliefs and concepts which no longer serve a purpose. It is a day to look inside for the bounty, for the true abundance which resides within you. Allow your net to gently release that which no longer serves you, so that changes, new life and new creation may emerge.

Blood Moon, mother of the Hero Twins being sent away from Xibalba after becoming pregnant. She goes to see Ixmucane, Mother of Jun Junajpu and Wucub Junajpu and is set a challenge to fill a net with corn. which she achieves and is taken in as family. She is seen here holding the K'at glyph in her hands. From The Dresden Codex.
Blood Moon, mother of the Hero Twins being sent away from Xibalba after becoming pregnant. She goes to see Ixmucane, Mother of Jun Junajpu and Wucub Junajpu and is set a challenge to fill a net with corn. which she achieves and is taken in as family. She is seen here holding the K’at glyph in her hands. From The Dresden Codex.

K’at signifies a net and represents gathering together or bundling. Here, in the Western Highlands of Guatemala, to this day many crops are harvested and carried in nets – oranges, lemons, avocados to name but a few. Through this we see one of the positive meanings of this nawal, that of abundance and harvest. K’at is a great day to draw things together, whether this means gathering in your crops, collecting ideas and opinions for your projects, or inviting people to a social event. It is a day of prosperity and the bounty which comes from the Earth, a day of gardeners, but also of merchants.

The nawal K’at is associated with Ixq’ik, Blood Moon, who was magically impregnated in Xibalba (the underworld) by the spirit of Jun Junajpu. Jun Junajpu and his brother Wucub Junajpu were summoned by the Lords of Death to Xibalba to face the challenges after they disturbed the Lords by playing the ball game too noisily. Unfortunately this first pair of heroes went unprepared and were tricked and sacrificed by the Lords of Death. After their deaths, the head of Jun Junajpu was hung in a calabash tree, where it eventually blended in with the wizened fruit on the tree. However, it was known to speak and the news of this dis-incarnate voice in the tree reached Blood Moon. She decided to go an visit the tree where she was asked to hold out her hand. The head spat into her hand and she became impregnated with the Hero Twins, Junajpu and Xbalamque. She was banished from Xibalba and went to meet the mother of Jun Junajpu and Wucub Junajpu, Ixmucane. At first Ixmucane did not accept that Blood Moon was carrying her grandchildren, and set a task to fill a net with corn from the garden. When Blood Moon arrived, there was only one stalk, but by pulling the corn silk, the plant magically produced an abundant harvest and Blood Moon was accepted as telling the truth.

However, K’at also has it’s more challenging side. An abundant crop will fill the net, but it will also slow you down. K’at is also the nawal of prisons and burdens, as the net which gathers, can also ensnare us. When candles are purchased for the fire ceremonies, they come in bundles held together by little strings. When the nawal K’at is addressed during the fire ceremony, these strings are put in to the fire, with offerings, to ask K’at to help us release ourselves from our burdens, from the ties which bind us. These ties can also be seen as excessive attachment to material things.

There are various myths about the creation which link with the number 3. One is that at the time of creation, three stone jumped out of the fireplace and formed the new world. These three stones are called the hearthstones, and are still seen in many Maya homes today, on the fire supporting the tortilla griddle. From an astronomical point of view, the stones are the stars Alnitak, Saiph and Rigel in the constellation we call Orion, and the Smoky Fireplace is the Great Orion Nebula (M42)

A (slightly crude) montage showing a proposed correlation between the constellation of Orion and the triadic structure of Maya pyramids. This one is
A (slightly crude) montage showing a proposed correlation between the constellation of Orion and the triadic structure of Maya pyramids. This one is “El Tigre” at the El Mirador site. Photo and montage by Mark Elmy

The number 3 is still in the low end of the range of numbers. It does not have much energy yet, and it is also an odd number. It can represent the home, relating to the three hearthstones laid by the creators, and this is probably a good focus for a 3 day. However, it is possibly the most troublesome of the numbers to deal with, it lacks stability and represents challenges and obstructions. The number three brings up internal/external dilemma. The lack of stability in the physical, external world that it brings suggests that the more appropriate action is to look to the internal world, both of the home and of yourself.

The number 3 is still in the low end of the range of numbers. It does not have much energy yet, and it is also an odd number. It is possibly the most troublesome of the numbers to deal with, it lacks stability. It can represent the home, relating to the three hearthstones laid by the creators, and this is probably a good focus for a 3 day.

2 Aq’ab’al 1 Wayeb – The Second Day of Wayeb

The second day of the Wayeb is said to represent recognition of yourself, during your introspective period. This is combined with the day representing the light of the coming day, the new conception. This is a day to identify the things within you that can be left in the year 5 Iq’ as we move into the year 6 Kej. As the sun rises, the powerful light of the new day brings into clarity that which we choose to carry forward, leaving that which no longer serves in the darkness of the night from which we emerge.

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

2 Aq’ab’al (16th February 2018)

2 Aq'ab'alThe day 2 Aq’ab’al can show you the positive and negative aspects of a potential new endeavour, its strengths and weaknesses.It is a day to bring your dreams closer to reality, particularly if they relate to a relationship. 

Aq’ab’al days are said to be representative of relationships and marriage. Perhaps this is because they are the bridge between the polarities, night and the day, the dream world and the physical world. They are the conception days, days of new life when new ideas are conceived, and these ideas, like children from our marriages, become our legacy, our immortality. Aq’ab’al acts as a bridge between polarities, including the logical and artistic, which can give rise to great creativity. As we see in the Maya cross, Aq’ab’al evolves to B’atz, the creative genius.

Today this natural tendency is amplified by the energy of the number 2, which also relates to polarities. This could give rise to a day when polarities are emphasised, where the differences are particularly highlighted and become as clear as night or day. This may lead to some rather stark truths becoming very obvious, yet possibly the Aq’ab’al energy is the one which helps us to understand how to join two polarities, how to marry them together to create a bright future. Another quality of the number 2 is that of self sacrifice, which suggests that in order to create this union, a little sacrifice may be required on each side.

Dawn over Lake Atitlan, 21st February 2016, as seen from the garden of Flower House, San Pablo La Laguna. Picture by Mark Elmy
Dawn over Lake Atitlan, 21st February 2016, as seen from the garden of Casa Patzakel, San Pablo La Laguna. Picture by Mark Elmy

In the Kiche language, the word aq’ab means night. The suffix -al changes the meaning slightly, to hint at change and alludes to the dawning of the day, the time between darkness and light, night and day. Just as birth is the beginning of the mortal journey, Aq’ab’al is the beginning of the day, although the detail of the day may still be obscured. Aq’ab’al is representative of new things, things which are not yet fully formed. While in Santiago Atitlan one day, a friend explained to me the different parts of a weaving in process on a backstrap loom. Aq’ab’al is the warp (the vertical threads), B’atz is the weft (the horizontal threads) which creates the whole cloth, and the newly woven cloth is Kawok. In order for the weaver to create, first she has an idea in her head or a dream. She sets out the dream on her loom by setting up the warp. Thus, the design has passed from being just an idea, to the beginnings of a woven reality, although it still requires creative input before it becomes whole. Aq’ab’al can also represent conception, the fertilised egg is far from ready to be born, but has passed from the dream or spirit world into the physical.

Aq’ab’al days are great days for the start of new things, particularly new relationships – Aq’ab’al has a strong affinity with marriage. It is also a perfect day for starting new projects, or at least bringing them into the world of light from the world of dreams and ideas.

The number 2 is representative of duality, of polarity. Although it is a low number it has surprising strength as it is said to be able to call upon both aspects or polarities of what it is attached to. It is said to be the number of lovers, it signifies relationships and self-sacrifice. Whilst it can lend itself to mediation, seeing both sides of the story, it also can be indecisive.

1 Iq’ (15th February 2018)

1 Iq'The day 1 Iq’ is a day of potential for communication. Inspiring words can be like seeds which may take some time to take root. It is a day to plant the ideas of changes, but actual effects may take some time.

This is a day for potential of movement, a day to make a new start as the cleansing energy of the nawal Iq’ blows away the dust and cobwebs from the old world. The energy behind this movement may need nurturing, some encouragement and support, possibly through inspiring words. Likewise, maybe the angry words associated with Iq’ are tempered today, a little more gentle, something which takes time to sink in. 

Today is the beginning of the trecena of Iq’, which may have several properties all tied together with quality of movement. This can include inspiration and communication through the movement of breath and change of state through movement. We could also view qualities of the trecena of Iq’ as a microcosm of the year lord of Iq’. Iq’ years are known for the sudden changes that may occur, which in turn may bring anger or upset to those who are unready or unwilling to change. The strength of Iq’ is such that the changes cannot be avoided, they can embraced or resisted, but will go ahead regardless. Of course embracing them is really the way to proceed, this trecena may require a degree of flexibility in order to get the most out of it. Now is the time for inspired movement and change.

Wind God 1

Nawal Iq’ is another strong nawal. It represents communication and particularly divine inspiration. It is the wind, the breath of life, that which brings the change in seasons.

The communication brought by Iq’ can be enlightening and inspiring. It is the breath of the divine which flows through us all, in fact the word for soul is Saq Iq’ – white breath. When our breath stops, our divine essence leaves our physical body. When we engage ourselves with the divine breath we are able to create, to manifest with our words, to inspire those around us. However, Iq’ also has a destructive side. It has the ability to blow like a hurricane and may level everything before it. It is the angry words which cut down everything in their path.

Hurricane is one of the few English words which is actually derived from a Mayan word- Junrakan, meaning “one footed”. Junrakan is another name for the Heart of the Sky, one of the creator deities. Once again it seems that certain patterns follow through the sequence of the nawales which are interrelated. Imox, the female creative principle, or egg, is fertilised be Iq’, the male principle. Their combination results in Aq’ab’al, the conception and a change in the state, bringing the dream into reality.

Iq’ is a day of communication, a day of inspiration. It can be a great day to express yourself through written or particularly verbal means. It is also a day on which changes happen. You can either embrace those changes or resist them, but be aware that the wind blows forcefully and resistance of change requires a great deal of energy. Embracing change helps you to learn to dance like a leaf in the wind.

Iq’ is the fourth of the classic Year Bearers, or Year Lords. It gives rise to unpredictable, strong years.

The number 1 is representative of the seed, of unity. It represents birth and beginnings. It is a low and odd number, which usually represents something challenging. However, the seed can grow into a mighty tree, it is full of potential. It just needs the correct nutrients and conditions to germinate and develop, just as sometimes we need encouragement to develop our ideas.

1 Iq’ 0 Wayeb – The First Day of 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. 1 Iq’ was the year bearer for 2013. 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  first day of Wayeb is used to review the previous year. Its combination here with the day 1 Iq’ suggests a review of the changes and new directions you may have taken during the previous 360 days of the year 5 Iq’.  This is a day to reflect on the year 5 Iq’, what you may have considered turbulence. the strength of the wind can come in and cause what we might see as upset, as it blows us in unexpected directions. It brings change by sweeping away that which can no longer resist its force. It might turn upside down the things which do not have a solid foundation. Yet, as it does so it provides opportunity for renewal, and this is something we can focus on with the nawal 1 Iq’ as the number 1 represents new beginnings and birth and Iq’ is the breath of life. This is a chance to review how the nawal Iq’ may have swept away the old, cleaned your altar, in order to breathe life into the new.

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