5 Ix (17th February) 2020

5 IxThe nawal of the spirit of mother Earth and what comes from her combines with the number of work. This suggests that a little hard work on your connection with mother Earth may manifest abundance.

The energy of the nawal Ix helps us to remember that we are all the children of mother Earth. We are all connected to her energy whether we choose to acknowledge it or not. Some of us live closer to her, some of us further away. Some are aware of the interactions we can have with her, others are not. Some show gratitude to her for what she provides, others do not even realise where their sustenance comes from, yet still she gives. When we enhance our connection with her, she rewards us. To strengthen our connection, we talk to her, we ask her for her help and we thank her for what she gives. This show us why Ix days are days of the altars and shrines, days to make our prayers, they are days where mother Earth is waiting patiently to hear from her children.

Of course, like all mothers, she may become overburdened. If the flow is always one way, if we are always receiving and never giving, we may fall out of balance, out of favour and out of harmony with her energy. We all live within her energetic field and if our energy is out of sync with hers, we may fall sick. This can be an important signpost that we need to realign our energy towards a more natural state, possibly that we have forgotten our gratitude for what we have received.

The energy of the number 5 represents work, it also represents the sacred fire. This is where we speak our words, where we ask for mother Earth to help us and where we show our gratitude. This can be an excellent day for making a thanksgiving  fire at a natural shrine. It is a day to work on our gratitude in order to keep the flow of our sustenance steady.

With Ix representing the jaguar shaman, this day is also a day to work on your “magic.” We all have the ability to engage with this energy, but, like any discipline, work is required to reap the benefits. This can be seen as a day to engage with that training, to practice your abilities and to strengthen the magic you carry.

Jaguar Shaman
A dancing shaman transforms himself into a jaguar. From a late classic era vase found at Altar de Sacrificios. Source http://shortstreet.net/Maya/mayapaintedvases.htm

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.

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.

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”.

5 Ix 2 Wayeb – The Third Day of Wayeb

The third day of Wayeb focuses on acceptance. When we combine this with the day 5 Ix, we can understand that it can be about what we have learned about the way we can work with Mother Earth, and her sacred spaces, during the year 7 E’.

The nawal Ix governs the altars and shrines, the ears of Mother Earth, and encourages us to ask her for what we need in life. She gladly provides, and all that she asks is that we love, protect and care for her, as we would our human mother. On this 5 day,  the day of work, we might ask, how has our work affected Mother Earth during this year 7 E’? Have we been working in her best interests, have we been putting our energy into helping her? On another level, Ix represents the magical being inside each one of us. Have we focussed enough of our energy on our connection with that magical part of us, the one connected with the sacred sites and temples? What choices of path have we made in the year 7 E’ that take us closer to those ideals?

Pawahtuun2

4 Aj (16th February 2020)

4 AjThe combination of the noble authority of the nawal Aj and the stability of the number 4 should give rise to dependable and solid day. This is a day of support and courage, particularly for those who take the lead.

There is possibly no greater steadying influence greater than that of the nawal Aj. Aj is the one who keeps order, the pillar which both supports and sustains. It keeps everything in its rightful place in order to bring harmony and growth to the community it supports. It brings leadership qualities of the most altruistic kind. It provides an energy which organises to ensure that the community is cared for.

Today it is combined with the number 4. This brings with it an essence of stability, particularly in the Earthly plane. This represents the most basic level of the material existence. This could be seen as the arrival of of a stable leader who will work to ensure that the most basic of material needs are fulfilled. It does not necessarily take into account any other planes of existence, the focus is purely in our world.

This is a day to put your energy into ensuring that the basic needs of your family and community are met. It is a day to focus on supporting people through real world issues, rather than existential dilemmas.

Temple of the Foliated Cross, Palenque. Picture by Mark Elmy

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 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 beneficial number.

4 Aj 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 harmony in the home and leadership in the community. This is a day to identify the things within you that can be left in the year 7 E’ as we move into the year 8 No’j.

4 Aj presents us with that which strengthens and stabilises our homes and communities. With the number 4 highlighting the material, physical world, perhaps today’s reflection will be on what you have done in the year 7 E’ to bring stability to your home or community. What choices have you made, what paths have ended, in order to achieve a greater degree of harmony in your home? Nawal E’ can represent all sorts of explorations, not just the physical travel, but the journey of relationship, exploration of mental realms and of course the spiritual path. 4 Aj is asking us how our decisions on which path to take have affected us and our family, and our community. How can we use them to form a stable foundation?

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

3 E’ (15th February 2020)

3 E'The nawal E’ governs exploration and discovery, and this happens on the journey, on the road it represents. However, today, the number 3 may bring challenges to physical journeys.

The nawal E’ gives a restlessness which is cured through taking voyages of discovery. E’ drives us to understand how our world, different people and different societies work. This usually happens through travel as we enrich both our knowledge and experience of the world around us. However, E’ also governs our own life journey, our internal process that we move through as we travel through our life. It is as much about our life path as it is the physical journeys we undertake.

Today we see it combined with the number 3, a number which can be seen to bring instability and challenge to what it is attached to, especially in the external world. This is perhaps one of the least ideal days on which to make a physical journey, the possibility obstruction and delays may be high. This is a day to be looking inwards, to focus on understanding yourself through your inner journey. It may prove more fruitful than a journey on the road today.

Footprints
Footprints mark the road, from the Dresden Codex

Nawal E’ represents the journey of discovery, the life path in both its physical and spiritual aspects. E’ is the explorer, it craves novelty. It inspires travel to understand different cultures and ways of life, it is a seeker of experience. It can be a thrill seeker, and sometimes will take risks to understand what it is examining. Whilst it gains experience and understanding through physical travel, E’ also drives us to explore our inner world, helping us to understand our own minds and hearts, and those of others. E’ sometimes creates a restlessness, the desire to find new things within the world means that E’ finds it difficult to sit still.

E’ can sometimes cause us to explore simply for the sake of exploration, we seek the new experience because it is there. This can give rise to a lack of direction, aimless wandering. However, even in its wanderings E’ is discovering. It may not know exactly where it is going, but it will when it gets there. In it’s best aspect, E’ seeks out knowledge and experience in order to form an understanding which brings wisdom. E’ enjoys sharing the wisdom gained with its peers, for the enrichment of the community.

E’ is another of the classic  carriers of the year, or year lords. It is said that E’ years tend to be some of the more gentle and favourable years. E’  is seen as a good natured nawal. E’ days are considered to be good days on which to travel and explore, whether that be externally or internally. It is a day to find or remember your path, a day to ask for your path to be cleared of obstructions, and a day to ask for guidance and protection on your path.

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 "El Tigre" at the El Mirador site. Photo and montage by Mark Elmy
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.

3 E’ 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. 3 E’ was the year bearer for 2015. 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 3 E’ suggests a review of your home and inner path that you may have experienced during the previous 360 days of the year 7 E’.  It may be that during the year of 7 E’, certain paths have ended, and you may have chosen to engage with a new path. The day, 3 E’ is not the best day to travel on, and can represent external blockages , obstructions and bumps on the road. It is calling us to focus on the inner world, our inner journey. With the number three highlighting the home, this would seem an excellent day to retreat to your “cave”

On this first day of Wayeb, we can reflect on what we have chosen to let go of during the year 7E’.

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

New Video – Wayeb and the New Solar Cycle 8 No’j

As we go into the day 3 E’ we enter the final five days of the Mayan solar year, a period known as Wayeb. This is a period of introspection, of retreat, known for its unpredictable energies. Here I share some information about the Mayan solar year and the year bearers, as well as Wayeb.

This is a part of the “Living the Sacred Calendar” presentation I made on 13 Toj (12th February 2020) at Samsara’s Garden, San Marcos la Laguna.

2 B’atz (14th February 2020)

2 B'atzThe energy of the master artisan, the nawal B’atz, combines with the number of polarities and duality today. This can be seen as a day of weaving different energies together to create beauty.

If there is a nawal with the energy to inspire us to create beauty, it is the nawal B’atz. It brings the energy to create, and what it creates, it usually does so with great talent. It is the weaver, not just of the everyday material, but of reality itself. Today it is combined with the number 2, representing opposing principles. They may be male and female, light and dark, horizontal and vertical, fire and water, but today comes the opportunity to create something exquisite from them.

This could also be seen as creation through the combination  of the right brain and left brain working together, the artistic and the logical. This may take a little sacrifice, perhaps not all of the original inspiration fits into the structure, or the original structure has to change in order to accommodate the artistic. In whichever way it is put together, it is possible that the end result will truly be marvel.

This could also be seen as a rather romantic day. B’atz is another marriage day, the weaving together of two people, and here we see it combined with the number which also represents lovers and relationships. It is an auspicious day to begin to weave something beautiful together with another person. After all, this is also the trecena of Tz’i, the nawal of unconditional love.

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 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.

New Video – The Trecena of Tz’i (13th – 25th February 2020)

The Trecena of Tz’i is a time of renewal of faith, a time to bring new justice to our world, a time to trust our guidance and more than anything, a time to embrace the unconditional love within each one of us. This time it is particularly interesting as we have the wayeb, and new solar year in the middle of this trecena.

Recorded at “Living the Sacred Mayan Calendar” in Samsara’s Garden, San Marcos la Laguna on 13 Toj (12th February 2020)

1 Tz’i (13th February 2020)

1 Tz'iThe new trecena starts today, the next 13 day period may bring themes of faith, loyalty and justice. It may also be a period which initiates an amplified state of love and trust.

As we move into this new world, we sometimes need new guidance, and today the nawal Tz’i brings exactly this. It is a fresh guide that comes along to possibly take us in a new direction. Tz’i has our best interests at heart, and so it a good idea to trust this new guide, to have faith in where we are being taken. This may involve some unconditional trust as much as unconditional love.

The other side of Tz’i could represent the beginning of a time where loyalty may be tested. Our faith in the world may have been shaken, today we start to rebuild that faith as Tz’i encourages us to love each other unconditionally. This is likely to come about at the instigation of others, the combination with the number 1 suggesting that it needs a little encouragement to truly flourish.

This is a day to remember to show trust in others and encourage that faith to come out in them. With the help of the energy of the nawal Tz’i, we are able to guide each other.

The dog sits by the cauldron, from the Madrid Codex

Tz’i is possibly the nawal with the most colourful reputation. Some describe it as the nawal of “sex, drugs and rock and roll” and it has the possibility to live up to that label. One of the functions an Aj Q’ij (Mayan spiritual guide) performs is divination, usually using red seeds called Tz’ite. If a question is asked about a relationship and Tz’i comes up in the reading, it is seen as a sign of  infidelity. Tz’i is instinctual, and closes its ears to reason when it gets an idea, particularly when it is hormonally driven. This is the worst possible aspect of Tz’i and when it falls down, it does so spectacularly, which is why it tends to be remembered for those events.

However, what is sometimes forgotten is the other side of Tz’i, which is the side more frequently displayed. Just as Tz’i can represent infidelity, it also represents faith and loyalty, and just as it can be the trouble maker, it also represents law. It is the nawal of police, lawyers and judges. Tz’i is unwavering faith, unconditional loyalty. The totem animal of Tz’i is the dog, and through the actions of dogs we can understand both the loyalty aspect, and the instinctual. Tz’i is also the guide and protector on life’s path, ensuring that its charge travels safely. It is a day when your faith or loyalty may be tested,  where your instincts are stimulated. The positive traits of this day give rise to to some of the greatest displays of friendship, but be aware that your loyalty may be tested by temptation.

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.