Tag Archives: Kej

12 E’ 0 Wayeb – The First Day of Wayeb

12 E' 0 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. 12 E’ was the year bearer for 2011/2012. If we imagine reality as a ship and the year bearer as the captain, it is as if the captain has died and been replaced by the ghost of the previous captain.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 Wayeb and the overall energy of the day 12 E’ can result in a day when it is good to sit in silence and review all that your journey has brought you in the past year. What have you learnt, what have you discovered? What would you do again,  and what would you avoid if you could? How can you bring the lessons together into your personal story to take forward into the new solar 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
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

The Chol Q’ij and the Macewal Q’ij

As the Mayan new solar year approaches I have been thinking about the relationship between the Chol Q’ij, the 260 day Mayan sacred calendar, and the Macewal Q’ij, the 365 day Mayan solar calendar, or ordinary days. In the Macewal Q’ij, “new year” will occur on February 21st in 2016, and because of the lack of an intercalary day, February 20th from 2017 to 2020. The Macewal Q’ij consists of 18 months of 20 days, which are then followed by a period of 5 days known as Wayeb.

Each new solar year, a new year bearer (also known as Mam, grandfather, cargador or Year Lord) takes his seat. There are four year bearers in use here in Guatemala, these are Kej, E’, N’oj and Iq’. They cycle much as the days cycle; 2012 was 13 N’oj, 2013 was 1 Iq’, 2014 was 2 Kej, 2015 was 3 E’ and 2016 will be 4 N’oj. In 2017 the solar year will begin on the day 5 Iq’, so we see the same sequence of year bearers with the number increasing by 1 each time. These are the year bearers currently used by the K’iche’ people of Guatemala. Archaeologists give a slightly different count as they start their count, the Ha’ab, 40 days later. The year bearers are the same, but the number is increased by 1, making 2016 the year 5 N’oj. There is also another count which starts 13 days later, due to an extra 13 days being added in February of 2013, which changed the year bearers. This was known as the “Gran Wayeb” and while this has many logical reasons and has been adopted in some areas, I do not know many indigenous day keepers who have adopted it yet.

The Chol Q’ij consists of 260 days and is commonly seen as 20 periods of 13 days, which are sometimes referred to as trecenas. Each trecena has a different attribute depending on the days involved and their strengths. However, there is another way of counting the Chol Q’ij which co-ordinates it’s movements with that of the Macewal Q’ij; that is by counting 20 day periods. Each month of the solar year begins with a seating day, which is usually given a value of 0, and ends on a day numbered 19. Therefore, the first day of the solar year, consists of two components, and in 2016 will be 4 N’oj 0 Nab’e Mam. After 20 day have elapsed, the solar month will change and the month of Rukub Mam will start on the next N’oj day, the date 12 N’oj 0 Rukub Mam. I have compiled the dates into the table below to show the entire year.

What this table shows is that the bearer of the year presides over each of the Macewal Q’ij months, moving through each of his variations. He moves through the solar year twice, once thirteen times, then the second time five times (marked with a *), then through the Wayeb. The ** on the Wayeb marks that the year bearer only takes his seat for five days, and that it is the year bearer which governed for the previous appearance of this year bearer. For example, 13 N’oj was the year bearer of the year 2012, and 1 Iq’ was the year bearer on 2013. This seems hardly a coincidence and probably relates to the “Ghost” of the previous Mam taking responsibility after the current year bearer has “died”. The Wayeb is known as a time when public ceremony should be 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.

Macewal Q'ij 2

When these cycles are compared with the life cycle of the maize, possible clarity occurs. The life cycle of the maize, the sustenance and substance of the people is 260 days. If Maize was planted on 21st February, it would be harvested on 7th November, which incidentally also around when rainy season usually ends. The maize grows and ripens, then the plant dies and is doubled over so that it dries out. In this way we see the 260 days as a cycle of life. From the 7th November through to 16th February there is no rain, so new life, the new sprouting of the maize, cannot occur. This is the second period of the year bearer, the 100 days, which could be seen as a journey through the otherworld, the world of the dead. We then have the 5 days of mourning, before the new year bearer takes his seat and the cycle of life begins again.

7 Kej – 11th February 2016

7 KejToday is the day that the majestic stag stands on top of the mountain, or at least the summit of the pyramid of numbers. It is a day when you might be able to see the power of nature all around you, and draw your strength from this view. You might find that you have a great deal of energy, and you are not sure quite which direction to put it into. One of the lessons of days carrying the number seven is to make decisions. Imagine if you can see all the good ideas at once. It doesn’t matter which one you pick to follow, they are all beneficial. The important thing is that you make your choice, you decide to engage with that idea.

Allow the awesome power of nature to inspire you today, allow it to bring you ideas. Put the energy associated with this majestic nawal into one or more of those ideas and see where they might take you. Just remember that if you choose to engage with that energy, be gentle on those around you. Don’t allow your enthusiasm for your ideas to trample others in order to make your ideas happen. Instead use the energy you receive to inspire them, and step into the true nature of Kej, the benevolent, energetic leader.


Kej is possibly the strongest of the nawales, it is powerful, but in a different way to Kan. Kej is energetic, lively and determined. It is the nawal of nature, of the wilderness and it is this power that it draws on. The animal totem of Kej is the deer, but if you have fragile, new-born Bambi in mind, think again. This is the majestic stag, standing on the mountain surveying his domain. Whilst most nawales are not necessarily engendered, Kej is most definitely masculine. Both men and women that carry Kej as their nawal have great strength, although the men tend to hide their strength more. Kej women are particularly driven, resourceful and brave, sometimes to the point of being rather dominant. All radiate an aura of nobility, people tend to look to them to lead.

Kej is the nawal of the Mayan “religion”, a day of spiritual leaders, of shaman and of priests. It is these leaders who understand how to read the messages from the natural world, who help to keep our existence in balance with nature. It is a day to connect with the wilderness and draw the power of the natural world into you, to harmonise and replenish.

The number seven is the mid-point of the range of numbers. It is known as a number of death and endings, which would seem strange as it is only half way through. It is another representation of the change of state of the soul, showing half of the journey (1-6) in the mortal world and half (8-13) in the otherworld. If we imagine the numbers 1 through 13 as a pyramid, the number seven would be at the top. Seven is the number of balance, it gives the ability to weigh up situations and see all points of view. While this may be very noble, it may lead to indecision.

13 Kej – 22nd January 2016

13 KejKej is possibly the strongest of the nawales, it is powerful, but in a different way to Kan. Kej is energetic, lively and determined. It is the nawal of nature, of the wilderness and it is this power that it draws on. The animal totem of Kej is the deer, but if you have fragile, new-born Bambi in mind, think again. This is the majestic stag, standing on the mountain surveying his domain. Whilst most nawales are not necessarily engendered, Kej is most definitely masculine. Both men and women that carry Kej as their nawal have great strength, although the men tend to hide their strength more. Kej women are particularly driven, resourceful and brave, sometimes to the point of being rather dominant. All radiate an aura of nobility, people tend to look to them to lead.

Kej is the nawal of the Mayan “religion”, a day of spiritual leaders, of shaman and of priests. It is these leaders who understand how to read the messages from the natural world, who help to keep our existence in balance with nature. It is a day to connect with the wilderness and draw the power of the natural world into you, to harmonise and replenish.

The number 13 is the final number. It represents the spirit world. It is said that on Halloween, the veil between the worlds is the thinnest. However within the sacred calendar, this thinning happens every 13 days. This connection with the spirit world creates a powerful day, where both the positive and negative aspects of the nawal it is attached to come through strongly. It is a very good day for activities such as divinations, however, ceremonies on 13 days are generally only carried out by the most experienced Aj Q’ij who understand how to work with that strength of energy.

Again we see a day with exceptionally strong energy in the day 13 Kej. Kej can have the tendency to ride roughshod over anything or anyone that stands in its way, and today it has the power of the spirit world behind it. It can be a great day for achieving your goals, although remember to exercise temperance when dealing with those who you may perceive as obstructing your path. A little force goes a long way today.

That said the other aspect of this day can be truly enlightening. The connection of Kej to the wilderness and the strength of spirit in 13 could give rise to an epiphany should you choose to connect with nature today. It is a day to find enlightenment during a walk in the woods, to energise yourself in the life force of the backcountry.

Semuc Champey by Mark Elmy
Semuc Champey by Mark Elmy

 

6 Kej – 2nd January 2016

6 KejKej is possibly the strongest of the nawales, it is powerful, but in a different way to Kan. Kej is energetic, lively and determined. It is the nawal of nature, of the wilderness and it is this power that it draws on. The animal totem of Kej is the deer, but if you have fragile, new-born Bambi in mind, think again. This is the majestic stag, standing on the mountain surveying his domain. Whilst most nawales are not necessarily engendered, Kej is most definitely masculine. Both men and women that carry Kej as their nawal have great strength, although the men tend to hide their strength more. Kej women are particularly driven, resourceful and brave, sometimes to the point of being rather dominant. All radiate an aura of nobility, people tend to look to them to lead.

Kej is the nawal of the Mayan “religion”, a day of spiritual leaders, of shaman and of priests. It is these leaders who understand how to read the messages from the natural world, who help to keep our existence in balance with nature. It is a day to connect with the wilderness and draw the power of the natural world into you, to harmonise and replenish.

The number six is said to be the number of ultimate stability. It is the first of the three middle numbers of the cycle, the balance point neither too strong nor too weak. It is a day frequently used for ceremony thanks to it’s conducive energy. It represents the four directions with the Heart of the Sky and the Heart of the Earth. It also represents family, relating to the six qualities that nourish and hold families together – health, understanding, property, employment, friendship and actions.

The day 6 Kej can be a day to draw on the power of the natural world to bring stability to your life and vitality to your family. As such it could be a great day to take a walk in the woods with your loved ones, you should all feel a benefit. The strength of Kej is tempered by the number 6, giving just enough determination and authority to be truly useful without becoming stubborn or overbearing.

12 Kej – 13th December 2015

12 KejKej is possibly the strongest of the nawales, it is powerful, but in a different way to Kan. Kej is energetic, lively and determined. It is the nawal of nature, of the wilderness and it is this power that it draws on. The animal totem of Kej is the deer, but if you have fragile, new-born Bambi in mind, think again. This is the majestic stag, standing on the mountain surveying his domain. Whilst most nawales are not necessarily engendered, Kej is most definitely masculine. Both men and women that carry Kej as their nawal have great strength, although the men tend to hide their strength more. Kej women are particularly driven, resourceful and brave, sometimes to the point of being rather dominant. All radiate an aura of nobility, people tend to look to them to lead.

Kej is the nawal of the Mayan “religion”, a day of spiritual leaders, of shaman and of priests. It is these leaders who understand how to read the messages from the natural world, who help to keep our existence in balance with nature. It is a day to connect with the wilderness and draw the power of the natural world into you, to harmonise and replenish.

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.

The day 12 Kej has a very strong energy, both with regards to the nawal and the number. Allow this energy to bring you determination, but be aware of the point where determination becomes stubbornness.  This is a day on which you can draw on your life experience in order to enhance your leadership or resolve issues. It is also a day when you may find that a walk in the wilderness, or other connection with nature, acts as a very positive recharge for your energy. Connecting with nature may also help you to balance the strength of this day and assist with decision making, possibly giving some perspective to the more determined ideas.

5 Kej – 23rd November 2015

5 KejKej is possibly the strongest of the nawales, it is powerful, but in a different way to Kan. Kej is energetic, lively and determined. It is the nawal of nature, of the wilderness and it is this power that it draws on. The animal totem of Kej is the deer, but if you have fragile, new-born Bambi in mind, think again. This is the majestic stag, standing on the mountain surveying his domain. Whilst most nawales are not necessarily engendered, Kej is most definitely masculine. Both men and women that carry Kej as their nawal have great strength, although the men tend to hide their strength more. Kej women are particularly driven, resourceful and brave, sometimes to the point of being rather dominant. All radiate an aura of nobility, people tend to look to them to lead.

Kej is the nawal of the Mayan “religion”, a day of spiritual leaders, of shamen and of priests. It is these leaders who understand how to read the messages from the natural world, who help to keep our existence in balance with nature. It is a day to connect with the wilderness and draw the power of the natural world into you, to harmonise and replenish.

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 Kej is a great day to get hard work done. You have the strength and determination of Kej attached to that which you work for. However, make sure that you don’t trample people in your path, and remember to make time to recharge with a connection to some wilderness.