5 Ix (3rd November 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”.

4 Aj (2nd November 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 non-physical 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.