There are several days within the sacred count of days that we could term auspicious, then there are a few which represent very special themes. 8 Kej is one of them, perhaps second only to 8 B’atz.
During this trecena we have seen two days representing very specific characters within the Popol Vuh, Jun Ajpu and Wucub Kame. They play very special parts within the story, Jun Ajpu being one of the hero twins and representing “the birth of the sun”, “resurrection of the divine”, and could generally be assigned a title of Lord of Light. Wukub Kame is his polar opposite, “the ultimate death”, and we could see this character as the lord of darkness. In the last week we have experienced the energies of both of these archetypes and here in 8 Kej, it is as if they come together to bring wholeness to the strength. It is essential to be connected with the light, but in order to truly serve, the leader needs to have confronted and overcome the darkness within. Where Aj may represent the civic type of leader, the “Mayor”, Kej represents the spiritual leader or priest, making these experiences all the more important.
On the day 8 Kej the names of soon to be Aj Q’ijab, Maya spiritual guides, are presented to the patrilineage altars. It is also a day when high ranking Maya priests are initiated as Chuchq’ajawib, the so called mother-fathers. This role combines the strength of the father and the compassion of the mother. The masculine and feminine principles coming together to give the wholeness required of a true leader of their community. One of the key strengths of the nawal Kej is its grounded nature. It is related to the four pillars which bring stability to the world, and draws its strength from the natural world which exists in the space between Earth and Sky.
This is a day to embrace the strengths you draw from your existence in the natural world, particularly from the male and female essences of the properties of the four directions; vitality, spirit, wisdom and healing. It is an excellent day to be in nature, a day to make ceremonies to give thanks for, and receive, the strength and vital energy from the natural world.
Additionally, this year 8 Kej falls on an archaeoastronomical cross quarter day which many would know as Bealtaine. We may be familiar with the four major stations of the sun, the equinoxes and solstices, but there are four more which are celebrated. These mark the midpoints between the solstices and equinoxes. In the Celtic calendar, they are celebrated as the beginning of each season; Imbolc as the beginning of spring, Bealtaine as the beginning of summer, Lughnasagh as the beginning of autumn, and Samhain as the beginning of winter. While convention might assign these days to 1st February, 1st May, 1st August and 1st November, aligning them with the Gregorian calendar, the actual days are really dependent on where the sun is in our sky. This page (which is now unfortunately an archive) gives the exact date and time of each of the major stations. It has often been my thought, that if we wish to tap into the true energy of something, we need to be there at the correct time and date.
Bealtaine translates (more or less) as bright fire. It is a time of great growth, when we see the natural world in her abundant radiance. The energy stored by the plant kingdom is fresh and vital, the flowers adorn the trees, the newborn birds and animals are everywhere and life is in full swing. It is a time of handfastings, of marriages, and often marked by fire ceremony in the Celtic lands. The exact point of Bealtaine is at 18.13 UTC on May 5th.
Lunar EclipseAs if this powerful day of the spiritual path was not enough for the trecena of Ajpu, many places in the world will also experience a lunar eclipse. The maximum point of eclipse will occur at 17.22 UTC. Eclipses were very significant to the Maya, the picture below is from the eclipse tables of the Dresden codex, where calculations show when eclipses (both lunar and solar) will take place. In general, most references to eclipses, either lunar or solar, tend to be rather negative in nature. They are seen as a war in the heavens. During solar eclipses, the moon is so angry with the sun that she bites him. During lunar eclipses, it is often either an ant or a jaguar who is said to have bitten the moon. While some people may have a fear around the lunar eclipse, others may watch the eclipse in a bowl of water. There is an idea to make agreat deal of noise (usually by banging on pots and pans) to drive away the animals attacking teh moon, and protect teh feminine essence.
We also see that the goddess Ix K’ik has her name translated as both Blood Woman and Blood Moon. It would be rather churlish to assume that there is no connection between her and lunar eclipses. She is the mother of the hero twins, and as such perhaps an even more fitting guardian over the Junajpu trecena. The hero has been conceived and on this day, is given the sacred path by the mother. What better time than ever to contemplate the sacred journey to your inner hero?
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 8 is considered to be a number of wholeness. It can be seen as birth (1) and death (7) combined to represent the whole cycle of the soul. It can also be seen as the point where the four first men who raised the sky from the sea were joined by their wives and the world become whole. It is the most common day for ceremonies to be made, it is still in the balanced range of numbers and is an even number, which is also considered fortunate. As this wholeness represents every aspect of the energy of the day with which it is coupled, it is the wholeness of the nawal that is addressed in ceremony.