The eighth day of the trecena is traditionally the day most celebrated through ceremony and today we see it in conjunction with the nawal of the midwife and the birth process. It is a day to honour the female healers in life.
When we look at the calendar through the perspective of the Mayan cross, we see cycles of conception and birth. What we call the past sign is seen as the day of conception, 8 days (or rather 268 days) before the birth day. When we apply this to the cycles of the calendar, we can see that the eighth day of the trecena was conceived on the thirteenth day of the trecena before. We could consider this to represent a conception from the spirit world, or a conception of the ancestors. Today, we see the number 8 connected with Kawok, and so the conception of this day falls on 13 B’atz. Today we are experiencing a day of birth which was woven by the ancestors, which lead to some rather auspicious properties.
Kawok days are sometimes given a difficult reputation from their storm aspect. We can think of this as very much like the midwife and the birth process, it is not the midwife who is experiencing the turmoil, but she is overseeing and assisting with it. Kawok is very much like this, a helpful energy that clears the way for the new birth. However, once in a while more action if called for and Kawok employs its more forceful side to wash away obstacles to new birth. This can involve a degree of destruction in order to clear the way for the advancement.
8 Kawok embraces both of these aspects. It gives a balanced energy which can help to bring the new into the world using a combination of the two. Today is the day to ask for the compassion and understanding of Kawok to combine with the sufficient force required to birth our new projects into being. It is the day to make thanksgiving ceremonies for the work of the midwives and female healers, for the safe arrival of the newborn children and the protection of their mothers during birth. As we are also reminded here on a daily basis, to ask for sufficient rain to nourish the crops, yet not too much to wash them away.
Nawal Kawok is in some ways a counterpart to the nawal Tijax. Where Tijax has masculine aspects of healing, Kawok has the feminine aspect. Kawok is sometimes referred to as rain or storm. It is this rain that washes away that which has been cut out by Tijax.
While most healing roles within the Maya world do not seem to be gender specific, one is. Both women and men may be healers, prayer makers, herbalists and diviners, only women will become midwives. Kawok is the energy of the midwife. Kawok helps to clear the obstructions from the birth process, in some ways it actually represents the birth process. Kawok brings the new into the world. In the Mayan cross, Kawok, the birth process finishes the sequence which starts with Aq’ab’al (conception) and moves through B’atz (gestation.) In the sequence of the calendar, Kawok precedes Ajpu. Ajpu represents the resurrection of the maize lord, also the creation of the world. Kawok creates the conditions for that to happen, the rain which brings forth the sprouting of the maize.
In its storm aspect, Kawok can be destructive, although it is a destruction which allows a new creation to happen. Kawok energy can give rise to some tempestuous situations, it can be a day which can give people a rough ride, although this may be for the eventual good. It is a day to ask for the gentle rain to bless your crops, and for the harsh rain to stop. It is a day which washes away the old and outworn in life, so that the new growth, life and divinity may emerge.
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.