Tag Archives: Leadership

2 Aj (13th March 2019)

2 AjToday the nawal Aj brings harmony to our home, our relationship or our community. However, the number 2 highlights duality suggesting we may need to make a choice about something which challenges this.

The nawal Aj represents the cornstalk which joins the Heart of the Sky to the Heart of the Earth. It is this connection which helps Aj to sustain the home and community through its masculine aspect of authority and feminine aspect of compassion. Today it is combined with the number 2, enhancing this ability to draw on both sides of the polarity and strengthening this connection. It connects the mother with the father to bring harmony into the home.

Aj is also known for its fairness. Traditional leaders of the community are valued for their ability to make wise decisions. Before politics, village elders would be sought after to sort out disputes, their experience, authority and compassion guiding them. In this they would have to make a choice, a judgement between two sides. This is also something we can see in the energy of today. This is a good day for decision making as both aspects of a situation may be highlighted. The fairness and honesty of Aj may help you to make a decision which will help to bring harmony into your life, and the life of those around you. With the nawal Aj representing physical (rather than spiritual) leadership, this may be a good day to assess the pros and cons of leaders. Is there a way to bring harmony by embracing both sides or points of view? The wise leader would find it and use it to strengthen the community as a whole.

The Temple of the Foliated Cross. This small and unassuming temple houses one of the most remarkable and beautiful friezes, the Foliated Cross, the featured image of this article. Together with those of the Temple of the Sun and the Temple of the Cross, this forms an architectural version of a codex, showing both mythic and historical accounts of the ruling dynasty. The three temples together form the cross group, the sacred heart of the beautiful site of 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 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.

9 Kej (7th March 2019)

9 KejThe combination of the the number of the divine feminine with Kej, the nawal of spiritual leadership, should give rise to an excellent day for the empowerment of women in particular.

There are some combinations where the properties of the nawal and the number reinforce each other, such as 4 Kej, 5 Toj or 12 K’at, where the meanings of the nawales and numbers are very much the same. The day 9 Kej is extremely interesting for the reason of the nawal and number carrying the energy of opposites. Kej can be seen as being one of the most masculine of the nawales, representing strength, vitality and determination, which are “traditionally” seen as masculine traits. Today this is combined with the number 9, the most feminine of numbers, creating a situation whereby those “masculine” traits may be especially prevalent in women. It can result in a perfect balance of masculine and feminine energies.

Today there is a possibly more familiar archetype which so accurately fits the energy of the day, it may give a further understanding of the feel of the energy, that of the Greek goddess Artemis. She is the strong, empowered, independent woman, the huntress deeply connected with the forest and, of course, divinely connected. Whilst she could be seen in general as the archetype aptly describing the energy of the number 9, today more than any other truly fits the bill, with the connection to the wilderness of Kej. This can also be seen as the day of the High Priestess, the female spiritual leader. With that in mind, it would be an excellent day to seek spiritual counsel from women in your life.

Today is a day to allow women to take the lead as this should be one of the most empowered days of the calendar for them. Be aware that the strength of Kej does sometimes create rather domineering situations, so you may not have much choice in the matter! This could potentially create some conflict within groups of women.

If you are woman looking for a empowerment, you might find this in the wilderness today. Take a walk in the forest and allow the inspiration of the natural world to remind you of your true strength and divinity. From the masculine side, this is also an empowering day where nature reminds you of the strength which can come through compassion. For everyone involved the energy of today brings a beautiful balance between the masculine and feminine energies, all can benefit from the union of the polarities.

Xbalamkiej, patron of the day Kej one of the hero twins from the Popol Vuh. From the Dresden Codex
Xbalamkiej, patron of the day Kej one of the hero twins from the Popol Vuh. From the Dresden Codex

 

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 nine is very special indeed. It is the number of lunations in the human gestation period and in the sacred calendar. The sacred calendar is known as a calendar of life, and it is women that give life. As such the number nine is seen as the number of life and the number of the divine feminine. It gives all that it is attached to a strong feminine presence and is a day on which women may wish to give thanks for their gifts.

8 Aj (21st February 2019)

8 AjA celebration of gratitude for our home and family would be the theme of a ceremony made for today. A solid foundation gives us the strength to stand tall and a harmonious home and loving family give this foundation.

The energy of the nawal Aj is about doing the right thing. It is fair and just, and this is why is represents the true leader. The true leader might not even be recognised at first. They do not need to prove their authority to anyone, but they are the one that is sought, when problems arise, for their wise counsel. The true leader has compassion and love perfectly balanced with authority and strength. They carry a blend of what we would call yin (compassion) and yang (strength) energies which make them complete. Today we are able to draw on both the masculine and feminine aspects of the qualities of the four directions – vitality, wisdom, spirit and healing – creating a balance of energy and bringing it into our homes and communities. This is all in addition to the connection that Aj has to the Heart of the Earth and Heart of the Sky. Allow the wise counsel of the wholeness of the nawal Aj to arbitrate in disputes and seek resolution. This in turn will bring strength and harmony to all who are involved.

A true leader also has experience, and here we see the 8 incorporating the 1 and the 7, the birth and the death, the highs and the lows of life. We draw our wisdom and strength from both aspects, so that we can sustain others through their dark times. It is also a day on which we may ask Aj to bring this strength to us should we be in need of it at the moment.

As we continue to travel through the Kame trecena, this day highlights the physical requirements for a true spiritual transformation. The ability to work with the otherworld through meditation and ceremony is of course important, but transformation cannot take place if this is not grounded into the physical. The experiences in this world give us the backbone to undergo true transformation. Whilst the earlier days of the trecena may have been rather challenging, the latter days bring the reward for passing the challenges.

This is a day to enjoy with your family and your home. We sustain them and they sustain us. It is a day to bring harmony into your home, using your experiences from your past, but also your connection to the Heart of the Sky and Heart of the Earth, the wholeness of existence.

This 8 Aj ceremony was held on 24th April 2011 to introduce ourselves to the spirits of the land here before we started to build. It was a way to start with the energetic level, the unseen world before moving in to the physical.
This 8 Aj ceremony was held on 24th April 2011 to introduce ourselves to the spirits of the land here before we started to build. It was a way to start with the energetic level, the unseen world, before moving in to the physical. Picture credit: Unknown
The very first fire ceremony we made on our land here, 8 Aj in the year 12 E' (24th April 2011). Picture credit
The very first fire ceremony we made on our land here, 8 Aj in the year 12 E’ (24th April 2011). This is the same circle that we use for ceremony to this day. Picture credit: Unknown

 

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 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.

2 Kej (15th February 2019)

2 KejThe energy of the nawal Kej is known for its strength and sometimes its stubbornness. However, its pairing with the number 2 may bring more gentleness to this day.

It is said that one of the qualities of the number 2 is to double the strength of whatever it comes into contact with. It enhances both aspects of the nawal. This may give the energy of Kej a softer edge than we might normally expect of a Kej day, as the energy of nawal Kej can be domineering and certainly determined. It is the nawal known to stand up first against what it perceives as injustice, and here we see it combined with the number which relates to self-sacrifice and relationships.

We could expect that today this energy may give rise to situations where we give our strength to causes dear to our hearts. It is a good day to bring new, fresh and vital energy into relationships through a connection with nature, allowing the raw beauty of the wilderness to inspire and revitalise. It is also a great day to put your energy into projects to protect the wilderness.

The nawal Kej is the representative of leadership, especially where it takes on a spiritual aspect. Perhaps it is an aspiration that may be held by some, to be a leader within the community. There is always a price to pay when in a position of leadership, and today this is exemplified through the energy of the number 2. It reminds us that true leadership begins with self sacrifice, the willingness to give freely of our time and energy on behalf of our communities. Today, this sacrifice may lead to strength and vitality coming to the people we care about.

Xbalamkiej, patron of the day Kej one of the hero twins from the Popol Vuh. From the Dresden Codex
Xbalamkiej, patron of the day Kej one of the hero twins from the Popol Vuh. From the Dresden Codex

As we move through the solar year, today we begin a new month, that of Nabey Pach. This is translated as the first season of the hatching of hens. We can see the energy of the year building up to the crescendo, the strength of the Mam 6 Kej is building towards its peak around the solstice. 


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 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.

1 Aj (1st February 2019)

1 AjToday is the beginning of a new cycle. It is a new trecena, a new 13 day period, beginning with the highly fortunate and noble nawal Aj. It can be seen as a time to bring harmony to home and community through wise counsel.

After the potentially dizzying roller-coaster ride of the Ajpu trecena, we are entering into a time of grounded organisation. Starting today is a period of putting what we have learnt from the last trecena into practice on the physical level. The conquering of the fears on 7 Kame and initiation into leadership on 8 Kej have led us to this day.

It is the day when we have a potential to engage with our new found bravery, our renewed strength and courage, and the wisdom that facing these challenges has brought us. We are able to begin to lead by example, to recount our path to harmony on order to inspire others. However, it might take a few words of encouragement from those around us to help us to realise the abilities we now have.

It is time to begin to stand up and be counted, to allow your wisdom and experience to be heard and put to use. Stand tall, with a straight spine, and draw on the energies of the Heart of the Sky and the Heart of the Earth, to bring peace and prosperity to your home and the wider community. This day, 1 Aj,  is the beginning of the journey to leadership within your community, not through desire for elevation of status, but through the desire for a more cohesive world for all.

The Temple of the Foliated Cross. This small and unassuming temple houses one of the most remarkable and beautiful friezes, the Foliated Cross, the featured image of this article. Together with those of the Temple of the Sun and the Temple of the Cross, this forms an architectural version of a codex, showing both mythic and historical accounts of the ruling dynasty. The three temples together form the cross group, the sacred heart of the beautiful site of 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 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.

7 Aj (12th January 2019)

7 AjThe upstanding nature of the nawal Aj and the balance of the number 7, should create a good day to tackle issues in your home or community through firm and decisive leadership.

The nawal Aj has the energy of benevolent  authority, which seeks to provide guidance and direction, or leadership, in order to ensure harmony within the home and community. Aj relates to the cane, or baston, of authority carried by the elders within the village. It is their job to guide the community in the correct direction through their wise counsel, although sometimes it is possible that they will need to exert their authority and use the stick, rather than the carrot, to achieve this. When respect is paid to Aj, and its guidance is adhered to, no further action is necessary.

The energy of the number 7 gives the ability to see all points of view, and Aj gives the gentle, but firm, guidance. It is a day to calmly seek the resolution of disputes, particularly within the home, by seeing all sides of the debate. The point to this is to bring peace and prosperity back to the community or home, the ultimate goal of Aj. If there is any conflict around you or in your life, today is a good day to seek mediation through an authority in order to reach a final resolution.

The Temple of the Foliated Cross. This small and unassuming temple houses one of the most remarkable and beautiful friezes, the Foliated Cross, the featured image of this article. Together with those of the Temple of the Sun and the Temple of the Cross, this forms an architectural version of a codex, showing both mythic and historical accounts of the ruling dynasty. The three temples together form the cross group, the sacred heart of the beautiful site of 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 Maya 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.

Number Sequence.jpg
The sequence of numbers as they appear with each appearance of a nawal. Here we see that the sequence begins with 1 and ends with 7, giving 7 as a number of finality.

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.

The numbers of the days set out as a pyramid.
The numbers of the days as they appear through the trecena. Here they can also be set out as a pyramid, reaching the peak is also the end of a journey.

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.

1 Kej (6th January 2019)

1 KejThis day brings a new beginning, a new thirteen day cycle, one which is empowered through nature, one full of vitality. It is a time to be be guided and inspired by the power of the wilderness.

With the potential represented by the number 1 and the power of the natural world represented by Kej, this should prove to be a very interesting day. Nature does not have polarities, it just is. Our judgement creates these polarities. We may judge nature as harsh and unforgiving, or inspiring and beautiful. Much will depend on our experience and the depth of our connection with nature. The wilderness can tell us many things, but we have to connect with it to understand them. Here we have the potential to draw strength from the natural world should we choose to. If you have the opportunity, take a walk in the wild woods, embrace the elements and feel the power of nature. Always remember this is a two way street. Just as the wilderness can empower you, it needs your love and protection too. 1 Kej may be an excellent day to start a conservation or protection program for your local environment. Look after her and she will look after you.

Whilst Kej is known for its strength and vitality, the 1 suggests that we need to nurture this. It is a day where encouragement from others can bring great strength and determination. This applies to your actions too, it is a great day to share a few words to empower others.


Within the Macewal Q’ij, today again marks the beginning of a new month as we travel through the solar year. Today is the first day of Q’ib Ixik translated as the season of smoke, of burning brushwood. Many people here in highland Guatemala burn the remains of the old corn plants and weeds on their milpa (corn field) before planting the new crop. The hills are starting to show this smoke appearing now as preparation for the new growth starts. Whilst the Gregorian year may have turned already, we still have 45 days left of the year 6 Kej. The year bearer is getting towards the end of his period of stewardship, his energy is nearly worn out. The remains are burned and turned into the soil enriching it with the ashes of experience for the next crop.

Xbalamkiej, patron of the day Kej, one of the hero twins from the Popol Vuh. From the Dresden Codex
Xbalamkiej, patron of the day Kej, one of the hero twins from the Popol Vuh. From the Dresden Codex

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 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.

6 Aj (3rd December 2018)

6 AjToday, the stability of the number 6 combines with the benevolent energy of the nawal Aj. This is a day to create harmony and stability in our homes, families and communities.

At the top of the sacred hill Paclom, in the centre of Momostenango, is a cross. Unlike many of the crosses you might see here, it has two cross pieces. I was told that reason for the  second bar was that it creates a two dimensional representation of the four directions. As such this cross represents the number 6, which is the other name for Paclom, the six place. For me this especially represents the power of the number six. It has the horizontal Earthly stability of the four cardinal points, yet is also vertically connected with the Heart of the Sky and the Heart of the Earth. Today on the day 6 Aj, we see that stability amplified. It is as if the vertical post, or spinal column, that would normally be found with any six day, is energised by the connection of Aj between the Sky and the Earth, the divine masculine and divine feminine essences.

So, what is the point of this energisation? To bring this stability and blessing from the Celestial and Earthly realms into our world, our community and our homes. This is a day on which to ask for, and give thanks for, stability in our homes and communities. It is a particular day on which we can call upon the “greater powers” to energise us, to give us strength, so that we may sustain those around us. If there was a day for a global meditation to bring peace and stability to the world, 6 Aj would make a prime candidate.

May the Heart of the Sky be in My Heart

May My Heart be in the Heart of the Earth

May the Heart of the Earth be in My Heart

May My Heart be in the Heath of the Sky

Paclom Cross by Mark Elmy
The double armed cross at the top of Paclom. 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 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 its 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.

13 Kej (27th November 2018)

13 KejThe combination of the nawal Kej representing strength with the number 13 can bring about an extremely powerful day. This is a day of strengthening from the spirit of the natural world.

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 natural world, as the otherworld provides a bridge through the wilderness.

Xbalamkiej, patron of the day Kej one of the hero twins from the Popol Vuh. From the Dresden Codex
Xbalamkiej, patron of the day Kej one of the hero twins from the Popol Vuh. From the Dresden Codex

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 13 is the final number on the pyramid. 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 divination, 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.

12 Aj (13th November 2018)

12 AjThe energy of the nawal Aj is associated with the home and leadership within the community. Today it associates with the energy of the number 12, bringing your life experience to support those around you.

The nawal Aj brings with it a solid and dependable energy, it is helpful and supportive. As the nawal of the spinal column, it can be seen as the one which holds everything together, keeping everything in its rightful place. It holds the person straight and channels the energy of communication from above and below. We also use the the word backbone to represent honour, integrity and courage to do the right thing, all of which can be summed up in the energy of Aj.

The day 12 Aj can be seen as a day on which you draw on all of your life experience in order to nourish your community, your family and your home. Your past experiences can bring you strength and courage, and help you to stand up for what is right should you need to. They also provide examples that you can pass on to others within your community to help them to grow. This is a day where your life experience clearly shows you how to do the right thing, and how to support those around you, bringing harmony into both home and community.

The Temple of the Foliated Cross. This small and unassuming temple houses one of the most remarkable and beautiful friezes, the Foliated Cross, the featured image of this article. Together with those of the Temple of the Sun and the Temple of the Cross, this forms an architectural version of a codex, showing both mythic and historical accounts of the ruling dynasty. The three temples together form the cross group, the sacred heart of the beautiful site of 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 it’s roots in the Earth, and it’s 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 it’s people, that keeps everything in it’s 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 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.