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Mayan Astrology Explained: The Tzolkin Calendar


English: Mayan calendar created by a modern cr...

If you’re looking for an Art Nouveau Tarot reading, or Western Zodiac horoscope, then author and Druidic practitioner Erik Oakenshield is the man for the job. A true modern renaissance man, Erik has more than a decade of experience under his belt. He can also be seen writing for Oranum, a worthy site for horoscope readings.

The astrological practice that many of us are familiar with is that of the Western convention. What many of us are unfamiliar with, however, is Mayan astrology. While “conventional” astrology has its roots dug heavily into Greek culture, Mayans shared their own set of standards with the rest of the Mesoamerican natives. These practices were adhered to for centuries until the people and culture both were all but decimated by Spanish invaders of Central and South America. Fortunately, the tradition of Mayan astrology has survived in small communities, and even though it is not well-advertised, its secrets are waiting to be unlocked.

Time vs. Space

Greek astrological concepts oftentimes have to do with space. The year itself refers to the earth’s specific position on a plane, circling the sun. Your zodiac sign is determined by what constellation passes through the zenith in the night sky on the eve of your birth. Mayan astrology, on the other hand, is based almost solely on time. That’s the most important thing to realize here, as this is what makes it very hard to calculate the Mayan calendar in correlation with the Gregorian. They still used the one standard rotation of the earth to calculate day and night (sun-up to sun-down to sun-up again), but after that base unit, almost all semblance is lost.

The Sun-Signs

Tzolkin - Maya calendar

The Mayans kept their own systems of time, starting from a day 0 (simply a starting point for their calendars, close to 3100 B.C.), with different calendars repeating in a base-20 system. The most common is the Tzolkin Calendar which is made up of 13 repetitions of 20 different days. To make it more comprehensive, imagine that instead of having a 7-day week, we had a 20-day week, and (just like in the 7 day week) each individual day had its name. The 20-day week would go through 13 cycles before resetting, resulting in a 260-day year with a unique astrological significance assigned to each of the 260 days.

The day-signs or sun-signs are the significance given to each day in a 20-day cycle. They are each linked to one of the cardinal directions, which have significance of their own in Mesoamerican astrology (East implies initiative, North represents the mind, West is relationships/encounters, and South signifies feelings/emotion). Here are the sun-signs and their corresponding characteristics:

Imix: Crocodile/Alligator (East) – Creator and nurturer

Ik: Wind (North) – Idealist, adaptable communicator

Akbal: Night/Hearth/House (West) – Serene, enduring

Kan: Seed/Lizard/Net (South) – Influential force, fertile

Chicchan: Serpent (East) – Mysterious, i instinctively wise

Cimi: Transformer/Transformation/Death (North) – Full of faith, disciplined

Manik: Deer (West) – Active, familial healer

Lamat: Rabbit/Star (South) – Constantly moving and thinking, funny and intelligent

Muluc: Offering/Water (East) – Emotional, imaginative

Oc: Dog (North) – Loyal friend, team-player

Chuen: Monkey (West) – Artistic, clever, attention-receiver

Eb: Grass/Road/Human (South) – Easy going, humble, hard worker

Ben: Reed/Cane/Staff (East) – Courageous, protector

Ix: Jaguar (North) – Secretive, intelligent

Men: Eagle (West) – Innovative, critical, ambitious

Cib: Wisdom/Owl/Vulture (South) – Wise, serious, fearless

Caban: Earth/Earthquake (East) – Rational, set convictions

Etznab: Flint/Mirror/Knife (North) – practical, coordinated, craft worker

Cauac: Storm/Rainstorm (West) – Vigor, youth, helpful healer

Ahau: Light/Flower/Lord (South) – Loving, romantic, artistic

Sun Pillar

Sun Pillar (Photo credit: Axiraa (busy))

Each one of the 13 cycles also has its own characteristic that mixes in with the sun-sign and creates one of 260 unique astrological profiles. Finding your sign under the Tzolkin Calendar can be confusing, though there are some websites that will calculate cycles from day 0 all the way up to your birthday. This system of astrology is not to be confused with the one that measures the astral zodiac. The latter system covers a 365 day period and more can be found out about it here.

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About Richard Nelson

Freelance science writing all day and night. I'm an expert at writing, marketing, and publishing. Providing writing services nearly everyday, SEO rich articles about science and tech are my specialties. I also love to make money so I'm for hire as an independent communications expert and business consultant with specializations in project management, writing, science, and engineering. With a vast network of professionals in various fields backed by two degrees, 180 credits hours, 6 graduate courses and several awards and recommendations along the way, who could go wrong?

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