Mayan Tradition

Mesoamerican belief systems such as those of the Mayans began to form in Central America approximately 4000 years ago, and continue to shape the spiritual practices of millions of people. The key foundational text containing Mayan philosophy and mythology is called the Popul Vuh, or "The Book of the People".

The Mayans became one of the most scientifically and mathematically advanced cultures of the ancient world. Among other things, the Mayans developed the concept of the number zero and calculated that a solar year was slightly more than 365 days.

The Mayans’ achievements in mathematics and science influenced their spiritual philosophy, leading them to believe that the universe possesses specific rhythms that humans are subject to and a part of. The Mayans developed a sophisticated calendar system called the T'zolkin to help them account for these influences. According to Mayan tradition a person’s date of birth implies that that person’s life and personality will be influenced by the unique universal rhythm of that particular date and time.

One of the features of the Mayan calendar is that it is based on a cycle of 260 days, which in turn consists of 20 periods of 13 days. Every Mayan day, in accordance with the diurnal motion of the Earth, has its own name and sign, which determines everything that happens at this time. The components of an individual’s unique profile are thus determined by:

  • The sign of the particular day they are born on (their "day sign")

  • Which 13-day period this day falls in (their "trecana")

  • Where within that 13-day period (1 to 13) their birthdate falls (their "tone")

The 20 traditional "day signs" or “trecanas” of the T’zolkin that a particular person can belong to include: Crocodile (Imix), Wind (Ik), Night (Akbal), Seed (Kan), Serpent (Chikchan), Death (Cimi), Deer (Manik), Rabbit (Lamat), Water (Muluc), Dog (Oc), Monkey (Chuen), Grass (Eb), Cane (Ben), Jaguar (Ix), Eagle (Men), Owl (Kib), Earthquake (Kaban), Knife (Etznab), Storm (Kawak), Sun (Ajaw)