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Yucatec

The Yucatec sacred round (tzolk’in, meaning "Division of Days")[1] is a 260-day ritual calendar that was used by Maya of the Yucatan. It is similar to the Highland chol q'in by sharing common glyphs, but with a different starting point.

The day signs and the numbers of the Sacred round, known as tzolk’in in the Yucatec language, each have their own spirit, often referred to as naguales or "spirit guides". The naguales embody the essential myths and archetypes of the ancient lands of the Maya. They rule certain elements or aspects of life being the primary archetypes of human character. The day signs carry a masculine energy, while the numbers are considered feminine in nature. Each of the Tzolk’in’s twenty day signs holds the sacred role of shaping and influencing the character and destiny of a person, which is based on the combined energies of their Mayan birth sign and number. For the Maya, each person brings with them their innate character, abilities, professional preference, and other traits already at birth.[2] The tzolk'in may even have been used by midwives, because 260 days can be counted from the 20 day period of human conception, when the heart of the fetus starts to beat, until birth.

Yucatec tzolk'inEdit

Numbered daysEdit

See also: Highland sacred round

All Maya sacred round cycles run 260 days,[3] consisting of numerals 1 to 13 alternating against a cycle of twenty day glyphs. The tzolk'in starts with the day, Imix’ (Imox) and ends with Ajaw (Ajpu). Each day glyph receives a count from 1 to 13. On the fourteenth glyph, the numeral cycle starts over again at 1. All Sacred round calendars spans 13 months having twenty days each. The first day of the tzolk’in is 1.Imix’. The next day is 2.Ik’, counting up to 13.B’en. The next numeral cycle starts at 1.Hix until a total of 260 different combinations complete the full cycle. (13 numerals x 20 day glyphs = 260 combinations).[4].

 Example of Tzolk'in numbers and days over two months
Haab' pop (First month) Haab' wo' (Second month)
Imix' 11 Chuwen 8  Imix' 5 Chuwen
Ik' 12 Eb' 9 Ik' 6 Eb'
Ak'b'al 13 B'en 10 Ak'b'al 7 B'en
K'an 1 Hix 11 K'an 8 Hix
Chikchan Men 12 Chikchan 9 Men
Kimi Kib 13 Kimi 10 Kib
Manik' Kab'an 1 Manik' 11 Kab'an
Lamat 5 Etz'nab 2 Lamat 12 Etz'nab
Muluk 6 Kawak 3 Muluk 13 Kawak
10 Ok 7 Ajaw 4 Ok 1 Ajaw

New yearEdit

On a Yucatec calendar round, only four out of twenty tzolk'in days could fall on the first day of the New Year. These days are known as the "year-bearers". There were three different systems of year-bearers that were used in the Maya classic and Post classic periods. The first system that was used, was on the Tikal calendar, during the Classic period. The Tikal system of year-bearers were Ik’, Manik’, Eb’, and Kab’an.[5] The Paris codex (Codex Pérez) reveals the Campeche calendar that uses the days of Lamat, B’en, Etz’nab’, or Ak’b’al.[6] The Madrid Codex identifies the Mayapan calendar that was used during the Spanish invasion. Its system of year-bearers were K’an, Muluk, Ix, and Kawak. To commence the New Year, rituals were performed by Maya shamans, whose pilgrimage to sacred shrines occurred on a Tuesday.[7]

Day signsEdit

The tzolk’in calendar has twenty signs that represent a particular day. The signs are called uinal (Yucatec)[8] and are identified by various glyphs and scripts. The uninal in the tzolk'in calendar follow this order:

FIRST DAY LORD
1-ImixClassic Maya glyph Imix’, meaning "Crocodile", the reptilian body of Earth.[9] The glyph for Imix contains a water lily.[10] In Maya tradition, the Imix represents darkness and corresponds to a Water Lily Monster.[11]
SECOND DAY LORD
2-IkClassic Maya glyph Ik’, meaning "Wind", the breath, life force.[10] The "T" form in the center of the Maya glyph is the symbol for wind, and also appears on other glyphs. Ik' represents the human voice, air, and life,[12] also violence.[9]
THIRD DAY LORD
3-AkbalClassic Maya glyph Ak'ab'al or Ak'b'al, meaning "Night-house", the darkness, the underworld, the realm of the nocturnal jaguar-sun.[9] Also early dawn,[10] or morning. The Ak'bal glyph is has representations of snake markings and scales.[12] A child born on this day may be a "lightning soul", one who has the ability to receive messages from the external world. If eligible, they could go through training to become a Day keeper.[13]
FOURTH DAY LORD
4-KanClassic Maya glyph K'an, meaning "Maize" or "yellow",[12] the sign of the young maize lord, the Lord of Corn, who brings abundance and ripeness. Corresponds to a net, sacrifice,[10] and food itself.[12] Also lizard.[9] A child born on this day may be a "lightning soul", one who has the ability to receive messages from the external world. If eligible, they could go through training to become a Day keeper.[13]
FIFTH DAY LORD
5-ChikchanClassic Maya glyph Chikchan, or Chicchan, meaning "feathered serpent",[14] the celestial serpent,[9], or cosmological snake.[10] It represents justice, peace, and truth.[14]
SIXTH DAY LORD
6-KimiClassic Maya glyph Kimi or Cimi, meaning "Death".[9][10] Kimi represents the Lord of Death, and the Lords of the Underworld. The "percent sign" in the center of the glyph is the Maya symbol for death. This symbol also appears on glyphs for the number 10.[14] A child born on this day may be a "lightning soul", one who has the ability to receive messages from the external world. If eligible, they could go through training to become a Day keeper.[13]
SEVENTH DAY LORD
7-ManikClassic Maya glyph Manik’ or Manich’, meaning "Deer",[10] the sign of the Lord of the Hunt.[9] A child born on this day may be a "lightning soul", one who has the ability to receive messages from the external world. If eligible, they could go through training to become a Day keeper.[13]
EIGHTH DAY LORD
8-LamatClassic Maya glyph Lamat, meaning "Rabbit", is the sign for the planet Venus.[15] Also sunset, star, ripeness, or maize seeds.[10] The glyph may depict four grains of maize. Invoked by the feminine name "Ixq'anil" by Xquic.[9] A child born on this day may be a "lightning soul", one who has the ability to receive messages from the external world. If eligible, they could go through training to become a Day keeper.[13]
NINTH DAY LORD
9-MulukClassic Maya glyph Muluk, or Muluc, meaning "Water", representing water animals,[15] and offering.[10] Symbolized by jade, an aspect of the water deities, fish. Invoked by the feminine name "Ixtoj" by Xquic.[9]
TENTH DAY LORD
10-OkClassic Maya glyph Ok, or Oc, meaning "Dog",[10] is one who guides the night sun through the underworld.[9] It represents guide, friendship, and fidelity.[15]
ELEVENTH DAY LORD
11-ChuwenClassic Maya glyph Chuwen or Chuen, meaning "Howler monkey",[10] the great craftsman, patron of arts and knowledge. Also thread.[9] Chuwen is a symbol of the step-brothers in the Maya story of creation, the Popol Vuh. These brothers were changed into monkeys. Chuwen can also represent thread and the continuity of life. According to tradition, the Sacred Year starts on 8 Chuwen.[16]
TWELFTH DAY LORD
12-EbClassic Maya glyph Eb, meaning "Grass" or "Point",[9] represents the teeth.[16] Also rain[10] or storms. The glyph for Eb contains the skeletal head of the Lord of Death having a cluster of “grapes” on the back part of the head.[16] A child born on this day may be a "lightning soul", one who has the ability to receive messages from the external world. If eligible, they could go through training to become a Day keeper.[13]
THIRTEENTH DAY LORD
13-BenClassic Maya glyph B'en, meaning "corn", "reeds", or "trees",[17] is one who fosters the growth of corn, cane, and man.[9] Also green/young maize, or seed.[10] A child born on this day may be a "lightning soul", one who has the ability to receive messages from the external world. If eligible, they could go through training to become a Day keeper.[13]
FOURTEENTH DAY LORD
14-HixClassic Maya glyph Hix, meaning "Jaguar",[10] is the night sun. Also maize. Associated with the goddess Ixchel.[9] The dots on the glyph may be a symbol for the jaguar's spots.[18] A child born on this day may be a "lightning soul", one who has the ability to receive messages from the external world. If eligible, they could go through training to become a Day keeper.[13]
FIFTEENTH DAY LORD
15-MenClassic Maya glyph Men, meaning "Eagle",[10] is the wise one, bird, moon.[9] A supernatural bird appears in the center of the glyph.[18] A child born on this day may be a "lightning soul", one who has the ability to receive messages from the external world. If eligible, they could go through training to become a Day keeper.[13]
SIXTEENTH DAY LORD
16-KibClassic Maya glyph Kib’ or Cib, meaning "Owl/Vulture", death-birds of night and day. Also wax,[10] soul, or insect.[9] The Kib glyph is a representation of a sea shell.[18]
SEVENTEENTH DAY LORD
17-KabanClassic Maya glyph Kab’an, Caban, or Chab’, meaning "Earth"[10], or "Earthquake", a formidable power. Represents thought, knowledge, and science.[19] Also season.[9] A child born on this day may be a "lightning soul", one who has the ability to receive messages from the external world. If eligible, they could go through training to become a Day keeper.[13]
EIGHTEENTH DAY LORD
18-EtznabClassic Maya glyph Etz'nab’, meaning "Knife", or flint,[10] is the obsidian sacrificial blade.[9]
NINETEENTH DAY LORD
19-KawakClassic Maya glyph Kawak, Cauac, or Kawoq, meaning "Rain storm",[10] the celestial dragon serpents and the chaacs, gods of thunder and lightning.[9]
TWENTIETH DAY LORD
20-AjawClassic Maya glyph Ajaw, or Ahau, meaning "Ruler",[10] or "Lord", represents the Lord of the sun. Ajaw is associated with the Mayan hero twin,[9] Junapuh, of the Maya creation story, the Popol Vuh. On the ajaw "head glyph", there is a jun spot on the cheek. The head also wears a headband, a symbol of royalty.[20]

In the Maya mythology of the Maya Hero Twins, Ixbalanque set an impossible task for Ix Quic to collect a netful of corn from one stalk. Ix Quic successfully completes it and leaves the imprint of her net in the ground. The "day net" is the opening of the Venus cycle which follows "ahau" ("ajpu" in K'iche'), just as her child is the heir of Hun Hunajpu.[21]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. Mayan Calendar: Tzolk'in
  2. LUCITA Inc., (2013). The Mayan Calendar Portal: tzolk'in
  3. Harri Kettunen & Christophe Helmke (2008), Introduction to Maya Hieroglyphs: Workshop Handbook, p. 39
  4. Pitts, 2009, p.48, 49
  5. Foster (2005) p.299
  6. Foster (2005) p.298-299
  7. Foster (2005) p.254, 299
  8. Newsome , Elizabeth A. (2001) Trees of Paradise and Pillars of the World: The Serial Stelae Cycle of "18-Rabbit–God K," King of Copan, University of Texas Press, 9780292755727, p. 3
  9. 9.00 9.01 9.02 9.03 9.04 9.05 9.06 9.07 9.08 9.09 9.10 9.11 9.12 9.13 9.14 9.15 9.16 9.17 9.18 9.19 Wright, Ronald (1989). Time Among the Maya: Travels in Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico. London: Abacus. ISBN 0-349-10892-7. OCLC 154511110
  10. 10.00 10.01 10.02 10.03 10.04 10.05 10.06 10.07 10.08 10.09 10.10 10.11 10.12 10.13 10.14 10.15 10.16 10.17 10.18 10.19 Kettunen, Harri; and Christophe Helmke (1993), p.49
  11. Pitts, 2009, p.51
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Pitts, 2009, p.52
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 13.6 13.7 13.8 13.9 Barnhart, 2005, p.120
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Pitts, 2009, p.53
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Pitts, 2009, p.54
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Pitts, 2009, p.55
  17. Pitts, 2009, p.55, 56
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 Pitts, 2009, p.56
  19. Pitts, 2009, p.57
  20. Pitts, 2009, p.58
  21. Dennis Tedlock (translator and editor), Popol Vuh: The Definitive Edition Of The Mayan Book Of The Dawn Of Life, 1996

BibliographyEdit

  • Barnhart, Edwin L. (2005 revision). The First Twenty-Three Pages of the Dresden Codex: The Divination Pages
  • Pitts, Mark. (2009) Maya Numbers & The Maya Calendar: A Non-Technical Introduction to Maya Glyphs, Book 2

External linksEdit

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