*Editor’s Note: This piece is part of a series—lucky you! Head here to read Part II.
The Sacred Mayan calendar serves as a roadmap that helps us come into alignment with the energies of life that move through us, day by day.
When we consciously find ways to bring the energies of the nahuales (Mayan spirits of the elements of nature) into our days, we start to open up to the potent forces of creation.
This may start to show up in synchronicities and a deeper connection to life and your true self.
We can work with the energies of the Mayan calendar through simple rituals, guided meditations, and specific activities that align with the energy of each day.
Explore what works best for you. Start by becoming aware of the energy of each day and opening your curiosity to learn through your own experiences. Observe the synchronicities that align with the energies of the calendar. Notice what happens on specific day signs. Experience your feelings fully each day. Fine tune your senses and become the observer of the play of your life.
This article explains the first 10 of the 20 nahuales. (The nahual that occurred on your birthday is your Mayan birth sign; learn more here.)
May you enjoy taking on the role of creator of your life and destiny, as you connect and unite with the cosmic energies of Creation as mapped out by the sacred calendar of the Maya.
Imox: the crocodile and water lily
Imox represents the primal waters of existence and the water lily, rooting deep into the mud of the subconscious layers of the mind and rising up to blossom above the surface of the emotional ripples.
Imox is lakes, rivers, and oceans, as well as the fluids that run through our body—our blood, lymph, and tears. Imox is the cosmic womb of existence, filled with creativity from which all creation is birthed. The animal totem is the crocodile or the dolphin.
It is the void, the dream space from which we reach infinite possibilities. The first sounds and ripples of creation are linked to the qualities of Imox.
Imox is the Divine Mother and the nourishment through the love that weaves us together in the fabric of life and existence. It is an emotional day sign, and we may feel ultra-sensitive on Imox days.
Journal prompts to connect with Imox:
How can I allow my creativity to flourish and be nourished?
If there were no limits to my dreams, what would I create?
Iq’: the breath of life and the hummingbird
In the Mayan Creation story, Iq’ is the breath of spirit and the breath of life. It connects us to our lungs, from which we draw in new life force, breath after breath, constantly renewing our bodies.
Iq’ brings renewal and purification through the element of air, inviting us to be simply and deeply present in the moment, through the connection with the quality of our breath. Iq’ is the wind that carries messages from one place to another.
The hummingbird is the totem animal of this Nahual which bridges worlds and brings beauty to life.
Iq’ brings us the gifts of clear communication, music, poetry and art. It invites us to take a look at the concepts and beliefs that are deeply imprinted in our psyche and form the reality we create for ourselves.
Journal prompts to connect with Iq’:
How can I deepen the quality of my breath?
How can I use and develop the gifts of clear communication?
Aq’ab’al: the dawn and the bat
Aq’ab’al brings us in touch with the space of the mystery. It is the bridge between the spiritual and material world. This Nahual helps us get in touch with the world of infinite possibilities by opening to the world of the mystical. It is the light that comes out of the dark womb of creation.
In the Mayan creation story, Aq’ab’al is connected to the energies of conception. It enhances the open channel to bring forth new life, whether in the form of babies or creative ideas.
Aq’ab’al represents the space in-between; it is neither the light nor the dark. It is dawn and dusk, the rising and the setting of the sun. On Aq’ab’al days, the challenge is to find a balance between the light and dark parts of ourselves, realizing that they are in fact inseparable. Every light comes with its shadow, and there is no shadow without a light. The totem animal of this Nahual is the bat.
Journal prompts to connect with Aq’ab’al:
What wants to come forth into the light?
What do you see in the shadows and darkness?
K’at: the spider and the web
The Nahual K’at is the weaver and the web. It represents the master spider, who understands the science of weaving and organizing the networks to sustain an abundant life. From a well-woven web, the gathering and collecting of the harvest and abundance starts.
K’at is a highly social Nahual that knows how to connect people, places, and organizations. However, one has to be careful not to make too many connections and lose oneself within the interconnectedness of all things. K’at can move quickly from one thing to the other due to these spiderlike qualities.
The Nahual K’at also connects us with the fire element to help release any cords, burdens of the past, and unhealthy relationships. The fire of purification helps us clear and purify our blood which carries our DNA and heritage. The energies of K’at encourage us to do purification practices to help ourselves heal and release the past.
Journal prompts to connect with K’at:
What networks and webs are you currently weaving?
What do you want to carry forward? What can you let go of and thank for its service?
Kan: the serpent
Kan is the Nahual and the archetypal energy of the serpent. It has the potential to help us renew our skins as we shed the old ones like a snake. This coiled energy rests at the bottom of our spine and is known as kundalini.
It is connected to our sensuality, intuition, and inner strength and authority. When the serpent rises, the sensual flow is felt through our spinal column, rising up into our brain. When it arises into the higher brain centers, the lifeforce potential of Kan transforms into pure consciousness and wisdom.
In the Mayan cosmovision, the Nahual Kan holds the secrets of the universe. It is represented by the deity Kukulkan—the feathered serpent—who plays an important part in the Mayan creation story. Kan assists to connect us with deep wisdom and awaken our consciousness.
Journal prompts to connect with Kan:
Write a poem about your sexual energy.
How do your inner masculine and inner feminine energies present themselves in your personality?
Kame: death and rebirth
The Nahual Kame represents the space of death, (re)birth, and transformation. It is the portal of life’s inevitable transitions and endless cycles of life. This Nahual shows us the art of true surrender as a necessary aspect of the dying process. When there is resistance to surrender or a desire to be in control, this can create inner friction and block the flow of life that restrict us from the true freedom and release that comes with death.
Death is never the end and birth was never really the beginning. Kame shows us that all of life transforms in infinite cycles. However, many people fear or resist the major changes that come with transformation. Kame gifts us the power to overcome those challenges as part of our soul growth and evolution and reminds us of what truly matters in life.
Journal prompts to connect with Kame:
What were your first experiences with death and how did that shape your perception of it?
How would you live your life knowing you had one year to live?
Kej: the deer
The Nahual Kej moves gracefully in deep connection with the forces of nature and follows the voice of intuition.
Kej is represented by the energies of the deer. Stable, with its four feet in connection with the earth. Intuitive, as it finds its way through the forest. A graceful creature of beauty and strength.
This Nahual is one of spiritual leadership. Kej asks us to connect deeply with the elements of nature and is especially in tune with the forest and the trees. It is the driving force we can call upon to remove obstacles.
Kej is the feeling of rejuvenation from spending time in wild nature. When balanced, Kej brings the flow of nature into expression through beauty, capturing the dance of life.
Journal prompts to connect with Kej:
Where are the most sacred natural sites you’ve visited?
What physical and spiritual practices are calling to you?
Q’anil: the rabbit and the seed
The Nahual Q’anil is represented by the seed of life and the rabbit of fertility. It represents the fertile soils that holds the foundation for our dream seeds and intentions. It is the light of the morning star that nourishes our hearts and souls, bringing us fresh inspiration.
It holds the pure potential for growth and ripening of the seeds and flowers, the blossoming and unfolding of projects. Q’anil is youthful, bright, positive, and energetic. It is the essence of the radiant golden rose, knowing how to enjoy the fruits of life. People born under this sign often connect easily with children because of their innocence, playfulness, and joy.
Q’anil can bring the feminine essence of life and her creative forces into our existence. The spirit of this Nahual reminds us of the importance of connecting with the element of water to flow through life and nourish the dream seeds planted in the fertile soil. When we tend to the garden we once seeded, one day we will enjoy its abundant harvest. These days are beautiful to connect with and receive the wisdom of flowers and plants.
Journal prompts to connect with Q’anil:
What helps you to blossom?
What gifts or talents are ready to bloom?
To’j: the offering and sacred fire
To’j days invite us to connect with gratitude. Offering gratitude is a selfless act of giving and saying thank you without asking for anything in return. Gratitude helps us to come into balance within ourselves, and with life and all that it offers us.
To’j is the Nahual of listening. To’j people’s inner nature prompts them to show up for others unconditionally. They must find the balance in being of service to others and know how to take care of themselves first and foremost.
To’j represents the sacred fire. Mayan Ajq’ij (spiritual guides) perform fire ceremonies to bring their offerings to the elements of life and to spirit. To’j is the day to pay off spiritual debts and clear the karma we carry with us.
Journal prompts to connect with To’j:
What emotions are you feeling now? How can you allow them to flow naturally?
How can you serve and benefit others in your community?
Tz’i: the dog
The energies of the Nahual Tz’i help us to restore the faith of love in our hearts, for ourselves and one another. It invites us to trust that everything is unfolding as it should.
Tz’i brings an invitation to reconnect with our primal senses of our body’s wisdom, asking us to look at our shadow and release suppressed emotions. Oftentimes, these emotional wounds were formed during our childhood. Releasing these traumas helps us let go of the burdens of the past and live with less drama.
Tz’i is represented by the energy of the dog, whose strong and clear intuition guides us on our path. However, primal instincts may activate the fight-flight response, causing us act from a place of fear, which activates our defense mechanism—bearing our teeth to protect ourselves. Nonetheless, the greatest gift of the Nahual Tz’i is its heart-centered connection and unconditional love.
Journal prompts to connect with Tz’i:
Who needs your unconditional love?
What does justice look and feel like?
*This piece was co-written with Lieke Moras:
Lieke Moras is a doula and energy worker who passionately guides others through their healing and transformational journeys. She offers womb work, shamanic journeys and energy healing and brings this together with the wisdom of the Mayan calendar. In 2017, she came to Lake Atitlan to study the Mayan traditions for her Master’s in Medical Anthropology. Here, she discovered her profound connection with the Mayan people and their cosmovision. Since then, she has been living with the Mayan calendar on a daily basis and found her own way to integrate this wisdom into the work that she does, letting it guide her creative processes. Learn more about Lieke.