Category Archives: Mayan Calendar

8-Ajpu: Infinite Light (24 May 2018)

Born 8-Ajpu: Alan Dershowitz, Warren Beatty, Toni Collette, Vincent van Gogh, Douglas Adams, Norah Jones, Idan Ofer

Infinite Light

“If the Universe came to an end every time there was some uncertainty about what had happened in it, it would never have got beyond the first picosecond. And many of course don’t.” – Douglas Adams (8-Ahau) from Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (1987)

Destiny.

A word with much gravity and a touch of romanticism. Is there really a destination that I can single out and abbreviate as being my destiny? The thing with destinations is that once you arrive at one of them you get a view good enough to recognize the next one. So how can there be a destiny in the sense of an ultimate destination, some life-long goal that can be actually realized and materialized? And if there is one, in what way do I continue living without destiny beyond its acheivment?

There can’t be such a thing as a future destiny, unless I define death itself as a destiny, followed by nothing. Instead of looking to the future in search of it, I think destiny is everything that has already happened, along with whatever’s transpiring now. So in other words destiny is made up of my karmic accumulation of the past, over which I have no control, and the now moment, for which I have total responsibility.

Today, the 8th day of the 1-Aj trecena, is where the current 20-day uinal period comes to a conclusion, on an Ajpu day, according to most western followers of the calendar. Being the concluding nawal, Ajpu embodies completion and perfection, and fittingly, some of the meanings associated with Ajpu are: master, lord, hero, flower, ancestor.

When they’re busy pursuing their destiny, people born on Ajpu days display near-magical abilities and heroic skills. They expect much of themselves, and their community does, too. Some Ajpu types embody their heroic nature, and create new realities regardless of expectations and disappointment. Other Ajpu’s have it way over their heads. They foresee themselves letting everyone down, failing to meet expectations, not to mention exceeding them (as they are used to do). So they tend to indulge in some sort of old escapism habit of their’s; robbing the world the gift only they themselves can produce and give away gladly.

… and 8-Ajpu says: “perfection cannot be realized tomorrow, nor remembered as past glory. It abides now and always, beckoning me to discover it.”

OUR CONCEPT OF TIME

When does a new child begin life’s journey? Is it at the moment of birth? of conception? Is it after puberty? or a couple of days after his/her parents first met?

When viewing time as a linear progression of units, it becomes terribly important to agree on a suitable answer to the above query. So most people will say that the moment of birth is the beginning, and the government bureau-cats will have a piece of flimsy reality with which to fill out their forms in hospitals, and file them next to the morgue expiry forms.

To counter the linear perception of time, Ken Johnson stresses that according to the Mayan concept of time there’s no exact moment (for example, 00:00) when one day nawal is replaced by the following one. When the sun sets the nawal of the following day already begins to assert its energy, while the nawal that governed the current day wanes.

So like everything else in nature, days and nights have their unique, flowing dance of energies, which intensifies whenever they mix and switch governance (of day and night/winter and summer). Spring, after all, is known as “The Quickening”, and fall is exactly what it means – a slowing down, a time to stop and take stock, gather gravity in preparation for winter – the standstill.

There are no clear cuts in the natural world. Clear cuts can only be found in the human world of words and dotted lines. They are arbitrarily set by my dualistic, calculating mind (one of my favorite tools!)

According to the Mayan concept of time, when the child is born other members of the family are born with him/her. This means that the mother and father (roles) are born with the child, along with sisters, brothers, grandparents, etc. This is most obvious with the first child (there were no parents before it came), but is also true about any other child joining earth.

At the time of birth something also dies. When a couple gets married the bachelors die, and when the pet is adopted the loner dies.

1-Aj: Leadership and the family (17 May 2018)

1-Aj: Can we fix it?

This trecena’s theme is the mysterious sun-sign known as Ben in Yucatec and Aj in K’iche Maya, Central America. “Mysterious” should be taken with a caveat. When I refer to “mysterious”, I mean to us left-hemisphere dwellers. I’m sure the complete sense of “Aj” is crystal clear in Momostenango; maybe not immediately upon touchdown, but certainly after a week or two there.

Aj (or “Cornstalk”) is not as readily accessible to everyone as animal sun-signs, such as the serpent or eagle. I can relate to the essence of Balam by thinking of any kind of cat I know, or Tzi by picturing canines, but how can I relate to a cornstalk? For that matter, how can a human relate to the Night (Aq’abal), or to Death (Kame)? Flora is alien to (western) human experience. So I had to get some anchors.

I found three keywords which helped me put together a possible meaning. They are: Leadership, Family, and Destiny.

Carlos Barrios adds “authority, the home, do everything as we like… creating possibilities… Aj is our internal altar”, among many other depictions.

Leaders in many fields were born under the Aj archetype. No fewer than 8 US presidents were born on this trecena. Adding the leaders that were born on Aj days (like 5-Aj, 7-Aj, etc.) we get 2 more US presidents, 2 Israeli PMs, a French PM, a Syrian PM, a Queen Mother, the godfather of an elite banking family, and Julian Assange.

The Leadership of Aj

Born 1-Aj: Stephen Baxter, Brian O’Leary, Sean Bean, John Rhys-Davies, Richard E. Byrd, Michael Moore, Ralph Waldo Emerson

Leadership and the Family

1-Ben: The Stone of Destiny

The Aj archetype embodies leadership, since it is the sun-sign that follows The Road (E’/Eb), in the sense that after the Road is mapped a leader must walk in front of the community.

Leadership, also, since this archetype is also known as the Staff or Reed, which is a universal sign of authority (much like the Olympian torch, and Roman fasces). It is the tool in the hands of the guide, the vanguard, the trailblazer, and the elder. It is the staff of Moses, which can turn into a serpent (13-Kan, coming up in 12 days) when the need arises.

According to the Mayan nawal Aj, a good leader has a knack for bridging differences between separated individuals. He listens to one, then the other, then speaks in the language of bridge-makers.

People born on Aj days create new opportunities by giving sound advice to all sides; with words and intention, that can run goosebumps up and down spines. Regretfully, nowadays I seldom experience this when encountering those who call themselves my leaders. Mostly I experience PR tricks and appearances, distractions and infantile guilt-flinging. Why is that?

One cannot intend to elicit goosebumps in another. Leaders that elicit goosebumps do so through a heart connection. They feel deeply about where they are going, speaking openly and passionately about it, so people naturally relate and opt to follow.

They follow the direction and the idea, and are empowered and inspired by the person in front.

A lot of what happens around (either good or bad) leadership – how it is received, the reactions it prompts, and the actions that grow out of it – is unintentional. A good leader addresses her people and tells them about what’s eminently ahead, how to prepare, how to go about doing it, and what’s further, over the horizon. She shares a vision. In between her lines, in the way she communicates, and in the genuine cadence of her voice – many other invisible processes are set in motion within the gathered individuals. Each process unique, and each outcome – different and complementing the other, in a dance of growth and evolution.

A bad leader does the same, and the same happens, but to the detriment of her society. The extent to which she and her words are “together”, “all apiece” – i.e., her integrity determines the fruits of her leadership and the destiny of the community she leads. When integrity is weak, the led sense it instantly. This is a part of what comes across unintentionally, in the background.

Current political leaders (of the sordid, corrupt sort we all like to ridiculously picture) tend to lose their “togetherness” quite early in their careers, and quickly fail to lead by example. Their mission becomes “do what I say, not what I do”.

Moreover, they intend to elicit goosebumps, with poll-tested soundbites and tried-and-true emotional triggers, which is like trying to lift yourself up by your bootstraps.

You can’t.

1-Kej trecena daily digest: begins 21 April 2018

Preface: Clearing the air

Kej stands for perpetual travels out in the wild, unknown parts and less-trodden paths of the land. The spirit of the four-legged animals is embodied on this plane to pace the earth within neighboring woods and well beyond them. When a stag (another word for Kej) is not going anywhere he is probably too busy protecting his community and offspring diligently.

However, being a stag, you can never know when he’ll disappear, maybe not ever to return. Then you realize that his young bucks have grown up already, and the pack guard is being releaved by new recruits. It was good timing after all. The aging stag is now off on a new pilgrimage, reliving his days of youth and hormones.

In Hinduism, this is known as being a Varna Prasta – a forest dweller.

His spirit dwells still around his old breeding and child-rearing grounds. Sons and daughters tune into the frequency left behind by their ancestors, and learn the way of their kind by resonance.

1-Kej: Path of blessings

1-Kej: The lone pilgrim

Born on this day: Bob Schieffer, Matthew Modine, Franz Beckenbauer, Antonis Samaras (Greek president), Moses Montefiore, Ernst Alexanderson

Today I plant a seed of healing

Today I plant a seed of healing and cleansing

The sun came up clear and warm this morning. The skies were clean and pristine, no clouds and no aerosol debris. Every morning can seem just like the one before it, but this one didn’t. I was different.

Comfort runs deep enough to elude me. It begins with my body vehicle – where I sit and how long I sit there; the paths I take from and to. It continues with the people I talk to and meet. Then comfort gets too comfy dwelling on ideas that are “same, same, but different”. It goes on and on and it’s all-pervasive.

It’s time to try something that really scares me.

Kej is essentially this overall impression. He is the lone pilgrim.

“There’s more to life than this.”

2-Q’anil: Doubled rabbit

Born on this day: Elvis Presely, Cal Ripken Jr., Kenny Wheeler, Gary Webb

"The image is one thing and the human being is another...it's very hard to live up to an image." - Elvis Presley (2-Lamat)

“The image is one thing and the human being is another…it’s very hard to live up to an image.” – Elvis Presley (2-Q’anil)

The restless 1-Kej, ever-looking for some new adventure, constantly evolving spiritually – finds his/her match on 2-Q’anil. In other words: be careful of what you wish for!

Q’anil is an ancient word for multitasking. Lamat-types can have many different interest going around on their mind at any given time. For example, I was born 8-Q’anil and I can safely say it’s been that way ever since I can remember my conscious self. All Q’anil-types also have Iq on their right-hand cross, so the craving to learn more about many different things (shining star in all directions) can be explained this way, too.

Today I meet Lamat on a 2-day. In numbers, 2 is the one and only natural number that multiplies its predecessor (1). When you go from 2 to 3 it’s already a lesser “leap”.

Two is also related to a question, or “duality” in the parlance of our times. So the lone pilgrim 1-Kej who was edging to try something new and terrifying yesterday wakes up to a showstopper question – “why bother? What’s out there that isn’t right here/now?” So many destinations – and Q’anil is bountiful.

However, Q’anil’s comfort zone is low self-esteem, a.k.a. the argumentative “black hole mode” Q’anil.

You heard me, rabbits.

3-Toj: Active liquid

Born on this day: Mick Jagger, George Washington (1st US president), Bertrand Russell, Kyra Sedgwick, Rob Lowe, Shirley MacLaine, 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami

"Make the most of the Indian hemp seed, and sow it everywhere!" - George Washington (3-Muluc)

“Make the most of the Indian hemp seed, and sow it everywhere!” – George Washington (3-Toj)

The third day’s sunrise was a deja-vu revision of that first, transparent one I witnessed the day before yesterday. It couldn’t be identical, though, because sunrises never are. I was different again.

I remembered the first seed of rebellion vs. Comfort I sowed then. Last night’s dilemma (2-Q’anil) has to be transcended by action. My spiritual horizons never used to came up to me while I sat and watched them in awe, and this time it’s going to be just the same. I need to meet the horizon at least half way.

So I made some calls and got organized. My 15 minutes of fame in the shower made me think in 5th gear. Water on my skin does that to me every single time. I pick up a thread, pull it until I become self-conscious about it, then pick up a better thread. When I finished I came up with my daily wisecrack:

The sunrise is just a symbol. It means Wake Up!

Waking up can mean so many things, but many of them can be summed up by some kind of “responsibility”. Is it the grownup type? Job, bills, kids? Na, not this time. On the lone pilgrim’s journey this means loving my own destination to the point of not letting go of it. This approach can no longer be called “responsibility”, but it’s so much better than it.  Toj has to be passionate about her paths of devotion, otherwise she’ll turn to wherever her passion guides her.

Dedication. I can’t get around without it; I can’t get around it without falling right back on comfort and my own personal conformity. When fully awake, Toj has to be on the move, and she takes me along with her. If I’m wise I’ll let her take the lead.

The number 3 is a dynamic power source that knows no boundaries. Whatever I decide to dedicate myself to becomes total and engaging. I interact closely with that goal I’m focused on, I nurture it and it nurtures me back. Indeed, dedication can easily be both a means and an end at the same time.

Then I just went out the door.

Procrastination is a nice word for a self-inflicted guilt trip. Dwelling on it just doesn’t help anyone.

4-Tzi: Complete devotion

Born on this day: Branford Marsalis, Kevin Bacon, David Broza, Tzipi Livni

Bravery sets the boundaries of spiritual healing

Bravery sets the boundaries of spiritual healing

Devotion offered freely is a powerful engine. But even engines have limits, and so must be treated every once in a while with some tender loving care. I know people who do the devotion thing all day long. Other people love them, they get tons done, but mental fatigue builds up in deep and secret places. Then one late afternoon they realize they’ve got nothing more to give.

Tzi is the guardian, defending his clan from ignorance and malicious trespass till his tomb, and then again beyond it. This is the flavor which makes him/her a favorite and down-to-earth kind of pack leader. Tonight I let Tzi take care of me, and keep his vigil in case I overdo devotion and forget about having fun doing it.

When coupled with the stabling effect of the number 4 Tzi becomes a very astute kind of canine. One who guards boundaries wisely and consistently.

5-Ba’atz: Power of Art

Born on this day: Flea, Richard Wright (Pink Floyd), Cat Stevens, Tim Roth, Marisa Tomei, Lasse Hallström, Vin Scully

"The Koreans have influenced us a lot, through their loving attitude, evil dictatorship, and funky bass playing." - Flea (5-Chuen)

“The Koreans have influenced us a lot, through their loving attitude, evil dictatorship, and funky bass playing.” – Flea (5-Ba’atz)

The road leading to the temple took several days off my terrestrial tenure span, and gave me many profound memories in return. When I tell stories about my trip people are entertained, especially the ones who don’t believe half of them. Those are usually the ones that don’t share my pet peeve of doing truly scary things.

Before reality became just another entertaining story it was real and present. Walking the road up to the mountain temple wasn’t easy, but the hardships were not as significant as the magnificent way in which they were negotiated. My old self arrived at unfamiliar surroundings, as new strands were woven into my dusty, familiar tapestry. Living the road was like putting brush and paint to a canvas, or like playing live in front of the living.

It was ALIVE, and it still is.

Art empowers me by inspiration. I’m a curious lone pilgrim, in constant awe of new things I learn every day and in every way.

6-E’: Traditional path

Born on this day: Jerry Lee Lewis, Liberace, Joe Perry (Aerosmith), Juliette Lewis, Ray Liotta, Mel Brooks, Christopher Marlowe (baptised today), Mariano Rivera

"Hope for the best. Expect the worst. Life is a play. We're unrehearsed." - Mel Brooks (6-Eb)

“Hope for the best. Expect the worst. Life is a play. We’re unrehearsed.” – Mel Brooks (6-E’)

Like the veins of the great mother, roads course through the old country, tracing the same routes for many years. The steps you took yesterday for the first time have been already taken by many feet before yours. Maybe one of your forebearers walked here before, and now you walk with him.

As any stranger in a strange land you rely on community and companionship to satisfy your mundane needs. Total strangers offer hospitality and advice, provide maps and directions. They let you into their world and homes, treating you as a fellow soul feeding off the mother.

After eating your fill and resting, other needs begin to replenish and balance off. Things like having someone really listen to me, and reciprocating. Cravings like sitting still and enjoying company. Loosing track of time by simply sharing life with fellow humans. You realize the mundane and the elevated are one and the same.

Someone once said something about the meek. The E’ energy is very much about respect, which is the only type of foundation any community can have. Respect guides you when you ask a stranger for help. Respect guides the stranger who bravely reaches out back to you.

However, respect has nothing to do with authority.

7-Aj: Purpose and destiny

Born on this day: Hafez al-Assad, Hermann Göring, Phil Jackson, Michael Wood, US civil war ends

"The only one who really knows about the Reichstag is I, because I set it on fire!" - Hermann Göring (7-Ben)

“The only one who really knows about the Reichstag is I, because I set it on fire!” – Hermann Göring (7-Aj)

One afternoon I took a hike with my host up one of the hills. I couldn’t tell how he picks his way, cutting through overgrown thickets and revealing hidden paths. But I followed him anyway, maybe because I had no other choice, or perhaps because his staff was made of local wood, and it gave its bearer at least a measure of soft authority.

The view I got just wouldn’t allow me to dwell on any kind of thought.

When we stopped he pointed to the horizon and told me the name of a close community. I knew it was time to go.

Seven has that sense of staying where I am, right up until that point when I gather what’s mine, get up and start walking again. When I arrived it felt right to stay here forever. Now it’s clear my stay has elapsed, and no more rest is needed.

Onwards to whatever experience my destiny has in store over the hill. It was destiny that made me stay and share life with the local community. Now the same destiny shifts polarity and becomes dynamic again. Destiny begins here and now, even if it seems like I’m going nowhere for a while.

Wanderlust, as a perpetual way of life and destiny, is the fuel of the pilgrim, whether he’s by his own fireplace or blazing a fresh, unknown path.

8-Balam: Infinite magic

Born on this day: Keren Ann, Perry Farrell, Margaret Thatcher, Buzz Aldrin, Orlando Bloom

"Oh, but you know, you do not achieve anything without trouble, ever." - Margaret Thatcher (8-Ix)

“Oh, but you know, you do not achieve anything without trouble, ever.” – Margaret Thatcher (8-Balam)

Wild, untamed nature dwells in a realm beyond what the word “beautiful” can ever express. It is magical in the most mundane and spectacular sense of magic; the deep magic that makes the flowers bloom is too much for even the god of spring to fathom.

In the silent, bubbling wells hidden in caverns lies the essence of the Mayan archetype known as the jaguar. The purity of real Mountain Dew, its vitality and freshness – all embody the hallmark of Yucatan jungle evolution. A feline so magical it is a demigod in the bush.

The jaguar’s magic is present in any manifestation of nature. Besides the springs, the jungle itself is guarded by the energy of Balam, along with sacred shrines, overlooking the entire green and brown vista.

9-Tzikin: Macro-vision

Born on this day: Chick Corea, Teri Hatcher, Stephen Baldwin

The eagle's perspective bestows patience.

The eagle’s perspective bestows patience.

Then I saw it.

A white and yellow temple on the side of a high cliff. A sacred place for generations of truth seekers and pilgrims. It looked exactly like the old library in Alexandria, only completely different. An unknown treasure was waiting silently for an enthusiastic seeker to show up.

All that I saw from the other side of the ravine. Fantastic visions aside, I still had to find my way there. I still had to communicate with whoever was there and gain access and maybe a bed and some food.

I am still

gaining altitude, circling around peaks and finding thermals.

A bridge spans the chasm above me.

10-Ajmaj: Forgiveness now

Born on this day: Marshall McLuhan, Zoe Saldana, George Gershwin, Daniel Barenboim, Fred Durst, Arthur C. Clarke, Thomas Young, Robbie Gee, Catherine Duchess of Cambridge (Kate Middleton)

"It is experience, rather than understanding, that influences behaviour." - Marshall McLuhan (10-Cib), Understanding Media (1964)

“It is experience, rather than understanding, that influences behaviour.” – Marshall McLuhan (10-Ajmaj), Understanding Media (1964)

Read about 10-Ajmaj in a dedicated post.

The stones that were assembled to make up the temple had a cold knowledge deep inside them. Even in the summer sun I could place my hand on a random pillar and it would be cool.

11-Noj: Creative frequency

Born on this day: Christopher Hitchens, Roseanne Barr, Bob Odenkirk, Jay-Z, Timothy Leary, Michael Cera, Greg Lake, Dorothy Rothshild

"Think for yourself and question authority." - Timothy Leary (11-Caban)

“Think for yourself and question authority.” – Timothy Leary (11-Noj)

On the way back home from my pilgrimage my thoughts took on a pristine quality. Something was cleaning up inside, and the journey with all the experiences I had are what made this clensing happen. I felt very strong and healthy, as if I just got out of a morning shower.

My life had one kind of routine going before I left for this trip. This kind was now doomed to be discarded. I realized I cannot go back to being the person I was. My family and neighbors that are now waiting for me to return are waiting for someone who I used to be.

That said, when they see me they’ll still be able to recognize me immediately. We’ll all be very happy for a while, as my long-awaited return is celebrated. Then I’ll slowly begin picking up the threads and ties of my regular life.

Adaptation is on my mind as I pick my way down the landscape increasingly familiar to me. The new and the old adapt to each other, making good ties stronger and bad ties fall apart.

12-Tijax: True completion

Born on this day: Georges Moustaki, Annie Lennox, Louis Armstrong, Lou Reed, Shania Twain, Daddy G (Massive Attack), Eddy Ifft, Rudyard Kipling, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Michael Flatley, Martin Scorsese, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jacques Chirac, Lincoln’s assassination

"Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet, till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great Judgment Seat" - Rudyard Kipling (12-Edznab) The Ballad of East and West (1889)

“Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet, till Earth and Sky stand presently at God’s great Judgment Seat” – Rudyard Kipling (12-Tijax) The Ballad of East and West (1889)

My grandson came to visit me the other day. He came to say goodbye before leaving on a long and far away journey. As he knew growing up, out of all the elders in the family I was the one who traveled the most.

So we sat down together in the living room with our drinks and I told him the stories that no one remembers anymore, about what happened on the way to the temple, how amazing it was to be there, how stupid I was going around backward countries with next to no luggage or equipment.

How lucky he was today for being on the doorstep with one foot in adventure.

That was the last time he saw me.

13-Kawok: Divine cleansing

Born on this day: Vandana Shiva, David Hyde Pierce, Janet Jackson, Axl Rose, Edgar Allan Poe, River Phoenix, Kevin Pollak, Kim Thayil (Soundgarden)

“They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.” – Edgar Allan Poe (13-CAUAC), Eleonora (1841)

High rain clouds pass overhead indifferently.