Followers of Western horoscopes will find Mayan astrology to be an entirely different animal. Though the placement of the stars remains the same from culture to culture, the names and cosmic interpretive systems can differ greatly. Mayan astrology is every bit as in-depth as the Western methods of charting planetary movement, but its calendar and system operate from an entirely different cultural frame.
The Mayan Calendar
Mayan astrology is based on the Mayan calendar rather than the Gregorian calendar that guides Western astrology. Though there is technically more than one Mayan calendar, the one we are most concerned with for astrological purposes is the Tzolkin calendar.
Also referred to as the Sacred Round, the Tzolkin (pronounced zol-keen or chol-kin) calendar is a perpetual calendar system. It's not based on the movement of the planetary systems, but rather on the intangible energy of the cosmos and the greater evolution of creation. The Mayans believed that in order to have harmony in your life, you had to understand and align yourself with this universal energy.
The Tzolkin calendar is based on a 260 day cycle. It's broken down into 20 day increments referred to as "solar tribes," and each day is assigned a different astrological sign. Additionally, each day is assigned a "sacred number" between 1 and 13 that correlates to the cycle of the moon and imparts even more characteristics to each sign's personality traits.
The days/signs and numbers work together like cogs in a machine to create 260 distinct character combinations.
The Life Tree
According to the Mayan tradition, while each person's core sign carries certain energies, there are other complimentary energies that work together to help each person along her life path. This is the basis of the "Life Tree" which is similar to the birth chart concept found in Western astrology. The complimentary energies radiate from the core sign like the points of a compass and represent the future and the past, as well as male and female energies, a concept we also find in Chinese astrology.
The Mayans used more than one calendar, each for its own purpose. The 365-day Haab calendar bears far more similarity to the West's beloved Gregorian calendar than the Tzolkin. In fact, the Haab calendar is slightly more accurate than the Gregorian, as explained by Mayan-Calendar.org. However, despite its precision, the Haab calendar was not commonly used for astrological purposes because the Tzolkin was considered the spiritual and sacred calendar of the Mayans. Some did use the Haab to mark astrological day glyphs, which can be confusing for amateur astrologers in search of definitive Mayan astrology. A simple trick to determine whether you are using Haab or Tzolkin glyphs is to note that the Haab features only 19 glyphs whereas Tzolkin will list all 20.
Find Your Mayan Astrology Sign
Since Mayan and western calendars are so different, you'll need to figure out your Mayan birth date before you know which sign you belong to. Use this Gregorian to Mayan calendar tool to figure out your Mayan birthdate and sign.
Your Mayan birth glyph or sign is similar to western zodiac symbols. People born under certain birth glyphs possess different personality traits.
There are a total of 20 birth glyphs in the Mayan system:
- Imix (Red Dragon) is the first of the Mayan day signs, and it can sometimes manifest as a personality that likes to begin new projects. Intensely creative, Imix natives have a way of tapping into the collective consciousness, but unfortunately follow-through on those projects is not a strong point. In light of this, many of the things that Imix starts may be left unfinished.
- Ik (White Wind) embodies the ability to communicate and share ideas and thoughts to others. This sign refers to spirit, and natives of Ik may need to feel grounded in some way. Flexible, indecisive and sometimes fickle, these natives can sometimes be destructive to themselves and others. Even so, these individuals bring the gift of inspiration to the world.
- Akbal (Blue Night): People born under the sign of Akbal can be romantic and dreamy, and there is a certain artistic quality to these individuals. Perhaps it's because of this trait that many people born under this sign fear the darkness in themselves and in others, but this is something they need to overcome.
- Kan (Yellow Seed): Kans are sensual and romantic natives, and they tend to operate in a rather leisurely manner. The challenge for Kan people is to learn to appreciate the many gifts they have to offer, not just their more sensual side.
- Chicchan (Red Serpent): This is a very strong day sign that may hold magical powers. The serpent has long been recognized as a creature of "knowing," and these natives are often very intelligent. If this is your day sign, the best path to growth is to expand the heart while learning to share your feelings when angry.
- Cimi (White World-Bridger): Cimi individuals have inherent psychic abilities, but they also have a soft manner to them. In fact, the Maya believed that people born under the sign of Cimi made excellent healers, particularly to pregnant women and parents. Cimi natives may also make great business people.
- Manik (Blue Hand): Manik is a spiritual day sign that tends to embody a peace-loving yet strong stature. These folks are stubborn and strong and won't hesitate to express concern for a loved one.
- Lamat (Yellow Star): Lamat naturally attracts pure luck! Lamat is a fairly easy-going sign that often believes that is best to go with the flow rather than fight it.
- Muluc (Red Moon): Muluc natives tend to be intense and highly emotionally charged. This is an imaginative sign with psychic properties, but these natives must try to control their emotions. More positively, Mulucs are also very spontaneous and charming; this attracts others to them.
- Oc (White Dog): Oc natives are warm, smart, loyal and brave, and these qualities alone often make this sign well loved. Ocs are sensual, and they sometimes find themselves involved in a romantic complication or two.
- Chuen (Blue Monkey): To the Maya, Chuen was known as the weaver of time. Individuals born under this day sign are creative, and they may even be practical jokers. Naturally charming, Chuens may be a bit annoying to others because they so very much love the spotlight. Even so, these loveable people are quite talented and keep others from feeling bored.
- Eb (Yellow Human): Devoted to their fellow humans, Ebs are focused on their community, future generations and the planet Earth. However, this sign does tend to keep a low profile and will shun the spotlight. Compassionate and easily hurt, Eb natives need to learn to safeguard their health.
- Ben (Red Skywalker): Ben natives are characterized by their style of authority; people feel their authority and the owners of this day sign know it. If born under this sign, you may become a great leader or fight for a worthy cause.
- Ix (White Wizard): This sign is represented by the jaguar. The Ix day sign is special because Ix, or jaguars, can see in the dark. For the Maya, that was a sign of prophecy. This inherent clairvoyant tendency can easily be seen in the folks born on these days.
- Men (Blue Eagle): If you were born under the sign of Men, the Maya believed that you would be ambitious and have high aspirations in life. Those who are Men natives have a spiritual bent, a keen eye for details and may have a gift for all things technical. Additionally, Men should try to avoid alcohol and narcotics because these things are not helpful to their well-being.
- Cib (Yellow Warrior): If you feel as though you are living with a huge karmic burden, it's possible that you were born under the sign of the Cib. Cibs embody the wisdom of the past and typically have unusual psychic abilities. Cibs usually appear jolly and happy, but they are actually quite serious underneath that exterior.
- Caban (Red Earth): If you are familiar with the concept of "earth" signs in Western astrology, you may think that Caban or Earth natives are silent in nature. In fact, these individuals are intellectual and value the power of thoughts tremendously. They also have a talent for ridding others of their bad intentions and habits.
- Etzab (White Mirror): The most important thing to an Etzab is truth, and these natives have a remarkable gift for discerning truth. In fact, people born under this sign can discern the evil plans and interpersonal problems of others by reflecting them in a mirror of obsidian glass.
- Cauac (Blue Storm): People born under the Cauac day sign are fun to be around, and perhaps this is the very reason why they never seem to age. Cauac natives are the researchers of the universe and have a tremendous ability to teach what they learn.
- Ahau (Yellow Sun): The birthright of Ahau is spirituality, but this is not always easy to maintain. Many people of this sign are born with artistic abilities, but they may feel disheartened by what they perceive as greed and avarice in the world. Due to this, others may see them as unrealistic. The challenge then is for these natives to approach the world in a realistic manner that still allows them to retain their idealism.
A Complex System
The 20 Tzolkin glyphs are only an introduction to Mayan astrology. These 20 signs each represent a day in a Mayan calendar month, allowing individuals of differing months and years to still share the same day glyph. However, Mayan astrology has never been limited to 20 personality profiles. Similar to Western astrology, birth time and year also play a part in forming one's cosmic imprint. Still, the astrological culture of the Maya is deeply steeped in ritual and many aspects of their system have simply never translated into Western life. Its extensive religious uses and cultural nuances have been either lost with the civilization or esoterically recorded by anthropologists.