The ancient Mayans were a highly advanced civilization, with a rich culture that included many different aspects of art, architecture, and spirituality. One area in which the Mayans excelled was in their understanding of astronomy and mathematics. This allowed them to create a highly accurate calendars.

The Maya had many calendars, but the one that interests many people today is their spiritual calendar the Tzol’kin or Chol’qi.

The 260 day calendar is a sacred tradition that has been passed down through the generations. It is an important part of understanding who you are and where you come from. Our readings are straight from the source, so you can be sure that you’re getting the most accurate information possible.

Discovering your birthday’s meaning can be life-changing. It can help you to understand yourself better and give you direction for your future. With our authentic readings, we can help you do just that.

Go to our home page to find out your Mayan Calendar Birth Sign!

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260 Days

Maya sun

The Tzol'kin calendar is a sacred 260-day calendar that is still used by some Mayan communities today. Each day on the calendar is represented by a unique combination of a day sign and a number. The 20 day signs represent different archetypal energies, while the 13 numbers represent different numeral impulses. Together, these create a unique message or personality for each day.

If you're interested in learning more about the Tzol'kin calendar, be sure to sign up for a membership at mayanday.com. You'll have access to exclusive content where we explore the meanings of each day sign and how they can be used to guide your life path.

Nawals

The days of the Tzol’kin calendar are considered to be spirits or structures of consciousness. They are referred to by the Maya as “Nawals”. At their core they are archetypal concepts that have a multitude of meanings that coexist within the day.

The Tzol’kin is made up of two parts, the 20 nominal “Nawals” and the 13 numeral “Nawals”. The nominal “Nawals” represent archetypal nature  like the Deer, or  Road, Wind, and Knowledge. The numeral “Nawals” represent impulses or intenitions of water

The 20 Archetypal Nawls

1. Ahau/Junajpu – Sun / Ruling Energy: Leadership, abundance, vitality

2. Imix/Imox – Crocodile / Nurturing Energy: new beginnings, water, craziness

3. Ik/Iq – Wind / Spirit Energy: breath, communications, anger

4. Akbal/Aq’ab’al – Night / Mystical Energy: light, duality, dream

5. Kan/Kat – Net / Work Energy: fuel, net, debt

6. Chicchan/Kan – Serpent / Wisdom Energy: Illusion, wisdom, lightning

7. Cimi/Kame – Death / Ancestral Energy: community, oppression in the heart, Ancestors

8. Manik/Kej – Deer/ Forest Energy: Journey, strength, eating

9. Lamat/Q’anil – Rabbit / Intoxicated Energy: beauty, abundance, vice, rotting

10. Muluc/Toj – Fire / Emotional Healing Energy: cleansing emotions, forgiveness , compassion

11. Oc/Tzi – Dog / Loyalty Energy: faithfulness , protection , guard against negativity

12. Chuen/Batz – Monkey / Creative Energy : fun-loving , creative tricks , spirit guide connections

13. Eb/Ee – Road / Traveler's Energy : new horizons , change , unexpected adventures

14 . Ben/Aj - Reed / Barker's energy : prophecy , heralding messages from Spirit Guides

15 . Ix/Ix Balam - Jaguar / Shaman's energy : shape-shifting into other realms for clarity & healing

16 . Men/Tz’ikin - Eagle / Warrior's energy : clear vision , soaring above challenges , strength in adversity

17 . Cib/Ajmaq - Vulture / Courageous Energy : cycles of life & death ; Transition ; karmic balance

18 . Caban/Noj - Knowledge / Logistical Energy : grounding stability amidst change ; sense of place

19 . Eznab/Tijax - Knife / Mirror Energy: cutting through illusions to see truth sharpness; criticism with love

20 . Cauac/Kawuq - Storm / Healing Energy: the illuminated clouds that represents an inner vision.

The 13 Numeral Nawals

  1. Jun- Invitation, beginning

  2. Keb- Duality, Calculation

  3. Oxib- Action, Home

  4. Kajib- Stability, Attachment, Stagnant

  5. Job- Breakthrough, to Find

  6. Wakib- Heart, Weighing

  7. Wuqub- Reflection, Explosion

  8. Wajxaquib- Order, Return,

  9.  Belejeb- Hidden, Transformation

  10. Lajuj- Meeting, Manifestation

  11. Julajuj- Resolution, Liberation

  12. Kablajuj- Understanding, Extra

  13. Oxlajuj- Ancestral, the Biggest

Trecena

The concept of Trecena explores the idea of the matching of these two groups of “Nawals”. Trecena, which references the 13 numeral “Nawals”, is the 13 day week period that the 20 archetypal “Nawals” phase through.

This combination of “Nawals” creates 260 unique days and 20 different Trecenas. Depending on which Maya lineage, the name of the Trecena is either the first or the last day. The Yucatec Maya used the first day as the name of trecena, where as the Kiche Maya use the last day.

This concept of Trecena has been passed down through oral tradition, but never referenced in Maya stelae.

Find Out More

At Mayanday.com our new Interactive Trecena Analysis tool will help you understand the real meaning of the Mayan Calendar. This knowledge has been preserved by the K'ichi' Maya in the highlands of Guatemala and Maya of the Yucatán Peninsula.

View the Trecena in its entirety, as well as each individual day, with our new Interactive Trecena Analysis tool. You won't find anything like it anywhere else!

By signing up for a membership at mayanday.com, you'll have access to this exclusive content that explores the meanings of each day sign and how they can be used to guide your life path.

 

The Maya Pyramids are some of the oldest structures still standing.

Maya

Tikal

The ancient Egyptians used cut sandstone blocks to build their pyramids, but unlike them, the Maya only partially used cut blocks of limestone. Instead of layering blocks and blocks of cut stone, which would have been more time consuming, they created the basic forms of their pyramids by using a fill, which was a mix of smaller stone, garbage such as broken pottery pieces, and soil. They would then form quickly built construction walls of stacked stones to hold back the fill.

Once the fill had taken shape and was the desired height or depth, the Maya would then cover that with cut and shaped limestones. Sometimes those cut stones were large, other times they could be the size of fists. These pieces were precisely created to fit together with a limestone mortar and would be the face of the pyramid. These cut stones were then covered in plaster and painted and designed to reflect the power of the ruler who ordered the pyramid be built.

Some of the pyramids that the Maya built were first constructed over 2000 years ago, and their clever use of the environment and resources around them mean that many of those pyramids are still standing today. In Guatemala, an area rife with tectonic activity, their pyramids are even earthquake proof!

Did the Maya calendar end on December 21, 2012?

Maya sun

Many people have become interested in the Maya culture over the past few years with the help of several good documentaries. The big news around 2012 was that the Maya predicted that the world would end on Dec 21, 2012. Obviously, that didn’t happen, so did they just get it that date wrong?

No, because the Maya did NOT in fact predict the end of the world. The Maya had two calendar systems, the tzolk’in (sacred calendar) and the haab (more everyday calendar). Used together, the two would create what is called a long count. The long count is divided into the k’in (day), unial (20 days), tun (eighteen unial’s), k’atun (twenty tuns), and the bak’tun (twenty k’atuns). 

Based on this system, the Maya recorded time in a circular manner, rather than a linear one that Western societies do. The event of Dec 21, 2012 was not the end of the world, but a change over to the start of a new cycle – basically the way we celebrate the new millennium in 2000.

The Maya developed Math and Zero

 

The Maya people developed an early form of number theory, geometry, and astronomical technology that enabled them to predict solar eclipses and create calendars. They used this ability to accurately predict patterns in the movement of the stars and the planets that they observed. It was these systems that helped them create some extremely accurate calendars that could have dates set for the ancient past or far future. 

Their math was different than ours though. While we use a base 10 system, the Maya used a base 20, possibly because when they started counting, they used their fingers and their toes! Many ancient civilizations used an association system of numbers to predict future events. What makes the Maya so special, is that they are the only civilization whose long-term prediction of planetary alignments was accurate. Their knowledge of this unique system has helped scientists better understand Earth’s orbit pattern over time!

Part of why they were able to do such amazing astronomy and calendars is that the Maya developed the concept of the number zero, and they were one of the few ancient cultures to do so. This allowed them to have incredibly accurate math systems that they used to observe the heavens, build amazing structures, and create a complex calendar that that accounted for the fractions of days that our planet experiences. Today, we deal with that fraction by creating a lead day every four years. The Maya added four additional days to the end of the calendar and adjusted their calculations. 

The Maya people used hieroglyphs as a form of writing

Mayan Alphabet. Close up of hieroglyph or glyph writing system found in Copan (Honduras), Tikal (Guatemala) and Chichen Itza, Palenque, Uxmal, Yaxchilan, Bonampak (Mexico).

Despite treating the Maya people as a monolith, it is likely that they were not one ethnic or cultural group. When the Spanish arrived in Central America in the 16th century, there were dozens of languages being spoken, all of which shared a root family, and so has been called Maya languages. These include Quiché, Kaqchikel, and K'iche'. It is likely that this diversity of language existed in the Pre-Columbian past of the Maya as well.

The Maya also had a written language, in the form of hieroglyph, with each letter representing a sound, so you would only need to know a few letters to read or write a word. This writing is most commonly found from the Classic Period (AD 300 – AD 900) on altars, stelae, and other monumental items. These would tell the stories of grand deeds done by rulers and war leaders. They would also include the dates these important events happened, so archaeologists can now read exactly when these things happened.

Origin of the Mayan Civilization

The Mayans were an ancient civilization which existed thousands of years ago. They populated the regions of the Yucatán Peninsula, southern Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and a part of El Salvador.

They dominated these regions for thousands of years, building huge cities and enormous pyramids. Experts in Math and Astronomy, they excelled in agriculture and trade, and they even developed a very unique writing and number system, not to mention their calendrical systems. 

Maya

Stone Jaguar Heads

The Mayans developed a sophisticated literary culture, and many of their monuments and religious ceremonies are of great archaeological significance.

Archaeologists are now discovering even more astonishing things about the Maya, underneath the overgrowth of the jungle. The Maya left behind quite a mystery for the future to uncover…

Timeline

There is still debate about an exact timeline for the Maya, as new discoveries keep changing the history. A general consensus is that the earliest Mayan villages in Central America and Mexico, are dated back to as early as 2500 B.C. 

Great waring city states were established, and the Maya civilization prospered for thousands of years. 

Just before the Spanish arrived in Mesoamerica, the Maya began to disperse. This is a big mystery in the history and understanding of the civilization. 

 

The Mayans became the dominant power in Mesoamerica in the second half of the first millennium A.D. But the Maya were not the first civilization to emerge in this ancient land.

Pre Maya 

Before the Mayans established their Civilization, The Olmec and Zapotec people made their mark. The Olmec famous for their enormous stone heads, lived in southeastern Mexico, what is now the modern state of Tabasco. 

Olmec

Olmec Stone Head

La Venta is one famous site left by the Olmec, dating to around 1100 B.C. they left behind many amazing giant sculptures, pyramids, and monuments. Archaeologists say that the Olmec date back to about 1500 B.C.

The Zapotec culture, dating to around 700 B.C, pre date the Maya. They ruled in the region that is now Oaxaca Mexico. One major site the Zapotec built, is a large pyramid complex called Monte Alban. 

Piecing together the chronology of the city through pottery, archaeologists have pieced together 2000 years of history for this ancient city. Divided into 5 parts of history, this one city in Oaxaca Mexico has a rich and deep past. 

Pre Classic

Generally the Pre Classic period for the Maya describes the civilizations beginning. From settlers to villages, the Maya began to establish their culture. They begin constructing their first ceremonial city’s and temples.

Around 750 B.C the Mayans establish their first city Nakbe in the northern Guatemalan lowlands. Nakbe is just a few kilometers south of the recently heralded El Miradaor, site and its massive pyramid La Danta.

One of the most famous Mayan archaeological sites, Tikal, was constructed in the Pre Classic period around the 4th century B.C. It is towards the end of the Pre Classic period the Maya start erecting massive cities all over southern Mexico and Central America. 

Classic Period

The Classic Period of the Maya is when the civilization flourished. 

In this period of Mayan history, many major city states battled with each other for power over certain regions.

King Pakal and his lineage start to build amazing temples at Palenque in the jungles of Chiapas, Mexico. Including the temple of inscriptions, the palace, and the temple of the cross group. The history of Palenque stretches from 226 B.C. to 799 A.D. 

Palenque

Palenque

Although not as big as other Mayan sites like Tikal. Palenque is known for its massive amounts of monuments, glyphs, and reliefs that were preserved so well. It’s lineages of rulers also added to the history of Palenque. Including the famous Pakal, who ruled Palenque for 68 years. 

Tikal one of the biggest Mayan sites known today, was a powerful city state in the Classic Period. Tikal reigned over a large part of the Guatemala lowlands and part of Mexico during its rule. 

Many cities all over Mesoamerica flourished in this period.

Copan in Honduras

Bonampak in southern Mexico

Chichen Itza and Uxmal in the Yucatan 

After the flowering of the Classic Period, the Maya began to gradually fall…

Post Classic Period 

Mayapan one of the last city’s of the Maya was built in the late Post Classic period around 1220 A.D. The city contains thousands of structures. Eventually abandoned in the middle of the 14th century. 

There are many theories of why the Maya abandoned their cities. Some say overpopulation, some say drought or war, but we still do not know exactly why.

Maya

Mayan Ruins

After thousands of years the Mayan civilization passed into history. The ancient settlements vanished, but traces of their existence in the form of structures are being discovered every year.

Did the ancient Mayans have a longer recorded history than previously thought? With the new discoveries, archaeologists are now claiming that the Mayans may have solidified their culture in the Pre Classic period.

New Discoveries 

Using LIDAR, a light detection and ranging technology. Archaeologists have been able to see through the jungle from above and scan the forest floor. 

This technology has changed the whole perception of the Mayan city Tikal. Archaeologists are now saying that ten to fifteen million people once lived in this region. 

LIDAR has revealed numerous previously undiscovered structures. Leading to new theories about the Maya.

The Maya People Still Live

The Ancient Mayans are gone, but the Maya people still live in modern day Central America, and Mexico. They carry on their past with oral tradition and ceremony. 

Traveling through the Yucatan and Guatemala, one can see the Maya people are still here.

Conclusion

Thankfully the Mayans were obsessed with their calendars and recording the dates of major events. They recorded astrological events, war related events, they also preserved lineages and recorded the dates kings and queens would ascend to the throne.

The history of the Mayan civilization survived on pottery locked away in secret burial chambers, hidden inside the pyramids. Survived on large carved monuments called “stela”, and the remaining codices that escaped the cultural destruction by the  Spanish.

Preserved by time and the aggressive jungle, hiding pyramids and almost the whole civilization under the trees. 

The Pre-Hispanic Mayan culture was the most advanced ancient civilization on the American continent, and existed for over 2,000 years from 800 BC to 1440 AD.

The pyramids

 

A visit to the Maya ruins is not complete without a tour of the largest pyramid in Ciudad del Mundo, also known as the Pyramid of the Magician. This enormous structure stands 113 feet (34 m) tall and reaches up into the clouds at an astounding 45 degrees. It is surrounded by countless tourists waiting in line to get their photos taken there.

However, despite the huge crowds and long waits, this isn’t some cheesy theme park type destination — you feel like you are being allowed to explore a sacred place. Many people even bring their kids here to learn about the ancient civilization that once stood strong in these parts.

There have been reports of poor behavior such as drinking and smoking from those who visited years ago. I would be willing to bet that most visitors wouldn’t consider it, but it could hurt your experience if you come across as being disrespectful to the culture or the environment.

The locals still work hard to protect and preserve what belongs to them, which is only fair since they were first inhabitants of the area.

The fallen kingdom

How Old are the Mayan Ruins?

The Maya were known for their advanced calendar watching systems and ancient mythology, but what many people don’t know is that they were also highly innovative industrial civilizations. For thousands of years, they produced vast quantities of beautiful stone sculptures and hieroglyphics as well as sophisticated paper works and accounting schemes. These are all characteristics commonly associated with modern civilization.

It was through this process that they developed lots of valuable properties in my opinion, such as palm oil, cacao, and several medicines including cancer treatments and antibiotics. Cocoa hardens when roasted making it very versatile food!

By keeping its inhabitants too busy to build empires or conquer other kingdoms, Maya civilization flourished only by feeding itself and maintaining internal peace. It was not until the arrival of Spanish Christians in the early 16th century that the Maya began to flee their dwindling cities and villages. Stations have been set up along public roads leading into the forest to guide travelers escaping the spread of western disease and infection.

Numerous studies show that frequent exposure to classical music programs can help children develop higher level reasoning skills and appreciate different styles of musical expression. This has helped numerous communities worldwide embrace the “listening model” of education which emphasizes enjoyment of music as a way to improve cognition and coordination.

These concepts have become so engrained in our culture that we no longer recognize them as innovative inventions, instead attributing them to ancient cultures.

The lost cities

How Old are the Mayan Ruins?

Archaeologists used to think that most of the evidence for ancient Maya civilization was buried under later ages, but that’s changing.

In 2013, after years of digging by volunteers with local group Grupo Cazadores de Palenque (PCP), excavators discovered an amazing hidden city called La Rotunda en El Narbona, or “The Round City in El Narbonne” located next to the ocean in San Salvador del Galeo, Spain. And it's just the beginning! In 2014 and 2015, excavations continued into adjacent areas discovering more buildings and features, bringing researchers new clues about the layout and organization of the city.

Combined, the discoveries made so far represent the remains of at least one urban center stretching over 45 acres, built near the coast and covering 12 square miles. This makes Tikal much larger than Rome is when measured by area filled with architecture.

Also found were large amounts of stone tools showing signs of having been used in tool making. It appears these people were farmers who grew crops such as maize and probably also beans. Another surprising find was the number of scrapes and cuts on door frames, which suggests there were many burials associated with this culture.

These are all indications of careful planning and execution during the construction of this site. There’s no evidence of war here, only peace.

The jungle gyms

How Old are the Mayan Ruins?

When I was in Guatemala, my friends and I would go to many ruins sites. We would run through the rain, had fun, and made mistakes.

One of the most exciting but also dangerous things we did while exploring is climb up trees to put new swings and platforms in the jungle gym area. This way, people can have more fun without getting sick.

But there are ways you can enjoy the wild beauty of these ancient cities without putting yourself in danger. For instance, you can learn how to swim or take water tours where visitors can explore the surrounding areas by boat. You can also try hiking somewhere near Cuzco.

The ancient roads

How Old are the Mayan Ruins?

Several international groups have spent years conducting surveys, making soil borings, and studying satellite imagery of possible roadways in the rainforest region where the ruins are located.

They have concluded that there were many routes developed long with early settlers about 2,500 to 3,000 years ago.

There is also evidence that some trails were built later for military purposes.

In addition to this information, we know that the Maya used a calendar system with only short intervals between cycles (years) until around 250 BC.

This suggests that they may have started their annual counting routines at random times, which would make them difficult to coordinate with other people’s schedules.

The most reasonable suggestion is that someone decided upon a schedule and kept track of time.

The lost city of pyramids

How Old are the Mayan Ruins?

For years, people have been intrigued by reports of an ancient city deep in the heart of the rainforest in Central America. This is what has made many wonder whether there might be more to learn from the Maya than just history.

Many studies claim that they were one of the most advanced cultures of their time. They built highways, large cities, and maintained detailed records about birth, death, and political events.

Some even say that they calculated prophecies discovered through astronomy. It is believed that around the year AD 1000, the Maya realized that this long cycle of predictions was coming to an end and that someone would come who could undo all that they had created.

According to Dr. Charles Littlefield, author of "The Rise and Fall of the Maya Empire", they must have felt that the world was ending when it actually wasn't. As such, he says, they prepared messages for future generations to explain how to restore balance to the universe.

These predictions went unheeded, however, and no one knew what to do. Since they didn't understand money or metals like hieroglyphics or ceramics, none of the writings found any followers. By then, the jungle had grown very thick and trees covered almost everything. Archaeologists believe that the inhabitants moved out of the area, leaving little evidence behind.

Today, only tiny fragments remain of these impressive structures. With every year that passes, discovery goes beyond initial estimates. Nowadays

The great Maya peace

How Old are the Mayan Ruins?

The Maya people were known for their beautiful architecture, artistry and skill in calculation. They built many large cities that remained standing for years before falling into ruins.

What really separated these city-states from other Mesoamerican peoples was its writing system. The Maya used a numerical system with counting rods to record time. This allowed them to predict events such as rainy seasons and harvest times accurately.

How did they do it? Simple. You’ve probably got your own number now or you’ve got friends who do! Count anything: from apples to oranges to full moons. A tally mark is what we call any symbol—any picture really —that can serve as a count marker.

Put two or more of those together and you get a date. Add a year and you get something very close to our age today – which is how the Maya calculated all sorts of things.

For example, if this day here equals one month then every second month she will have an entire moon. Combine that with the long lunar cycle they must have had and you get some staggering numbers I just don’t understand. Perhaps someone else can take that sequence and shuffle it around to come up with an answer…

The source of the river

How Old are the Mayan Ruins?

Despite more than 100 years having passed since the time when they were last visited, the Maya ruins at Coba still draw thousands of tourists from all over the world every year.

However, there is much more to see at these remarkable sites. While I was reporting in Chiapas back in 1995, I made it a habit to visit the various archaeological zones and even toured some of them with local experts or government officials.

What I learned about the cultures whose remains are contained within these impressive buildings drew me closer to what I refer to as “the true Mexico”. Here you will find beautiful scenery, profound ancient traditions, and many opportunities to connect with the people who live here.

In addition to this, Chiapas has a variety of natural amenities including gorgeous beaches, forests, and plateaus. You can also go hiking, take horseback rides, or just explore the area by car.

If you prefer, you can also do intensive Spanish study (all levels), English translation services, film production, mineral/bird-watching tours, surfing lessons, and other worthwhile experiences.

The birth of a civilization

How Old are the Mayan Ruins?

Archaeologists use tools to excavate ancient sites, find evidence about the past. When they’re able to date something using markers found in the site, that information is used by scientists to help them understand how ancient cultures developed.

Archaeological discoveries are helping us better understand how our own culture evolved. Evidence exists that points towards many different civilizations developing at roughly the same time here around 10,000 BC.

By comparison, the earliest written records we have for most countries seem to be older than those for their historic religions. We know more about early Christianity because it was recorded in writing.

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