Mayan Wisdom

As our world gets smaller and livability issues intensify, Mayan wisdom is making its way into the limelight. Due to all of the attention paid to the supposed end-date of the Mayan Long Count calendar in the year 2012, the Maya find themselves on an unprecedented threshold of credibility for their wisdom teachings, prophecies and calendars.

The Maya have closely guarded this information for centuries, careful to hide with it in the mountains while fearing for their lives. Eventually, and according to prophecy, the Peace Accord was signed in 1996 and a time to trust outsiders with this knowledge has gradually been coming to pass. Today, the Mayan elders are initiating a record number of daykeepers, including some who are non-indigenous, and a Pan-Mayan movement is gaining momentum through their land. These teachings, they say, are what we have been unwittingly been waiting for.

Information about the Mayan Cross broadens the ongoing Mayan calendar discussion in the West. While some continue to debate the Long Count end-date and “futurize” on events largely out of anyone’s control, the Maya stay focused, every day, on the calendar that does make a difference to them, the Mayan sacred calendar. This calendar, and the components derived from it such as the Mayan Cross, have been a cornerstone in Mayan daily life for thousands of years.

Simply put, these tools have withstood the test of time because they are effective at helping us know ourselves and at keeping us present in the moment. As is taught by many of the greatest world traditions, this is the way to animate life, make it more enjoyable, magical and provide us with the ability to accept and worship whatever is. 

Variations on the Mayan Cross Theme

There are at least three different Mayan Cross configurations currently in use in the Maya-lands (probably more, but three styles are prevalent). The one used on this site, the six-sign Mayan Cross, is the most popularized in Guatemala but, until recently, has little visibility in Western society.

The nine-sign Mayan birth chart (not counting the Year Bearer) is an expansion of the six-sign configuration which is taught by several lineages in Guatemala. This chart was referred to as "specifying a person" in Molesky-Poz' Contemporary Maya Spirituality and is practiced by Carlos Barrios and many others.  The chart below is for 11.Flint. Note that it is the same as the six-sign chart, but expanded to include added dimensions at all three levels of the vertical axis.



This nine-sign chart below was created by an Aj q'ij in Que'chi country, near Rio Dulce on the east side of Guatemala. This is the chart for 1.Wisdom, note the use of classic epigraphy

 People often ask which version of the Mayan Cross is “right” and which is “wrong,” This question also arises when learning about the interpretations of the Day Signs and Numerals in the Mayan Cross.

There is no right and wrong when it comes to ancient wisdom. Mayan wisdom, as with other traditions, manifests in a wide variety of ways depending upon the lineage that handed it down. The nuances have the  same basis, but we may find marvelously different expressions based on who taught whom.

To think, then, that we, as students and outsiders, are in a position to judge which is correct or incorrect, is ludicrous.