Mayan Cross Glossary Definition


When I asked Grandmother Elizabeth Araujo about the origins of the Mayan Cross, she told me that the Mayan Cross system was taught by the original prophets from Pleiades who imparted the wisdom of the calendars. These are the same prophets who, according to the Mayan creation story, the Popul Vuh, taught this version of humanity how to worship the sanctity of each day.


Note that the Mayan Cross typically has four arms of the same length, unlike the Christian cross. The bejewled Cross pictured above is a good example of the syncretism between the Mayan and Catholic traditions.

The Mayan Cross is the human embodiment of the Tree of Life, also known as the World Tree. The four points of the cross are the same as the four directions. The Maya refer to these points as the Heart of the Heaven (head), Heart of the Earth (feet), Heart of the Wind (right arm) and Heart of the Water (left arm). The human heart is in the center.


 For the past ten years, Mayan cultural foundations and conferences have been allowed to publish booklets describing Mayan cosmovision, the nawales and the 20 Mayan crosses.  The good news is that, for the first time since the Spanish conquest 500 years ago, the Maya are relatively free to practice their spirituality openly, without fear of being killed for their beliefs.

Today, a growing number of perhaps thousands of Aj q’jab Maya of Guatemala make serious use of the Mayan Cross as a life-guidance tool. The importance of the role of Aj q’ij has never been more credible among the Maya and in the world. Because of the 2012 phenomena and a growing awareness that links the evolution of consciousness with the Mayan calendars, the Maya are on the threshold of credibility never before experienced.


Though my first exposure to the Mayan Cross came from the well-known leader of the Guatemalan Maya, Don Alejandro Cirilo Perez Oxlaj, and his translator Elizabeth Araujo, a few Western scholars had been writing about the Mayan Cross years before I came across it. What you see on this website results from my study, exposure and meditations with the Mayan Cross.

My research has uncovered numerous definitions and versions of the Mayan day signs, numerals and fine points of the calendars and Mayan Crosses.  The double Mayan Cross pictured right is an example of this variety. The reality is that, as with other ancient, esoteric practices, there are several different interpretations based on lineage. It is my opinion that it is more productive to explore the varieties rather than to debate which is “right” or “wrong.”  They all are living expressions of the subcultures of the Maya. Click here to see other versions of the Mayan Cross.

For the Westerner, the method that resonates most fully to the individual is the one that will be used by that individual.  If it does not resonate, it will not work any wonders. For me, the Mayan Cross described here has been a source that helped me come to grips with my karma and my dharma. It may not do that for everyone.

I cannot emphasize enough how challenging it is to translate the Mayan worldview into our own. Sometimes it feels nearly impossible. Grandmother Elizabeth is one of the finest English/Spanish translators of the Mayan calendar alive. When she looked at the site and the definition for the day sign “Bird,” I could see that it clearly perplexed her. In her mind, the English word “bird” just does not do the Nawal the justice it deserves.  To the contrary, it minimizes its grandeur, power and implications. The Mayan languages are arguably some of the most eloquent languages in existence, and when an Aj q’ij speaks to a Nawal, the language is beautiful, flowery and reaches the depths and recesses of human emotions. The word “bird” typically does not have that effect.  It is for this reason that it is important to meditate on the glyphs, colors and keywords. Otherwise we may be confined by our own tongue.