Mayan Life Path Astrology
With interpretations by
Feb 12 1809
6:54:00 AM LMT
Mayan Long Count: 220.127.116.11.3
Sacred Day: 63
Night Lord: 9
Birth Year: 5-East (Earthquake).
The Astrology of Time
Like many peoples, the ancient Maya and Aztecs studied the mysterious influence of the rhythms of the sky on earthly life. However, the sophisticated way in which they organized and interpreted these rhythms is uniquely their own. Every 24 hours, the Sun rises and sets, creating the basic cycle of life around which we set our clocks and calendars. Using this all-important cycle, the day, as their basic unit, the ancient American astrologers found that there is significance in many cycles that are even multiples of the day. About 100 years ago Europeans discovered similar cycles (there are many of them) and called them biorhythms.
The most important Mayan⁄Aztec cycles were those of 1 day, 9 days, 13 days, and 20 days. In addition, they discerned a 52-year cycle composed of 4- and 13-year cycles. They also paid close attention to divisions of the 584-day Sun-Venus cycle. This puts any given day at a certain place in at least half a dozen cycles, so that for a very long period no two days are exactly the same.
Your Mayan Life Path Astrology report takes your birth date and shows just where in these important ancient cycles you were born. Each section that you read below will examine your place in a specific cycle and what it says about a specific facet of your personality. Putting these different facets together will give a rounded picture of your character. While this picture may in places seem contradictory, this is because human nature is complex. You have probably noticed how we present a different face depending on who we meet and the situation we are in.
Although the Mayan system is very different from the astrology that we are used to, you will find that what it says about you will usually show many correlations with your conventional Western horoscope. But because Mayan astrology sees you through its own distinctive lens, it is bound to give you some very interesting and useful new insights as well.
Your Most Personal Traits
To the Maya and Aztecs, probably the most important cycle for describing a personality was the 20-day sequence of day-signs. Each of the 20 days was named for a different animal or other image such as Crocodile, Wind, House, Monkey, Earthquake, Rain or Flower.
The Aztecs would call your day-sign your Tonalli, the form bestowed upon you by the Sun. Your day-sign describes your strongest and most obvious personality traits -- who you are and how you appear to others, at least on the surface.
Each day-sign had its own pictorial symbol. The more abstract glyph on the left is the Mayan representation, while the more realistic one on the right is Aztec.
Having House as your day-sign indicates that though it might not be immediately obvious to you or others, you tend to dominate situations without really trying to. You may simply be physically large or especially sexually attractive, or you may dress in a manner that enhances your personal power. Even if you exert your power in more subtle ways, it is still something that others must contend with.
In most cases, your power is completely legitimate, as it would be if you were a teacher, healer or leader. In such situations, knowledge is power. For some House personalities, however, the power issue may be buried more deeply in the psyche. In this case it is sometimes a source of problems like envy, jealousy, possessiveness and conflicts with authority. Generally though, you do not overtly seek power. It is just that you assume that power is your right in life, and you make choices that keep your power secure.
Patience, endurance and hard work seem to come naturally to you. You are able to work for years on a project with no sign of fatigue or loss of interest. Huge or extremely difficult projects have a special appeal for you, and you become dedicated to realizing your goals, no matter how long it may take. Science, math or other systems of knowledge (including occultism, magic and astrology) may interest you because they aid you in being mentally organized about things and because they allow your mind access to the underlying foundations of the universe. Traditions appeal to you, and you have a strong respect for history. You tend to take a structural approach to life. The more things are organized, the more they are secure and under your control. Even if it takes ten or more years to achieve this goal of organization, you will tough it out.
You have a powerful intellect and are capable of solving difficult problems. However, before you attempt something radical or unproven you tend to try the more conservative, tried-and-true solution. Your need to be organized and systematic leads to a tendency to be overly logical and possibly intellectually rigid, at least in some areas of your life. While you have great strength of intellect, you also tend to be quite stubborn about changing your mind. This is probably because you work so hard to see things a certain way, and have built up so much mental inertia, that a change for you requires a major overhaul of the logical framework you have constructed. Whether you are conservative or radical, however, it is true that those of strong, resilient mind eventually impress their views on the rest of the world. When they are writers, architects, artists, composers or thoughtful leaders, people born under House can leave a lasting legacy.
Security, both mental and physical, is a major issue for you. The physical security that a home, house, building or other structure represents may be an issue, or the emotional security that family ties offer may predominate. Whatever the case, you probably place a very strong emphasis on these matters when it comes time to make crucial life decisions. You may choose to work with or live near family, or possibly become involved in real estate. You have strong territorial instincts and know your exact boundaries -- emotional and physical. Your personal territorial instincts often extend to others and you can be extremely devoted to those you love or choose to protect. On the negative side, any deep-seated insecurities you have may transform these instincts into jealousy and possessiveness.
As suggested by the symbol of the sectioned temple that the Aztecs used to denote this sign, you can be extremely private and even a bit reclusive. Paradoxically, you seem to know everyone, or at least all the people who are worthwhile for you to know. But this is just a manifestation of your deeply embedded political instincts. Ultimately, you are not really a “team player.” Even when alone-time is hard to come by in the course of your busy, hardworking life, you look forward to it. House personalities often live alone, or maintain a special area where they won’t be disturbed. You have a strong ego and usually don’t cave in to outside pressures that try to take you away from your own psychological or physical private space. While it may just be that you feel uncomfortable talking to others about your personal problems, there is a part of you that cannot be accessed by others. This could cause serious problems in your intimate relationships.
House is the third of the twenty day-signs. The Aztec symbol for this sign was a sectioned temple -- probably chosen to suggest the interior of a building or structure. Their name for the sign was Calli and they linked it with a jaguar-like god of the earth’s interior called Tepeyollotl. The Aztecs regarded House as a sign of persons who preferred seclusion, but who were also very respectful and well-liked by others.
The personality of your day-sign is reflected in the planet and sign emphasis in your Western astrological chart. People born under House usually have signs like Cancer, Leo, Scorpio or Capricorn emphasized. You are also likely to have a strongly placed Pluto or Saturn, and quite possibly an emphasized 12th house or Neptune. These would symbolize your need for privacy and seclusion.
Your Deeper Self
Overlaying the cycle of 20 day-signs is another cycle of 13 days called the Trecena. Your day-sign therefore has a number from 1 to 13 attached to it. This indicates which day your birth falls on in the particular 13-day period that was in effect when you came into the world. The Trecena adds another layer of meaning to each day. Instead of just 20 day-signs, there are actually 260 possible combinations of day-sign and day-number. This longer 260-day cycle is known as the Tzolkin, the Maya⁄Aztec sacred year.
The number attached to your day-sign may or may not turn out to have personal significance for you. What is more important is the day-sign on which the 13-day period started. The whole 13-day period during which you were born takes its meaning from the day-sign on which that period began.
The sign that rules your 13-day period shows how you react -- and by extension, what you like, what you like to do, and who you really are underneath. Our reactions both attract and repel us from things, people, and situations. They come from mostly unconscious drives, and show what is needed by our deeper selves.
Accompanying your day-sign, House, is the number 11. This means that you were born on the eleventh day of a Trecena that began with the day 1-Reed.
Beneath your surface personality you have the Reed person’s integrity and strong sense of self. You feel that you are, or could be, important, and you constantly seek self-improvement. You have a strong need to conquer your enemies and to achieve your objectives. Because you are direct about getting what you want, others are likely to see you as an assertive person who has a great deal of initiative.
You have good intuition and possibly even psychic abilities, and you are also a deep thinker. Contemplating the nature of life philosophically, you may even have a formal interest in philosophy.
Another of your characteristics is that you find the problems of social life, relationships, and cooperation to be a great challenge to meet. You rush in to solve these problems, but you attempt to do so within the framework of your philosophical understanding of life. However, not all problems can be solved by an internally consistent intellectual model. Somewhat rigid intellectually, you need to learn to be more accepting of the contradictions and inconsistencies of human existence. If you can do this, your universe will expand dramatically. While you would make a good teacher and role model, you should always be aware of your tendency to be somewhat self-righteous and overconfident about your own opinions.
Your day-sign, House, is a sign of the West, the direction that symbolizes encounters and cooperation with others. Reed, the ruler of your Trecena, is a sign of the East, the direction that symbolizes action, self-interest and self-realization. These opposing directions indicate a struggle between your drive to attain selfhood and your need to get along with people. This can mean potential conflicts in relationships and cooperation issues, but it is also the source of your drive in life. Working with this dynamic can lead you to great heights and great accomplishments. You have the potential to lead others, to teach, or to set an example.
Your Patterns of Relationship
Yet another cycle comes from a real planetary phenomenon, the 584-day Sun-Venus cycle, which the Maya and Aztecs mythologized as the descent to Earth of the feathered serpent god, Quetzalcoatl. On Earth, Quetzalcoatl’s experiences take him from headstrong youth to reflective maturity.
Like the Moon, Venus has four phases depending on where it is in relation to the Sun. However, Venus phases are of unequal length, and the length varies somewhat from cycle to cycle. Approximating the length of the phases, the Maya and Aztec astrologers assigned a set number of days to each of them:
ó First comes the Inferior Conjunction, a phase of 8 days when Venus is too close to the Sun to be visible. This is Quetzalcoatl in the Underworld, awaiting rebirth.
ó Then comes the 236-day Morning Star phase, when Venus becomes visible before dawn. This is the youthful Quetzalcoatl, who, overcome by desire and lust, commits sins and pushes against the boundaries of society.
ó Then comes the 90-day Superior Conjunction phase, when Venus again disappears behind the Sun’s rays. Quetzalcoatl disappears from the scene to engage in a warlike, athletic duel with the Sun.
ó Finally comes the 250-day Evening Star phase, when Venus becomes visible again, this time after sunset. Chastened and fully sober, Quetzalcoatl emerges from battle and walks the Earth until his sacrificial death at the Inferior Conjunction.
The Venus phase at your birth in some part mirrors the state of Quetzalcoatl in his journey through life. In particular, your Venus phase symbolizes your relationship patterns -- your style of approaching others and becoming involved with them. This applies to the way you relate not only to individuals, but also to groups and to society as a whole.
Venus as Evening Star
At your birth, Venus was in its Evening Star phase. This suggests that for you, feelings and emotions arise after, not before, action has been taken. In making judgments, which you do very well, you evaluate what has happened against the background of society’s rules and values. You instinctively understand the power, and perhaps the correctness, of the world as it is and has been. The values and morals of the past are important to you, so that your vision may be strongly influenced by tradition.
In your life you have a sense of inevitable compromise. This is possibly a reaction to your awareness of having been strongly imprinted by society, culture or your parents. One result of this can be seen in your stance toward the powers that be. It is possible that, deep down, you are troubled by your conditioning, and the way it causes you to evaluate and interpret the world in a certain way. But this is very subtle. Most of you will only notice this pattern in a general way. It will be far more obvious, however, when you view it over the course of a lifetime.
For you, participating in traditions and in your culture’s definition of reality can be your path to success and emotional satisfaction. Whether or not you consciously intend it, you may become successful through personifying certain family and traditional values. In extreme cases, you could achieve hero status as a person who represents the values in which your society believes.
Your Deepest and Darkest Motivations
The ancient Mayan and Aztec astrologers also used a 9-day cycle of gods and goddesses called the Lords of the Night. These deities symbolize the forces that lie at the bottom of your will to exist. On a personality level, they symbolize the workings of your deepest and darkest self, parts of you that others may not know of or understand.
Lord 9: Tlaloc
You were born under the ninth Lord of the Night, Tlaloc (TLA-loke). This great Aztec deity was the major god of rain and lightning. With his consort Chalchihuitlicue (chal-chee-WIT-lee-ku-ee) he ruled over the spirits of the mountains and the weather. He was said to live in a mountain cave which was like a treasure house. Like this god, you are a person who is in touch with nature and yet quite solitary. You are also one for whom companionship is very important.
You are an unusually strong, independent character. You are so self-sufficient that others often feel this as rejection. You are also something of a radical, not really a part of all the social life going on around you. In this sense you may appear to be somewhat antagonistic. In reality you are a hard worker who prefers to work alone.
You want to do things by yourself and you really don’t want much help. Your quest is for true independence from others. You don’t want to be in a situation where you must wait for someone else to provide you with what you could obtain in half the time. In part, it’s your lack of patience that motivates you to do things for yourself. Others sometimes see you as pushy. This is your darker side. Cultivate compassion for those who are different from you.
It is your self-sufficient nature that makes it difficult for you to sustain relationships. If you are doing everything yourself, how does someone else fit in? Another way of looking at a relationship problem you might have is that you have high standards. You expect things to be at a certain level and you know that you can do it -- so why wait for someone else to mess it up. One result of this pattern is that you get yourself involved with people who are failures in one way or another.
You value your privacy. To have time alone is good for you. In your space you accumulate things, collections or things of value. You especially enjoy things from the past, or things from the sea. You love nature and enjoy both mountains and water. Spending time in nature is a healing experience for you and you should make an effort to get away from time to time.
The Meaning of Your Birth Year
The Maya and Aztec astrologers also recognized that each year produces a unique group of people. Each individual year in a 52-year cycle is linked with a number and a compass direction that has an astrological meaning. The delineation below describes the general traits that you share with others born in your year.
You were born during the year called 5-East. The Eastern direction is where it all begins, where the day begins when the Sun rises, and where the Moon and planets also rise, thus beginning their diurnal cycles. Symbolically, therefore, East is the direction that symbolizes the energy behind all coming into existence.
Being born during a year ruled by the East means that for you and your contemporaries, life is an opportunity to celebrate your individual existence and to demonstrate your self-worth. Your life is about you, and the development, or rise, of your personal identity. In a very general sense, you are a seeker of self-realization, a person who is striving to be someone.
Being basically a self-starter, you don’t always need others to help you achieve your goals. Quickly seeing what has to be done, you roll up your sleeves and get to work. Competitive, you tend to rise quickly to the top of whatever organization you are in. Your year group is activist and progressive, and generally stays near the front of the wave. Your worst tendency is to become too self-involved and neglectful of others and their concerns.
The number 5 preceding the direction of your birth year indicates that you and your contemporaries have a special need to find individual purpose. When you find a creative way to express the qualities symbolized by East, you will achieve a unique kind of centeredness and self-reliance.
Your Days of Peak Experience
Perhaps you may have noticed periods in your life when everything seems to speed up and rush forward, times when things can even feel a bit out of control. Sometimes people accomplish great things during these periods. Sometimes they fail at something, or feel particularly stressed. Sometimes there are distinct crisis events or turning points. More often, people just find that their experience during these periods becomes richer, more event-packed and intense.
The Maya noticed that similar critical periods tended to occur in their society as a whole. They saw these as recurring at regular 65-day intervals during every 260-day sacred year, on the days 4-Serpent, 4-Dog, 4-Eagle and 4-Flower. Marked by rituals involving fire, these came to be known as “burner” periods.
Individuals also seem to have their own critical or burner periods, but these are counted from the day of birth rather than 1-Crocodile, the first day of the sacred year. Starting from whatever day you were born, there is a “peak” or critical day every 65 days. The quality of these days depends on the day-sign and Trecena of your birth. You will probably find that your experience of life starts to intensify about five days before the critical day and then builds until the actual date is reached.
Listed below, for a 5-year period, are your personal peak, or “critical” dates, each with its corresponding day-sign and Trecena number, and a keyword that suggests the most productive way to focus your energies at that time.
Critical day List for Abraham Lincoln
Start Date: Dec⁄31⁄2020
End Date: Jan⁄2⁄2026
Nov⁄22⁄2020Full11-Reed East debate.
Jan⁄26⁄20213rd Q11-Knife North understand.
Apr⁄1⁄2021New11-House West solve.
Jun⁄5⁄20211st Q11-Rabbit South establish.
Aug⁄9⁄2021Full11-Reed East debate.
Oct⁄13⁄20213rd Q11-Knife North understand.
Dec⁄17⁄2021New11-House West solve.
Feb⁄20⁄20221st Q11-Rabbit South establish.
Apr⁄26⁄2022Full11-Reed East debate.
Jun⁄30⁄20223rd Q11-Knife North understand.
Sep⁄3⁄2022New11-House West solve.
Nov⁄7⁄20221st Q11-Rabbit South establish.
Jan⁄11⁄2023Full11-Reed East debate.
Mar⁄17⁄20233rd Q11-Knife North understand.
May⁄21⁄2023New11-House West solve.
Jul⁄25⁄20231st Q11-Rabbit South establish.
Sep⁄28⁄2023Full11-Reed East debate.
Dec⁄2⁄20233rd Q11-Knife North understand.
Feb⁄5⁄2024New11-House West solve.
Apr⁄10⁄20241st Q11-Rabbit South establish.
Jun⁄14⁄2024Full11-Reed East debate.
Aug⁄18⁄20243rd Q11-Knife North understand.
Oct⁄22⁄2024New11-House West solve.
Dec⁄26⁄20241st Q11-Rabbit South establish.
Mar⁄1⁄2025Full11-Reed East debate.
May⁄5⁄20253rd Q11-Knife North understand.
Jul⁄9⁄2025New11-House West solve.
Sep⁄12⁄20251st Q11-Rabbit South establish.
Nov⁄16⁄2025Full11-Reed East debate.
As you can see, the same sequence of 4 day-signs repeats throughout your life. Every fourth time is a repetition of your natal day-sign. For an idea of the meaning of each of the other 3 day-signs, you can consult the list of brief day-sign meanings in the next section.
To provide a further understanding of your personal peak dates, the Critical Day table also includes a corresponding Moon phase and compass direction for each date. The meanings of the compass directions are as follows:
ó East-related days (Crocodile, Serpent, Water, Reed, Earthquake) emphasize the need to be creative, to do something new and to move forward.
ó North-related days (Wind, Death, Dog, Ocelot, Knife) indicate crisis and the need to protect oneself from negative energy. At these times the mind is under pressure.
ó West-related days (House, Deer, Monkey, Eagle, Rain) signify encounters with others, times of sharing, and loss of individual ego. Relationships become especially important.
ó South-related days (Lizard, Rabbit, Grass, Vulture, Flower) signify strong feelings and emotional extremes. They can also be times of accomplishment and activity in the outside world.
The Moon phases shown in your Critical Day list do not depict the actual Moon phase at the time. They are simply a convenient way of using a familiar cycle to give you a feeling for how each cycle of 4 Critical Days unfolds. The meaning of the Moon phases is as follows:
ó New: Every 260 days after birth, a new cycle begins with a repetition of the natal day-sign and Trecena number. This beginning is like the New Moon, traditionally a time of personal centering and new, barely conscious, beginnings.
ó 1st Q: The second point occurs 65 days later, and it symbolically corresponds to the First Quarter. Here and in the lunar cycle, this is a time of crisis that demands action and adjustment.
ó Full: The midpoint of the cycle, 130 days, corresponds to the Full Moon, a time signifying separation, perspective, and encounter with an entity fully outside oneself.
ó 3rd Q: Finally, the point 195 days from the start of the cycle corresponds to the Last Quarter. Like the corresponding Moon phase, this is a time of crisis that requires making a conscious choice.
Combining the lunar-cycle symbolism with the directional symbolism can give still deeper insight into the meaning of the critical days. For example, if a sign of the North coincides with the First or Last Quarter point in the cycle, the time may be especially stressful. If a sign of the West coincides with the Full Moon point in the cycle, there may be a stronger than usual emphasis on developments in relationships.
More about Ancient Mesoamerican Astrology
Like the civilizations of China, India and the Ancient Near East, the early American civilizations developed an astrology, a logic of the sky. Archaeological evidence of Native American astrology points to origins as far back as 600 BC, and perhaps even earlier. Unlike the astrologies of the Old World, the astrology of ancient Mesoamerica (Mexico and parts of Central America) developed in isolation and was not influenced by other traditions. Its very nature therefore is very different from the astrological traditions Westerners are more familiar with.
All of the Mesoamerican civilizations -- Olmec, Toltec, Maya, Zapotec and Aztec -- used essentially the same astrology. Although the names of the symbols varied, the concepts remained the same. Because the Aztecs were the predominant civilization at the time of the Spanish Conquest, we have chosen to use their symbol names in this modern reconstruction of the Mesoamerican astrological tradition.
Because the Maya and Aztecs did not have a developed writing system, and because most of their astrological knowledge was destroyed by the Spanish friars, little was known about this great product of their, and other Mesoamerican, cultures. The delineations used in this program were arrived at after several years of historical investigation, deep thought, and trial-and-error experimentation. Long lists of persons famous or known to the author, yet born under the same day-sign, were compared with each other. Eventually, this process led to some key concepts about each of the signs. This report presents the results, in the form of personality descriptions. These are based on the following cycles.
The 20 Day-Signs. At the core of Mesoamerican astrology are the 20 day-signs. Like the 12 signs of the Western Zodiac, these are signs descriptive of both personality and possibility -- that is, they can describe either a person or an event. In the Western 12-sign zodiac, the signs are sections of space spread across the sky along the path of the Sun and planets. In contrast, the Maya⁄Aztec day-signs are based on time, and are actually the names of days. Each sign lasts only 1 day, until it comes up again 20 days later. Like our 7-day week, which is astrological and named for the planets, the Maya and Aztecs used a succession of 20 days for astrological purposes. There is no presently known reason why they used only 20 signs. Perhaps they had discovered an important biorhythm or other kind of cycle.
The 20 day-signs each have a name, a symbol, an associated compass direction and a distinct meaning. Here they are in the order in which they occur.
1: Crocodile (East)- protective and dominating.
2: Wind (North)- agile, clever and multifaceted.
3: House (West)- deep, thoughtful and conservative.
4: Lizard (South)- active, dynamic and sexual.
5: Serpent (East)- powerful and charismatic.
6: Death (North)- sacrificing and helpful.
7: Deer (West)- cooperative and nomadic.
8: Rabbit (South)- clever and playful.
9: Water (East)- emotional and imaginative.
10: Dog (North)- loyal and helpful.
11: Monkey (West)- clever and demonstrative.
12: Grass (South)- careful and useful.
13: Reed (East)- knowledgeable and crusading.
14: Ocelot (North)- intelligent and secretive.
15: Eagle (West)- free and independent.
16: Vulture (South)- authoritative and wise.
17: Earthquake (East)- intellectual but practical.
18: Knife (North)- self-sufficient but romantic.
19: Rain (West)- helpful and healing.
20: Flower (South)- loving and artistic.
Another layer of meaning is added by the compass direction associated with the sign. Each of the four directions is associated with its own set of qualities, which may or may not reinforce the basic meaning of the day-sign.
East (Red)- initiating and forceful.
North (White)- intellectual and critical.
West (Black)- cooperative and compromising.
South (Yellow)- emotional and reactive.
The day-sign a person was born under is the named day that occurred on that person’s birthday. It delineates a person’s most obvious personality characteristics and traits.
The 13-Day Trecena. Besides the 20-day cycle, the Maya and Aztecs used a 13-day cycle, and these two cycles intertwined with each other. While the days of the 20-day cycle each have a name, the days of the 13-day cycle, or Trecena, are simply numbered from 1 to 13.
If you start both cycles together so that the first day of the 20-day cycle coincides with the first day of the 13-day cycle, it will take exactly 260 days for all the possible combinations of day-sign and day-number to occur. This 260-day period is the Tzolkin, the sacred Mesoamerican astrological calendar.
Each of the 20 Trecenas in the 260-day period begins on a different day-sign and takes its qualities from the day-sign on which it began. The Trecena delineates the more subtle, possibly subconscious, personality qualities, and shows one’s deeper instincts and yearnings.
The Trecena is indicated by the number that precedes your day-sign. Starting at that number and counting back among the day-signs until we reach 1, we find the day-sign that began that particular Trecena and which gives that Trecena its meaning.
The 260 possible combinations of day-sign and Trecena yield quite complete personality descriptions, descriptions that are perhaps as good as, or even better than, those of the Western 12-sign zodiac.
Because the day-signs and Trecenas signify general meanings and themes as well as personality configurations, they were also used by the Aztecs for divination. Like the I Ching, a random drawing of beans or stones would allow a reader to find one of the 260 sign⁄number combinations and thus an answer to a question. Even today, the 260-day astrological calendar is used for this purpose by Native American day-keepers in remote parts of Guatemala and Mexico.
The 584-Day Cycle of Venus. Of all the planets visible to the ancient skywatchers of Mesoamerica, Venus was considered the most important. Due to its alternation from morning star to evening star it was believed to be a symbol of certain profound dualities in nature and in man.
Because the orbit of Venus lies between the Earth and the Sun, from Earth’s viewpoint it never appears to stray very far away from the Sun. Depending on which part of its cycle it is in, we can only see Venus either close to sunrise or close to sunset. From Earth’s perspective, it takes Venus on average 584 days to complete one morning star⁄evening star cycle. Precisely every 104 years, this figure meshes with the solar year of 365 days and the 260-day Tzolkin.
According to the Dresden Codex (an ancient Maya manuscript that is one of the main primary sources on their astronomy and astrology), the cycle of Venus begins when the planet first appears in the twilight of dawn just prior to sunrise. This event, called the heliacal rising, occurs several days after Venus makes its inferior conjunction with the Sun. The inferior conjunction is so named because Venus, the lesser body, passes in front of the Sun, the greater body. At the inferior conjunction Venus comes closest to the Earth, and for the few days surrounding the conjunction it is totally obscured by the Sun’s rays. The Inferior Conjunction is by far the shortest phase because Venus, traveling retrograde, is going in the opposite direction from Earth’s travel. The Maya allocated exactly 8 days to the Inferior Conjunction. During this phase, Venus is invisible.
Venus eventually moves far enough west from the Sun’s rays to become visible. This, the heliacal rising, begins the second, or Morning Star, phase of the Venus cycle. The Maya allocated 236 days to this phase. During the Morning Star phase, Venus rises ahead of the Sun.
Growing in brightness, Venus eventually reaches maximum western elongation, its furthest possible separation from the Sun in a westward direction, and its motion turns direct. Traveling around the far side of the Sun, it once again disappears into the Sun’s rays.
This second disappearance of Venus begins the Superior Conjunction phase, so-called because Venus is now passing behind the Sun. At the superior conjunction, Venus, invisible once again, is traveling direct and it is at its greatest distance from Earth. The Maya allocated 90 days for the Superior Conjunction phase.
Re-emerging from behind the rays of the Sun, Venus becomes visible just after sunset, thus beginning its phase as the Evening Star. The Maya allocated 250 days to the Evening Star phase, a time when Venus always sets after the Sun. Eventually Venus reaches its maximum eastern elongation, turns retrograde, moves back toward the Sun, makes another inferior conjunction, and the cycle starts over.
These four phases -- 8 days, 236 days, 90 days and 250 days -- add up to the full Venus cycle of 584 days. The duration of these phases actually varies somewhat from cycle to cycle. The phase lengths used by the Mayans are a symbolic approximation of the astronomical facts.
The Maya Life Path Astrology report calculates the phase that Venus was in at your birth according to the figures used and recorded by the ancient Maya. For each phase, this report offers a brief interpretation of the possible personal significance of Venus as a symbol of impulsive personal desire versus collective social values.
The 9-Day Night Lord Cycle. Another component of Maya and Aztec astrology was a 9-day cycle that ran alongside the cycle of the day-signs. These 9 days were said each to be ruled by a different god or goddess, collectively termed the Lords of the Night. The names of the Maya deities are barely known, but the Aztecs have left a complete list.
The Lords of the Night are not a calendar per se, but a kind of symbolic cycle. The Maya linked the Lords to the Long Count, the system they devised for keeping track of long periods of history. We know that on August 11, -3113, the ninth Lord was ruler. Starting from that date, we run a 9-day cycle along with the day-signs, which allows the program to find the ruling Lord of the Night for any date. The 260 days of the Tzolkin do not mesh perfectly with the 9-day cycle, and so it takes 9 cycles of 260 (2,340 days or 6.4 years) before the same combination occurs again.
Much less is known about how the Aztecs used the cycle. It appears that they ran the 9-day cycle against the 260 days and had the last two Lords ruling the last of the 260 days. This would reset the 9-day cycle so that it began anew at the beginning of every 260-day Tzolkin cycle. In the Mayan Life Path Astrology report we have chosen to follow Maya usage, in which it takes 2,340 days for the two cycles to re-synchronize.
Some writers have suggested that the Lords of the Night are actually a division of the nighttime hours. Like the planetary hours of Western astrology, the night was divided into ninths, with the fifth Lord’s rule centered around midnight. In this line of reasoning, the day would be divided into 13 hours.
4-, 13- and 52-Year Cycles. The Maya and Aztecs believed that the year of birth could be read astrologically, and that the astrological qualities of any given year are dependent on two factors.
First is a cycle of 4 years. In this cycle, each succeeding year is associated with one of the four directions, in the order East, North, West and South. The directions are similar to the elements (Fire, Earth, Air and Water) in Western astrology. The Aztec meanings for the years are as follows.
East: creative⁄mental -- fertile⁄abundant
North: violent weather -- barren⁄dry⁄cold
West: wild⁄losses⁄illness -- cloudy⁄evil
South: good business⁄health -- variable
A second factor is a cycle of 52 years. This longer period is composed of 13 repetitions of the basic 4-year cycle. As each year arrives, it is identified with both a direction and a number. Four cycles, each comprised of 13 years, makes up the 52-year calendar round that the Aztecs called the Xiuhmolpilli.
Not all ancient Mesoamerican cultures applied the cycle of years in the same way. There was a lack of consensus about which year is linked to which number. The Aztecs used Reed (East), Knife (North), House (West) and Rabbit (South). The Classic Maya used the Mayan day-signs Caban (East), Ik (North), Manik (West) and Eb (South), which correlate with the Aztec Earthquake, Wind, Deer, and Grass. During Postclassic times the pattern was changed. The Quiche Maya, who today keep the astrological traditions alive in Guatemala, use the Classic Maya pattern. This is the pattern that I have found to work the best.
Cycle researchers have found numerous 4- and 8-year cycles in nature, which strongly suggests that there may be a real material basis to this cycling of the years. It is also interesting to note that the Olympics and the United States presidential elections are held in the same year -- years that the Quiche say are ruled by the East. Further, if you look at the 12-year Chinese cycle of animal signs, it correlates with this pattern when you see it as 3 groups of 4-year cycles.
Finding Your Personal Critical Days. In ancient times, the 260-day astrological calendar was subdivided into four ritual periods or “seasons” of 65 days each. The critical points in these seasons were the days 4-Serpent, 4-Dog, 4-Eagle and 4-Flower. Centered on those days were what are known as the “burner” periods, which were marked by rituals involving fire. Presumably these were periods when certain kinds of extremes were experienced by the community, and the intent of the fire rituals was to prevent or heal communal crises. Interestingly, the days 4-Serpent, 4-Dog, 4- Eagle and 4-Flower often fall within a few days of newsworthy crises that occur in today’s world.
In the modern world where the individual comes first, experience has shown that the series of 260- day cycles that starts with one’s birthdate can be used in a similar way. Dividing each of these personal cycles into fourths reveals personal “burner days” that occur every 65 days and mark significant shifts or changes in one’s life. Sometimes, instead of being overt and dramatic, the shifts are subtle and psychological. In many cases, however, rather extreme events do occur in an individual’s life precisely on one of the critical days. In other cases these overt events occur a few days earlier.
For Further Information. Mesoamerican astrology is far richer and more complex than we have space to describe here. In case you are interested in learning more, I have gone into much greater detail in several books on the subject. The following are currently in print:
Bruce Scofield, Day-Signs: Native American Astrology from Ancient Mexico. Amherst, MA: One Reed Publications, 1991.
Bruce Scofield, Signs of Time: An Introduction to Mesoamerican Astrology. Amherst, MA: One Reed Publications, 1994.
Bruce Scofield and Barry C. Orr, How to Practice Mayan Astrology: The Tzolkin Calendar and Your Life Path. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions, January, 2007.
These books are available from Alabe.com, OneReed.com and other sources. Besides putting forth my reconstruction of Mesoamerican astrology, these books contain extensive references to the sources I have drawn upon.
I hope that you find Maya⁄Aztec astrology to be not only interesting and fun, but helpful and a rich source of insight into your life.
A Note about Birth Times
If your Mayan Life Path Astrology report doesn’t fit you at all, we suggest that you try using the following or preceding day as your birthdate. This is because there are two sources of uncertainty regarding the time of birth.
The first consideration has to do with when the day starts. Archaeological and anthropological sources are not always in agreement on whether the Maya or Aztec day started at sunset, midnight or dawn. It is true that many important ceremonies, such as a celebration for the arrival of a particular holy day, or the preparations for a major trading expedition, began shortly before midnight and were focused around that time. It is also true that the friars who wrote about the customs of the Native Americans did not mention anything about this, a fact that leads one to believe that the native customs were no different from those of the Spanish. However, there is other evidence for sunset or sunrise being the start of the day, and, presumably, therefore the start of a day-sign’s influence.
In my opinion, the 260-day calendar functions like a gigantic biorhythm that contains within it rhythms of 13 and 20 days. In the literature on Western biorhythms (those of 23, 28 and 33 days) it is assumed that these personal rhythms begin on the day of birth -- but it is usually not clear if they begin at the time of birth or not. One author, Bernard Gittelson, says that “people born very late at night have biorhythms more characteristic of the following day than of the day officially recorded as the day of birth.” Other writers on biorhythms and circadian cycles mention that cell division in mammals is lowest at around 10:30 PM. This late-evening shift appears to correlate with day-sign interpretations. That is, someone born an hour or two before midnight generally has the characteristics of the day-sign for the next day. In some cases it seems that people born as early as just after sunset are best described by the next day-sign, or by a combination of the two day-signs. This matter is by no means settled. For the time being, if a day-sign description for someone born between sunset and midnight does not appear to fit that person, try using the next day as the birthdate.
The second consideration has to do with the fact that the day in Mexico is not the same as the day in China. Asia is a day ahead of the Americas, such that evening in Mexico on December 31st is morning in China on January 1st. I have noted that people born in China, Japan, and Australia do indeed seem to have the personalities of the previous day’s day-sign. The sign and planet structures in their Western astrological charts also seem to reflect this. This phenomenon implies some sort of centering power of the 90th meridian, the longitude at which Mexico is located. To find the proper birthdate to use for Mayan astrology, you may want to convert the birthtime to Central Standard Time, which is Greenwich Mean Time minus 6 hours. In other words, people born in Asia may get a more accurate reading if they use the day before as their birthdate, or if they look at both their own and the preceding day-sign.
About the Author
Bruce Scofield has been a practicing astrologer for more than 36 years. He is the author of an earlier Maya⁄Aztec computer report and of four books on Maya⁄Aztec astrology: The Aztec Circle of Destiny (with Angela Cordova), Day-Signs, Signs of Time and, with Barry C. Orr, How to Practice Mayan Astrology (forthcoming in January 2007). He also appeared on the History Channel’s “Mayan Doomsday Prophecy” episode.
Bruce’s extensive writings on Western astrology include his books A User’s Guide to Astrology, The Timing of Events: Electional Astrology; The Circuitry of the Self and Astrological Chart Calculations. He also wrote the interpretations for the Astrolabe report program Professional Forecaster.
Bruce carries on an international astrological practice from his home in Amherst, Massachusetts, and also serves on the faculty of Kepler College in Seattle. The holder of an M.A. in history, he is currently working toward a Ph.D. in Geosciences. Besides having an interest in archaeoastronomy, skiing and hiking (about which he has also written a number of books), he is an accomplished builder and rock musician.
Copyright ©1990-2006 Bruce Scofield, Barry C. Orr
Copyright ©2006 Astrolabe Inc.