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Mayan Culture

Vibrant Mayan culture can easily be found today from a civilization that began back in 2000 BC. During the height of their civilization, the Maya were a very advanced people, with the first recorded fully-developed written language, advanced city infrastructure, and extremely accurate astronomy knowledge. The diaspora of the Mayan language has resulted in dozens of Mayan dialects throughout today's Mayan population. Guatemala has the largest population of Mayan descendants in Central America and a direct line can be seen between Mayan culture and the country's bright and colorful environment.

Mayan Huipiles (pronounced wee-pee-les) and Traditional Dress

The Huipil, the traditional blouse still worn by indigenous Maya women today, is not just a skillfully woven article of clothing but also a representation of both collective and individual cultural identity. The weaving is a form of communication and cultural preservation among the indigenous Mayan groups of Guatemala. Huipil literally means "my covering" in Nahuatl. It is said that the huipil represents "the history of people who have given life to the art of survival". Metaphorically the huipil weaves together the past and the future as a tangible form of communication. Traditionally, the colors, materials, and patterns of each huipile were specific to the individual village or region where they originated, so that a woman´s dress would connect her to her village. Today's interconnectedness has blurred these lines and women wear huipile designs from all over the country. Yet, deeper in the Highlands of Guatemala, full villages still display their traditional colors and patterns.

huipilHuipiles have existed since Pre-Hispanic times and were originally worn for ceremonial purposes. They were a very simple tunic style design, made from two rectangular pieces of fabric sewn together with no inset sleeves and varying in length from ankle to knee. As the design and weaving techniques have survived, changes to material, styles, and production have been evolving since the European conquest.

Each huipil is elaborately woven and embriordered, making them costly and time consuming to create yet legitimizing their sense of pride. The iconography and patterns of the huipile hold deep significances to traditional stories, myths, legends, rituals and beliefs. Mayan Philosophy concepts of duality and balance can be seen in designs depicting the connection between nature and the cosmos, mother earth with the sky. Many times the sun, moon, stars, cardinal directions, and ritual offerings are seen in huipile patterns, transforming the blouse into a symbolic identity, cultural pride, and a form of communication that transcends the years.

Although the huipil is an expression of tradition, it has not gone untouched by the passage of time. There are many social and economic changes that have affected the style and consistent use of the huipil. Traditional huipiles have been influenced by internal mobility, globalization, and the inundation of outside ideas that often leave behind the importance of cultural identity and preservation. The material cost and great amount of time it takes to weave a huipile has lead many women to wear cheaper machine-embroidered synthetic fabric blouses. Overall it is thought that the modern world influences are severing the cultural connection between the huipil wearers and their communities and cultural heritage.

The Huipil is a beautiful and intricate expressive form of dress that represents cultural history and collective identity. Each thread in these traditional weavings pass on sacred Mayan wisdom for future generations.

Mayan Philosophy

ajawMayan Philosophy, like most all religions, follows the fundamental underlying principal that there exists a spiritual world that directly affects what happens in the material world of everyday life. This resonates in the duality that exists in all life; night and day, good and evil, man and woman, spiritual and material. The central deity of Mayan philosophy, Ajaw, represents this duality. Ajaw is the balance or center between these dualities.


What does our logo represent? The Hunab Ku

Hunab-KuThe Hunab Ku is an ancient MesoAmerican symbol. Although many interpretations exist, we view the symbol as a duality of all things. The center spiral represents the cosmos and the spiral of the universe. This is the constant movement that exists in all of life. The four corners extend from the spiral in the four cardinal directions, stabilizing and grounding the movement. The light and dark side of the symbol balance the active and passive, masculine and feminine, solar and lunar dualities of existence. 


The Mayan Calendar

The Mayan Calendar is divided into three systems of recording time. The first, the Cholq'ij or the Tzolkin, is 13 periods or months of 20 days each. Each of these 20 days are represented by a Nahual or Day Keeper, that guides the energy of the day. The Cholq'ij or Tzolkin is also based around the cycle of the numbers 1-13 that also influence the energy of the day. A complete cycle or year in the Cholq'ij or Tzolkin is all of the different combinations of of numbers 1-13 with the 20 Day Keepers, or 260 days. The Cholq'ij or Tzolkin is a lunar and ceremonial calendar and its energy is feminine.

Each person is born with a Nahual or Day Keeper depending on their day, month and year of birth. These Nahuales influence the characteristics of each persons personality and energy.

 Click an image below for its complete meaning.

aj   Ajmaq ajpu aqabal batz e imox iq ix kame kan kat kawoq kej noj qanil tijax toj tzi tzikin

ajAj (Ben, Maiz, Corn)

Meaning: The constant renewal of existence and its development to reach for unity, triumph over all evil

Energy of the day: A day for protection of the home, plants and animals, a good day for harvests and fruition, resurgence, reestablishment of nature to harmonize everything else, growth, purification, transformation

Key Concepts: cane, abundance, growth, success, harvest, growing, maturing

Personality Characteristics: teachers of knowledge, knowledge about the signs of the body, suffer a lot but always overcome, lecturers, investigators, studious, responsible at home and with family, achieve goals, receive spiritual messages, lucky, calm, creative, conservative, opinionated, argumentative

ajmaqAjmaq (Cib, Zopilote, Vulture)

Meaning: the memory of our ancestors that guides the present and influences the future

Energy of the day: A day to ask for forgiveness, avoid confrontation, cure diseases, harmonize with Mother Earth

Key Concepts: vulture, guilt, relaxation, patience, timing

Personality Characteristics: long life and good health, astute, analytical, silent, shrewd, move slowly through life but achieve goals, strong character, get angry quickly, easily trapped by vice, open character but their true essence is impenetrable, introspective, intense thinkers, serious, practical, lazy, aloof, jealous, irresponsible

ajpuAjpu (Ahau, Sol, Sun)

Meaning: material and spiritual certainty, triumph of good over evil

Energy of the day: a day to obtain certainty and security, to plan and reach our goals, renovation and renewal, to ask for fertility of women, to have emotional security and increase intellect, a day that gives strength, value and energy to overcome obstacles

Key Concepts: hunter, majesty, illumination, sun, flower

Personality Characteristics: speakers, writers, carvers, silversmiths, sculptors, comedians, theatrical, good, friendly, variable, walkers, dancers, delicate, intelligent, self assured, romantic, dreamers, futuristic vision, healthy, radiant, enthusiastic, brave, amiable, warm, outgoing, short-tempered, stubborn

aqabalAq'ab'al (Akbal, Noche, Night)

Meaning: symbolizes the two polarities of the energy of light, light and darkness

Energy of the day: a good day to clarify our path in life,to ask for new opportunities, a day of clarity and to find the light in hidden things, a day to look within for knowledge and strength to confront our own challenges and to enter into the dark to find answers to our problems

Key Concepts: sunset, sunrise, darkness, dawn, light, night, grain

Personality Characteristics: happy, one foot in the past and one in the future, youthful, power over negative forces, the light of hope, hunters, seekers of truth, feminine, soft-spoken, diplomatic, travelers, eloquent writers an speakers, charming, well-organized, logical, lucky, curious, wise, knowledgeable

batzB'atz' (Chuen, Mono, Monkey)

Meaning: represents time, infinity and the unity of man and woman

Energy of the Day: A day to get married, to put order in things, start planning, protection of artists, ask for successful crops, resolve family problems, positive, cheerful, active

Key Concepts: monkey, thread, creativity

Personality Characteristics: planners, visionaries, good doctors, influential, conservative, creative, intelligent, clever, fast learners, problem solvers, lucky, sociable, fun, enjoy the outdoors, calm, self assured, curious, proud, arrogant, like to be the center of attention

eE (Eb, Camino, Road)

Meaning: represents time, infinity and the unity of man and woman

Energy of the Day: A day to get married, to put order in things, start planning, protection of artists, ask for successful crops, resolve family problems, positive, cheerful, active

Key Concepts: monkey, thread, creativity

Personality Characteristics: planners, visionaries, good doctors, influential, conservative, creative, intelligent, clever, fast learners, problem solvers, lucky, sociable, fun, enjoy the outdoors, calm, self assured, curious, proud, arrogant, like to be the center of attention

imoxImox (Imix, Cocodrilo, Crocodile)

Meaning: Symbolizes the hidden forces in the universe, a day of positive or negative energy depending on the attitude of the person, powers of creation

Energy of the day: a day of good energy to build our internal power and spirit

Key Concepts: lizard, intelligence, turbulence, instability

Personality Characteristics: homebodies, spiritual, social, strong character, sensitive, eccentric, can be considered strange by others, daring, unusual, intuitive, creative, visionary, caring, nurturing, stealthy, tricky, malicious

iqIq' (Ik, Viento, Wind)

Meaning: the essence of existence of all living things

Energy of the day: a good day for renovation, to rid ourselves of passions, hate, and depression, to ask for the winds to bring positive energy that nourishes and purifies our minds, a day that brings news

Key Concepts: lightning, breath, life, wind, imagination, change

Personality Characteristics: very spiritual, have cosmic energy, spiritual doctors, impulsive, bring life to the mind and emotions, stimulate creativity, imaginative, creative, clever, sociable, sentimental, dreamers, romantics, conversationalists, writers, may be idealistic and brave or timid and indecisive, nature-lovers, can lose touch with reality

ixI'x (Ix, Jaguar, Jaguar)

Meaning: represents divine revelations, suitable day to thank women for their work

Energy of the day: A day that brings energy to change all things negative, withdraw, meditate, rethink, formulate new strategy, solve problems, interior strength, magic, manage hidden forces, feminine energy

Key Concepts: jaguar, vitality, strength, forces of the earth

Personality Characteristics: strong, brave, vigorous, lovers of passion, feminine energy, development of magical powers, variable, fast decision makers, warriors, dreamers, courageous, curious, intelligent, cunning, shrewd fighters, generous, amiable, arrogant, solitary, fall ill often

kameKame (Kamey, Muerte, Death)

Meaning: develops the energy of the night to give light to a new day, rebirth of a new life

Energy of the day: a good day to have contact with the ancestors, to get rid of fatal diseases and accidents, to ask for protection in travel, to gain access to superior knowledge

Key Concepts: death, rebirth, transformation, what happens at the end of a cycle

Personality Characteristics: can predict the future, defenders, clairvoyant, divine, astute, intelligent, wise, delicate, spiritual strength, peace of mind, patient, disciplined, strong, conservative, in touch with the past, intuitive rather than logical, responsible, helpful, magnetic, eloquent, versatile

kanKan (Chicchan, Serpiente, Snake)

Meaning: measures the strength and energy of all that exists, indicates the evolution of the world, a day to ask for balance in life and justice

Energy of the day: a day to increase physical strength and develop our internal fire and spiritual evolution, a day for the return of lost and forgotten things, the return of a loved one, reconciliation between couples, sexual balance

Key Concepts: snake, truth, justice, sexual energy

Personality Characteristics: strong, intelligent, wise, influential in good and bad, sincere, just, travelers, managers, powerful, intense, intuitive, clairvoyant, can attain spiritual and material wealth

katK'at (Kan, Red, Net)

Meaning: the interlacing of life, as we each weave our own destiny, a day to deepen our knowledge and understanding and unite the community

Energy of the day: a day to undo knots, to ask for abundance and female fertility, to remove negative energy, to undo knots that tie us to vice, and to resolve emotional and romantic problems

Key Concepts: net, web, fire, gather, collect, harvest, entanglement

Personality Characteristics: sincere, organized, leaders, spiritual guides, energetic, curious, perceptive, artistic, fiery, problem-solvers, collectors

kawoqKawoq (Kauac, Tormenta, Storm)

Meaning: the day the grandmothers and grandfather overcame all problems and obstacles

Energy of the day: A day to ask for the communal good, fix family confrontations, money and abundance in business, good climate for harvest

Key Concepts: storm, nurturing women, trouble, problems

Personality Characteristics: brave, intelligent, noble, imaginative, spiritual guides, divine, predict the future, good character, friendly, calm, kind-hearted, guides, caring, defenders of the community, sighted, receive signs in the body and in dreams, homebodies, sensitive, affected by the weather, nurturing, tender, affectionate, diligent, dedicated, temperamental

kejKej' (Manik, Venado, Deer)

Meaning: the strength and power to carry the destiny of humanity, the strength and energy of the four cardinal points that are needed for the creation of the world

Energy of the day: harmony with nature, equilibrium with the elements, avoid betrayal

Key Concepts: deer, authority, stability, support, balance

Personality Characteristics: astute, agile, delicate, leaders, guardians of nature, preserve and renew life, strength, analytical, don't like to share their problems, physically, mentally and spiritually strong, dominating, convincing, inspire confidence

nojNo'j (Caban, Tierra, Earth)

Meaning: the development and relationship of the forces for the attainment of perfection, a day to make decisions and take advice

Energy of the day: a day to nourish the mind, increase the memory, ask for signs in the body, harmonize relationships, ask for clarity, transform knowledge and experience into wisdom

Key Concepts: knowledge,wisdom, earth, thought, idea, movement,

Personality Characteristics: wise, intelligent, creative talented, analytical, inquisitive dedicated to medicine, divine, brave, prudent, receive strong signals in the body, comprehensive in marriage, good students, face justice, noble in love, naturally faithful, naturally conservative but with advanced ideas for which they fight for, extroverted, stubborn, proud, arrogant

qanilQ'anil (Lamat, Semilla, Seed)

Meaning: the seed of life as a principle of unity in the world, symbolizes the four colors of corn, fertility of all living beings, origin or source of life

Energy of the day: a day to begin relationships that have to do with love or business, reconquest, to take back something lost

Key Concepts: planting, ripening, fertility, life, Venus, rabbit

Personality Characteristics: full of love and knowledge, easily influenced, responsible, spiritual strength, life of change, cyclical, lover of tranquility and security, needs to express love to feel stable, friendly, emotional, sensitive, diligent, patient, creative, hard worker, internally conflicted, easily addicted to vice

tijaxTijax (Etznab, Cuchillo, Knife)

Meaning: the energy that opens the door for rain, associated with intelligence and healers

Energy of the day: a day to ask for health, to cure difficult diseases, remove enemies and negative energy, ask for intelligence and memory

Key Concepts: flint, knife, cutting, sacrifice, loss, suffering

Personality Characteristics: protectors of justice, cure incurable diseases, brave, tireless, delicate, possess great ideas and talent, both rational and intuitive, dreamers, imaginative, fair, drastic, easily offended, can end long relationships in one minute, sharp, piercing, active, intelligent, sharp conversationalists, face more problems than others, devious, impulsive, violent

tojToj (Muluc, Agua, Water)

Meaning: the amendment of misconduct, rain that symbolizes the communication of life with life

Energy of the day: a day to be thankful for our lives and all of the benefits we have so that more obstacles do not come in our path, a day to ask for freedom from negative things

Key Concepts: rain, offering, payment, feelings, subconscious, dreams, intuition

Personality Characteristics: gifted, strong, intermediaries, assume responsibility for other peoples problems and mistakes, dreamers, intellectual, sensitive, emotional, sincere, helpful, warm, sociable, willing to take risks and make sacrifices

tziTz'i' (Oc, Perro, Dog)

Meaning: The interpretation of the known and the unknown, protector of material and spiritual laws, represents order and accuracy

Energy of the Day: a day to ask for divine intervention to resolve any type of problem

Key Concepts: justice, authority, guidance, loyalty, protection, law and justice

Personality Characteristics: have virtue to intercede, correct, and untie people that commit shameful acts, balanced, brave, friendly, respected, loyal, sensitive, romantic, sensual, attractive, easily confused, overly ambitious, attracted to vice, stubborn, emotionally unstable

tzikinTz'ikin (Men, Aguila, Eagle)

Meaning: a day of strength and human fertility, a day to ask for communal projects

Energy of the day: the best day for love, to ask for abundance, to ask for the well being of friendships and relationships, spiritual prevails over intuition, vision, precognition, revelations in dreams, good fortune

Key Concepts: bird, liberty, freedom, vision, ambition

Personality Characteristics: traders, artists, happy, friendly, faithful, nice, intuitive, lucky in love and money, sophisticated, eccentric, balanced, kind, outgoing, smart, fun, sociable, perfectionists, aggressive, assertive, attraction to vice

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