Lesson 2: The 20 Nahuales and the 13 Numbers

According to Mayan cosmovision, a spirit world exists alongside the material world. Twenty spirits called nahuales from that world exert a powerful influence on people and events in this world. Called Lords of the Day, the nahuales determine each day’s energy –- its potential, the sort of things that work best on that date. A person’s nahual is the key element of a Mayan day sign.

The nahual is preceded by a number from 1 to 13, which tells the intensity of the nahual’s energy. A person whose Mayan day sign is 7 Eagle will usually exhibit stronger Eagle characteristics than a 2 Eagle.

Cosmic Meanings and Personality Traits of the 20 Nahuales

These are the key meanings and traits of the nahuales. Mayan names are in (Ki’che’/Yucatecan). For more in-depth information, see The M


ayan Calendar Users Guide.


Crocodile (Imox/Imix)

Cosmic Meaning: Turbulence and instability, nurturing, new foundations.

Personality traits: Emotional, nurturing, creative, sensitive; cunning, devious.


Wind (Iq/Ik)

Cosmic Meaning: Breath of life, creativity.

Personality traits: Sociable, imaginative; impulsive, fickle.

Night (Aq’ab’al/Akabal)

Cosmic Meaning: Looking within to find answers.

Personality traits: Charming, intelligent; using words to hurt people.

Net (K’at/Kan)

Cosmic Meaning: Gathering and collecting, piecing things together.

Problem solvers, artistic; promiscuity, problems with debts.

(This nahual is also called Lizard.)


Snake (Kan/Chicchan)

Cosmic Meaning: Truth, justice, wisdom.

Intense, intuitive; short-tempered, manipulative.



Cosmic Meaning: Transformation, change.

Personality traits: Patient, intuitive; lying, vengeful.


Deer (Kej’/Manik)

Cosmic Meaning: Balance, support.

Personality traits: Independent, tenacious; demanding, selfish.

Seed (Q’anil/Lamat)

Cosmic Meaning: Planting a seed, from flowers to ideas to friendships.

Personality traits: Friendly, sensitive; drug and alcohol addiction, selfish. (This nahual is also called Rabbit.)


Water (Toj’/Muluc)

Cosmic Meaning: To pay, give offerings, make sacrifices.

Personality traits: Imaginative, emotional; possessive, enjoys taking risks.


Dog (Tzi/Oc)

Cosmic Meaning: Guidance, counsel, authority.

Personality traits: Loyal, sensual; mean, sexually depraved.


Monkey (B’atz/Chuen)

Cosmic Meaning: Creativity.

Personality traits: Active, cheerful, likes to be center of attention; arrogant, insensitive, tricky.


Road (E/Eb)

Cosmic Meaning: Travel, destiny.

Personality traits: Practical, organized, industrious; restless, insecure.


Corn (Aj/Ben)

Cosmic Meaning: Harvest, success.

Personality traits: Lucky, good with money; inflexible, stubborn.


Jaguar (Ix/Ix)

Cosmic Meaning: Feminine energy, all things related to earth.

Personality traits: Brave, strong, intelligent; immoral, arrogant.


Eagle (Tzi’kin/Men)

Cosmic Meaning: Flying high, ambition, vision.

Personality traits: Aggressive, friendly, good at business; overly ambitious, irresponsible.


Vulture (Ajaq/Cib)

Cosmic Meaning: Taking it easy, patience.

Personality traits: Introspective, cautious; jealousy, envy.

(This nahual is also called Owl.)


Earth (Noj’/Caban)

Cosmic Meaning: Thought, ideas, logic.

Personality traits: Creative, analytical, inquisitive.


Knife (Tijax/Etznab)

Cosmic Meaning: Suffering and loss, healing.

Active, intelligent; emotional unstable, violent.


Storm (Kawoq/Cauac)

Cosmic Meaning: Trouble, strong woman, domestic life.

Personality traits: Affectionate, family-oriented; bad temper, drug and alcohol abuse.


Sun (Ajpu/Ahau)

Cosmic Meaning: Illumination, growth.

Personality traits: Enthusiastic, amiable, brave; short-tempered.

The Thirteen Numbers

People with higher numbers are more intensely influenced by their nahual than others. This also applies to personality traits. So a 7 Eagle will be more aggressive than a 2 Eagle. The Ki’che Maya of Momostenango, Guatemala, say that the odd numbers are feminine energy; the even numbers, masculine.

The ancient Maya associated each number with a god. Some Maya today say each number has a unique meaning, but they do not agree on all of them. For example, some feel that 5 and 7 can bring challenges, others say 6 is the problematic number. These are the numbers for which there is a general consensus.

1: Unity, beginnings

2: Duality, relationships

3: Creativity

8: Best-balanced number

9: The Divine Feminine

11: Strife, challenges, the unexpected

Copyright Shay Addams All Rights Reserved 2012


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