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 Mayan Calendar Users Guide.
Turbulence and instability, nurturing, new foundations.
Emotional, nurturing, creative, sensitive; cunning, devious.
Breath of life, creativity.
Sociable, imaginative; impulsive, fickle.
Looking within to find answers.
Charming, intelligent; using words to hurt people.
Gathering and collecting, piecing things together.
Problem solvers, artistic; promiscuity, problems with debts. (This nahual is also called Lizard.)
Truth, justice, wisdom.
Intense, sexual; quick to lose temper and control
Patient, intuitive; lying, vengeful.
Independent, tenacious; demanding, selfish.
To pay, give offerings, make sacrifices.
Imaginative, emotional; possessive, enjoys taking risks.
Guidance, counsel, authority.
Loyal, sensual; mean, sexually depraved.
Active, cheerful, likes to be center of attention; arrogant, insensitive, tricky.
Practical, organized, industrious; restless, insecure.
Lucky, good with money; inflexible, stubborn.
Feminine energy, all things related to earth.
Brave, strong, intelligent; immoral, arrogant.
Flying high, ambition, vision.
Aggressive, friendly, good at business; overly ambitious, irresponsible.
Taking it easy, patience.
Introspective, cautious; jealousy, envy. (This nahual is also called Owl.)
Thought, ideas, logic.
Creative, analytical, inquisitive.
Suffering and loss, healing.
Active, intelligent; emotional unstable, violent.
Trouble, strong woman, domestic life.
Affectionate, family-oriented; bad temper, drug and alcohol abuse.
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
8: Best-balanced number
9: The Divine Feminine
11: Strife, challenges, the unexpected
For more information, see The Mayan Calendar Users Guide.