Why is the Cholq’ij Called the Human Level Calendar?

Why is the Cholq’ij Called the Human Level Calendar?

The ways we represent this count of time.

The ancient Maya recognized an essential aspect of life: we are a reflection of the universe, and the spirals in our DNA resemble the spirals of the cosmos. For this reason, understanding our cosmos requires first understanding our own existence. With this in mind, they developed one of the most important calendars in their spirituality and science, the Cholq'ij calendar. It is known as the human level calendar, and it tracks the cycles, energy, and influences that affect both the person and their environment. In this way, it is one of our elders' greatest legacies, and it has been passed down through generations of grandparents, parents, children, and grandchildren. 

One of the most remarkable parts of this calendar is our bodily resemblance to it. Firstly, the ancient Maya nations understood that our bodies are a sacred temple that reflects the science of the universe. For this reason, they took it into account when creating the Cholq’ij. 

This time count has 260 total days and is based on the multiplication of two sacred numbers: 20 energies and their 13 manifestations (20 x 13 = 260). These numbers have long held immense significance for the Maya, and they are considered to be two of the most sacred numbers in their spirituality. And, if we look carefully, we can see that they are represented in our bodies…

Our bodies have 13 basic articulations: the neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, and ankles. These are highly important energetic points in this tradition, which the ancient Maya paid special attention to, and they signify the number thirteen.  Our bodies also have a total of 20 fingers. Our elders believe that ten of the twenty Cholq'ij energies are telluric, representing our toes, and ten are cosmic, representing our fingers. This is how the two most essential numbers of the calendar are stored in our bodies.

Another thing to take into account is that each Cholq'ij energy symbolizes and governs a distinct area of the body. K'at energy, for example, symbolizes our nerves, Tz'ikin our eyes, and Ajpu our chest, thorax, and lungs. Having this wisdom can help in understanding medicine. Maya doctors often consider both the physical and spiritual components of the body. In this approach, the Cholq'ij aids in the healing of a certain bodily area by utilizing the energy that influences it. This knowledge also helps those who hold the energy to understand which parts of their bodies require particular care.

People who are K'at, for example, are more connected to the nerves, and so they are more likely to experience anxiety. Knowing this allows someone whose Ch’umil is K’at to use their energy to aid them with anxiety, as well as to know the tools their energy provides them with to overcome it. 

Many lessons are brought into our world by the Cholq'ij, one of which is that we are not separate from the planet and the universe. If we have all of these energies living and represented within our body and inner world, it demonstrates how we are a reflection of the universe, but also how we not only reflect the cosmos, but we are the cosmos in itself. This is why our elders speak of a microcosmos, or the world within, a cosmos, or the world immediately surrounding us, and a macrocosmos, or the energies of the vast universe. 

This is the teaching and lesson that we must reconnect to, that when we care for ourselves, we also care for the universe, and when we care for others, we also care for ourselves. We must rediscover our symbiotic relationship with the immense being that we call home, even though we might perceive ourselves as only a small speck of it.

Eline from the Mayan Wisdom Project.

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