Nawal and Nawalism


Nawal: The Sacred Maya Calendar, Cholq’ij, is formed by 260 days/energies; 20 energies that vibrate in 13 different manifestations. These energies are commonly known as Nawal, which is the name that has been diffused in the Western World. According to the most traditional Elders the days/energies of the calendar should be called Ch’umil, which means star or destiny. It is the energy that each day of the Sacred Calendar brings with it. Ch’umil is a broader concept to describe the days/energies, since the concept of Nawal is more that of a spirit, of an energy that animates. Nawal is, then, the spirit of the correlative or protective animal that rules over each Ch’umil.

Nawalism: The word nawalism indicates the capacity that a human being has, once he has initiated the ancestral powers and traditions, of transforming into his correlative animal. Nawalism is known in the Maya world as the property of Charakot. Nawalism is a ritual for the practitioners of Maya spirituality, since it requires a discipline and learning for which an absolute impeccability in necessary. For the non-practitioners, however, it is important to work with the correlative animals to awaken their powers and connect to nature.

Every person, at the moment of birth, is born with an energy or Ch’umil, and each Ch’umil is accompanied by a correlative animal -Nawal- that protects the person throughout their life, appearing in the person’s life either physically, through dreams, or through visions.

Each person shares several characteristics with their correlative animal, they possess their abilities and even some of their habits. For example, people born under the energy of Tz’i’, the dog or coyote, protect their space and their people, they have an acute sense of what will come, they are agile, but like a house dog they could become dependent. It is a good idea to learn about our Nawal, to see how it affects us and which things we share with it, to connect to it and allow it to be our protector. It is also good to have something, such as an iconic image that represents it, for example a pendant or a painting.

The Maya spiritual path teaches techniques that give people the ability to become their correlative animal, this is called Nawalism. Many of these techniques, however, are nearly lost, especially in the “civilized” areas, or kept in secrecy. The purpose of becoming an animal is to move faster, to stand in a place that provides a view of any dangers for the community, to check if anyone is sick or in danger to help them, and to go into the mountains and the forests to collect wisdom, for through this animal manifestation you can easily connect to the energy of Mother Earth, to the knowledge of the Ch’umil, and you can cross to other dimensions.

Learning about our Nawal we can understand the essence of nature, which integrates us to a more real world, to the world of the origin of Mother Earth. The transcendence of the Winaq (human being) consists in developing all the possibilities that the Cholq’ij brings. For this it is important to know and transcend all the possibilities in the Cholq’ij, to learn about all the Ch’umilal and Nawalil of the Calendar, so that the Maya Cross no longer affect us, so that we can transcend all the crosses, in other words, so that we can become an integral being.

Approaching the knowledge of nawalism allows us to learn the mimicking of the correlative animals through the movements, through the energy of the animals, in other words it allows us to vibrate with the animals to merge with them and to understand the Nawal of each Ch’umil. This makes us more sensitive and more integrated. The importance of this learning is that it brings us closer in an experiential way to the energies of nature, to Mother Earth, to the origins of everything; because sadly we human beings are distanced from the natural world. We are no longer part of nature, but we have become part of an artificial and material world, which makes this learning transcendent. For the people who are have more consciousness, it is transcendent to have this experience, for in these levels one could even feel and deeply connect to the wisdom and the spirit of the animals. This technique is part of the learning and evolution of the Winaq, the whole human being.

Carlos Barrios
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  • Iset

    Hi Carlos—How do we find out the correlative animal or Nawal for each day sign in the Chohl’ qi? I was born 8 Aq’ Bal. in the past, I thought the Nawal for this is Jaguar… But I’m not sure if that is accurate. I’ll keep searching and researching on my own but I wanted to present the question to you as well. Thank you.

  • Iset

    I looked at your page under Ch’umil and found that Aq’ab’al is associated with the owl. Thank you

  • Iset

    However, not all days list a correlative animal, like Qowak for example. Where do you recommend we search to locate the Nawal for all of the day signs so that we can practice creating the connection and transformation? Thanks again for your time!

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