Nawals (not narwhals) are an integral component of Maya culture. For those who do not know, nawals can be interpreted as cosmic energy that helps protect and guide individuals through life. Not all nawals are good — in fact, some nawals can be considered to be evil. To find your nawal, you need to know your date of birth, since this determines what your nawal is. Usually, nawals appear as animals, but they can also be elements of nature.
In the words of Rigoberta Menchu, “ todo niño nace con su nahual. Su nahual es como su sombra. Van a vivir paralelmente y casi siempre es un animal el nahual. El niño tiene que dialogar con la naturaleza. Para nosotros, el nahual es un representante de la tierra, un representante de los animales y un representate del agua y del sol…es como una persona paralela al hombre. Es algo importante.”
(English: Every child is born with his/her nahual. His/her nahual is like his shadow. They will live parallel and the nahual will almost always be an animal. The child has to talk to nature. For us, the nahual is a representative of the earth, a representative of the animals, and a representative of the water and the earth….its like a parallel person to a man. Its something important).
After learning some basic information about Nawals, I wanted to learn more about mine.
My nahual is Ajpu, or day of the sun. I can appear in the form of the sun or as a conch shell. According to various online sources, Ajpu is a special day for musicians, dancers, and for all people who practice the arts. Additionally, Ajpu coincides with service and helping others. My sign has to do with spiritual awakening, transformation, and strength. Something awesome about Maya cosmovision is that everything in the environment has balance and is cylical — with every good quality, there is a bad one as well.
My positive qualities are judicious (having good judgement), courageous, good, friendly, pleasant, happy, smart, wise, fighter, and hunter.
I am not supposed to reveal my negative traits because according to cosmovision, someone who wants to take advantage of me could use my weaknesses to hurt me or to cause pain to me.
However, I think its only fair to mention my weaknesses according to Ajpu.
My weaknesses are: that I’m easily angered, I take revenge, aggressiveness, and that I avoid responsibility.
My Nawal color is yellow and my direction is South. I feel that this is pretty accurate of who I am and why I am who I am. I want to lean more about Nawal and taps into my nawal powers to be aligned. It’s funny because I get complimented a lot when I wear yellow, I was born and raised in Southern California, and I recently scored South East on our work style Peace Corps personality-esque test.
Next week, we get to go to a Mayan ceremony and our class is going to present on Nawals. I am so excited to participate in this as well as learn more Mayan cosmovision.
Another thing that I learned is that the Maya use a cross, but it does not have Christian symbolism to it.
There are four points, representing the Earth, man, woman, and I can’t remember the fourth. The cross has 4 colors: red for sunrise, black for sunset, green for earth, white for the air. Jade represents immortality, and one of the first Maya king offered Hernan Cortes a jade pendant, granting him security and safety. However, Hernan Cortes thought jade was highly sacrireligious and banished the selling and wearing of jade for hundreds of years. It’s crazy how easily people can misunderstand another culture.

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