The 13 Numbers

The TZOLK’IN is the 260 day ritual Mayan calendar. It is composed of two intertwined elements:

- The 13 numbers – also known as energies, tones or intentions – form a recurrent cycle of 13 days which constitute the symbolic “week” of the TZOLK’IN, this cycle is called a trecena.

- The 20 dayglyphs.  For the Mayas, each one of these 20 dayglyphs represents a symbol that bears a profound signification.

We shall now talk of the 13 numbers.

The sources which helped me elaborate this page are the following:

-The Daily Tzolk’in from the website

-The book “Jaguar Wisdom” and the blog which bears the same name by Kenneth Johnson (see sources)

-The book “ How to practice Mayan Astrology” by Bruce Scoffield and Barry C. Orr and the website Tzolk’in Explorer which resumes the content of the book.

-The compilation “ le calendrier Tzolkin” (in french) from the website

General Presentation

The 13 numbers are feminine by nature and should be regarded as the wives of the 20 dayglyphs the nature of which is masculine.

IX CHEL, the goddess of the Moon, the “rainbow lady” is the personification of the divinatory arts and, for some people, of the very TZOLK’IN. The Tzutujil Mayas from Santiago Atitlan (Guatemala) have 13 Moon goddesses, each one of them being an aspect or a manifestation of IX CHEL herself.

This representation is one of the major significations of number 13. 13 is also the number of “heavens” in the Mayan “other world”, the number of the major articulations in the human body, the number of rectangles on a turtle shell and the number of bells on the rattlesnake. There is probably a relation with the Pleiads as well, since in Yucatan, the constellation is called “the tail of the rattlesnake”.

The Wave of Time

The 13 numbers follow each other in the movement of a wave that we could call “Wave of Time”. Within the TZOLK’IN, we find 20 periods of 13 days, the symbolic “weeks” we have already mentioned, also known under the Spanish name of trecenas.

The trecenas are essential to understand the Mayan Calendar.

The 13 numbers alternate following the numerical order (1 to 13). Each time we are back to number 1, a new trecena then starts and always on a different dayglyph (see the introduction). It can be for example the IMIX (Crocodile) or the IX (Jaguar) trecena, according to the dayglyph bearing number 1.

The energy conveyed by the trecena is the one which is symbolized by the glyph of day 1.

The cycle of the 13 numbers, the “wave of time” is represented in a pyramid shape.

Le cycle des 13 nombres, la “vague du temps”, est représenté sous la forme d’une pyramide.

As it is the case for a wave, at the beginning the energy is weak (day 1), almost undetectable, it becomes more powerful afterwards. The wave amplifies, raises, attaining its utmost strength (day 7), then its surge is more and more violent until it finally crashes on the shore.

As a wave finishes, another one starts and rises, carrying another energy.

Another way to represent them is :

  1. -a 6 days period of growth (from number 1 to 6),

  2. -a one day period of balance at full growth (number 7)

  3. -and a 6 days period of transformation (from number 8 to 13).

For the “Daykeepers” in Guatemala, the first numbers (from 1 to 5) are weak, they lack strength while the middle numbers (from 6 to 9) are days when the force of the trecena energy is well balanced. The last days (from 10 to 13) are regarded as being too powerful for rituals.

For this reason, the great Mayan rituals are celebrated during the “middle number days”, in the core of each trecena, when the energy is both very powerful and well balanced. The rituals usually start at dusk on a day number 7 (dusk is the middle of the day for the Mayas, since a day goes from dawn to dawn), continue on day 8 and conclude on day 9.

As Above So Below...

According to the Mayan rule “As Above, So Below”, the time wave of the 13 numbers is applied not only to the 13 days in each trecena but also to the highest temporal elements, i.e.:

-The 13 days of each trecena

-The 13 unials of the TZOLK’IN

-The 13 heavens of the underworlds, also called waves of conscious evolution (see the Carl Calleman’s pages - to be translated).

For instance, the first day of each trecena, the first unial of each TZOLK’IN run and the first heaven of each underworld are under the influence of the first number.

All this is summarized in the following chart:







6   FLOW









Fire and Time deity


God of the Earth (Tlaltecuhtli)

Goddess of Water and Childbirth (Chalciuhtlicue)

God of the Sun and Warriors (Tonatiuh)

Goddess of Love and Childbirth (Tlacolteotl)

The God of Death (Mictantecutli)

God of Maize (corn) & Subsistence  (Cinteotl)

God of Rain and War (Tlaloc)

God of Light (Quetzalcoatl)

God of Darkness (Tezcatlipoca)

Goddess of Birth (Yohualticitl)

God of the Morning Star which reigns before Dawn (Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli)

Supreme God of Creation

(Ometeotl / Omecinatl)


Initiation and Impregnation

creation of a reaction



Empowering, Sprouting

Fluidity creates Movement

Revelation and Proliferation


Budding, Movement forward, New life

Challenge, Change through conflict

Clarity and Blooming

Comprehension and communication

Accomplishment of Everything and Fructification

Une autre grille de lecture In French, to be translated

Les 13 Nombres sont bien plus qu’une suite numérique. Chacun d’eux est un vrai symbole en lui-même. La meilleure façon de le montrer est de les ordonner, non pas selon les unials, les baktuns ou les «jours» et nuits» de Carl Calleman, mais suivant leur séquence d’apparition dans le TZOLK’IN pour un Glyphe de jour donné. Pour cela regardons la représentation du TZOLK’IN en unial.

La séquence des 13 nombres est, dans ce cas :

1     8  2  9  3  10     4     11  5  12  6  13     7

Les Nombres 1, 4 et 7 ont été isolés à dessein. Cet ordre prend tout son sens si on se réfère à la tradition Kiché telle qu’exprimée par Kenneth Johnson dans ses livres (Voir plus bas, pour chaque Nombre)

  1. -Le Nombre 1 est le symbole du commencement, de tous les commencements,

  2. -La séquence 8 - 2 - 9 - 3 -10 est le symbole du processus de procréation. 8 est le nombre du principe masculin, passif, incapable de procréer seul, le 2 est le nombre de la polarité qui ouvre le chemin au Nombre 9 qui lui représente le principe féminin, actif, dans le sens où toute la gestation est le fait du féminin. Le Nombre 3 représente le pouvoir d’action et de germination. Le Nombre 10 enfin est celui de le coopération et des relations entre humains.

  3. -Le Nombre 4 est le symbole de la création achevée : le monde formé, la naissance d’un être humain, la base stable sur laquelle il st possible de construire.

  4. -La séquence 11 - 5 - 12 - 6 -13 est le symbole d’une vie humaine. 11 est symbole du potentiel présent au début d’une vie, il est neutre et attend d’être utilisé. Le Nombre 5 est le symbole du travail, de la façon dont l’être humain utilise son potentiel (Nombre 11). Le Nombre 12 représente tout ce qui est bâti dans une vie. Le nombre 6 est celui de la stabilité ultime, celle où le travail peut s’arrêter. Le Nombre 13, enfin, est celui de la complétude de la vie, de la maturité.

  5. -Le Nombre 7 est le symbole de la fin, la mort étant une fin parmi d’autres. Il est a noté que le Nombre 13 qui est le symbole de l'achèvement, de la maturité, est ici placé juste avant celui de la fin. Quand un cycle est arrivé à maturité (Nombre 13), alors il se termine (Nombre 7) pour laisser place à un nouveau (nombre 1).

Number 1 - Unity

Mayan Name :  HUN

Conveyed energy : Initiation and Impregnation

The beginning of all things. The first one. All that is. The whole.

Trustful and independent, these persons give a non impulse to the projects they are associated with, but do not expect a HUN person to be bothered with the details or to bring the final touch to things. The HUN is more efficient when confronted to a challenge.

Associated deity : The God of Fire and Time

Associated with volcanoes and hearth protection.  

Kenneth Johnson’s commentary

The Number 1 symbolizes beginnings, unity, the original energy of creation. Even though it is a low number, it is powerful, for it has to do with the energy of the new trecena which is making its arrival. Daykeepers usually do ritual on a 1 day, and in some traditional communities there is a special shrine dedicated to the number 1. It also symbolizes the power of thought, the initial or beginning “idea” behind all things that inspires us to create and to bring things into manifestation.

Number 2 - Duality

Mayan Name :  KA

Conveyed energy : Catalysis, creation of a reaction

Just as mysterious as the question “To be or not to be?”. We have here the recognition of the separation of self as opposed to Wholeness and the longing for reunion.

The energy of KA is to always consider the positive from the negative and to progress in a well balanced way through the different choices to be made, light/darkness, male/female, right/wrong, Yin/Yang. The energy of KA finds its reason to be by experimenting with differences.

Associated deity : The God of the Earth

Divine triad made of its own mysterious essence and of these two manifestations, one of which is feminine and the other one masculine. At the same time, Lord and Lady of the Earth, it will “devour” the dead, liberating their souls and giving them birth in the next world.

Kenneth Johnson’s commentary

The Number 2 is a symbol of duality. Much like Taoists, the Maya think in terms of cosmic polarities. This is embodied in their mythology: there are two Hero Twins, two principal Lords of the Underworld, as well as the two monkey twins who represent the day-sign Chuen. There is the eternal dichotomy of this world and the Underworld, day and night, darkness and light. These themes run like a common thread in all of Mayan myth, especially in the sacred book the Popol Vuh.

Number 3 - Action

Mayan Name :  OX

Conveyed energy : Germination

Movement, communication. The energy of OX is very eloquent through all forms of personal expression. The communication purpose is to establish a consensus between any point A and any point B. Since the basic movement is vibration, the OX person is in the very core of the rhythm; often agitated, movement being their very nature. By working closely to the energy of the 3, anyone can foretell whatever movement.

Associated deity : The Goddess of Water and Childbirth

“The one who wears a jade skirt”, Tlaloc’s wife, goddess of the ocean, rivers and lakes, she is also regarded as being the guardian of childbirth.

Kenneth Johnson’s commentary

The Number 3 relates to the three worlds of the Mayan cosmovision – Heaven, Earth, and the Underworld. It also symbolizes the three original hearth stones laid down by the Creator Gods. (In traditional Mayan homes, three stones can still be found on wooden stoves to hold the comal or tortilla griddle.) But 3 can be a difficult number nevertheless. Carl Jung, objecting to the notion of a Trinity, said that the number 3 is incomplete. The Maya would agree. This is a difficult number, and implies doubt, risk, uncertainty. Many traditional Daykeepers avoid initiating new projects on a 3 day.

Number 4 - Stability

Mayan Name :  KAN

Conveyed energy : Stability

The most stable form of all is the cube. Four, by definition, is the volume basis. The four directions give every form an orientation, just as the height, the width, the length and the depth give it a shape. The KAN energy determines the parameters to establish the limits (liberties and bounds) needed for the creation of a game, a job or a relationship.

Associated deity : The God of the Sun and Warriors

“Movement of the sun”. God of war and solar energy in movement. It is the very god that is represented in the center of the Aztec Calendar.

Kenneth Johnson’s commentary

The Number 4 symbolizes wholeness. It is associated with Ahau, the Sun God as cosmic lord (the word ahau literally means lord). Why is this a solar number? The word for “day” (k’in in Yucatec or q’ij in K’iche’) is the same as the word for “sun”; a day is a complete passage of the sun. The sun or the day has four stations: dawn, noon, sunset and midnight. These four components of each day, each “sun,” can be conceptually expanded to include the solstices and equinoxes; thus the year is also a 4. There is evidence that the Classic Maya divided the universe into four sections marked by the two intersections of the Milky Way with the ecliptic. Thus we live in a fourfold universe. The Maya still lay out their ritual altars in a fourfold pattern. The number 4 represents the four elements: Air, Fire, Earth and Water; these compose nature and give us life. Four is also the Four Directions and the Four Pillars which hold up the Earth.

Number 5 - Empowerment

Mayan Name :  HO

Conveyed energy : Empowerment, Sprouting

HO is in the center of the cube. HO is an intelligent force that organizes communications, materials, knowledge and their application. By nature the HO persons deal with networks and gather what they need. These persons go straight to the crux of any situation which makes excellent investigators out of them. 

Associated deity : The Goddess of Love and Childbirth

“Rubbish eater”. Goddess of carnal love and childbirth. She was also called “the rubbish eater” as when a dying person would confess his/her sins to the goddess, she would devour all the impurities the dying person’s soul had accumulated before passing.

Kenneth Johnson’s commentary

The Number 5 represents the human hand and the five senses, as well as the five fingers and toes. We use our hands to work with, so this is the number of work, the actions that we perform in life.

Number 6 - Flow

Mayan Name :  UAC

Conveyed energy : Fluidity creates Movement

The volume movement within the dimensions of space is what creates time. Six is the energy of negotiation and flexibility. In order to visualize it in action, think of ballet dancing, or of a great athlete’s performance. UAC helps bringing dynamic evolvements and improving all aspects of life. 

Associated deity : The God of Death

“Lord of the death realm”. Lord of the sojourn of the dead, a cold and obscure region with no communication with the world of light where the dead are received and accommodated. This god, nevertheless, is not perceived as a dark and nefarious divinity since he is the representation of the Sun in its nocturnal state. 

Kenneth Johnson’s commentary

The number 6 is the number of ultimate stability. In ancient Mayan mythology, the World Tree itself is called “6 Raised-Up Sky,” and I have noted that it is the “Place of Number 6,” the hill called Paclom, which represents the axis mundi or world center in contemporary Momostenango. Don Rigoberto Itzep teaches that there are 6 components which establish the vitality of a family system: 1) Health 2) Understanding 3) Work/Employment 4) Friendship 5) Property or Possessions 6) Positive and Negative Actions.

Number 7 - Reflective

Mayan Name :  UUC

Conveyed energy : Révélation et prolifération

UUC is like a mirror which parts light from darkness so as to reflect all that is and all that is not. UUC is associated to the source of all creation and to the flow of the divine will. With a profound sense of ethics, the UUC persons bring a raison d’être to the present and future objectives.

Associated deity : The God of maize (corn) & subsistence

“God of maize”. Dual divinity both masculine and feminine, associated to the maize and to the food, therefore to agriculture and impregnation.

Kenneth Johnson’s commentary

The number 7 may confuse some people, for it sometimes represents death, or at least “endings.” The reason for this may not be readily apparent. In order to illustrate this, we may take a look at any tzolk’in diagram. Any day-sign sequence beginning with 1 will end in a 7. It will be like this: 1, 8, 2, 9, 3, 10, 4, 11, 5, 12, 6, 13, 7. This is why 7 is so often considered a symbol of endings. In the Popol Vuh, the Hero Twins are named 1 Hunahpu and 7 Hunahpu, while the most important Underworld Lords are named 1 Death and 7 Death. When 1 and 7 are paired together in such a fashion, it is as if we were saying: “The beginning and end of the Hero Twins archetype,” or “The alpha and omega of the Death archetype.” Rituals are seldom performed on 7 days.

Number 8 - Justice

Mayan Name :  UAXAC

Conveyed energy : Harmony

Harmony and balance are the intention of UAXAC. The UAXAC persons carefully weigh all the evidence in order to attain a balanced justice. UAXAC is the power of organization as expressed in the famous “As above, so below”. From the simple to the infinite, the UAXAC energy manages all the levels of Creation. Overly organized, some UAXAC persons can be sheer “cleanliness maniacs”.  

Associated deity : The God of Rain and War

“He who makes things drip”. God of rain, thunder and agriculture (growth and development) who gives death as well as agricultural prosperity by bringing two types of rain, one that gives the earth its fruition and the other one its destruction. He is attributed those death linked to water and thunder. 

Kenneth Johnson’s commentary

The number 8 is highly auspicious. If 1 and 7 are the beginning and the end, then 1 + 7 = 8, making 8 a number of completion or wholeness, much like the number 4. This is why there is some sort of ritual for almost every 8 day, and why some extremely traditional communities have a special local shrine dedicated to the number 8. Of course, 4 + 4 = 8, so the wholeness implied in the number 4 is doubled here, as if the wholeness of the fourfold universe were seen from the viewpoint of both polarities: night and day, light and darkness, sun and moon, yin and yang. The number 8 has been said by Maya teachers to represent the weaving of life, the thread or cord of time. It is also sometimes said that the Mayan symbol for 8, a bar with three dots over it, has a symbolic meaning, with the three dots on top representing humanity and day, and the bar underneath representing Mother Earth.

Number 9 - Patience

Mayan Name :  BOLON

Conveyed energy : Budding, movement forward, new life

The energy of BOLON allows a wider perspective. That vision in its globality does strengthen patience and persistence and so, the energy of BOLON will allow a glimpse into the realization of the current plans, models and actions. Conversely, without this vision, there will be much suffering in the BOLON persons since, without a clear vision of the goal, persevering is a losing proposition. The fulfilment of the cycles of actions is of the utmost important for the BOLON people.  

Associated deity : The God of Light

“The Feathered Serpent”, Lord of the light and morning star (Venus). He was also regarded as the inventor of books and of the calendar, the one who had given the maize (corn) (result of sprouting and growth) to Mankind. He was sometimes thought to be the symbol of death and resurrection. 

Kenneth Johnson’s commentary

The number 9 is an extremely positive one, even though it is an odd number. It is often used for ritual purposes. Inscriptions surviving from Classic times (200 – 900 CE) indicate that 9 was the day most favored for the timing of coronations and other important ceremonies. 9 is often called “the number of life” because it represents the process of human gestation; there are nine months of human development prior to birth. Because of this, the number 9 is especially associated with women, particularly since the 260-day cycle is comprised of nine lunar months. Some Mayan teachers have pointed out that in their traditional culture there are nine steps in the construction of a house and nine stages to growing and harvesting crops. There are also 9 Lords of the Underworld, but this is not necessarily the astrological significance of 9, a number whose symbolism is overwhelmingly positive.

9 is the number which is symbolic of women and the universal feminine principle. Chuen is an auspicious day, and especially favorable for marriage or any other kind of union. In some Mayan communities, traditionalists do ceremony on 9 Chuen to honor the spirit of women. Female Daykeepers in particular often keep this tradition.

Number 10 - Manifestation

Mayan Name :  LAHUN

Conveyed energy : Challenge, change through conflict

What previously used to be intentions or ideas, hopes or fears is now taking the shape of the energy of LAHUN. LAHUN allows the manifestation of the reality one has been focusing on through attention and intention. LAHUN is a powerful energy which brings great responsibilities.  

Associated deity : The God of Darkness

“Smoking mirrors”, Lord of the dark and the obscure, at the same time brother and worst enemy of Quetzalcoatl, the god of light. 

Kenneth Johnson’s commentary

The number 10 symbolizes the 10 digits on our hands and our feet, making up the 20 which comprise a human being. This number has a special meaning of human cooperation, the bonds and relationships between people.

Number 11 - Resolution

Mayan Name :  BULUK

Conveyed energy : Clarity and blooming

Every new creation must find its space in the Universe. Some modifications are necessary in the adjustment process. These changes are the energy of BULUK. BULUK is the energy of dynamic actions which aid in bringing changes, simplification and improvement. Some of the persons born with this energy might feel at loss, possibly scared by the magnitude of the change.   

Associated deity : The Goddess of Childbirth

“The midwife of the night”. Goddess presiding over the process of childbirth. 

Kenneth Johnson’s commentary

The number 11 has great force, strength and power. This power is neither positive nor negative but neutral.  Some Mayan teachers see it as representative of the totality of past, present and future, everything that unfolds over time. The number 11 holds tremendous creative potential, but it can be challenging to access that force.

Number 12 - Comprehension

Mayan Name :  LA KA

Conveyed energy : Comprehension and Communication

LA KA offers a great capacity for retrospection as a gift to the persons born under this intention. It is this skill which allows the LA KA persons to get some separate entities connected and to reunite them in a new functional Whole. The LA KA energy is the one which will integrate every new bit of information and implement the accumulated experiences.   

Associated deity : The God of the morning star which reigns before dawn

“Lord of the house of the star of dawn”. God who reigns before dawn, therefore he is a manifestation of the god Quetzalcoatl as Venus, the morning star. 

Kenneth Johnson’s commentary

The number 12 is the highest of the even numbers and represents a summing up one’s life. At one time or another we must all come to such an accounting of all our actions and experiences, weaving together all our individual, family, societal and cultural influences. 12 represents this totality of thought.

Number 13 - Ascension

Mayan Name :  OXHALUN

Conveyed energy : Accomplishment of everything and fructification

It is the progression of the current stage into a higher one. The energy of OXHALUN supports and propels the effort to try something new or to start again. The OXHALUN persons always go beyond the next mountain, with the only thought of finding out what is to be found there . The OXHALUN persons make use of their last success to initiate a new effort. The energy of OXHALUN is one of these driving forces that will achieve, transform  and transcend.   

Associated deity : The supreme God of Creation

“God”, the supreme divinity, the Lord and Lady of the duality of the universe, Time and Space, Masculine and Feminine, Order and Chaos, Day and Night, Matter and Spirit.

Ometeotl is being manifested through the elements which are the basis of the universe: fire, air, water and earth. The name of Ometeotl, when it manifests through the water is Tlaloc which is red and dwells in the East. When manifested through the earth, it is Tezcatlipoca which is black and dwells in the North. When manifested through the air, it is Quetzalcoatl which is white and dwells in the West and when manifested through the fire, it is Huitzilopochtli which is blue and dwells in the South (they are in fact the 4 Baccab).

Kenneth Johnson’s commentary

The number 13 is the completion of life, of all movement and process. 13 has a special relationship with the development of paranormal abilities, for it is connected with the 13 major joints of the human body where the sacred koyopa energy (the Mayan equivalent of kundalini) accumulates.  13 also relates to refinement and sensitivity, enhanced perception and acute intuition. This ability to access other dimensions of reality applies to all actions performed on a 13 day as well as to those who are born upon a 13.

The higher numbers are seldom used for ritual because of the intensity of their energy. But there are exceptions to every rule. The day-sign Men (Tz’ikin) is auspicious and benefits from the powerful energy of the higher numbers. In Momostenango tradition, this is the day upon which a special ceremony is held to give thanks for the prosperity with which we have been gifted, and humbly to ask for more.

translation by Nelly Lewin

The 13 energies

We shall now have a look at the energies behind each number. These 13 energies are illustrated by deities whose Mayan name overall is largely unknown; however we know their Aztec names and titles. The sequence of the 13 energies is illustrated by the evolution of a plant from the moment it has been seeded (number 1) until the fruit appear (number 13).

The odd number energies are called day, light, action and evolution energies and the even number energies are night, obscurity, rest and resistance energies.

The following chart gives, in synthesis, the numbers’ names, the conveyed energies and the deities’ titles and names:










Day 1

(beginning of  trecena)

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Day 8

(crest of trecena)

Day 9

Day 10

Day 11

Day 12

Day 13

(end of  trecena)


First Unial

(days 1-20)

Second Unial

(days 21-40)

Third Unial

(days 41-60)

Fourth Unial

(days 61-80)

Fifth Unial

(days 81-100)

Sixth Unial

(days 101-120)

Seventh Unial

(days 121-140)

(Core Days)

Eighth Unial

(days 141-160)

Ninth Unial

(days 161-180)

Tenth Unial

(days 181-200)

Eleventh Unial

(days 201-220)

Twelfth Unial

(days 220-240)

Thirteenth Unial

(days 241-260)


First Heaven

(the first day)

Deuxième Heaven

(the first night)

Third Heaven

(the second day)

Fourth Heaven

(the second night)

Fifth Heaven

(the third day)

Sixth Heaven

(the third night)

Seventh Heaven

(the fourth day)

Eighth Heaven

(the fourth night)

Ninth Heaven

(the fifth day)

Dixième Heaven

(the fifth night)

Eleventh Heaven

(the sixth day)

Twelfth Heaven

(the sixth nigth)

Thirteenth Heaven

(the seventh day)

GROWTH (numbers 1 to 6)


TRANSFORMATION (numbers 8 to 13)

GROWTH (numbers 1 to 6)


TRANSFORMATION (numbers 8 to 13)

The previous chart could be illustrated in that way: