13 Manik

13 KEJ

Today is a real power house.

For one thing, it’s a 13 day. High-numbered days (10 or above) tend to be very intense – I often heard the Maya describe them as “muy fuerte.” Odd numbers express themselves in a more volatile way than even numbers. Since 13 is the highest possible odd number, it can be both volatile and intense. In Momos they used to say that people born on a 13 day are naturally psychic, and if they try to turn away from their intuitive gifts they will suffer from nervousness and morbid apprehensions. This means that on a 13 day, you have to “walk your talk.” Excuses are not allowed. You have to keep it real, and you have to maintain integrity with the world around you – which most definitely includes the Otherworld.

Kej (Yucatec: Manik) is a powerful day regardless of the number. This is the day of the deer, but the deer in question is not some gentle, soft-eyed fawn, but a mighty stag, the lord of the forest. To the ancient Maya, the deer was one of the most powerful animals of all. When the Spaniards first arrived, the Maya perceived their horses as similar to deer – the mightiest of the four-footed tribe. I can still remember walking through one of the villages and seeing a horse in a field nearby. I was surprised when my Mayan friend called it a “kej” – and indeed, in K’iche’ “kej” is the word for both “deer” and “horse.”

Kej is raw power in the aggregate. Power, in and of itself, is neither good nor bad – everything depends on the degree of integrity with which we use it. Kej is one of the Year Lords, and it is traditionally said that political leaders – people of power – will rise to acclaim in a Kej year if they are honest, but will be thrown down in disgrace – like being thrown from a bucking horse – if they use their power for inappropriate purposes. It is interesting to remember that 1974, the year of Watergate, was a Kej year.

How, then, shall we claim the tremendous power of this day and wield it with integrity, grace, and honesty?

Among other things, Kej is the nawal or guardian spirit of Nature – wild, beautiful Nature and all our four-footed brethren who live there. Upon this day, it is favorable to spend some time in Nature. The trees, the streams, the wild things – they all contribute to endowing us with the balance and the sense of harmony, unity and oneness which the awesome power of this day demands.

If you can manage it, take a hike. Even if your job confines you to an office cubicle, you can still take your lunch hour at a local park. Sit under a tree or on a bench next to a melodious stream. You will be glad you did, for you will sense the majesty and natural beauty of 13 Kej.