Mayan astrology is a unique form of the subject, compared to what many people of Western society are familiar with today. According to Mesoamerican civilizations, time, and units of time, are taken to be signs. The Mayan zodiac is different from the western form of astrology, which is based more on spatial relationships. Mayan astrological signs developed early in the civilization, and they evolved over the centuries. The ancient Maya are known for their achievements in art, architecture, mathematics, and astronomy, and for this reason, many people are curious about the development of zodiac symbols of the Maya, and how they came into being.
Units of time are very important to Mayan astrology. These can be interpreted as symbols, and many Mayans lived their lives and made decisions based on these interpretations. For example, when to get married or when to plant crops, was based on interpretation of the Mayan zodiac. Farmers and peasants often traveled to the cities to gain advice on when the best time for these important decisions would be. In a way, astrology became part of Mayan religion, worship, and prayer. The zodiac symbols of the Maya were respected and sometimes feared by the citizens of this ancient civilization.
Mayan astrology is based on units of twenty days. Symbolic names were given to the days, and like our seven-day weeks, the named twenty days repeat. According to the Mayan zodiac, the day a child was born on in the twenty-day cycle had an influence on their personality and character. This system was complicated even further by creating a unit of time of thirteen twenty-day cycles, a calendar called the tzolkin. This 260-day astrological calendar has roots in the early days of the Mayan civilization. In recent years, the calendar has become a source of controversy as some, often in the new age community, have interpreted the calendar to predict the end of the world 2012.
Sacred Mayan symbols for each of the twenty days have interesting meanings. The crocodile, for example, is known as being energetic, sensitive, and private. A child born on the day of the serpent is predicted to be strong-willed, powerful, and charismatic. Other fascinating zodiac symbols of the Maya include death, which is materialistic, helpful, and has a concern for politics. The rabbit is energetic but nervous, while the monkey is artistic and clever. Each of the symbols of the twenty-day cycle has a full description of its characteristics.
The Mayans also believed there to be a greater pattern within the twenty-day cycle and that days within the cycle were related to one another. For example, the first four signs are believed to have certain characteristics in common that are different from the next group. The second cycle is known for a concern with the social world of relationships, while the third cycle has a strong presence of feelings and emotions. Mayan astrology has many subtleties that can be open to endless interpretation. This system shares a use of symbols with the zodiac symbols with the western version, but is uniquely its own. Woven throughout Mayan history, astrology was a part of life that seems to be an important element of decision-making for the people of this ancient civilization and of making sense of the world around them.