The Mayan Sacred Calendar: An Interview with Shay Addams
When did you first become interested in the Mayan calendar?
In 1964. I was still in high school. I ran across a book by Halliburton who had traveled across the world, Chichén Itzá in particular, and as soon as I found out about that, I was fascinated with the Maya. I read everything I could find about the Maya – Aztec and Inca too – but for some reason, I was just fascinated by the Mayan culture and the whole calendar system.
Have you taken classes to become a day keeper?
No, I’ve studied many, many books. I’ve spoken to many, many people, but I haven’t formally been trained by any one shaman or day keeper. The reason for that is you only learn what he learned from his father or uncle. I mean, you’ll get a lot of really good information from most any shaman or day keeper, but they don’t all know everything. They have one part of the puzzle; another has a different part of the puzzle. I basically put it all together, and [from my research] I also figured out certain things that they don’t tell you.
When did you start doing research for this book?
About two years ago, I started looking into all the 2012 theories. Just to sort things out, to see what they agreed on and disagreed on. And, that’s when I got back into the Sacred Calendar, the 260 day calendar and astrology, and began doing more research. What happened was, when I wanted to find out about something, I would have about two-dozen books, right? And most of them were in Spanish, written by Mayan scholars. So, I’d have to look in this book and that book. I started to compile all the information into my own little notebook. I was crossing Lake Atitlán one day and I had this idea that other people could use this information. And, I thought, I haven’t written a book in thirteen years, so why not do it. So, I did. It’s about my 23rd book, but definitely my best.
Really? You’ve written a lot then.
Yes, I was known in the late ‘70s, early ‘80s as one of the pioneer computer journalists, when home computers first became popular. I was writing for a half dozen different magazines. Most of the books I wrote were user guides. So, I keep thinking, how do I work my back ground into something like this. So, it became a “User’s Guide” because that’s what it does: it tells you how to really apply the calendar. Very few of [the other books on the subject] tell you how to apply the calendar in a practical way.
Can you go through the sections of your book with me?
I go through the origin of the calendar, the history. I explain Mayan cosmovision. Their concept of time, which is really the basis for the calendar itself.
And for each nahual, you explain the mythology behind the nahual – the story, like Dog helped Blood Woman gather Corn to prove she was pregnant with the Hero Twins – as well as the personality characteristics.
Yes, all twenty of the nahuales or spirits of the Sacred Calendar, which are all either animals, elemental forces, plants or tools, are based on characters in the Popul Vuh. A lot of times when I was trying to figure things out, I would go back to the Popul Vuh to look for the stories involving those glyphs and I got a lot of illumination from that.
Explain the influence of a person’s day sign?
It’s your blueprint for life. It’s your potential. You don’t have to go along with it, but you will be happier and better off if you do. It gives you guidance on both the spiritual and material level.
When you put the book together, what were your objectives or hopes for the reader?
A primer, an introduction to the Sacred Calendar that’s clear and simple, so you can understand and use it in a practical way, every day of your life. By knowing your nahual, you know yourself and you know your potential energy. And by knowing the nahual of other people, you know their potential energy and you know how you’ll get along. And, if you know the nahual of the day, then you know the energy of the day.
I find that interesting. In your book you describe that: what to expect on those days, what things to do, what you should ask for, that sort of thing, plus rituals, ceremonies and totems for the day. Do you follow that?
As closely as possible. The book went to the printer on the right day and came out on the right day. You can’t always do that, but I do whenever I can.
What about today? What day is it?
So, is this a good day for an interview?
Yeah, monkeys are cheerful and bright and they love to talk and be the center of attention.
Can you explain something to me? I understand that the nahuales have different characteristics, but I don’t really understand the influence of the numbers.
It’s like a wave. It starts at 1 and goes up to 7 or 8 when it’s powerful and balanced, and then it becomes more powerful and crashes into the beach. So for one thing, it indicates the intensity of the sign, the intensity of the astrological attributes. For example, monkey people are festive and fun, but the higher the number the more frenetic they get. Generally people with a lower numbers are more introverted, and people with higher numbers, more extroverted. Numbers 7 and 8 are probably the best.
How has the Sacred Calendar changed your life?
I’ve followed the path of the Sacred Calendar for more than a year and it has made a tremendous difference for me. I’m not as mean to people; I’ve become a nicer person. When I talk about the Sacred Calendar, sacred means precious, not holy. This is not religion; it is spirituality. In other words, you can still practice any other religion and follow the calendar.
Do you think you’ll write another book after this?
Right now, I’m writing about the secret of 2012.
And, what’s your take on 2012?
I don’t have a theory; it’s more of an observation. Things are changing. I’ve seen that major changes, both earth changes and social changes, are occurring faster and faster. Some people might say time is moving faster, but, no, it’s just the rate of change that is moving faster. Just look back over the last six months at all the major events. Most of the 2012 theories and ancient prophecies say there will be a transformation of consciousness, and is that not what’s happening in the world? The Hopi and the Navajo say we are approaching a time of a great purification, when many people will die, and the people who survive will get in touch with the rhythms of the planet. Right now, that’s our problem; we are out of balance with the planet.