Maya Divination by the Maya Calendar

A highly important component of ancient Maya religious thought is divination. In this the Maya are basically no different from other civilizations. Here is a review of divination in various world cultures as a preface to Maya Divination proper.
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In all of these cases it is the specially trained and experienced priest or diviner who interprets the signs in the heavens and on earth. It is he who reads the messages which are encoded in the direction the birds fly through the templum, the sacred heavenly rectangle, or the prognostic information which the liver and other entrails of sacrificed animals reveal. It is he who properly consults and interprets the sacred books, scrolls and palm leaves. In the vase to the right, before setting out for combat a Greek warrior and his companion, both in full armor and followed by their squire, read the outcome of the battle to include their own fate from the liver of a sacrificed animal, probably a sheep. A young lad wholly in the nude presents the liver to them. Around 500 B.C. Royal Museums of Art and History, Brussels, Belgium.

With the ancient Maya of Yucatán this specially trained and experienced priest or diviner who interprets the signs was called Ah k'in "he of the days". The special knowledge of his profession was called Chuenil k'in , "the art of the days". These days are the twenty days of the maya calendar from imix (day 1) to ahaw (day 20) which, when successively repeated 13 times, produce the count of the 260 days, Tsolk'in in Maya.



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