Have you ever looked up into a deep dark early morning sky and sensed the coming of the dawn – sensed that sometime soon a celestial switch would flick on and bring in a brand new day? If so, you have tapped into the essence of Ak’b’al, the nature of the first day of 2023, and the energy that is ushering in the very first trecena of this brand new year. This is following on the heels of a particularly challenging holiday season that was anything by “jolly” for large numbers of people. Indeed, what many may want most at this time is just to “hunker down” in some safe place for awhile, in order to rest and regroup. And of all the trecenas in the 260-day Tzolk’in cycle this is the trecena most suited for “rest, recuperation, and reflection”.
Fortunately many will get their wish, as weather conditions begin to ease, providing relief from the wintery onslaught, but far too many will still be dealing with “darkness” in one form or another. Indeed, the UN has predicted that a record 339 million people (or one in 23 people), spread over 68 countries, will be in urgent need of assistance this year as a result of 2022’s “extreme events” related to the war in Ukraine, to Covid and other diseases, and to climate change. Normally the Ak’b’al trecena might be considered to be a favorable period for reflection, prayer, and meditation, but with so many critical needs requiring attention, the emphasis this time may need to switch to “thoughtful action”.
And, as this trecena begins, this will mark 311 days since Russia’s horrific invasion of Ukraine last February. By late December nearly 8 million Ukrainians had been registered as refugees outside of Ukraine, well over 2 million had crossed the border into Russia (often forcibly), and at least 7 million people are estimated to be internally displaced, many likely existing in “darkness” at this time, trying to survive the winter, and praying for some form of “light” or hope or escape.
It has now been four Tzolk’in cycles since late February of 2020 when the first 60 cases of coronavirus in the US were reported, and one confirmed case was reported in Brazil, on the last day of Carnival. Although the dumpster kept trying to call Covid-19 a Democratic hoax in those early days, his administration finally allowed US laboratories and hospitals to conduct their own Covid-19 tests, and lawmakers began working on a bipartisan $8.3bn bill to help in the fight against the coronavirus. Schools, museums, and entertainment venues began closing worldwide; airlines were grounding their fleets, and passengers were stranded on cruise ships. By the end of the trecena several hundred cases had been identified in the U.S. and the whole of Italy was quarantined.
By the start of this trecena in November of 2020, one cycle later, the number of cases in the U.S. had risen to over 10 million, with the overall death toll over 248,000. By one cycle after that (July of 2021) the global number of cases had reached nearly 198 million, with over 35 million in the U.S. where the deaths had climbed to well over 600,000. Now, as we embark on 2023, we find that the number of cases in the US has increased tenfold over the past two years, with over 102 million registered cases. Over 500,000 more people in that country have lost their lives to it over the last 18 months, bringing the total to over 1,110,000. In addition to the U.S., countries such as France, Germany, and Japan have been hit particularly hard. But the status of covid in China remains one of the biggest mysteries as officials have not been releasing real-time information regarding case numbers, hospitalizations, or deaths since the easing of restrictions in that country.
So it seems that this Ak’b’al trecena has been functioning like a major “marker” in this regard, as it has for a number of other key events aligned with the general idea of “darkness”, “deep mysteries”, and challenges associated with ethics and morality that often tie in with this time frame.
As noted before, the Aztec depicted the overseer of this period as Itzpapálotl, the Obsidian Butterfly, who sometimes appears as a seductress but more often is shown with a skeletal visage and knife tipped wings, representative of her role as a fearsome warrior on the search for truth. Emblematic of the struggles of the soul as it strives to overcome the trials and tribulations of life, this deity was often associated with the subconscious, with moral and ethical issues, and with the sacrifices that often must be made in order to navigate through the earthly realm. And that is what this trecena often “stirs up”, often exposing a cauldron of issues that need to be addressed.
Indeed, when this trecena came into place 51 years ago, these were the kinds of issues that were definitely being stirred up when the whole Watergate subterfuge began unravelling on the first day of this time frame, with the early morning arrest of the Watergate burglars, which kicked off a major investigation that led to the impeachment proceedings against President Nixon, and his eventual resignation. This trecena’s emphasis on shedding light on “hidden secrets”, particularly as they relate to morality and ethics, was clearly observable at that time.
Five cycles ago, in June of 2019, a massive #Impeach Trump National Day of Action took place near the beginning of this time frame, in more than 100 cities and towns across the US, which was a precursor to the hearings that led to his impeachment in early 2020. The resistance by the GOP-held Senate to the endorsement of that impeachment ruling, along with the denier-in-chief’s subsequent behaviour, fomented the very dark times that followed.
Three cycles ago, in November of 2020, it became clear that the very sore loser of the U.S. presidential election was going into meltdown mode. That was when White House aides were talking about the “bunker mentality” on display in the White House, as the dumpster was “holed up” with no plans to journey out and no effort being made to facilitate a smooth transition of power. . . . and everyone is aware of what happened a few weeks later.
By the time this trecena came into place two cycles ago, in July of 2021, the Select Committee to investigate the coup attempt was holding hearings, and a great deal of information was being brought forward regarding the machinations associated with that conspiracy to overturn the election. On the first day of this trecena at that time ABC News reported on the “Smoking Gun” notes that revealed that the dumpster attempted to pressure the DoJ into declaring the election corrupt, in his “frantic efforts to cling to power at all costs”. As the trecena proceeded the U.S. Justice Department ordered the Internal Revenue Service to hand over 6 years worth of the dumpster’s tax returns to the House Ways and Means committee, information that had long been withheld, and the word “criminal” was starting to be used with regard to the dumpster’s overall activities. And although multiple delay tactics prevented that committee from receiving those returns until just a few weeks ago, those returns were finally released to the public just two days before this trecena began, and people are now actively unpacking the details.
So now, as this trecena returns, we find that the Jan. 6th Committee is just completing its work, releasing transcripts of the over 1200 interviews that were conducted, to accompany the hefty final report that was released a few days earlier.
So it appears that, at this time, this “darkness before dawn” trecena is providing many opportunities for reflection, and for questioning and soul-searching with regard to all that has transpired over the past few terrifying years. But this will also prove to be very enlightening for the many who will battle on, particularly with the shifts going on in Washington during this period.
Keep in mind that idea of finding the spark of light within the darkness – as in early dawn, the flickering of light that will begin a “new day”. That is also part of this Ak’b’al energy – and is something important to hold onto.
And as difficult as that may seem to be, given all the existential problems in the world, let’s keep in mind a story conveyed by the Guardian that has captured the hearts of millions of readers. It’s the story of Igor, a former ship’s cook who lived in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, with his little nine-year old dog Zhu-Zhu. After enduring several weeks of seige by Russians, Igor decided that he and Zhu-Zhu had to leave. It was during this Ak’b’al trecena that he decided to pack a small bag and embark on a journey, by foot, in search of safety. He and Zhu-Zhu then set off on a grueling 225km journey through Russian-occupied territory, eventually reaching Zaporizhzhia. It’s a tale of determination, bravery, love, and devotion, even in the midst of terrible darkness. It’s the kind of tale that inspires hope, faith, and trust that the light of dawn will eventually break through. As we journey through the current darkness, looking for the light, keep in mind that the light is on its way. Here are the energies that we will be working with:
One Ak’b’al (Jan. 1st, 2023) – the “initiation” of “darkness” (or “contemplation”), in association with deep mysteries, coinciding with New Year’s Day, the day when Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, a leftist, takes over as president of Brazil when he will begin to take on what had been termed the “herculean task” of sorting out all the damage caused by the mismanagement of the outgoing Bolsonaro government. This trecena’s orientation around addressing challenges associated with ethics and morality will tie right in with that.
This marks two cycles since the summer of 2021 when the U.S. Justice Department ordered the Internal Revenue Service to hand the dumpster’s tax returns over to that congressional committee, on the same day as ABC News reported the “Smoking Gun” notes that showed that the dumpster attempted to pressure the DoJ into declaring the 2020 election corrupt. The Jan. 6th committee had been formed shortly before that to investigate the overall nature of the corruption associated with the coup attempt, with their hefty 845 page report being released just before Christmas, shortly before the release to the public of those infamous tax returns.
So as we journey through this energy period that relates, in many ways, to the revealing of deep, dark secrets, that voluminous report, its accompanying transcripts, and the dumpster’s tax returns will provide a lot of people with a great deal of reading material to “hunker down with” and reflect upon. This report, and all those transcripts, are also being given to the DoJ for their on-going investigations, which will have top priority this year.
As noted above, one Ak’b’al was also the energy in place at the time of the Watergate burglary, and the early morning arrest of the burglars, in June of 1972, that ultimately led to impeachment proceedings against President Nixon, and to his resignation in 1974, three cycles + 3 days later.
On a completely different note, this is the Maya birth energy of the unstoppable singer, songwriter/ activist Buffy Sainte-Marie, who has been so influential in terms of calling attention (primarily through her art and music) to indigenous rights and humanitarian issues. Her iconic 1960’s protest song “Universal Soldier” has become a long standing anti-war anthem. Buffy will celebrate her 82nd birthday next month.
2 K’an (Jan. 2nd) – a dynamic type of energy often aligned with the germination of new possibilities, the Maya birth energy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who put forth passionate calls for freedom, justice, and equality during the 1960’s. It is also the Maya birth energy of Peabody Award-winning documentary filmmaker Brent Renaud, the first foreign journalist to be killed in Ukraine while reporting on the war. He was well known for making documentaries about urgent moral issues, focusing on human suffering around the world.
In the summer of 2021 this energy coincided with the completion of a 4-day, 27-mile Georgetown to Austin “March for Democracy” direct action endeavor to put pressure on the U.S. Senate to pass sweeping federal legislation to boost or safeguard access to voting. That was the same day as the “March for Truth and Justice” in Ottawa, calling for the appointment of a special prosecutor to initiate criminal investigations into what went on in Canada’s residential schools, and calling for related church documents.
3 Chikchan (Jan. 3rd) – “the activation of lifeforce” – an important Burner Day oriented around the idea of “announcing the fire” at the start of a new “Burner” sequence, the type of energy that can sometimes “charge” people to take action, particularly if pressing issues suggest the need for consciousness raising. It is often a “marker” day for consequential events, as it will be this time when congress undergoes a re-shuffle in the US, with Republicans scheduled to assume control of the House of Representatives. However, it remains to be seen how this will go, with so much dissension within that party. As it happens, this marks four cycles exactly since the incompetent loser in the 2020 election, aka the super-spreader-in-chief, called Covid-19 “a Democratic hoax”. In 1974 this was the energy in place when President Nixon gave his resignation address before stepping down the following day.
This coincides with the peak (Jan. 3rd-4th) of the Quadrantids Meteor Shower, one of the strongest meteor showers of the year, on environmental activist Greta Thunberg’s 20th Gregorian birthday.
4 Kimi (Jan. 4th) – a “defining” force associated with “absolute foundations”, representative of the sun in combination with “death” or the point at which “all is revealed” so that regeneration can begin, as was in place in the summer of 1974 when President Nixon stepped down after the release of the proof of his covert involvement in the Watergate scandal.
It has now been nine cycles (3 “war” cycles in terms of the Maya Calendar) since fifty of the most senior Republican national security officials signed an open letter declaring that the dumpster “lacks the character, values, and experience” to be president and would put the national security and well-being of the U.S. at risk. They warned that not only would he be “the most reckless president in American history” but that he would weaken the moral authority of the country. They couldn’t have been more right.
It has been four cycles since Joe Biden began a huge comeback as he won the South Carolina primary on the same day as laboratories and hospitals in the US were finally allowed to conduct their own Covid-19 tests to speed up the process.
Currently this is World Braille Day which has been celebrated since 2019 and is dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of braille in acknowledgement of rights for the blind and visually impaired.
5 Manik’ (Jan. 5th) – a “blessing” or “precision” type of energy associated with reciprocity, the day of the funeral for Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter’s Square. He had been the first pope to retire while in office in nearly 600 years.
Currently this is the opening day for the gigantic (and influential) Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, “The Global Stage for Innovation” in consumer technologies (that goes through to Jan. 8th), that will showcase over 2200 exhibitors.
This is also the opening ceremony day for China’s spectacular 39th Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival (to Feb. 28th), the world’s largest of its kind.
At this point it has been four cycles exactly (4 x 260 days) since the first coronavirus case was confirmed in New York, and five cycles since that massive June, 2019 National Day of Action in more than 100 cities and towns across the US that called for the first impeachment inquiry against the imposter in the White House.
6 Lamat (Jan. 6th) – a “structuring” type of energy associated with the heralding of new ideas, coinciding at this time with the Full Wolf Moon and with Twelfth Night, traditionally a day of “feasting and merriment” as Christmas trees are taken down. In the Christian tradition this is Three Kings Day, or Epiphany, a concept that pertains to the manifestation of a supernatural or divine reality, or a sudden revelation, as in the appearance of Christ to the Magi. This is Orthodox Epiphany (Russia, Eastern Europe), aka The Feast of Theophany, at which time many Christians submerge themselves in ice-cold lakes and rivers – to “wash away their sins” and commemorate the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan.
This is also World Day of War Orphans, to acknowledge and spread awareness about the needs of millions of children who are generally in desperate need of care as a result of losing families in war zones.
This marks 4 Maya Calendar Rounds since Feb. 26, 1815 when Napoléon Bonaparte snuck away from Elba and returned to France in an effort to regain control. Three months after this return attempt he was defeated at the Battle of Waterloo. Shades of things to come for many Republicans?
7 Muluk (Jan. 7th) – a “self-generating”, pivotal, shape-shifting type of energy associated with water, coinciding at this time with Coptic Christmas Day in Egypt and Orthodox Christmas (“Old Christmas Day”), a public holiday in many eastern European traditions, including in Ukraine, at the beginning of a festive week. The Coptic Church recognizes Jan. 7th as the day when Jesus was born.
This day marks three years since France confirmed Europe’s first case of COVID-19, and unfortunately the number of daily new cases in France has remained high for quite some time. It is currently the third highest country in the world in terms of overall registered cases, with over 39 million.
In Vancouver this is the day of the 8th annual Bowie Ball, celebrating the life and legacy of David Bowie, and is a fundraiser for the BC Cancer Foundation.
This is the Maya birth energy of historian Tim Snyder, the author of On Tyranny, one of many who warned that the dumpster would attempt to take control of the government. Four cycles ago, as of this day, Nancy Pelosi called the dumpster “the most dangerous person in the history of [the US]” – and that was well before the coup attempt.
8 Ok (Jan. 8th) – a “double sun” type of force, symbolic of the “resurrection of love, guidance, and loyalty”. It was one cycle ago (last April) when 61-year old Igor Pedin left his home in the beseiged port city of Mariupol, Ukraine, with his dog Zhu-Zhu, to begin a treacherous 140-mile journey by foot, often through Russian-occupied territory, to get to safety in Zaporizhzhia. His remarkable story has been featured several times in the Guardian, and will be part of a forthcoming London exhibition entitled “What Would you Take?”
This 8 Ok day would have been Elvis Presley’s 88th Gregorian birthday and David Bowie’s 76th Gregorian birthday.
9 Chuwen (Jan. 9th) “outwardly projecting creativity”, the energy that was in place in January of 2013 when then U.S. President Barack Obama and then Vice-President Joe Biden were sworn-in for the second time. In 1775 this was the Maya Calendar energy in place at the start of the American Revolution, and in 1789 when the Bastille was stormed in Paris, marking the beginning of the French Revolution. This marks 4 Maya Calendar Rounds since March 1, 1815 when Napoléon Bonaparte landed back in southern France after leaving exile in Elba a few days earlier, on his quest to regain control.
It has now been six cycles since 2018 when the New York Times published an explosive report that revealed that the dumpster was bankrolled (in multiple ways) by his father and that he spent much of the 1990’s participating in dubious tax evasion schemes. These are the kinds of schemes that have been scrutinized over the past few years by New York investigators. As noted above, the tax returns that he tried to keep hidden for so long were finally released to the public just a few days ago.
This is legendary folk singer Joan Baez’s 82nd birthday, and the 41st Gregorian birthday for Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and now Princess of Wales. It is also the Maya birth energy of Dr. Jonas Salk, the American virologist who developed one of the first successful polio vaccines.
10 Eb’ (Jan. 10th) – “foundational animating vitality”, coinciding at this time with the seventh Gregorian anniversary of the death of David Bowie, and the 103rd Gregorian anniversary of the founding of the League of Nations, the first worldwide governmental organization with a mission to maintain world peace.
It has now been four cycles since the dumpster signed the $8.3 billion coronavirus bill in March of 2020 and then used a “free-wheeling press conference” to lash out at Democrats and CNN. This was when it was revealed how “wildly unprepared” the US was for dealing with the coronavirus outbreak. One cycle later (in November of that year) the U.S. was registering over 172,000 new cases of Covid-19 per day, somewhat similar to what has currently been happening with Japan. And we still don’t know exactly what is happening in China, but it doesn’t sound good.
11 B’en (Jan. 11th) – “inspirational personal authority”, as was in place one cycle ago (last April) when leaders from over 40 nations met in Germany to discuss ways and means to provide support for Ukraine. In 2015 this was in place when hundreds of thousands of people marched in more than 2500 demonstrations worldwide in one of the largest ever days of protest to call for action to deal with climate change, on the eve of the UN Climate Change conference.
This marks three years since China announced its first Covid-19 death, as scientists in many places were scrambling to develop reliable tests for that disease.
This is the Maya Calendar birth energy of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the highly ranked 32nd US President (a Democrat), who took office during the Great Depression and brought in a profusion of new programs designed to stimulate reform and economic recovery.
12 Ix (Jan. 12th) – a “gathering together” type of energy oriented around earth forces, deep mysteries, and the power of transformation . This is the energy that was in place in 2010 when the historic Health Care Reform Bill – “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” was passed by the US House of Representatives. In 2021 this was in place when the US Senate passed the massive $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, following months of intensive negotiations.
13 Men (Jan. 13th) – transformational high vision, a high-energy type of force that tends to be highly cause-oriented, and is often world-shaping. This day marks three Gregorian years since the WHO reported a Covid-19 case in Thailand, the first outside China. In March of 2020 this was the energy in place when Italy’s first nationwide lockdown began, when the entire country was put under quarantine.
One cycle ago (in April) this was in place when UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres met with Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy in Kyiv, at the same time as five rocket strikes hit that city. That was the day when President Biden announced that the U.S. would provide $33bn in aid for Ukraine.
[Please note that the brief descriptions of the days provided above are only “thumbnail sketches”. Much greater detail can be found in Manual for the Soul: A Guide to the Energies of Life.]