How the Tzolkin works

The word “Tzolkin” is a compound word meaning, Count (tzol) and Day (kin). The Mayan Tzolkin calendar is comprised of a count of 260 days.  There are 20 Day Keepers and 13 Tones. ( 20 X 13 = 260 )

Each Day Keeper has a variety of names due to regional differences and various translations. The names used on this site and the book, Mayan Messages: Daily  Guide to Self-Empowerment were chosen because they are commonly used in English speaking cultures and because they are easier to spell and pronounce.

Each Day Keeper represents a group of Spiritual Beings. As you learn to communicate directly with the Day Keepers, you will begin to sense their energy and notice each has a different “feel.” Like humans, some have a softer energy while others have a more active energy.

In the Tzolkin calendar, only the numerals 1-13 are used. These are commonly called Tones or Tuns (toons).

Like the Day Keepers, each Tone represents a series of unique energies. For example, one of the aspects of Tone 1 is “Unity” referring to one Source, one Truth, a group working as one, one idea, etc.

There are 260 days in the Tzolkin calendar compared to the 365-day cycle of the Gregorian calendar. Due to this, the Tzolkin new year begins on a different Gregorian date each cycle.

The following are the names of the 20 Day Keepers in their order of appearance. In parentheses, you will find the common way their names are pronounced.

First is Imix (ee’ meesh), followed by Ik (eek), Akbal (ak’ ball), Kan (kahn), Chicchan (chee’ chan),

Cimi (key’ me), Manik (mah neek’), Lamat (la mot’), Muluc (moo’ luke), Oc (oak),

Chuen (chew’ en), Eb (eb), Ben (ben), Ix (eeksh), Men (men),

Cib (keeb), Caban (kuh bon’), Etznab (ets’ nab), Cauac (kah’ wok) and Ahua ( uh how’).

Thus ends one round (uinal) of the 20 Day Keepers.

Each day, one Day Keeper is paired with one of the Tones, beginning with 1 and continuing to 13. Then the Tone cycle begins again with 1.

Throughout the entire 260-day Tzolkin cycle, there will be 13 rounds (trecenas) of the 20-Day Keepers.

Day One begins with Day Keeper Imix and Tone 1 (Imix 1); Day Keeper Ik and Tone 2 (Ik 2) represent Day 2. The pattern continues with Akbal 3, Kan 4, Chicchan 5 . . . Eb 12, then Ben 13.

Once 13 is reached, the Tone cycle returns to 1, thus the next Day becomes Ix 1 then Men 2, Cib 3 . . . Cimi 13, Manik 1 and so on, with the last (260th) day being Ahau 13.

Then a new year begins with Imix 1 and the pattern repeats. By the end of the 260-day cycle, the 20-Day Keepers are paired with each of the 13 Tones, thus creating 260 unique energetic patterns (20 x 13 = 260).

The 20 Day Keepers are illustrated in the outer ring of the graph below, while the inner circle is comprised of the 13 Tones. Each day a unique energy is created when one of the Day Keepers is matched up to one of the Tones, creating a 260 day cycle.

Tzolkin Wheel by Scott Brown

The ancient Mayans were well advanced in their understanding of astronomy, astrology and mathematics. The precision of their calendars earned them the name, “Time Keepers.” Their method of keeping time is very complex. For centuries, they have followed several calendars, each having a specific purpose.

The Tzolkin calendar is their sacred calendar. The energies of the day were so important that before incarnating, each soul would choose which Day Keeper, or Sun Sign, to be born under. Tribal members thus knew the purpose of that soul’s reason for incarnating on earth and would nurture the child’s associated talents and skills.

The Tzolkin calendar is not associated with the date December 21, 2012. That date comes from non-Mayan interpretations of the Mayan Long Count Calendar.

In Mayan Messages: Daily Guide to Self-Empowerment, the 260 daily messages are designed to prepare individuals for a life filled with peace, love and joy no matter what is occurring in the world. Maintaining a sense of balance with high frequencies of love and gratitude will ensure that your Path will be filled with grace and beauty.


If  you resonate with what you read and want to make the Mayan Messages part of your daily walk, click the book cover on the right for current prices on the paperback, pdf and EPUB editions.

I have a lot of exciting information for you on my main website!


2 responses to this post.

  1. Hi & thank you….I look forward to studying & working toward a greater understanding of the Mayan way of Life.


  2. Posted by Yesica Cruz on August 11, 2010 at 11:21 pm

    Thank you so much for this information. There where some thing I did not understand and now I do with this clear explanation.Blessings to you and continue with the knowledge spreading.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: