Rajawal or Nawal (Guardian Spirit, Protector)

The literal meaning of Rajawal is the owner, the protector. In addition, every person, plant, animal, star, object, and day has a unique protective Uwach q’ij. The Rajawal and Uwach q’ij intertwine with a person’s surface, forehead, fruit, day, or sun, and his or her day of birth. This represents the inherent energy or protective spirit within all things. This guiding spirit in each person interacts with the protective energies and spirits of the world around them at all times.

Every day has its own Uwach q’ij, and each person is characterized by a different combination of Uwach q’ij.  Depending on the day they are born, each person is endowed with a particular energy with unique features that help shape their personality.  This energy manifests differently for everyone, and its nature may be revealed through their connection to some plant or animal, a color, one of the sacred cardinal directions, a stone, a dream, or in some other special way.

Tepew Q’uq’kumatz created humanity as well as the Uwach q’ij, alongside the rest of creation.  Through the Creator’s power the Uwach q’ij act as mediators between the material world of creation and the divine Creator.

Twenty Uwach q’ij correspond to a series of twenty days, and the influence of each waxes and wanes for eternity, moving up or down a scale of thirteen symbolic energy levels as each day passes.  The meaning of each Uwach q’ij can change, according to its context.

In the context of Maya spirituality, the Uwach q’ij have the following meanings:

Within the material context and its link with the energies of nature, a person’s Uwach q’ij has the following meaning:

Note:  Translation between languages, especially between those as different from one another as K’iche’ and Spanish, or Tz’utujil and English, means that sometimes there are no words in the second language that exactly express the idea of the word to be translated. The word nahual (nawal) is used in enthnography. It comes from a Native American language called Nahuatl.  The term nahual-li means sorcerer: a combination of the root nahual (audible, intelligible, or clear) and li (person).   This term is also used in enthnography to mean a soul-like companion spirit or guardian spirit. It is this second use of nahual that is closer to the Maya idea of Rajawal (one’s owner, protector). This soul or spirit companion can travel in dreams while one is asleep.