An Aztec Book of Days

By Richard Balthazar (Five Flower Press, 1993, out of print)

CNA cover

For free download as a pdf file, right click here and select “Save Target (or Link) As.” 

I recently announced  that I’ve put my old out-of-print book on the Aztec ritual or ceremonial calendar up for free download.  Anyone with interest in art, mythology, history, or horoscopy will find it an unusual experience.  You’ll learn some weird stuff you never ever imagined, money-back guarantee.

The book presents the 260-day sacred Turquoise Year, which was used for divination and prophesy, in color plates of their 13 ‘months’ of 20 days spread over 20 ‘weeks’ of 13 days.  My weekly illustrations also include their patron gods or goddesses in images based on surviving Aztec books, primarily the Codices Borbonicus, Borgia, Nuttall, Fejervary-Mayer, Kingsborough, and Vindobensis.

For free download as a pdf file, right click here and select “Save Target (or Link) As.” 

If you don’t want the book itself, all its illustrations are up for individual free download from my galleries of godsdays, and weeks on this site.  Do whatever with them with my blessing.

The Turquoise Year was an evolution of the earlier Mayan calendar of similar structure with roots among the even earlier Olmec.  It was the ancient Mesoamerican horoscope.  The birth day-name was a person’s ceremonial and official name, and the deities who ruled the numbers, days, weeks, and months, each with light and dark sides, controlled individual and societal fates.

By the way, you can quickly find out your Aztec name by going to, and while there, you can even pick up your Aztec horoscope, which I admit will be much more detailed than what you’ll find in my old book.

For free download as a pdf file, right click here and select “Save Target (or Link) As.” 

READERS: Please disregard the final chapter and its mind-boggling concordance.  My hubristic attempt to start up a new Sixth Sun at the fall of Tenochtitlan was at best poetic, but that calendar has now run out anyway.  Forget about it.

Another note:  I exercised my artist’s license on the 20th week, One Rabbit, naming as its patron a far more appetizing deity, Xochipilli, the Prince of Flowers.  The actual patron was a quasi-deity called Tecpatl (Flint—the sacrificial knife).  Feeling like a nagual (or bodhisattva) of Xochipilli, I’ve dared to use his image in the banner on this website.

Free Book on Indian Mounds


REMEMBER NATIVE AMERICA! The Earthworks of Ancient America

By Richard Balthazar

Five Flower Press, 1992

I’m pleased and proud to announce that I’ve now scanned the pages of this long out-of-print book for digital distribution.  It’s available now for free download as a pdf file.  All you have to do is right click here and select “Save Target (or Link) As.”

Surveying the periods and traditions of earthworking in Eastern North America, the book is an album of more than 120 monumental earthworks in 20 states:  conical burial mounds, embanked circles and geometrical figures, animal effigies, platforms, and pyramids.

These earthworks are shown in rare surveys, maps, drawings, and photographs, many reprinted from “Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley” (1841), by E. G. Squier and E. H. Davis, which is itself now available online.  Others come from “Report on the Mound Explorations” by Cyrus Thomas (in the 1890-91 Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology) which is also now available online.  One of my favorite Squier surveys is the map of Newark works in Ohio:

Newark Works, Ohio

Newark Works, Ohio

Some of the photographs of mounds are my own, and those and many others I’ve taken of mound sites since are included on this website in my Gallery of Indian Mounds.  Here’s one of the newer ones, a shot of the splendid Pocahontas Mound, a pyramid in Mississippi.

MS Pocahontas pyramid

MS Pocahontas pyramid

In addition, the book presents a bunch of my line-drawings of artifacts found in mound excavations.  They and many more are up for easy individual download in my Gallery of Pre-Columbian Artifacts.  One of my favorites, albeit disturbing, is a curiously Toltec-looking warrior about to behead a captive.

Warrior, Spiro OK

Warrior, Spiro OK

For free download of REMEMBER NATIVE AMERICA! as a pdf file, just right click here and select “Save Target (or Link) As.”

Now I’m going to steal this opportune moment and bore you with my rant about earthworking, which I believe is a truly primordial human instinct.  Man, the animal who makes things, had to start somewhere.  Originally, of course, things could only be made out of animal material, plant material, stone, or earth, and most of that only after first making the tools or utensils necessary for the manufacture.  Since anything that worked, even plain old stones and sticks, would suffice for the job of moving dirt around, I suspect that the first implements (besides clubs for bonking folks and things) were probably whatever could be used to dig up food roots or enlarge shelters.

It’s but one short step from moving dirt around to piling it up.  As far as we know, people started constructing earthworks several thousand years ago in most parts of the world.  Everywhere you look, they raised piles of dirt in one form or another, often as tomb monuments.  The ziggurats of Sumer were simply piles of mud bricks.  Did the ancient Egyptians build in stone because you can’t effectively pile up sand?  Just wondering.

The impetus to heap up piles of dirt may well have come from observing nature.  Anthills and all that.  Also, it stand to reason that if you’re digging a hole for some reason, you’ve got to put the dirt somewhere.  What’s more, the primordial mind probably saw hills and mountains as the handiwork of some deity or other, and so raising earthen mounds likely had religious purpose, sympathetic magic and such.  Piling the dirt in special shapes would only add to the symbolism, and it seems that the very location and orientation of the piles often was astronomically or socially significant.

I’ll end this rant by noting that ceramic technology is also in fact earthworking, another part of Man’s artistic relationship with the Earth.