The Toltec new year is March 12th each year, but it’s the five days leading up to the new year – March 7 through 11 – that are the most important and potentially life-changing days of the year. In “Toltec Empire: 5 Days That Can Change Your Life” you’ll learn why these days are so important and why they’re called “the days out of time.”
A new year, like birthdays and anniversaries, happens once a year and marks a passage in time. We look back to our past – the progress we’ve made and the lessons we’ve learned – and ahead to what we hope and dream the future will bring. And like birthdays, new years are celebrated at different times of the year, not just on January 1st.
For example, the Chinese new year, based on the lunar calendar, occurs on the new moon of the first lunar month of the year, usually January or February. Persian new year, based on the solar calendar, occurs on the first day of spring, usually around March 20th. Indian new year varies, depending on which calendar your region follows: lunar or solar.
The ancient Toltec civilization celebrated the new year on March 12th each year, but it was the five days leading up to the new year – March 7 through 11 – that were the most important and potentially life-changing days of the year. These days were known as Nemontemi, meaning “the days out of time” or “the days out of the count.”
The Toltec year is split into eighteen groups of 20 days each (20 days can be considered equivalent to one month). 18 x 20 days = 360 days, which omits five days from the annual 365 days. By omitting these Nemontemi days, the days do not exist in the usual sense, and are considered out of time or out of the count.
During these days, the ancients stopped their usual routines in order to fast and purify their souls in preparation for the new year. The hustle and bustle of life slowed way down as people stopped their usual routines and went inward. The conquering Spaniards assumed the empty streets meant that the people were superstitious and afraid of bad spirits at this time of the year. Hence, they described these five days as “wasted days” or “days of bad luck.” They couldn’t have been more wrong.
In fact, this period of five days had nothing to do with bad luck. Nahuatl tradition (Toltec spirituality) recommended that people prepare for the new year through fasting and various spiritual practices including sweat lodges. These practices took people out of the context of their repetitive activities and ordinary consciousness, to create sacred time and space to heal their bodies, their emotions, and their relationships.
The five days preceding the Toltec new year are dedicated to darkness, not referring to something bad but more like a Biblical reference and the idea that “from the darkness comes the light.” This is not a week to launch important projects, but rather a time to look at your own darkness and blind spots, and work with your shadow in order to prepare for the new cycle. Shining light on darkness is the best thing you can do to maintain your health and balance, and March 7 through 11 empowers you on this journey.
Nemontemi is an excellent opportunity for you to reset your internal clock, take care of yourself, rejuvenate, connect to higher spirit, and harmonize your relationships with loved ones, family members, and other people in the community. In this way you create a smooth transition between what you lived (what you have done and achieved during the past year) and what you want to live in the future. Rituals of purification are individual, as well as collective, opportunities to look inward, reflect on past mistakes, make time for unprocessed emotions, forgive, and let go.
During the days of darkness when the ancients were fasting and purifying their souls, their ceremonies and rituals were focused on two things:
1. Recapping what happened to them during the previous year.
2. Dreaming the year ahead in order to manifest what they wanted and destroy anything detrimental in their lives.
In Shamanism, dreaming is a very different concept than the one we know in our modern time. In the West, when we say someone is a dreamer we mean they are a sensitive person with a gentle nature, from which no big concrete realization is expected. We often hear parents advising children that if they want to get somewhere in life, they need to stop dreaming and do something. Dreaming is viewed as unproductive and a sign of laziness in which one disconnects from the real world.
But this view was not shared by the Toltec. In the Toltec tradition, the part of us that is active when we dream is called the Nahual, which means “the real I.” It is ruled by the night and the moon. “Nahualism,” another name for the Toltec teachings, comes from the word “nahual.” This is the art of being really me. The part of us that is active when we are awake is called the Tonal, which is ruled by the day and the sun.
Nahualism teaches that everything that comes in the Tonal is first created in the Nahual. The ancients represented Creation as three concentric circles. The circle in the center represents the Divine. The circle on the outside represents the physical plane. And the circle between these two is the world of dreams, also called the astral plane. In this world view, the dream world is considered a plane of existence more real than the physical world because it is closer to the Creator. The physical plane is actually an illusion which is malleable and influenced by the world of dreams.
In ancient Nahualism, dreaming was taught to the people in power, the priests and spiritual warriors. Because people in power influence the destiny of many, it was of immense importance that they be able to create the best possible outcome for the highest good of all. Traditionally, the training was 52 years, starting at 7 years old. After 52 years you could be called a Nahual, a master in the art of dreaming. For Nahuals, dreams were indicators of things that would come into manifestation. If a dream was interpreted as detrimental, the dreamer would re-dream the dream for a better outcome in the physical plane.
The ultimate goal of dreaming was to control what happens in your waking life. What today we call “lucid dreaming,” meaning being conscious during a dream, was used by the ancients to access hidden information about oneself and receive spiritual guidance and messages. Lucid dreaming usually happens spontaneously. However, you can learn how to access your dreamworld, and the more you can influence your dreams, the stronger your ability is to direct your waking life.
Some traditions use substances, such as power plants or mushrooms to access lucid dreams. You can find specific supplements online that help the process of dreaming and remembering your dreams. Some traditions use special types of breathing to shift consciousness. Others use crystals such as amethyst and moonstone to enhance their dream experiences. The truth is, we need tools to get there. The Toltec developed an extraordinary set of practices to be able to reach this state at will, many of which are used in Inner Treasure Hunt programs.
Having a conscious mind in your dreams is very beneficial. There is scientific evidence that lucid dreaming has therapeutic effects. Modern researchers observe that lucid dreaming can play a role in treating a variety of physical conditions. Athletes use lucid dreaming to increase their performance. Practicing lucid dreaming gives you more energy to repair yourself, and overall better mental health.
We often think of a new year as a new beginning, hence the idea of new year’s resolutions. The March 12th new year is indeed a new beginning, and March 7 through 11 are prime days for recapping your past and dreaming your future into being. But you don’t have to limit yourself to this one week out of the year.
The moon offers a new beginning every 28 days. On the new moon, the lunar clock resets itself and a new cycle begins. It’s like the moon is a mini-new year each month. Just as the Toltec used the five days before the new year as a time to go inward, you can use the days before the new moon to be quiet and go inward. You can recap what happened in the previous month and dream the month ahead in order to manifest what you want and destroy anything detrimental in your life.
So if you’re reading this in early March, you can use the days out of time, March 7 through 11, to recap your year and dream your future. If you’re reading this at any other time of year, consider using the new moon each month to recap the previous month and dream your next month into being. The new moon is a perfect time to reset your internal clock, take care of yourself, rejuvenate, connect to higher spirit, and harmonize your relationships with loved ones, family members, and other people in the community.
Learn more about the Toltec civilization in Toltec Empire: New Year on March 12, Sixth Sun: Meaning for Humanity & You, and the programs Birth of the 6th Sun , Toltec & the 6th Sun, and Meditation Script for May 2022 Full Moon.
Learn more about new year celebrations around the world at Wikipedia.
Learn more about the Toltec civilization by watching the free “Time of the 6th Sun” movie.
To learn more about the moon’s influence and what you can do to live in alignment with the moon’s natural rhythm, watch the six lessons in the 28-Day Moon Meditation Essential Program. If you want a short (15-minute) daily practice designed around the phases of the moon, check out the daily practice videos for this program.
Learn more about healing and consciousness at Inner Treasure Hunt. If you liked this post, you can subscribe to the Inner Treasure Hunt newsletter to stay informed about new posts, programs, and events. #innertreasurehunt
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