Hunab Ku Meaning

hunab ku
An ancient Mayan deity, symbol, galactic butterfly, and god, Hunab Ku means 'The Only God.' In Mayan, it translates to "the solitary god" or "one being." It originates from the words Hunab, meaning solo, and Ku, implying plumage. Mayans considered it important as it was the core that coordinated the universe and the energy source that connected all living beings. Although considered a Yucatec Mayan word, colonial and Christian texts used it. 

What Does Hunab Ku Mean?

The Yucatec Mayan believed that there was one true god Hunab Ku. The supreme god did not have any distinct shape or form and was the source of all the energy.

It is the Mayan translation of the popular Christian belief that there is one god. It was also used to convert Mayan people who were earlier polytheistic. Hunab Ku might be proof of the monotheism of the Mayan people in ancient times.

hunab ku
Hunab Ku is a symbol representing the supreme God of the Mayan people.

What Are The Two Meanings Of Hunab Ku?

The Hunab Ku symbol can represent two different concepts.


It symbolizes duality in all things. It represents that for each object, there exists an opposite, such as good and evil, male and female, dark and light, internal and external, and up and down, among many others. It is also seen as a bridge that joins the duality of things.


The Hunab Ku stands for balance or harmony. Since it represents the bridging of extreme opposites, it symbolizes balance and harmony.

What Is Hunab Ku’s Significance?

Mayan people considered the Hunab Ku a testament to the belief that it unites two opposite forces. They thought it was similar to yin-yang, which had black spirals placed on one side, but the other side had white spirals. 

It was much in talks due to the Mayan prophecy regarding 2012 and the sun aligning with the ancient Mayan symbol Hunab Ku, or the universe’s galactic center or black hole that scientists discovered. 

What Did Hunab Ku Look Like?

New age beliefs around the Hunab Ku come from the Mexican philosopher Domingo Martínez Parédez. He first presented the interpretation of this concept in a book Hunab Kú.

Martínez considered the Hunab Ku as evidence proving the monotheism of Maya. He suggested that it was depicted by a square enclosed within a circle or even a circle placed inside a square. While the square represents a measurement, the circle depicts motion.

Jose Argüelles also popularized the symbol, Hunab Ku, through his book The Mayan Factor, which came in 1987. However, he asserted that the symbol was a rectangular design that Aztecs used as a ritual cloak, called the Mantle of Lip Plugs or mantle of spider water. 

Today, the design is present as a rug design sold in Mexico, even though Argüelles associated it with the Hunab Ku god and the Milky Way. He modified it to a circular motif like a yin-yang symbol and spiral galaxy. 

hunab ku
The Hunab Ky symbol went through many versions prior to what we know today.

Who Is The Most Powerful Mayan God?

The Maya pantheon consists of over 250 gods, and they built temples to worship the deities. Itzamna is an important Mayan god, although he is depicted with a large nose and is a toothless old man. 

The son of Hunab Ku, a creator god, Itzamna, is the god of fire. He created the earth and laid down the rules of heaven, day and night. He gave Mayans the writing as well as the calendar. His name translates to lizard house.

Who Is The Mayan God Of Evil?

Cizin, spelled Kisin, is the Mayan evil god of death or the earthquake god. He also rules the subterranean land of the dead. People say that he may be one aspect of an underworld deity who goes by several names or guises, such as Ah Puch, Xibalba, or even Yum Cimil. 

The codices or manuscripts from the pre-conquest depict the god of death and war in the scenes of human sacrifice. The existing codices also depict the dual aspect of the Mayan religion by showing Cizin destroying the trees planted by the rain god, Chac. 

Cizin is also present on pottery and in codices as a dancing skeleton holding a cigarette. His death collar is most famous and consists of eyes dangling out by the nerve cords. Cizin merged with the devil from Christian beliefs after the Spanish Conquest.

What Is The Mayan Name For The Milky Way Galaxy?

The Maya held the Milky Way with the most reverence out of all celestial objects. They have numerous names for them based on the changing position in the sky throughout the night or the season.

They called Milky Way yaxte’ in Ch’orti’ Maya, implying living trees or clean trees. Yaxte’ is also used to refer to the ceiba tree, the most sacred tree of the Maya.

Hunab Ku is a popular Mayan divinity known both within this culture and outside. Mayans believed that the god manifested through the waves: sound, light, thought, energy, or love.


Vanessa's liberal arts background has prepared her well for Symbol Scholar. A self-proclaimed theology nerd, Vanessa has interests in world religions, Reformation theology, history, and more. When she's not working, Vanessa enjoys spending time with her family, reading, exercising, and watching professional basketball.

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