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The Grecas at the Tonina Acropolis



The "Grecas" are an X-like geometric pattern with steps running up the center that have been described as a symbol for Quetzalcoatl that is part of the 260-step ceremonial path. What appear to be “votive glyphs” that represent voices of the ancestors or gods are seen on either side. These indicate that the Grecas contain a message from the ancients or the gods, perhaps even Quetzalcoatl himself.

grecas tonina tony shearer

Shay Addams points out the pattern in the "grecas" at Tonina.

The pattern of the Grecas bears a striking resemblance to the pattern in the calendar board Tony Shearer pointed out in Under the Sun and Beneath the Moon. Everyone familiar with Shearer’s pattern immediately sees this. Shearer and others deemed it significant because the corners add up to 28, which was interpreted as linking it with a 28-day lunar calendar used at one time by the Maya.

tony shearer calendar board

Shearer’s Pattern in the Calendar Board

For this reason, initial attempts to look for clues in the pattern of the Grecas involved comparing Shearer’s pattern with the one in the Grecas to find a meaningful fit. The only obvious thing they had in common was that the first seven steps of the Grecas precisely aligned with those of the main part of the top half of Shearer’s pattern.

There are seven steps down diagonally from left to right, and seven steps down diagonally from the end of the top line to the end of the bottom line. This holds true for both sides of the pattern. The upper and lower steps on either side meet and share the seventh step, which is part of the center column of vertical steps, but is actually three “squares” wide rather than the horizontally extended staircase itself.

Refuting Shearer’s Pattern in the Calendar Board

A wide set of central steps, clearly part of the ceremonial path to the top of the complex, separates the two sides of the “X.” This is one reason the two patterns do not match.

Another discrepancy is that the steps in Shearer's pattern are composed of one unit -- which could represent cells in the calendar board -- while the steps in the Grecas are two units wide. Yet another deviation is that the diagonal lines on opposite sides of Shearer's pattern do not align. This means Shearer’s pattern cannot be used to design a pyramid.

Because no reasonable connections between the two patterns emerged, the validity of the Shearer pattern was called into question. The key problem with Shearer’s interpretation of this pattern is that is based on the number 28, which is not pertinent to the 260-day calendar, as it is not one of the key numbers. In fact, the Maya, eventually realized the lunar cycle was actually 29.5 days, and alternated between 29 and 30 day lunar cycles to compensate.



So the number 28 is irrelevant in the context of the pattern in the Grecas. (Key numbers from the calendar do appear in the corners of Shearer’s pattern, but their significant was overlooked by him as well as subsequent researchers.) Ultimately, it is clear that Shearer's pattern is not related to the 260-day calendar, as are other elements of the Toniná Acropolis, and has no objective esoteric significance.

The Real Pattern Hidden in the Grecas

The secret pattern in the Grecas becomes evident when the photograph is cropped to remove the steps, as seen below. The left and right sides appear aligned to form an “X.” Note that the diagonal lines are aligned, creating a pyramid and an inverted pyramid, unlike Shearer’s pattern.

The Grecas with the Staircase Cropped Out

This pattern, when superimposed over the calendar board, as in Illustration 6, fits neatly across the top 13 rows. And while Shearer’s pattern is based on the number 28, which is irrelevant to the 260-day calendar, the pattern from the Grecas reflects many instances of relevant numbers, showing how the top part of the calendar board is encoded into the Grecas design on the Acropolis.

Cornerstone Numbers of the Calendar in the Grecas

These findings were made by analyzing the Greca’s real pattern when superimposed on the calendar board, as seen below. (The red cells are not a formal part of the pattern, but were included as a result of the numbers they contain.)

1. Add the number in the bottom left corner (13) to the one in the opposite corner (7), and the sum is 20. These are the numbers of the days in the trecena, the middle number in 13, and the number of nahuales.

2. Add the number in the top left corner (1) to the number in the opposite corner (6), and the result is 7.

3. The number in the top right corner is 1. The number in the bottom right corner is 13.

4. The number in the top left corner (1) and the one in the top right corner, 7 add up to 8. The 1 corresponds to the Maya concept of birth, the 7 to death, and the 8 to life.

5. The vertical section linking the top and bottom parts of the pattern reveal a design similar to what is known as the Mayan Cross. At the central top is the number 7, at the central bottom, 13, which add up to 20. On the central left, the number 9, when added to 11, the number on the central right, results in 20.



The only number obtained in this manner that does not match a key number from the Sacred Calendar is 19, the sum of the bottom two corners. Kenneth Johnson, author of Jaguar Wisdom and Mayan Calendar Astrology, points out that the haab, the Mayan solar calendar of 365 days, consisted of 20-day months–but they were counted from 0 to 19. This suggests that the haab may also be encoded in the ruins of Tonina.

The sum of 19 is derived from corners with the numbers 1 and 6. According to linguistics anthropologist Martha Macri, the 6 could be based on a sub-cycle of the lunar cycle.

Why were only the first 13 rows of the calendar board represented in the Grecas? Obviously there was not room for the next seven rows. But the designers were aware that future generations, with enough clues embedded in the Acropolis and elsewhere, could infer the bottom half and add seven more levels to the calendar board when they reconstructed it.

Other Observations

The hidden Grecas pattern in itself contains cosmological knowledge of the Maya. It matches the quincunx, an ancient Mesoamerican symbol for the four corners of the world central axis. Deities called Bacabs held up the four corners, while First Father, according to the Popul Vuh, raised the sky over the earth by raising a giant beam. The same pattern can be seen in two hieroglyphs of the nahuales: Tijax/Etznab (Knife) and Q’anil/Lamat (Seed/Star). Viewed from overhead, it is a blueprint for a pyramid.


The design and structure of the Toniná Acropolis is based on the key numbers of the 260-day Sacred Calendar. Ultimately, this means that the critical elements required by future generations to reconstruct this calendar were encoded in the design and structure of the Toniná Acropolis. If not done for this purpose, the votive glyphs on the sides of the Grecas, suggest that the site was designed to honor the Sacred Calendar, as these glyphs represent a message from the ancestors, signifying that the site honors and venerates the calendar on a grand scale.

While the many monuments and stelae with hieroglyphics have provided much information about Toniná, it may very well be that its true message is built into the structure itself, a “monument in stone” that warrants further investigation.


Page 1: Tonina. City of e Mayan Sacred Calendar

Page 2: Overview of the Mayan Sacred Calendar

Page 3: The Pattern in the Grecas Revealed

Page 4: Archaeological and Mythological Evidence



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