Ancient Mayan Calendar

On November 9, 2011, in Mayan Calendar, by James

By Petre An

Western civilization is not alone in seeking its origins in deep time. We bundle our years into decades, our decades into centuries, and our centuries into millennia. Our ages-the Age of Reason, the Age of Enlightenment, the Middle Ages-are packaged into eras, such as the Christian and pre-Christian eras. For the believer, the Christian era will end with the second coming of Christ, for in the Christian historical view all things were made by God expressly for the ends they fulfill. The new era that will follow will constitute a timeless eternal existence to be experienced only by the true believer. Philosophers call such a temporal concept a teleological timeline, because it is dictated by things that happen at the end, which are responsible for propelling time’s arrow forward.

Before Christianity introduced this linear concept, “big time” in the West was based in the pagan tradition of the Classical world. Time was made up of rhythmic, repetitive events centered on the return or reenactment of earlier events often reckoned by celestial cycles, such as planetary conjunctions. (Recall our definition of the two kinds of time in the Preface-historical-linear and mythiccyclic.) Crossings of Jupiter and Saturn were popular choices in the ancient Chinese calendar, whereas the Chaldeans of the Middle East favored the assemblage of all the visible planets in the constellation of Cancer. The Hindu calendar, on the other hand, was a purely mathematical contrivance based on 1,000-year multiple cycles of years, called yugas. The grandest cycle of time measured in yuga lengths was thought to be a “day” in the life of Brahma. The bigger the tree, the deeper the roots. One way or another, all complex civilizations ultimately establish their origins in the very distant past.

During the Classic period the Maya developed a passionate interest in time and number. I think this is one of our biggest reasons for admiring them-they seem so much like us. By the middle of that period their interest flowered into a fascination that bordered on obsession. It is as if scribes and calendar keepers, all members of the elite class, perhaps led by one or two unknown geniuses, the likes of Newton and Einstein, had created a veritable Maya Institute of Advanced Studies. By examining some of the inscriptions the Maya produced during this exciting intellectual period we can begin to acquire a feeling for this mathematical passion and the skill that accompanied it.

What distinguishes the Maya love affair with numbers is their preoccupation with what I have called the commensuration principle-the habit of organizing time cycles, large and small, to interlock and fit together in ratios of small whole numbers, such as eight to five, the seasonal year and the Venus cycle. Where did these ideas about time management come from and how is it that timekeeping was catapulted to such a lofty level in Maya culture?

The Maya revered the base-20 numbers that made up their vigesimal system to such a degree that they fancied each of them a god. In many Maya inscriptions a defining head, or in some instances the full-body figure, of the god portrays the number instead of the simple dots and bars. Often number deities on stelae are depicted bearing the burden of time, which they carry in their backpacks along the road of time. They deposit their load of time at our feet as we face the monument. Thus, time is just like one of the commodities borne by merchant travelers.

On all the stelae that have been deciphered, the fundamental unit of time is the day. Contemporary Maya still call it k’in, a term that also means “sun” and “time.” The Maya conceived of the day as a direct manifestation of the annual cycle of the sun. In other words, time is the sun’s cycle itself.

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The Significance of 2012

On July 14, 2011, in Mayan Calendar, Prophecies, by James

By John Van Auken

We’re going to take a few minutes to look at the Mayan prophecy of December 21, 2012, as the end . . . of an age? Of the world? Of a calendar? We’re going to find out.

There are two ways to approach this. One is to use the Mayan Long Count Calendar. But the other, which is very interesting, is to use the Aztec Sun Disk, which has the five ages on it. That’s the one we’re going to take a look at.

I took a picture of this Aztec Sun Disk (see Youtube videos below) at the archeological museum in Mexico City, and I have it here. The disk is of course much larger than it appears in the picture. It weighs about 25 tons and is about 12 feet in diameter, so a normal man would only come up to about half the distance of this circle; it’s about 3 feet deep. We’re actually going to look at this center circle, but first, I want you to notice at the top these two massive serpents coming down out of the heavens into the Earth. Symbolizing the god of fire and the god of the Sun, respectively, they come down as serpents, but their heads are now depicted as human heads. This connects with the ancient idea of the descent of the serpent from the tree of knowledge down into the Earth. Or the ancient Hindu idea that the kundalini, or the life force of humanity, descended out of energy into matter.

It is also the symbol of the descent of this power and our descent as souls, or children of God, coming out of pure spirit, of pure energy, into matter for the first time. When we look at the inner circle, we see those early ages.

Here is a closeup of the center circle. As you can see, it has a circle in the middle with the sun god’s face, above it is a pyramid, and then there are four squares around the side. Each one of these squares represents one of the ancient ages. The circle in the middle is the age we are currently living in, called the Age of Movement, or Change. It actually began August 11, 3114 B.C., and it ends December 21, 2012. So the big question is, what happens after it ends? – there are only five ages shown here.

Well, actually, there are seven ages depicted, and the next two ages are very important to us. Remember the descent of the serpent energy, the kundalini life force, out of the heavens? Out of energy into matter? Out of formlessness into form? Out of spirit into flesh? This is a reverse of that process. Let’s take a look at these ages.

Some people begin their interpretation of the ancient ages with the first square to the left of the pyramid, and they go around the circle counterclockwise. Others begin with the image in the square on the right of the pyramid, then go to the one on the left, and then come around. I prefer to begin with the one on the right of the pyramid and go in reverse order. You’ll see that these ages fit very well with the mythology of not only the Mayans but the Egyptians and other ancient cultures.

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The Mayan Calendar Explained

On April 8, 2011, in Mayan Calendar, by James

The Mayan Calendar is not predicting the end of the world 2012, but the start of a new era; the golden age.

The Mayan Calendar is something profoundly different than just a system to mark off the passage of time. The Mayan Calendar is above all a prophetic calendar that may help us understand the past and foresee the future.

It is a calendar of the Ages that describes how the progression of Heavens and Underworlds condition the human consciousness and thus the frames for our thoughts and actions within a given Age.

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