Mayan Calendar

Popular culture has made December 12, 2012 infamous with the prophetic “End of the Mayan Calendar” or “End of Time”.  The Mayans, Aztecs, Olmecs and Toltecs were advanced civilizations that lived in Central America possibly dating back as early as 6000 BC. They were intrepid travelers who followed the stars to help navigate their way from Africa to South America. Their calendar system shares similarities with the ancient Egyptian, Babylonian, Hindu and Chinese calendars. Each followed a lunar calendar, a solar calendar and a star calendar.

By having multiple calendars they lived with more awareness of natures ongoing cycles. Their concept of time was circular versus linear based on the rotation of the earth and the changing positions of the sun, moon and stars. These calendars were sacred to their culture and everyday life. Each day held an intention on multiple levels.

Lunar Tzolk’in Calendar – the word Tzolk’in means “the count of days”. The moon phases became the perfect way to count a day.

They noticed that the gestation or creation of a human baby took nine moons or 260 days. They also noticed that 13 moons created one solar year or solar cycle. To honor both of these aspects of the moon they took the number of 13 moons in a solar cycle and divided it into the 260 days of creation which equaled 20. (260 divided by 13 = 20) This made the numbers 13 and 20 equally sacred. This became known as the “sacred round“. Each of the twenty “days” had a name and held a specific meaning. This 20 day cycle would repeat itself 13 times, each progressive cycle was assigned a number along with the day name which became known as a trecena cycle. The Tzolk’in calendar was used to determine the time of religious and ceremonial events plus divination.

Solar Ha’ab Calendar – was made up of 18 “months” lasting 20 days (18 x 20 = 360) plus a period of five days known as the Wayeb or “nameless days” (360 + 5 = 365) this was equivalent to one solar year. Each of the 18 months plus the period of Wayeb was given a name and meaning that corresponded with the seasons.

Calendar Round – combined the lunar Tzolk’in with the solar Ha’ab into a 52 years cycle. These 52 year Calendar Rounds lasted approx. one lifetime. Basically each day of a persons life was given meaning based on the combination of these sacred calendars.

Long Count Calendar – since the Ha’ab only lasted 52 years, the Mayans developed a long count calendar for forecasting future events and historical dating. The Maya name for a day was k’in. Twenty of these k’ins are known as a winal. Eighteen winals make one tun. Twenty tuns are known as a k’atun. Twenty k’atuns make a b’ak’tun.

bak’tun equals approximately 394.3 solar years. The Mayans set their creation date at approx. 3114 B.C. 2012 A.D. marks the end of the 13th bak’tun (13 x 394.3 = 5126).  This places the end of the 13th bak’tun on approx. Dec. 21, 2012. The Winter Solstice is seen as both the beginning and end of each calendar year.

2012 is not the end of the Mayan Calendar

There are two theories leading the way, one is that the bak’tun cycle doesn’t end until 20 bak’tuns have passed. The other is that 13 bak’tuns is the end of the cycle but it jumps up to the next level of counting. In both scenarios, experts agree that the cycle does continues. The discrepency is whether the bak’tun cycle ends in 13, 18 or 20 cycles?  Either way 13, 18 or 20  bak’tuns = a pictun, and 13, 18 or 20 pictuns = a kalabtun and so forth. It is an ongoing cycle… one cycle comes to an end another begins….

The Precession of the Equinoxes 

“For centuries, man believed that the sun revolved around the earth. Centuries later, he still thinks that time moves clockwise.”  – Robert Brault

The precession of the equinoxes, also known as the Platonic Year, is caused by the slow wobbling of the earth’s polar axis. The earth’s polar axis completes one full precession (moving backwards or counterclockwise) approximately every 26,000 years.  The spring and fall equinoxes were chosen by ancient astronomers to track this precession. Monumental stone structures were created throughout the world that functioned in part as markers or astronomical instruments of this phenomenon.

The Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, Stonehenge in England, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Machu Picchu in Peru and Kukulcan’s Pyramid in Mexico were all used to track the precession of the equinoxes.

Chichen Itza, the Mayan Temple of Kukulkan in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. Built circa 650 – 800 A.D.  At Chichen Itza, a “serpent of light” is revealed every year at the exact time on the Spring Equinox. This serpent of light represents Kukulcan or Quetzalcoatl the feathered serpent God that lives in the Milky Way.

Precession can also be measured relative to other fixed stars. The stars have been reliable sign posts for the basis of many beliefs and cultures throughout the world. For this reason, ancient cultures aligned themselves with certain stars based on their relative brightness at that point in time. Some of the most famous “stars” are Sirius, Venus, and the Sun, along with the Zodiacal constellations and other star systems such as the Pleiades and Orion.

Polaris our Northern Pole Star…..

Pole Stars are the stars that mark the North and South aspect of our Earth’s axis.  Right now our northern axis points to Polaris which means “Pointer”Polaris is the only one of the Pole Stars that comes as close to the exact point of our actual North Pole. In 2012 it will be 1º away, reaching its closest position of .5º’s in 2100. Then Polaris will slowly begin to move away. Our Pole Star changes slowly over the course of 26,000 years in accordance to the precession of the equinoxes as the earth rotates on its axis like a top.

The Big Dipper is the constellation Ursa Major, The Big Bear. The two stars at the end of the bowl of the Big Dipper are called the “Pointer Stars” because a line drawn between them points to Polaris, the North Star. – © 1995 Jerry Lodriguss

The next pole star for the Northern Hemisphere will be Alrai or Gamma Cephei, in 3000 A.D. and then Iota Cephei, in 5200 A.D., Denab will follow in 10,000 A.D. Our earth has had two “North Stars” in the past including Thuban around 3000 B.C. in the constellation Draco, and in 12,000 B.C. Vega in the constellation Lyra. They too will cycle back after Denab. In total we have 6 different stars that comprise a “ring” of stars that take turns being our North Pole Star. But again, Polaris is the only one of the six that is the most exact, which is why we are so aware of it now.

The Southern Hemisphere does not have as many options, currently they do not have a South Pole Star, the Southern Cross constellation has been the best constellation for the past 2000 years.

The Galactic Alignment and the Sacred Tree of the Mayans

To the Mayans the Sacred Tree or World Tree was thought of as the pole or axis that runs through the center of our earth. The idea of a galactic alignment is thought to be when the North Pole or Sacred Tree lines up with the galactic center of our Milky Way on the Winter Solstice.

In 2012, on Dec 21st, the Northern Hemisphere’s winter solstice position will be in the constellation of Sagittarius. Sagittarius is the constellation that holds the center of our Milky Way. There is a growing black hole located in an area called Sagittarius A. It is approximately 26,000 light years away from our solar system. The earth’s wobble also causes the position of the seasonal quarters (equinoxes and solstices) to slowly precess against the background of stars and the constellations of the Zodiac. For comparison, 2000 years ago the constellation in this position on the Winter Solstice was Capricorn.

The 13th bak’tun cycle of the Mayan calendar ends and a new one begins approx. on the Winter Solstice of December 21st, 2012.  Polaris will be 1° from our actual north pole, pointing directly into the center of our Milky Way possibly at a growing black hole.

Do these markers indicate that this the end of time??

According to NASA this alignment is nothing to worry about. Our earth has been dancing within this alignment for several years now. An example of this is that on Dec. 21st, 2010 our Sun and Moon lined up that evening to create a total lunar eclipse, Polaris was pointed in much the same direction as it will be in 2012 towards the center of our Milky Way in the constellation of Sagittarius. I remember that evening feeling the beauty and awe of a total lunar eclipse yet I am still here today writing this blog. This makes me pause and think of how linear time has influenced our culture by perpetuating fear….

“Time is making fools of us again.”  – J.K. Rowling

The Illusion of Maya and being Present in the Now

“Apart from thought, there is no independent entity called “world.” Just as the spider emits the thread out of itself and then withdraws it, likewise, the mind projects the world out of itself and then withdraws it back into itself.” – Ramana Maharshi

The Hindu word “Maya” could be seen as a root word for the “Mayan” civilization. There is no historical evidence of this, but it is an interesting theory to ponder. There is a great deal of similarity between the cultures and evidence does exist that the early Indus Valley people were travelers by land and sea. Some speculate that the culture divided after the formation of the Veda’s and the caste system. Could these early people have come to the Americas and influenced the Mayans?

Before the Vedas were written, around 1500 B.C.  the early Hindu culture worshipped a female trinity made up of Devi the Divine Mother Goddess, Tara the Earth Mother Goddess and Maya the Goddess of Illusion.

Maya was often depicted as a spider who weaves the web of illusion in the present world we live in. The present is illusive because we are continually walking between worlds, going through doors and gates. We weave our own reality together based on our perceptions and projections.

In the Hindu symbol of Om, Maya is seen as the semi circle on top which separates the dot from the other three curves or levels of consciousness. This dot signifies the fourth state of consciousness that illuminates the other three.  Maya in the present moment prevents us from reaching or the realization of this highest state of bliss.  This is how we get caught in our own web of judgement and fear. Maya is an illusion, we are the spider. By staying out of judgement or duality and stepping into a place of oneness we are able to see the past, present and future all at once.

May we linger at this gate and breathe in the beauty of the moment.  

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