Posts Tagged ‘chilam balam’

Some Correlations of the Mayan Calendars

April 21, 2010

Where did the 260 days come from? One theorist says the year used to be that length before it jumped up to 360 days. But other than the Mayan usage, I cannot find evidence of such a thing. If I have overlooked it, I would welcome any illumination on it.

Others theorize that it is nothing more than the length of human gestation… that or the length of time it takes to cultivate maize. Both good guesses but one does not have to go to such lengths.

I have always thought the calendar had been built on celestial events, cosmological patterns. So, where does the 260 come from? I believe it is nothing more than a microcosm of the Long Count. Another example of the Mayan obsession with cycles-within-cycles.

The Long Count has thirteen baktuns of twenty katuns each. The Books of Chilam Balam show that the Mayan elders of the past had been able to assign meanings, prophecies to each of the katuns.

The other calendar they use as an augury, each day with a meaning, is the tzolkin. This augury calendar is 260 days in length, each day with a meaning.

Likewise, the Long Count of the Fifth Sun is 260 katuns in length, each katun with a meaning.

One is like the other and, I believe, the meanings in one are mirrored – albeit on a different scale – with the other.

Does the 260 have yet another meaning? Perhaps, but I haven’t found it.

So, from the larger cycle of 260 katuns, they might have noticed the cycle on the smaller scale as well. Or it could be that they noticed personal cycles ran a course of 260 days (probably linked to some celestial phenomena) before repeating. And this was expanded to the macroscale of the Long Count.

Just as many astrologers believe the emanations of the planets create effects on this planet, the Mayan see all source of energy stemming from the Sun. The Sun gives its own stamp to the Age – this one is the Earthquake Sun – and its energies control the movements of all the planets in its system. By studying the separate parts of the system and the timing cycles that are profiles of their character, the Maya could understand the entire Solar System.

The previous Sun had a different “personality” and a different set of cycles. I do not think the same Long Count calendar would have worked properly in that Sun Age, but then that is a personal opinion rather than something gleaned from the Mayan writings.

I am sure there are things we may never know… even after the Mayan Elders have revealed the last of their “secrets”.


the Book of Destiny

March 23, 2010

I recently finished reading the new book by Carlos Barrios, a Mayan Shaman and member of the Council of Maya Elders. It is really a must read for anyone interested in the whole Maya End-of-Days Calendar craze.

There are so many insights given to the way of thinking of the Maya, past and present, that one can almost sense the marvel of the ancient and classic Maya themselves. Their world view is refreshing – as opposed to our usual instant-gratification planned-obsolescence – and reminiscent of the old pagan societies around the world.

The one major turn-off for me in the volume was the tease with “unrevealed” Mayan lore that he would introduce and then explain that the Council of Elders said they were not going to release that data just yet. What’s the big deal, huh?

There was also a few points where he was commenting how good their prophecies were and mentioned a few things they had predicted. It would have helped if he had mentioned exactly where they had predicted these events so we could see the wonders of their prophecy for ourselves, but that was not forthcoming. Many writers mention the Books of Chilam Balam as great prophetic works but they seem as definitive as the quatrains of Nostradamus. I prefer my prophecy a little more exacting.

In another spot he mentioned that the Maya had computed the Venus cycle during the Sun just previous to the current one. But I thought the birth of Venus coincided with the start of this Sun. That could, however, be a misunderstanding somewhere along the line.

Those couple of bits aside, the book transported me into the different world of the Maya, past and present. Their spirituality was so infused in their culture that it is easy to see how Jenkins, Calleman, and the other major writers on the subject continually stress the spiritual aspect of the End-Date. One begins to think that perhaps the “golden age” of human enlightenment is the true meaning of the completion of the Long Count.

Another interesting note in the volume is the inclusion of the extended history of the Maya people and the location they came from across the eastern sea that preceded their sojourn in Mesoamerica: Atlantis. This notion dovetails fairly well with what Edgar Cayce said about the Atlanteans as well.

I do not know how long the Elders are going to wait before revealing the remainder of their hidden knowledge but I will be on the watch for the next volume in the set.

Whenever they decide to release it.

the Mayan End Date

January 2, 2010

As I have said before, the Mayan Calendar End-Date was for a specific phenomenon, why else would the Maya point out a specific date rather than an era. And as the Mayans had studied cycles for many years, it must be something that is cyclic in nature, something that had happened before, something they felt was going to happen again according to a chronology they could calculate.

What cycles did they use to make this determination? From their mythologies – primarily cosmological in nature (like most ancient cultures) – they were most interested in the motions of the planets. They saw something in the motions that they could use to predict… well, whatever it was they feared would recur.

Could it have been an age of enlightenment coming as José Argüelles, John Major Jenkins, and Carl Johan Calleman, among many others, predict? Of course, it is possible, but how did we get lost from the last age of enlightenment?

That is not explained by any of these authors, but they do not seem to think it had happened before. From the Mayan writings, this was apparently something that had happened before and was planned on repeating. Were we going to get enlightened and lose it again, apparently as we were supposed to have done before? Perhaps enlightenment was not the event they were foretelling.

Could the Maya have been thinking of some sort of doomsday scenario, like an impact from a comet, meteor, or black hole? Certainly, it would be a very singular event that could signal the end of the calendric period. But, again, as the Maya seem to have built their calendar on studies of cycles, what possible cyclic recurring doomsday can they have foreseen? Are errant comets/meteors/black holes that predictable?

Or could the planet Nibiru going to be the culprit? Zechariah Sitchin, proponent and creator of this theory, stated that the mystery planet returned very cyclically every 3,600 years. But he reiterates that 2012 is most definitely not the return date.

Nibiru would already be visible to our telescopes if it was arriving ahead of Sitchin’s timetable but nowhere do we find any evidence of its approach. I have seen websites that claim it will become visible to the naked eye by May of 2010. Videos on Youtube claim it is already visible.

Confusing, huh? But none of that has anything to do with the mystery planet. Just ask Zechariah Sitchin.

And that leaves us with nothing to do but scratch our heads. What scenario would fit what the Maya have predicted with their marvelous calendar, if anything?

Let’s see… they claimed each age ended with something involving the Sun, each new age was called a new Sun, and as the Sun is the energy source dominating the Solar System, perhaps they noticed the cycles of the planets were somehow resonating with something about the Sun. (Just an hypothesis here.)

And the Sun? They claimed each new age was a new Sun, which means 2012 has something to do with the Sun. So my theory is that something will happen to the Sun in 2012. Of course, nothing may happen to the Sun but I think it is what the Mayans thought.

It is known that 2012 will bring a very active period to the Sun, specifically in regard to sunspots. So, what if the sunspots went completely overboard? What if they covered a large portion of the Solar disk so that the Sun appeared extremely dimmed?

When the sunspots eventually disappeared in the past it must have seemed that the Sun had been born again, hence a new Sun Age.

If anyone else has another theory that makes more sense, I would love to hear it.

I could be wrong. And the Mayans might be wrong as well.

Celebrating Nothing

January 1, 2010

Can it be that there was not supposed to be any great happenings at the baktun end?

Where did the Mayans get the idea that each baktun or katun-ending was some monumental event? That they thought this is not exactly known but judging from the Books of Chilam Balam (written after the Spanish Conquest) it would seem to be the case. Each successive period had a different “flavor” to it and was ushered in by an important event.

At least this is the interpretation given by Carl Johan Calleman. His insights into what each age meant, their defining moments actually tell us more about the author and his worldview than what the Mayans were talking about.

Is this the reason they abandoned the Long Count or was it something else? If they noticed it was not working the way they anticipated, perhaps the whole thing had to be trashed… but they kept the tzolkin, and the haab, and the Calendar Round.

Where did they get the notion that the katun and baktun endings were of importance? In our present society, whichever calendar you are using, the New Year’s Day is celebrated as the start of something new, separating everyone from the year before.

I don’t think anyone actually expects for something great to occur on New Year’s Day so where did the Maya get this notion? From the histories I have seen, it did not appear to be anything monumental in their earlier period but gained in importance later on.

Could it be that the King’s of the Classic Period, assuming the dates were of major importance, planned wars on the appointed day then, when the expected outcome was not achieved, they simply blamed the calendar?

This could explain why the Long Count was abandoned. It was a tool they assumed was broken. It was as if they – the Classic Era Maya – had already forgotten the intent of the Calendar itself. They had already forgotten about the end of the Fifth Sun. Instead, they had assumed the Long Count acted much the same as the tzolkin: as an augury.

It is a shame they abandoned the Long Count but even more of a shame that they seem to have forgotten exactly what it was all about.

We now understand what the ancients were trying to tell us. Why did the Maya themselves forget?

We learned of their meaning some time ago but wrote it off as superstition, mythology, tales to entertain. Because of our worldview, we could not comprehend the message. So what happened to the Mayan society that altered their worldview in a fashion to make them forget the meaning of the calendar their ancestors had given them?

Easy to see how we could have overlooked it but what caused them to forget? Could it have been nothing more than that daily survival required so much of their intention? Or had the priesthood “played-up” to the kings on the importance of the baktun-ending dates?

We just don’t know why but abandon it they did.

But now, at least, we know what it’s about.

Ages and Ages

December 14, 2009

The Book of Chilam Balam talks about the changing of the eras from katun to katun, the character of each defining each period much like the signs of the zodiac do in astrology. This is fine as an exercise but is it really intended to map out history?

In the book The Mayan Calendar and the Transformation of Consciousness by Carl Johan Calleman, he tries to do just that. His breaking down the historical periods by the characteristics outlined by the katuns sounds good but such an exercise is always highly subjective. (Just check out the lists on listverse to see what I mean.)

Sure, you can pick out an era of war, political overthrow, drought or famine. Practically every year in history has something like that somewhere on the planet.

But before I even got to that part of his very detailed and scholarly book, I was put off by the argument he was building. Perhaps I misunderstood what he was saying, or perhaps there was a typo, but there was a statement on page 85 that said some scientists theorized there was a crystalline structure at the core of the Earth. Then, one page later, he says since “the only thing we know for certain” is the crystalline structure at the core…

Since his theory was based on this bit of information, it sort of fell apart for me.

Still, the historical breakdown was interesting, even if it told me more about the author than about the Maya. I don’t think a person can create such a list without having to first decide what is important in history and what one might decide is important, others might find of minimal importance.

I am not certain what the Mayan Calendar and their End-Date has to do with the content of the Books of Chilam Balam, but it is a very interesting study.