Posts Tagged ‘creation’

a Thought on the Earliest Long Count Record

March 15, 2010

Some historians hypothesize that the Long Count was completely finalized in the first century BC as that is the occurrence of the oldest known Long Count inscription (36 BC at Chiapa de Corzo). It could be that earlier inscriptions have simply not made it to our time (being on destructible materials) or that earlier stone representations have just not yet been found.

Either way, the 36 BC occurrence remains the oldest about which we know. So, why did the Maya date the beginning of their calendar so much further back, like 3100 years further back?

And did they keep record of the days and years since that time in the prototype of the Long Count or some other system until it was finalized? Or was it truly as John Major Jenkins hypothesized that they simply back-dated the calendar to a random starting point in the past?

It is difficult to do more than speculate on this question. One thing that would help is knowing why they started it on the date in question. What happened then that should have been monumental enough to give birth to a new calendar?

There are many theories about this issue. The usual definition given from the Mayan documents was that it was the “birth” of the planet Venus. Most historians today brush that aside, saying it was only the appearance of Venus as the morning star before the Sun rose. I cannot see that would be such a momentous thing since it happens quite often. And I have not seen anyone offer any proof that this was the case.

Immanuel Velikovsky theorized that Venus was born out of the planet Jupiter (see his Worlds in Collision for the particulars. Practically all the scientific community, however, stick to their belief that Venus is about the same age as Earth so there should have been no life to witness it’s “birth” from Jupiter or elsewhere.

But, if Velikovsky was correct in his timeline of the birth of Venus and the subsequent encounters of our planet with others, the last encounter would have been around 685BC. This might have allowed the orbits to stabilize and the Maya could have made any adjustments required to complete the various cycles in their calendars. They could then have finalized the Long Count. This may have taken a few centuries to completely nail it down.

Hence the earliest records of the first century BC. There may be even older ones, but if this timetable is correct, they may not be too much older.

But, time may prove me wrong.

the Birth of Venus

July 7, 2009

Supposedly, the Mayans had the start of their calendar (the Long Count, not the Tzolkin or Haab) coincide with what they called “the Birth of Venus”.

Many writers think this was nothing more than the first appearance of Venus as the Morning Star (some say Evening Star) after some momentous event – perhaps the death of the man who became the legend of Quetzalcoatl. But then why would Venus have been so important? Why not the first appearance of Mars, or Jupiter? Or even the Moon?

Why Venus? Certainly Venus had importance to most ancient cultures… hmmm, but why was that so? If you’ve ever read the works of Immanuel Velikovsky you will immediately see the connection. According to his theory, Venus WAS born around 3000 BC. Perhaps the Maya even pinpointed the exact day: August 14th. Perhaps they were actually commemorating the birth of the planet.

But why then do they equate the earlier period ending with the death of the Sun, the previous Sun? Could the two celestial events have been born of the same event?

Like I have always contended, trying to understand the Maya through the lens of our world view may not work. We may have to discard our preconceptions (translation: “scientific theories”) in order to fully understand what they were getting at.

Teotihuacan

June 27, 2009

The Aztecs found this marvelous city long-abandoned and thought it had to have been the home of the gods themselves. Their mythology of the birth if the fifth Sun takes place at Teotihuacan.

The legend goes that the Sun had been formed and destroyed four times. In the darkness after the fourth destruction, the gods gathered at Teotihuacan to counsel among themselves about what to do and they decided someone of their number should sacrifice their self to restart the Sun.

A rich and haughty god stepped forward and claimed the honor. A weak and sickly god, Nanauatzin, volunteered to become the Moon. The wealthy god offered copal incense in the flames while Nanauatzin could only offer his scabs, which he picked off and threw into the flames.

When the time arrived, the haughty god approached the flames but pulled back as they rose to great him. Four times this act was replayed. The gods grumbled and urged Nanauatzin forward.

He dove into the flames without hesitation and became the new Sun. Chagrined, the rich god followed him into the flames and became the Moon.

Adrian Gilbert (The Mayan Prophecies) pictures this as the remnants of the Toltec nobles hanging around Teotihuacan after it had been abandoned. They threw themselves into the flames to try and end the drought that had caused most to leave the area. But I cannot see how a drought-stricken community would want the Sun to come back in all its glory; shouldn’t they have been praying for rain instead?

Anyway, as “the gods” to the ancients were the planets, I wonder what sort of cosmological dance they were witnessing with this large “god” approaching the flames four times before following the smaller one into the inferno.

It would certainly have been legendary… or myth creating.