Maya Calendar and Cosmology

Maya Calendar and Cosmology

Maya Cosmogenesis 2012
Tzolkin: Visionary Perspectives and Calendar Studies

Ongoing: Articles and Essays
The Matz Codex: An Unknown Aztec Codex

My work with Maya cosmology has developed several core insights into a full explication of the deep currents of Mesoamerican time philosophy. The evolution of this work can be traced in my books. There are four major focal points, each of which presents pioneering new interpretations. A great deal of introductory material on the Maya calendar systems can be found in The Old City.

1. The identification of three mathematical/philosophical principles
at the heart of Maya time philosophy.

These three principle were decoded slowly during my research and ultimately correspond to the three "root" principles of Egyptian Sacred Science. The Eros-Logos-Dios trinity to which they philosophically correspond also relates to my interest in Pekka Ervast's interpretation of the Finnish Kalevala Epic, in which he identifies the archetypal forces characterized by the three primary Kalevala heroes as corresponding to emotion, intellect, and will. Two of the three principles I identified within the Maya calendar system comprise a dual-principle paradigm of change and unfolding that I called "PHI-64" (PHI = the Golden Mean or square-root 5 principle; "64" = the doubling principle of square-root 2). In early 1993 I met Martín Prechtel and read a paper he co-authored on a formal paradigm of the present-day Tzutujil Maya of Guatemala called Jaloj Kexoj. Though strictly a philosophical concept, Jaloj Kexoj corresponds perfectly with the PHI-64 system I had decoded as being at the core of the Maya calendar and Maya time philosophy in general. These discoveries and parallels were documented and recorded in my 1994 book Jaloj Kexoj and PHI-64, which I am planning on re-issuing as Maya Sacred Science.

2. The Venus Calendar.

In my book Tzolkin: Visionary Perspectives and Calendar Studies, I endeavored to reconstruct and reinaugurate the 104-haab Venus Calendar that is clearly layed out in the Maya Dresden Codex. The approach ended up being twofold. First, I showed how the Classic-Period Venus Calendar evolved into a more accurate and comprehensive one among the post-Classic Ixil and Quiché Maya of Highland Guatemala. The proposed new Venus Calendar, developed around 1250 A.D., brought the beginning point of the 52-haab Calendar Round into alignment with the beginning point of the 104-haab Venus Round. The synchronization of these cycles eventually is lost, due to the Venus cycle being 583.92 days rather than the 584-day approximation used, and adjustment mechanisms are necessary to make any system accurate in the long-term. Secondly, one solution to the difficulties in reconstructing the adjustment mechanisms of the Maya Venus Calendar, is to simply identify the next time that a morningstar appearance of Venus corresponds with the traditional tzolkin date One Ahau, which was known as the Sacred Day of Venus. One Ahau traditionally began the 104-haab Venus Round period, predicting when Venus would rise heliacally as morningstar. Toward this end, I identified April 3, 2001 A.D. as the next Sacred Day of Venus. This date is 4 days after inferior conjunction of Venus (meaning that Venus will be technically in its first morningstar appearance) and is also the tzolkin date One Ahau in the traditional Maya calendar. This last point required deciding how the tzolkin calendar corresponds to the Gregorian calendar, which necessitated sorting out a great deal of academic and pop-culture misinformation on the subject.

3. The Tzolkin Correlation.

Determining the correct placement of the tzolkin calendar through academic analysis has been another major facet of my work. This draws not so much from my own pioneering ideas, but from summarizing the solid scholarship from decades of ethnographic study. Ultimately, the surviving tzolkin count still followed in the highlands of Guatemala is the one we should use, because it has an unbroken continuity going back 3000 years. The academic clarifications I made have been fairly painless (see the Lounsbury paper in The Old City or in my book Tzolkin). However, the response to my championing of the traditional Maya tzolkin placement and my persistant pointing out that a "True Count" exists, has been met by many new age Maya calendar enthusiasts with scoffing suspicion and narrow-minded dismissals. The truth is that an unbroken calendar tradition survives in the Highlands of Guatemala; this tzolkin count placement is the same one followed at the Classic Maya cities, and makes December 21, 2012 A.D. equivalent to 4 Ahau in the tzolkin calendar. It is also true that the daycount put forth by Dreamspell designer and Harmonic Convergence organizer José Arguelles is currently 51 days out of synchronization with the authentic traditional daycount, and ignores counting February 29. I have sought clarity on this issue since 1991 and only recently have the Dreamspell movement and the writers who have adopting the Jose Arguelles count of days begun to acknowledge the True Count. Dialogue on this topic can be found at the Talis website. For a further clarification of the correlation controversy, see the "Manifesto for Clarity" essay I wrote form The Institute of Maya Studies, also published in the Wacah Chan newsletter.

4. Galactic Cosmology and the 2012 end-date alignment.

This has been a most fruitful avenue of research in my continuing efforts to get to the heart of the ancient Maya's cosmological wisdom. Since 1993 I have been building evidence for the idea that the Maya were aware of our solstice sun's impending alignment with the Galactic Plane and the Galactic Center, an astronomical alignment that occurs only once every 13,000 years. I have honestly documented my encounter with this idea and have gone deep into the academic literature to decode how this end-date alignment scenario - what I call the Galactic Cosmology- was incorporated into basic Maya institutions such as the ballgame, king accession rites, and the Maya Creation Myth. Four years of intense research along these lines, during which I wrote several monographs and a dozen articles, culminated in the publication of Maya Cosmogenesis 2012 in 1998. MC2012 has been lauded as revolutionary, original, and pioneering by many respected cutting-edge thinkers of our day.

Grand Theme: The Tree of Life

Finally, the theme uniting all of these searches has emerged for me very recently. It is the tripartite unity of Eros-Logos-Dios, manifesting at all levels of our multidimesional world. For me, the trinity principle is beautifully portrayed by an image I call the Tree of Life, which also symbolizes the alchemical churning that occurs at the end of the age to percolate the energy necessary for consciousness to ascned to the next level of spiritual development. The Tree of Life symbol was giving to me in a vision in 1985. My bizarre experiences during this period of awakening and transformation are documented in my book Mirror in the Sky (1991). The "TOL" symbol has served as the template of my gnostic search ever since, constantly revealing new applications of its universal archetypal structure. For me, it is the transdimensional object that fits like a key into all levels of our multi-tiered cosmos.

These are the main ideas that I've worked with since writing my first book on the Maya, Journey to the Mayan Underworld, in 1989. That year launched my ten-year odyssey of exploration into the Maya material. In retrospect, the nineties have been an incredible decade of discovery and growth, during which my quest into the heart of the gnostic circle has revealed many core insights into the universal principles that contribute to the evolution of consciousness on this planet. May our countdown to 2012 be as fruitful...

The How and Why of the Mayan Calendar End-Date in 2012 A.D. This is the historic article, published in 1994, that first connected the end-date alignment with known concepts among the Maya. This is where I pointed out that the xibalba be (the dark-rift in Sagittarius) and the Sacred Tree (the crossing point formed by the Milky Way where it crosses over the ecliptic in Sagittarius) are essential keys to understanding how the Maya conceptualized the end-date alignment and encoded it into their mythic concepts.

Other voices on the alignment

1998, 2000, or 2012? The true alignment zone.