The photograph below is the Aztec Calendar, on display at the Museo Nacional de Antropologia in Mexico City, Mexico.
The original object is a 12 feet, massive stone slab, carved in the middle of the 15th century. Many renditions of it exist and have existed through the years and throughout Mexico.
Historically, the Aztec name for the huge basaltic monolith is Cuauhxicalli Eagle Bowl, but it is universally known as the Aztec Calendar or Sun Stone.
It was during the reign of the 6th Aztec monarch in 1479 that this stone was carved and dedicated to the principal Aztec deity: the sun. The stone has both mythological and astronomical significance. It weighs almost 25 tons, has a diameter of just under 12 feet, and a thickness of 3 feet.
On December 17th, 1760 the stone was discovered, buried in the “Zocalo” (the main square) of Mexico City. The viceroy of New Spain at the time was don Joaquin de Monserrat, Marquis of Cruillas. Afterwards it was embedded in the wall of the Western tower of the metropolitan Cathedral, where it remained until 1885. At that time it was transferred to the national Museum of Archaeology and History by order of the then President of the Republic, General Porfirio Diaz.
AZTEC VS. MAYAN CALEDARS
The Aztec Calendar was basically similar to that of the Maya. The ritual day cycle was called Tonalpohualli and was formed, as was the Mayan Tzolkin, by the concurrence of a cycle of numerals 1 through 13 with a cycle of 20 day names, many of them similar to the day names of the Maya.
Where the Aztec differed most significantly from the Maya was in their more primitive number system and in their less precise way of recording dates. Normally, they noted only the day on which an event occurred and the name of the current year. This is ambiguous, since the same day, as designated in the way mentioned above, can occur twice in a year. Moreover, years of the same name recur at 52-year intervals, and Spanish colonial annals often disagree as to the length of time between two events. Other discrepancies in the records are only partially explained by the fact that different towns started their year with different months. The most widely accepted correlation of the calendar of Tenochtitlan with the Christian Julian calendar is based on the entrance of Cortez into that city on November 8, 1519, and on the surrender of Cuauhtzmoc on August 13, 1521. According to this correlation, the first date was a day 8 Wind, the ninth day of the month Quecholli, in a year 1 Reed, the 13th year of a cycle.
The Mexicans, as all other Meso-Americans, believed in the periodic destruction and re-creation of the world. The “Calendar Stone” in the Museo Nacional de Antropologia (National Museum of Anthropology) in Mexico City depicts in its central panel the date 4 Ollin (movement), on which they anticipated that their current world would be destroyed by earthquake, and within it the dates of previous holocausts: 4 Tiger, 4 Wind, 4 Rain, and 4 Water.
The Aztec calendar kept two different aspects of time; tonalpohualli and xiuhpohualli. Each of these systems had a different purpose.
The tonalpohualli was the ‘counting of days.’ It originated by ancient peoples observing that the sun, crossed a certain zenith point near the Mayan city of Copan, every 260 days. So this first system is arranged in a 260-day cycle. These 260 days were then broken up into 20 periods, with each period containing 13 days, called trecenas. Each period was given the name of something that was then shown by a hieroglyphic sign, and each trecena was given a number 1-13. Each trecena is also thought to have a god or deity presiding over each of the trecena. They kept these counts in tonalamatls, screenfold books made from bark paper.
The Aztecs used this as a religious calendar. Priests used the calendar to determine luck days for such activities as sowing crops, building houses, and going to war.
The xiuhpohualli was the ‘counting of the years.’ This calendar was kept on a 365-day solar count. This was also the agricultural and ceremonial calendar of the Aztec state. It was divided into 18 periods, with each period containing 20 days, called veintenas. This left five days that were not represented. These were called “nemontemi.” These were the five transition days between the old and the new year, and were considered days of nothing. This was a time of festivals. People came to the festivals with their best clothes on, and took part in singing and dancing. This is also when the priest would preform sacrifices, most of these sacrifices were human, but others were preformed on animals and fruit.
The solar year was the basis for the civil calendar by which the Mexicas (Aztecs) determined the myriad ceremonies and rituals linked to agricultural cycles. The calendar was made up of 18 months, each lasting 20 days. The months were divided into four five-day weeks. The year was rounded out to 365 days by the addition of the five-day nemontemi (empty days), an omnious period marked by the cessation of normal activities and general abstinence. The correlation of dates in the Gregorian calendar is uncertain, although most authors on the subject affix the beginning of the Aztec year to early Febuary. A variety of sources were consulted in developing the following chart of some of the ritualistic activities associated with each month.
Many of the Aztecs’ religious ceremonies, including frequent human sacrifices, were performed at the Great Temple, located in the center of their capital city of Tenochtitlan.
Every 52 years the tonalpohualli and the xiuhpohualli calendars would align. This marked what was known as a mesoamerican “century.” Every one of these centuries was marked by xiuhmolpilli – Binding Up of the Years or the New Fire Ceremony.
This was a festival that lasted 12 days and included fasting as a symbol of penitence. At the beginning of this festival all the lights in the city were extinguished – people let their hearth fires go out.
Then on midnight of the 12th day of the festival, a prisoner was taken to the priest. The priest would watch in the night sky for the star of fire to reach the zenith. Once it did, the priest would remove the heart of this man, and replace it with a piece of wood, that was laid on a piece of turquoise. This is where the priest would start the new fire that would once again light the city.
The tonalpohualli (count of days) was the sacred almanac of the Mexicas. This ritual calendar was registered in the tonalamatl (book of days), a green-fold bark paper or deerskin codex from which a priest (called tonalpouque) cast horoscopes and predicated favorable and unfavorable days of the cycle. The almanac year comprised of 260 days, each of which was assigned a date by intermeshing one of 20 day-signs, represented graphically with a gylph, and a number from 1 to13, represented by dots so that no two days in the cycle could be confused. The almanac year was thus made up of 20 13-day weeks, with the first week beginning on 1-Crocodile and ending on 13-Reed, the second week running from 1-Ocelot to 13-Deaths’ Head and so on. A god or goddess was believed to preside over each day-sign.
THE MAYAN CALENDAR
The Classic Mayan civilization was unique and left us a way to incorporate higher dimensional knowledge of time and creation. By tracking the movements of the Moon, Venus, and other heavenly bodies, the Mayans realized that there were cycles in the Cosmos. From this came their reckoning of time, and a calendar that accurately measures the solar year to within minutes.
For the Maya there was a time for everything and everything had it’s place in time. The priests could interpret the heavens and calendar. As the result they could control the daily activities of the populace. Knowing when to plant, when to harvest, the rainy and dry seasons, etc. gave them total power and control. Their comprehension of time, seasons, and cycles was immense.
The Maya understood 17 different Calendars based on the Cosmos. Some of these calendars go back as far as ten million years and are so difficult that you would need an astronomer, astrologer, geologist, and a mathematician just to work out the calculations. They also made tables predicting eclipses and the orbit of the planet Venus.
The calendars that are most important to beings of earth are the Haab, the Tun-Uc and the Tzolk’in. The Tzolk’in is the most important and the one with the most influence.
- The Haab is based in the cycles of earth. It has 360 + 5 days, totalling 365 days. The Haab uses 18 months with 20 days in each month. There is a 19th month called a Vayeb and uses the 5 extra days. Each month has it’s own name/glyph. Each day uses a sacred sun/glyph.
- The Tun-Uc is the moon calendar. It uses 28 day cycles that mirrors the women’s moon cycle. This cycle of the moon is broken down into 4 smaller cycles, of 7 day each. These smaller cycles are the four phases of moon cycle.
- The Tzolk’in is the Sacred calendar of the Maya and is based on the cycles of the Pleiadies. The cycle of the Pleiadies uses 26,000 years, but is reflected in the calendar we are using by encompassing 260 days. It uses the sacred numbers 13 and 20. The 13 represents the numbers and 20 represents the sun/glyphs. The Tzolk’in has four smaller cycles called seasons of 65 days each guarded by the four suns of Chicchan, Oc, Men and Ahau. There are also Portal days within the Tzolkin that create a double helix pattern using 52 days and the mathematics of 28. This sacred calendar is still being used for divination by the traditional Maya all over the Yucatan, Guatemala, and Belize, and Honduras.
The Tzolkin calendar was meshed with a 365-day solar cycle called the “Haab”. The calendar consisted of 18 months with 20 days (numbered 0-19) and a short “month” of only 5 days that was called the Wayeb and was considered to be a dangerous time. It took 52 years for the Tzolkin and Haab calendars to move through a complete cycle.
Archaeologists claim that the Maya began counting time as of year 3114 B.C.
This is called the zero year and is likened to January 1, 1 AD. All dates in the Long Count begin there, so the date of the beginning of this time cycle is written 0-0-0-0-0. 13 cycles of 394 years will have passed before the next cycle begins, which is in year 2012 A.D. (13-0-0-0-0).
Mayan Calendar Basics
The Mayas used three different calendar systems (and some variations within the systems). The three systems are known as the tzolkin (the sacred calendar), the haab (the civil calendar) and the long count system.
The tzolkin is a cycle of 260 days and the haab is a cycle of 365 days.
The tzolkin cycle and the haab cycle were combined to produce a cycle of 18,980 days, known as the calendar round. 18,980 days is a little less than 52 solar years.
The “Calendar Round” is like two gears that inter-mesh, one smaller than the other. One of the ‘gears’ is called the tzolkin, or Sacred Round. The other is the haab, or Calendar Round. The smaller wheels together represent the 260-day Sacred Round; the inner wheel, with the numbers one to thirteen, meshes with the glyphs for the 20 day names on the outer wheel. A section of a large wheel represents part of the 365-day year – 18 months of 20 days each (numbered 0-19). The five days remaining at year’s end were considered evil. In the diagram, the day shown is read 4 Ahua 8 Cumka. As the wheels turn in the direction of the arrows, in four days it will read 8 Kan 12 Cumku. Any day calculated on these cycles would not repeat for 18,980 days – 52 years.
Thus the Mayas could not simply use a tzolkin/haab date to identify a day within a period of several hundred years because there would be several days within this period with the same tzolkin/haab date.
The Mayas overcame this problem by using a third dating system which enabled them to identify a day uniquely within a period of 1,872,000 days – approximately 5,125.36 solar years. To do this they used a vigesimal (i.e. based on 20) place-value number system, analogous to our decimal place-value number system.
The Mayas used a pure vigesimal system for counting objects but modified this when counting days. In a pure vigesimal system each place in a number is occupied by a number from 0 to 19, and that number is understood as being multiplied by a power of 20. Thus in such a system:
2.3.4 = 2*20*20 + 3*20 + 4*1 = 864
11.12.13 = 11*20*20 + 12*20 + 13*1 = 4653 and
184.108.40.206 = 1*20*20*20 + 3*20*20 + 5*20 + 7*1 = 9307
When counting days, however, the Mayas used a system in which the first place (as usual) had a value of 1, the second place had a value of 20, but the third place had a value not of 400 (20*20) but of 360 (18*20). (This may have been due to the fact that 360 is close to the length of the year in days.) The value of higher places continued regularly with 7,200 (20*18*20), 144,000 (20*20*18*20), etc. In such a system:
220.127.116.11 = 1*20*18*20 + 3*18*20 + 5*20 + 7*1 = 8,387
and 18.104.22.168.15 = 11*20*20*18*20 + 12*20*18*20 + 13*18*20 + 14*20 + 15*1
= 11*144,000 + 12*7,200 + 13*360 + 14*20 + 15
A Maya long count date is a modified vigesimal number (as described above) composed of five places, e.g. 22.214.171.124.0, and interpreted as a count of days from some base date. There are many long count dates inscribed in the stellae and written in the codices. Calculation of the decimal equivalent of a long count yields a number of days. This is regarded as a number of days counted forward from a certain day in the past. It is the number of days since the day 0.0.0.0.0. The obvious question is: What day was used as the base date? This question has two aspects: (1) What day was used by the Mayas as the base date? (2) What day was that in terms of the Western calendar? We shall return to these questions below.
Just as we have names (such as week) for certain periods of time, the Mayas had names for periods consisting of 20 days, 360 days, 7,200 days, etc., in accord with their modified vigesimal system of counting days. A day is known as a kin. Twenty kins make a uinal, 18 uinals a tun, 20 tuns a katun and 20 katuns a baktun. Thus we have:
1 kin = 1 day
1 uinal = 20 kins = 20 days
1 tun = 18 uinals = 360 days
1 katun = 20 tuns = 7,200 days
1 baktun = 20 katuns = 144,000 days
The numbers at the five places in the long count are thus counts of baktuns, etc., as follows:
baktuns . katuns . tuns . uninals . kin
Thus, for example, 126.96.36.199.1 denotes a count of 9 baktuns, 15 katuns, 9 tuns, no uinals and 1 kin, or in other words, 9*144,000 + 15*7,200 + 9*360 + 0*20 + 1*1 days, or 1,407,201 days. It is a count of days from the Maya base date of 0.0.0.0.0.
Most of the long count dates which occur in the stone inscriptions have a baktun count of 9. The period 188.8.131.52.0 through 10.0.0.0.0, the period of the Classic Maya, is now thought by scholars to coincide with the period (approximately) 436 A.D. through 829 A.D. There are, however, some strange anomalies. Morley deciphers two long count dates (found at Palenque) as 184.108.40.206.0 and 220.127.116.11.6 (14 days apart) which are some 2,794 solar years prior to 18.104.22.168.0. Since there is no evidence that the Mayas existed before about 500 B.C., what could these early long count dates possibly be referring to?
We would expect that the next higher unit after the baktun would consist of 20 baktuns, and it appears there was such a unit, called a pictun. However, no long count date occurs with a baktun count of more than 12, except that 22.214.171.124.0 occurs. A widely-accepted school of thought holds that in the Maya long count system 126.96.36.199.0 marks the beginning of a new cycle, and so is equivalent to 0.0.0.0.0. In this view, 13 baktuns make up a great cycle or, Maya era, of 13*144,000 = 1,872,000 days (approximately 5125.37 solar years).
The date 0.0.0.0.0 is equal to year 3113 B.C..
The date 188.8.131.52.0 is equal to year 2012 A.D..
Sacred Calendar – Tzolkin dates
The tzolkin, sometimes known as the sacred calendar, is a cycle of 260 days. Each tzolkin day is denoted by a combination of a number from 1 through 13 and a name from the set of twenty (in the order: Imix, Ik, Akbal, Kan ….):
Imix Cimi Chuen Cib
Ik Manik Eb Caban
Akbal Lamat Ben Edznab
Kan Muluc Ix Cauac
Chicchan Oc Men Ahau
The days cycle through the numbers and through the names independently. The sequence of tzolkin days thus runs:
. . .
1 Ix (here we repeat the cycle of numbers)
8 Imix (here we repeat the cycle of names)
. . .
There are 260 elements in this sequence. That is because 260 is the least common multiple of 13 and 20. Thus the cycle of (13) tzolkin day numbers combined with (20) tzolkin day names repeats each 260 days.
In order to explain this 260-day calendrical cycle some have speculated that the Mayas chose this number of days because their allegedly advanced astronomical knowledge revealed to them that a period of 260 days fits well with certain astronomical periods, such as the eclipse-year. A more prosaic explanation is that there were originally two branches of Maya society, one of which used a 13-day cycle of numbered days and the other a 20-day cycle of named days. (There is a set of thirteen Maya gods, which may be the origin of the 13 numbered days, similar to our week.) Then at some point in early Maya history the two groups merged, combining the two calendars so that neither group would lose their method of day-reckoning, resulting in the 260-day cycle as described above.
Mayan Civil Calendar – Haab dates
The Mayas also maintained a so-called “civil” calendar, called the “haab”. This was similar to our calendar in that it consisted of months, and within months, of days numbered consecutively. However, unlike our calendar, the haab cycle is made up of eighteen months of twenty days each, plus five days at the end of the year. The eighteen names for the months (in the order: Pop, Uo, Zip …) are:
Pop Xul Zac Pax
Uo Yaxkin Ceh Kayab
Zip Mol Mac Cumku
Zodz Chen Kankin
Zec Yax Muan
The five extra days formed the “month” of Uayeb, meaning “nameless”. The five “nameless” days were considered unlucky. One did not get married in Uayeb. The haab cycle thus consisted of 18*20 + 5 = 365 days, the integral number of days closest to the mean solar year of 365.2422 mean solar days.
The sequence of days from the first day of the year to the last thus runs as follows:
For most of Maya history the first day of Pop was denoted by 0 Pop and the last by 19 Pop. However, on the eve of the Spanish conquest the first day of Pop began to be numbered 1, and the last day 20 (except for Uayeb), so that the year began with 1 Pop and ended with 5 Uayeb.
There is some uncertainty as to whether (what has usually been taken to be) the first day of each haab month (e.g., 0 Zip) is really the last (i.e., the 20th, or the 5th) day of the preceding month (Pop in this case), or in other words, whether the last day of each month was actually written as “the day before the beginning of (the next) month”, where the glyph translated as “the seating of” was used with the meaning of “the day before the beginning of the next month, namely …”. 0 Zip can be interpreted either as the first day of Zip or as the last day of Pop, but unfortunately the classic Maya are no longer here to tell us how they understood this date.
The Maya calendar round
The tzolkin and the haab are each cycles of days; the former is a cycle of 260 days and the latter is a cycle of 365 days. When specifying a day the Maya usually used both the tzolkin date and the haab date, as in 4 Ahau 3 Kankin. For the Mayas these two cycles ran together and concurrently, as shown by the following sequence of days:
Since 260 = 4*5*13 and 365 = 5*73, the earliest that a tzolkin/haab date combination can repeat is after 4*5*13*73 = 18,980 days, or just short of 52 solar years. This cycle of 18,980 days is called the Maya calendar round.
Maya long count dates are often given in association with the corresponding tzolkin/haab date, as in:
184.108.40.206.5 3 Chicchan 8 Kankin
10.1.19.15.17 12 Caban 0 Yax
10.3.8.14.4 6 Kan 0 Pop
10.6.2.0.9 9 Muluc 7 Yax
10.6.10.12.16 3 Cib 9 Uo
A particular tzolkin/haab date recurs every 18,980 days, whereas a long count date (assuming that the long count starts over at 0.0.0.0.0 on reaching 220.127.116.11.0) recurs every 1,872,000 days (once in 5,125.37 years). The combination of a long count date and a tzolkin/haab date occurs only once every 136,656,000 days (approximately 374,152 years or 73 Maya eras).
DATE CONVERSION APPLET
If you have a Java-enabled browser, you will see an interactive calendar converter routine below. Fill in the Gregorian Date in the top fields (day, month number, year) and press `Convert’ to find the Maya calendar date corresponding to that. Please note that the order is day, month, year.
You don’t seem to have a Java-enabled browser.. Here’s what the converter looks like:
Please note that this is just a picture.. you need a Java-enabled browser.
Note: This Java applet uses the 584,283 correlation. If you prefer the 584,285 correlation, you have to subtract 2 days from the date you want to convert. For instance: Jan 1, 1996 would become Dec 30, 1995.
Check out these Mayan Calendar Conversion Tools
OTHER CALENDAR SYSTEMS
The Julian calendar, introduced by Julius Caesar in 46 B.C., is the basis of our modern calendar. It consists of a system of twelve months, January, February, etc. (although New Year’s Day has not always been January 1st). If the number of the year is divisible by 4 then February has 29 days, otherwise it has 28. A date in the Julian calendar is termed a Julian date.
The Romans identified their years as a number of years supposed to have elapsed since the founding of Rome (which we now date as having occurred in 753 B.C.) Following the merger (under Constantine) of the Christian Church and the Roman Imperium years came to be numbered with reference to the year of the birth of Christ (now regarded as actually having occurred in 4 B.C.) In this system the year immediately before the year 1 A.D. is the year 1 B.C.
Astronomers use a system, which is also used in Mayan Calendrics, in which the year prior to the year 1 is the year 0. Thus 1 B.C. is the year 0, 2 B.C. is the year -1, 3 B.C. is the year -2, and so on. More generally the year n B.C. in common usage is said by astronomers to be the year -(n-1). (See more on this in section 7.)
According to Aveni , p.127, “the serial numbering of the years as we know them did not actually begin until the sixth century …” Thus dates prior to 600 are always uncertain. The Emperor Augustus also tinkered with the lengths of the months during his reign, introducing a further element of uncertainty, and it is also possible that the Council of Nicea (325 A.D.) readjusted the calendar by a couple of days.
The average length of a year in the Julian calendar is 365.25 days, differing from the value of the mean solar year by about .0078 days. This resulted in a slow shift of the Julian calendrical year with respect to the solar year (i.e. to the solstices and equinoxes). By the 16th Century the Julian calendar was seriously out of synch with the seasons and Pope Gregory XIII introduced the Gregorian Calendar. This involved three changes:
(a) The day following October 4, 1582, was declared to be October 15, 1582, thereby excising ten days from the calendar.
(b) A year was declared to be a leap year if (i) it was divisible by 4 but not by 100 or (ii) it was divisible by 400.
(c) New rules for determining the date of Easter were introduced.
The Gregorian Calendar is now commonly used throughout the West and is the de facto international common calendar. There have been numerous suggestions for replacing it with a more “rational” calendar, but old habits die hard and any change would be expensive.
Julian day numbers
Astronomers use a system of dating days known as the Julian day number system, in which a day is identified as that day which is a certain number of days before or after the day -4712-01-01 (January 1st, 4713 B.C.) in the Julian calendar. Thus, for example, the day whose Julian day number is 584,283 is September 6, -3113 in the Julian calendar, 584,283 days after January 1st, -4712 J. This day is also August 11th, -3113 in the Gregorian calendar. By 2001-01-01 G we will have reached the day whose Julian day number is 2,451,991, by which time nearly two-and-a-half million days will have elapsed since -4712-01-01 J.
Sequences and cycles are readily described as spirals in the Dreamspell and sacred geometries. The numbers of the Pythagorean Lambdoma are 1, 1, 1, 1 an 1, 2, 3, 4. This is an obvious sequencing that can be understood in cycles. The Fibonacci spiral is fundamental to all life forms. The Fibonacci is a simple matrix that starts with 1 then adds 1 to get a sum of 2 the adds the previous number back into itself to get a sum of 3 (I +2=3) then repeats that sequence to get a sum of 5 (3+2=5). Primary numbers of the Fibonacci on the number 1 carried to 13 places are: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233.
Solar systems are designed by nature in Fibonacci spirals as are human hands, sunflowers, and shells. This sequencing is a fundamental design tool of Creation. Spectacular patterns are found by applying the Fibonacci spiral to key numbers of the Mayan calendar: 20, 13 and 18. The sacred calendar (Tzolkin) uses 20 and 13 The civil calendar (Haab) uses 20 and 18. The common denominator of both is 20. If you apply the Fibonacci sequence to the number 20 and carry the sequence out to 26 places, then multiply each number of the sequence by 13, then divided it by 18 you will discover that the results of these factors shifts and starts new internal sequencing at the 13th place in each sequence. The 12th place comples a sequence and the 13th starts a new sequence internally.
The 12th glyph of the Dreamspell is ‘Human’ and the 13th glyph is “Skywalker”. The sacred calendar is 260 days and the civil calendar is 360 days with 5 unlucky days that are not counted. The Maya were well aware that a solar system is 365 days but chose to memorialize the number 360. Their simultaneous use of two calendars with astrology arrayed sets of ratios and sequences yet accounted for each day of the year in a way utterly foreign to the European calendar. The number 360 symbolizes space in a 360-degree circle or sphere. When a 360-day civil calendar symbolizing space is arrayed with a 260-day sacred calendar symbolizing fourth dimensional time, time-space ratios (coordinates) are discovered. The civil and sacred calendars synchronize every 52 years, so 52 is a central fractal of the calendars.
The number 20 used in a Fibonacci matrix and factored with 13 and 18 produces internal sequences and cycles in the 12th and 13th places. With 12 solar months to 13 lunar months, the 12:13 relationship is part of nature’s planetary design.
There have been many projected dates for the ending of the Mayan calendar, ranging from 1957 to 2050. The 2012 end-date was defined by the Thompson Projection. Thompson’s projection used a day-by-day count to cross -reference the Mayan to the European calendar rather than a count of years. This bypassed the problem of year names in the Gregorian system. Jose & Lloydine agreed with Thompson’s 2012 date. More importantly, the 2012 date works with the hard facts evidenced by the accuracy of the July 26, 1992 Time Shift. Terence McKenna and Peter Meyer’s Timewave Zero software that graphs time as a fractal demonstrates by graph the accuracy of the winter solstice of 2012 as the correct end-date of the Mayan calendar with graph anomalies appearing in the months of July.
SIMILARITY OF WORLD CALENDARS
Beyond the stargates of this planet and solar system lies a cosmic scheme of underlying order in which the earth’s flow of history unfolds in patterns of time. Galactic travelers have long traversed the corridors of time and space, and
periodically visited this solar system. The evidence of archaeological ruins are mute testimony to the presence of intelligent builders in now ancient history. The evidence is clear. Someone with advanced knowledge of astronomy has visited peoples of this planet and left calendars as a signature note. This is discovered in correspondences of world calendars: Mayan, Tibetan, African, Vedic, and Hebraic. Similar calendar schemes are found in each of these cultures.
The European calendar mandated by Pope Gregory in 1583 is the only world calendar that did not intercalate at least two celestial cycles. The Hebraic calendar acquired by Enoch after he was translated in a beam of light intercalated solar and lunar cycles in a fashion similar to the Maya. The Dogon in Africa were given four calendars by visitors from Sirius B: Solar, lunar, Venusian, and civil. The Tibetan calendar is so similar to the Mayan that traditional scholars now speculate that they share a common origin. The Vedic calendar is based on cosmic cycles, or Yugas. An ancient Hindu astrology used 27 houses of 13 degrees 20 minutes, which are key numbers in the Mayan calendar.
These calendars provided a time management tool that synchronized planetary cycles with visits from the stars. The Dogon calendar identified the 12 or 13th Century as the date of last visit; the Mayan calendar identified July 11, 1991, as an upcoming date of visit. Both of these dates coincided with significant planetary cycles.
The cultures visited by the Galactic Maya were shamanic. Ancient Hebraic instructions for building altars and using precious and semiprecious stones are identical to those used by Native Americans. The ancient Tibetans were shamanic. The Dogon and Maya are shamanic. The Galactic Maya were shamanic.
Ancient Hebraic instructions for building altars and using precious and semiprecious stones are identical to those used by Native Americans. The ancient Tibetans were shamanic. The Galactic Maya were shamans of planetary sciences, Cosmic Shamans who understood and utilized the cosmic flow of events. Their secrets were left with shaman in cultures who held the keys of their sciences. Until now the shaman’s craft has appeared as superstition that scattered before the power of European-based science. But that same science has now brought planet to her knees in destruction of the biosphere.
THE OLMEC ENIGMA: ASTRONAUT CORROBORATES SITCHIN
The following segment is
© Z. Sitchin 2001
Reproduced by permission.
If an astronaut were ever to corroborate an aspect of my writings, I would have expected it to be in regard to planetary matters. Surprisingly, such a corroboration concerns, of all things, the Olmecs of ancient Mexico.
The unexpected corroboration is tucked away in the recently published book A Leap of Faith by the Mercury-7 astronaut Gordon Cooper, in which his story as a test pilot and astronaut is peppered with (to quote from the dust jacket) “his strong views on the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence — and even the distinct possibility that we have already had contact.”
The Olmec Enigma
Readers of my books, and especially of The Lost Realms, as well as of a previous article titled “The Case of the Missing Elephant,” know by now that beginning with the discovery of a colossal stone head in 1869, an advanced civilization that preceded the Mayas and Aztecs of Mexico came to light. Its leaders and bearers were unmistakably black Africans. They were arbitrarily named by archaeologists “Olmecs”; and their embarrassing enigma — of who they were, and how they had come across the ocean, and why, was compounded by the timing of their arrival in the New World.
Once it was conceded (very grudgingly!) that the ‘Olmecs’ did indeed represent the earliest or even Mother Civilization of Mesoamerica, the date of their arrival was at first set at about 250 B.C.; then at about 500 B.C.; then farther back and back, until 1500 B.C. was acknowledged.
But I have argued for a date twice as old!
A God and His Secret Number
My conclusion that the Olmec presence in the New World went back at least 5,000 years, to circa 3000 B.C., was reached by many paths. The first one was an attempt to identify the great god of Mesoamerica, the Winged Serpent (Quetzalcoatl to the Aztecs, Kukulkan to the Mayas), and the significance of his promise to return to those lands on the first day of a 52-year cycle, (AD 1519, when the Aztec king Montezuma believed that the appearance of the Spanish conquistador Cortez was such a Return, coincided with the anticipated sacred date).
The peoples of Mesoamerica employed in addition to a practical calendar of 365 days, called the Haab, also a Sacred Calendar (called Tzolkin) of 260 days. The two cyclical calendars were conceived as two wheels with meshing teeth that turned and returned to the same spot once in 52 years; and 52 was the Sacred Number of the Winged Serpent god?
Since 52 was also the Secret Number of the god known to the Egyptians as Thoth; since Thoth as Quetzalcoatl, was the god of science and the calendar; and since Thoth was exiled from Egypt circa 3100 B.C., I have suggested that it was he who took a group of his African followers to a new land, bringing the “Olmecs” to Mesoamerica.
Accordingly, I said, Olmec presence goes back to at least 3000 B.C. — a date twice as old as that conceded by established archaeologists.
The Mysterious “Day One”
By the time I was writing The Lost Realms, the book devoted to the prehistory of the Americas, I was sure that the arrival of the Olmecs with Thoth/Quetzalcoatl could be established with astounding precision. The key to unlocking the enigma was the Olmec Calendar.
In addition to the Haab and the Tzolkin, there was in Mesoamerica a third calendar, used to inscribe dates on monuments. Given the name the Long Count, it was not cyclical as the other two, but linear — a continuous one, counting the total number of days that had passed since the counting began on a mysterious Day One.
By means of glyphs denoting groups of days
(1, 20, 360, 7,200 or even 144,000) and dots
and bars giving the number for each group-glyph, monuments were dated by saying: A total of so many days from Day One have passed when this Monument was erected.
But what was that Day One, when did it occur, and what was its significance?
It has been established beyond doubt that this Long Count calendar was the original Olmec calendar; and it is now generally agreed that Day One was equivalent to August 13, 3113 B.C.
But what does that date signify? As far as I know, the only plausible answer was provided by me: It was the date of Thoth/Quetzalcoatl’s arrival, with his followers in Mesoamerica!
The Unexpected Corroboration
All official publications continue, however, to remain at 1250 B.C. — 1500 B.C. at most — as the date of the start of the Olmec presence.
Imagine my pleasant surprise to come across an eye-witness report by the astronaut Gordon Cooper in chapter 11 of his book Leap of Faith : An Astronaut’s Journey into the Unknown: “During my final years with NASA,” he writes, “I became involved in a different kind of adventure: undersea treasure hunting in Mexico.” One day, accompanied by a National Geographic photographer, they landed in a small plane on an island in the Gulf of Mexico; local residents pointed out to them pyramid-shaped mounds, where they found ruins, artifacts and bones. On examination back in Texas, the artifacts were determined to be 5,000 years old!
“When we learned of the age of the artifacts,” Cooper writes, “we realized that what we’d found had nothing to do with seventeenth-century Spain… I contacted the Mexican government and was put in touch with the head of the national archaeology department, Pablo Bush Romero.”
Together with Mexican archeologists the two went back to the site. After some excavating, Cooper writes,
“The age of the ruins was confirmed: 3000 B.C. Compared with other advanced civilizations, relatively little was known about this one –called the Olmec.”
Proceeding to describe some of the amazing discoveries about the Olmecs and their achievements, Gordon Cooper continues thus:
“Engineers, farmers, artisans, and traders, the Olmecs had a remarkable civilization. But it is still not known where they originated… Among the findings that intrigued me most: celestial navigation symbols and formulas that, when translated, turned out to be mathematical formulas used to this day for navigation, and accurate drawings of constellations, some of which would not be officially ‘discovered’ until the age of modern telescopes.”
It was this, rather than his experiences as an astronaut, that triggered Gordon Cooper’s “Leap of faith”: “This left me wondering: Why have celestial navigation signs if they weren’t navigating celestially?” And he asks: If ‘someone’ had helped the Olmecs with this knowledge, from whom did they get it?
My readers, of course, know the answers.
Has the Cover-up Ended?
The outstanding museum on the Olmec civilization in Jalapa, in the Veracruz province of Mexico, included when it was built a wall panel showing the extent and dates of Mexico’s various cultures. On my first visit there, I could hardly believe my eyes: The first (earliest) civilization, that of the Olmecs, was shown as begun circa 3000 B.C.!
I urged the members of my group to take pictures of me pointing to the date: Finally, the date claimed by me has been officially accepted!
On a second visit, however (to which the previous article, The Case of the Missing Elephant relates), not only the telltale elephant-toy disappeared; the Olmec column starting at 3000 B.C. was also gone… And the official Museum Catalogue, reviewing the Olmec civilization, reverted to 1500 B.C.
But now comes the astronaut Gordon Cooper, and innocently and inter-alia tells, as an eye-witness, what he was told by the chief Mexican archaeologist: 3000 B.C.
And thus, when all is said and done, I stand vindicated.
© Z. Sitchin 2001 Reproduced by permission.
Masters of Time
By Will Hart
It has been 23 years but I remember the morning like it was yesterday. A mist shrouded the jungle above the Temple of the Inscriptions. A series of roaring sounds suddenly split the silence as a band of Howler monkeys made their way through the trees. The cacophony added to the sense of mystery.
My head was exploding. By the time I had reached Palenque we had already visited dozens of archeological sites from the northern most down to the Yucatan Peninsula. I was steeped in questions and mysteries.
Several things had become clear to me: the cultures that built the pyramids and other buildings had been advanced in the arts and sciences. I had seen many beautiful things emblematic of advanced culture as well as many enigmas.
The Olmec civilization surprised me the most. I had read about the Maya and knew of the Aztecs but I was unprepared for what I found in Villahermosa: Large stone heads with Negroid features and stone Stella carved with depictions of curious emissaries. The figures clearly were not from any Mexican culture.
These artifacts were more than just a fascinating puzzle they represented a headache for science. They are an anomaly. Who carved the heads? Who created the Stella? Where did they get the models for these heads and figures? These were questions that arose because of the way scientists have reconstructed the human history of Mesoamerica. Africans don’t fit and neither do the cloaked Caucasian figures carved on the Stele. They shouldn’t be there, however, they are there as bold and undeniable as sunlight.
Scientists do not claim to have solved this enigma. Anthropologists and archeologists admit they do not know much of anything about Olmec culture. So we don’t know the ethnic group or the language and nothing of their social organization, beliefs or traditions. No one has any idea of why they carved the helmeted heads or what these curious people called themselves.
The only records we have are the monuments they left behind, which are impressive. But how do we understand them? Where do they fit in the mosaic of human history? There are no direct clues in Mexico. The Olmecs didn’t leave us any written records. However, we do have a clue.
The bible is an extremely important document. It doesn’t matter whether you are a believer or not. It contains a very ancient accounting of human history compiled from a variety of early sources. At least this is true of Genesis. But it is not always easy to decode. Do we find any reference in the bible that might help us solve the Olmec enigma?
Turning to Genesis Chapter 11 we read ” Now the whole earth used the same language and the same words.” This indicates that there was a period in man’s history when there was a global human civilization. Let us call it the “zero” civilization. We learn that during that epoch men wanted to build a tower: “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven; and let us make for ourselves a name; lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”
The fact that the Olmec civilization presents science with an anomaly indicates something quite profound: the data does not fit the model. Scientists can’t change the observable data, it is as hard as data can get. But they could change the model to conform to the data. There is the rub. Anthropologists and archeologists have a huge investment in that model, an intellectual edifice that has been built up over generations.
Scientists would rather ignore the tough questions and leave the Olmecs alone relegated to the dim mists of forgotten antiquity. That is not a very scientific approach. Where is the pursuit of truth? What happened to the scientific method? It is just not acceptable. Why?
Some ancient society built the huge mound; dragged the basalt heads about 60 miles from the quarry to the burial site; those heads weighed from 5 to 18 tons; and they also carved the figures into the stele. They wouldn’t have gone to all that trouble unless the people the monuments represented were important to them. It is a logical assumption to make and we can only hope that scientists in the distant future will reach the same conclusion when they study Mount Rushmore.
Since we have the artifacts we know that there has to be an explanation for who the builders were. As with any mystery you search for clues. You begin in the most likely places and work your way down the list: Mexico. The problem is that the Olmecs disappeared from the scene long before Cortez arrived. None of the cultures contemporary with the Aztecs made any references to the Olmecs, they seemed to know nothing. No other Negroid heads have been found in Mesoamerica. Another curious fact is that the developmental period that must have preceded the mound building and head carving is nowhere to be found.
The Olmecs just suddenly appeared then disappered!
It took me years of investigation to finally realize that the most probable answer was in the bible and that was about the last place I thought to look. Did the Olmecs come from outer space as some researchers have proposed? Not necessarily. For one thing there is no evidence to support that theory. Secondly, the Negroid heads and the people depicted on the stele are obviously human.
The idea that there was a global civilization in ancient times does not conform to the current model of science. However, it is corroborated by the reference in the bible. The problem with the scientific model is that it can’t explain the available data and that is a serious issue that has many consequences. If the problem was limited to the Olmec civilization we might just let it go. But there are artifacts in Egypt, South America and other parts of Mexico that also don’t fit the orthodox scheme.
Scientists have often shown a willful blindness regarding artifacts and developments that they can’t explain using their belief system. Worse, they have either ignored key questions or discredited the facts. Many other hard facts including the remains of lost civilizations, and the cultural records of numerous peoples corroborate the Olmec enigma and the bible.
References to the cataclysmic Flood occur in 230 different cultures. Mayan history includes the story of how they came from a land to the east that had been destroyed. The historian Herodutus’ recounted of the tale of lost Atlantis. These accounts may sound like romantic myths spun out of early imaginations, however, when you stand at an ancient site surrounded by strange ruins…you begin to wonder if they just might have more than a grain of truth?
I climbed the steps of the Temple of Inscriptions and visited the tomb of Pacal. Then I decided to take a long trip down to the Rio Usamacinta to Bonampak and Yaxchilan. It was 100 miles of bad dirt road. Heavily rutted in places. It finally became so muddy that we mired the van up to the axles. We had reached the destination. Bonampak was a short walk.
I visited Bonampak. My next destination was Yaxchilan, a ruin secreted in the jungle about 8 miles from Bonampak. I decided to try and hack my way there with a machete against the advice of the natives who had warned me: “la selva is cerrado!” They were right. I gave up after a grueling four-hour stint that netted less than a quarter mile mostly on my belly trying to avoid razor-sharp thorn shrubs. The insects were ravaging my body.
Yaxchilan is situated on the river and it was alleged to be the center of the flourishing Maya civilization in this region. In Feb. 1989, James O’Kon did manage to make it to the site. Archeologists had been studying it for a century. A particular mound of rocks caught O’Kon’s trained eye. Scientists had dismissed it as a minor mystery but the amateur archeologist was also a forensic engineer and he immediately knew what it really was: part of bridge.
He turned to modern technology to help prove a bridge once existed at the site. O’Kon, a former chairman of the forensic council of the American Society of Civil Engineers, had used similar techniques during investigations. He compiled field information at the Mayan site and used computers to integrate archeological studies, aerial photos and maps to develop a three-dimensional model of the site and determine the exact positioning and dimensions of the bridge.
O’Kon ended up making a startling discovery: The Mayans had constructed the longest bridge span in the ancient world. When he finished calculations and computer models the bridge turned out to be a 600-foot span, a hemp rope suspension structure with two piers and three spans. It connected Yaxchilan in Mexico with its agricultural domain in the Peten, which is now Guatemala and where Tikal is situated.
What archeologists had assumed was an insignificant rock pile turned out to be part of a crucial finding, a pier 12 foot high and 35 foot in diameter. Aerial photos located a second support pier on the opposite side of the river. Both piers were constructed of cast-in-place concrete and an exterior of stone masonry. That is exactly how the Mayan pyramids were made.
In interviews O’Kon, who has been studying the ancient Maya for 30 years, said, “the Mayas were very sophisticated mathematically and scientifically.” He claimed the design requirements of the Mayan bridge parallel 20th century bridge-design criteria.
Today we marvel at the ruins and speculate on how and why they built the ceremonial sites. We shouldn’t forget that the Maya were an advanced race. They understood astronomy. They had an accurate calendar. They invented the concept of zero at least 700 years before it was incorporated into European mathematics. They built paved roads and as we have recently learned the longest suspension bridge in the ancient world.
What occurred to me while standing atop another the pyramid at Coba in Quintana Roo surveying a trackless jungle was the fact that the Maya had achieved all this in a jungle. No other advanced civilization I could think of had emerged from a jungle environment. It deepens the mystery of this lost race.
The sacbe are a system of roads that interconnect the sites. This is another feature that has long puzzled scientists and independent investigators alike. The roads were built up with rocks, leveled and paved over with limestone cement. They vary in width from 8 feet up to 30 feet. The mystery is simple: Why would a ‘stone age’ people without wheeled vehicles or dray animals need such an elaborate and sophisticated road network?
The fact that they had to construct and maintain these roads in the jungle makes the question more pressing. The historical chronicles prepared by the conquistadors, mostly bishop Diego de Landa, suggest a network of all-weather roads that linked Mayan urban sites.
You almost have to stand at a site and image the scene as it was during the peak of Mayan civilization to really grasp the magnitude and appreciate what this culture achieved. Today we see ruins and jungle. Pyramids that are little more than bare stone. Crumbling buildings surrounded by wilderness. However, in that day the pyramids were coated with stucco. They were smooth and gleamed in the sun and shimmered under a silvery full moon. The walls of the structures were painted with various designs using bright colors. The courtyards were paved. The flat white roads radiated out in all directions connecting the centers together.
Despite their advanced knowledge of astronomy and mathematics and their achievements in art and architecture scientists still consider them a ‘stone age’ culture.
Is there something wrong with this picture? Should the Maya be considered a Neolithic culture when they were advanced in every other regard except having metal tools? The Romans did not have the concept zero and their mathematical system was crude compared to the Mayan, yet they were adept engineers and had metal tools. O’Kon dismisses the idea that the Maya were ‘stone age’ by pointing out that the nearest iron ore deposits are 1500 miles away. He contends that the Maya used jade for tools and that it is harder than steel. He calls them a “technolithic race”.
Time is the essence of life. Human beings have always been immersed in it, keeping track of it in one way or another, measuring it as minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years and millennia. We know of many of its dimensions and we have used them to our advantage. We know when the dinosaurs roamed the earth; how long it takes for various radioactive isotopes to decay; when our early hominid ancestors branched off from apes; the exact dates of lunar and solar eclipses long into the future.
Time causes all living things to grow old and die. It seems so obvious and ubiquitous we are like fish and time is water. We never ask the basic question: What is it? Do we understand it? Is it more than a system of measurement whether of the present moment or of the age of the universe?
All cultures certainly have a focus on time; however, the Maya had an obsession with it.
They tracked and measured the day length of Venus, which is 528 earth days. The 365-day Mayan calendar year was more precise than the Gregorian calendar. They devised three different calendrical systems: the tzolkin (sacred calendar), the haab (civil calendar), and the long count.
The tzolkin is a cycle of 260 days (13 months of 20 days each) and the haab is the solar cycle. These two calendars were combined in an interlocking fashion to produce a cycle of 18,980 days, which was known as a calendar round. That is about 52 years.
Each day had a particular glyph and meaning ascribed to it and at the end of the 52-year cycle they had a renewal ceremony. The long count period ended at 5200 years. This was equivalent to an age. According to the Maya humanity was in the 4th Sun or age. That would end 5200 years from the beginning of their calendar, which started in 3011BC. And expires on 2012.
The longest cycle in Mayan cosmology is 26,000 years, which corresponds to the precession of the equinox. There would be yet another 5200 year cycle left in the grand cycle since there are 5 long count cycles or suns and we are nearing the end of the 4th.
Why did the Maya have such a fascination with astronomy? Why did they create such an intricate calendrical system? Would a ‘stone age’ agrarian society need all this advanced astronomical and mathematical knowledge? How did they acquire it in such a short time? How would they have any awareness of such a complex phenomena as the day length of Venus or the precession of the equinoxes?
They are either more ancient than science allows or they had more sophisticated technology than we know of or someone passed the knowledge down to them. Is it coincidental that the beginning of the 4th age was 3000 BC, which corresponds to the birth of the Jewish calendar? The assertion that the “world” is only 5000 years old may have more truth to it than we know. Is it also a coincidence that so many Christians believe we are in the End Times? This 5,000-year cycle is nearing completion.
The Maya obsession with time may have been based on a deep awareness of how it functions on a cosmic scale and then unfolds on earth in short and long- term cycles. That may be the message that the lost civilizations have been trying to deliver to us and we may just be starting to get it.
© 2002 by Will Hart