MAYAN CALENDAR – A New Beginning
PREMISE: Accessible evidence indicates that the knowledge needed to create a calendar as technical as the Long Count portion of the Mayan Calendar was imported into Central America from the Middle East, specifically, from the early Egyptian and Sumerian cultures, and the zero-point, day one beginning was, indeed, very unique.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
All Calendars begin with a day-one, zero point event. The first known formal calendar, the Jewish calendar (Nippurian) begins with the hypothetical date of the creation in 3761 BC. The Julian calendar we use today is a refinement of an earlier Roman calendar, adopted by Julius Caesar (45BC), and adjusted by Pope Gregory III in 1582 – the Christian calendar. The ancient Greeks based their calendar upon their first Olympic festival in 776 BC. The Islamic calendar, based upon the movement of the moon, celebrates Muhammad’s immigration to Medina in 622 AD. Calendars are about events and beginnings. The Hindu Kali yuga began in 3102 BCE. Many Hindu consider this the time Krishna left earth to return to his abode. By digressing to the magical time of ancient mythology, calendars were religious devices to celebrate the festivals (months) of certain gods. Illogically, perhaps the most discussed calendar today is not recognized as having a day-one beginning event – the Long Count portion of the Mayan Calendar. Why does it lack a beginning event? Did it celebrate some deity’s festival, or was it a cosmic time keeping device to track our sun and planets positions relative to galactic movement? 2013 - A new cycle, page 98
The Mayan calendar is composed of three parts. The portion we are talking about that ‘ends’ in 2012 is referred to as the Long Count and is generally credited to the oldest civilized culture in Central America, the Olmec. This culture was phasing out around 600 BC, about the time of the emergence of the Mayan culture. So, the Maya evidently inherited this Long Count calendar knowledge and it makes sense to believe they merely continued the traditional discipline of maintaining such an accurate instrument having a beginning in 3114 BC.
The Christian calendar, Greek calendar, and Islamic calendar did not exist in 3114 BC. What TIME was it then? How do you mark any time period without a beginning event?
What day one, zero-point special event was important enough to begin a calendar dating some 2500 years before its assumed ‘discovery’ by the Olmec and Maya? The tantalizing aspect of the Mayan calendar is that no one mentions the beginning event simply because there is no easy answer. The common explanation and scholarly answer is that the calendar, after having been ‘discovered’, was back engineered to its beginning date of 3114BC, which brings up the question: What solar or celestial phenomena could the Maya observe, identify, and track, that would have led them to discover a cycle lasting some 26,000 years – the time required for the completion of the astrologer’s twelve ‘houses’ of the zodiacal cycle – Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces, etc.?
At this time a gullible public is becoming more stressed because of the Mayan calendar ending in 2012. They do not ask the more important question, what happened in or near 3114BC that became the day one, zero-point event for marking time with a device that would later become known as the Mayan Calendar? And, most crucially, what is the source of the advanced knowledge required in creating and maintaining such an accurate time-keeping device? If the reason or beginning event cannot be identified in Central America, and this appears to be impossible as the Maya were non-existent in 3114BC, then the only conclusion accepted by logical and sensible analysis is the importation of this knowledge into the area after such an event.
There is the possibility that the first Olmec civilization in Central America date further back in time to around 3000BC, at least that’s the implication of more recent up-to-date evidence. The earliest accepted date for the Olmec culture is around 1500BC. They ‘suddenly’ appeared in the lowlands bordering the southernmost part of the Gulf of Mexico without a linear development period as with most cultures transitioning from hunter/gatherer clans to more advanced cultures. In 1995 the Anthropological Museum of the University of Veracruz in Jalapa, Mexico exhibited a mural depicting Mexico’s varied cultures. The mural indicated a start of the Olmec civilization at 3000 BC! A group of tourists documented this exhibit, but by 1999, on a return visit by the same group, the entire Olmec column was gone - deleted. Why was this evidence censored?
The acceptance of this 3000 BC date disrupted the academically accepted chronological order of culture development in the New World, and also gave academic credence to the fact that Africans had been in the New World possibly 2500 years before the Maya culture appeared. This, of course, presented two contentious viewpoints not welcome in the academic community: 1.) People from the old world were capable of sea travel at a very early date, and 2.) Mayan calendar knowledge migrated from the Middle East at this early date – or earlier.
Evidently the Maya ‘discovered’ the calendar because it was being studied and maintained by the Olmec who passed the knowledge to them. In this way they could have learned about the zodiacal cycle and thus the equatorial constellations of the zodiac, then, learning the amount of time required to pass from one constellation to another, they traced the cycle back to the beginning of the 26,000 year cycle. BUT, they would not have known the reason, the zero-point, day one event that started the calendar. But, how did the Olmec know?
Anyone of intellect could take the Jewish, Roman, Greek, or Islamic calendar of today and continue them into an unlimited future and, given enough time to forget, never know why they began. They could also trace them back in time but, without accurate records, would never know their beginning event. A more comprehensive understanding of the Mayan calendar is needed to pacify the present apprehensive public prone to believe in endings rather than beginnings. So, what happened around 3114BC, dramatic and important enough to merit the beginning of a calendar that would last over 5,000 years to end with the Maya of Central America and one that could be traced back in time to designate the more ancient beginning of a Precession cycle of the Equinoxes lasting 26,000 years?
It is not an easy task to present the beginning events for the calendar in understandable and simple terms. There was a number of disrupting physical events that occurred around 3200 BC that produced multi-cultural migration around the globe. And, there is legitimate reason to believe that geopolitical turmoil involving the ruler ship of Babylon and the Mesopotamian region was a phenomenon also causing migration to, and settlement of, what is now Vera Cruz, in Mexico.
The 26,000 year duration of a complete cycle of the equinoxes was divided into five Great Years, each lasting 5,200 years. The complete equinox cycle records the sun rising in the 12 zodiacal constellations, each sign (Leo, Virgo, Libra, etc.) occupying a 2160 year period. This was important and crucial knowledge to record and maintain in the Mesopotamian area during the hectic period between 3200BC and 2800BC. The preceding fourth Great Year was ending during this time and 3114BC marked this ending AND beginning of the present, fifth and last Mayan Great Year ending in 2012.
Our period is special because the present generations have the opportunity of not only experiencing the ending of the fifth and last Great Year, but the ending of a complete cycle of all twelve zodiacal periods, and all five of the Mayan Great Years – the ending of a 26,000 year zodiacal cycle. Whether this is an honor ushering in a new age of peace and prosperity or an unfortunate circumstance witnessing perhaps disrupting, global, solar, and galactic changes remain to be experienced. Geopolitical events in the Middle East and global, physical changes around 3200BC created conditions for marking a beginning point for the Mayan calendar. Knowledge for this equinoctial calendar had to have originated with the early Sumerian and Egyptian cultures.
PHYSICAL AND SOCIAL EVENTS - 5,200 years ago, related 26,000 year cycles.
As strange as it may seem, and in the light of new evidence regarding ancient Sumer and pre-dynastic Egypt prior to 3200 BC, the archeological, geologic, and anthropological sciences are beginning to realize that what was once labeled myth or legend has become bona-fide aspects of ancient history. The monkey on their backs is that, obviously, a calendar, or at least some form of star-chart records were available and maintained by individuals before the beginning of the 26,000 year zodiacal cycle which ends in 2012.
It is also clear that complex calendar knowledge existed before Kingship was first ‘lowered’ to Egyptians rulers. The zodiacal constellations were already identified and named by the ancient Sumerians long before the 1st Dynasty of Egypt in 3200 BC. This knowledge probably pre-dates the beginning of the last zodiacal cycle 26,000 years ago. For example: Taurus, the Sumerian GU.AN.NA (heavenly bull), Aries, the Sumerian KU.MAL (field dweller), and Pisces, SIM.MAH (fishes). My sign is Libra, ZI.BA.AN.NA (heavenly fate), the scales, and so on through the 12 houses.
Considering the antiquity and time period covered, the pursuit of origin of the calendar terminates with the oldest civilization in Central America – the Olmec, who had no linear evolution period. Supposedly, about 1500 BC they appear and were familiar with the intricacies of a very advanced Long Count portion of the Mayan Calendar. Since all the zodiacal constellations were recognized and named by someone (the Sumerians?) prior to the First Dynasty of Egypt around 3200 BC, and all twelve were required to total a complete 26,000 year equinoctial cycle, then the origin of a calendar based upon such a complexity had to pre-empt a creation and planning before the last complete (2012) cycle began 26,000 years ago.
So, somewhere out of the past, presumably from the Middle East, a time-keeping method ultimately ended up as a vital part – the Long Count part – of a calendar in Central America with the attached name of Maya. Too many people and too many cultures played vital roles in the development and maintenance of such a time-keeping method to be precise in identifying its original source, but it’s obvious that myth and legend are involved. How else do you explain the complexities of the precession cycle of the zodiacal constellations, their identification and order along the equatorial belt, and the possibility that one 26,000 year cycle is a small segment of an even longer and more important cycle yet to be recognized and understood by our species?
It is of significant importance that the beginning of the last Maya Great Year in 3114 B.C. happened at a time of earthly catastrophes that affected global social structures over a 2,000 year period. These events, in many cases, were the catalysts that caused migrations, explorations, and beginnings of new societies, and specifically, discoveries, abandonment, and rediscoveries of the western world.
So, now the dilemma: We run into the solid wall of controversy between the Isolationists, those who believe no outside influence came to Central America before Columbus, and the Diffusionists, who adhere to the belief in many pre-Columbian contacts with Central American cultures. A calendar neither begins half way through its cycle, nor could one have materialized in a nonexistent culture. The common explanation for this calendar anomaly is that, after inheriting the knowledge, the Maya “back engineered” the data. J. Eric Thompson implies such an explanation in his 1954 work, The Rise and Fall of the Maya Civilization: “The Maya undauntedly re-trod that road seeking its starting point.”
At this point in calendar development, we encounter those mysterious entities generally relegated to folklore and myth. There were many, but the most important were: Quetzalcoatl , Kukulkan, Itzamana, Viracocha, and Votan. And here, in this case, I believe that portions of myth and legend are just that: contrived stories to describe and decorate tales of true origins. But I believe also that a substantial amount of these tales lie in the realm of historical fact - historical facts woven into “Great secrets in simple tales that could be remembered and in symbols and signs to be passed down to their children.” This is an important function of myths and legends.
And through the ancient tales of history/myth we are introduced to those individuals responsible for introducing calendar knowledge to Central America:
Quetzalcoatl: The fair-skinned “Plumed Serpent” god of the Aztecs. He taught the Toltecs (predecessors to the Aztecs) the art of goldsmithing and mining – a god of crafts, writing, mathematics, astronomy, and time reckoning. Also known as Gucumatz to the Quiche Maya, and at Chichen Itza as Kukulkan – a master builder and known to have invented the calendar.
Kukulkan: A Maya god, probably the same as the Aztec god, Quetzalcoatl.
Itzamana: The Mayan god of healing. A robed and bearded fellow with a rattlesnake symbol.
Viracocha: Appeared in the Andes after a great flood. He appeared from the south and came from across the sea at a time of darkness. A white man of large stature, instructed men how to live and taught irrigation, terraced gardens, teacher and healer, engineering, medicine, farming, animal husbandry, and architecture. When he left he disappeared across the sea.
Votan: Another deity among the Maya. Known as a great civilizer – pale-skinned, bearded and wore a long robe. His symbol was a serpent.
These characters and legends are crucial in learning about our past. Statements of several Spanish chroniclers and various other sources tell of the arrival in the Yucatan of a man sent by God to “people and parcel out the land that is now called America.” Votan (kukulkan?) supposedly made four trips guiding immigrants to the new lands of what is now Central America. Evidence supports a time of Central American settlement coinciding with the period of collapse of the First Dynasty of Egypt in about 3200 B.C. A documented comet strike of significant size was an important catalyst for significant migrations to the new lands to the west but was not a day-one, zero-point event that began a count down of a time keeping record to be labeled over 2000 years later as the Mayan calendar. An extended period of several hundred years included the ending of the Maya’s Fourth Great Year of the previous 5,200 year period, but at this point in time the name “Maya” did not apply.
The cataclysmic physical events listed herein is reason enough to classify as a beginning calendar event. However, one other important factor figures into a calendar event prompting migration out of the Middle East to Central America but it involves a credibility risk requiring reference to the questionable area of legend and myth, and that was a power-transition struggle over who would rule and control Mesopotamia, particularly Egypt and the Babylonian area. This involved a family disagreement over the end of the age of Taurus, the Bull (Enlil), and the beginning of Aries, the Ram – Ra/Marduk. And it involved the accuracy of the calendar and the transition between these two zodiacal signs. Thoth, a person of great scientific knowledge, left Egypt, and evidence suggests he and his entourage migrated to the Central American area. Thus began a countdown of a time keeping record to be labeled over 2,000 years later as the Long Count portion of the present Mayan Calendar.
Do not think of an event as one day or a mere decade or century. An “eventful period” is a more realistic suggestion. Think of the period of change in the Americas (over 400 years) since the Gregorian calendar of 1582. Another 5,200 years from now this period could well be referenced as an event – a small part, perhaps – that ushered in the beginning of a new equinoctial 26,000 year cycle. Possibly, change similar to that period between 3200 B.C. and 2800 B.C. is already in process.
Thoth was the Egyptian god of science, mathematics, and the CALENDAR, the Devine scribe and keeper of the secrets of the construction of the pyramids – the Devine architect. Could he have been Quetzalcoatl or Kukulkan? Were the white-skinned, bearded fellows wearing long robes (and all-knowing entities) remnants of a society that had previously experienced similar tragedies on a global scale? Were they the blue-blooded residuum of a once, all knowing society of creator gods of ancient Sumer from the beginning of mankind? There appears to be no recorded, distinctive beginning event for the Long Count calendar. Instead, the knowledge needed to understand the cosmic clock regarding our solar system and its relationship to the background stars of the Milky Way began as a scientific cosmic time-keeping device in ancient Sumer. Homo sapien became an integral part in the development of a newly discovered, life-supporting planet just waiting for exploitation. This very basic knowledge of the zodiac needed to be preserved so that all would not resort back to ignorance and superstition. This act of preservation was faithfully orchestrated by the Maya and Aztec astronomers, possibly without the realization of reason and origin.
Yes, today we think of an “event” related to calendars, but, shall we fear the connotation surrounding the Long Count portion of the Mayan Calendar, or cherish a time-keeping instrument more related and tuned to our very existence – our festival of life? And, dare we mention that time began for mankind – Cro-Magnon and “God’s black-headed people” – about 26,000 years ago, the beginning of human introduction and development, the beginning of a time keeping device tuned to an equinoctial cycle, and the EVENT or FESTIVAL OF RETURN due to be re-examined and celestially-corrected after earth changing events occur during a time period we now apprehensively refer to as 2012.
Alan Cornette – February 28, 2012
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
NOTE: A clarification on the definition of an EVENT pertinent to this article.
An event can be defined as a daily, weakly, annual, or one stretching into centuries and millennia. Regarding the Long Count part of the Mayan calendar, the year 2012 is only a marker date pertinent to a period-ending of a cosmic nature. Sagittarius A, the object at the galactic center called Hunab Ku (the dark riff) by the Maya, is supposedly 26,000 light years from our sun and the sun at winter solstice will eclipse (line up) with the galactic center on December 21, 2012 for the first time in 26,000 years! This is the time required for a complete equinoctial cycle. A calendar connection? Maybe.
It should be noted that most of what we know about the Maya came from oral history documented by the Spanish, thus we find suggestions of Christian-influenced beliefs about a returning entity (as a Jesus-like savior) that would save the people. This may be true in a few cases but pre-emptive archeological records indicate otherwise. Records in stone far, far older than the 15th century negate this argument. These records in stone fortify the facts that west Africans, at least for a time, ruled, and were, the Olmecs. These records also indicate bearded, Egyptian-like Caucasians were present in Mesoamerica in earlier, pre-Columbian times. The Asians and Polynesians played a crucial role in the very early settlement of the New World during the time periods and migration patterns in this piece of Mayan calendar beginnings. That is another story.
To paraphrase Michael Cremo and Richard Thompson (Forbidden Archeology) Opinions should not determine the status of facts, and facts should not resolve into interpretations. The majority of archeologists have already made up their minds on the dates humans first entered North America.
It is my belief that scientific facts surrounding the archeological record should never be placed into a set paradigm students are not allowed to question. We have barely scratched the surface in learning about ourselves, and future records are still open to refinement and new enlightenments.
REFERENCES; How do I give credit to hundreds of people over a lifetime that have contributed to my indoctrination to personal beliefs in science and philosophy, and my pursuit of truth for my own satisfaction? It is a dangerous game of stagnation we play when “facts” established 50/100 years ago are sealed in set paradigms, especially in the fields of anthropology and archeology. In this paper I have referenced those authors who followed theories and facts not recognized in total by those who would not welcome change. When does knowledge from others absorbed into my mind become my knowledge? I owe allegiance to hundreds of scholars for my opinions and theories. Those individuals grasping meaning and understanding in this article will recognize my references. This material is available but far too lengthy for this format. I welcome any questions and input in this regard.
Copyright Alan K. Cornette 2012