The Mayan Calendar is, for some, causing a certain disquiet. Due to the 2012 end of the world predictions flying around the ether, many people are confused as to what an ancient calendar has to do with anything. The truth is, it has a lot to do with many things - that concern the 2012 predictions. The reason being that the Mayan calendar is the predominant source of the supposed ‘end of life as we know’ prophecies.
Or, as I prefer to call them – suppositions.
The Mayan calendar is, in fact, not one singular tool for time measurement but several. Each separate calendar represents a cycle of time - much like we have seconds, minutes, hours … and so on. The separate calendar systems – or measurements of time - can join together, harmonizing the different time spans.
It’s a little difficult breaking all the information down but – the easiest way of taking what I know and making it read in laymens’ terms - is to try and help to you to view the Mayan calendar system as being a lot like this:
· Become minutes
· Become hours
· Become days
· Become weeks
· Become months
· Become years
· Become decades
· Become centuries
· Become millenniums
· And etc.
The above is not how the Mayan calendars work. But that’s the general idea. The calendars (separately) are units or measurements of time. When connected together and coordinated, they calendars simply add the units of time together. Making time cycles longer.
We measure time by connecting and synchronizing smaller units of time. Thus we can live our lives day by day, or week to week. We can plan ahead. We can look back and remember a date or moment in time that’s significant to us. The Mayans were no different. They just measured time differently.
Mayan Longcount Calendar
- Mayan Calendar - The Full Details
This website explains, in detail, the workings of the Mayan calendar system. It's meticulous and long but here for those that do want to investigate further for themselves. Both interesting and informative and free of the usual guff.
Hopefully we’re now on the same page. Time to look at the Mayan calendar in question, the one most connected with the so called prophecies – the long count calendar.
Although the Mayan used different calendar systems, the three that are found most commonly written or talked about are:
- Haab – this was the versions closest to ours, the Gregorian calendar and the 365 day (per year) cycle that we now live by, the civil calendar
- Tzolk'in - the was the sacred or divine calendar and a 260 day cycle
- Long count – this is the one that the 2012 predictions are based upon
The table below simplifies the way that a Mayan calendar measures time, in relation to our modern day calendar system.
= 20 Days
= 360 Days
= 7,200 Days
= 144,000 Days
Mayan Numerical System
NB - the picture on the right is a basic version of how the Maya recorded numbers. It's only used to give you an idea of how their numerical system worked in relation to the long count calendar.
Simply put, of the three calendars I’ve brought to your attention, the long count calendar is known as the Long Cycle. And the long count time cycle lasts for 5,125.36 years
Give or take.
To quantify what that means in relation to 2012, we have to know the start date of the long count. A well known anthropologist, Sir Eric Thompson, thoroughly examined what is known about the Mayan calendar. Over a length of time and by using events that were recorded by both the Spanish Inquisition (via our Gregorian calendar) and the Mayan people (via the long count calendar), he was able to correlate data.
Further, the Dresden Codex [source Dresden Codex] was used – this is a book which dates back to the 11th or 12th century and stems from the Maya that were left after the original civilization was largely disbanded some centuries previous. The Dresden Codex is thought to be a copy of original Mayan text, dating back to the 8 or 9th century AD.
- Dresden Codex
The Dresden Codex, history and description.
- Mayan Long Count
Long Count Calendar - Basic meaning of 'long count'.
By having fixed calendar dates that Sir Thompson could draw a parallel between, he could accurately draw a conclusion as to the start date of the long count Mayan calendar. When all the information that had been gleaned was further compared to the Dresden Codex, a date was finally arrived at.
Of course empirical practice may have been applied – I don’t know, I wasn’t part of the study group – but I still believe that Sir Thompson is pretty bang on with his findings. The start date for the Mayan calendar is though to be August 13, 3114 B.C. [source Mayan Long Count]
That in turn puts the final year of the long count calendar as being 2012. Give or take.
End Of The World
This is a very complex calendar system and attempting to create an overview of it in less than 25 years or so is nothing short of a migraine. And if the 2012 end of the world prophecies are to be believed, I've only got three years. Apparently.
The way it works, in a sense, isn't as important as what it means - to us. The fact is, despite the Mayan calendar system being so complicated - that in itself doesn't dictate that it holds the secrets to a potential end of the world scenario.
Not as far as I'm concerned anyway.
It doesn’t matter whether you spend ten years studying the Mayan calendars in minute detail - or not. You still won’t discover a date for the end of the world.That said, you will discover something. And I'm going to make it dead easy ...
.... all you’ll find is that the long count calendar ends. What happens then? You reset the calendar. If you’re Mayan.
Not that you can reset it as such. It just starts all over again. But you get the idea.
As far as I’m aware, the modern Maya of today are pretty cheesed of with the folks that are bandying the Mayan calendar about in what really is a flagrant disregard for the truth.
They know, as well as I do – that such users (or abusers) of this ancient calendar system are making a lot of money. That said, they’re not denying that the long count ends. Only that its end date is being hugely misinterpretated.
Mayan Calendar - It Is Brilliant
The Maya didn’t even invent the long count – all they did was adapt it – in an incredibly skillful and magnificent manner. Originally it was an idea belonging to the Aztec people and, once adapted, the Mayan calendar was used - in the main - for keeping an eye on things such as:
- Seasons – harvesting and sowing of crops
- Cosmic movement – keeping an eye of their Gods e.g. the Sun
- Religious observation – sacrificial events and bloodletting
- Tracking events and happenings – much as we do today
So - what in the above leaps out at you and shouts 'run for the hills ... the end is nigh!!'? Nothing, as far as I can see. And unless you're daft enough to buy into the 2012 end of the world hoohaa - you shouldn't be reading anything into it either.
The Mayan calendar does come to an end in 2012. And maybe some funky atmospheric changes will occur. But the end of the world? Unlikely.
Now stop digging a hole in your backyard. Or stocking up on toilet roll. And go back to paying the bills, spending time with family and friends - and just enjoy life.
- 2012 End Of The World
2012 end of the world - the twin hub and other half off this one.