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What does the Future Hold? #1

The Maya Calendars???

                      
THE MAYA AND THE CALENDAR END OF THE AGE???

Some are jumping on the band wagon and proclaiming the end of
civilization and the age, coming in December 2012. Even some
"religious" prophets are catching a ride with this band-wagon and
proclaiming all kinds of things, from the "secret rapure" to the
battle of Armageddon, to the coming again of Christ Jesus to
earth.

IT'S TIME TO PUT ALL THESE PEOPLE TO SILENCE!!

I happened to come across (on sale) a book on the Maya people, at
our local large book store. It gives the latest findings on the
history etc. of these rather strange people. The book is full of
dozens of color pictures of everything Maya. For those of you who
may want to obtain it, the name is: The Hidden Life of the
Ancient Maya: Revelations from a Mysterious World" by Clare
Gibson.

SO IT'S TIME TO PUT THE RECORD STRAIGHT AND FIND THE TRUTH ABOUT
THESE ANCIENT PEOPLE AND THEIR CALENDARS, AND SOME OF THEIR
BELIEFS - Keith Hunt



CALENDARS AND COSMOS

The sciences which they taught were the reckoning of the years,
months and days, the festivals and ceremonies, the administration
of their sacraments, the omens of the days, their methods of
divination and prophecies, events, remedies for sickness,
antiquities, and the art of reading and writing by their letters
and the characters wherewith they wrote, and by pictures that
illustrated the writings.

-Diego de Landa, Relation de las Cosas de Yucatdn, 166 (Yucatdn
Before and After the Conquest, translation by William Gates).

It was not so long ago that many of the meanings of Maya art and
writings were a mystery to Mayanists. Because they could not read
most of the glyphs that were carved in stone or painted on
earthenware or bark paper, they could only hazard informed
guesses concerning what any accompanying images portrayed, which
was often a hit-or-miss approach. Part of the problem was that
they believed the glyphs to be logograms (symbols that represent
an entire word or phrase), and only to represent sacred or
astronomical concepts. Three crucial breakthroughs came during
the 1950s, however, with Yuri Knorosov's proposal that the glyphs
also conveyed phonetic information; Heinrich Berlin's
identification of Emblem Glyphs; and Tania Proskouriakoff's
discovery that the monuments at Piedras Negras recorded
historical details relating to the city's rulers. It is largely
thanks to the groundbreaking work of these Mayanists - and of
those who came after them - that the world of the Maya has been
opened up to us. There is still more to be learned, but today we
understand far more about how these ancient people viewed the
world in which they lived, and how they envisaged their place in
it.


The Maya Cosmos

Symbolized by the unifying World, or Cosmic, Tree (see pages 42
to 46), the Maya believed that the cosmos comprised three major
realms: the celestial, the earthly, and the underworld. While
humans occupied the earth, the celestial realm was believed to be
the home of such sky deities as the Maya Moon Goddess and Kinich
Ahau (or God G, the divine embodiment of the sun), as well as of
deified ancestors. The underworld (which the Maya called xibalba,
"place of fright"), by contrast, was thought to be inhabited by
the death gods, and to be the first port of call for newly dead
Maya. It seems that the heavens were sometimes imagined as having
thirteen levels, and the underworld, nine (as represented, for
instance, by the nine stages of such pyramids as the "Castillo"
constructed at Chichen Itza: see pages 18 to 31).

The earthly realm was often envisaged as being square, with the
World Tree situated at the center, serving as a symbolic axis
mundi (world axis), and with the central points of each of the
four sides oriented toward each of the four cardinal directions:
north, south, east, and west. The Quiche Maya sacred book, the
Popol Vuh, describes "the completion and germination of all the
sky and earth - its four corners and its four sides. All then was
measured and staked out into four divisions, doubling
over and stretching the measuring cords of the womb of sky and
the womb of earth. Thus were established the four corners, the
four sides ..." The Maya believing themselves to have been
created from maize dough, this square earth was likened to a
maize field (milpa).

Other Maya views of the world conceived of the earth as being
either a caiman (see pages 67 to 69) or a turtle, the scutes of
whose carapace resemble cracked, dry earth. Indeed,
representations of the rebirth of the Maize God from xibalba
depict him emerging from an earth-turtle (see pages 95 to 97).
The Maya furthermore believed that the underworld could be
accessed through holes in the earth, with caves, for example,
being regarded as entrances to xibalba. It also seems that the
Maya considered their ballcourts to be portals to the underworld,
and that they regarded the Milky Way as a road to xibalba.


Scrutinizing the Sky

If the ballcourt was believed to provide access to xibalba,
Mayanists speculate that the ballgame played on it may have had a
ritual purpose that referred to the victory of the mythical
ballplaying Hero Twins over the xibalban death lords, with the
ball itself maybe symbolizing the sun. (For more on the Maya
ballgame and its possible symbolic significance, see pages 47 to
60.) Their task in xibalba done, the Popol Vuh tells us that the
Hero Twins honored their father, Hun Hunahpu (who corresponds to
the Maize God), whose body had been buried at xibalba's Crushing
Ballcourt, after which "They arose straight into the sky. One of
them rose as the sun, and the other as the moon ..." It may
therefore be that the ritual playing of the ballgame was somehow
intended to maintain the positions and course of the sun and the
moon.

The Maya certainly focused their attention on the sky, and on the
movements of the sun, moon, planets, constellations, andstars.
Mayanists believe that at least one surviving building functioned
as an observatory - the Caracol at Chichen Itza in the Yucatan
(see pages 22 to 31) - and that Maya observations, and their
related astronomical and calendrical calculations and forecasts,
were impressively accurate, despite their lack of technically
advanced equipment.

Certain celestial objects were considered to be more significant
than others, also being interpreted rather differently to how we
do today. The constellations of the Maya zodiac differed from
those of the Western zodiac, for one thing (a turtle, for
example, representing the constellation of Orion, see pages 164
to 167), while eclipses were greatly feared, being seen as
"bitings," with no certainty that the sun or moon being eclipsed
would survive unscathed. Although the Maya regarded it as a star,
the planet Venus seems to have given them most cause for concern
on account of the destructive influence that it was thought to
bear on the earth below (see pages 64 to 66). During its 584-day
synodic cycle - that is, it includes two successive conjunctions
- Venus was believed to descend into xibalba (during its superior
conjunction), followed by its appearance as the Evening Star, and
then by a time of invisibility (its inferior conjunction), after
which it entered its Morning Star phase, the time when it was
believed to present the greatest danger.


Tracking Time

Their dread of the catastrophes that might be unleashed by a
solar or lunar eclipse, or by Venus, was a vital reason why the
Maya developed an array of calendars with which to try to track
and predict in auspicious times. These included a lunar calendar
(which Mayanists call the Lunar Series) and the "Lords of the
Night" cycle, known as the "G" series and comprising the nine
deities who were believed to govern the night-time hours.
Forewarned is forearmed, in the view of the Maya, and
foreknowledge of Venus's likely movements, for instance, would at
least allow them to limit or harness its damaging powers, they
thought. More positively, they believed that auspicious days and
periods could be similarly foretold, and that the appropriate
rituals could then be performed, or festivals celebrated, to take
advantage of the ideal cosmic conditions for sowing maize, for
example.

Such prophecies were the particular province of Maya priests (see
pages 184 to 185), who were also responsible for casting newborn
children's horoscopes, as described by Diego de Landa in his
sixteenth-century narrative, Relation de las Cosas de Yucatdn (An
Account of the Things of Yucatdn/Yucatdn Before and After the
Conquest): "When the children were born, they bathed them at
once, and then when the pain of pressing the foreheads and heads
was over, they took them to the priest that he might cast their
fate, declare the office the child was to fill, and give him the
name he was to retain during his childhood ..." It seems that it
was primarily the day on which he or she was born, according to
the tzolkin, or 260-day calendar, that was thought to determine a
Maya child's character and destiny in life. (Often described as a
ritual calendar, or almanac, the 260-day calendar was used by
other Mesoamerican peoples, too, including the Aztec - see pages
198 to 201--who, however, called it, and its day signs, different
names.) The fundamental components of the tzolkin were twenty day
signs, or day names (see pages 40 to 41), and thirteen day
numbers (I to 13). which, when used in conjunction - as 1 Imix, 2
Ik', 3 Akbal, and so on produced a 260day cycle during which no
combination of day name and number was the same.

Another calendar used by the Maya was the haab, or 365-day
"vague-year" calendar, which was more useful for day-to-day
activities because the tzolkin did not correspond to the solar
year. The haab consisted of eighteen twenty-day months, plus an
inauspicious five-day period (uayeb) that preceded the start of
the new year (see pages 76 to 77). (The glyphs representing these
months and the uayeb are shown on pages 40 to 41.) When operating
in combination, the tzolkin and the haab produced the Calendar
Round, a 52-year cycle during which no date repeated itself,
which was invaluable for keeping track of the passing of the
(solar) years.

There was, however, another calendar designed to track even
longer periods of time, as wonderingly, if confusingly; described
by de Landa:

     Not only did the Indians have a count for the year and
     months, as has been before set out, but they also had a
     certain method of counting time and their matters by ages,
     which they counted by 20-year periods, counting thirteen
     twenties, with one of the twenty signs in their months,
     which they call Ahau, not in order, but going backwards as
     appears in the following circular design. In their language
     they call these periods katuns, with these making a
     calculation of ages that it is marvelous; thus it was easy
     for the old man of whom I spoke in the first chapter to
     recall events which he said had taken place 300 years
     before. Had I not known of this calculation I should not
     have believed it possible to recall after such a period.


Known as the Long Count by Mayanists, the 5125-year-long calendar
cycle mentioned by de Landa was charted by means of five periods,
respectively called kin (which equaled 1 day); uinal (which
corresponded to 20 kins, or 20 days); tun (which comprised 18
uinals, making 360 days); katun (the equivalent of 20 tuns, and
therefore 7200 days); and baktun (the name for 20 katuns, or
144,000 days); see page 41 for the glyphs that represent these
five periods. The Maya celebrated Long Count period-ending dates
(see, for instance, pages 146 to 148), and it is reckoned that
the starting date of the current Long Count cycle was in August
3114 BC, and that it is due to end in December 2012. According to
convention, Mayanists record this end date in Arabic numerals,
starting with the highest period, as falling on 13.0.0.0.0 (that
is, 13 baktuns, plus 0 katuns, plus 0 tuns, plus 0 uinals, plus 0
kins).

(Ah did you see it all? The Maya had MANY calendars, short,
middle, long, and it should be clear to see they were as BLIND AS
BLIND COULD BE, as to God's word the Bible, and anything to do
with Bible Prophecy - Keith Hunt)


A Matter of Record

In order to record significant calendrical dates, be it for
purposes of prognostication or as a matter of historical record,
the Maya developed a sophisticated writing system comprising
hieroglyphs, or glyphs (which Mayanists now believe to be
logosyllabic, or a combination of logograms and syllabograms,
which represent syllables), a variety of which you'll spot within
the works presented in this book.
Although glyphs representing gods' heads, and sometimes also
their bodies, were used to represent numbers (certain deities
being considered patrons of specific numbers) on grand and
elaborate monuments, a far simpler, dot-and-bar notation system
was more generally used (see page 41 for an indication of how
this system worked, as well as for an indication of how 0 was
represented).

Such glyphs and numerical notations are frequently seen on the
stelae erected within the ceremonial complexes of Maya cities to
commemorate significant dates and occasions of dynastic
importance, being described by de Landa as the focal point for
sacrificial rituals: "To make these sacrifices in the courts of
the temples there were erected certain tall decorated posts ..."
(see, for example, pages 78 to 79). They were also inscribed on
other important stone monuments, such as lintels, altars,
and wall panels, as part of murals (as, for example, at the
significant Late Preclassic site at San Bartolo, Guatemala), and
on the ceramic vessels that often accompanied the Maya to the
grave. And according to de Landa, they were written in books,
too:

     These people also used certain characters or letters, with
     which they wrote in their books about the antiquities and
     their sciences; with these, and with figures, and certain
     signs in the figures, they understood their matters, made
     them known, and taught them. We found a great number of
     books in these letters, and since they contained nothing but
     superstitions and falsehoods of the devil, we burned them
     all, which they took most grievously and which gave them
     great pain.

The burning of the Maya books by the Spanish was a tragic loss -
to the Maya, and to the Mayanists who would have learned so much
from them. Only four escaped the conflagration to exemplify de
Landa's description of the books that are today called codices:

"They wrote their books on a long sheet doubled in folds, which
was then enclosed between two boards finely ornamented; the
writing was on one side and the other, according to the folds.
The paper they made from the roots of the tree, and gave it a
white finish excellent for writing upon." The paper having been
thus carefully prepared, trained scribes then used brushes and
pigments with which to write and illustrate their subjects.
Apart from that of the Grolier, which is named after New York
City's Grolier Club, where it was exhibited following its
discovery, the names of the surviving Maya codices, which date
from the Postclassic Period, relate to the cities where they are
now housed (the Grolier Codex today being in Mexico City).
Although their general themes revolve around astronomical
observances, calendars, and the performance of rituals, the four
surviving codices vary somewhat in their subject matter. The
Grolier Codex, which came to light during the 1960s, appears to
be mainly a Venus almanac, for instance, while the Paris Codex
additionally contains information relating to katuns, as well as
to new-year rituals and to the zodiac. The Dresden Codex, which
was discovered in Madrid, Spain, in 1739, but is now located in
Dresden, Germany, includes a notable Venus calendar and eclipse
tables (for some examples of pages from the Dresden Codex, see
pages 61 to 69). And the Madrid Codex (which is sometimes called
the TroCortesianus Codex, having once been separated into
sections called the Troano and the Cortesianus) is also notable
for its detailed almanacs and for the information on new-year and
other rituals that it presents (some pages from the Madrid Codex
can be seen on pages 70 to 77 and pages 102 to 105).

Not only are they rare and important documents, but the four
surviving Maya codices are also dismayingly fragile, as was sadly
demonstrated during World War II, when the Dresden Codex suffered
significant water damage during the bombing of the city. It is
therefore fortunate that detailed facsimiles are available to
Mayanists to study, made by such dedicated individuals as Lord
Edward Kingsborough (who commissioned a noted copy of the Dresden
Codex, as did Ernst Forstemann), Leon de Rosny (who was
responsible for copying the Paris Codex and the Cortesianus
section of the Madrid Codex) and the Abbe C. E. Brasseur de
Bourbourg (who reproduced the Troano part of the Madrid Codes),
and, more recently, Justin Kerr (who photographed the Grolier
Codex; a few examples of his "rollout" photographs of ceramic
vessels appear in this book).


SOME CALENDRICAL AND NUMERICAL MAYA GLYPHS 

The glyphs that the Maya used to symbolize days, months, and
longer periods of time, as well as numbers, can be seen carved
into stone monuments like stelae, painted on cylinder vessels,
and inscribed within the surviving codices.

The Twenty Day Names of the Tzolkin

Shown below are the glyphs representing the twenty day names, or
day signs, of the Maya 260-day calendar (the tzolkin), which
operated in conjunction with thirteen numbers.

imix ik' akbal kan
chicchan cirri manik lamat
muluc oc chuen eb
ben is men cib
caban edznab cauac ahau

The Nineteen Months of the Haab

The glyphs that represented the nineteen months of the haab, the
360-day calendar of the Maya, are shown below. The first eighteen
months each consisted of twenty days, with the last, uayeb,
comprising five days.

pop uo zip zotz'
zec xul yaxkin mot
ch'en, yax zac ceh
mac kankin muan pax
kayab cumku uayeb

The Five Periods of the Long Count

Five glyphs, illustrated below, represented the 
periods that made up the Long Count structure.

kin (1 day)
uinal (20 x kins = 20 days)
tun (18 x uinals = 360 days)
katun (20 x tuns = 7200 days)
baktun (20 x katuns = 144,000 days)

..........

NOTE:

THIS  SHOULD  GIVE  YOU  THE  TRUTH  OF  THE  MATTER  ON  PART 
OF  THE  LIFE  OF  THE  MAYA.  THEY  WERE  WITHOUT  ANY  LIGHT
FROM  THE  TRUE  ETERNAL  GOD  OF  HEAVEN. THEY  WERE  IN  FULL 
AND  COMPLETE  SPIRITUAL  DARKNESS.  THEY  KNEW  NOTHING  ABOUT 
THE  BIBLE  OR  ANY  OF  THE  BIBLE'S  PROPHETIC  WRITINGS.

THE  MAYA  CALENDARS  MEAN  NOTHING  FOR  US.  THE  MAYA  LONG 
CALENDAR  MEANS  NOTHING  FOR  US.  IT  WAS  SIMPLY  THEIR  LONG 
CALENDAR  FOR  THEIR  PURPOSE  ONLY.  THE  MAYA  LONG  CALENDAR 
HAS  ***NOTHING***  AT  ALL  TO  DO  WITH  BIBLE  PROPHECY  OR 
THE  END  TIMES  OR  ANYTHING  TO  DO  WITH  THE  END  OF  THIS 
AGE.  I  CAN  TELL YOU  WITH  100  PERCENT  CERTAINTY  THAT 
NOTHING  WILL  HAPPEN  TO  BRING  THE  END  OF  THIS  AGE  OR 
THE  RETURN  OF  CHRIST  WHEN  THE  MAYA  LONG  CALENDAR  COMES 
TO  AN  END  IN  DECEMBER  OF  2012.

Keith Hunt

To be continued


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