Have you ever experienced a moment that made you wonder if everything happens for a reason? That your actions and inspirations fit into some greater purpose? It’s a tricky question to answer for a number of reasons – for one, it requires us to change our understanding of the concept of free will. Rather than believing the history of the planet is solely the product of individual autonomy (of all life), what if all our actions are part of a cosmic story? One interpretation of the Mayan calendar, by Dr. Johan Calleman, states the Maya believed periodic fluctuations in cosmic energy influenced life and fueled the evolution of consciousness. This doesn’t provide an excuse to sit back and do nothing, but rather an understanding of our purpose as carriers of change.
Scanning through the history of humankind and its relationship to its environment, I’m starting to consider the logic of this. If we focus on the history of humans, the beneficiary of the planet’s most complex thinking mechanism, it reads similar to a storybook, where we (homo sapiens) are the main character. Our character begins “young” and “inexperienced”, but over time, learns more about itself, its surroundings, and its purpose. Each experience building on the one before it, a form of evolution exemplified by how the Greeks learned from the Egyptians, how the Renaissance influenced the Age of Enlightenment, and
how the world is currently transitioning from the Industrial Revolution. Each period produced a significant change in human thinking that was complemented by innovations that helped push society forward. What’s also important to keep in mind are the disastrous events that occurred in between these periods of progressive change, such as wars, and breakouts of infectious disease. A thorough list can be found here.
According to the Maya, these events represent high and low periods on a wavelength of cosmic energy that cycles throughout time. (Exemplified in the image below of the Galactic Underworld). This energy affects the consciousness of life, and is the catalyst for its development.
We all carry mental calendars in our minds. They regulate our lives, and have a tremendous influence on our perception of time. For this reason, it is fitting the calendar the Maya rely on has received so much attention.
“This may be such an unusual way of looking at time that it is difficult for most modern people to comprehend. Today, we are so focused on everything material, such as the astronomical cycles, and on measuring things that a qualitative, spiritual way of following time seems alien to most. Yet, if we are to understand the divine plan for the cosmos and our own place in this we will have to make such a fundamental shift in how we regard time.” – Dr. Carl Johan Calleman.
The Maya do not use a single calendar, but rather a system of calendars. One calendar is the Haab’, it consists of a 365-day year. Instead of 12 months of around 30 days like the Gregorian calendar, it is made of 19 months, 18 of which are 20 days long, and one month that has 5 days.
A second calendar is the Sacred Calendar (T’zolkin), which is based on a 260-day year – 13 months, 20 days each. The interplay between days and months represent a major and minor force coming together to influence our lives. Each day has a name, represented by a glyph that have particular influences and personalities. (For an interactive demonstration of how this works, click here). While the Haab’ is based on astronomical cycles, the T’zolkin is based on shifting energies in the universe, thus there is a different understanding of what constitutes a day from what we are accustomed to.
A third calendar known as the Long Count Calendar was designed to last approximately 5,125.36 years, a time period the Maya referred to as the Great Cycle. The beginning of the Great Cycle represents the beginning of a previous age, which is the equivalent of 13 baktuns.
- 1 day – kin – represented as 0.0.0.0.1 (this representation is similar to how we would define December 1st, 2011 as 12/1/11)
- 20 days – uinal – 0.0.0.1.0
- 360 days – tun – 0.0.1.0.0
- 7,200 days – katun – 0.1.0.0.0
- 144,000 days – baktun – 220.127.116.11.0
“Rather than using a base-10 scheme, like Western numbering, the Long Count days were tallied in a base-20 and base-18 scheme. Thus 0.0.0.1.5 is equal to 25, and 0.0.0.2.0 is equal to 40. The Long Count is not consistently base-20, however, since the second digit from the right rolls over to zero when it reaches 18. Thus 0.0.1.0.0 does not represent 400 days, but rather only 360 days.”
In order for users of the Gregorian calendar to understand what day this cycle began and ends on, the English anthropologist, Sir Eric Thompson, devised what is known as the Thompson Correlation. Using this, the beginning of the cycle was determined to be August 13, 3114 B.C.E. As a result, its end would come on December 21, 2012 (although there is an argument the true end date is October 28, 2011 – for more, consider this). While some have interpreted the conclusion of the cycle to represent the end of the world, the Maya believe it represents a further development in the consciousness of life on the planet, and that the world will become completely different from how it was before.
“The Great Cycle … is but one fifth of the Great Great Cycle, known scientifically as the Great Year or the Platonic Year – the length of the precession of the equinoxes. To use a metaphor from the modern industrial world, on Winter Solstice A.D. 2012 it is as if the Giant Odometer of Humanity on Earth hits 100,000 miles and all the cycles big and small turn over to begin anew. The present world age will end and a new world age will begin.” – Jim Papp
To fully understand why the Maya believe the end of the Great Cycle is related to a change in consciousness, Mayan architecture is informative. The most famous Mayan structure is the 9-level pyramid at Chichen-Itza. To the Maya, the cosmos is composed of 9 underworlds. Each underworld is ruled by one of the 13 different heavens, and is made up of “day” and “night” intervals, symbolizing periods of enlightenment, increased consciousness, and a heightened ability to interact with the universe. Upon completion of the day and night period, the next level of consciousness is achieved.
According to Dr. Carl Johan Calleman:
“At the present time we are beginning to enter the eighth level of consciousness of the cosmic pyramid, based on the foundation provided by the seven lower levels. This eighth level may be referred to as the galactic frame of consciousness as it will step by step lead humanity to identify primarily with the galaxy. The highest level of consciousness, the Universal, will be attained through the workings of the Ninth Underworld in the year 2011 and will result in a timeless cosmic consciousness, and a citizenship in the universe, on the part of humanity.”
In 2004, Dr. Calleman, wrote The Mayan Calendar and the Transformation of Consciousness, in which he made three predictions about changes in the world economy that were to take place during the Galactic Underworld:
1. A global financial collapse would begin November 19, 2007 (beginning of the rule of Tezcatlipoca, the Lord of Darkness).
2. The Western dominance of the world will come to an end.
3. The abstraction of value will collapse and change. Whatever is a computer, paper – new world will not be driven by this.