Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Narrative Tzol'kin?

I was thinking about the symbolism of the tzolkin the other day, and while there's no 'official' beginning day of the Mayan calender, a common convention is that the beginning of the cycle starts with 1 Imix, standing for the primal body of the world and represented as a crocodile. Certain authors have pointed to the preponderance of dragons and magical lizard beings in traditions around the world and isn't it interesting, in that light, that the Maya chose the basest of reptilian entities to begin their sacred calender. I decided to have a closer look at the symbolic correlations of the various days in their order, and on Wikipedia (yes, I know, but bear with me) I found the following list:

  • Imix : 'Crocodile' - the reptilian body of the planet earth, or world
  • Ik : 'Wind' - breath, life. Also violence.
  • Akbal : 'Night-house' - darkness, the underworld, realm of the nocturnal jaguar-sun.
  • Kan : 'Maize' - sign of the young maize lord who brings abundance, ripeness. Also lizard, net.
  • Chicchan : 'Snake' - the celestial serpent
  • Cimi : 'Death'
  • Manik : 'Deer' - sign of the Lord of the Hunt
  • Lamat : 'Rabbit' - sign of the planet Venus, sunset.
  • Muluc : 'Water' - symbolised by jade, an aspect of the water deities, fish
  • Oc : 'Dog' - who guides the night sun through the underworld.
  • Chuen : 'Monkey' - the great craftsman, patron of arts and knowledge. Also thread.
  • Eb : 'Grass' or 'Point' - associated with rain and storms.
  • Ben : 'Reed' - who fosters the growth of corn, cane, and man.
  • Ix : 'Jaguar' - the night sun. Also maize.
  • Men : 'Eagle' - the wise one, bird, moon
  • Cib : 'Owl/Vulture' - death-birds of night and day. Also wax, soul, insect.
  • Caben : 'Earthquake' - formidable power. Also season, thought.
  • Etz'nab : 'Knife' - the obsidian sacrificial blade.
  • Cauac : 'Rain' or 'Storm' - the celestial dragon serpents and the chacs, gods of thunder and lightning.
  • Ahau : 'Lord' - the radiant sun god

So Imix is pretty obvious, but then you see lizard popping up again with Kan, primarily 'Maize', then a celestial serpent, three within the first 5 days. You might almost think there might be an outline of a story in this, an epic written into the very structure of Mayan time itself in which they are attempting to preserve forever ... what, exactly? A memory? A propechy?

Why not both? The tzol'kin is certainly a divinatory tool, but could it be that there is a history within it, as well, a very old story perhaps forgotten in the rest of the world and, thus, the ruthless suppression with which knowledge of it was wiped out upon contact between the Maya and a certain European church whose own top echelons, evidence suggests, are agents of reptilian beings from the deep past whose existence has been elsewhere forgotten?

If you scan the list again, thinking of the various symbols that pop up as linked together in narrative, one most certainly suggests itself, to myself at least. Some of the symbols evoke events, others a place, others a character, and some all three at the same time. It culminates with an Earthquake, the rise of technology in the form of Flint, a violent Storm and finally a radiant Sun. In between you might almost perceive a rough evolution, from primal forms to animals of greater advancement, though the agreement with a strict scientific chronology is far from perfect.

No one knows how long the Maya have been keeping the tzol'kin's count of days. It has certainly been thousands of years, at least, and there is some evidence that they acquired the habit from previous civilizations. It's origins are currently lost in the shadows of time but there is every reason it might have survived as an oral tradition for a great span indeed, perhaps - who knows? - dating back to ice age Atlantis.

On a darker note, the reptilian symbolism at the beginning might also be a clue as to who really created it in the first place. Drawing a parallel to the Illuminist use of symbolism, it might be another case of 'Will you notice who we really are?' in-your-face semiotics, a possibility that should certainly be taken into account lest one be caught unawares by another of history's hidden agendas.

Then again, it might equivalently be that the Maya knew something, something they were trying to warn the distant future about and set about doing so by burning the story of it into their calender.

What it all means, I don't pretend to know. But I'd be fascinated to hear the thoughts of others on the subject.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


The observant amongst you will notice that I've added the Hunab'ku to the sidebar, as well as a link to the daily tzol'kin at the excellent Mayan Majix site, where you can go to learn everything you need and want to know about the Mayan calender. There's a lot of disinformation out there regarding the tzol'kin, the baktuns, the haab and such, most of it centering around the infamous December 21, 2012 date at which the world is expected to end (though of course, no one ever says how, or even why.) Even if this kind of thing isn't usually your 'thing', I have no doubt at all that the 2012 meme has come to your attention. By now it's dispersed throughout the culture, and in this age in which the Lie reigns supreme you really might want to ask yourself why, exactly, '2012' has gained such renown.

Despite all this there really is something to this whole Mayan calender business (else why all the disinformation? Such an effort would not be undertaken for nothing. Similar reasoning applies to UFOs, conspiracy theories of all kinds, religions and mysticism ... indeed any field or topic in which there is something of real value to be gained, and so vast quantities of mud poured into what by all right should be crystal clear waters.) The tzol'kin seems to reflect an understanding of time far more sophisticated than the linear Western concept, and I mean here the real tzolkin. Accept no substitutes (and if you rely on google, that is much of what you shall get.) You'd be well served to make your own. 13 Muluc has come up with an easy-to-make calender using just cue cards, which I commend to your attention. I made one myself last weekend (hers is prettier, I must say) and though it's only been a week that I've been following it the synchronicities are already becoming apparent.

Today is 7 Wind in the Mayan calender, 7 being the number of reflection (in the sense of a mirror), and Wind being the spirit of dissemination. It is, apparently, a good day for communication and so what better day than today to sit here typing a new post for this sadly neglected blog. I'm not aplogizing for the neglect, mind; I haven't been much in a mood for blogging recently but as of late the bug seems to have bitten me and so, here we are. Or here I am, at any rate.

And speaking of biting bugs, I'm pausing about every three seconds to scratch at one of the many bites covering my arms, neck, head, and, yes, face, some from mosquitoes but the really bad ones from those vicious little rat-bastards of creation, the common deerfly, a beast whose extinction would trouble me not at all. I've been spending a lot of time outdoors, the last few weeks. Events have compelled me to take employment, which I've found at a local resort as a general maintenance goon, tasked with everything unpleasant and everything extra, paid not so well but more or less in charge of myself and that suits me just find, at present.

And isn't that strange, in this time of rampaging unemployment, factory closures and banking collapses and going-out-of-business 90% off summer super sales, that I am now working? Stranger still perhaps is where: the resort is an ancient (for Canada) hotel on the Rideau canal, a family owned establishment for over a hundred years until just a couple of months ago, which relies for its business upon American tourists. By all rights, between the Americans being poor and suddenly required to present a passport at the border, business should be awful and yet ... it's not. It's not booming, mind, but there's no shortage of customers and this is partly because there are many elderly couples who've been coming for thirty or forty years, and partly because, in fact, many of the hotels on the Rideau have closed and so what residual custom there is, has been channeled our way. And so here I find myself, working in the midst of so many who are not, in an island of stability amidst a rising sea of chaos. It's just for the summer which is long enough for me and, for that at least, I'm grateful.

I don't wish to paint too rosy a picture here. Some days it seems I have very little to feel gratitude for, and the sad truth is that I've been one sad bastard, difficult at best to live with. Well, everyone in my family has, really, each in our own way, and that's to be expected I suppose given the circumstances so, no more need be said in that respect.

And with that, uncharacteristically perhaps, I find that I have no more to say on anything for now and so, I'll leave it at that.