Thursday, September 9, 2010



This post really doesn’t have anything to do with GLBT culture, but I saw this picture and it reminded me about the whole Mayan Calendar thing.  There are a lot of people out there who do not understand the belief of the Mayans that the world would end in 2012, so I thought I would explain it from my perspective.

In order to correctly orient oneself to the cycles of time, one must be able to calculate these cycles with great accuracy. To this end, the Olmecs, and later they Mayans, developed a number of calendrical systems. At the center was the tzolkin, or sacred calendar, which consisted of 260 days; this calendar worked on two cycles, a cycle of 13 numbered days and a cycle of 20 named days. These two cycles would repeat themselves every 260 days. In addition, they had the tun, or ceremonial calendar, which was 360 days long plus five concluding, unlucky days. Another calendar was the katun, which was a cycle of 20 tuns. They also used a Venus calendar (584 days), a half-year lunar calendar, and cycles of the sky gods.

In combination, these calendars made the Mesoamericans the most accurate reckoners of time before the modern period reaching an accuracy of being one day off every 6000 years (which is far more accurate than our calendar).  All the days of these calendars in their incredible complexity served as astronomical almanacs that rigidly controlled behavior and religious ceremony.  The Olmec and Mayan Long Count calendar runs for 5125 solar years at which time these societies predicted the world could end in fire. The current cycle began in 3114 bce and is scheduled to end on December 21, 2012.

This is one of my favorite topics in history.  I just find it fascinating.  To explain this a little better than just giving a description of the calendars, they Toltecs and Mayans believed that when the cycles ended that the time was ripe for the destruction of the world.  It did not necessarily mean that the world would end, but just that it could.

So don’t vote for Sarah Palin, Hell won’t freeze over, and the world will continue, LOL.

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