For the last month or so, I have been reflecting upon the Mayan ‘count of days’. Since I have become very interested in descriptions of cyclical activity, I found the mayan notion of ‘sacred time’ which runs underneath the normal “every day” time, in a pulse like cycle, very fascinating and quite appealing. It seems to tie directly to the I-ching description of ‘seasons’ and the cycling through the five element ‘moments’. (again, I think they use the word ‘heavenly time’)
In a more scientific view, this makes me think of chaos ‘attractors’, the idea that there is a kind of underyling stability or pattern underneath the normal ‘random/chaotic’ flow of things. As a concrete example, which I have used many times before, I think about the female menstrual cycle and the accompaning mood changes, hormone fluxes, creative urges etc. Or perhaps the cycles of the moon or the movement of the sun.
So, in other words the question I’m asking is “does the universe itself get PMT”? 😉 ARE there good times and dark times and creative times woven into the fabric of the universe? Or, at least, is it pragmatic to follow a cyclical way of thinking in terms of human life and movement in time. Should we acknowledge times of rest as well as activity, light as well as dark?
I think so.
Here’s a bit on the mayan cycle, taken from a rather good description here. The mayans had 20 different ‘tzolkin’, but a cycle through them of 13 days, so you end up with a ‘year’ cycle of 260 ‘unique’ days altogether. (about the same time as human gestation, interestingly enough)
“This thirteen day cycle builds like a wave for the first 5 or 6 days, and peaks on days 7, 8 & 9 — day 8 is sometimes referred to as the crown of the 13 day pulse and is a preferred day for Ceremony and Shamanic activity in many of the Mayalands. Day 10 — indeed the number ten generally — was not looked on favourably by the Maya and days 10 through to 12 are associated with completion, release and preparation for the next pulse of days. In a sense 13 holds the accomplishment that is 12 and that the seed that is 1.”
One thing I’ve noticed is that simply by acknowledging each individual day cycle alone, I’ve felt a lot more connected to the movement of time. It’s a strange feeling to realise that you never really thought about -days- before, just the human construct of ‘hours’, home time, time at work, meal time etc etc.
Now, I think following the tzolkin (you can see the current day here, but its not too useful for understanding) is something that you begin to understand on a ‘different level’, a kind of mental-feeling for it rather than a logical description. I’ve begun to get an understanding of this from my use of the I-ching, it’s hard to explain, but I do feel you learn more and more depth with more experience. Or in fact this is the only way you can learn. Definitely a meditation exercise more than a horoscope.
What is interesting is that while you still get the same sequence of day-signs, the number is different; this affects the quality of the day and in some sense the understanding you pick up from it. What I’m trying to say is that you have to get your head round the whole flow of days, the complete cyclical movement – you can’t just pick up one day and understand. It’s a fascinating exercise, and, like my experience with the I-ching, eerily accurate.
Certainly, bringing my own experiences and thoughts a bit more in-line with what I’m reading and musing on, does seem to help. So my conclusion is that it is an interesting exercise regardless of whether or not there is actual motion going on in some ‘sacred time’.
One thing I really like with the mayan description is that the cycles pay attention to the ‘underworld’ aspects of people, and there is as much darkness, night, rain, as there are bright things and light. Sometimes you have to go through the night before you get another day, spend time alone, or face up to some niggly bit of your subconscious.
The calendar is also very mathematical, I’m sure there are patterns within patterns going on here.
Today turns out to be “Day 1 Dog (Oc)”, the start of the next cycle. It is interesting that the meaning I’ve have gleaned from this as a position ‘1’ (beginning, seed) day is subtley but definitely different from when it occured at day 8.
edit: or, as I’ve now found out, specifically: “white magnetic dog”. 🙂 I wonder what the ‘white’ relates to? magnetic = ‘1’.
” Oc means ‘gateway’ and ‘dog’. Oc is in many ways the archetypal dog — living close to his instincts and intimately connected with constancy, loyalty and unconditional love. Oc is our guide through the transformative darkness of Akbal (kin 3). Oc is the power which navigates our private underworld. Where logic and intellect fail, the faith and love of Oc become gateway and guide to our recurrence and renewal. Oc is individual consciousness become physical — in some Maya myth Oc is represented by a foot whose paces mark the very beginning, and end, of time. ”
Of course, given all this calender stuff, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there is a corresponding ‘astrology’ based upon the day on which you’re born.
However, once again, it’s not as simple as just find one day and there’s your personality. As well as the ‘center’ sign (plus number), you have one for each direction, found by counting backwards or forwards something like 7 and 5 days from your center day. You end up with a kind of ‘cross’ of influences, where the numbers as well as the signs have a meaning. So two people born under ‘dog’ may be very different due to a different ‘balance’ of numbers.
I won’t go into details on what day sign I was born on (12 Flint), because there is a lot in the interpretation which would be lost if I attempted to put it down here in words. However I will say that it really did strike a chord.
just found a place for getting little cryptic comments, for each day.(here)
also that ‘flint’ can also be seen as ‘mirror’ (ooh, i like mirrors)
the day I was born on ’12 flint’ (11 jan 1982) :
White Crystal Mirror
We dedicate in order to reflect. Universalising order, we seal the matrix of endlessness with the crystal tone of cooperation. We are guided by the power of heart.
(wheras the next flint, ‘6 flint’ corresponds to:
White Rhythmic Mirror
We organise in order to reflect. Balancing order, we seal the matrix of endlessness with the rhythmic tone of equality. We are guided by the power of endlessness)
I need to find more about the number-pattern thing. (though it is starting to remind me of “sailor moon” anime attacks!!)
The biggest issue with this is that there seems to be two independent methods of calculating the calender out there! Obviously giving you very different results. The one I’ve been using purports to be more based around the ‘original’ mayan way of looking at things. hmmmmm..
but, there are patterns in patterns, because according to this place, which puts me as a ‘red lunar skywalker’ (i love these names), this year I am currently “white crystal mirror”…the same as the other calculating method put as my birth day…..this feels like playing ‘go’. I need a kind of ‘zoom out’ button. 🙂
I suppose its all kind of arbitary at the end of the day.
I should go and watch the film ‘pi’ again. This whole ‘is there an underlying pattern thingy’ question.
If anyone is interested to explore this themselves, I can calculate the day you were born on with a book I have at home, I’ll need to know your date of birth, including the year.
Final word –
I don’t think that its right for someone like me to try and squash something from another time and place into my life. but I find it interesting to follow cycles, and it’s made me very aware of the days passing which is good.
I would still like to understand runes, because they come from ‘our culture’ in a way, from this part of the world. but they will take a lot of work and I’m happy to understand slowly. You really need to mediate on each one. I would not like to go on about ‘ooh, I can use runes aren’t i great and druidy’ nor assume I can be a mayan shaman just because I’ve scratched the surface of their thoughts. I think this is important.
All this is very much about learning by quietly observing as well as trying to always understand things first.
links for future research:
1.Summary of Tzolkin
2.Key to the I-ching(to be read later, looks interesting though)
3.‘time of heaven’ in ancient chinese philosophy
4.Creating a modern medicine wheel (native american type stuff).
just found this, although not entirely clear in itself she does provide this handy list. Just accruing information 🙂
Day 1: What is my Purpose? Tone 1: Magnetic
Day 2: What are the obstacles? Tone 2: Lunar
Day 3: How do I attain my Purpose? Tone 3: Electric
Day 4: What form will it take? Tone 4: Self-Existing
Day 5: How do I take command? Tone 5: Overtone
Day 6: How do I stay balanced? Tone 6: Rhythmic
Day 7: How do I command attunement? Tone 7: Resonant
Day 8: Do I live what I believe? Tone 8: Galactic
Day 9: How do I pulse my intention? Tone 9: Solar
Day 10: How do I perfect what I do? Tone 10:Planetary
Day 11: How do I let go? Tone 11:Spectral
Day 12: How do I inspire cooperation? Tone 12:Crystal
Day 13: How do I transcend? Tone 13:Cosmic