Would the Real Tzolkin Calendar Please Stand Up

Would the Real Tzolkin Calendar Please Stand Up

Jan 15 2014

Someone who is investigating Mesoamerican Calendrics (MAC) asked me why a certain Tzolkin date converter generated an archetypal signature that differed from the Tzolkin date converter I use. Those of you who have studied my writings in depth will know the answer to that question, but it is likely that most of my readers don’t clearly know why there are various interpretations of the Tzolkin Calendar cycle or the core calendrical component of the entire MAC system. My reply to her question follows. Yes, I am familiar with Carl Calleman. He tracks what is thought to be the “traditional Tzolkin count”. That is why you get a different reading. Your question touches on the great dilemma within MAC. There are least 2 different Tzolkin counts in use, if not more. There can be only one correct sequence just like there is only one lunar and solar cycle sequence that is valid for everyone. The question is which Tzolkin cycle sequence is the correct one? To my knowledge nobody has bothered to empirically verify the Tzolkin Cycle sequence they profess to follow. Instead they have relied on the assertion that they are following the “traditional count”. How does one settle such a matter? That nobody has bothered to empirically verify the Tzolkin sequence they follow means that they don’t truly understand what they are working with. Most calendrical followers have assumed that they are following the correct Tzolkin because it’s claimed to be the “traditional or true count”, and they have relied on questionable colonial era records to piece together the missing links. This is a very sketchy procedure because it was the goal of...

Why January 1st is Not the Start of the New Year

Why January 1st is Not the Start of the New Year

Dec 31 2013

We live in an age where timekeeping has become an assumed background condition that we do not question. Yet nothing regulates our lives as much as the clock and calendar do. They tell us when we are supposed to work, rest, worship, celebrate, and play. So let us begin with questioning the purported start of the Euro-western New Year. First, we must define what is meant by a year. A year according to the dictionary is a period of time measuring 12 months or 365 days long. More precisely a year is a measure of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun. The question for us is how do we determine the criteria for the start of the solar cycle? That question is not that easy to answer once you realize that a cycle is a circle, and its impossible to determine where a circle starts or ends. Indeed, I have come to the conclusion that there is no end and no beginning in the absolute sense but that idea will be discussed in much deeper detail at another time. A no beginning/no end point of view is a deeply disrupting idea for a culture (Western/Judeo-Christian), whose ideological underpinnings assumes the idea of absolute beginnings and endings. But I will say that there are attributes particular to specific points in the solar cycle. What we name those points is relative to where we stand on the globe. There are better terms to describe the stages of cyclical processes than beginning or end. Fortunately for us, perfect seamless circles are extremely rare in nature. Stars and planets are not perfectly spherical, for they bulge around their...