A brief Info for the those who still don't know the mystic relevance of the Mayan Calendar.









History

The name Palenque (Palisade) is Spanish and has no relation to the city’s ancient name, which may have been Lakamha (Big Water). Palenque was first occupied around 100 BC, and flourished from around AD 630 to around 740. The city rose to prominence under the ruler Pakal, who reigned from AD 615 to 683. Archaeologists have determined that Pakal is represented by hieroglyphics of sun and shield, and he is also referred to as Sun Shield (Escudo Solar). He lived to the then-incredible age of 80.

During Pakal’s reign, many plazas and buildings, including the superlative Templo de las Inscripciones (Pakal’s own mausoleum), were constructed in Palenque. The structures were characterized by mansard roofs and very fine stucco bas-reliefs.

Pakal’s son Kan B’alam II (684–702), who is represented in hieroglyphics by the jaguar and the serpent (and also called Jaguar Serpent II), continued Palenque’s expansion and artistic development. He presided over the construction of the Grupo de las Cruces temples, placing sizable narrative stone steles within each.

During Kan B’alam II’s reign, Palenque extended its zone of control to the Usumacinta river, but was challenged by the rival Maya city of Toniná, 65km south. Kan B’alam’s brother and successor, K’an Joy Chitam II (Precious Peccary), was captured by forces from Toniná in 711, and probably executed there. Palenque enjoyed a resurgence between 722 and 736, however, under Ahkal Mo’ Nahb’ III (Turtle Macaw Lake), who added many substantial buildings.

After AD 900, Palenque was largely abandoned. In an area that receives the heaviest rainfall in Mexico, the ruins were soon overgrown, and the city remained unknown to the Western world until 1746, when Maya hunters revealed the existence of a jungle palace to a Spanish priest named Antonio de Solís. Later explorers claimed Palenque was capital of an Atlantis-like civilization. The eccentric Count de Waldeck, who in his 60s lived atop one of the pyramids for two years (1831–33), even published a book with fanciful neoclassical drawings that made the city resemble a great Mediterranean civilization.

It was not until 1837, when John L Stephens, an amateur archaeology enthusiast from New York, reached Palenque with artist Frederick Catherwood, that the site was insightfully investigated. And another century passed before Alberto Ruz Lhuillier, the tireless Mexican archaeologist, uncovered Pakal’s hidden crypt in 1952. Today it continues to yield fascinating and beautiful secrets – most recently, a succession of sculptures and frescoes in the Acrópolis del Sur area, which have vastly expanded our knowledge of Palenque’s history.

Frans Blom, the mid-20th-century investigator, remarked: ‘The first visit to Palenque is immensely impressive. When one has lived there for some time this ruined city becomes an obsession.’ It’s not hard to understand why.

Who Were The Maya?

Nearly a millennium before the Spanish Conquistadores invaded Mesoamerica, the Mayan culture flourished in the countries we know today as Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Belize and El Salvador. The earliest artefacts indicate that they began settling along the Pacific coast around 1800 BCE. The Maya civilization started to decline in population in the 800s CE, but did not begin to abandon their great stone cities until after 1500 when they lost their freedom to Spanish colonists.

Some Maya were never conquered and retained their independence in small communities living in the forest. There are currently about four to five million Maya living throughout Latin America today. By trying to determine what caused the collapse and disintegration of such a great people, we can learn what causes the rise and decline of civilizations. Lessons can also be learned about resource management and environmental responsibility.

But one of the most significant aspects of the Mayan culture was the organization of their society around the concept of the cyclical nature of time: the events that take place in the universe, and throughout time, are always in a cycle. This cyclical view of all life goes against the notion that the Maya had mismanaged their natural resources.

Instead they learned to live with the rainforest, its plants and its species of wild animals. The Maya were forest gardeners who managed the rainforest much like environmentalists who understood that they needed to replace what they took from the ecosystem. They would not pollute a stream if people downstream relied on the water, as well.

Advanced in language, astronomy and math, the Maya were the most brilliant of all the Meso and North American cultures. They built monumental structures, created exact sciences and produced art equal to any in the ancient world. But the Maya did everything without the use of metal tools, the wheel or domesticated beasts of burden. It is perhaps for the lack of these logistics-related technologies that their culture lacked effective trade and supply infrastructures to maintain its vast expanse across the Latin American world.
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The Maya evidently thought quite a bit about the Sun as they watched it trace out a path along the ecliptic. They followed it year round, presumably following its path along the horizon as well. At Chichen Itza, during sunset a sun serpent rises up the side of the stairway of the pyramid called El Castillo on the day of Spring and Autumn Equinox. It tells us that the Maya noted not only the extremes of the Sun at the Solstices, but also the Equinoxes when the Sun appeared to rise due East or due West. In addition to the Zenial Passages mentioned earlier, ecliptic observations must have been a major portion of Maya solar observing.

The Maya also had a lunar component to their calendric inscriptions. After giving the pertinent information on the date according to the Maya calendar, the typical Maya inscriptions contain a lunar reckoning. The lunar count was counted as 29 or 30 days, alternating. The lunar synodic period is close to 29.5 days, so by alternating their count between these two numbers the moon was carefully meshed into the calendric sequence as well. Their lunar knowledge was impressive, for they also made eclipse predictions, and an almanac for predicting them is contained in the Dresden Codex.

The Maya portrayed the Ecliptic in their artwork as a Double-Headed Serpent. The ecliptic is the path of the sun in the sky which is marked by the constellations of fixed stars. Here the moon and the planets can be found because they are bound, like the Earth, to the sun. The constellations on the ecliptic are also called the zodiac. We don't know exactly how fixed constellations on the ecliptic were seen by the Maya, but we have some idea of the order in some parts of the sky.

Certain Mayan symbols seen in the stars correlate strangely with traditions from other cultures around the world... We know there is a scorpion, which we equate with our own constellation of Scorpius. The Pleiades were seen as the tail of a great rattlesnake and is called, "Tz'ab".

The Maya Kings timed their holy ceremonies in tune with the stars and the Milky Way. They celebrated k'atun endings every twenty years. At the end of the 20-year k'atun period, Maya kings typically had pyramids built to honor the event.

By incorporating the holy symbols assosciated with their religion and their knowledge of the universe, the Maya linked themselves to the heavens, the gods and the miracle of life itself. But when k'atun endings occured in conjunction with certain other planetary omens, the Maya went to war to obtain captives for use in ritual sacrifice, ensuring that the stars and planets would continue to move in an orderly fashion, and that the sun would again rise, bringing warmth, new crops and renewed life.
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The Maya and 2012

The date December 21st, 2012 was very significant to the Maya. They believed that it will be the Earth's final day. The Maya claimed that this future end-time could include a catastrophic magnetic pole reversal of the planet Earth, a solar shift, a Venus transit and mounting earthquakes, among other catastrophes. However, the Maya did not actually claim that the year 2012 would mean the end of the world - perhaps just the end of an age, with a new one beginning afterwards.

The Mayan calendar is widely recognized as the world's most accurate calendar. Its precision is said to be so exact that it needed to be adjusted by only one day every 380,000 years! But, with a specific end-date included, along with so many other accurate predictions of events made hundreds of years before they occurred, many people of many different faiths are starting to wonder what lies in store for them on that day.

Incredibly, the Maya understood that our world turned, but they also knew that it was only a part of a larger solar system that moved independently through our galaxy. This end-date of the Long Count Calendar in 2012 marks the coming of a truly rare cosmic event that will occur when this precession of the equinoxes positions our solar system in the very center of our galaxy when Earth will cross the ecliptic path of the sun.

Everyone is talking about what will happen on this date, however, not everyone is looking forward to it with the same set of expectations. For some, 2012 hints at a coming apocalypse or a time when the world will be cast into the flames of war and disease. More optimistic views believe that, as the Maya claimed, we would begin to experience some form of spiritual awakening, perhaps initiated by some cosmic event or compelling miracle. But, we have no way of knowing for sure what effects these cosmic events will have on Earth, as the last time an alignment like this took place was over 150,000 years ago!
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The Mayan Calendar

The Maya developed a highly sophisticated calendar through the recorded observation of star constellations and the shadows cast by upright stones as the sun passed overhead. The ritual calendar that developed in Mesoamerica relied on a cycle of 260 days. They had 20 named days, each represented by a unique symbol. The days were numbered from 1 to 13.

After the count of thirteen was reached, the next day was numbered 1 again, initiation a parallel calendar cycle. The 260-day, or sacred count, calendar perfected by the Maya was in use throughout Mesoamerica for several thousand years before the earliest evidence of Mayan civilization as a unique set of cultural values, and is probably even older than their system of writing itself!

Maya Day Names & Meanings
Imix Waterlily Chuwen Frog
Ik' Wind Eb Skull
Ak'bal Night Ben Cornstalk
K'an Corn Ix Jaguar
Chikchan Snake Men Eagle
Kimi Death Head Kib Shell
Manik' Hand Kaban Earth
Lamat Venus Etz'nab Flint
Muluk Water Kawak Storm cloud
Ok Dog Ahaw Lord

The Mayan system of astrological mathematics stands as the earliest recorded example of the concept of zero as put into practice by ancient cultures. They used this to periodically compensate for the 1/4 turn of Earth's rotation in order to prevent their calendar from drifting out of synch - much as we recognize a leap year.

Month Names & Meanings
Pohp Cat Yax *
Wo * Zak *
Sip * Keh *
Sotz' Bat Mak *
Sek * K'ank'in *
Xul Dog Muwan Owl
Yaxk'in New Sun Pax *
Mol Water K'ayab Turtle
Ch'en * Kumk'u *

To the eighteen regular months, the Maya appended a special five-day month called a "Wayeb" (also their name for "spirit animals") that was composed of five days which were considered unnameable and unlucky. Thus the days were counted: "One Imix, Zero Pohp, Two Ik, One Pohp". When the thirteenth day was reached, then the next day was "Thirteen Ben, Twelve Pohp; then One Ix, Thirteen Pohp, Two Men, Fourteen Pohp".

The Mayan "Tun" was a year of 360 days and the "K'atun" was a time period of 20 cycles of 360 days each. As we will see later, the ending of the K'atun was a holy time period. The Maya also counted 400-year periods called "Baktuns" that they used in a special day count which is now called the "Long-Count Calendar". A long-count date is written thus: 9.14.12.2.17. and represents 9 baktuns, 14 k'atuns, 12 tuns, 2 winals and 17 k'ins. The Mayan long-count calendar began over three thousand years before the earliest archaeological evidence of their culture, and ends specifically on a date which corresponds to December 21st, 2012 of our Gregorian calendar.


The Mayan Calendar

The Maya developed a highly sophisticated calendar through the recorded observation of star constellations and the shadows cast by upright stones as the sun passed overhead. The ritual calendar that developed in Mesoamerica relied on a cycle of 260 days. They had 20 named days, each represented by a unique symbol. The days were numbered from 1 to 13.

After the count of thirteen was reached, the next day was numbered 1 again, initiation a parallel calendar cycle. The 260-day, or sacred count, calendar perfected by the Maya was in use throughout Mesoamerica for several thousand years before the earliest evidence of Mayan civilization as a unique set of cultural values, and is probably even older than their system of writing itself!

Maya Day Names & Meanings
Imix Waterlily Chuwen Frog
Ik' Wind Eb Skull
Ak'bal Night Ben Cornstalk
K'an Corn Ix Jaguar
Chikchan Snake Men Eagle
Kimi Death Head Kib Shell
Manik' Hand Kaban Earth
Lamat Venus Etz'nab Flint
Muluk Water Kawak Storm cloud
Ok Dog Ahaw Lord

The Mayan system of astrological mathematics stands as the earliest recorded example of the concept of zero as put into practice by ancient cultures. They used this to periodically compensate for the 1/4 turn of Earth's rotation in order to prevent their calendar from drifting out of synch - much as we recognize a leap year.

Month Names & Meanings
Pohp Cat Yax *
Wo * Zak *
Sip * Keh *
Sotz' Bat Mak *
Sek * K'ank'in *
Xul Dog Muwan Owl
Yaxk'in New Sun Pax *
Mol Water K'ayab Turtle
Ch'en * Kumk'u *

To the eighteen regular months, the Maya appended a special five-day month called a "Wayeb" (also their name for "spirit animals") that was composed of five days which were considered unnameable and unlucky. Thus the days were counted: "One Imix, Zero Pohp, Two Ik, One Pohp". When the thirteenth day was reached, then the next day was "Thirteen Ben, Twelve Pohp; then One Ix, Thirteen Pohp, Two Men, Fourteen Pohp".

The Mayan "Tun" was a year of 360 days and the "K'atun" was a time period of 20 cycles of 360 days each. As we will see later, the ending of the K'atun was a holy time period. The Maya also counted 400-year periods called "Baktuns" that they used in a special day count which is now called the "Long-Count Calendar". A long-count date is written thus: 9.14.12.2.17. and represents 9 baktuns, 14 k'atuns, 12 tuns, 2 winals and 17 k'ins. The Mayan long-count calendar began over three thousand years before the earliest archaeological evidence of their culture, and ends specifically on a date which corresponds to December 21st, 2012 of our Gregorian calendar.