- Similarities between Mesoamerican and Near-eastern Calendars
- How to read Mesoamerican/Mayan/Aztec Calendars (see my Maya date conversion program!)
- Understanding the “K’atun Wheel/Round” (or u kahlay katunob) and how it tracks the 520 year cycles very much like Daniel’s 490/500 year ‘sacred weeks‘ calendar.
- A list of long count dates & references.
Mesoamerican calendars show an astonishing amount of similarity to the Hebrew/Biblical and ancient near eastern & Chinese calendars. Really, its hard to believe these calendar systems developed completely independent of each other without some type of diffusionary influence. Of particular significance is “K’atun Wheel/ Calendar Round” (or u kahlay katunob) and its similarity to the Hebrew lunisolar 70 week (490 year) sacred/prophetic calendar of Dan 9:24–27 used by the Jews to foretell the end of each age and coming of the Messiah.
In addition to the Mayan numeric system which is surprisingly similar to Egyptian numbering (the fraction zero being nearly identical), a creation date similar to the Jewish Calendar and animistic elements which are incredibly similar to Balinese and Chinese systems, the Mayan religious cycle or sacred round shows surprising similarity to the Jewish sacred round or religious cycle preserved in the Book of Daniel. For those unfamiliar with Daniel’s 70 week prophesy, it showcases the Jewish prophetic calendar or cycle of 490 years or 10 Jubilees, made by combining the Jewish Sabbatical cycle of 7 years with the Jewish Jubilee cycle of 49/50 years. In Daniel 9 a full ‘prophetic cycle’ is said to be 70 ‘weeks or sevens‘ equaling 490 years plus a short period (after which time ‘Messiah’ would come & the temple would be destroyed). This 490 year period is the conjunction of ten Jubilee periods (10×49=490) or 70 sabbatical cycles (7×70=490). This is often interpreted to actually be up to 530 years since many speculate that an intercalary ‘sabbatical year period’ was added to the end of each Jubilee–thus adding up to 45 ‘uncounted’ intercalary years to the 490 (490+45=535yrs. see example addition in Dan 12:11). One can’t help but notice the similarity of this Jewish ‘prophetic/religious calendar’ and the Tzolkin or sacred round of the Mayans. With the Maya, their ‘Jubilee’ was 52 years instead of 49, and was formed of 18 ‘weeks’ of 20 days instead of 7 sevens. However, like the Jubilees, ten of these 52 year sacred rounds, made a great year of 520 years (quite like the “K’atun Wheel”, “short count” or “u kahlay katunob” of the Maya). The similarity of these calendar cycles caused early chronologers like Fernando de Ixtlilxochitl to refer to the Mesoamerican systems with the same Biblical nomenclature.
Of course, this is just one of many similarities. Following is a list of many of the other similarities between the Mesoamerican calendars and the Near-eastern/Eurasian calendars of antiquity.
- They both start from similar Anno Mundi epochs, base dates or ‘date for the creation of the world’. (Hebrew Calendar: 3761 BCE, Mayan: 3114-3374 BCE, Chinese: 2671 BC — why would they all pick the 3rd & 4rth millennium? Unless they were all basing their worldviews on the same creation/destruction cycles covered in the Kolbrin & Oahspe )
- They both have a ‘long count’ and a ‘short count’. The long count tracks days/years from creation, and the short count is a ‘sacred’ calendar used to track days/years within a smaller religious/political cycle (the Haab & Tzolkin 520 yr cycle for Mayans; the Jubilee & Sabbatical 490 yr cycle for Jews. The 490/520 year cycle was important for prophesying events as shown by both the book of Daniel and Ixtlilxóchitl.)
- They both have similar Jubilee years. Hebrew Calendar: every 49/50 years, Maya: 52 years. (1/10 the prophetic great years)
- They both have similar Great Sabbatical Years (Maya 73 sacred years for tzolkin to match the haab. Hebrew Calendar: 70 years was the ‘weeks’ of daniel’s time to Messiah with 7+62+1, once again these cycles were important for tracking prophetic events)
- 720/750 yrs seems to be a solar storm cycle seen in radiocarbon calibration curves and in climate studies (see Hallstatt Oscillation). Perhaps more obviously it is the known interval in the Saros cycle where an eclipse reoccurs in the same region.
- They both have important 13 cycle periods (Hebrew Calendar skipped between 12 months on a regular year, and 13 months on ‘leap’ years.) Whereas the Mesoamericans used 13 cycles to track their sacred round. (in this case the Mayan Tzolkin is likely a macro type used to track the ‘Great Conjunction’ of Jupiter, Saturn & often 5 planets each 13×20 or 258 and 516 years. See understanding the Great Conjunction.)
- They both used a ‘Year for a Day’ system, where the annual sacred calendar’s “days” were projected onto a parallel ~500 year period. The Mayans called theirs ‘u kahlay katunob‘ or ‘Katun Wheel’ which projected the Tzolkin’s 13 cycles of 20 days onto 13 periods of 20 years to track long period religious cycles of 260 years (or ‘doubled’ as 520 years). For the Hebrew Calendar this ‘Year for a day’ system is given in Daniel 9’s “70 week prophesy” which prophesies of a period totaling 490 years (70 sabbatical years or 10 Jubilee years). Both Ixtlilxochitl and Diego de Landa use this Mesoamerican calendar system and point out its similarities to the Jewish Jubilee cycle.
- They both seem to have special regard for the number 144,000 (length of Baktun in days, also in Bible in Revelation 7:3–8, 14:1, 14:3–5).
- There is a WILD correlation between the use of the tzolkin– and haäb-cycle 52 year round’s FOUR signs & directions (see this image! or last 30sec of this video) and the Chinese Sexagenary Cycle. Not only are they written identically with 2 characters pairs, but the ‘earthy branches‘ part of the cycle is divided into four animate glyphs matching with coordinate directions! The Babylonians & near-easterners did this with degrees/minutes/seconds in maps too. (I suspect that by studying the Chinese Sexagenary Cycle, someone will unravel the Mesoamerican Tzolk’in and how it tracks seasons with the direction, and tracks Venus like Israel & Egypt instead of Jupiter like China).
- The Mesoamerican Tzolkin notation is almost exactly like the Chinese zodiac system. Particularly in the way a year in a great cycle is denoted by a number and Zodiac animal. The Chinese would say January 2012 as ‘the year of water (5) dragon’. The Mesoamericans would say Jan 2012 as the year of ‘2 Flint’.
- They both have a significant ‘aligning’ of the Sabbatical and Jubilee years. See the way Daniel 9 uses 490 as ’70 weeks‘ or 10 Jubilees (70×255.5 and 49×365-d = 49 years). Compare that with the way Ixtlilxochitl uses 10 ’rounds’ or 52 year ‘Calendar Rounds’ (where lunar/ritual Tzolk’in cycle aligns with solar Haab cycle- 73×260-d Tzolkʼin days and 52×365-d Haab days = 52 years). So a epochal calendar round was 490 in bible (see Daniel 9), and 520 among Aztecs (see Ixtlilxochitl for an explanation of this).
- The fact that the Book of Mormon says they changed their calendar system base date 510 years after leaving Jerusalem, and started counting anew from the ‘reign of the Judges’ is very significant. Since the ‘Katun Wheel’ as I explain below, only goes to 260/520 years; a people using a Mesoamerican Calendar (or Jewish of 490?) would be needing a new base date.
- There are some strange similarities in the Aztec Calendar stone in its ‘weeks’. Note it has 52 boxes of 5’s around the center. This is speculated to be 52 ‘weeks’ of 5 days in a sacred round/tzolkin of 260 days which also happens to be a microcosm to the exactly 52 years of the sacred round aligning with the Long Count (exactly 53 years to align with the Haab). That’s a strange correlation to the 52 weeks of 7 days in a Western/Babylonian based calendars. Is this similarity coincidence, or is there another Tzolkin/Haab correlation with a strange mathematical relationship they used, between the Tzolkin 260 day round and Haab 365 day round that we don’t understand yet?
- The Jewish Calendar uses the Metonic cycle to synchronize months with the year. The 19 year Metonic cycle is closely related to the 18.031 year Saros Cycle. (used to track lunar/solar eclipses) Of which there are 72 in 13 centuries. 3 Saros cycles of 18.031 years equals 1 Exeligmos of ~54.1 years. (and 20 Saros equals 360, which is an approximation of both the Macro ‘Year’ (365) and Saros 375/750 period where lunar eclipses re-occur in the same geographic area. So the Jewish calendar uses the Matonic cycle to sink with the moon, and the Mayan uses the Saros cycle to sink with the moon.
- Jupiter/Saturn conjunctions, called the “Star of David” occur every 19.85 years (20 yrs). (Like the Saros cycle, significant great conjunctions occur every 6 minor ones or 119.16 years and total zodiac realignment takes 2,390 years). As mentioned above, the Tzolkin is likely a macro type used to track the ‘Great Conjunction’ of Jupiter, Saturn & often 5 planets each 13×20 or 258 and 516 years.
I suppose one could argue that all these similarities simply have to do with the similarities in the celestial cycles being tracked, but I think that’s a stretch. There’s little in nature that would make them choose such similar creation dates or ‘Jubilee/Venus’ correlations. Note that Mesoamerica has over 60 Calendar system variants, but nearly all of them use similar cycles to those mentioned above. I believe the Mayan calendar is a slightly changed adaptation of the early Jewish Calendar, where based 7’s were traded in for base 5/20’s, Matonic cycles traded for Saros Cycles, and so that the Great conjunction’s 520 could be used instead of the 486yr Venus transit.
The Metonic Cycle: Among the Greeks & Hebrew’s their religious cycles were often based on the Saros & ‘Metonic Cycle‘. Although its unknown when the Metonic Cycle was discovered and incorporated into sacred calendars, attributes of the cycle were shared between many near east calendar systems including the ancient Babylonian and modern Hebrew Calendars. Somewhat like the Mayan Sacred Round, the Metonic Cycle syncs individual cycles of 18/19 solar years (or 235 synodic months/255 draconic months) after which the phases of the moon recur on the same day of the year, in the Jewish/Hebrew calendar, this 19 year cycle is used to tie together the lunar & solar calendars by keeping track of the 12 common (non-leap) years of 12 months and 7 uncommon (leap) years of 13 months. To automate this correlation, the Greeks even invented a mechanism very similar to the Mayan calendar round to sink their three calendars. Called the Antikythera Mechanism this device synced the solar, lunar and sacred calendars of the Mediterranean world during the Greek era BC. Note that the Hebrew, Metonic and Mesoamerican Tzolkin all tracked the lunar cycles in a similar ‘separate sacred or prophetic calendar’ (often related to Venus).
How to Read & Calculate Aztec/Mayan Dates
Its important to understand Mesoamerican dates can and were specified in multiple ways. One is by simply using the Long Count. With this system you simply count the number of days/years from the “creation date”, which is thought to be 3114 BC. (see ‘creation date’ discussion) This system gives the most accurate result but isn’t a traditional date. Its more like the modern ‘Julian day number‘ used by astronomers. The others are the traditional Short Count or sacred round cycle of the Tzolkin & Haab, year bearer and lastly the K’atun Wheel/Round or “u kahlay katunob” which we’ll get to in a minute. Here’s a breakdown of the different systems and how they correlate with Western systems we are used to.
- Long Count = Similar to the Julian day number system used by astronomers. (anno mundi of ~3114 BC instead of 4714 BC)
- Haab/Solar Round = Similar to the day/month part of our Western solar/annual calendar. (18 mo. of 20 days instead of 12 mo. of 28/31 days)
- Tzolkin/Sacred Round = Similar to the ‘weeks’ of our Western/lunar calendar. (28 weeks of 13 days instead of 52 weeks of 7 days)
- K’atun Round/Short count = Similar to the ‘year’ section of our Western calendar. Since the Haab doesn’t track years (only day-month), and the Long Count doesn’t match the true solar year, the K’atun round can track true years in a 260/520 year religiously significant cycle (after which it starts over).
- Year Bearers = One of the most common date system used in old codices, it really doesn’t have a Western equivalent. It is much more like the Chinese zodiac system which labels each year after an animal. (ie. 2012, the year of the Dragon)
Long Count Dates: Just like the Julian day number system counts dates from 4714 BC, or the year date in a Gregorian system counts from the time of Christ, or a year on the Hebrew calendar counts from the creation year of 3761 Anno Mundi. A typical Long Count date has the following format: Baktun.Katun.Tun.Uinal.Kin, (18.104.22.168.20 or year×400.years×20.year×1.month.day). Note it reads from right to left (and top to bottom on monuments) instead of left to right, and uses a vigecimal/base-20 system instead of a base-10 like ours). Since it is believed that the ‘years’ of the Long Count were computed using 360 days instead of 365.25 days (without adding leap days) then the Long count’s days/months would have been completely off from the seasons and solar years. This is why the calendar’s use was limited. And converting to a Gregorian date takes some math. This is usually done by multiplying the whole number into days and then essentially dividing by 365.24 to get back into true years/months/days. However, note that computing the left 3 ‘year’ digits without any conversion usually gets you within 22-36 years of the true date. (Since most dates range from 500 BC to 1000 AD and missing 3.25days×in 2500-4000 years = only 22-36 years). Here’s the breakdown of the digits.
- Kin = 1 Day.
- Uinal (month) = 20 kin = 20 days. (or 4 weeks of 5 days)
- Tun (year) = 18 uinal (months) = 360 days = ~1 year. (or 72 weeks of 5 days)
- Katun (score) = 20 tun (years) = 360 uinal (months) = 7,200 days = ~20 years.
- Baktun = 20 katun (scores) = 400 tun (years) = 7,200 uinal (months) = 144,000 days = 400 ‘long count‘ years.
- Piktun = 13 Baktun = 5200 years or a full creation/destruction cycle.
The kin, tun, and katun are numbered from 0 to 19 (20 yrs); the uinal are numbered from 0 to 17 (18 mo); and the baktun are typically numbered from 0 to 13 (like the Tzolkin/sacred round). The Long Count has a cycle of 13 baktuns, which will be completed 1,872,000 days (13 baktuns) after 0.0.0.0.0. This period equals 5,125.36 solar years and is referred to as the Great Cycle of the Long Count (thus the 2012 hype).
Creation Date. The Mayan Anno Mundi used in ancient Mayan long counts was lost in prehistory, and has had to be determined by archaeologist using a combination of logic, radiocarbon dating and astronomical events found in monuments and codices. (as well as consulting tribes who still use some version of it). Currently the most used date is the GMT or Goodman-Martinez-Thompson correlation (3114 BC). Although some archaeologists support the Spinden correlation of 3374 BC, and a handful of others exist going back to the earliest Bowditch correlation of 3634 BC. Also, one must consider the possibility that DIFFERENT kingdoms/cultures used a different creation dates. Given its prevalence in Western calendar history, its very likely that it could have been randomly changed by certain rulers over time. Note that the interesting ancient astronomical section of The book Oahspe puts the ‘end of the age at March 31, 1848 instead of Dec 21 2012, which if true would make the GMT correlation off by 164 years. Early radiocarbon dates at Tikal seemed to match best with the Spinden correlation which was 260 years earlier than the GMT. (add these, as well as list of alternatives with references)
A few things you should notice if you’ve followed along or played with this in excel, is that if the Mesoamericans used ANY intercalary days it could quickly change the long count by years. (For instance some Mesoamerican cultures might have already added in the 5.24 missing intercalary days so that no conversion is necessary.) For instance, if they just threw in ‘uncounted’ festival days (like the Israelites did) then a given long count date computed the standard way could easily be off by up to 22-36 years (3.25 days in 2500-4000 years = 22-36years). Also the creation date is crucial. And since different scholars and archaeologists have posited creation dates ranging from about 2900 – 3400 BC, then we must admit that any given long count date could also be off by that amount). Although this is where the Tzolkin and the Haab calendars come in.
You can try it our with this calculator: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1VvTABETBkEAosUHXUiqwVKa9-wkCuwxzoYDyCiqZ-XA/edit?usp=sharing or https://utahgeology.com/bin/maya-calendar-converter/
Since the Long Count is believed to have used 360 instead of 365.24 days and thus NOT have lined up with the sun, moon or seasons, they used other separate calendars to more often track the solar year and moon/Venus rituals.
The Solar Round (Haab): The Haab’ was a number found at the end of many ancient calendar inscriptions. In our illustration it is the right-most part of the Mesoamerican date. Known as the Vague/ true solar year or Haab’ to the Maya, xiuitl to the Aztec, and yza to the Zapotec; it was supposedly based on 18/19 named months, each matched with the 20 days of the month, with a five day period of ‘uncounted days’ tacked on the end (19th month) to make a total 365. It’s thought to be essentially a repetition of the right 2 digits of the Long Count except, since it has a 19th month of 5 ‘unnamed’/intercalary days it accords with the solar year (adding 5+360=365). So the Haab would only fall 0.242 days behind the seasons each year, where the Long Count would fall completely out of sink (5.242days/year). This is typically more useful than the long count, because every culture is more concerned with progress through the year/seasons than days from creation or weeks on a religious calendar.[Some Thoughts: My main issue with the Haab, is why wouldn’t a culture just started throwing the 5 intercalary days onto the Long Count? Seems awfully laborious to create and keep an essentially redundant unit on your calendar. Could we be mistaken on how it was used? I need to go through all the archaeological long count inscriptions and see how often the Haab/Tzolkin don’t match the Long Count like they should… I think it’s quite prevalent. In these cases either the Ka’tun wheel is being used or there’s something we’re not quite getting yet in these Haab dates.]
The Sacred Round (Tzolkin): Just above the Haab was a date named the Tzolkin by archaeologists. It was a 260-day cycle called the Sacred Round, or the Ritual Calendar; tonalpohualli in the Aztec language, Tzolk’in in Maya, and piye to the Zapotecs. Each day in this cycle was numbered from one to 13 (a trecena), matching with 20-named months (13 × 20 = 260). Note that many call the tzolkin’s 20 named units ‘days’. However, the Aztec Calendar Stone makes it pretty clear that the 20 named units were ‘sacred/religious months’ placed on a 260 day round (which we know from the 52 ‘weeks’ of 5 days labeled on it). Evenso, the exact purpose of the Sacred Round is not understood. Theories include correlating cycles of the moon, 9 months of pregnancy, Venus cycles combined with observations of the Pleiades and eclipse events and potentially appearance and disappearance of Orion. At any rate, it counts out 13 cycles of 20 (months), totaling 260 days or about 9 months (we could call these sacred or religious months like a biblical week). After those 260 days it repeats, adding another 8 sacred ‘months’ of 13 days (8×13=104) to fill up the 105 days of the true year’s 365 days. This then continued into perpetuity aligning with the Haab/solar year once every 52 years. Because of this unique 52 year alignment the combined Tzolkin and Haab dates could be used to specify ONE unique date each 52 years–which is apparently how it was ubiquitously used. (As a coefficient to the Haab to track years instead of days) So a Haab | Tzolkin date like 8 Kab | 13 Pop could be narrowed down to ONE specific day each 52 years.
- Archaeologist believe the Tzolkin sacred calendar had 20 ‘months’ of 13 days each. So a sacred year was 260 days (13×20=260)
- 72 cycles (or sacred years) of 260 days = 18,720 days. Which equals 52 Long Count years (of 360 days).
- 73 cycles (or sacred years of 260 days = 18,980 days, Which equals 52 Haab or true years (of 365 days)
The Short Count or K’atun Round/Wheel: Known also as the “u kahlay katunob“, early records from Diego de Landa (the first Bishop of Yucatan) found in his 1566 Relacion de las Cosas en Yucatan, also talk of another calendar cycle used by the Mayans in which they basically projected the Tzolkin or Sacred Round onto an annual cycle of 260/520 years instead of days. It was a 13 k’atun cycle, which totaled 260 years or 260 tuns (of 365 days each). Each k’atun was named by the tzolk’in day on which it began (or often when it ended). Because the 20 day names of the Tzolk’in are an even divisible of the tun (360 days), a k’atun beginning can only start on an Ahaw day. Thus, the 13 k’atuns of the K’atun Wheel were named 1-13 Ahaw (or Izcalli/Mat in some systems). See page 80 of Morely’s An Introduction to the Study of the Maya Hieroglyphs for more info. A brief explanation can also be found here. You can even find a brief description on the Wikipedia Maya Calendar page (see short count).
An understanding of the Short Count/Katun Round comes from only a few initial authors, and I don’t believe it was always used as they describe. So I’ll attempt to explain the way I think it was used. It seems likely that early in Mesoamerican history (from 600 BC to ~100AD) the tzolkin portion of dates was used as a Katun Wheel tracking years more often than archaeologist realize. For example, the date 8 Kab would be used to say the 8th year of the sacred score Kab instead of 8th day of the sacred month Kab instead of the traditional 8th day of the sacred calendar month Kab. This sacred system of tracking years used 20 cycles (a score) of 13 years each, totaling 260 years. I believe the special ‘variant’ glyphs, commonly seen, were then used for the ‘score’ glyph to double its value extending the systems reach to 520 years. Note also the Aztec Calendar stone and its ‘weeks’ or 52 boxes of 5’s around the center. This is speculated to be 52 ‘weeks’ of 5 days in a sacred round/tzolkin of 260 days which seems like it must have been used as a microcosm for the 52 years of the sacred round aligning with the Long Count. This is a big deal, since Mesoamericans counted by 5s, it means that a date that looks like a tzolkin number telling the day on the sacred calendar could actually be a Katun Round number telling the year in the 52 year Round. This system would explain the dates seen so prevalently in writers like Ixtlilxochitl. Thus:
- The Haab’ tracked days and months — The Tzolkin sometimes tracked sacred months, but often dualistically used the same notation & symbols/numbers to track the years in a short count of 520 years.
- Both of these systems used the Tzolkin convention of: day/year | month/sacred cycle or score of years (example: 8 | Kumkʼu)
- These two numbers/symbols can then be used to track either 260/520 days or 260/520 yrs.
- ——- first let’s explain the math of the Tzolkin as day tracker ————-
- 13 days = 1 sacred month
- 20 sacred months = 1 sacred year (a Tzolkin year) = 260 solar days. (then we repeat)
- 1 solar year (Haab) = 28+8 sacred months = 1.8 sacred years (tzolkin year)
- 52 solar years (full sacred cycle) = 72 sacred months
- ——- now let’s do the Tzolkin as a year tracker ————-
- 13 Tzolkin years = 1 score of years = 4745 days (13y×365d)
- 20 Tzolkin years or 1 score = 1 sacred round = 260 solar/Tzolkin years = 94,900 solar Tzolkin days (260×365d)
- 2 of these cycles gets us to 520 years
So in summary. The Tzolkin/Haab was dualistic. It could count for “days, and months and times/seasons and years” (see Gal 4:10, D&C 121:31, Gen 1:14). The Tzolkin could be a sacred 13day/20month cycle equating to a sacred year of 260 days OR it could be a solar 13year/20score cycle equating to 260 solar years (or doubled to 520 solar years). Note also that the bible might have used a VERY similar system and that what I call ‘scores’ (20 year periods), they call a ‘time’; and that the ‘doubling’ of the time with a ‘variant’ would make it a ‘times’. A convention likely applied to each of the major cycles of 260/520/1040 (coincidentally enough 260+520+1040=1820, the date of the first vision was time, times & half a time after Christ’s birth according to Mesoamerican epochs).
The Year Bearers: Note that many Mesoamerican dates are referenced using the year bearer system. With this system each year was referenced by the Tzolkin coefficient for the first day of the year. Thus since EVERY year starts with the same Haab date of 1 Pop (1 Izcalli) in Aztec, that portion is omitted and only the Tzolkin coefficient is given. So a date like 9 Flint/ Etz’nab’/ Tecpatl, 1 Mat/ Pop/ Izcalli is given as just 9 Flint/ Etz’nab’/ Tecpatl and corresponds to only ONE year in each 52 year sacred round. Note also, as explained here, that many different regions used different starting days for their year bearers at different times, which can make correlating historic dates using the year bearer, very difficult. Of course, this also extends to the sacred round haab/tzolkin date in general—when working with historic dates, these dates can be notoriously inaccurate because of regional changes made to the calendars over time.
Understanding the Three Celestial Cycles: There are three very obvious celestial events which most cultures have used to track time and align celebrations/holidays with and they involve the brightest orbs in our sky; the Sun, the Moon and Venus. We know that the Haab tracked the solar year. But its not fully understood how the tzolkin might have been used to track the Moon & Venus, although its theorized they were.
The first is obviously the solar year. It controls the seasons and thus is the most important. Its length is 365.242 days for the tropical or synodic year (one revolution from equinox to equinox) or 365.256 for the Sidereal year (one revolution in relation to viewing fixed stars or constellations). This cycle controls the length of the day, temperature and seasons, so obviously ancient cultures wanted to commemorate the equinoxes so they knew when summer and winter were coming and going.
Second is the lunar cycle. It controls the tides, fish harvests and possibly even child bearing. One full lunation or lunar cycle as viewed from earth is 29.53 days making each quarter phase last about 7.4 days. Lunar cycles fit into the solar cycle 12.48 times, so it is natural to fit 12 ‘moonths’ into a year. However those 12×29.53 days only equal 354.36 days so we’re left with 10.882 ‘left over’ days where the lunar year grows out of alignment with the solar year. (That’s a bit more than a full month each 3 years! — so more about that later.)
Third is the Venus cycle. Venus is often the most obvious star in the sky because it nearly always either precedes or follows the suns rising and setting. Because of this ‘coupling’ with the sun, its often called the ‘evening and morning star‘ and is represented as a son or bride to the Sun in religion & mythology. (Jesus/Messiah is referred to as the Morning star in 2 Peter 1:19, Job 38:7, Rev 22:16, Num 24:17) It’s cycle or period is usually measured from one of its transits/conjunctions across the sun to another (where it switches from morning star to evening star). A process which takes 584 days (583.92 to be exact). 263 as a morning star, 50 days absent behind the sun/below the horizon, then 263 days as an evening star, and finally, 8 days absent/obscured by solar glare (and sun being at its back) when between the Sun & Earth. See video here. Its raising and setting are tracked by the temples at Teotihuacan and show interesting relationships with the Mesoamerican calendar. Also see the section below titled, ‘Understanding the Venus Cycle’.
Understanding the Venus Cycle: It is VERY likely the sacred round or Tzolkin tracked the Venus cycle and somehow tied it to the solar (and lunar?) year. As mentioned above, Venus is a “morning or evening star” for approximately 260-263 days each year. Specifically, it spends about 263 days as a morning star (brightly preceding the sun’s rise each morning), then it seems dead, disappearing for 8 days below the horizon, before appearing/resurrecting again as an evening star (trailing the setting sun each night) before catching the sun and spending ~50 days hidden in its light. This gives us 4 important ‘sacred’ numbers. 263, 8, 263 & 50 (=584 days).
Thus 5 synodic periods/orbits of Venus is almost exactly 8 Earth years (& 13 sidereal Venus years). So it lines up 5 times each 8 years, or 15 times each 24 years, 25 times each 40 years 30 times each 48 years and 50 times each 80 years. These periods are VERY handy for a culture that counts by 5’s and 20’s. In relation to the Mayan calendar it lines up 32.5 times in 52 years (13×4), and 65 times (13×5) in 104 years (13×8). And the reason why anyone might want to single out those 52 & 104 years cycles is because they are 1. microcosms of the Venus Transit Cycle, and 2. microcosms of the Great Year.
First, the Venus Transit. A transit of Venus across the Sun takes place when the planet Venus passes directly between the Sun and earth thus becoming visible as a black dot against the solar disk. Much like a solar eclipse of the moon, these transits last several hours and generally occur in a pattern of ‘pairs’ that repeat every 243 years with a pair of transits eight years apart in December (Gregorian calendar) followed by a gap of 121.5 years, then another pair eight years apart in June, followed by another gap, of 105.5 years.
Second, the Great Conjunction. The Great conjunction of Jupiter & the 5 other planets happens every 375/750 years. 7.5×104=750, and 5×104=520??
So lets explore how this might relate to the Sacred Round and or Jubilee. Questions to explore…
- Do the Jewish spring and fall festivals line up with the spring and fall equinoxes at some point in the 49/52 year Jubilee? (note, this would be latitude specific.) When does the Jubilee line up with Venus’ 50 days in the sun/underworld?
- Did the Mulekites/Nephites purposefully travel to the same latitude as Jerusalem (31.5 N), or Sanai (28.5) in order to build a city & temple where the calendar matched the Jewish feast/holidays? Did Nephi ‘modify’ the calendar and holy days to fit Monte Alban, and then Mosiah do the same to fit Cholula (so that the sacred round is changed from 59/80/52 in order to work with the equinoxes of those cities?)
- The feast of weeks (7 weeks after Pentecost) is a microcosm of Jubilee (7 sabbaticals after what?). Is there some correlation here? Might the sabbatical years actually be intended to represent the 7 ‘leap months’ added every 19 years? Might the sabbath day be meant to be a ‘leap day’ which wasnt counted, so that two 14 day ‘weeks’ could actually be 12 days long (matching the months/zodiac)?
- The Hebrew calendar tracks each 19 years, inserting its leap month 7 times in the 19 years. Leaving 13 years untouched. This seems strangely similar to the Haab and Tzolkin? Could the Haab originally have been 19 year coefficients instead of 18 months? Could the 13 Tzolkin coefficients be related? (unlikely)
- How does the Oahspe cosmic serpent calendar correlate to the Egyptian/Jewish one? Did they match the cube/sum to the 4 seasons & creation/destruction periods of the Aztec Calendar? Did they match the 7.5 Dan’has to a week? Did they match the 12 squares to the months & zodiac? (chart this on a circle and see if you can make sense of it). Is the 144,000 years of a ‘cube’ supposed to correlate with the 144,000 days of a Baktun (~400 years)? I suspect these are only VERY loosely correlated if at all, the Oahspe calendar being much older, and only partially available to Egypt/Israel. (they were more just trying to match the sacred numbers to their festivals and seasons)
Examples of Mesoamerican Dates
|Monte Alban||Stelae 12 & 13||594 BCE||4snake, 8flower and 10jaguar, 4something||https://cpb-us-e1.wpmucdn.com/blogs.uoregon.edu/dist/7/5151/files/2013/12/DSCF8526-2a7la1b.jpg|
|Monte Alban||Danzante Figure||March 16, 692?||barely legible Haab? of 4-something||https://cpb-us-e1.wpmucdn.com/blogs.uoregon.edu/dist/7/5151/files/2013/12/DSCF8524-1zlij16.jpg|
|site||Name||GMT (584283) Date||Long Count||Location|
|Chiapa de Corzo||Stela 2||December 6, 36 BCE /|
October 9, 182 CE
|Earliest known long count: https://classconnection.s3.amazonaws.com/962/flashcards/1362962/jpg/stela2_chiapa_de_corzo-141951102545CAEF8F5.jpg|
|Takalik Abaj||Stela 2||236 – 19 BCE||7.(6,11,16).?.?.?||https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Takalik_Abaj#/media/File:Abaj_Takalik_Stela_5.jpg|
|Tres Zapotes||Stela C||September 1, 32 BCE||22.214.171.124.18||https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Estela_C_de_Tres_Zapotes.jpg, |
|El Baúl||Stela 1||March 6? 11 – 37 CE||126.96.36.199.12,|
|Takalik Abaj||Stela 5||August 31, 83 CE or|
May 19, 103 CE
|This interpretation is horrible! Do your own.|
|Takalik Abaj||Stela 5||June 3, 126 CE||188.8.131.52.11||https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Takalik_Abaj_Stela_5.JPG|
|La Mojarra||Stela 1||May 19, 143 CE||184.108.40.206.5 | glyph-18||https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/4b/La_Mojarra_Stela_1_Schematics.jpg/1200px-La_Mojarra_Stela_1_Schematics.jpg (left most date)|
|La Mojarra||Stela 1||July 11, 156 CE||220.127.116.11.7 (or 9.9?)||Once again, (or) interpretation wrong for some reason… why?|
|Near La Mojarra||Tuxtla Statuette||March 12, 162 CE||18.104.22.168.17||https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/1d/Tuxtla_Statuette.svg/250px-Tuxtla_Statuette.svg.png|
|Tikal||Stela 29||July 8, 292 AD||22.214.171.124.15| 13 Men 3 Zip||Mexico|
|Copan||Stela 15||AD 504?||Copan has 8+? Stela’s with dates ranging from 504 AD to 761 AD. THIS IS YOUR BEST BET OF DECODING MAYAN DATES.|
Read its history at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cop%C3%A1n#Rulers
|Copan||Stela P||March 623 AD||126.96.36.199.0, 2 Ajaw 13 Pop||https://uncoveredhistory.com/honduras/copan/the-stelae-of-copan/attachment/w1067-copan-stela-p-2/|
|Copan||Stela N||17th March 761AD||188.8.131.52.0 1 Ahau 3 Sip||https://uncoveredhistory.com/honduras/copan/the-stelae-of-copan/attachment/w1105-copan-stela-n-side-view-slim-2/|
|Yaxchilán, Chiapas||Lintel 37||5 July AD 534||184.108.40.206.0, 11 Ahaw 8 Sek||http://research.famsi.org/uploads/montgomery/hires/jm01537yaxlin37.jpg|
|Piedras Negras||Burial 5||July 5, 674||220.127.116.11.16||http://www.mesoweb.com/pari/publications/RT06/FourShellPlaques-OCR.pdf (check)|
|Piedras Negras||?||9.10.0.??||gives Tzolkin on 3 Ajah then 29 days since new moon, 3rd lunation of six (diety), for 30 day lunation with haabof 8 Mol|
|Tikal||Alter 14||March 16, 692 AD||18.104.22.168.0 | 8 Ajaw 8 Wo||http://research.famsi.org/uploads/montgomery/292/image/JM000713TikT1Alt14.jpg|
|Tonina||Monument 101||January 15, 909 AD||? 10.4.0.0.0. ????||https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Ftse4.mm.bing.net%2Fth%3Fid%3DOIP.Trbe2hynkEumla1Urmwm6AAAAA%26pid%3DApi&f=1|
last Long Count date in the Classic Maya lowlands.
|Chichen Itza||Initial Series lintel||July 28, 878||10.2.9.1.9| 9 Muluk 7 Sak||https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mesoamerican_Long_Count_calendar#/media/File:Morley_1915_ISglyphs.svg|
|Chichen Itza||SE Pillar||May 6, AD 998 and Jan. 30, AD 998||10.8.10.11.0| 2 Ajaw 18 Mol and 10.8.10.6.4|10 K’an 2 Sotz||No Longcount, only solar round date. says. ’10 K’an [the] day, 2 Sotz’, eleventh tun [of K’atun] 2 Ajaw’. Only fit is that date. See great article at:|
|Tortuguero||Monument 6||December 23, 2012||22.214.171.124.0 4| Ajaw 3 K’ank’in||https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7f/Estela_6_el_Tortuguero.jpg|
|La Corona||HS 2, Block V||December 23, 2012||126.96.36.199.0 4 Ajaw 3 K’ank’in||http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-zM2HrRL-BC0/UOChmLSOsjI/AAAAAAAABPI/hfs4jsySyYk/s1600/MNU2012-12-30_04_June-2012_La-Corona_Hieroglyphic-Stairway-2_Block-V_IM-DavidStuart-PRALC-TU.jpg|
(more dates here?)
|Quirigua||Stela C||August 11, 3114 BCE||188.8.131.52.0|4|8||https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:East_side_of_stela_C,_Quirigua.PNG, WRONG DATE, CHECK ME!|
|Coba||Stela 1||December 23, 2012||184.108.40.206.0 | 4 Ahau 8 Kumkʼu||Places nineteen 13’s before this date for some reason. |
Notes Concerning Ancient Calendars from Oahspe
This background information from the text ‘Oahspe’ is very insightful when it comes to making assumptions about possible ancient calendar systems. Of particular note are the ideas that many cultures (like the Israelites) combined the calendars of surrounding cultures in order to create ‘short and long’ count calendars (ie. the ‘prophetic calendars spoken of in other parts of the text). As well as some cultures counting ‘two years’ to the same amount of time that other cultures called ‘one year’ (Note that Ixtlilxochitl does this). As also, its ‘creation cosmology’ is insightful when comparing this type of ancient reasoning to the cosmology we find in Mayan myth and/or ancient books like The Kolbrin.
2. And he placed the sun in the midst and made lines thence to the stars, with explanations of the powers of the seasons on all the living.
3. And he gave the times of Jehovah, the four hundred years of the ancients, and the halftimes of dan, the base [number] of prophecy; the variations of thirty-three years; the times of eleven; and the seven and a half times of the vortices [orbits/frequencies] of the stars, so that the seasons might be foretold, and famines averted on the earth. (Oahspe, Book of Osiris, XII)
Note that the ‘times of eleven’ or variations of thirty-three years (3×11) is tracking the Solar cycles or Solar Max. The well known cycle of 11.01yrs when the sun switches polarity. (apparently 3 of them makes some type of repetitive cycle of solar variability, having to do with Jupiter & Saturn’s orbit and their tidal effects on the sun). The ‘7.5 times of the vortices’ must be something else I’m not aware of. If you know what it is… contact me! (likely some kind of planetary alignment that also includes other planets so the tidal forces of the sun make an even bigger difference). It does seem to match the alignment of Earth & Venus with the Solar Max. Earth & Venus conjunct every 1.5987 earth years (583.92 days), and 6.5 to 7.5 of these equal the Solar Cycle (see this article). Another less likely possibility is that the solar orbit of Venus (sidereal period) is 7.5 earth months (225 days / 30 = 7.5), but since most cultures have different spans for months I’m not sure what that would prove. 7.5 yrs is also the time it takes for Saturn to move through 3 zodiacs (or 1/4 the full 12 or 360 degree celestial equator).
…The times by the learned gave two suns to a year, but the times of the tribes of Eustia gave only six months to a year. Accordingly, in the land of Egypt what was one year with the learned was two years with the Eustians and Semisians.
3.God said: My people shall reckon their times according to the place and the people where they dwell. And they did this. Hence, even the tribes of Israel had two calendars of time, the long and the short.
To events of prophecy there was also another calendar, called the ode, signifying sky-time, or heavenly times. One ode was equivalent to eleven long years; three odes, one spell, signifying a generation; eleven spells one Tuff. Thothma, the learned man and builder of the great pyramid, had said: As a diameter is to a circle, and as a circle is to a diameter (ie. 3.14 or Pi), so are the rules of the seasons of the earth. For the heat or the cold, or the drouth or the wet, no matter, the sum of one eleven years is equivalent to the sum of another eleven years. One spell is equivalent to the next eleventh spell. And one cycle matcheth every eleventh cycle. Whoever will apply these rules to the earth shall truly prophesy as to drouth and famine and pestilence, save wherein man contraveneth by draining or irrigation. And if he apply himself to find the light and the darkness of the earth, these rules are sufficient. For as there are three hundred and sixty-three years in one tuff, so are there three hundred and sixty-three days in one year, besides the two days and a quarter when the sun standeth still on the north and south lines.
In consequence of these three calendars, the records of Egupt were in confusion. The prophecies and genealogies of man became worthless. And as to measurements, some were by threes, some by tens, and some by twelves; and because of the number of languages, the measurements became confounded; so that with all the great learning of the Eguptians, and with all the care bestowed on the houses of records, they became even themselves the greatest confounding element of all. (Oahspe, Book of Arc of Bon, XIV)
So then according to Oahspe section quoted above, the EGYPTIAN CALENDAR was based on the 11 year solar cycle and looked something like this:
1 Ode = 11 long years (full year instead of half year)
3 Odes = 1 Spell (or a generation of likely about 33 years)
11 Spells = 1 Tuff (363 years)
In the verses above it sounds like the Egyptian great year just explained was a microcosm of the solar cycle calendar just explained. So if these great cycles were to mirror a yearly calendar (which they probably did), the calendar would have;
Ode (week) = 11 full days
Spell (month) = 33 days (or 3 weeks of 11 days)
Season = 121 days (or 11 weeks of 11 days, or 3.666 months/spells)
Tuff (year) = 363 days (or 3 seasons or 11 months or 33 weeks)
[Later it appears they changed to 12 months (4×3) of 30 days. see ‘Egyptian Calendar]
“…during the Nineteenth Dynasty and the Twentieth Dynasty the last two days of each decan were usually treated as a kind of weekend for the royal craftsmen, with royal artisans free from work” In other words they added intercalary sabbaths to the Ode/Week which were days of rest. This would have been changed with the Calendar change of Moses. when the distance of the Moon/Planets changed.
4. And from this time forth My spiritual (etherean) hosts shall not remain in heaven (atmospherea) more than eight years in any one cycle. This, then, that I give to thee shall be like every dawn of dan, some of one year, some of two or three or four or more (years), as the time requireth.
5. And thou shalt dwell in thy kingdom seven years and sixty days, and the time shall be called the first dawn of dan, and the next succeeding shall be called the second dawn of dan, and so on, as long as the earth bringeth forth.
6. And the time from one dawn of dan to another shall be called one dan’ha; and four dan’ha shall be called one square, because this is the sum of one density, which is twelve thousand of the earth’s years. And twelve squares shall be called one cube, which is the first dividend of the third space, in which there is no variation in the vortex (whirlwind) of the earth. And four cubes shall be called one sum, because the magnitude thereof embraceth one equal of the Great Serpent. (Oahspe, Book of Ah’shong, II)
Oahspe suggests that the ancients appear to have created ‘Galactic prophetic calendars’, where they extrapolated the short term ratios of a day, week, month, year into cosmic ages. They believed to understand (through revelation) the time it took of the Solar system to orbit the Galactic core, calling it the ‘celestial serpent’ (see Oahspe, ref, ref). The epochs were tied to the 11 year solar cycle, which they believed caused the weather (and other events) to repeat on a 33 or 33×11 year cycle. This formed the basis of their galactic solar cycle calendars.
|6 gen.||7.5 dans||4 dan’ha||12 sqrs||4 cubes|
|1 dan||1 dan’ha||1 square||1 cube||1 sum|
- 1 Generation = [could be 11 to 100 years; ~33 years]
- 1 Dan = 6 Generations [33×6= ~198 years] [mean = 400 years]
- 1 Dan’ha = 7.5 Dans [231×7= ~1386 years] [mean = 3,000 years]
- 1 Square = 4 Dan’has [1617×4= 5,544 years] [mean = 12,000]
- 1 Cube = 12 Squares [6,468×12= 66,528 years] [mean = 144,000]
- 1 Sum = 4 Cubes [77,616×4= 266,112 years] [mean = 576,000]
- 1 galactic year = 4.7 million years
- 1 dan = ~428 years (400 years)
- -about 10,980 dans in a galactic orbit/year. (a lot like an hour in a solar year; there’s 8760hrs/year)
- -about 391 squares in a galactic year (fairly similar to our 365 days in a solar year)
A New Reading of the Zapoteca Mayan Calendar – And Its Possible Association with the Metonic Cycle & Jewish Calendar
It’s still debated whether the Zapotec or Maya were the first to create the Mesoamerican Calendar. In this article we use the term ‘Zapoteca Mayan Calendar’ as a catchall referring to all Mesoamerican Calendars (Aztec, Huestec, Mixtec, etc). The first step to understanding how the Zapoteca Mayan Calendar might be related to the Metonic Cycle (and thus the Jewish Calendar) is to fully understand the current understand of the calendar and how its read. And the first step to understanding the Zapoteca Mayan calendar is to understand our own calendar.
Deciphering The Zapotec/ Mayan Calendar.
And although you probably feel like you already understand our modern Western calendar, chances are you don’t as well as you need to. so let’s do a refresher real quick because it will make understanding the Zappo Tech on my own calendar much much easier.
Calendars are based on Celestial Cycles, so in order to understand the calendar you need to understand the celestial Cycles that they are based on, and the conjunctions we use to measure them.
So to start building our understanding of the Calendar, let’s pretend there was no calendar and you could only use the cycles of nature to keep time. Which ones would you use? The most obvious basic cycle would, of course, be the day and night. Which is the amount of time it takes for the Sun to go completely around the Earth from the perspective of somebody on Earth. So lets begin there and use it as the base unit to measure all our other cycles.
The next largest cycle would likely be the phases of the moon or “moonth.” And there’s actually two cycles that we can measure with the Moon. The first is the amount of time it takes to go from Full Moon to Full Moon. This is called the synodic lunar month, which takes exactly 29.5306 days. And since there are four distinct phases we could break that into four parts of 7.382 days per phase (full, waxing, waning, new). The second lunar cycle we could measure is the amount of time it takes for the moon to make one complete revolution around the Earth, measured in relation to its position against the backdrop of the stars or constellations. This is called the tropical lunar month and it repeats every 27.322 days. It’s a lot harder to see and measure so we probably wouldn’t incorporate it into our calendar until we start to want to get more specific. The first two measurements however, are the basis for our month and week (quarter month).
After the moon and month the next longest obvious cycle is the annual seasons which dictate when we need to plant our crops. Will call one full spring to Spring a year and measure it out as exactly 365.2422 days. and since there are four distinct seasons just like the four distinct moon phases we could also break them into parts of 91.31 days per season.
You might not have realized it, but every time we measure a cycle using another cycle we are actually measuring a conjunction. The month is the conjunction of the Moon cycles and the day cycle. The year is a conjunction between the day cycle and the seasons/year cycle. By understanding conjunctions we start to find ways that we can find larger cycles. for instance the conjunction of the year with the rotation of the planets or other stars.
The Venus Cycle
Venus is one of the most obvious stars in the sky. It is almost always either following or preceding the Sun as it rises and sets in the Spring/Fall. because of that it’s a great way to measure time. One complete cycle of Venus as it chases the Sun catches up to it and then passes it, takes exactly 583.92 days or roughly 19 months. See ‘Understanding the Venus Cycle’ above for a detailed description of how the Venus Cycle relates to the Mayan Calendar.
The Metonic Cycle.
The next cycle is probably one you haven’t heard about. and yet it is the single most important cycle we’ll be dealing with as we learn about the Mesoamerican calendars. Most calendar’s don’t use this cycle, calendar. Although it is incredibly important to the Jewish calendar in ways we’ll get into later on. The Metonic cycle is the conjunction of the Lunar Synodic Month with the Lunar Tropical Month with the day. In plainer words, it is the number of days it takes for the Moon to return to exactly the same place in the sky (at the same longitude and against the same constellation and thus same solar seasons) with the same phase (full, crescent, new, etc). You could almost consider it a type of lunar ‘great year’, which takes 6,939 days or 235 lunations/synodic months or 19 years to reset (20 if not using zero). Although because its not totally perfect it takes adding a couple more days to make it line up exactly. (Or an extra day each 260 yrs, or a week every 1439 years). This cycle is the basis for our measuring ‘scores’ of years. Although we don’t use this convention often these days, think of the Gettysburg address where it says “four score and seven years ago…” This cycle was used to add extra months to the post exile (and modern) Jewish Calendar (7 months each 20 years). Pre-exile they likely used it to add 18 months every 49 year Jubilee period.
The Great Conjunction
A conjunction of Jupiter & Saturn is called a Great Conjunction. It occurs every 19.86 years. Nearly 5 of the planets align with these two every 258 years (once each 13 Great Conjunctions). This is incredibly relevant to the Mayan Calendar because this may be the only celestial cycle found that makes sense of why the Mayans chose 13, 20’s in the Tzolk’in. By using 20 cycles (months) of 13 days they created a microcosm of the Great Conjunction cycle. So 20×13=260days is a microcosm of 19.86y x 13y=258years when Jupiter, Saturn and often up to 5 planets align. Doubling the 258 years gets us the Full Great Conjunction (which is always 5 planets) of 516.4 years (which is surprisingly close to the Ventury of 520 years of Venus (104*5). It may be that no one else has figured this out, so I plan on writing a paper on it eventually. The Tzolk’in typifies the Great Year, and the Haab typifies the Saros cycle (NOT the Metonic Cycle–the long count tracked that). The two meet up once every 19k years (full precession cycle), but based on written histories it appears they only counted to 520 (much like the Jews) and then restarted the calendar when society fell apart (as it was supposed and prone to do every 520 years according to Ixtlilxochitl!)
You might not realize it, but most calendars have the habit of projecting these major celestial cycles upwards and downwards into bigger and smaller cycles where they have no direct celestial basis. For instance, Western calendars project the 12 months of the year onto the day and night, giving it 24 hours in a day. (12 hours per half day.) And they project the 30 days in a month onto each half hour, giving us our 60 minutes per hour and 60 seconds per minute. It’s almost like we turned the “day” into a microcosm of the year and divided that day into units that somewhat match the year.
Now that we understand all the Mechanics of how a calendar is created, lets look at how we record these cycles in our Western date notations and then use that as a basis to understand the Zapoteca Mayan calendar system.
In the west we typically write out our dates day month name and then your number. although we can just as easily change that order or number out the months instead of giving them names. the important thing to realize though is that just because a placeholder has a certain number of spaces doesn’t mean those spaces are always filled up. For example the month space in a western date has 31 Days for some months but only 28/29 other months.[finish this part]
Understanding The Metonic Cycle
The METONIC CYCLE is the Moon’s 19 year cycle where the Moon returns to exactly the same place (at the same longitude and against the same constellation and thus same solar seasons) in the sky with the same phase (full, crescent, new, etc). You could call it a lunar ‘great year’, which takes 6,939 days or 235 lunations/synodic months or 19 years to reset (18.998 years to be exact, but rounded to 19 and 20 if not using zero and counting 1-20 instead of 0-19). Although because the cycle’s conjunction is not a completely whole number, it takes adding a couple more intercalary/holy days to make it line up exactly. (Only an extra day each 260 yrs, or a week every 1439 years).
The Jewish, Greek and Old Babylonian calendars use this cycle to align its months/lunar cycles with the sun every 20th year. They do this by adding a 13th month, 7 times in 19 years, so that on the 20th year, the moon would have the same phase at the same location in the sky (against the backdrop of the stars or hillsides).
Coincidentally, this is nearly a macrocosm of the Venus/lunar conjunction which repeats every 1.59 years or 583.92 days or approximately 19 months. (19 Synodic months is 561.08 days, so there’s a discrepancy of only 22.8 days — see the chart)
Table of Cycle Durations
|Day||Tropical Month||Synodic Month||Tropical Year|
|Tropical Lunar Month||27.322 days||Base unit||1/1.080||1/13.37|
|Synodic/faze Lunar Month||29.5306 days||1.080 t.m’s||Base unit||1/12.37|
|Tropical Solar Year||365.2422 days||13.37 t.m’s||12.37 months||Base unit|
|Synodic Venus Cycle||583.92 days||21.37 t.m’s (/3 = 7.12)||19.773 months||1.598 years|
|Metonic Cycle||6,939 days||253.97 t.m’s||234.98 months||18.998 years|
|Jubilee Cycle||17,346 days||634.87 t.m’s||588 months||47.49 years|
|Meso. Great Year||18,992.59 days||695.14 t.m’s||643.15 months||52.x years|
Tropical Solar Year (365.2422 days)
The Sun returns to the same spot in the sky (against the backdrop of the same constellation)
365.2422 x 19 = 6,939.602 days (every 19 solar years)
Tropical Lunar Month (27.322 days)
The Moon returns to the same spot in the sky (rises/sets or appears against the backdrop of the same constellation)
27.322 x 254 = 6939.788 days (every 254 tropical lunar months)
Synodic Lunar Month (29.5306 days)
The Moon returns to the same phase every 29.5306 days (full, waxing crescent, waning, new)
29.53059 x 235 = 6,939.689 days (every 235 synodic lunar months)
Synodic Venus Cycle (583.92)
Venus returns to the same place in respect to the sun (crosses the sun, or returns to being an evening or morning star) every 583.92 days (or roughly 19 months)
Jewish Jubilee Year (49 lunar years of 354 days each)
The Jewish Jubilee was just a drawn out version of the Metonic cycle, where instead of adding 7 months each 19 years, they brilliantly added 18 months (or 1.5 years) every 49 years instead. The 1.4 years being intercalated time and a Sabbath time of rest and release. It did NOT begin every 49 solar years, but every 49 lunar ‘years‘, (which are 12×29.5306 days long which is 47.5 solar years). A full lunar Jubilee cycle therefore began on day 17,346 days (or 49yrs of 12m x 29.5d). That would put it 531.55 days behind the true solar 49 year period of 17,896.87 days at the beginning of the Jubilee. So to catch up the sacred calendar to the solar one, we need to add 531 days or 18 months. This would miss the true year by only 0.55 days, which means an extra day needs to be added every other Jubilee in addition to the 18 months.
So then if one wants to track the captivity of Israel for not keeping the Sabbath. We take those 18 months accrued each Jubilee of 49 lunar/47.5 solar and carry them to a Great Year (490 years) which is 180 months/15 years each 490.
Possible Applications to Mesoamerican Calendars
So then every 19 year Metonic Cycle, the Solar Year & Lunar Phase/Synodic Year are incredibly close to a perfect alignment. Quite similar to how the Lunar Phase & Venus are almost in alignment every 19 month Venus Cycle. So a culture that cares about astronomy might want to incorporate BOTH these cycles of 19 months and 19 years into their calendar, in addition to their cycles tracking the year (since the seasons tell you when to plant), and the month (since it’s the most obvious time keeper in the sky.
One incredibly easy way to track the moon’s 27-29 day cycle through the year is how the West’s Calendar’s do it. With 12 cycles of 4 sets of 7 (4 weeks in a moonth, 12 moonths in a year: 4wx7dx12m=336d). The calendars of western societies are broken into segments meant specifically to track the moon against the sun’s day and year, So they’ve broken the year into 52 lunar phases (weeks), and into 12 lunar phases (months). Other societies have build calendar’s putting emphasis on other celestial cycles created by the movement of various planets or constellations, but up to now, Mesoamerica has been somewhat of an enigma. Scholars can not decide WHY Zapoteca Mayan calendars broke the year into 18’s and 20’s.
However, studying patterns in the Metonic Cycle gives us some possible ideas on how, much like the modern Jewish Calendar, it might be what Mesoamerican’s were tracking with those 18’s and 20 day cycles. The Hebrew lunar year is about 11 days shorter than the solar year and uses the 19-year Metonic cycle to bring it into line with the solar year, with the addition of an intercalary month every two or three years, for a total of 7 added months every 19 years. Multiplying that by seven we get 49 added months every 133 years, which is much like the familiar biblical Jubilee of 7 x 7 months (using added/intercalary months added each 133 years, instead of sequential years). Multiplying that by 10, we get 7 x 70 months equaling 490 added months every 1330 years. (or nearly 40 years worth of months) Which are the calendric number cycles found in Daniel 9:24–27 (seven times seven) and Daniel 12:12, “1335 days”. I bring this up because Zapotec Mayan calendar also has a ‘prophetic’ or ‘sacred’ calendar which might work somewhat similar to Daniel’s biblical one, and the Metonic cycle’s way of adding 7 months to each 19 years actually creates an alternate way of interpreting Daniels prophesy.[can you add a chart/table to illustrate how this relates?]
Put this in a footnote: [You’ll note the discrepancy between the 1330 years where we need to add 490 months and the 1335 days/years of Daniel 12. Well interesting enough, even with the Metonic cycle intercalation, the average Hebrew calendar year is longer by about 6 minutes and 40 seconds (6.66) than the current mean tropical year, so that every 216 years (~208) the Hebrew calendar will fall a day (29.97hrs) behind the current mean tropical year even after adding the extra months. That means to catch it up, we have to add yet and an extra day every 216 yrs or an extra week every 1330 years. So every 1330 years we add our 490 Jubilee months plus a bit under a week (or ~40 years plus 6 days to be exact) . Also the 1330 year Metonic cycle (where we add 40 years + 1 week) realigns nearly perfectly with the solar year almost exactly once every 3.5 cycles. (times, time + half a time or 3.5 x 365.242 = ~1290 of Dan). So interestingly enough, most of the biblical number of Daniel fit with a Calendar using the Metonic cycle. (And interestingly enough, using this system on Daniel 9:24–27, where we consider a ‘seven’ or hebdomad as a sabbatical or time of adding the extra month about each 2.5 years, then 7 hebdomads (or added weeks which are added 7 times each 19 years) plus sixty two hebdomads [which would be added after 168 years] plus one hebdomad [added after 2.5 years] gives us 189.5 years. Which is EXACTLY the number of years from when Antiochus desecration of the temple in 156 BC to 33 AD with Christs crucifixions.)]
To familiarize people with these complex cycles, ancient cultures often scaled down larger cycles and projected them onto a single year or day. The bible hints to the idea that the Jews did this with their annual festivals. So perhaps to show how the Metonic cycle might factor into the Mayan calendar, lets do the same.
To begin with, since we want our ‘day’ to be a microcosm of a year in the metonic cycle we’ll create a cycle of ~19 days, to which instead of adding seven sabbatical months every 19th year we’ll add 7 small scaled segments (like our hours) every 19th day and make that our week of sorts and give it a name like ‘seven nineteens’ to stand for our sabbatical cycle. This is actually strangely close to the Mayan Calendar’s smallest day/week unit called “Uinal” where there are 20 days/Kins, counted 0-19, per Uinal. Is it possible that was the cycle they were tracking? Many might dismiss this possibility since the Mesoamerican day was thought to have 20 days instead of 19, but there’s a couple possible reasons for the discrepancy. First off,18×20=360 is almost identical to 19×19=361, so we might decide to make our months/days 18×20 so we could track the Synodic Venus cycle which has 19.7 (~20) months to a cycle as we scale the calendar up. Secondly, the Uinal might have behaved like a clock where the 12 of the previous cycle is actually the 0 of the current cycle so even though there’s 12 numbers, only 11 of them are counted in the cycle. Proof of this might include how many of the numbers were strangely counted 0-19 days, instead of 1-20 as is typical in calendars.
After creating our months of 20 days modeled after the Metonic cycle, next we would need to figure out how many of those ‘months fit into a solar year. If we used 19 as the length of our ‘month’ we would need 19 months to fill up the year (19dx19m=361d). But as we discussed, since 20 days is closer to the Venus cycle then we would need 18 months to fill up the year (20×18=360). Additionally if we added our scaled “7 months in 19 years” to our months, it would scale down to 5.5 days after 19 cycles which puts us past our solar year at 366.5 anyway, so then we have to drop our months to the next lower whole digit of 18. And that 18 cycles of 20 day/years = 360 day/years. Which is exactly what the Mayan Calendar has in the Uinal. So now we have a Metonic microcosm calendar with 18 months of 20 days as a scaled down version of a score of Metonic Cycles.
Tun & K’a
Continuing with our scaling exercise we then would likely want to track the actual Metonic cycle of 19 solar years, so we’d want to create a calendar division for 19 year increments. Which the Mayan calendar seems to have in the ‘tun’, which is incredibly close to our needed Metonic cycle. Which once again has a value of 19, counted 0-19 with the zero perhaps belonging to the previous cycles counting.
Finally we’d create one last division since we scaled down the Metonic cycle to create months of 19 days, we will scale up the year to create a ‘Great Year’ of 19 Metonic cycles (somewhat equal to a Sabbatical cycle since we add seven months every 20 years).
So now that we’ve created an imaginary Metonic Calendar, lets summarize it and then make some real world examples to see how it might actually track the Moon’s Metonic cycles and see what kind of intercalary days we might have to add in order for it to make sense.[add illustration here]
So to summarize.
20/19 days (k’ins) = 1 Metonic microcosm (uinal/month)
18/19 months (uinal) = 1 solar year/tun of 361 days (20 Metonic microcosm days x 18 moonths)
20/19 years (tuns) = 1 true Metonic cycle or Jubilee (katun or score of years)
20/19 sabaticals/ka’tuns = 1 Great Year of 361 years (19yrs x 19 Metonic macrocosm)
13 non-sabbaths occur each 19 months (where we dont add extra time, once every 19 day month) = 1 Jubilee.
Now to track our Metonic Sabbath days/Sabbatical year cycles (remember we add a month 7 times in 19 years in the Metonic cycle) we would probably want to create a secondary sacred calendar to count those sevens… OR just the 13’s left over from the 7’s in the 19/20 year cycles. Because in a Metonic cycle there are 7 intercalary years/days and 13 non-intercalary years/days, and since we are changing the length of the 7 years/days, its simpler math to count the 13’s instead. Now once again this is exactly what we see with the Mayan Sacred Round or Tzolk’in, which counts intervals of 20 and 13 days/years. Now I’m not sure yet whether its trying to count the 13’s, twenty times or the 20’s (actually 19’s), up to thirteen times but I think its doing exactly what the Book of Daniel says.
-So this shows the dual nature of the tzolkin/sacred round being used for a single year (260 days), AND a great year (260 venus xings/420yrs)
-The Haab on the other hand is tracking the 365 day solar year as well as a 365 day Great year With the 19/18 ratios of the Metonic cycle.
-So it shows Metonic Cycle and Venus alignments, with a master alignment occurring every 104/420 years.
-note that when used to track 52 year cycles it SAYS LITTLE astronomically). But when used as great years, it says A LOT.
-IMPORTANT PUZZLE Pieces. 1. The Aztec stone is thought to have 52 periods of 5 (only 38 show), thought to be the 5 unlucky days at the end of each year in the 52 year cycle. BUT, that makes no sense, since the context clearly suggests it should be representing an equal amount of time as the 20 cycles below it (likely suggesting 20 tzolkin cycles?, adding to 260 days/years – And to be fair 13×4 = 52). It also has 7 dots on the headdresses of the two anthropomorphized celestial serpents of the outer ring, suggesting they had a lunar seven cycle in the calendar somewhere. 2. COINCIDENTALLY to the 52 boxes of 5s, there are 5 Jubilees (7, 7s) every 260 days/years, suggesting perhaps they were counting off 5 Jubilee’s (the 50th day/year) every sacred round 245/260 days/years (49×5), or if they added an intercalary day every Jubilee making it 50 days then it brings us to 250 days. (which would be just before Hanukkah/Festival of lights).
-SOO, maybe they added their 5 ‘unlucky days’ by adding one extra day each of the first 5 Jubilees of the year (new years/Passover to Hanukkah). Then tracked those 5 added days/counted Jubilees on the 52 year cycle. Question is… how does this match with the stars/lunar/Metonic cycles?
-The question of why the Sacred round has 260 days is a mystery according to experts. But this above gives a great answer. Its Passover to Hanukah, or the part of the year that tracks the 5 counted Sabbaths and ‘Jubilee’ days.
The book of Daniels gives hints to a Jewish prophetic or sacred calendar which counts in ‘sevens’ (hebdomads) which it translates as ‘weeks’, but are generally translated as “years in sets of seven”. For instance Dan 9:25-x gives the sequence “seventy sevens” which are “seven sets of sevens”, and “62 sets of sevens” and “1 set of sevens”. Generally theologians interpret this as 49 years + 434 years + 7 years. But in our Metonic interpretations we would say a set of seven or Jubilee is actually also 19 years. So 7×19 + 62×19 + 1×19 equals 1330 years. In the case of the Mayan Tzolkin if we use the same logic then perhaps it tracks sets of 7 (19 year periods) up to only 13, equaling 247 years (instead of the traditionally believed 260 (20×13). So how would the number 247 be relevant? This number is coincidentally relevant as the Metonic cycle is equal to 235 synodic months! (235×29.5306/365.24=19yrs) So the Tzolkin calendar seems to be using the microcosm of the Metonic cycle itself yet again. (But I need to figure out how this tells you what Jubilee cycle you are in, for any given date in a 52/104 year period and why anyone would care? Likely because it places you in a great year of some type?). Something like 49×104=5096yrs=cycle of destroyer (or 36×104=3800?) (or 3440 or 3300?)
“He taught them the mysteries concerning the wheel of the year and divided the year into a Summer half and a Winter half, with a great year circle of fifty-two years, a hundred and four of which was the circle of The Destroyer.” (Kolbrin CRT:7:5)]
Perhaps the main calendar Ba’tun counted 19 months of 19 days equaling 361 days. (instead of 19 and 20). This way its a microcosm for the counting of Metonic cycles. But then the sacred round kept track of the sevens (sabbaticals) and 13’s (non-sabbaticals). And maybe for some reason tracking the “what is missing” or the “sabbatical’s that are not” (think Ben Kathryn) was actually easier. So as we count the 7’s and double or half them (7×2=14) or factor them (7×7=49) or tenX them (7×10=70) they build the sacred calendar. Now we factor the second number (7×20=140) or (7×70=490) or (7×100=700).
Some Notes on the Aztec Calendar Stone link1, link2
-The outer ring is composed of 2 anthropomorphized celestial serpents. (with front legs like a Chinese dragon).
-I think there are 52 dots under each serpent/dragon
-Each serpent tail is tied with 4 knots (symbolizing 4 tying of the years in a 52 year period?)
-Each has 5dots just before its rattle, symbolizing?
-The four glyphs in the center surrounding the sun are likely the 4 past ages and 4 seasons (as a microcosm?). Each glyph also has 4 dots (usually in the corners)
-The center likely represents the sun and supreme god.
-The primary circle around the sun has 20 divisions/glyphs. These are separated by 2 lines (perhaps representing 20 as well). These glyphs match the month? day? Ventana? glyphs of the calendar. (To see how these repeated and named the trenchenas read the Wikipedia article here, or John Pratts site here)
-Outside that ring are what look like frills which seem similar to Jewish tzitzit fringes. But their numbers seem obscured. There are 10 then 10 then 10 then 4 on each side. Probably meant to represent 40. (what for?)
-Also obscure are the 3 boxes of 5 (with 3 frills above each), and six fire/water symbols of 4 wiggles each on each side. (Thats 12 water/fires of 4 in the year — thats yet another evidence that they possibly used weeks of 7)
Added Months Every
Metonic Cycle (19yrs)
7 every 19
49 every 133 (doubled = 266, Hanukkah)
50 every (135.71xxx)
62 every 168.28
1 every 2.71 (Dan 70=7+62+1 if hebdomads are sabbaticals)
aka. 70 every 190.0
= 190 (THIS IS THE DAY OF ATONEMENT)
156-189.5 = 33.5 AD. (Antiochus -190=33ad)
490 sabbaths every 1330. (doesn’t really work unless exodus was 1330ish bc)
(7×7=49)+(62×7=434)+(1×7=7) = “70 sevens” of 490 sevens which = 1330 yrs
(49 sabbaticals = 133yrs) + (434 sabbaticals = 1178yrs) + (7 sabbaticals = 19yrs)
- Video on Aztec Solar Round/Sacred Round correlations and directional groupings. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qLraLs8Y14
- In depth book on Mayan Numbers & Calendar system (with description of u kahlay katunob‘ or ‘Katun Wheel. https://www.gutenberg.org/files/43491/43491-h/43491-h.htm
- Famsi mayan calendar date converter (a bit clunky) http://research.famsi.org/date_mayaLC.php
- https://design-of-time.com/squared.htm (great descriptions of many Jewish cycles)
- Huge archive of archaeological date inscriptions. http://research.famsi.org/montgomery_list.php?_allSearch=Tikal&tab=montgomery&title=Montgomery%20Drawing%20Collection
- Recovering the Mesoamerican Practice of Time Keeping and Nightly Astrology. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/261362509_Glyph_G_and_the_Yohualteuctin_Recovering_the_Mesoamerican_Practice_of_Time_Keeping_and_Nightly_Astrology
- Super important paper showing counts for Venus tables found in Xultun. http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/maya/maya-astronomical-tables.pdf
- Radiocarbon dates at Chichen Itza seem to match with the calendar round (not long count) dates found at the site. Research it at: https://www.academia.edu/7770526/Beniamino_Volta_and_Geoffrey_E_Braswell_Alternative_Narratives_and_Missing_Data_Refining_the_Chronology_of_Chichen_Itza_
- Dresden Codex Venus Tables: Used to find GMT correlative date. Supposedly gives dates of the rising and setting of Venus. https://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/ciencia/dresden/dresdencodex04.htm
STILL DO DO: (WHERE I LEFT OF).
- Still need to find a reference book of ALL archaeological long count date inscriptions and compare them to figure out where they fit in that 520 method I figure out.
- Replace the long count list/table with a better formatted one (from the spreadsheet I’m building).
- Then get the Dresden codex and other historical codices and compare those….
- Find more references to the ’52 weeks’ (of 5 days each) on the Aztec Calendar stone, and the double of 52×10=520.