By Christine Payne-Towler
ArkLetter 65, August 9, 2010
My mother came to visit me recently and challenged me to say certain things as minimally and bluntly as I can. She's a straight-shooting Aries while I'm a circumambulating, over-explaining Libra, so we have this challenge every few years. But this year she asked me to explain what the Mayan calendar is about.
Mom was gazing at a handmade wooden tabletop version of this calendar that hangs over my fireplace. She and her husband brought it back from one of their cruises years ago. It hung for years over her fireplace in Eastern Washington, before they moved to their current domicile, at which point this gorgeous occult talisman came to live with me. Now, finally, she's curious to know what it "means"!
Questions like this are loaded in the extreme. I was instantly plunged ass-over-teakettle into an ocean of global astrological traditions. The only 'dry land' in this mental vista was provided by the tips of the ancient stone temples, the henges, pyramids, ziggurats, and observatories of global history. It was all I could do to mentally paddle from one to the other, pointing out the common features, so she could have a context for humanity's astral drama in the first place. This is the only way I can talk about the Mayan calendar, or any calendar for that matter. It is an artifact from a global conversation that has taken place across the millennia, despite the amnesia that regularly affects human culture.
To collect up this story a person has to look outside the lines of 'official history'. For one thing, there is an unspoken taboo about addressing the anomalous archeological finds that are being discovered all over the world, dating back hundreds of thousands of years longer than humans are 'supposed' to have existed. For another, we persistently misread and fail to properly appreciate the evidence that we will let ourselves see, because of overspecialization and intellectual politics impinging on our worldview. Add to this the pretenses of Scientism, which tends to invalidate the products of intuition even when investigating esoteric subjects like intuition. All in all, there's a totally effective blindfold that culture has used to hide our past in plain sight.
Summarizing ridiculously: After humanity's last amnesia event, the first civilization to resurrect themselves enough to start building astronomical temples were the Babylonians. They had a long period of continuity, long enough to amass a whole astronomical database from which to create an ephemeris (a comprehensive table of solar, lunar and planetary positions going backwards and forwards in time.) You can get an overview of the dates and chronology over here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_astrology.
Humanity's relationship with the heavens is multi-dimensional. The basic level of astrology involves creating a lunar calendar, which allows an agricultural civilization to anchor themselves in the seasons and regulate their chores and travels within the 13 moons of the year. A second level of mathematical sophistication allows practitioners to grasp the Sun's yearly progress through the signs, measuring movement in relation to the Zodiac (a band of 12 divisions around the Milky Way, each with its own characteristic constellation and myth). This required a considerably more sophisticated mathematics beyond orienting everything to the waxing and waning of the Moon. The third level of astrological sophistication produces integrated tables of motion for the Sun, Moon and all five visible Planets, (which tables are called ephemerides in the plural). Such tables are accurate enough to project the solar system forward and backwards in time (rather than being tied to just what the planets are doing in the heavens 'right now'). They also are detailed enough to track the north and south nodes of the Moon and thus the eclipse cycles, the retrograde cycles of the planets, and other details essential to composing the full astronomical "picture" of a given moment at a given location. Whether one was a healer, a pack train leader, or an advisor to the royal court, possession of ephemerides granted remarkable predictive power to one who knew how to work with them. Therefore trade guilds grew up to protect the knowledge from abuse. (This is what the ancient priesthoods were protecting with their initiations and their secretive graded learning programs, by the way.)
The ephemeris is what the Babylonians produced over their long history of settled study. Because these tables were important tools for navigation on both land and sea, these tables eventually got around the world. Their original disseminators were the Phoenician traders in the early (prehistoric) period of our current era. It's very easy to see the evidence of this in the family tree of the Alphabet, which exposed most of the world to this ingenious sonic, astrological and calculating tool.
There is still plenty of controversy about the very first time the Phoenician ships might have arrived in America. (See here; http://news.softpedia.com/news/The-Most-Ancient-Navigators-51351.shtml. and here: http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Phoenicia). I'm satisfied with the story an old scholar friend told me years ago, which is that the dissemination of the Babylonian Ephemerides allowed indigenous peoples everywhere to correct their astrological traditions against this standard (thus shortening the learning curve for some peoples and leading to 'great leaps forward' for others.) It also provided a mathematical tutor for astronomers. Basically, the moment a given civilization was able to nurture citizens who possessed the smarts to critique and correct the ephemeris errors which the Babylonians had failed to discover, that’s the moment said civilization has evolved an authentic astrological tradition of its own. To a very real degree, the history of astrology is the history of humanity's grasp of space, time, and cycle, thanks to the springboard provided by the meticulous patience of the Babylonians.
Why does this matter?
Mom was asking me about the Mayan Calendar, but ultimately her question is larger than that. We talk about the Mayan calendar mostly because the modern fascination with interpenetrating cycles leads to the realization that their wheels-within-wheels model is about to exhaust its entire repertoire of novel arrangements, meaning that all three wheels reset to the zero position at the same time. Dear Mom is an optimist and so was wondering, Why there is so much doom-and-gloom associated with this model of time? Why doesn't it just roll on through its end point and start over again, like the common calendar does over New Year line?
These are smart and sensible questions. As we currently understand time, it really shouldn't make a spot of difference when an old calendar wears out (in this case, sometime in 2011 or 2012, depending on the researcher one might be reading). Theoretically one should be able to extend the calendar indefinitely ahead on the assumption that the laws of gravity, mass and motion are fairly predictable in our solar system. Besides, it seems that many sacred calendars from traditions around the world will be ending within a very short handful of years, geologically speaking -- this seems to be, in some way, "normal". If we remember the information we have reviewed about the Babylonian ephemerides providing the backbone of calendars everywhere, there is a kind of natural sense to this winding-down of all the global clocks at nearly the same time. But the issues seem to be, unfortunately, not so simple.
The question is, what if the ephemerides that we inherit from the Babylonians have their beginning and their end when they do because of the timing of the aforementioned amnesia events, which seem to happen on this planet with a fair degree of regularity? If we look back into the ancient myths of world cataclysm -- like the biblical Flood -- one of the tasks that would have to be immediately undertaken by the remaining humans is that of re-assembling the time/space coordinates that The People will use to "find themselves" again. Quite often we read reports of survivors having to resettle on "a new earth, and under a new heaven" after this type of cataclysm. This refers to changes in the landscape as well as changes in the orientation of the Poles and the directions (North South East and West).
It is essential to re-establish the agricultural calendar, to determine again where the Solstices and Equinoxes will fall. The people might have to get used to having the Milky Way, and thus the Zodiac, angling in a new direction as the whole planet points in an entirely different direction within the signs. With a new polar alignment, there might be a major interruption of the seasons, including the equivalent of relocation longitudinally and/or latitudinally, thus a whole new weather-cycle to learn about and live with. So you see, this issue of a cyclic amnesia event is huge, and it permanently changes our orientation to space, time, the seasons, and our whole comprehension of the local Nature.
It also forces a new relationship with time, at least for those generations that are alive going into and coming out of the shift.
Is the Sun sick?
In the light of current dynamics emanating from the Sun, there are a number of very brilliant people who would answer YES to the above question. The best presentation of the case that our Sun is in one of its periodic "situations" is here: http://halfpasthuman.com/RadioSpecial.html
I have been hearing and reading about these "end times scenarios" since I was first exposed to Astrology in the early 1970's, so I'm somewhat jaded about the various prophecies and predictions that have echoed through the new-age forums and discussion groups. However, I am all ears when somebody starts talking science in a way that makes sense of the phenomena of legend AND of current events simultaneously. You can decide for yourself about the rest of the articles that you find at the Half Past Human site, but to my way of thinking, it seems that the author has got his facts straight on this issue.
This implies that the phenomena that humans are currently chalking up to our own heedlessness of the environment may actually be happening for much larger reasons after all. By taking a little time on Google one can easily see that the other planets in our solar system are also demonstrating anomalous behaviors, including disappearing rings, mysterious dark spots or 'islands' in their atmospheres, even whole atmospheric-layer breakdowns. There is also evidence of surface-temperature increases of unknown origin on our fellow planets and their Moons as well. The only thing that can account for such simultaneous upsets on our fellow planets is a disturbance in the energy-field of the Sun. This fits with our recent spate of sunspot non-activity, which according to Cliff High (above) is a signal of end-stage solar complexity, and the near onset of a radical discharging of all that tortured electricity into the Solar System by way of vast magnetic storms.
There are all kinds of consequences from this; especially since the world is now so heavily electricity-dependent and wired that our bodies think our computers and handheld devices are part of our nervous systems! (How will we carry on if something that blows off the Sun turns off our electrical grid?) We are seeing our glaciers and ice caps melting, and unaccountable weather phenomena, and that's without even mentioning the weather modification experiments being carried on by humans intentionally. Magnetic anomalies are in some cases throwing migrating birds' GPS systems off, and whole ecosystems appear to be migrating towards the poles. Beneficial rainfall is diminishing even as destructive storms and desertification are increasing. Every population on the planet is stressed, be it animal, vegetable or human.
It is arguable that humans are also running amok in our distress and dysfunction, being slowly driven mad by the increasing magnetic squeeze being placed on the planet as a whole. But that is no reason for us to become overburdened with guilt and shame as the causers of this disaster!
No, the source of the problem, it seems, is far bigger than ourselves, and will likely not be something we can do much about. If a cataclysm of Sun Disease is the upcoming fate of our solar system, then it makes sense that our calendars would show us as being at the "end of time", or the "end of an Aeon". Without resorting to religious theology or end-times preaching, let us remember that for most of the tribes and civilizations on this planet, the Sun has been used as the symbol for humanity's Creator God. Understood in the light of Science, there's little difference between saying "Revelations tells us that God will unleash an Apocalypse" and saying "The Sun is getting ready to shrug off its burden of tangled electro-magnetism and the Solar System will just have to endure whatever happens". All myths aside, we may be about to discover the living proof of what for most generations remains simply a dramatic and poignant old fairy-tale.
Interesting times indeed!
August 9, 2010
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