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MAYA AND AZTEC CALENDARS

MAYA AND AZTEC CALENDARS April 15th, 2011 - Nowadays, a common belief of a doomsday on December 2012 is rather well anchored in our western minds. This prediction for a worldwide disaster has been amplified by the american castastrophe movie «2012» which shows that the Mayan Long Count calendar predicts the end of the world and that a lot of people must deal with natural disasters such as volcanic eruptions, typhoons and glaciers for this date.

But that the world can end at a precise date engraved on a stela is a very short cut. Indeed, regarding, the fundamentals, it has been translated that the Mayan creation date was « 4 Ahaw, 8 Kumk'u » that-is-to said August 11, 3114 BC, that there were cycles of 52 years with sub-cycles of 13 years and some harmfull days inducing cataclysms. Regarding the form, this calendar is writting on a long mayan stela. And so, for some catastrophic preachers all things are told and already decided!

Umh !? ... and nothing to add ?
Maya culture cannot be understood alone without knowing other measoramerican ones.

Understanding about mesoamerican civilizations, we must know that there were several civilizations which influenced each other and are also heirs of each others: the Olmecs, the people of Teotihuacan, the Zapotecs, the Mixtecs, the Totonac people, the Mayas, the Toltecs and the Aztecs. The Maya civilization knew its apogee between 300 and 900 BC. The last phase of the evolution of mesomerican civilizations saw the successive appearance of Toltecs (856-1250 BC) and that one of tthe Aztecs (1325-1520 BC). In the same way the Inca empire was the heir of antic and contemporanean Andean civilizations, the Aztec one is the heir and the sum of mesoamerican civilizations which ended with the arrival of Spanish invadors. Maya and Aztec civilizations shared a lot of rituals, believes and sciences as mathematics and cosmogony together with architecture, poetry and art that fill with wonder the invadors. They were very high cultured people contrasting on the other hand with their strange practice of human sacrifice and penitence.

Regarding the long mayan calendar, we have to keep in mind that time was considered as cosmos in its fundamentals and form: time was represented as a coil that-is-to say without an end, absolutely not as a stela because this representation is too similar to our modern calendars and too close to western culture.

The long mayan calendar enumerated only dates of some important feasts and it aims is to remember their commemoration not to represent time and cosmos and thus, it cannot be deciphered and understood in the same way that a classic latin parchment. This deciphering can be compared to our old belief during the middle age of a plate ocean with a big fall at its limit where boats had to disappear.

For being taken seriously, the mayan long calendar has to be completed by the stone of the Sun usually called the «Aztec calendar» whose true name is «Cuauhxicalli», which means the Receptacle of the Eagle and which is located on the Pyramid of Tenotchitlan, dedicated to the gods of Rain and War together with the gods of the Man of Renewal and the Florished War. This stone celebrated the ritual feast of the New Fire which was commemorated each cycle of 52 years and specially marked on this stone is the feast of Fire of the year 1479. Theses cycles of 52 years are cut in 4 sub-cycles of 13 years, 13 being a magic number, every sub-cycle is dedicated to one element and to one aspect of the sun. At the end of every period of 52 years, one fired a new fire at the top of the Luxachtecalt mountain, near Mexico, which symbolized the link of the years. An Mayas and Aztecs shared the same understanding of time and had the same representation by cycles.

And so, counting from the year 1479, the last cycle of the new fire ended in 1999. (Remember, also during this year, a lot of predicators around the world announced great catastrophes for 2000, even end of the world and a lot of bugs into your PC?!). 1999 was only the end of a cycle, which announced a new one with the year 2000. From now on, we are at the begining of a new cycle of 52 years with the first sub-cycle of 13 years ending in 2012. But the passage between cycles and/or sub-cycles are not necessary synonyms of cataclysm. Each sub-cycle is represented by the number 13 which was magic for mesoamericans and which represents the flow of time and the 13 houses. And time is represented like a whole of toothed wheels not a long tablet.

Indeed, all mesoamerican civilizations had observed that in nature every thing borns, develops, dies and reappears… at the end of an unspecified cycle, there is a period when the cycles are reloaded in order to avoid to perish and disappear. End of cycles or sub-cycles are not synonyms of end of the world, only in the fantasy of some illuminated predicators.


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