6 Ajpu 13 Sej – A New Tun Begins (20th November 2018)

The Gregorian date of 21st December 2012 held great significance for many people. Here in the Maya lands, a great many people had gathered to participate in ceremonies marking the completion of a very long cycle of time and the beginning of a new baktun within the long count calendar.

The long count calendar was used to calculate much greater cycles of time than could be recorded by the Chol Q’ij (260 days), the solar calendar (365 days) or the calendar round (52 years less 13 days). Through extension it can be used through periods of time up to thousands, and even millions, of years. In general, long count dates are given using five numbers. These numbers represent periods known as baktun, katun, tun, uinal and kin. The smallest unit is kin, which represents 1 day. The next unit, which could in a way be seen as a month, is a uinal consisting of 20 days. Moving into a larger scale, the next number represents the tun. 1 tun is made up of 18 uinal, a period of 360 days, and so is seen as a vague year. From there, the long count moves on in factors of 20. 20 tuns (7200 days) are equal to a katun, which will be 20 Gregorian years less 100 days. Finally, the greatest unit here, a baktun, a period of 20 katuns (144000 days), or roughly 394 Gregorian years. Other units extended this by further factors of 20.

Stela C at Quirigua which shows a creation date of 4 Ajpu 8 Kumku. Photo by Mark Elmy

Reference is made to the beginning of an age, a time of creation approximately 5125 years before 2012. This is seen on Stela C at Quirigua, which shows a date of 13 baktun, 0 katun, 0 tun, 0 winal and 0 kin, often written, followed by the day 4 Ajpu (Ajaw) 8 Kumku. This correlates to a date of 13th August 3114BC, although another correlation is 11th August 3114BC. For one reason or another it became a belief that a great cycle of time consisted of 13 baktun, so the completion of a 13 baktun period was seen as having special significance. Regardless of theories or ideas with regards to that significance, the completion of a cycle such as a katun or baktun was seen as a time to be marked with ceremonies to welcome a new period. When the thirteenth baktun was completed in 2012, the corresponding long count date would have read 4 Ajpu 3 Kankin, although it is sometimes also represented as One day later, 22nd December, would then be, twenty days later the first uinal is complete, giving and then 360 days later, 16th December 2013, would mark the completion of the first tun, giving a long count date of

These periods have continued through the years in the following sequence:

21/12/2012: 4 Ajpu 3 Kankin

16/12/2013: 13 Ajpu 18 Mak

11/12/2014: 9 Ajpu 13 Mak

06/12/2015: 5 Ajpu 8 Mak

30/11/2016: 1 Ajpu 3 Mak

25/11/2017: 10 Ajpu 18 Sej

20/11/2018: 6 Ajpu 13 Sej

A new period begins today. We completed the sixth tun after the beginning of the new baktun, yesterday on 5 Kawok. The new tun will always begin on an Ajpu day, and today on 6 Ajpu we mark this new tun. The long count date will become (6 Ajpu 13 Seh). Once again we see the turning over of a cycle, and should be seen as a great time for a renewal. Perhaps we can understand the theme of the next tun to be carried by the properties of 6 Ajpu, to create the divinity into the physical world through our connection with both the divine masculine and the divine feminine.

If a stela was carved for today, this would be how it would look. 6 Ajpu 13 Sej Image created using Bob Makransky’s Mayan Astrology Program

The Heliacal Rise of Venus 7 Q’anil (8th November 2018)

The cycle of Venus was of great importance to the ancient Maya, and often used to time ritual activities including warfare and sacrifices. Venus was generally seen to have an unsettling influence, particularly during the time of the heliacal rising of Venus.

Today we enter that period of potential turbulence, the first rising of Venus as the Morning Star. This is said to be the time when the influence of Venus “spears” certain victims. These victims are often leaders. This turmoil is affecting all of us on the planet, not just the leaders. Who ever holds “high position” would do well to avoid rushing into impassioned decisions  or judgement during the first few days of the Morning Star.

Lord of the Heliacal Rise with his spear ready to strike down his victims, from the Dresden Codex

However, there is a more positive way in which we can look at it, which I highlighted here in a recent video about Venus. In order to do this, we have to jump cultures a little and refer to the story of Quetzalcoatl. Quetzalcoatl was an Aztec deity, the Maya equivalent would be Kulkulkan in the post-classic Maya civilisation, Q’ukumatz is another variant.

Quetzalcoatl arrived as a teacher of the people, a civilising influence that taught astronomy, mathematics and agriculture. As the world became a better place, his popularity and influence grew, which attracted the jealousy of his brother, Tezcatlipoca. It is said that Tezcatlipoca disguised himself as an old man and gave Quetzalcoatl pulque, an alcoholic drink made from maguey. He became intoxicated and ended up “cavorting” with a celibate priestess (who may also have been his sister). Shamed, he then either sets himself on fire and rose into the sky to become the morning star, or sailed to the east on a boat of snakes, depending on which version we hear.

It is this aspect which can be seen as being particularly interesting. The rise and fall of Quetzalcoatl mirror the the “rise and fall” of Venus as the morning star. Today, Venus will return as the morning star, and it will get higher and brighter in the sky for the next 60 days, reaching it’s greatest western elongation (height above the Eastern horizon) around the day 2 Q’anil in early January of 2019. From our own point of view we can also see this as our own return to brightness, a time to rise and shine again.