The Maya Pyramids are some of the oldest structures still standing.

Maya

Tikal

The ancient Egyptians used cut sandstone blocks to build their pyramids, but unlike them, the Maya only partially used cut blocks of limestone. Instead of layering blocks and blocks of cut stone, which would have been more time consuming, they created the basic forms of their pyramids by using a fill, which was a mix of smaller stone, garbage such as broken pottery pieces, and soil. They would then form quickly built construction walls of stacked stones to hold back the fill.

Once the fill had taken shape and was the desired height or depth, the Maya would then cover that with cut and shaped limestones. Sometimes those cut stones were large, other times they could be the size of fists. These pieces were precisely created to fit together with a limestone mortar and would be the face of the pyramid. These cut stones were then covered in plaster and painted and designed to reflect the power of the ruler who ordered the pyramid be built.

Some of the pyramids that the Maya built were first constructed over 2000 years ago, and their clever use of the environment and resources around them mean that many of those pyramids are still standing today. In Guatemala, an area rife with tectonic activity, their pyramids are even earthquake proof!

Did the Maya calendar end on December 21, 2012?

Maya sun

Many people have become interested in the Maya culture over the past few years with the help of several good documentaries. The big news around 2012 was that the Maya predicted that the world would end on Dec 21, 2012. Obviously, that didn’t happen, so did they just get it that date wrong?

No, because the Maya did NOT in fact predict the end of the world. The Maya had two calendar systems, the tzolk’in (sacred calendar) and the haab (more everyday calendar). Used together, the two would create what is called a long count. The long count is divided into the k’in (day), unial (20 days), tun (eighteen unial’s), k’atun (twenty tuns), and the bak’tun (twenty k’atuns). 

Based on this system, the Maya recorded time in a circular manner, rather than a linear one that Western societies do. The event of Dec 21, 2012 was not the end of the world, but a change over to the start of a new cycle – basically the way we celebrate the new millennium in 2000.

The Maya developed Math and Zero

 

The Maya people developed an early form of number theory, geometry, and astronomical technology that enabled them to predict solar eclipses and create calendars. They used this ability to accurately predict patterns in the movement of the stars and the planets that they observed. It was these systems that helped them create some extremely accurate calendars that could have dates set for the ancient past or far future. 

Their math was different than ours though. While we use a base 10 system, the Maya used a base 20, possibly because when they started counting, they used their fingers and their toes! Many ancient civilizations used an association system of numbers to predict future events. What makes the Maya so special, is that they are the only civilization whose long-term prediction of planetary alignments was accurate. Their knowledge of this unique system has helped scientists better understand Earth’s orbit pattern over time!

Part of why they were able to do such amazing astronomy and calendars is that the Maya developed the concept of the number zero, and they were one of the few ancient cultures to do so. This allowed them to have incredibly accurate math systems that they used to observe the heavens, build amazing structures, and create a complex calendar that that accounted for the fractions of days that our planet experiences. Today, we deal with that fraction by creating a lead day every four years. The Maya added four additional days to the end of the calendar and adjusted their calculations. 

The Maya people used hieroglyphs as a form of writing

Mayan Alphabet. Close up of hieroglyph or glyph writing system found in Copan (Honduras), Tikal (Guatemala) and Chichen Itza, Palenque, Uxmal, Yaxchilan, Bonampak (Mexico).

Despite treating the Maya people as a monolith, it is likely that they were not one ethnic or cultural group. When the Spanish arrived in Central America in the 16th century, there were dozens of languages being spoken, all of which shared a root family, and so has been called Maya languages. These include Quiché, Kaqchikel, and K'iche'. It is likely that this diversity of language existed in the Pre-Columbian past of the Maya as well.

The Maya also had a written language, in the form of hieroglyph, with each letter representing a sound, so you would only need to know a few letters to read or write a word. This writing is most commonly found from the Classic Period (AD 300 – AD 900) on altars, stelae, and other monumental items. These would tell the stories of grand deeds done by rulers and war leaders. They would also include the dates these important events happened, so archaeologists can now read exactly when these things happened.

Are you intrigued by the mysteries of time and cosmic cycles? At MayanDay.com, we offer you a unique opportunity to tap into ancient wisdom. You can look up today's date in the Mayan Calendar right on our homepage to get a glimpse of its fascinating and intricate patterns.

Click Here to Find out your Mayan Birthday

The Mayan Calendar System: An Introduction

The Maya civilization, predominantly based in modern-day Guatemala, Mexico, and Belize, was deeply interested in cycles of time. They devised a calendar system that not only marked solar and lunar cycles but also other celestial events. Unlike the Gregorian calendar that the modern world relies on, the Maya had multiple calendar systems, with the Tzolk'in or Cholq'ij being one of the most sacred.

The Tzolk'in Calendar: A 260-Day Sacred Cycle

The Tzolk'in calendar comprises 260 days, each with a unique combination of 20 day-signs (nawals) and 13 numbers. This calendar is not based on celestial bodies but rather on the divine and spiritual aspects of time, meant to guide individuals in their daily lives. It was, and still is, used for divination and planning significant life events.

The Nawals: Sacred Day-Signs

Each day in the Tzolk'in calendar has an associated nawal. These nawals are:

  1. Imox - Crocodile
  2. Iq' - Wind
  3. Aq'ab'al - Dawn/Dusk
  4. K'at - Net
  5. Kan - Serpent
  6. Kame - Death
  7. Kej - Deer
  8. Q'anil - Seed
  9. Toj - Fire
  10. Tz'i - Dog
  11. B'atz - Monkey
  12. E - Road
  13. Aj - Reed
  14. Ix - Jaguar
  15. Tz'ikin - Bird
  16. Ajmak - Forgiveness
  17. No'j - Knowledge
  18. Tijax - Mirror
  19. Kawoq - Storm
  20. Ajpu - Sun

The Numerals

  1. Jun- Beginning/Theme
  2. Keb'- Duality/Retraction
  3. Oxib'- Obstacle/Opening
  4. Kajib'- Container/Stagnation
  5. Job'- To Find/Breakthrough
  6. Wakib'- Balancing/Pondering
  7. Wukub'- Reflection/Collector
  8. Wajxaquib'- Return/Order
  9. B'elejeb'- Hidden/Result
  10. Lajuj'- Convergence/Pressure
  11. Ju'lajuj- Spreading/Dilution
  12. Kab'lajuj- Balance/Unexpected
  13. Oxlajuj- Ancestors/Accumulation

Look Up Your Mayan Calendar Birthday

What day-sign were you born under? What wisdom does it offer you? MayanDay.com has a convenient Maya date calculator to help you discover your own Maya day-sign, which could serve as an additional layer to your identity.

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Discover More with "The Maya Calendar: An Archetypal Structure of Reality"

If you're eager to dive deeper into the mysteries of the Maya Calendar, don't miss out on our recently published book, "The Maya Calendar: An Archetypal Structure of Reality." This comprehensive guide explores the archetypal and symbolic dimensions of the calendar, offering a fresh perspective on its timeless wisdom.

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Expand Your Knowledge

You can find additional resources to expand your knowledge of the Maya on our Patreon. Where we practice analyzing time as conciousness.

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Don't just follow the days; understand them. MayanDay.com is your key to unlocking the Maya calendar's ancient wisdom.

Mayan Calendar Gen 2 Graphic

First, a fire ceremony

On January 25th 2020 fires all across Central America were lit, to celebrate a sacred day in the Mayan Calendar “Wajxaqib Batz” or 8 Monkey.

Passed down through thousands of years of oral tradition, the Mayan Calendar is still used throughout Central America and Southern Mexico.

It is on this day “Wajxaqib Batz” or 8 Monkey that new Mayan day-keepers known as Aj'qij are initiated.

As a spiritual guide for the community the Aj'qij perform fire ceremonies, readings, to preserve the Mayan Calendar.

There are multiple Mayan calendars

There are actually many different “Mayan Calendars” that all have their own specific meaning and use.

All together they work like gears in a machine, like cogs on a wheel they fit together to create a system of cycles.

Tzol'Kin

Mayan Pyramids How Old

Tzol'kin Mayan Calendar

The Tzol'kin or Chol'qi is the spiritual calendar of the Maya and literally translates to “order of days”.

This 260-day calendar is made up of 20 "archetypes" (also called Nawals)...

-Monkey (B'atz')              

-Path (E')

-Transformation (Aj)

-Jaguar (I'x)

-Eagle (Tz'ikin)

-Vulture (Ajmaq)

-Knowledge (No'j)

-Flint (Tijax)

-Storm (Kawuq)

-Sun (Junajpu)

-Crocodile (Imox)

-Wind (Iq')

-Dawn (Aq'ab'al)

-Net (K'at)

-Serpent (Kan)

-Death (Kame)

-Deer (Kej)

-Rabbit/Ripening (Q'anil)

-Payment (Toj)

-Dog (Tz'i')

...and 13 numbers or intentions.

1 Initiation (Jun)

2 Duality (Keb')

3 Action/ Multiplication (Oxib')

4 Stability (Kajib')

5 Empowerment (Job')

6 Flow (Wakib')

7 Reflection (Wukub')

8 Justice/ Harmony (Wajxaquib')

9 Patience/ Transformation (Belejeb')

10 Manifestation (Lajuj)

11 Resolution (Julajuj)

12 Understanding (Kab'lajuj)

13 Ascension (Oxlajuj)

The Nawals and Numbers combine

In collaboration, these 20 archetypes and 13 numbers create 260 unique days.

This calendar is used to determine ones character or personality, life path, and destiny.

The Tzol'kin Calendar is an understanding of time as consciousness for the Maya, and with each new day comes ruling energy or spirit.

An interesting fact about the Mayan culture is that the day you are born, in the Tzol'kin Calendar would be your name.

The Haab Calendar

Mayan Calendar

The Haab Calendar

The Haab is a solar calendar of 365 days, similar to the Gregorian, is made up of 18—20 day months with a short 5 day month at the end called the “Wayeb”.

The first day of every Haab month starts at 0, which is also described as the seating of the month and ends at 19.

Each month has it's own significance and purpose in the Mayan year.

Month's of the Haab

Haab months

The Haab Months

-Pop (Mat)

-Uo' (Frog)

-Zip (Red)

-Zotz (Bat)

-Tzec (no translation)

-Xul (Dog)

-Yaxkin (Green/ First Sun)

-Mol (Water/ Jade)

-Chen (Cave)

-Yax (Green)

-Zac (White)

-Keh (Red)

-Mac (Close)

-Kankin (Yellow Sun)

-Muwan (Moaning Bird)

-Pax (Planting)

-Kayab (Turtle)

-Kumku (Ripen)

-Wayeb (5 Nameless/ Unfortunate days)

Both the Tzol'kin and the Haab are used in conjunction. Together they create an approximately 52-year cycle before repeating.

This phasing of days and calendars is a common theme with Mayan time science and lends itself to a broad philosophy that there are cycles within cycles...

Supplementary Series (Night Lords/Lunar)

The Night Lord System is a 9-day cycle, that is associated with 9 “Lords of the Night”.

Also referred to as the “G series” the names of these 9 Lords are unknown.

Also part of the supplementary series is a 29 and 30-day Lunar Calendar.

Little was known about these measurements made by the Maya. Until John E.

Teeple an American researcher, discovered a correlation between glyph's at the Mayan site of Palenque.

The Long Count

Calendar

Long Count

The Long Count Calendar is a 5,125-year cycle, that encompasses all of the calendars in a  written form. 

There is no known Mayan word for this calendar system, so the nickname “Long Count” was given based on the size of the cycle and detail used to record the date.

Usually carved into stone monuments known as “stella's” these dates are found throughout Mayan Archaeological sites.

In fact, the earliest recorded Long Count date was discovered in an Olmec site, which predates the Mayans.

The Mayans used the Long Count to record dates within this cycle of 5,125 years, using 5 numeral systems.

20 day's or K'in= 1 Uinal (20 days)

18 Uinal's= 1 Tun (360 days)

20 Tun's= 1 Katun (7,200 days)

20 Katun's= 1 Baktun (144,000 days)

13 Baktun's= The entire Long Count Cycle

The Long Count Cycle in total is 13 “Baktun's” long 1,872,000 days or 5,125 years.

Written in descending order from largest to smallest; these dates were recorded vertically, starting with the corresponding Baktun.

Following these 5 Long Count numerals, you would have the Haab, Tzol'kin, and Night Lord dates.

Creation Date and 2012

Aztec

Aztec Calendar

The Maya would record dates using this system in relevance to a “creation date”, which has been theorized to be August 11th 3114 B.C.  Or 4 Ahau 8 Kumku.

In Mayan Mythology this  date is the 4th creation of the Universe. 5,125 years later is where we get the date December 21st, 2012.

Because of the 2012 phenomena, most people think that the Mayan Calendar ended on December 21st 2012. In reality, the Mayan Calendar does not have an ending, it is a cyclical calendar, after the end of one cycle begins a new one.

The Dream-spell Calendar and Jose Arguelles

Created by Jose Arguelles in the late 1980s the Dream-spell or 13 moon calendar is based on the Mayan Tzol'kin calendar. Arguelles transformed the calendar to fit a New Age style and adopted new concepts such as the I Ching.

The Dream-spell also takes into account a “time-shift” and differs from the Tzol'kin by 52 days.

Although there is much controversy over its legitimacy, it has gathered many followers and even garnered more attention than the traditional calendar.

Use of The Mayan Calendar today

mayan

Temple of Kukulkan

Traveling to Mexico, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala, one can see that the calendar is still tightly interwoven into the culture.

Thousands of Archaeological sites still remain including some of the largest pyramids in the world.

Many people are involved in the study of the Mayan culture and its calendars.

The 2012 phenomena, even though discrediting the calendar for a fictitious apocalyptic event, has ironically injected interest from all over the world.

Now post December 21st, 2012 people are practicing and using the Mayan Calendar in new and interesting ways.

Even though the Mayan Civilization is ancient history, the Mayan people are not, and still carry on their traditions today.

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