Mayan Majix - The Mayan Calendar
HomeStoreDaily TzolkinLearning LabInfo CenterMayan SitesArticlesIan LungoldLinksContact Us
The Galactic Butterfly


As One Cycle Ends, Another Begins

To this day, the origin of the Tzolkin Sacred Calendar remains unknown but it has been traced as far back as 2500 BCE during the Olmec civilization in south central Mexico.

“There have been many theories that attempt to explain the origins of the 260-day cycle, and most of them show a connection with natural cycles. The cycle of seed-to-harvest for certain types of corn grown in Guatemala is about 260 days. In the Dresden Codex, there are 258 days between Venus rising as an evening star and its emergence as a morning star, a period which correlates with the Aztec myth of Quetzacoatl’s journey to the underworld. Perhaps the most significant correspondence is the period of human gestation. Nine lunar months are approximately equal to 260 days.” Barbara Tedlock, Time & the Highland Maya

The Count that comes down to us today is still used by daykeepers among the Quiche, Cakchiquel, Tzutujil and others and has been followed unbroken for over 3,000 years.

According to Tony Shearer in Beneath the Moon and Under the Sun, there was a Maya story told to Friar Juan de Cordova on the day of Flint about a light coming from the Sun as a Solar Beam bringing with it the “Book of Days” which we know as the Sacred Calendar or Tzolkin.

“On the day we call Tecpatl (Flint) a great light came from the northeastern sky. It glowed for four days in the sky, then lowered itself to that rock (the rock can still be seen at Tenochtitlan de Valle in Oaxaca). From the light there came a great, a very powerful being who stood on the very top of the rock and glowed like the sun in the sky.

There he stood for all to see, shining day and night. Then he spoke, his voice was like thunder, booming across the valley.

Our old men and women, the astronomers and astrologists, could understand him and he could understand them.

He (the Solar Beam) told us how to pray and fixed for us days of fast and feasting. He then balanced the “Book of days,” (Sacred Calendar) and left, vowing that he would always watch down on us, his beloved people.”

The Tzolkin Sacred Calendar is less of a human invention and more of a profound insight into the organizational tendencies within nature.

The Tzolkin is a perpetual 260-day calendar created by the permutations of 13 numbers and 20 symbols. This natural timing frequency of 13:20 is universal, synchronizing the whole of creation from the infinitely large to the infinitely small. Jose Arguelles described The Tzolkin as a self-existing system of ratios coding all forms of being in relation to themselves and to each other. By resonating with this frequency, one is naturally synchronized with one’s self in the present moment. One realizes that the self is infinitely interconnected with everything else that exists, has existed, and will exist. Our perception of linear time is an illusion. Everything exists right Now.

The Tzolkin is synchronized with the movement of energy and consciousness within our galaxy. The Tzolkin reflects the Hunab Ku, the conscious center of the galaxy. The Maya believed it was necessary to align oneself with this energy to attain spiritual harmony in life and with nature.

The Maya understood that everything comes from and returns to the One Source. They recognized the Sun as the central source of energy and life within the solar system. They recognized that each being is linked back to the source of the next highest dimension. “This idea can be understood through the Maya concept of Kuxan Suum, literally ‘the Road to the Sky leading to the Umbilical Cord of the Universe.’ This umbilical cord is a resonant pathway which connects you, the individual, through the center of the planet, through the heart of the sun, to the galactic core, to the Heart of All Beings. This Hunab Ku is the Heart of All Beings and each of us is connected through our own hearts. It is through this resonant circuit that the center of the galaxy transmits all evolutionary programs and memory patters to each respective star system. The sun, in turn, focuses these vibrations down even further into the various planetary bodies within the solar system. In the Maya perspective, everything travels in both directions simultaneously. This is known as the Zuvuya principal. The Zuvuya represents the Universal memory circuit which extends from and returns to the Source of Infinity, thus connecting everything back to its Self. Thus, from the perspective of the Galactic Maya, there is one source of all energy which is divine consciousness which manifests itself as an infinite number of possible forms throughout all dimensions. Each possible form is a frequency vibration; indeed all matter is essentially interconnected waves of energy…. The Maya based their understanding of reality on frequencies, vibrations and harmonies.” Jose Arguelles, Surfers of the Zuvaya

Although the Tzolkin can be and is used as a calendar, it is not about chronological time, it’s about the creation cycles relative to the permutations of the cyclical Emanation of Divine Providence (which the Maya call Hunab Ku) through electromagnetic radiation. These cycles evolve human consciousness into Universal Consciousness. The dark space of the Milky Way was recognized by the Classic Maya as the central point in our Galaxy and was regarded as the source and destination of all things – spirit pulsing the energy of creation at every moment - the breath which connects us all.

Tzolkin as the Master Calendar

The Tzolkin has been regarded as the Master Calendar around which all the other calendars revolve. The Haab is the solar and agricultural calendar of 365 days. The combination of the Tzolkin and Haab calendars is the 52 year Calendar Round.

At a level even greater than the Calendar Round is the Long Count, an immensely long system of five increasingly larger cycles (kin, uinal, tun, katun, baktun) that ultimately measures a time period of 5,128 years. The Long Count was used to compute large cosmic and historical cycles.

The dates that appear on Maya monuments refer to this Long Count system. Maya inscriptions listing events, names and places would place these within the context of how many days had elapsed since the start of the current 5,128 year cycle. The current great cycle was thought to have started on August 13, 3114 BCE and it will end 5,128 years later on December 21, 2012.

Based on the Tzolkin, the Long Count adds another level of complexity to the concept of time. The basic unit is called kin. This word means day or sun. The Maya track temporal cycles one kin at a time. Mayan mathematics uses a base 20, or vigesimal, counting system that begins with zero (i.e. 0-19). 20 days equal one uinal; thus, all Mayan cycle calibrations can be expanded by factors of 20. The Maya understood and used at least 17 different calendars. 

The easiest way to visualize the Great Cycle is to remember that the Tzolkin can be applied to different scales without distorting the pattern. That is, the proportions of the 20 tones and 13 pulsations remain constant as we zoom in or zoom out of different size reference frames. The Great Cycle equals 260 katuns, thus the Tzolkin can be used to map this larger cycle by allowing each unit to equal one katun. We’ve already mentioned that days can be expanded by multiples of twenty. Therefore, the Great Cycle can be viewed as a set of thirteen baktuns, or columns, where each baktun contains 20 katuns. According to Kenneth Johnson in Jaguar Wisdom, each katun is an Ahau (Lord or Sun) who rules over that span of time. Each katun ends on the day Ahau in the Tzolkin Sacred Calendar always on a different number setting up a special rhythm. April 5, 1993 was the beginning of the final katun of the entire Great Cycle. This katun, ending December 21, 2012 is numbered 4 – 4 Ahau is the katun of the return of the great avatar Feathered Serpent or Quetzalcoatl.

The Maya considered the period of this Great Cycle to be equivalent to a World Age, or Sun, and thus the 5,200 Tun Long Count reflects a creation epoch. 

From this perspective, we are not only nearing the end of the Great Cycle of history, but we are about to close out an entire 26,000 year Grand Cycle period of evolution. 

Sacred Calendar and Sacred Tree

The Sacred Tree plays an important role in Mayan cosmology and astrology. There is a strong relationship and connection between the Maya and the Milky Way. From their terrestrial perspective, the Sacred Tree was seen as the crossing point of the ecliptic with the band of the Milky Way. The ecliptic is marked by the path of the Sun and the planets. The intersection of the ecliptic and the Milky Way also represents the sacred doorway to the underworld as well as the sacred source and origin of creation. The Quiche Maya of Guatemala referred to this celestial feature as Xibalba be, which means “road to the underworld.” 

John Major Jenkins and other researchers have discovered that the end of the Mayan Long Count coincides with a rare alignment between the Earth, the Sun, and the Galaxy. Specifically, the alignment we are talking about occurs when the winter solstice Sun of the year 2012 AD conjuncts the Sacred Tree (formed by the intersection of the ecliptic and the Milky Way).

To be more precise, the solstice Sun aligns with the ecliptic and the galactic equator, which is the imaginary line that marks the center of the Milky Way band. Presently, the Milky Way crosses the ecliptic through the constellation of Sagittarius, which also happens to be the direction of Galactic Center. In other words, on the morning of December 21, 2012, we will witness the heliacal rising of the Galactic Center with the winter solstice Sun as they emerge together over the Eastern horizon. This convergence is determined by precession. 

“Indeed, this alignment has been coming together very slowly over thousands and thousands of years. The Maya obviously knew about the precession, as it is automatically accounted for in the Tzolkin which can be expanded to perfectly fit the 26,000 tun cycle of the Earth. It is quite amazing indeed to consider that the Mayan astronomers knew the exact date the winter solstice would eclipse the Galactic Center, a event some 2000 years in the future from the approximate time the Long Count was inaugurated. This particular winter solstice represents more than the birth of new solar year. The event is of such significance that it was considered by the Maya to be the birth, not only of new Great Cycle World Age, but of a whole new Grand 26,000 Tun Precessional Age.” Galactic Mayan Time Science Project 2001

Birth of a New Cycle

The Popul Vuh (Maya creation myth) presents the message that early men are destroyed by fire, flood and wild animals in order to facilitate an ongoing process of evolutionary development. “The concept of successive worlds records the progress of human spiritual evolution, and the changes in the Great Cycles mark significant evolutionary leaps – moments when powerful transformations occur, when one world or level of consciousness goes through a kind of death in order that a higher level of development may take shape.

“The end of the Great Cycle does not mean the actual physical destruction of the planet. It heralds the death of an outmoded level of consciousness that no longer serves humanity’s needs….The ancient prophecies are equally clear in promising the birth of a new, more enlightened field of consciousness.” Kenneth Johnson, Jaquar Wisdom

Our relationship with nature is connected to our perception of time and our consciousness is connected to the calendar or calendars we follow. Currently, most of humanity is following the 12 month Gregorian calendar system which does not synchronize with any natural cycle. Furthermore, our system of time is based on artificial units we call seconds and minutes (12:60). These artificial timing frequencies have disturbed the natural timing frequency of universal consciousness. Fortunately, the Maya left humanity the method or key to shift our consciousness into the natural rhythm of the present moment.

This key is the Tzolkin Sacred Calendar. Specifically, the 13 numbers and 20 symbols which create the Tzolkin can be used as a natural timing frequency. (Natural time is based on the relationships of organic and natural processes, such as the motion of the stars, planets, and galaxies, the biological rhythms of plants and animals, as well as the subtle inner-dimensional movements of consciousness and mind.)

“The sacred Mayan calendar always was and still is keeping track of the cycles of Cause and, we today can note, just as the Maya did throughout their history, the record of the effects generated by these causes seen in the stars, planets, and, in their own societies. The ancient Maya knew that they were connected into the mind of God.

We are just now figuring out how they did that.

It was their sacred calendar system.

Now, with our scientific proofs, we can better understand the Mayan sacred calendar and its purpose. The Mayan calendar is not now, nor was it ever used to tell time. It has always been a tuning device for consciousness. The Mayan calendar was always a tool to tune your consciousness and to engage your intuition. “What you pay attention to, you become conscious of.” By accurately paying attention to the flow of consciousness day by day on the Tzolkin calendar for instance, you start to become attuned to the Flow of Creation and your inner knowing or intuition responds. This is the basic power of the 13:20 ratio getting into gear and it is why persons are intuitively guided to the Mayan calendar in the first place.“ 
Ian Xel Lungold

As one Great Cycle ends and another begins, the Tzolkin continues to resonate the universal consciousness, one sacred day after another.


In Lak’ech,

William and Viola
1 Caban
Caban Trecena
13 Caban Yearbearer

©2007 William and Viola Welsch


Bookmark and Share

Mayan Majix Newsletter


Home \ Learning Lab \ Info Center \ Mayan Sites \ Daily Tzolkin \ Store \ Ian Lungold \ Links \ Contact

Mayan Calendar - Mayan Calendar page about
and use Mayan Calendars, Mayan calendar products.

Mayan Horoscopes - Mayan Horoscope page about and use
of Mayan Astrology, Mayan Horoscope information.

Mayan Jewelry - Mayan Jewelry page, unique handmade
ancient Mayan symbols in Sterling Silver.

Copyright 1998 - 2012 Mayan Majix , all rights reserved.