Saturday, March 19, 2005

The Long Count

The Kalajnana uses the Kaliyuga era starting in 3102 BC to predict events in the future. The dates of 5101 (1999) and 5105 (2003) are given for the return of Kalki to establish "Viradharma," a South Indian form of Siva worship (Virasaivism). The Indian year starts in spring, so 5101 would last from spring 1999 to spring 2000.

In Nostradamus famed collection of prophecies known as Centuries, one of his most well-known quatrains (X. 72) reads:

In the year 1999, in the seventh month
the great king of terror shall come from the sky
he shall resurrect the great king of the Angolmois
before and after Mars rules

This quatrain has been linked by some with the coming golden age alluded to in other Nostradamus prophecies, although it's vagueness has given rise to some disagreement.

Nostradamus saw the period from creation to the end of the world lasting 8,000 years and ending in 3797 AD, but he also envisioned lesser cycles similar to that of the Great Week. Using the above data, Nostradamus would have the world begin in 4203 BC, although one of his writings, possibly due to some error, results in counts indicating 4757 or 4758 years before the common era.

European Christian tradition usually follows Eusebius of Caesarea who gives a date of about 3947 BC.

The most common used dating for the start of the Mayan calendar is 3114 BC and the calendar lasts for about 5,125 years. So if we take the date of 1999 in Nostradamus quatrain as proximate to the end/start point in a system of ages, we have:

Start dateEnd DateDuration
Mayan3114 BC2012 AD5,125 years
Nostradamus4203 BC1999 AD6,202 years
Kalajnana3102 BC1999/2003 AD5,101 (5,103) years

I suggested earlier that the start of these cycles may have originated from knowledge diffused by the Nusantao starting in the fourth millennium BC. The difference in precise dates may be due to the fact that the original dates were astrological in nature rather than calendar counts. Different systems used in calculating back to the astronomical phenomenon resulted in varying but still generally close dates.

The Biblical estimates come from the sums of genealogy lists and confusion in this regard may have lead to considerable error. However, considering that the ante-diluvian genealogies appear related to Sumerian king-lists, an astronomical date from the latter tradition is warranted. I believe that would coincide with the period when Spica was located over the latitudes marking the Anu and Enlil path junction. The orientation of building toward this star would resemble in some whay the Qiblah of a mosque oriented toward Mecca, or the Jewish synagogue oriented toward Jerusalem.

The start of the Egyptian calendar varies according to views on what is known as the Sothic cycle. However, from the astronomical viewpoint, the calendar would be calibrated with the coincidence of the heliacal rising of Sirius and the summer solstice at around 3300 BC.

But what of the duration of these cycles? The year 1999 in Nostradamus presumably could have been borrowed from the Kalajnana. An interesting theory offered by scholar Rudy Cambier suggests that Nostradamus borrowed his Centuries from the work of 14th century Cistercian monk Yves de Lessines.

While we will not discuss Cambier's theories on the meaning of the Centuries, he does suggest a connection with the Templars. As you may remember, I mentioned previously a Cistercian abbey in Portugal where an early world map was found. The Cistercian order had close ties with the Templars since the time of Bernard de Clairvaux who had helped to obtain the order's rule. When the Templars were persecuted many sought refuge at Cistercian monasteries.

Did Yves de Lessines have access to Kalajnana traditions through some Templar intermediaries? Unfortunately, there is little more information to make a guess on this one.

However, we can say that the general duration for these cycles does appear to have an astronomical link. In the various traditions, the idea of a conjunction or alignment particularly with regard to the planets is apparent.

According to Berossus, the Great Year ends when the planets come together in one constellation. In Indian tradition, the Kaliyuga started when all the planets were aligned near the star Revati. The savior Kalki comes during a conjunction in the lunar asterism Pushya.

Indeed, with regard to the traditional date for the start of Kaliyuga, the planets did form a very loose conjunction near Revati. It was not the exact alignment suggested in the literature, but then again such precision does not seem to have been the major concern.

The Mayan calendar is fairly clearly set forth. The Mayans had various calendar counts that involved both planetary cycles and the Mayan sacred number counts.

The sacred counting system involved recurring cycles of counts of 20 and 13. Their astronomical observations mainly were concerned with the synodic periods of planets, i.e., the time period between conjunctions of each planet with the Sun. However, the Mayans payed much attention to Venus and had additional counts for this planet.

Conjunctions of these various calendar counts were considered holy to the Mayans. And the grand conjunction of nearly all of them made up their entire sacred calendar known as the Long Count.

The Long Count consisted of 5,200 tun, the Mayan year of 360 days, which converts to about 5,125 solar years. In order to get all their cycles to coincide neatly, the Mayans rounded off planetary cycles and sometimes added an extra day. Again, precision was not as important as the value of achieving a nice round sacred number.

Therefore in 2012, if one accepts the common start date of 3114 BC, the following list of calendar counts will coincide for the first time in 5125 years:

Cycles coinciding at end of Long Count

CycleDurationTotal in Cycle
Baktun144,000 days, 400 tun 13
52 Tun/72 Almanac Cycle 18,720 days100
Katun7,200 days, 20 tun260
Nine Sacred Almanac/Twenty 117-Day Cycle2,340 days800
Triple Sacred Almanac[Mars Synodic Period]780 days2,400
585-Day Cycle[Venus Synodic Period]585 days3,200
Double Sacred Almanac Triple Lunar Half-Node Cycle520 days3,600
400 day cycle[Jupiter Synodic Period?]400 days4,680
Tun360 days5,200
Tzolkin260 days7,200
Venus Visibility as Evening Star 250 days7,488
Cycle Associated with Rain God [Mercury Synodic Period]117 days16,000
Venus Invisibility at Superior Conjunction90 days20,800
Five Trecena Cycle65 days28,800
Haab Calendar Round52 days36,000
30-Day Lunation30 days62,400
Uinal20 days93,600
Trecena13 days144,000
Venus Invisibility at Inferior Conjuction8 days234,000
Glyph G Cycle Lords of the Night (Bolon-ti-ku)9 days208,000
Two, Three and Five Day Cyclesvariousvarious

The table above suggests the Long Count is based on a "great" version of the short count with the katun as the specific unit: 20 X 13 = 260 katuns or 5,200 tuns. All the synodic periods, used to calculate heliacal risings, coincide except that of Saturn. So we might look at the Long Count as timed to a mutual rising of five of the planets from behind the Sun's bright rays coinciding with the sacred number calendar rounds.

The astrologers of the Kalajnana searching for a conjunction similar to that near Revati in 3102 BC, probably used methods like those of the Mayans in finding the least common multiples of the various planetary conjunctions. Apparently this landed them on the date of Kali 5101 or 1999-2000.

That year was not far off the mark as 5101 ended in spring 2000 about a month before a seven planet conjunction near Revati. This conjunction like that of 3102 BC was not very precise however with an orb (error) of about 35 degrees.

The Long Count (5,125 years) and the Kalajnana cycle (5,101 years) are relatively close to a fifth of the precession or about 5,156 years. The Nostradamus cycle (6,202 years) is less accurately a fourth of the precession or about 6,445 years.

Of the planets that come into alignment at the coming new age, Venus stands out in many cultures. Quetzalcoatl, Isis, Inanna and Ishtar all have close association with Venus. The stars Sirius and Spica are likewise linked with this planet. Tala, as the Morning Star, heralds the renewal of the great cycle.

A Kiribati sky dome or maneaba (maneapa) used to teach children about the sky and stars

Paul Kekai Manansala