Everything the power of the world does,
is done in a circle.

The sky is round
and I have heard that the earth
is round like a ball,
and so are all the stars.

The wind in its' greatest power whirls.
Birds make their nests in circles;
for their's is the same religion as ours.

The sun comes forth and
goes down again in a circle.
The moon does the same
and both are round.

Even the seasons form a great circle
in their changing
and always come back
to where they were.

The life of a man is a circle,
from childhood to childhood.
and so it is with everything
where power moves.

Black Elk ~ Oglala Sioux ~1863-1950

Humanity's calendars are arbitrary intellectual creations usually based on alignment with observable celestial phenomena such as solar or lunar cycles. Equinoxes and solstices figure prominently within most calendars, as do the four major Moon phases. Other celestial occurrences, much less accessible to observation, are not normally cited. They remain largely in a realm of abstraction, inaccessible to direct observation. This is a fact we must keep in mind when we investigate what is being termed by many as the "2012 phenomenon."

The 2012 phenomenon calls our attention to the winter solstice, December 21, 2012 as being of unique significance to our species. Prominent 2012 researcher John Major Jenkins links its importance to a very rare alignment of the December solstice Sun with the Galactic equator.

According to Jenkins, ancient Mayan skywatchers at Izapa in the highlands of Guatemala anticipated this alignment of the Sun with the galactic plane more than 2000 years ago. Jenkins concludes that the Maya considered this day to be of such importance that they created a Long Count calendar and corresponding sacred architecture to transfer their knowledge to succeeding generations.

Jenkins has almost single-handedly discovered and interpreted what the Maya left behind at Izapa and he has been forthright in bringing the results of his quest to contemporary global society. That same society has been processing his and others revelations about all things Mayan and has come up with a complicated milieu of divergent views. Newcomers to this milieu are often understandably confused by what they see and hear.

After more than a quarter century of study of Mayan cosmology, I conclude, for the moment, that the Maya consider the center of our Milky Way galaxy to be a source of energy and intelligence orchestrating the evolution of all life and that we need to align ourselves consciously and prayerfully with this source in order to live in harmony with its deepest spiritual directives. The Mayan worldview has taught me that divining what those spiritual directives are is primarily a matter of inner spiritual work timed in accordance with their sacred calendar, the Tzolkin, an important component of the more expansive Long Count calendar spoken of above.

It is the Mayan Long Count calendar that calls our attention to the date December 21, 2012 as the final day of a 5,125 year cycle known as a Great Cycle. Five Great Cycles combine to make up one Precessional Year of 26,000 solar years, the time it takes for the Earth's axis to "wobble" its way through one revolution.

Presumably, tracking of the precessional cycle has been attained only incrementally through extended periods of observation using fixed landforms seen against a backdrop of seemingly fixed stars. The night sky would have provided our Mayan ancestors at Izapa with a brilliant display of stars devoid of the light pollution so common in the modern world where stars are almost invisible to the naked eye in most cities. It was in such pristine viewing conditions that they tracked the movement of the Sun and noted that from their geographical locale, when the sun rose on the morning of the winter solstice each year, it was rising in ever-closer conjunction with that portion of the sky they called Xibalba, the Heart of Heaven. Xibalba (pronounced Shi-BAHL-bah) is a relatively large dark area within an otherwise densely populated region of the sky we now call the Milky Way. Modern astronomers have determined this same area to be the exact location of the centre of our galaxy.

The Maya determined that the December solstice sun would eventually rise in direct alignment with the Heart of Heaven. Apparently, they felt that this would signal an era of profound importance to humanity and for this reason left records of their findings for future generations by encoding their knowledge into sacred architecture such as is found at Izapa.

We are now living within the "galactic alignment era" anticipated by the Maya but speculation abounds as to its ultimate significance. Many are seeing this time as one of monumental destruction on a planetary scale, a theme amplified by the recent Hollywood production of the movie 2012. Others, through a plethora of writings, videos, workshops, sacred sites tours, etc., point to a time of significant rebirth and spiritual renewal.


Regardless of what we imagine will happen in 2012, what of the simple legacy left for us by our Mayan ancestors? What of the living Maya?

In the face of the complex integration of art, science and sacred order manifested by the Maya at a multitude of sites such as Izapa, we may well feel daunted in our quest to draw from the Mayan world anything of practical value. How can we possibly find our way into the heart of something so archaic and complex? My suggestion is that we align our inquiry to the changing phases of the Moon in conjunction with the Tzolkin, sacred ritual calendar at the centre of Mayan cosmology. While the latter is abstract and symbolic, the former is concrete and directly experienceable. The integration of the two into an ongoing "meditation-in-action" provides a powerful entry-point into the inner realm of Mayan symbology.

The Lunation Cycle (L) 20 Hieroglyphs of the Mayan Sacred Calendar (Tzolkin) (R)

For more than two thousand years, not only the Maya, but other Mesoamerican cultures as well, have used the Tzolkin for the timing of spiritual activities and for the reckoning of personal destiny. As a divination device, it compares to Tarot, Runes and I Ching. Fundamentally, it is a map of consciousness conveyed through symbols and numbers, a spiritual tool of tremendous depth and complexity that is still used by contemporary Maya in the highlands of Guatemala, the Yucatan peninsula and elsewhere. The Maya consider it to be a universal gift to humanity capable of transmitting cosmic messages emanating from the center of our galaxy, what they call Hunab Ku, the One Giver of Movement and Measure.

In its simplest form, the Tzolkin is a 260 unit matrix of symbols derived from 20 glyphs and 13 numbers. The 260 possible combinations of glyph and number reveal an interconnected web of spiritual essences palpable to human emotion through the phenomenon of sympathetic resonance, or re-sounding. Through resonance, an immediate similarity and correlation between the perceived events of a person's life, and the symbolic events of the Tzolkin can be experienced. Renowned spiritual scholar Mircea Eliade summarized the essential nature of such practice when he wrote: " The man who understands a symbol not only 'opens himself' to the objective world, but at the same time succeeds in emerging from his personal situation and reaching a comprehension of the universal....Thanks to the symbol, the individual experience is 'awoken', and transmuted into a spiritual act."

It is with the intent of introducing others to the spiritual potential of the Tzolkin that I present you with a mandala of Mayan symbols placed in natural alignment to the phases of the Moon. As a simple visual aid to ongoing meditation on four key types of consciousness symbolized by the Mayan glyphs, regular use of this mandala as a meditative aid will prepare you for the much more complex exploration that awaits you if you embrace the Tzolkin in its entirety.

On the mandala, each Mayan glyph represents a distinct quality of consciousness aligned with a specific cardinal direction and with one of the four major turning points of the lunation cycle: New Moon, First Quarter, Full Moon and Last Quarter. You, as the observer, the aspirant to expanded consciousness, reside at the center of the mandala where symbolically, you integrate within your being, all aspects of that mandala.

This is the universal mandala principle in action. Through sustained use of this principle via meditation on the mandala shown here, you are taking a first step towards integration of the wealth of energy and information that the numbers and glyphs of the Tzolkin can provide.



In the direction EAST, universally acknowledged as the place of beginning, is the New Moon and the hieroglyph CHICCHAN (pronunciation: cheek'chan). CHICCHAN is the serpent mind, the mind that is constantly renewed and regenerated through a process of shedding what no longer serves. The physical body itself can be seen as an evolutionary skin periodically released as one life ends and another begins. The physical body is fueled by a form of light the Maya call kultunlilni. Kultunlilni is the vital force empowering all physical life. Modern science understands this same force in terms of the "double serpent" DNA molecule. This life-force is the same as what is also known in Hindu cosmology as the serpent power: kundalini. This power is fully accessible only to the extent that we are able to hear what our bodies, as carriers of its sacred gift, are actually telling us. Sometimes they tell us to turn to those with whom we feel a strong attraction or affinity. This turning activates within us the second of the Four Mayan Minds: OC.


The second Mayan mind is represented by the direction NORTH and by hieroglyph OC (pronunciation: oak'). It aligns with the First Quarter Moon phase, symbolic of passionate and decisive action. OC refers to the mammalian mind, the type of awareness humans, social primates, develop through their close associations with family, friends and other species. It is with these that we are loyal and faithful and with whom we work out our emotional issues. All issues of trust and personal guidance come under the domain of OC. Where the heart's desire is, there is OC. Where there is devotion, there is OC, and there is the animal the Maya associate with it: dog. Where our companions of destiny gather, there is OC. OC offers us guidance on our path through recognition of those who share the same values, vision and purpose as we do.


To the WEST, place of the Full Moon, is placed hieroglyph MEN, symbol of the eagle and of the Planet Mind. To manifest this mind we must access within ourselves the qualities of vision, leadership and spiritual power. We need to be "high flyers to see far", or in the words of a popular phrase, we need to "think globally and act locally." MEN calls us to become empowered on behalf of planet Earth and to sustain an intention to align ourselves with a Greater Reality of Spirit, a reality inaccessible to a merely casual and parochial view of life. MEN would have us rise up in visionary transcendence of the limiting beliefs of our egos, into the inclusivity and beneficence of our Souls. It encourages us to follow our dreams and visions, knowing deep within that we have a divine purpose in the larger pattern of planetary evolution.


To the cardinal direction SOUTH, coincident to the Last Quarter phase of the Moon, we place hieroglyph AHAU, (pronunciation: a how'). AHAU is associated with union, wholeness, ascension and unconditional love. As representative of the goal of all sacred calendar spiritual practice, this symbol is also the final and most inclusive hieroglyph in the series of twenty that make up the Tzolkin calendar. AHAU is the Solar Mind, the Mind of Light and is directly related to the magic of flowers and flower essences. It represents a highly developed consciousness in complete resonance with the Sun, an intermediary between Earth and the center of the galaxy. How is such expanded resonance attained? By acknowledging the perfection of the present moment, cognizant of the fact that we respond to it using a variety of limiting beliefs. By proactive exploration of these beliefs we encounter their limitations. These limitations are further beliefs to be transcended.

In the province of the mind, what is believed to
be true Is true or becomes true, within limits to be
found experientially and experimentally. These
limits are further beliefs to be transcended. In the
province of the mind there are no limits.

J.C. Lilly, M.D.


Regular contemplation of the Mandala of Mayan Minds in simultaneous attunement to the changing phases of the Moon becomes a spiritual practice that nurtures within us an enduring feeling of connection to a Greater Reality of Spirit. It is with the optimistic prospect of sharing such a Reality with you, no matter where you are on planet Earth that I close, not with good bye, but with the traditional Mayan greeting "In Lak'ech" (I am another yourself).


January 26, 2011

Lightning Path Moon Cycle 10 MULUC

Spences Bridge

BC, Canada.

Return to 10 MULUC.