Author of the Month

The Sacred Geometry of Sacred Time
in the Olympiad and the Mayan Calendar Round (cont.)
By William Glyn-Jones

Wheels within Wheels : The Tzolkin and the Haab

As you may well know if you've read about the Maya, the 13 and 20-day weeks together make a "year" of 260 days, now known as the Tzolkin, and this 260-day cycle comes into phase with the 365-day Sun-Earth year (which the Maya called the Haab) every 52 of our solar years. This 52-year return is known as the Calendar Round.

And here is the integration of the Calendar Round with the Venus cycle. The Venus cycle, we remember, is 8-years, and consists of the sacred 13-cycle of Venus years. Thirteen of these cycles in turn leads to 13 x 8 solar years which equals 104 years, which is precisely 2 of these 52-year Calendar Rounds. We know from the Mayan Dresden Codex that this 104-year period, called by them the "Venus Round", was counted off by the Maya, and even that they made small adjustments to the count occasionally to keep it synchronised with the Venus cycle. (The Mayan and Other Ancient Calendars, Geoff Stray)

It may not previously have been noted that this Venus Round is 13x13 Venus years, and that this is 169, the same number as the area of the 13x13 tilted square of Crotalus Durrissus mentioned earlier.

Wouldn't it be more elegant still if the 52 year Round integrated with Venus without the need for doubling it up to 104? Not when you factor in a key part of this story, namely the sacred geometry and numerology of this Central American rattlesnake that was so influential in Mayan art, architecture and, of course, the calendar. The halving by geometry of 169 Venus years back down to one Calendar Round of 84.5 Venus years 52 Solar years by geometry increases the elegance of this beautiful strangeness.

Serpent Geometry : The Canamayte Pattern as the Square of the Venus Round

In actual fact the pattern on the snake's hide is in the form of a crossed diamond. I regard this as very neat, because the crossed diamond pattern forms the "Plato's canted squares" pattern which produces a halving of the area, which is exactly what we're looking for, because it gets us back down to the simple rather than the double Calendar Round. If the area of the larger square is 169, that of the inner square is half of this, 84.5. So we are back to the 52-year period produced from the phase pattern of the 13 x 20 Tzolkin year and the solar year.

Inner square = half area of outer (tilted) square, namely 169/2= area 84.5 scales

Venus Calendar Recalibration

We have seen so far that the Venus cycle is indeed a beautiful, ancient, spiralling, harmoniously geometric way to think about time. If we are to make a calendar from it we need to decide what to designate the beginning / end of that eight-year period, and then we can begin to mark off proportions of this period such as its Golden Section points. The mental resonance is increased when we're singing off the same hymn sheet. "Venus Transits" are events that provide an opportunity to do just this, with the rare transits for example in early June 2004 and almost exactly eight years later in early June 2012. It will be over a century until the next transits after 2012, so until then we can work with this as the fixer of the 8-year periods i.e. continuing through 2020, 2028, 2036 and so on.

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