Author of the Month

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

Example Tzolkin Tablet Ending July 31 2009 of the Olympian Calendar Round


The Avebury Pythiad?

Almost to the day, the same moon phase at the same time of year occurs after a period of 8 years. This is quite a coincidence given that this is also the period of the Venus cycle. The number of moon phases in this period is 99. We don't know for certain how many stones there were in the outer circle at Avebury, but the number does appear to have been 99. We'll go with this here in order to build up a mytho-poetic image. Evelyn Francis in Avebury suggests the circle of 99 stones at Avebury represents this cycle of moons. Having been to look at the stones on a moonlit night, and seen how the crystals in the rock shine beautifully in that lunar light, I have been tempted to take this seriously - each stone standing for a full moon.

The archaeologist Mike Pitts, in Hengeworld, writes "Erecting even the smallest [megalithic] stone is an event. It requires planning and organisation, people and equipment. It attracts attention and bequeaths stories - it generates a buzz....The important thing was the observance, the activity."

Stukeley's drawing of two gigantic Avebury megaliths

There is a longstanding folkloric tradition of timing activities to the lunar cycle - receiving the new seed in the quietness of new moon, bringing projects to fruition at full moon, letting go and preparing for the next project in the waning period.

If we put these ideas together, a wonderful possibility arises. Did the builders of Avebury gather together and raise one of the stones of the outer circle during each moon phase for the full 8-year period, perhaps timing the final raising into position of each of these giant stones with each of the 99 full moons? If so... can only imagine the joy of the final celebration when the last stone was raised as the three brightest bodies in the sky recalled the moment when the project had been begun:
Venus was observed in the same position in the sky and the Moon in the same phase as the time almost exactly eight solar years before, when the Sun too had the same rising and setting point on the horizon and position in the starry sky!

What a wonderful time to bring their great work to completion, as the heavens completed their sacred period. If you think about it, the poets of Greece we doing the same thing when they prepared to display their works at the Pythian Games of Delphi every 8 and later 8/2 years. They completed and perfected their works in order to be ready by the completion of the period.

The act of construction itself, the process, would then have been a way to attune to this cycle, a brilliant and harmonious song singing still in the stones even now. Whether by synchronicity or design, the sacred 8-year cycle of Sun, Moon and Venus is crystallized in lasting Earthly - and earthy - form at Avebury, on a colossal, Olympian scale yet with the satisfying, protected feel of a haven: Sacred Time translated into Sacred Space.

Stones of the Avebury great circle and a spiral of meditating visitors at the site, Spring 2009.
Photos Kate Walmsley

More speculatively still, there is the fact that when the great ditch of the henge surrounding the stone circle was excavated it was found to have a surprisingly regular flat bottom. Was this circular track ever used for games and races? This ditch was dug to an amazing depth of 11 metres into the chalk, and the circumference of the circle it follows is over a kilometre! 400 men has been reckoned a likely size for a workforce, and it's been calculated that 400 men could have dug this mighty ditch in 8 years.

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