Sunday, February 5, 2006
love and knowledge in the usual direction
I'm in a much better mood since Venus stationed direct early last Friday. Although I've be working this year on making EBay sales mean something, which I might add has been more successful than last year, I'm still following my studies in astrology and the Maya calendar. I may post something comprehensive here so that you may all understand why I have this fascination.
Much of my current reading has been following the Maya calendar, aka Tzolk'in. I am amazed how much new information there is about both classic and modern Maya culture printed in just the past twenty years. Growing up I'd always heard that the majority of knowledge was lost and because so little was published in the mainstream market, I could only assume it was difficult to research unless you were a scholar. But in fact, archaeologists and sociologist have published many works directed at a public market, making great strides in piecing together the classic Maya culture from remaining codices and monumental architecture and comparing it to current culture in the region.
My own interest was rekindled by a nearly unrelated work that followed a New Age spiritual tradition. Over the past years I've regularly purchased the 13-Moon calendar, sometimes called the Dreamspell. It assigns names and numbers in the tradition of the Maya Tzolk'in, using the same symbols, but with different application and with a direct correlation to the Gregorian calendar.
In investigating the Dreamspell's roots and development as a way to understanding its spiritual message I realized its existence was almost obfuscating the original Maya system which is still followed in the Yucatan highlands. The Tzolk'in is steeped in a long tradition of astronomical observation, which hit its peak during the heights of the Classical Mayan period (200-900 CE).
On the other hand, the Dreamspell follows a metaphysical agenda, tied more to vibrational frequencies within the body, associated to Chakras and other Asian spiritual traditions that are popular in the US. This is really not so removed from a modern understanding of the Tzolk'in, because the modern Maya explain the system’s unique numerical juxtaposition of cycles of thirteen days and twenty days by relating it variously to cycles and systems of the body.
Last fall I was learning about the Tzolk'in from my friend Carol McCloud who has an extensive website where over the past five years she has been following the traditional count of days. She has established a working knowledge of the system based on her initial interest in Tarot symbolism. Within the past fifteen to twenty years archaeologists have developed a more complete understanding of Classic Maya cosmology through breakthroughs in translation and interpretation of architectural carvings and artifacts. I believe it is now possible to develop a more complete and “classic” interpretation of the Tzolk'in and my studies have confirmed in my mind its connection to astronomical cycles as well as the previously suggested body cycles.
Another item relating to astrology: I've been reading and very much enjoying a historical survey of western astrology, The Fated Sky, by Benson Bobrick. I read a review of it in the New Yorker and noted they gave it a favorable review. Although I’m being exposed to lots of traditional ideas, it is exposing me to notions of how astrology has been applied and influenced western culture and history. Even if you don’t have a working knowledge of astrology the book is interesting, I do have to agree with The New Yorker that various short passages can be a serious wade in astrological lingo although they are easy enough to pass over.