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Tzolk'in 2017-2018

Un nuevo ciclo panmesoamericano. El ciclo que acaba de completarse abarcó casi el mismo tiempo que Venus en el cielo del amanecer, desde principios de marzo de 2017 hasta mediados de noviembre de 2017. El tiempo de Venus como lucero del amanecer o como lucero del atardecer siempre es de unos 260 a 263 días.

 

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El 26 de julio que registró Fray Diego de Landa (como 16 de julio en el calendario juliano) ha sido siempre una fecha de celebración importante, pero la razón original se ha olvidado.

El 26 de julio es víspera del día de la Creación en fecha 4 Ajaw 8 Kumk’uj, correspondiente al 27 de julio de 3117aC.

Celebrar un año más de la Creación fue sumamente importante para mantener viva la conciencia del Oxlajun Bak’tun (ciclo 13 Baktun).

Oxlajun Bak’tun también se mantuvo en la conciencia de los pueblos mayas y pueblos hermanos gracias a la celebración de la fecha Ox Ka’an K’iin (3 Kankin), misma fecha que vería el cierre del ciclo Oxlajun Bak’tun, el 4 Ajaw 3 Kankin, un 3 de mayo de 2013.

Las dos fechas, 26 de julio y 3 de mayo, son las más importantes hasta el día de hoy en cientos de pueblos mayas en un amplio territorio, que abarca el sur de México, Guatemala, Belice y Honduras.

Es importante evitar caer en conceptos falaces como “el día del no tiempo” o “el día fuera del tiempo”, ya que en los códices con contenido astronómico no se presenta ningún ciclo lunar de 28 días ni tampoco se hace referencia a Sirio.

Los ciclos lunares son siempre de 29 o 30 días y los astros observados son Venus, Marte y Júpiter (principalmente), así como las Pléyades y la Cruz del Sur, observable en el mes de Mayo. Así mismo, se sabe que la constelación de Escorpio se identificaba con el asterismo del Escorpión o Alacrán y que la constelación de Virgo se asociaba al asterismo de un venado, el cual se ve durante las noches de marzo, abril y mayo, tiempo en que se puede cazar. El Ja’ab marca tanto la visibilidad del Alacrán al amanecer del 1 de noviembre (con la entrada del mes Tzek) como la visibilidad del Venado desde el 21 de marzo (con la entrada del mes Kej, que significa venado).

El sistema calendárico original fue usado ampliamente en territorio maya desde el Preclásico hasta el Postclásico. La reconstrucción de todos los ciclos lograda en 2010 (ver Patrick, 2013) permite ofrecer este calendario para el ciclo 13 de agosto de 2017 – 12 de agosto de 2018. Este calendario está disponible para todos y todas a través del siguiente link.

 

The original calendar system was widely used in the Mayan territory from the Preclassic to the Postclassic periods. The reconstruction of all the cycles, which was achieved in 2010 (see Patrick, 2013), now provides this calendar for cycle August 13, 2017 – August 12, 2018. You can have a copy of this calendar through the following link.

JA’AB 2017-2018

Shield Jaguar I from Yaxchilan carried out a Jasaw Chan dance on 19 Yaxk’in of year 735 AD (LC: 9.15.4.16.11). That was December 30, which is known by Sun observers to be the last day of Sun’s stillness around solstice. In other words, the Sun’s apparent detention on its southernmost position on the horizon happens on December 20 and December 21, but its slow motion towards that detention occurs during the nine days prior to December 20, and its slow recovery pace occurs during the nine days after December 21. That time lapse is exactly twenty days long, i.e. from December 11 till December 30. It is a time for the observance of a Sun that has the character of a newborn creature. Its radiance, warmth and size are all qualities of the beginning of the Sun’s cycle. That is why the twenty-day long winal or month is called Yaxk’in. It means first Sun.

The Jasaw Chan dance practiced in eighth-century Yaxchilan was consistently related to the conclusion of the Sun’s still days on its southernmost region on the horizon so to begin its journey towards the north. Epigraphic texts on Stela 11 and Lintels 9 and 33, where Shield Jaguar is portrayed holding a flapstaff, show a verbal phrase that incorporates the verb ‘dance’ followed by a ti’ expression and variable element ja-sa-wa chan (Grube 1992), read as jasaw chan.

Chan means ‘sky’, whereas jasaw has the root jas and the suffix –aw which, in this case, derives an adjective from the verb jas (Looper 2003). In the Barrera Vazquez dictionary (1980) Looper finds the entry has muyal, which means “aclarar el tiempo quitándose las nubes” (the sky becomes clear as clouds go away). A similar term on the same page of the dictionary is haatsal muyal, meaning “aclararse el tiempo, descubrirse el sol cuando está el cielo nublado o está lloviendo”(the sky becomes clear, the Sun comes out when the sky is cloudy or it is raining). With some caution –because has sound is softer than jas– it may be proposed that Jasaw chan means ‘clear sky’, so the dance may have been celebrating this meteorological condition.

The relevance of the Jasaw Chan dance is shown by the fact that it was also carried out (and reported) five years later, on 19 Yaxk’in, by both Shield Jaguar I and his successor Bird Jaguar IV. It happened on December 30, 740 (LC: 9.15.9.17.16) (see Figure 1), when the Sun’s position was exactly the same as when the dance was executed on 19 Yaxk’in, December 30, 735. Even more, Bird Jaguar made the same dance six years later, on December 30, 746 (LC: 9.15.16.1.6). Again, the Sun’s position was exactly the same. The reader may wonder about the reiteration of the fact that 19 Yaxk’in kept happening on December 30 through a span of eleven years.

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Figure 1. Shield Jaguar I and Bird Jaguar IV celebrating a Jasaw Chan dance to mark the completion of the Sun’s journey to the south and its last day of apparent stillness around December solstice. Image taken from Noble (2004).

According to the Goodman-Martinez-Thompson correlation, the dates of those three Jasaw dances did not occur on December 30, but rather on June 27, 26 and 25 respectively, about six months after the dates given here. The GMT correlation has that huge problem of producing dates impossible to link to any astronomical cycle. Dates as obvious as those of the Sun ceremonies (the Jasaw Chan dances) lag off from a solar reference when the researcher uses the GMT correlation.

For the Jasaw Chan dances mentioned above, the reader can convert the Long Count (LC) dates provided, in two applications. One is provided online by Famsi (Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies) under Resources and 2012 Phenomenon: http://research.famsi.org/date_mayaLC.php and the other converter is for the correlation I am offering: http://damixi.jl.serv.net.mx/test/. The reader can see and compare the dates obtained for the Long Count dates. Whereas the GMT correlation produces dates that do not enable us to sustain any thesis pertaining the Mayan’s capacity to keep in pace with the Sun’s yearly cycle, the GPE correlation that I offer (note 1) does sustain that thesis and also speaks highly of the rest of the Mayan’s astronomical observances regarding Mars, Jupiter, Venus, the Moon, eclipses and also seasons (note 2).

We have good evidence that the dance for clear skies –which additionally marked the conclusion of the Sun’s journey to the south– was also celebrated by the culturally and linguistically related Otomian group that was widely spread on the plateau of Central Mexico. The Otomian group was a culture that thrived far before the proto-Mayan peoples and which became contemporary with the first Mayance groups some four thousand years ago.

The Otomi twenty-day month during which the dance was executed was called Anthaxme, and it spanned between December 14 and January 3. The painted amate books (note 3) that remain and which show ceremonial practices on each month depict, for month Anthaxme, men holding flap staffs very alike those held by the Mayan. In the case of the Otomian ones, the flap staff banners were made with colored amate paper (Figure 2). According to Looper (2003), the Mayan flap staffs had “tubular fabric banners”.

The Mexica reproduced these December dances after they had settled in Otomian territory in the mid fourteenth century; they called the corresponding month Panquetzaliztli, which derives from pantli (banner), quetza (to rise) and liztli (verb suffix), meaning ‘flag rise’. Codex Borgia shows representatives from different regions participating in the dance (Figure 3). The month for this flag staff ritual spans from December 9 to December 28 in the Mexica calendar, whereas it spans from December 14 to January 3 in the Otomi calendar.

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Figure 2. Reproduction of image from a calendar of Otomian-Mexica design, Codex Vaticanus A. The image shows a dancer of the banner or flap staff ceremony, celebrated around December solstice. The month was called Panquetzaliztli by the Mexica, which means ‘flap staff rise’.

 

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Figure 3. Codex Borgia, p.33. Panquetzaliztli flap staff banner ceremony.

It is interesting to note that on the day after the end of Yaxk’in (i.e., after December 30), there entered a time of weather predictions. This means that, right after having celebrated ‘clear skies’, meteorological experts became involved in the observance of the weather, taking particular note of the clouds. That practice is still carried out by some Aj Men in some communities in Yucatan through January, and it is called Xoc k’in. The original weather forecasting was done during month Mol, that runs between December 31 and January 19. Mol may be alluding to rain deity Chaac Mol. The Otomi rain deity is called Muye by the Otomi. It is very interesting to note that the clouds are called muyal in Yukatek.

For the Otomi and Mexica, the corresponding month was called, respectively, Ancandehe (meaning water comes down) and Atemoztli (also meaning water comes down). Tradition among Otomian peoples in Mexico State is that we must see if four clouds form in a clear sky on the last day of December, and then we must watch for cloud formation and rains from the first days of January on. Their ancestors’ calendar shows the rain deity Muye actually coming down in a torrent of water on month Ancandehe (Figure 4).

 

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Figure 4. Rain deity Muye (Otomi name) or Tlaloc (Mexica name) is depicted in Codex Telleriano-Remensis for Otomi month Ancandehe (from January 3 to 22) or Mexica month Atemoztli which spans between December 29 and January 17.

Everyone who has lived in Mexico knows that, despite the fact that the rainy season spans between mid May and mid October, when January enters, rain falls intermittently for some days or weeks and it helps lay out a neat prognostic of how the year will be like in terms of humidity, drought and rain. Farmers program their planting accordingly.

So all in all, we are identifying a pan-Mesoamerican knowledge that is rooted in deep history and which is still alive today. It tells us how the Sun’s culmination of its journey to the South brings clear skies. Also, it implicitly tells us that the Sun needs dancing ceremonies to accompany or celebrate its reactivation. More importantly, it is meteorological knowledge on how January rains have been used for at least over one thousand years to forecast the weather for the whole December solstice-December solstice cycle.

As we face the crude reality of climate crisis, many wonder if these ancestral practices are of any relevance. Traditional weather forecasters and timekeepers say that, in order to contribute to Earth’s recovery of harmony, it is necessary to continue with such ceremonies as much as possible.

 

Notes:

  1. GPE Correlation has the author’s initials, Geraldine Patrick Encina.
  2. Bird Jaguar celebrated yet another flap staff ceremony much later, towards the end of his life. The LC date was 9.16.17.6.12 (Lintel 9, Yaxchilan), and it happened not on 19 Yaxk’in but on the following day, Seating of Mol. The date was December 31, 767. This is 21 years after the last ceremony had taken place on year 746. In the GMT correlation, the solar date of the dance suffers a lag with respect to the solar date of the first same type of dance in Bird Jaguar’s lifetime. In contrast, the GPE correlation gives the same solar date over and over, no matter how many years have gone by. Such astronomical solidness is only offered by the GPE correlation.
  3. Amate is the paper made from Ficus sp. fiber by the Otomi peoples who are keepers of this millenary biocultural heritage.

 

References

Grube, Nikolai (1992). Classic Maya Dance. Evidence from Hieroglyphs and Iconography. Mesoamerica 3:201-208.

Noble Bardslay, Sandra. 2004(1994) “Rewriting History at Yaxchilán: Inaugural Art of Bird Jaguar IV” Originally published in Seventh Palenque Round Table, 1989, edited by Merle Greene Robertson and Virginia M. Fields. Electronic version. Pre-Columbian Art Research Institute, San Francisco.

Looper, Matthew  G. (2003) “The Meaning of the Maya Flapstaff Dance” In Glyph Dwellers, edited by Macri, Martha and Matthew G. Looper.

 

Further reading

Patrick, Geraldine (2013a). “Long Count in Function of the Haab and its Venus-Moon relation. Application in Chichen Itzá.” Translation of the original article and original article in Spanish on the link for Revista Digital Universitaria. Vol. 5 Num. 5.

Patrick, Geraldine (2013b). “Muye, el Tlaloc Otomi en los Códices. ¿Qué papel juega en las veintenas?” En Tlaloc ¿Qué? (accessible in Academia.edu).

 

For all those who are English readers and would like to learn further about my work, please go to the sidebar on your right and find heading CHICHEN ITZA. Click on Revista Digital de la UNAM, and go to EJEMPLARES. Click on number “4” to find all 2013 publications and scroll down to Number 5 (May 2013). There you will find my article related to Chichen Itza. Click on it and see how beneath Asbstract it says “English Version”. You can download the PDF in your computer.

Another way to go directly to the Article is with the following link. Again, click on “English Version” to downlad PDF.

http://www.revista.unam.mx/vol.14/num5/art05/

Posts that are only in Spanish, will shortly be translated.

 

Les presento el convertidor de fechas que hemos desarrollado con Ezequiel Neri a partir de mis investigaciones (ver Post sobre mis publicaciones).

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Presenta dos ventanas. En la primera usted puede ingresar cualquier fecha gregoriana para conocer la fecha en Cuenta Larga y en Rueda Calendárica, incluyendo el ingreso de uno de los 9 Señores de la Noche, mismos que cambian cada día y que siguen un ciclo de 819 días.

En la segunda ventana usted puede insertar cualquier registro de la Cuenta Larga y, al oprimir Convertir, obtendrá la fecha en el Calendario Gregoriano (incluso antes de que se instaurara en 1582). Esta fecha es útil porque nos da la referencia solar real. Por ejemplo, todos sabemos hoy que el solsticio de verano en el hemisferio norte es el 21 de junio. El solsticio de invierno es el 21 de diciembre. Para los mayas, ese día es 10 Yaxk’in en el calendario perpetuo del Haab’. Yaxk’in es el nombre yucateco de la veintena que en toda la región se asocia al tiempo conocido como ‘verano’. Este término es un préstamo de los españoles que tienen clima mediterráneo, el cual es seco y sin lluvias en tiempo de verano. Dado que, en el clima tropical Mesoamericano, el mes de diciembre es seco y sin lluvias, se le conoce al mismo como el mes de ‘verano’. Así aparece la traducción para Yaxk’in en el Diccionario de Motul del siglo XVI preparado por franciscanos en Yucatán.

Una vez que nos acostumbremos a emplear el Haab’ como lo hicieron los antepasados, podremos asociar los eventos de alineaciones en sitios arqueológicos y también las celebraciones de ciertas fiestas tradicionales de los pueblos mayas, con las fechas del Haab’ auténtico y original. En mi artículo de 2013 en la Revista Universitaria Digital (http://www.revista.unam.mx/vol.14/num5/art05/) se muestra cómo cobran sentido ocho alineaciones de estructuras de Chichén Itzá por estar marcando inicios de veintenas del Haab’.

El link al Convertidor de fechas mayas es el siguiente:

http://damixi.jl.serv.net.mx/test/cl.jsp

Usted puede contrastar las fechas con las que ofrece la Correlación GMT, misma que aparece en la página de famsi (Fundación para el Avance de Estudios Mesoamericanos) en:

http://research.famsi.org/spanish/date_mayaLC.php

Verá que, mientras que con el Convertidor Damixi la fecha 21 de diciembre para cualquier año es siempre 10 Yaxk’in, con el convertidor de la Correlación GMT, el 21 de diciembre ahora mara un día de la veintena Kank’in, una veintena originalmente ubicada en mayo. Esto produce gran confusión en el pueblo Maya que intenta practicar el sistema ancestral de la cuenta.

Espero que a partir de ahora, quienes acceden a internet puedan disponer de este instrumento.

Cada vez que llega 1 Imix en el calendario (equivalente a 1 Cipactli en el calendario mexica), el ciclo del Tzolk’in vuelve a iniciar.

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Desde que pude recuperar la Rueda Calendárica original, es decir, la articulación del Tzolk’in con el Haab’ tal y como la llevaron los contadores del tiempo desde el Preclásico hasta tan recientemente como 1697 y 1822 (como mostraré en un futuro artículo), en este espacio he venido mostrando el Tzolk’in cada 260 días para que usted lo pueda seguir.

Ver mi artículo para conocer cómo recuperé la Rueda Calendárica original http://www.revista.unam.mx/vol.14/num5/art05/ .