The Great Cycle

God “D” – Itzamna

So, lets cut right to the crux of studies that reflect a revolution in modern day views of the Aztec/Maya, namely those of an English scholar by the name of J. E. Thompson. He began with observing the modern Maya as they are today, and waiting on the shadows of the past that reveal themselves in this day. He surmised that the reflections of modern practices were the remains of ceremonies long gone, as this is enough to say the past is allowed to speak for itself in the ‘echoes’ of human history. Here we are introduced to the god Itzam-na (God ‘D’ of the Maya Codices),  an upper god and creator deity thought to be residing in the sky, relative to the Aztec god, Tonacatecuhtil. This god is considered a high-priest that introduced kingship and writing [similar to the the Egyptian god, Thoth], a sorcerer, and a lord of time. It is the relationship to “time” that will prove most intrinsic in how the Maya were obsessive about the sky and planetary motion in regard to time. Thompson proposed this god to mean ‘reptile-house’ (iguana), and as it just so happens, reptilian imagery is at the foundations of many Mayan myths and cosmology, similar to biblical genesis has its ‘snake’. The range of images relative to Itzamna include a Cosmic Monster, Vision Serpents, and the illustrious Manikin Scepter. This god remains as one of many creator gods, rooted in the distant Classic Period of Mayan history. However, in more modern investigations this god is not found to be of the ‘iguana-house’, although he is found in numerous ritual scenes across the Yucatan.

This god is considered the ‘overseer’ of the Otherworld, placing him as a very powerful lord of time, as a sage of ancient context. Due to this gods extensive presence in so many relative cosmological references he is often viewed as being the rival against so many other gods as the primary form/force behind so much of Mayan myth. And as this seems to imply the very real possibility of him being the single monotheistic kingship of creation he rivals the others, as they slowly become the servants of this one great image of creative influence. It is interesting to note that this motif extends into two other forms, again similar to Mesopotamian and Egyptian traditions. The Maya have been traced back to 1500 BC, entering the Classic Period about 300 AD and flourishing between 600 and 900 AD, and with the end of the classic period, the image remains for the next six centuries in Mayan Cosmology. It is this one note that interestingly has caused disturbances in the way the priesthood and kingships of this civilization have fallen and risen in their own determination of holding onto more ancient traditions while history forced change and new thinking across the Mayan world. This in turn presents a very unique question then, for which world held the greater sense of cosmology for the Maya, the pre- or post-classic world?

As the Christian traditions were introduced, or more so forced upon them, the Mayan commoners had to wrestle with the fact that their gods were being manipulated for them, if not by their own overlords then by the encroachment of the outside world. And for the Maya, with a view of a ‘flat’ world, held in place by four-winds, or four-direction gods, with a strong creation mythology of the skies above them and the underworld below them, the presence of outsiders was disturbing as it implied that their view of cosmic creation and earthbound natures was lacking in knowledge or spiritual ideals. History was changing their precious, isolated conceptions, and for them it rapidly became cataclysmic, even as their own prophetic cosmology predicted it would be. As with K’uk’ulkan (Quetzalcoatl – The Feathered Serpent) and Itzam-Na (Sky Artist), the use of “winged” imagery is significant to the sky-gods and carries an important ideal in Maya creation themes as being events of astral proportion. This doesn’t mean they’re not to be considered human or extraterrestrial in origin as much as that they have earthbound and astral relationships, very similar to the Egyptian hierarchy of Pharaoh’s and their attachment to astral concepts of constellations or specific stars.

So the question remains as to who, or what, is Itzam? Itzam, literally, “one who does itz”, is a person or force that opens a portal to bring ‘itz’ into the world. And what is ‘itz’? For the Maya it implies: the milk of an animal or human; the sap of a tree (especially copal, a resin used in incense); human sweat; tears; anything that exudes a precious substance that would be considered as sustenance to the gods. Therefore, Itzam is the force that brings life from above, the cosmic release of creation as it would fall into physicality for the children that worship their creator(s). Itzam is the ‘transmitting’ force of substance as the human presence is the ‘receiver’ of it in this world – the same as in what extends from ‘above into below’. And as the gods made the physical world to sustain a creation that would worship them it became necessary for the gods to be appeased, and thus did the concept of sacrifice become a requirement of the physical in paying dues to the spiritual. Still, it seems that “Itzam-Yeh”, a primordial Sun-God (related to the Big Dipper, or Aquila, the Eagle – ?) was the founding agent of a much older Aztec world.

There is a point in time where the skies were void of their gods, and the fear of existence fading away was a question of great concern. This has been expressed in what is called the ‘black-transformer’, a cosmic date of August 13/14, 3114BC, when the entire midnight sky was void of any visible planets that were the agents of their gods, and even lordship. In this moment of time, we find the historical creation of this civilization that ‘soulfully’ may have come from a position in the heavens, wandering into an earthly realm, bearing spiritual information that was yet to manifest in human history. There may easily be a few notable alternative events unfolding here, of which would include an axial shift of some 6-12 degrees that would alter the sky line for the rest of time; for the clearing of the skies may have taken more time than just a typical earth-12 hour crossing, and led these people to believe their world was undergoing a drastic death or rebirth. Still, this concept is not mine alone, and even though we are trying to understand this more we will return to the historical gods and see what becomes of this idea.

The god known as Itzam-Yeh is from an age that is far older than first realized. His defeat by the Hero Twins, Hunahpu (One-Ahaw) and Xbalanke (Yax-Balam) is notable, and fits into a cosmic relationship that stirs the imagination. Referred to as “Seven Macaw”, the name is remotely similar to certain day-names (with 260 combinations in all) and numbers that exist in the Tzolkin dating system, yet ‘macaw’ is not an actual day-name in the calendar. The ‘macaw’ part of the name is easy to relate to as Itzam-Yeh is a parrot, a type of macaw bird (miniature colored Eagle). The ‘seven’ seems to relate directly with the number of stars on the Big Dipper itself that forms a ladle with an elongated handle – as the actual end-piece of that handle is the Polar Star we currently know as Polaris. This god is a bit egotistic, as he considers himself to be greater than the ‘sun’, as in the myth story of the Popol Vuh – while the sun and moon don’t actually exist yet. The world is therefore in the ‘void’ of creation, and the gods are contemplating ‘humanity’ as something to extend praise and honor to them. Despite his own magnificence, his realm is limited to a very local neighborhood – our stellar solar system – and even his sons make high claims of their own exquisite natures.

Hero Twin Plate

The Hero Twins decide to make an example of Seven Macaw – as humanity, once it takes true form that is drawn from ‘maize’ in the fourth world, is not bound to his judgments. The ceiling of existence that is viewed in the northern polar-regions is also likened to that in the extreme southern portions that is symbolic of the Underworlds, or cosmic hell, that contain Nine Partitions – curiously similar to mythology held in Egyptian ideology. One may then consider ‘nine’ individual partitions create a single realm of the cosmic partition based in the number thirteen, mentioned above. In this portion of the mythology the Twins are bound in aspect to Venus, the Morning Star Warrior. Seven Macaw thusly flies into his perch each day, mimicking the action of the Big Dipper in its cosmic course of the polar-region, climbing to a peak position and then falling towards the horizon within a 24 hour cycle. Hunahpu ‘shoots’ the parrot out of his perch with a dart from a long ‘blowgun’, as the dart splits his beak and knocks him over the top of the cosmic tree and down the other side. Once a day, the Big Dipper rises to the height of its arc and circumvents the pole star, descending back below the horizon. From the highland areas of Guatemala, approximately 150 degrees north of the equator, in the Yucatan region of the Aztec/Maya, this has the effect of rising and falling below the horizon, where the star sign is unseen during the day.

Seven Macaw must be removed from his regal office, as he is offending the “Heart of the Sky”, a god also known as Hurricane. [Thusly, as our solar system is rising through the galactic disk, the northern regions of the sky appear near void of any significant astral bodies.] Hurricane brings the rains and floods of July, but Seven Macaw is holding up this process by remaining visible in the sky. However, by July the star sign is gone, as it now rises during the day and falls below the horizon at night. At any rate, it’s not seen, and the rains are allowed to come. This sets the Mayan World Tree as the axis of the cosmological and seasonal process, viewed in the Ceiba Tree called ‘yaxche’. This is the ‘heavenly underworld’ axis, with the earth set as a ‘hinge’ between the two. The Soul is viewed as being capable of traveling along this axis between extant spiritual realms as it must contend with the course of cycles given to it. The Tree, therefore, represents an astral direction – seen as up/down – and is the roost of Seven Macaw, the cosmic lord of ‘before the beginning’.

The Quiche Maya word for ‘world’ literally means ‘earth/sky’, as this cosmic design is set in cycles of physical time. The ‘four cardinal’ directions define sides and corners, but until the earth is manifest there is nothing but cosmic sky and water. So the ‘axis’ is brought into being, or reset into some other position, and the kingly realm of Seven Macaw is set in place: relative to the north pole star – Polaris. There is a battle of ideals in the Popol Vuh, in the cosmic offset of what is good or evil – as divine order and chaos – and Seven Macaw has outlived his usefulness. As we shall see, First Father and his brother disturb the gods of the Underworld by playing in the astral ‘ballcourt’ [akin to The White River of the Milky Way], and are called out to match wits with them. They lose, of course, and are killed for their insolence. The Hero Twins will then avenge them by defeating Seven Macaw and the Under-Lords and return victoriously, reincarnating First Father to a renewed earthly realm to free humanity from captivity. This course of activity unfolds in worlds that are ‘before-time’, and then Four Worlds, or ages that present the Mayan world into the present.

In ages past, the belt region of Orion, seen as the Hearth Stones [M42] of the cosmic Sacred Fire, the ‘fire-stake’ and pit seen in the star sign, was set in place when the sky moved, and a new cosmological age/day began; four to five worlds prior. We are foolish to believe that what we see in the sky today is how things have always been, whether we consider the positions of earthly land masses or the astral position of planetary bodies or skyline. The oddest thing to consider here is the possibility that the Five Worlds of the Mayan idea are the only worlds to have ever existed, thus the entire mythology is self-serving to the Mayan world – not a universal them at all. There’s every reason to believe they understood something very basic about cycles and the ‘white-river’ of the band of stars in the Milky Way. As our own solar systems rocks in a cosmic cradle that wavers as it moves, so does the platter of the galaxy. This may have a lot to do with the way their cyclic calendar was attempting to design a composite model for a comprehensive galactic cycle.

The Mayan word for ‘six’ and ‘sky’ are symbiotic in nature. The hieroglyphic name of the ‘bejeweled’ or mirrored world tree is ‘wakah-chan’. It is written with the number six prefixed to the phonetic sign ‘ah’ and the glyph for ‘sky’, because the verbalizations of ‘wak’, the word for ‘six’, and ‘ah’ are homophonous with the word ‘wakah’, meaning “raised-up”; thus the term, Tree of the Raised-Up Sky. First Father set this Tree at the beginning of Creation in order to divide the skies, the ‘above’ from the ‘below’. Each tree is therefore a version of this cosmic axis. The World Tree is a luxuriant ‘maize’ plant, often depicted in personified form with the face of the Maize God, First Father. It is then noted that the “Na-Te-Kan” (First Tree Precious) is rooted in the constellation region of Scorpius, and is set in the summer skyline, with the White Road, or the radiant band of stars seen in the Milky Way, rising northward toward Itzam-Na facing to the left, or the southern direction of the galactic ecliptic. Thus, the “Wakah-Chan” (World Tree) is rooted in the lower belt region of Orion, in a triangle of stars, with Rigel in the lower right corner, in the winter sky, surrounding an area called the Trapezium (Orion Nebula), cataloged as M42. Here is the Road to Awe, noted as the Gate of the Nine Underworlds, with Itzam-Na facing to the right of the White Road, or the northern direction of the celestial ecliptic. Thus, one side of the sky is turned ‘downward’ and the other ‘upward’, depicting the cycles of death and rebirth in astral signatures. With this in mind, the creation story of the Aztec/Maya is one of constant birth, destruction and rebirth, and the stratum of cycles built in their calendar and historical records is one of the most stable systems known to man. Still, its ability to provide insight into the humanistic side of prophecy or time is one of great debate.

Now, Thompson (1970) has not been the only researcher to delve into the Mayan world, as many contenders have risen on the scene over the years. But the definition given to the Mayan gods has not changed so much since his day that it’s worth detailing. We consider the god Itzam (Itzam-Yeh) purely because he has a presence that is seen in the works of so many myths and temple sites as being the ‘head’ of the world tree, the Wakah-Chan. These cosmic/creation ‘trees’, or ‘crosses’, are extremely ornate, bearing reflective mirrors and jade items as they are dressed as ‘living beings’. Each tree is seen as an ‘axis’ of creation, separating heaven from earth. The phonetic sign of ‘ah’ is written with the number six and the glyph for ‘sky’, meaning ‘raised-up sky’, symbolic of the first central axis of creation by First Father. It is also viewed as a maize plant (corn) tree, or cross, depicting the creation myth of how the gods failed to create a worthy human from other forms, and that only the ‘maize’ children succeeded in being formed by them. Here the term Na-Te’-K’an, “First-Tree-Precious” (or yellow, as with corn), is seen at Palenque and Copan. First Father is also reborn as the Maize God, Hun-Nal-Ye, “One-Maize-Revealed”, and is both a human and tree form. He is killed by the Lords of Death in Xibalba, in the Nine Underworlds of the Milky Way, and then reborn by the Hero Twins (Hunahpu and Xbalanke) who avenge their father by defeating Itzam-Yeh (Seven Macaw), as the Big Dipper.

Uniquely enough the two trees share the seasonal cycles of the year. The “Wakah-Chan” tree has Seven Macaw facing to the right, with an eastern partition reflecting the fall/winter seasons when the Big Dipper is visible. The “Na-Te’-K’an” tree has Seven Macaw facing to the left, or the western partition reflecting the spring/summer seasons when the Big Dipper is not seen. Interesting enough, the Lid of Pacal at Palenque has shared relationships in the tree that Lord Pacal is set in, as his death occurred in August, 683AD – between the seasonal cycles of summer/fall. Likewise, the Wakah-Chan Tree is seated in an Orion aspect, when the star sign is seen high in the sky during the winter crossing (December). And the Na-Te’-K’an Tree is seated in a Scorpius aspect, when the star sign is seen high in the sky during the summer crossing (July). Thus the illustration of his burial lid is one of the skies at the time of burial – not some alien spaceship!! This is an example of over-sensationalism that permeates ancient design when it is not left to its own devices.

What happens here is really cool, so bear with me for a moment. Not only are the star signs both set in the band of stars we call the Milky Way, or the White Road, with Orion set in the astral center-stage and Scorpius set in the astral ‘underworld’, both are the reflection of ‘center/edge’ within the ‘waters of the sky’, while Seven Macaw is facing the cardinal directions of ‘east/west’, across the ‘waters of the sky’. The Tree itself is the reflection of ‘above/below’, as in the ‘north/south’, pole to pole relationship. The matrix of all three aspects then converge to form the cosmic axis that is ‘six’ directional, defining the spatial manifestation of the universe. Six is the reference of worlds, or ages that extend back in cosmic time to the ‘before’ phase of time, as in the Six Days of biblical creation.  Notable then, is that scripture voices no ‘closure’ of this day as it does the previous six, with “it was good”, as if to say, the seventh day continues. This ideal alone has been a confusing element in so much of the archeological astronomy expressed in so many books by various authors. And notably, very few of those authors are capable to think in such terms, and so their battle with numbers and calendars has turned into a fiasco of prophetic storytelling and we are still as much in the dark about these things as we have always been. Cosmically, how, when, or where this seventh day may have actually begun or end is one of great spiritual debate, but, we are blooming within its cosmic flower and we are approaching a vital ‘wind of change’.

Lord Pacal Heaven_A2From this we begin to see that the gods all share astral relationships that depict the personifications of gods in cosmic creation. It is the same for Egyptian mythology and many tribal based legends that reveal cosmic creation and disturbances by relating these events to astral crossings or portals, as written or verbal tradition. The unfortunate occurrence for us is the curse of becoming lost in all the relationships, such that the archeological world has had to suffer the effects of mistranslations of ceramic shards and burial mounds from thousands of years of ancient civilizations lost to time. Jungles and deserts destroy so much of the truth, as well as religious discrimination, that the modern world is finally taking notice of what has become lost and is frantic at what the ancients knew that we need to know. The truth of the matter is – how much of it would really matter if we did know? And how much of it would we pay attention to if and when we discover something that is ancient and real?

Still, what the Egyptian and Mayan worlds present to us is a highly sophisticated system of earthbound calendrics – or calendar mathematics – and astronomical data that we are attempting to rationalize, and find some ray of hope in for our depraved world to survive the catastrophic curses of prophecy. Regardless of what we may be able to determine, which means there are no promises, we can add detail to what we already perceive and that in its self is forward motion. All this because we believe the ancients knew something we need to know – the enigmatic blue pill that will allow us to ascend into and beyond the next world. Still, ascension is no replacement for reawakening what is already known deep within a creation that has fallen from its graces. And when we consider the Maya with their enigmatic view on creation, ages now gone and currently passing, and a future voice that speaks through those past conditions, we are opening ourselves to their world. What we need to do, to the best of our abilities, is to listen and consider their view with ‘kid-gloves’, and be careful which flagstones we walk upon. For those who feel the tug of weary existence it isn’t surprising to find some who sense the tragic end to many things, that our world will have to change drastically in order for newer ground to be raised, and the ‘phoenix’ of ancient man, to modern man, into awaken man, will begin to turn the pages of another chapter. Another series of lives will have to unfold, as I suspect we are further from the finish line than many want to or even care to believe.

The Popol Vuh is the Mayan voice of creation myth, the genesis account of the Quiche Maya of Guatemala. In their tale, the world is vast and void, and only a few forces, as gods, are contemplating this void with great anticipation. Three of them, Heart of Sky, approach the Plumed Serpent and asked how things should begin. They form a thought process for creation, that the waters will be emptied from this place, leaving room for them to design and build in; “emptied out for the formation of earth’s own plate and platform”. [Dennis Tedlock: 1985] But these gods know there will be no appreciation for their work until a ‘human’ work can be formed, and then they will be praised above all things in this creation. They form earth from a word, and draw from it the mountains and great waters that nourish it. Does this story sound familiar at all?

This is how it all begins, even as we have scripture and science – from a heavenly God that speaks in riddles and a Big Bang that denies us the ability to understand what it was that ‘banged’. We then consider what we have from the ancients and try to unravel a simplistic notion of what they revered in myth and legend. In regards to the Maya, we thought we had some things figured out, but, we were wrong to believe it so easily. In the late 1990’s we have come upon new evidences that redefine our so called previous view of this world, and when the dust settled, the images spoke in different voices. We knew they shared a view that stated that the world has been created and destroyed at least three times before the current world and that with each succession of creation new gods, new intent, and greater design renewed the world and conditions that have evolved.

There is always a male and female voice to creation, and for the Maya they are called Xpiyakok and Xmukane. They are the: Maker, Modeler, named Bearer, Begetter – Hunahpu Possum, Hunaphu Coyote – Great White Peccary (wild pig or Tapir), Sovereign Plumed Serpent – Heart of the Lake, Heart of the Sea – Maker of the Blue-Green Plate, Maker of the Blue-Green Bowl – as they are called, also named, also described as – the midwife, matchmaker, defender, protector, twice a midwife, twice a matchmaker. (D. Tedlock) They are also First Father, “One-Maize-Revealed”, and First Mother, the mother goddess revealed as the ‘moon’. These are the ‘yin/yang’ qualities of creation, the duality required for manifestation, motifs that have been seen in creation myths since time immortal that define chaos and order.

The Maya not only gave these voices names and a place, but they also gave them a date and time. At Koba (Coba) we find texts that defy the imagination as they quantify one of the largest numbers ever written. On this day of creation, 4 Ahaw 8 Kumk’u, the Mayan calendar sets itself at thirteen, as cycles of 400 years; 8,000 years; 160,000 years; 32,000,000 years; all the way to a grand scale of twenty places, or 2021×1 – 360 day year. This translates to August 13/14, 3114BC, the significant day of creation for this current world or age. To grasp this dating one has to understand Mayan time, and the extensive dating system of the Long Count. If we consider our 12 hour clock, we have to let the next phase of 1 o’clock become 13 and onward until it reaches 20. With each consecutive round of the hour hand the place count rises up to 20, and the cycle continues out for seven spaces. For example, the following day of creation would be set as 5 Imix 9 Kumk’u, set as 13.13.13.0.0.0.1 (Aug. 14, 3114BC), since on the creation date all twenty places of the Long Count were set to 13’s, and the first four spaces of the count roll-over from the ‘1’ in the first position.

Each of the years, called a tun, is comprised of 260 days (13 months of 20 days). If we consider the Creation date given by the Maya with each twenty cycles set at thirteen, we see it will take 41,943,040,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 tuns for the highest noted cycle to turn to one. This obviously seems extreme, but it relates time in banded cycles, like the waves formed from a stone thrown in water, even though it is viewed as being linear; thus, each stage is an echo of the previous state. What we need to remember here is that the Maya perceive time on such a grand scale that it appears to move on a straight line as even their creation date is and ‘echo’ of an even grander event, or cycle of time. Circles within circles within circles, and the ever greater sense that time is far more distant into a past than we may first be willing to believe. For this Long Count mentioned above is only set at seven places, as the stele at Koba presents a Long Count of twenty places, representing a number that is in the tens of billions of years – about 16.4 billion – even though current physics only speaks of about 14.5 billion years back to some ‘big-bang’ event.

Each of these cycles is therefore twenty times shorter than the previous one, such that each grand circle of time is split by twenty smaller circles, all drawn with the same point of origin to the greatest circle. This presents a grand circle with twenty circles all tucked into the same point on a line to the far right of the time-line, and all evenly spaced twenty times less in diameter to the previous circle. Now, does your brain hurt just a little in trying to visualize that? Considering that an ancient people designed this system should now seem even more fantastic, especially since we will attempt to view this dating system as being prophetic in nature. Still, what is ‘zero’ really? Is it the beginning or end of something, or is it more so the central point of what is rising or declining? Each successive cycle of dating is x20 of the previous notation. To emphasize this more, let’s look at the extended Tun dating:

1 Kin = 1 Day, and 20 Kin = 20 Days, or 1 Winal
1 Tun = 360 Kin (18 Winals, approx. 1 solar year)
1 Katun = 7,200 Kin (20 Tuns, approx. 19+ solar years) 201 Tuns
1 Baktun = 144,000 Kin (20 Katuns, approx. 394+ solar years) 202 Tuns
1 Piktun = 2,880,000 Kin (20 Baktuns, approx. 7,900+ years) 203 Tuns
1 Kalabtun = 57,600,000 Kin (20 Piktuns, approx. 157,600+ years) 204 Tuns
1 Kinchiltun = 1,152,000,000 Kin (20 Kalabtun, approx. 3,152,000+ years) 205 Tuns
1 Alawtun = 23,040,000,000 Kin (20 Kinchiltun, approx. 63,040,000+years) 206 Tuns

And so on….until we reach the current 13th Baktun, approximately a 5135 year cycle from the previous 12th cycle. The fullness of the calendar reaches an outrageous number near 16.4 billion years. Now this is unique since we currently view our universe as some 14.5 billion years old, as calculated in the physics of the known distances; all of which lie in the far distant past since all we see, cosmically speaking, is light that is reflecting the past. There is nothing viewed in the present, as light takes time to be seen in the vast distances of space we call ‘light-years’ away when we consider the astral bodies around and beyond us.

The thing to note here is that on the first day of our present creation all twenty places of the Long Count scale were set to thirteen. The thirteen numerated cycle of twenty days (13×20=260) is the base of the cosmological system, and the cycle has traversed through its paces unto this day. On a series of massive stele stones placed at Quirigua, by a powerful lord named Kawak-Sky, we find a Mayan lord set within the ‘stone-tree’ of creation itself. His scribes date the cosmic birthing as 13.0.0.0.0, 4 Ahwa 8 Kumk’u – as only five places are needed to set the process in our current process of unfolding. There we find at the base glyph, halah k’oh, meaning ‘to say’ or ‘to make appear, the image’; as this opening line is found in so many Mayan creation stories, including the Popol Vuh. This is the opening ‘word’ or voice of creation, speaking a command to begin new time.

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