The Mayan Message from Xultun

By: Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - CommentaryArcheologists have discovered what seems to be so far the oldest Mayan calendar system in existence at the Xultun site in Guatemala. The series of Mayan numbers and rows where the numbers are situated, was painted on a wall in a long since discarded pyramid from the early 9th Century A.D. There are two significant points to this discovery. First, this is considered the oldest intact calendar system that has survived the centuries. It is older than all of the other calendar systems the Mayans had left behind up to the Spanish conquest, and easily predates the previous known oldest by several centuries. It is clear from this recent discovery system that the Mayans had already created their very complex and super accurate calendar system fairly early on. It is possible that the Mayan calendar system might be even older—there are other abandoned buildings i Xultun that have yet to be excavated. Some of these buildings are older than the one discovered, and they may contain priceless artifacts and information we can only imagine.

The second most significant thing about this discovery is that it tells us something about the so-called prophecy of the year 2012. Later Mayan calendar system versions have what are called “baktuns,” or 400 year cycles. These Mayan calendars all have 13 baktuns, and they all point to the end of the cycles in what we call the year 2012. Many people today are interpreting this as the “end of the world.” However, this earliest known Mayan calendar system has 17 baktuns, and so this calendar goes well beyond 2012. Just as significant about this calendar is that it has larger number signs than baktuns. So this earliest of Mayan calendars projects beginning and ending cycles a million, a billion, a trillion, and even an octillion years from when the calendar system was written on the walls. In other words there is no end of the world anywhere near in sight, and certainly not at the end of this year. The Mayans, like the Indians (in India), believed that the world and the universe of existence is almost infinite.

There is no question that the Mayans actually believed that their way of life, their cities, their whole civilization would go on forever. Unlike the early Christians (and indeed the European peoples in the early part of the Middle Ages), who believed that the end of the world would come at certain times, the ancient Mayans in fact were not thinking this way at all. They believed that their institutions, their city states, their religion, their ruling houses and royal families, would actually go on forever. The end was the end of the cycle of what had gone on previously, but not the end of the world or the end of themselves. The Mayans believed in change, and not everything would be exactly the same. But they believed there would be things that would endure, and even today among the Mayan people this view is still there even if their civilization is not.

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