Survivalist Tip: The November / December 2012 issue of Archaeology Magazine, a publication of the Archaeological Institute of America, has a detailed analysis of the ancient Mayan calendar. It’s well worth the read; if anything, to develop a greater understanding of it, but also to realize just how truly mathematically and astronomically advanced the ancient Mayans were.
Then – as now – the Mayans recognized that the elements of the natural world, the cosmos and their own bodies functioned according to observable cycles and therefore, were interconnected. Keeping track of the sun, the moon and other celestial bodies was a means of harmonizing their universe. Curiously, the ancient Mayan calendar operated on a 260-day cycle, which is the same duration of the average human pregnancy. But, it is their “Long Count” calendar, which was used to tally the number of days since the mythological date of their creation, that has drawn the most attention. This is the calendar that archaeologists say ends on December 21, 2012. (Some claim the actual date of the end of the current Baktun is December 23.)
When calculated according to the “Long Count” calendar, the Mayan date of creation is set at or around August 11, 3114 B.C. “Long Count” dates were written as a series of 5 numbers. January 1, A.D. 1, for example, would be 184.108.40.206.3. This is a highly complex system; too much to explain here. While pundits and mystics debate what exactly will happen on December 21, 2012, one thing is certain: we all need to be more respectful of our place in this universe. We also need to have as much chocolate to enjoy the ride!