Friday, 21 December 2012

The Midwinter Solstice and Mayan time cycles

Wow! (you might say) Lucy got up really early this morning to take these shots of the sunrise at Stonehenge, on the very day of the Midwinter Solstice!

Sorry, no, I didn't! These are shots I took late in November 2008, at sunset. It's impossible to take pictures like this of Stonehenge at the Midwinter sunrise, because a sea of people will be present and in the way, some of them latter-day Druids, and the atmosphere of timeless mystery will be ruined.

I'm not against Druids as such, nor of people wanting to witness what they do. But at Stonehenge? I do care about the probable damage to this important archaeological site - ground compaction from trampling feet, for example - and I hope that one day these crowds will move away elsewhere, perhaps to a replica Stonehenge some distance off. I want solitude and silence, not invocations and chants. Just me and the stones; my own interpretation of the event; and no high priests or New Agers, thank you. Or just me and a bare handful of miscellaneous keen photographers who have driven through the night to be there, and simply want a clear view of the rising sun. (You know, I bet this is possible on the mornings before and after the Solstice. I just might attempt a three-hour dash to Stonehenge next year, to check that out)

Today is also the day when a Mayan time cycle ends and a new one begins. Apparently our Gregorian Calendar date of 2012 coincides with the ending of what would have been the thirteenth baktun of the ancient Mayan civilisation in Mexico, and the beginning of the fourteenth. A baktun was 144,000 days. It's a bit like the year 1999 coming to a close, and the year 2000 starting, with the same kind of end-of-era, start-of-a new-century, Hail the New Millennium! significance.

You have to appreciate that the ancient Mayans were fascinated with numbers and time, and linking up astronomical happenings. Investigating large periods of time was their secular and priestly preoccupation. I personally think that despite their computational skills, they got bogged down in elaborate and pointless figurings. It was certainly no practical use against the Spanish conquistadores.

Some people living in 2012 have made a big thing about the arrival of the 14th baktun. For them it signals an era of disaster and destruction. Despite global warming, extreme weather et al, I think that's taking an unnecessarily pessimistic view. Why indeed feel bothered by the arrival of an ancient civilisation's New Year? It's a superseded calendar. In any case, what will be will be: meteors, black holes, all of it. We might as well enjoy life as best we can, and not live in fear. One thing I've noticed, in the course of sixty decades, is that tomorrow always comes. So it's no good hiding in a hole. Get out and buy tomorrow's chicken dinner, because you'll be hungry if you don't. 

Oh my God. A moment of Revelation! Sixty years! Of course. It's a natural cycle!

Let's call it a Lucy Period. So from 6th July last, I have been living in a New Personal Era. And I didn't realise. That's so humbling. And yet so cosmic.

And what if your personal cycle intersects with mine? Let's not even go there.


  1. Within a few days my 6th cycle of years, counted on all of my fingers, will start.
    Maybe our cycles do coincide age wise but don’t intersect yet in the women’s room.
    Revelations for dinner? I’m looking forward, in the meanwhile I wish you a Merry Christmas.

  2. Thank you, Corinna - Merry Christmas to you too.


  3. A Coincidence?

    New International Version - UK (NIVUK)
    144,000 sealed

    7 After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree. 2 Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: 3 ‘Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.’ 4 Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.

    5 From the tribe of Judah 12,000 were sealed,
    from the tribe of Reuben 12,000,
    from the tribe of Gad 12,000,
    6 from the tribe of Asher 12,000,
    from the tribe of Naphtali 12,000,
    from the tribe of Manasseh 12,000,
    7 from the tribe of Simeon 12,000,
    from the tribe of Levi 12,000,
    from the tribe of Issachar 12,000,
    8 from the tribe of Zebulun 12,000,
    from the tribe of Joseph 12,000,
    from the tribe of Benjamin 12,000.
    The great multitude in white robes

    9 After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice:

    ‘Salvation belongs to our God,
    who sits on the throne,
    and to the Lamb.’
    11 All the angels were standing round the throne and round the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshipped God, 12 saying:

    Praise and glory
    and wisdom and thanks and honour
    and power and strength
    be to our God for ever and ever.
    13 Then one of the elders asked me, ‘These in white robes – who are they, and where did they come from?’

    14 I answered, ‘Sir, you know.’

    And he said, ‘These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore,

    ‘they are before the throne of God
    and serve him day and night in his temple;
    and he who sits on the throne
    will shelter them with his presence.
    16 “Never again will they hunger;
    never again will they thirst.
    The sun will not beat down on them,”[a]
    nor any scorching heat.
    17 For the Lamb at the centre of the throne
    will be their shepherd;
    “he will lead them to springs of living water.”[b]
    “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”[c]’
    Revelation 7:16 Isaiah 49:10
    Revelation 7:17 Isaiah 49:10
    Revelation 7:17 Isaiah 25:8

    Shirley Anne x

  4. One wonders why the world didn't end at the close of the previous 13 baktuns...


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