by Boots Hart, CAP

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Astrology and the Mayan Road

 Planet Earth as photographed by Apollo 17 (photo credit: NASA)

What with this being 2012 and all, I got to thinking about evolution – human evolution. Certainly if you do any kind of a review of humanity and its doings over the past (say,) 6,000 years one thing comes clear: people stay the same, even if their tools and technologies change.

We humans are either very stubborn or very resilient creatures, depending on your perspective. Heck, we’re probably both! There is something to be said about how ‘stubborn’ is another form of perseverance, after all.

Varying not really at all from that, you’ve often heard me speak to division of signs into three ‘decans’ or ‘decanates’ of ten degrees (‘deca’ being the Latin for ‘ten’), right? The first decan (degrees 0-9 of any sign) manifest physically – through our physicality – or through our actions. The second decan (degrees 10-19) is emotional. And the third decan (degrees 20-29) is ‘transpersonal’ – which means that it’s all about what comes “at” us…life’s prompts, information and (yes) critiques.

We act in the first decan, we react in the third decanate.
In the course of writing much astrology as well as other material (fiction) I’ve come to think that language reflects these differences. So I’ll propose that ‘perseverance’ is a first decan word with ‘stubborn’ being the second decan equivalent. As for the third, that’s a bit harder. Third decan terms should always embrace life’s bumps and detours. Maybe ‘enduring’ is the right term here?

I’m not sure. Every time I play this game with myself I get a bit stuck at the third decan.

That said, 2012 is the famous Year of the Mayan Calendar. Did they Maya forecast doom for the human race? If you go hunting around for actual old-time Mayan statements on the subject, you’ll find there’s very little in the ancient (written) record on the subject. There are some spiritual statements in the Popul Vuh (the premier surviving Mayan myth-cycle text)…but apart from that, about all we have is a small (if somewhat grandly stated) inscription on a set of ruins in Mexico.
What it all amounts to – providing you’re not bent on making Mayan beliefs conform to apocalyptic Christian beliefs – is that we’re in for some changes. The Mayan calendar (the Long Count) is not ending. But we are at the end of what might best be termed as a ‘creation’ round.

We do know the Maya held that the ‘world age’ coming now to an end was all about humans coming to be and learning – in essence - who we are and what we’re capable of doing or being.

That, I think we’ve done. By now humans know that we’re capable of incredible good and horrifying bad. We’ve seen our kind be everything one could hope a being could be and as selfish and determinedly blind as any nightmare from the depths of a sickened subconscious.

The divider is us. We decide who we’re going to be. Life isn’t about waiting for someone else to give us permission to be what we think we should be. Life isn’t about waiting for the ‘right time.’ Life is life.

That, the Maya clearly knew. They weren’t saintly, goodness knows – they had their share of wars and other horrible foolishness. But they did understand that with the coming of civilization (starting in about 4,500-4,000 BCE) there was going to be a huge learning curve about being civilized beings.

Think of it as the human school in being human.
Given that, do you think the Mayans projected that we were going to ‘graduate’ from learning who we are and…pffft!…disappear? I’m thinking not.

That one text we have speaks of an investiture to come at the end of this current calendar round. Investiture in what, you ask?

Try this in simpler form: the human completes their schooling. They’ve gone to primary school, secondary school and college. Now what?

Answer: they invest themselves in life, based on all they’ve learned thus far.

The overtones of the writings we have from the Maya speak to an understanding that we are the stuff of the stars. Life is life. Einstein (and others) redefined this by saying ‘everything is energy.’ But long before the scientists got there, the Maya wrote the trees are our cousins. Life is contiguous.

 Albert Einstein as photographed by Doris Ulmann in 1931

What’s really changing now is our orientation to All Which Is. We think of ourselves as separate creatures. But plainly – whether you’re thinking Maya or thinking physics – we’re really not. Everything truly is connected. So when we don’t care about someone else, we’re denting the world, the life we live in…our own life.

(Try that out next time you’re wondering if you’re your brother’s keeper.)

Astrology’s timekeeping mechanism – the astrological ages – is both shorter and longer than the Mayan ‘calendar clock.’ The ‘creation round’ (my term) is 5,125 years long – roughly. (It’s actually 1,872,000 days long, which doesn’t interface cleanly with a solar year.) On the other hand, a full astrological ‘Great Year’  is 25,920 years long. That’s the time it takes for Earth (as a planet) to go through its axial “precessionary cycle.”

Since there are twelve zodiac signs, this comes down to each astrological ‘age’ being 2,160 years long. So in the time that the Mayan creation round has run its course, astrology has pretty much defined two astrological ages – that of Aries and that of Pisces. (It’s a PREcessional cycle – it cycles backwards.)

One thing the Maya have over astrologers: a fixed date. The traditional date for the beginning of this creation round is August 11, 3113 BCE. Astrology is fudgier than that…partly because astrological ages are natural (planetary/cosmic) functions which meld one into the next rather like colors in a rainbow.

A double rainbow over the bay of Pocitos
 in Montevideo, Uruguay (photo credit:  Madrax)

If you were alive and humming in the 1960s you probably heard about a musical called “Hair.”  

Remember? Everyone went around humming ‘this is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.’

That Age is now upon us. It’s still coming into force, but considering that sociologically, Aquarius is about the idea of class-versus-equality, freedom-versus-anarchy, energy, technology, social systems, science, income, individuality-versus-‘being part of the group’ and the ever-yearned for idea that we would be accepted in and by this world for who we are…you get the drift.

So how does this fit with Mayan statements on the end of their ‘sun’ (creation cycles were referred to as a ‘sun’ or ‘world’)?

Let’s go back to that human education thing. The Maya said that this ‘sun’ (creation round) was about learning who we are as beings. As humans.

Now we’ve learned that. (At least hopefully...) That means we need to ask the next question: what are you going to do with your humanity, now that you know what humanity is capable of?

If we look at the Age of Aquarius as our signpost, there is likely to be a marked tendency on society’s part (and ours, as individuals) to make any ‘first move.’ That alone gives us a hint as to why we see things are as sticky in our world as they are at this time.

A horoscope wheel for the Age of Aquarius

We’re emerging from the water sign Age of Pisces. Pisces is a notoriously emotional sign. Many think of it as our ‘downfall’ but that’s not exactly the Piscean gig… all things Piscean (including Pisces people) are in this world to get us to feel our feelings.

That’s the hard part. We love the fantasy of life. We love hoping and dreaming. It’s reality that a lot of us have trouble with. The yearning for an emotional stamp of approval everyone born in the Pisces Age will live with for the whole of their life…THAT’s what we’re carrying forward – as a race and as individuals – into the Aquarian Age.

A horoscope wheel for the Age of Pisces

Another part of Pisces is a distinctly emotional ‘us and them’ quality. For the past 2,000 years (plus), humans have lived in, and upheld a ‘have/have not’ emotional mentality. Some accepted it, some fought it. Aquarius is a tricky sign, mostly because it tests our intellectual capacity. It’s not a ‘feeling’ sign per se. Aquarius is all about the greater perspective on the idea…or the idea of the greater perspective.

Here, as a watery and emotional Piscean Age gives way to an intellectual/thinking Aquarian Age there’s a lot of scrambling going on. Seeing that one of the great ‘signatures’ of “worldly water” is money, a lot of people are carrying the ‘us-versus-them’ concept forward based on wealth.

The problem there is that won’t wash in Aquarius. Though Aquarius is the sign of income, it’s only about income because income is supposed to be the ‘effect’ part of the ‘cause/effect’ measuring our contributions to this world.

At the risk of offending a lot of Christian readers, I’m going to go back to the concept of apocalypse and without reciting all the history suggest that what is really ‘apocalyptic’ in human terms is realizing your efforts are (or have been) for naught. It’s that moment of getting out of college with your fabulously shiny degree only to realize you know nothing in Big World terms.

The term ‘investiture’ really is the clue here: it tells us that we’re all graduating from college and being required to invest ourselves in a world which is a whole lot bigger than we thought it was. We’re facing the realization that while there are certainly people in this world who will help us, there are also people who will take advantage of us. Or want nothing to do with us, particularly if we cling to our emotional sense of entitlement.

Faith isn't the 'make or break' issue in the Age of Aquarius that it has been during the Age of Pisces. Yes, you have to have faith to make it through life, but the faith has to be in yourself. You have to recognize that you have something to give and that it’s up to you to give it – and be compensated for the ideas and ideals you hold and live up to.

Some people will point to success or money as their ticket to social or societal acceptance. But in the end, as this new Age really comes into force, that's going to count less than who they really are - as a person.

Where this Mayan ‘Sun’ gives way to a new ‘World’ is where the Piscean Age gives way to the inquisitive, theoretical world of the Aquarian Age. In Aquarius, the All is the All. It’s not your culture, it’s that culture exists, and what you’ve learned from being someone of a culture which enables you to make a worthwhile contribution to that Whole.

The Maya told us that this would be when we would need to be letting go of preconceptions (about life) built up over the past 5,100 (plus) years. That’s not easy. The Aquarian Age tells us that while we need to value the feelings of the collective we also have to be an upstanding, thinking individual.

The shaking, the ‘fires’ which you hear were supposed to erupt? Remember, back then people wrote in a metaphysical language as a matter of course. Literalism itself is very Aquarian Age, but probably not helpful. The beginnings of the Mayan age now ending (back in 3113 BCE) would have been in the early years of the Taurean Age. And in that age, Pisces would have been in the 11th (societal) position.

 A horoscope wheel for the Age of Taurus

In modernist terms, might that make those ‘fires’ and ‘upheaval’ our current economic life-quakes? Could ‘fires’ be more about people ‘getting fired’?

That seems quite a stretch, yes. But in metaphysics, it’s worth thinking. If what we’re talking about is ‘burning down’ and ‘shaking up’ then in the eleventh house of an Age, that would be economics and social systems.
And yes – we would be scared. That would be entirely Pisces. But that’s the point – we’re supposed to be able to feel the repercussions of what we do, both in our lives and that of others.

Why? So that we’ll do better. So that we’ll stop acting like celestial teenagers and grow into our full human, humane and humanistic potential.

Being human is the first decan. Being humane is second decan. And this time, I have no issue: humanistic is definitely the ultimate and worldly third decan definition.

How did the Mayans know all this? We'll probably never know the details there. But they do seem to have thought through - and come to understand - a good deal about human nature. From what we know, they seem to have derived much of their philosophy from math (and numerics) based on astronomical cycles. And when you combine astronomy and philosophy, what do you get? Astrology - that way of thinking about life which even now suggests that there is a reason why all things happen when they happen.

I believe it was Shakespeare who wrote that the issues of life lie 'not in our stars, but in ourselves'...which written but a differently is to say 'in our Self.'

We are. We exist. We are - as the Maya thought of it - 'the stuff of stars.'  So our answers, like our challenges, lie within. They're all part of knowing who we are and recognizing that the person we hold ourselves to be is the 'cause' which creates the 'effect' in our life.

You gotta love those Mayans, right? They’re very, very cool.

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