Apr 21, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - On the sunny side

Wordless Wednesday
(Sorry about the streaks. Nothing like sunshine to reveal dirty glass.)

Apr 5, 2010

Visiting my friend Tom

Well, sort of. I wasn't actually there. But on the top of Mauna Kea is where Tom works and where he takes so many of his gorgeous pictures of the sunset. I have now learned that he has been goofing off (according to the gentleman on this video) when doing that. He should have been inside getting ready for work. ;-)

(Found via www.sixtysymbols.com.)

Budding Yogini is now a tag, not a blog

I'm consolidating a bit. My other blog, Budding Yogini, will cease to exist soon, but all posts are transferred here and tagged "spirit" and "budding yogini". I no longer feel the need to keep my spiritual musings separate from other musings. I'm still a budding yogini, though.

Apr 4, 2010

The Mayans and their calendar

Sometimes I do my best writing in other people's comments. Not fair to you, dear reader, so I'll repost and elaborate here.

The discussion in the link above was about the weather. If you've been paying attention to my sidebar, you know that I now have another blog where I post weather forecasts made with astrology. So in response to another commenter, I wrote this about astrology:

[…]after years of hanging out with astrologers, I know that it is very hard to prove anything, especially with natal charts - people being what they are. Part of my psychology class back when included learning how psychology had to devise repeatable tests in order to be considered a science, something that took a lot of time to accomplish. It’s no easier for astrology with all its variables. That’s why I got interested in weather forecasting: There are rules in astrology for forecasting weather and they either work or they don’t. The weather either happens or it doesn’t. It’s the best method I’ve come across so far to show whether or not astrology works because the results are neutral and available for anyone to see, and the timing’s good: Astrological forecasts can be made weeks and months in advance of meteorological ones; all anyone has to do is wait and see if the astrologer was right by simply observing the weather when the time comes. I invite you and other skeptics to do so.

Some astrologers get very good with what we call natal charts or birth charts. They understand people and can grasp the human hiding in the symbolism. Although I got pretty good at understanding where the pressure points for someone may lie, I could never destill who they were from their chart. And, it didn't interest me to do so. When I found the sub-branch of mundane (worldly) astrology known as weather forecasting, it appealed to me because it was a) concrete and b) immediately useful. A third reason also appeared: c) it can be used to prove whether or not astrology works. And, as my weather astrology teacher says, the weather doesn't talk back.

I do not believe in astrology. I use astrology. I say it is a tool, a set of symbols that represent ebbs and flows in the life of a human or for a corporation or even the planet. Does the tool work? Well, that's why I use it to forecast the weather: If I can do that using astrology, with as much accuracy as the meteorologists, then we can say the tool works, yes?

So what about the Mayans and the winter solstice of 2012, when their long count calendar ends? Isn't there some astrological portent there?

Let me start you with the next comment I left:

I am fascinated by why humans want to believe in an armageddon/apocalypse/ragnarokk (I have no idea why Wikipedia spells it Ragnarök; the ö isn’t Norwegian and I have never heard that version of the word) and even an Easter/Passover (death and destruction and resurrection/survival).

On one level, all these myths are really about winter solstices, spring rites, and great clocks in the sky (Halley’s comet could be one) - the eternal cycles of birth, death, rebirth. But with the end-timers and left-behinders, North Korea and Iran reintroducing the specter of nuclear annihilation, global warming/cooling/disastrous change oh no, and the now defunct Mayan Printing Company (who used to publish the calendar), I have to wonder at what is going on with people, especially these days. Why the fascination with end-of-the-world stuff? Is it like horror movies? If you spend a little time worrying about the unimaginable for a bit, the very real fears in your life seem manageable?

Astrology provides no final answers; it can, at best, point to trends - stellar influences passing by like water in a stream running through a particular stretch of landscape. The chart for the winter solstice on December 21 2012 (11:11:37 GMT) is quite - unremarkable. The current charts have far more Wow! to them (it’s grand crosses all year, baby! 2010 is edgy!). For the End of the Earth, there is no Moon in the 7th house (for Bergen, at least) and no Jupiter aligned with Mars anywhere.

Here is the chart for the winter solstice of 2012, located for Guatemala:

I have listened to a number of podcasts on the Mayan calendar. The most down-to-earth and educational one was a "Theatre of the Mind" podcast from March 2008 with John Major Jenkins. Kelly Howell, Theatre of the Mind's host, asked Jenkins why the Mayans were so obsessed with time keeping and he answered:

Well, they believed that human beings are connected up to the larger cycles in the universe and to be able to observe cycles and patterns in nature, everything from, say, plant growth to lunar cycles to the life cycle of a human being or a tree or agricultural cycles throughout the solar year, all of these things were reflections of each other. Smaller cycles were reflections of larger cycles.

It's kind of a profound idea when you think about it. It's like the microcosm reflects the macrocosm. It's basically that "as above, so below" principle that we find in astrology. But the Maya really saw this principal operating in all domains of life, including the larger cycles.

In western astrology, we see similar cycles. Using various methods of timing (different clocks, if you will), we can explore inner changes for a person and outer ones. It is interesting that two clocks have the same pace: The progressed Moon (just go along the ephemeris day by day and pretend that lunar movement is progressing through the birth chart) and Saturn's orbit around the sun both take about 29.5 years to return to their starting point. I'll let Jenkins tell us more about the Mayans:

[W]hat my pioneering work has uncovered is a real profound sort of galactic cosmology. I was really interested in this enigmatic 2012 date when I was starting to do my research back in the late 80s, early 90s. And I started to ask the questions. You know, the questions that appear like, 'where was the 2012 calendar invented, and why, and where, and who did it?', and those kind of questions.

That led me on my search. To make a long story short, basically what I was able to reveal in my research is that the Maya apparently chose the year 2012 because a very rare alignment to the center of the Milky Way galaxy is happening in the years around 2012. I refer to it as a galactical alignment, or a solstice galaxy alignment.

[…]

It's based on the factual astronomy of this 26,000 year processional cycle. It's a real thing. It's caused by the Earth wobbling very slowly on its Axis. It takes 26,000 years for one complete wobble.

Well, this phenomenon, it effectively changes our orientation to the larger constellations and stars, and the position of the galaxy as well. So, we can look up in the night sky and of course, I'm sure we've all seen the bright band of the Milky Way arching overhead. It kind of looks like a white road or a stream in the sky.

The position of the December Solstice sun has been slowly approaching the Milky Way, the bright band of the Milky Way for thousands and thousands of years. And when the early Maya created their long count calendar, and fixed its end date in 2012, they were apparently targeting this rare alignment, this galactic alignment.

They believed that the world would be going through a great transformation when this alignment would be culminating. It is culminating as we approach 2012, and the world is going through a great transformation right now. This alone suggests that the Maya were really tuned in to some deep and profound understanding of how these galactic alignments are really critical for human beings on Earth.

So we're not coming to the end of time or our world or anything like that. We are coming to a marker in time, like the big hand sweeping around to the 12 and all the chimes of Big Ben play. What several spiritually-minded people are suggesting is to use this time to meditate on the big picture, on this tiny blue ball spinning safely at amazing speeds through this huge and gorgeous universe, and your place on it and in it. Light a bunch of candles and breathe it all in.

Or you could spaz out December 21 2012 like it's Y2K all over again. Just remember that the world will be around on December 22 2012 to let the internet know about it. ;-)