(So this is a post I started on my lunch break Thursday, and then completely forgot to finish after I got home from work. Let’s all just turn back the calendar a few days on this one…)
Too bad he didn’t add a stipulation to that clause, something along the lines of, “…but let there be no bloody Spaniards!”
If you know who Raised-Up-Sky-Lord is and why he is probably kicking himself for forgetting to not create Spain, without reading the rest of this post, give yourself a gold star for the day. If not…it’s time for another Rerun! This one goes back a ways…
The date was August 11th, 3114 BCE, which is 5125 years ago, to the day. It was a Monday. Everything was dark (obviously), because the sky was lying on the face of the sea. There is much scholarly conjecture as to why, exactly, Lying-Down-Sky was still on top of the Sea, when everyone knew that the sky had collapsed during the Deluge a long time ago. Yes, that Deluge – it’s an interesting fact that stories of an ancient, global (or else large enough that everyone affected by it thought it was global) flood can be found on every continent in the world, with the exception, of course, of Antarctica (penguins tell no tales…). Anyway, it was about time Lying-Down-Sky got up again and went about his business. Some say he was just being lazy; others, that he was getting a little too friendly with the Sea, and she was frankly getting tired of it. Thankfully, she had friends in high places (or possibly relatives – those ancient gods all seemed rather incestuous back in the day). So Raised-Up-Sky-Lord came and set three mighty stones which centered the cosmos and allowed the sky to be raised, revealing the Sun. At this point Lying-Down-Sky was given a new name, Lazy-Propped-Up-Sky; he was also known in certain circles of the gods as Way-Too-Friendly-Creepy-Old-Horn-Dog-Sky, but this was generally only said indoors, where naturally he couldn’t hear. Then, the Heart-of-Heaven and the Heart-of-Earth came together (now that they had some breathing room), and they raised up the earth from the depths, divided the currents of the sea, and created high mountains to separate the waters. The gods then created the plants and animals, and finally they made Men in their own image so that they would be worshiped and venerated by their creation.
A few thousand years later, when all this was discovered by the ancient civilizations of Mesoamerica, they worked to apply their calendar system to the history of the world, and when they had, they realized that the current world age had begun on August 11th – and what do you know? It was a Monday. But the really interesting thing was actually the calendar itself, which is sometimes referred to as the Mayan Calendar. However, since the Mayans didn’t actually invent it (they just perfected it and put it into common usage), it is more accurately described as the Mesoamerican Long Count Calendar. The calendar was created using complex (and surprisingly accurate) calculations based on the changing seasons, the lunar cycle, and the movement of the heavens. In fact, the calendar is much more accurate than any other system that would come out of the “Old World” for more than 1500 years, until the advent of the Gregorian Calendar, which is the basis for our modern calendar system.
Of course, when we think of the “Mayan Calendar”, in this day and age everyone invariably thinks of this:
Actually, the cultures responsible for creating/using the calendar (the Mayans included) never predicted that the world would end in 2012. Yes, the current “world” ends on December 20th, 2012; however, they also stated that there had been three “worlds”, or world ages/cycles before the current one. In fact, there are several ancient inscriptions referring to dates far beyond the year 2012, showing that the Mayans didn’t actually believe the world would end (“You can put down the day planner now, Ah-Cuat-Chel, the world’s over soon anyway”). The whole concept of a world-ending cataclysm in 2012 was not created by the Mayans at all, but is really the product of New Age “spiritualists” and various Christian eschatologists with an imperfect and misconstrued conception of the facts involved. Anyway, if the world does end, it’s much more likely to be the result of something we humans have brought on ourselves, so take your pick: we’ve got nuclear war, some crazy biological super-weapon bug, complete economic meltdown and the resulting collapse of world governments, or possibly – just possibly – some kind of EMP event that takes out the entire electrical grid and most of our technology with it. So cheer up, people! You don’t have to worry about some ancient Native Americans telling you “I told you so!” a few days before Christmas next year. Although…if they had the choice, I’m sure they’d be happy to gloat over the surprised and newly-dead ancestors of those damnable Conquistadors when our civilization falls to its knees like theirs did a few hundred years ago. Just a theory I have… Maybe if Raised-Up-Sky-Lord and his cohorts had remembered to not create Spain in the first place, none of this would be an issue.