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The Indigenous Worldview
20 March, 2015
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30 August, 2016
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Calendars of Wisdom

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The 13 numerals

THE UNIVERSE DANCES to the rhythm of the cycles, which the diverse cultures of the Anahuac―such as the Olmec, the Maya, the Aztecs, the Zapotecs, the Hopi and the Apache―were experts in calculating. They observed how the solar cycle lasted approximately 364 days (13 × 28); that Mercury reached its point closest to the Earth every 117 days (13 × 9); that Venus came closest to us every 584 days (13 × 45); and that Mars appeared opposite the Sun in the sky every 780 days (13 × 60). Each of these cycles, known as synodic cycles, are divisible by thirteen, a prime number. This is why their week was thirteen days long.

There are also thirteen constellations in their zodiac. Why? The solar equator completes a rotation approximately once every 25 days, but, because the Earth also shifts in relation to the Sun, for us that rotation takes approximately 28 days. Therefore, by multiplying 13 by 28, we get 364. As a result, if we were to draw an imaginary line between the Earth and the Sun every time a particular sunspot on our star’s equator was directly facing us, the ecliptic would be divided into thirteen equal parts.


13 constelaciones

13 constellations

Consequently, their zodiac contains thirteen constellations. The Maya named the first of these constellations Tzab-ek (The Tail of the Rattlesnake). We know it as the Pleiades.1 The Tzab-ek is opposite the snake’s head, which is located in an area known as the Galactic Centre. In Mayan astrology, the head of the snake is the constellation Itzamná (The Iguana), also known as shibkay (The Alligator Gar). The alligator gar is a fish with the snout of an alligator that is native to the state of Tabasco. Legend has it that you cannot go to paradise without having tasted its flesh. Within this belief lies a deep understanding: the location of higher levels of consciousness (Paradise) in the Galactic Centre (The Alligator Gar).

Galactic snake

The Sumerians also chose the Pleiades as the first of their constellations. According to the Babylonian compendium Mul Apin, the moon passes through a total of eighteen constellations, the first being Mul Mul, which corresponds to the Pleiades. After this, the Moon passes through the constellations of Taurus, Orion, Perseus, Auriga, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces, Pegasus, Andromeda and Aries. The Babylonians inherited the aforementioned eighteen constellations from the Sumerians but reduced their number to twelve, only taking into account those through which the sun moved (the constellations along the ecliptic). This was how Aries came to be the first constellation of the zodiac, a system that would be inherited by the West as well as India.

Nevertheless, since 1930, the International Astronomical Union has recognised that the Sun also moves through a thirteenth constellation called Ophiuchus, located between Scorpio and Sagittarius, which is where the Galactic Centre, or snake’s head, is found. And, like the Mayan constellation of shibkay or Itzamná, the constellation of Ophiuchus is represented by a snake.

Constelación de Ofiuco

Based on this information, we can see that the astronomers from the Anahuac and ancient Sumer knew that our galaxy had a central region, one that they were able to locate. They also observed that the stars branched out from the central point, like snakes stretching out in an arc, with the Pleiades as the tail of the snake located closest to us. I believe this knowledge had a common antediluvian origin.

In Ancient Egypt, while the populace worshipped the Ox and looked up at the Pleiades and the constellation of Taurus, the priests looked up in the opposite direction, towards the head of the snake, where our galaxy’s Sun is located. The Ancient Egyptians worshipped the bull during the Age of Taurus, a period between 2,000 and 4,500 years ago during which the spring equinox was crossing over into the constellation of the bull.



Look at the snake on the forehead of the Pharaoh. Her name is Uraeus.

The 260-day sacred cycle

THE ANCIENT INHABITANTS of the Anahuac not only divided the zodiac into thirteen constellations; they also linked this number to the energy levels emanating from the Sun and to the thirteen heavens in their cosmology. By combining the thirteen energy levels with their vigesimal system (base 20), they created the 260-day sacred cycle (20 × 13 = 260). The sum of our fingers and toes is twenty, and the number of vibrations that reach us from the Sun is thirteen. This is represented by the twenty glyphs, also known as Naguals, that appear in the Aztec calendar stone (Piedra del Sol).

20 glifos mexicas

These twenty glyphs are then divided into four groups of five, with each group containing one dominant element (Earth, Air, Water or Fire) and one secondary element. This distribution is observed in the Cross of Quetzalcoatl that appears in the image below.

Codice de Madrid

The above image is from the Madrid Codex. It shows the twenty glyphs featuring the designs used by the Maya. The image depicts the evolutionary journey of the soul. This evolutionary process begins with the Earth element, which is first combined with itself {1}, then with Air {2}, Water {3} and Fire {4}. Once all the sections of this evolutionary level have been incorporated, the quintessence can be reached.  This is the fifth glyph of the group, in which the Earth element is in a state of balance {5}.

Cruz de Quetzalcoatl

From there, we jump to the second group (the lower part of the cross), in which the Air element is combined with each of the four dominant elements in order to achieve the balance that allows us to leap to the next evolutionary stage. The process repeats itself with the other two elements (Fire and Water) until the final glyph, called ahau (Sun), is reached, wherein the loop is closed, having taken full control over the four elements.3

Consider the sequence: Earth, Air, Water and Fire. The same sequence is used in Vedic and Western astrology. For example, Taurus (Earth) is followed by Gemini (Air), Cancer (Water), Leo (Fire), Virgo (Earth), Libra (Air), and so on. The same sequence can also be seen in the khuyas of the Mastay, with Earth (South), Air (East), Water (North) and Fire (West). The purpose of the khuyas is to help us to balance the four elements by integrating them one by one until the central point is reached.4

The starting point of the evolutionary process is the first numeral of the first octave, meaning that with each new round a higher numeral can be accessed, until the thirteenth and final glyph (ahau) is reached, in which consciousness is expressed as Cosmic Sun (13 × 20). As a result, there are thirteen octaves (numerals), each composed of twenty chords (glyphs) that are created by combining four notes (elements). This celestial scale was called tonalpoahuali by the Aztecs. Western scholars called the Mayan version tzolk’in.5


Both the Maya and the Aztecs used this series of 260 permutations to show the different vibrations of each day. However, the evolutionary sequence of the soul, which is achieved over the course of many lives, and the distribution of each day’s vibrations, which repeats indefinitely, are two entirely different things. For this reason, in the latter case, the combination of glyph and numeral is depicted as two wheels; two rotating cogs, one inside the other. In the image below, we see both wheels featuring Aztec glyphs:

 Rueda glifos y numerales mexicas

260 is the number of days between conception, or the date that the mother missed her period, and the birth of the child. Based on the law of correspondence—“As above, so below”— the sages of the Anahuac saw that the greatest common divisor of the larger cycles was the 260-day cycle; i.e., it was the longest possible cycle that would divide the larger cycles exactly. Therefore, while thirteen, as a prime number, is the lowest common multiple of the synodic cycles of the Sun, Mercury, Venus and Mars; 260 is the greatest common divisor of those same cycles.

For instance, after nine 260-day sacred cycles (2,340 days), Mercury, Venus and Mars will once more find themselves in the same position as they are now. Mercury will have completed twenty orbits, Venus four and Mars three.

After 72 sacred cycles (18,720 days), these three planets will synchronise with another cycle: the tun, or harmonic year, which is 360 days long. It is known as the harmonic year due to the fact that the length of the cycle is slightly more than thirteen lunar orbits or sidereal months (27.3 × 13 ≈ 355 days) and slightly less than the Earth’s orbit of just over 365 days. The Babylonians used the cycle to calculate the circumference of a circle (360 degrees). It was also used by the Incas in their yupanas (Incan abacuses) to measure their cycles.

At this point, 52 harmonic years, 160 Mercurian years, 32 Venusian years, and 24 Martian years will have elapsed. Then, one sacred cycle (260 days) later, these 52 harmonic years, each 360 days long, will have become 52 Haab’, or vague years, each 365 days long (260 = 52 × 5 and 360 + 5 = 365).

After 657 sacred cycles (170,820 days), the orbits of Mercury, Venus and Mars will synchronise with the Haab’, the 365-day vague solar year. By this time, 468 vague years will have elapsed. Then, 117 days later, once Mercury has completed another rotation, exactly 468 Julian years will have elapsed (365.25 days each). It will be at this moment that Mercury and the Sun will once again be in the same position as previously.

El Fuego Nuevo (The New Fire Ceremony)

EVERY YEAR, during the Pleiades’ zenithal passage, the Aztecs celebrated the New Fire Ceremony. Nowadays, the ceremony would take place around the 20th of November, but due to the precession of the equinoxes, back then the Pleiades reached its highest point in the sky a little earlier, at the rate of one day earlier per 72-year period.

Once a year, one reed would be cut and put aside. Every 13 years, 13 reeds would be tied together into a bundle. Every 52 years, after making four such bundles (13 × 4 = 52), a special New Fire Ceremony would take place. The priests would destroy all the images in the temples, in order to prevent idolatry. Over the course of five days, every fire in the empire would be put out, and then a new bonfire would be lit to mark the arrival of the new 52-year cycle. The flames from this bonfire were used to light every other fire in the realm, symbolising an act of renewal and the rebirth of the Sun, so that it would continue to shine for 52 more years.

New Fire

At this point, two of their calendars fell in sync: the 260-day sacred cycle and the 365-day vague year (365 × 52 = 260 × 73). Also, 260 days prior to this, the 360-day harmonic year synchronised with the sacred cycle (360 × 52 = 72 × 260). After their respective synchronisations, the glyph-numeral combinations for the harmonic year and the vague year were then repeated, starting over with the combinations used 52 years previously.

The Toltec Millennium

WE HAVE SEEN how the 13-day week multiplied by twenty gives us the 260-day sacred cycle, and how the 18-day month multiplied by twenty gives us the 360-day harmonic year. Therefore, it is logical to expect that the 52-year cycle multiplied by twenty would represent another important cycle. This is the period of 1,040 years, also known as the Toltec millennium. The Toltec were not an ethnic group; rather, they were men and women of wisdom. One could, therefore, become Toltec.

This period of 1,040 years corresponds to the lunisolar cycle, after which the Sun, Moon and Earth return to their starting points. Archaeological evidence suggests that at the end of a Toltec millennium, the priests destroyed and abandoned their ceremonial sites. A possible example of this is the Classic Maya Collapse. Around the year 850 AD, over the course of less than a generation, the great Mayan ceremonial sites were inexplicably abandoned.6 The wise men and women that had lived there for 1,040 years (since the 2nd century BC) suddenly left, abandoning their places of worship. Teotihuacan, Uaxactun, Tikal, Yaxchilan, Bonampak and Palenque were some of the sites abandoned. This event marked the decline of the post-classical period and the arrival of the Aztecs, which was subsequently followed by the European invasion and Western dominance.

How can this mystery be explained? My hypothesis is that their sages associated the 1,040-year cycle with the rise, death and rebirth of cultures. They believed that if this renewal was not carried out voluntarily, it would be imposed by fate. Theirs was a conscious sacrifice that sought to avoid the pain that would have been caused when the urban centre and its culture invariably and uncontrollably collapsed.

This same cycle is also found in many other cultures. For example, it can be seen in the Ancient Egyptian legend of the Bennu bird, known as the Phoenix to the Ancient Greeks. The Bennu bird would live for 500 years and then die, to be reborn from its ashes five centuries later, thus completing a cycle every 1,000 years. In the Andes, the people talk of the Pachakuti, an upheaval of space and time that takes place every 480 years. It is a period of 480 years because the Incas used a base-40 number system, with each of their years comprising 12 months (40 × 12 = 480). The first Pachakuti marked the transition from darkness to light and the next from light to darkness, completing one cycle every 960 years.

The Suns

THESE MINOR CYCLES of 960 (Inca), 1,000 (Egyptian and Greek) and 1,040 years (Toltec) were used in calculating the Great Cycle, which the Aztecs and the Incas called a Sun and which the Hopi and the Maya called a World Age. For the Andean civilisation, the cycle was 4,800 years long; for the Greeks, it was 5,000 years long; and for the Anahauc civilisation, it was 5,200 years long.

For the cultures of the Anahuac, this larger cycle was the sum of five lunisolar cycles, in that 1,040 years multiplied by five is 5,200. Five: the number of fingers on one hand or toes on one foot. Five: the four limbs of a human plus the head. Five: the quintessence, which binds the four elements of Earth, Air, Water, and Fire, and which, in the Nahuatl language, was called Macuilxochitl (five-flower). Five: the number of petals on the rose of Venus, the planet that reaches conjunction with the Sun five times every eight years, tracing a five-petal flower like the one shown in the image below.

Flor de Venus

The image is created by drawing a straight line between the Earth and Venus every other day for eight years. I call it the Flower of Venus, a symbol of the harmony and beauty that this planet possesses. 

This cycle of 5,200 years is also present on the Long Count calendar. Best known as the Mayan calendar, it was also used by other Anahuac cultures, even those that existed long before the Maya.

Using Mayan terminology, there are twenty 360-day harmonic years (or tun) in a k’atun, which is 7,200 days long. This is the average number of days between two conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn, known as Great Conjunctions; the k’atun appeared to enable the Maya to predict the occurrence of these conjunctions.

The next largest unit in the Long Count calendar is the b’ak’tun, which is made up of 20 k’atun. After 40 conjunctions between Jupiter and Saturn, or two b’ak’tun, the next conjunction takes place back at the starting point. Two b’ak’tun, rounded up, span a period of 800 years, after which time both planets once again reach conjunction at the same location in the sky.

Great Conjunction

There are thirteen days in one Mayan week, thirteen heavens in the sky, thirteen vibrations that reach us from the Sun. and 5,200 years in thirteen b’ak’tun. Strictly speaking, the figure of 5,200 years has been rounded up; 13 b’ak’tun actually last just over 5,125 years. Nevertheless, bearing in mind that the Anahuac’s various calendars were like cogs inside cogs that fit together perfectly, it is logical to expect that the Long Count calendar was suitably adjusted so that 13 b’ak’tun would last 5,200 years, equivalent to five Toltec millennia, 100 New Fire Ceremonies (every 52 years), and 7,305 sacred cycles (7,200 + 100 + 5).

Some may wonder why 5,200 years was called one Sun.  This is because this period of time was linked to solar activity. In fact, their calendars were not only able to synchronise the cycles of the five visible planets, the Sun and the Moon, but also cycles of solar activity.

Such a suggestion would be a mere hypothesis if it were not for Dr Lonnie Thompson, a palaeontologist and distinguished university professor at Ohio State University, who has scientifically proven that a drop in solar activity 5,200 years ago resulted in global cooling and the beginning of a dry period.

It was this period that turned Africa’s northern savannah into the Sahara Desert and forced many of the nomadic tribes to settle on the banks of the Nile, once more living on the lands and among the ruins that had been left virtually uninhabited since the Great Flood that took place around 9,700 BC.

In the Andes mountain range, the drop in temperature and shortage of water 5,200 years ago seemed to force the inhabitants to abandon many of the farming terraces built on the slopes of the mountains, building them instead in the river valleys. These terraces were originally built following the Unu Pachacuti (the Great Flood), after the people of the Andes had to flee low-lying areas and river valleys and take refuge in the mountains.

The Precession of the Equinoxes

THERE ARE FIVE Toltec millennia in a Sun (5,200 years), and five Suns add up to 26,000 years, a cycle known as the precession of the equinoxes. This cycle is believed to be a result of the Earth’s axis wobbling like a spinning top, or precessing. However, a much more plausible reason is that it is caused by the rotation of the solar system relative to the background stars.

If the cycle were caused by the precessing of the Earth’s axis, there would be no connection between it and the rest of the solar system, as only the Earth would be affected. However, the end of each 5,200-year Sun coincides with changes in solar activity and climate changes that affect other planets as well as the Earth.

Consequently, it is more likely that the precession is caused by the rotation of the space-time bubble we call the solar system relative to the background stars. This rotation could be the result of the Sun’s orbit around a binary star, or it could simply be the Sun’s natural movement: a movement that affects the entire solar system and, therefore, connects us to the Sun and the other planets.


LITTLE INFORMATION REMAINS about the different cultures of the Anahuac, such as the Maya. In the case of the Maya, for example, their knowledge was recorded in thousands of codices that were ordered to be burned by Fray Diego de Landa, Archbishop of Yucatán, during the Auto-da-fé in Maní in 1562. Landa’s words were:

“We found a large number of books in these characters and, as they contained nothing in which were not to be seen as superstition and lies of the devil, we burned them all, which they (the Maya) regretted to an amazing degree, and which caused them much affliction.”7

Almost every codex was burned, leaving us with no other option than to try and guess at the wisdom that they contained. However, in doing so, we tend to project a Western worldview, the same view held by the Europeans who called the original inhabitants of the Americas “Indians”, believing that an alternative route to the Indies had been found.

The West perceives time to be linear, rather than circular. This is why many believed that the end of the fifth Sun on December 21, 2012, marked the end of the world, not realising that another Sun would follow. While others did understand that another Sun would come after the fifth Sun, they erroneously called it the sixth Sun, unaware that there are five 5,200-year Suns in one 26,000-year precession cycle; hence, after the fifth Sun, we return to the first Sun of the new cycle.

Using this same Western concept, many looked for astronomical events that would give meaning to the dates. Therefore, many wanted to see the galactic alignment take place on December 21, 2012, though it did not do so. The galactic plane is found five degrees south of the ecliptic plane, which means that the Sun never passes through the centre of the galaxy, instead doing so five degrees further north. We are still three degrees away from the alignment taking place on December 21.  As it takes 72 years to move by one degree, it will be 216 years before the next December 21 alignment (3 × 72 = 216). At present, the alignment takes place on December 18.

The 5,200-year cycle mainly responds to changes in solar activity. The ancient inhabitants of the Anahuac were aware of this, referring to the cycle as one Sun. Each Sun was linked to humanity and a new level of consciousness. The ancient Incas had the same knowledge, also referring to periods of approximately 5,000 years as suns. The ancient Greeks had also realised this, which is why the poet Hesiod divided the precession cycle into five Ages, each 5,000 years long. Even the Australian aborigines were aware of this, as they called the 5,000-year cycles dreaming tracks, each characterised by a dream of collective consciousness.

NASA | SDO: Three Years of Sun in Three Minutes

Watch this video on YouTube.

We have much to learn from all of these cultures. With this article, I hope to play my part in helping to recover some of the lost ancestral wisdom that was burned by those who, in their ignorance, did not realise its worth. It was this same ignorance that burned down the Royal Library of Alexandria, robbing mankind of a past in which we were decidedly much wiser than today. Fortunately, the Sun of ignorance has now ended, the curtain has been lifted, and the new Sun promises something better: an age of light and harmony for humanity.

Related articles:

  • The Pillars of a New Era by Marc Torra, article that talks about the pillars on which the ending Era of the last 5200 were built upon, and the possible pillars on which the next one are been built on.
  • Sacred Time by Marc Torra, analysis the relationship between the different cycles and the concept of “sacred time”.
  • Cosmic cycles and Eras by Marc Torra, offers a deeper analysis of the Eras within the 26,000-year precession of the Equinoxes.

 2013, Marc Torra for


  1. Information on the Pleiades as the zero point of the Mayan zodiac was provided by Fidelia García, Mexican expert on the Mayan calendar.
  2. By Aoineko at fr.wikipedia CC-BY-SA-3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons
  3. This explanation was provided by Fidelia García and Sergio Calderon. They also gave me authorisation to reproduce the Cross of Quetzalcoatl with its 20 glyphs
  4. For more information, visit
  5. William E. Gates gave it this name after hearing that in Maya Quiché the word ch’ol q’iij means “arrangement of the days”.
  6. León Portilla, Miguel. “La filosofía náhuatl estudiada en sus fuentes”, FCE, México, 1956.
  7. de Landa, Fray Diego “Relación de las cosas de Yucatán”.

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Marc Torra
Marc comes from Urus, a community in the Pyrenees, the land of the Cathars. The name Urus is of Indo-European origin and it means ‘a place where the water springs’. He went abroad in 1995 after graduating in Economics from the university of Barcelona, and since then has lived and worked a little in every continent. Through living in other countries, Marc has associated with many different cultures and ways of thinking; especially with those he calls ‘earth people’. From them he has learned a different way of reasoning, and discovered that the future of the planet depends on our ability to learn what such cultures have to offer. As an author he writes about spirituality and new tendencies, developing and intermingling genres, making use of both narrative and essay writing. Marc tries to understand and experience things for himself in order to build bridges, both to unify different cultures and spiritual traditions across the globe, and help visualise a better future.