Friday, November 21, 2008

Excerpt - 1+12 is Not 13

"It may now be clear that the reason that certain numbers play such a great role in Mesoamerican cosmology is that these numbers are very important in the greater creation scheme. There is something to be learned about how different religions look upon creation from the numbers they consider holy. Let us now consider the difference between the 12 and 13, and the significance these have been given in different cultures. In Mexico among the Maya and the Mexica, the number 13 was the most consistently upheld as a holy number. In Mesoamerica it formed part of the thirteen-day count and the Thirteen Heavens of creation. Moreover, kings would typically celebrate their thirteenth tuniversaries as important occasions in their lives.

"In the rest of the world, in contrast, the importance of the number 13 has almost been hidden, and in recent centuries it has even been considered unlucky (Friday the thirteenth). Even earlier the number 12 often overshadowed the number 13, and in the European tradition we have to add one (Jesus) to the twelve disciples to arrive at the number 13 in the Babylonian-Greek system of astrology. One (ourselves) is also added to the twelve zodiacal signs to arrive at thirteen. In the Chinese astrological cycle of twelve years, it is even questionable whether there is an individual in the center to add. It thus gives even more emphasis to the number 12.

"So while the number 13 was revered in Mesoamerica, the rest of the world placed emphasis on 1+12. This concealment of the number 13 in the Old World is also evident when we examine the description of the process of creation in the Book of Genesis. There it is said that on the seventh Day God rested, implying a distinction between the twelve periods of active divine creation and the thirteenth.

"Although the difference between 13 and 1+12 may seem insignificant on first glance, it highlights vast differences between philosophical views of what it means to be a human being and the human role in creation. If we use 1+12 as the mathematical organizing principle of our religious-cosmological worldview, it means that the individual (one) is regarded as separate from the rest of creation (twelve). In such a view, the individual is also regarded as the center of creation, as a chosen one. It is a central tenant of the Christian religion that its adherents should aspire to emulate the ideal of Jesus Christ in their thoughts and deeds. This would then mean becoming a chose one, who stands out from the other aspects of creation (twelve).

"Of course, most people would say that 1+12 equals 13, but in the Mesoamerican view numbers are not really quantities but qualities. Thus if one is seen as different from the other twelve, the numbers cannot really be added. Although 1+12 mathematically equals 13, the supreme number of creation, the 1+12 cosmology has led us astray. The 1+12-based astrological systems of the Center and the East, for instance, have never been proved to correspond to a tangible reality or clearly evident manifestations of the evolution of consciousness. In contrast, the 13-based "astrology" of the Maya is the only such system that has been proved to have a basis in reality in its correspondence to the changing energies of human history. Yet, paradoxically, it is probably the least known of all divinatory systems.

"Since approximately the tenth century C.E., the Catholic Church had assimilated Babylonian astrology (which in the modern world has become known simply as "astrology"). It is thus not very surprising that this type of physically based astrology was forced upon the Maya together with Christianity, since the two are based on the same 1+12 philosophy. Related to this is the idea prevalent in recent decades of the earth going through different ages - Aquarius, Pisces, and so on - because of its precessional movement. This in turn is based on a geocentric view of the earth as a specifically chosen planet (one) set apart from the surrounding galaxy (twelve).

"Despite the message of love and compassion, Christianity is also a mid-line religion with a 1+12 philosophy, which in and of itself has tended to set the individual off from the universal web of creation of which he/she is a part. This is one aspect of the religious intolerance that has often been typical of Europeans (mid-liners), whose dominating idea has often been typical of Europeans (mid-liners), whose dominating idea has traditionally been that there is only one right way, which is to be imposed on the others (twelve). If instead we base our cosmological system on thirteen numbers, as did the Maya, then the human being may be regarded as an integral part of the web of creation. Cosmological systems based on 1+12 mean that human beings are seen as separate from creation from nature, while those based on 13 mean that they are recognized as part of it. It may well be because creation philosophies based on the number 13 do not offer humans a special position that the number 13 has come to be regarded as bad luck in European Culture. (This negativity was later exported to the United State, where hotels do not always have a thirteenth floor or a room number 13.)

"... We can now begin to appreciate how important the calendrical system developed in Mesoamerica may be for the future of humanity. Calendrical and astrological systems based on the number 12 may lead us to deny the complex web of creation and nature of which we are all part. The use of a calendrical system based on the number 13, in contrast, leads to resonance with nature and the cosmic processes. There is a great difference in outlook on the world between a system in which one is considered as apart and separate and a system where all are seen as equals. The return of the Sacred Calendar thus means the strengthening of a process where people are seen as equals in the web of creation.

"Love means relationship, web, participation, equality, and a sense of community. Love is thirteen. The Maya have long used a special expression for greeting others: In Lak'ech, which means "I am another you." A whole philosophy has been developed around these beautiful words of recognition, which are applied not only to human beings but also to animals, flowers, stones, and spirits. It means that we are not separate; we are all part of the same web; and if any part of this web is hurt, the rest will suffer. The use of the tzolkin and its thirteen-day count is part of the In Lak'ech philosophy. The use of the Sacred Calendar amounts to an act of reverence for the web of nature and creation." - pages 83-87

- The Mayan Calendar and the Transformation of Consciousness, by Carl Calleman

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