The Mayans and the Spring Equinox

The Mayans and the Spring Equinox   The ancient Maya weren’t disposed to simply living their lives but to taking it further and thus left an important legacy for mankind. Naturally great observers, not only did they dedicate their attention to the stars but also to the change of seasons. Understanding such phenomena through observation wasn’t sufficient, they were also registered and the number of days between them calculated so that a chronological rhythm could be determined. The upshot of this as the need to invent signs to represent celestial bodies, periods of time to count them These early signs formed the basis of what would become their writing system, numerical system, mathematics and finally the calendar. Although it sounds incredible, the Mayan calendar is more accurate that the Gregorian calendar we use today.   Generally speaking, the Mayan construction was dictated by the cardinal points and the trajectory of the sun, moon and the stars and formed part of their cosmological conception. This was the case with other developed Mesoamerican cultures. Archeological evidence leaved in places highlighted by Uxmal, Chichen Itza, and Tulum, just two hours from Cancun, faithfully show their great ingenuity for designing and constructiong buildings that coincide exactly with natural phenomena as is the case of the equinoxes.   The equinoxes occur when the sun is located exactly above the equator thus making day and night last exactly the same amount of time. This occurs twice a year, on March 21st and on September 23rd. The days of the equinox were the most important for the Mayans as the spring equinox would signal the circle for preparing the ground in readiness for the rain deity Chac to impart their gift so the maize seeds, planted bye the men, could germinate; and in September when the maize had matured and was ready for harvesting.   The best example of a building combination their knowledge of astronomy, mathematics, chronology, geometry and relifion is the Kukulcan Pyramid or Castillo de Chichen Itza; where each 21st of March thousands of people meet bare witness to the world of the grandeur that we have inherited. It’s here at the start of the equinox where the fusion of heaven and earth, science and magic, in the phenomenon known as light and shadow takes place. From the northern stairway of the pyramid a serpent-like projection of seven inverted triangles of light are produced by the shadow of the nine platforms of the buildings. The vision is of a serpent, the most important of the Mayan deities, their god Kukulcan, which descends form the top of the pyramid to its base. It takes approximately 30 to 40 minutes for the figure of Kukulcan to descend the stairs making a unique moment in time in which those present hope to receive the energy emanating from Kukulcan to take with them.

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