We’re just hours from the Capricorn solstice of 2012. This is the last day of the 13th baktun of the Mayan Long Count. A baktun is 144,000 days long. Today may also be the end of the next longer measure of time — a piktun, which I believe to be the measure of 13 baktuns or one-fifth of the Great Cycle — the precession of the equinoxes, or 25,625 years.
Note, the new cycle has not begun; the old one ends today. This is similar to 2000 being the last year of the 20th century. The ’20’ in ’20th century’ manifested in the form of 2000 in the last year of that century.
Long count date 126.96.36.199.19 was Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012 CE, and 188.8.131.52.0 is Friday, Dec. 21, 2012 CE. In the tzolkin count, this is 4 Ahau. The new baktun begins on Long Count date 184.108.40.206.1, which is Saturday, Dec. 22. In the tzolkin count this is 5 Imix. (I will invite the daykeepers I know to comment on the tzolkin dates, which are part of the 260 day short count or spiritual calendar that’s become pretty popular the past 25 years.)
So, today we are at the end; the last day of an era. We have one more day to reflect on our very eventful little baktun. Whatever was going on back in 3113 BCE when the count begins, I’m impressed by the start date of our current phase: it began in 1618. In fact I am looking at the chart for the first time — the Virgo New Moon of Sept 18, 1618. Most of the planets you see in this chart were not discovered. There was a square between Venus in Scorpio and Mars in Leo — a bit of tension there, eh? Mars is on the South Node, just like it is in the USA chart. Venus is square the nodes. It all comes back to…compersion.
This was the dawn of the colonial era. My reference point is the founding of the Dutch East India Company in 1602. I learned about that in the 4th grade; I think of it as Colonialism, Inc. The company was granted a 21-year monopoly to not just conduct trade but to carry out colonial activities in Asia.
Wikipedia’s editors write:
It is often considered to have been the first multinational corporation in the world and it was the first company to issue stock. It was also arguably the first megacorporation, possessing quasi-governmental powers, including the ability to wage war, imprison and execute convicts, negotiate treaties, coin money, and establish colonies.
I will also quote from a dependable-seeming website I just found, which tells a bit of the story. I know the Dutch are thought of as the people who have this awesome city named Amsterdam (that is also true, and it’s a port town from this very activity):
The [company, or VOC] developed into a power to be feared. ‘This can lead to something big’, wrote Jan Pieterszoon Coen to the Heren XVII, the board of the VOC in the distant fatherland. In 1619, he conquered the town of Jayakarta and founded Batavia there. Coen wrote that ‘Jacatra’ would become ‘the most important place in all the Indies’ and that the reputation of the Dutch had increased through their conquests. ‘Everyone will now seek to become our friend’.
Based on this model, the Dutch West India Company is formed three years into the baktun. They’re the ones who create New Netherland, which included New Amsterdam, now known as New York. Isn’t history cool?
And from here…well…a lot happens.
A real lot. Everything we think of as history of the modern world, pretty much when it all began. Just then, Kepler was figuring out stuff we still depend on today. It is a distinct era; we are clearly at a transition point into something else, and the question is, what. As the United States seems to be confronting the violent condition of its society in this very week for the first time, or at least the first time in a while, I think we need to consider the nature of colonialism, what it does to the land and to indigenous people, and what it does to us.
We are living, today, at the end of the 13th baktun, with those effects. We live in what Joseph Conrad called an outpost of progress.
It’s all there: the megacorporation with state powers, trade ruling over all other activities, the slave trade and the conquering of nations. If you take a sober view, what is now happening to the American people is the continued result of that process — we are, once again, being colonized by corporations who have more power than governments; which are, in truth, ungovernable.
I don’t know which way we’re going from here. A lot has changed since 1618; most of the really troublesome stuff is about the same, and there are a number of exciting potentials to cultivate progress that have emerged (I am typing into one of them now). I’m not sure there’s anything resembling a consensus about what to do, though I have a few ideas.
So yeah…what a baktun it’s been. I am happy today is the last day, and I’m looking forward to contemplating my New Baktun resolutions, and in fact, a few New Piktun resolutions as well.