That was one heck of a baktun

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.

Beginning of the 13th baktun of the Mayan Long Count, which ends today.

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 was Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012 CE, and is Friday, Dec. 21, 2012 CE. In the tzolkin count, this is 4 Ahau. The new baktun begins on Long Count date, 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.

16 thoughts on “That was one heck of a baktun”

  1. As I read about ‘megacorporation” referenced to The Dutch East India Company, I apply the same reasoning to The Catholic Church. Maybe another Baktun for them…?

  2. Amanda, I was inspired to the 6:11 am alarm (I never set an alarm unless I have to catch a plane!) by your hard work. I sang for both of us! What a blustery end in New England to that baktun.

  3. @ Amanda, though off topic as it was, it’s always nice to have a reliable organization to give charitable funds to.
    Helping others in some way, shape, or form never gets old, no matter the Baktun we are in.

  4. this is a little off-topic, but i wanted to share it. my friend chris in boston has been volunteering for a few weekends to help hurricane sandy victims continue to tear down and rebuild and so on. he’s organizing a couple more volunteer weekends, and is looking for both people to join in, and people to help fund the volunteers.

    here is the indiegogo page, outlining the details:

  5. divacarla — so glad you were able to be awake at 6:11 and outdoors! between a long evening yesterday of working on the subscriber issue (which, i must say, is a beauty) and a nasty head cold, i chose to allow the sleep my body needs, and trust that my dream self would “plug in” for me. and looking out at the rain now… i may manage a walk to the sea, my favorite place to observe things like eclipses and the quarter days, but i’ll save any meditation for the warmth of indoors.

    blessed solstice, everyone! and best wishes for the new baktun.


  6. I’ve never been one to give into New Year’s resolutions. Our efforts to live as best we can should be a daily thing, blah blah blah , but …

    “New Baktun resolutions”

    NOW, you’ve piqued my interest!

  7. This is causing some interesting thoughts. My brother and I have been doing some genealogy. We have discovered, with some genetic testing confirmation, that large branches of our family tree have been in the US from the beginning, with ancestors in every major colonial area. That would include Plymouth Colony – and early New Amsterdam. We haven’t studied the New Amsterdam connection as well as some others, but it does give a person an interesting perspective, knowing that whatever you think of what happened, you have the blood of those people running through your veins. It is interesting that this era of history began with some dramatic actions on the part of my very own ancestors. This comment doesn’t have a lot of astrology in it, but it does point out that it is indeed a very small world, and some events that seem remote may end up being very much tied to you.

  8. I’ll super-impose compersion and love of the land on this article… Cause i don’t recall any of that being in the American conversation. (Love of the land, that is.)

    LOVE THIS: Let’s all come out Ecosexual, and what a compersion moment that will be!

    Last night chanted the midnight hour in the 24 hours World-wide Solstice Chanting for Peace coordinated by the Peace Chamber in your neighborhood, Eric, up in East Greenbush. Set my alarm for 6 am, so I could light the candles for 6:11 am est. It seemed important. At that moment chose to stand out in the rain instead speaking to the sun still rising out over the Atlantic, and not even gleaming on my socked-in horizon yet.

    Faith in my own rebirth, faith in our collective rebirth, gonna enjoy this last day of the Baktun, and settle in for an orgasmic birth tonight.

    Thank you for that astute history lesson. I do believe that megacorporation statehood/personhood thing has some bearing on the end of this age.

    PS I am pretty sure the Rapture already happened, and we remaining are the lucky ones, here to witness and create the Next age.

  9. If the 13th baktun was the colonial/imperial/corporate era, then the 12th baktun would have been the era of feudalism and the monarchy. So I agree with you — it’s about damn time for a new baktun, and a new piktun!

  10. One of my professor friends calls this chapter The Great Awakening, to which I agree, and reinforced by your correlations to modern history and colonization.

    Having come from a culture based on an even more brutal colonization of an indigenous people, happening a hundred years before Dutch East India Trading, I say thank goodness it’s new baktun!

  11. “One step done and another begun,
    in I wonder how many miles?
    Spent a little time on the mountain,
    Spent a little time on the hill,
    Things went down we don’t understand,
    but I think in time we will…”

    The sun is coming up here on the front edge of the Rockies, just as it does every morning, clouds pink in the Eastern sky, seen through bare traces, with blue sky beyond.

  12. “I’m looking forward to contemplating my New Baktun resolutions, and in fact, a few New Piktun resolutions as well.” Cute. Though I’m always into revolutions over resolutions.

  13. (Nevermind that that chart just fits neatly into mine… I think that Venus is hot on my Mars. Haha.)

    “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.”

    I’ll super-impose compersion and love of the land on this article… Cause i don’t recall any of that being in the American conversation. (Love of the land, that is.)

    That being said, small hairs bristling, this is a perfect example of letting go of what is mine/not yours. It’s all of ours. All of us. We are, definitely, the product of the colony process.

    Hope you join Canada at noon on Friday… Solstice. As PW often states, through its writers… We’re all in this together.

    (Oh.. Yeah… plug for Idle No More.)

    I am a wee bit disappointed that you did not mention your neighbour. (With a “u”.)

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