Mayan Calendar ‘Crotalometry’

Mayan serpent head, Chichen Itza

Mayan serpent head, Chichen Itza

On 26th October 2012 at sunset we are entering the 1 CHICCHAN 13-day cycle in the Tzolkin Mayan Calendar.
To the Maya, the day-sign Chicchan translates as the ‘precious serpent’, present in many aspects of their lives and culture. One of them is the geometric pattern found on the skin of the Yucatan Crotalus Durissus which reveals extraordinary keys.

Mayan serpent crotalus durissus

Mayan serpent crotalus durissus

 

The Crotalus Durissus are a special species of rattlesnakes, the only ones which are represented in pre-columbian indigenous civilisations from Mesoamerica.
In his books ‘The Feathered Serpent, Axis of Cultures’ and ‘The Geometry of the Maya and their Rattlesnake Art’, the writer, poet and musician Jose-Diaz Bolio extensively demonstrates that the reason lies in the unique pattern shown on the viper’s skin.

canamayte pattern

canamayte pattern

 

 

Called ‘Canamayte’, which translates as ‘the square of the serpent’, this pattern owes the Crotalus Durissus the reverent title of Ahau Can – the great or lordly serpent – whereas the general term tsab-can is used to designate rattlesnake.

With 13 scales in each of its 4 sides, the canamayte reveals the Mayan calendrical and astronomical mathematics. 4 x 13 = 52. 52 years is an important cycle, aligned to the Pleiades‘ and is the basic harmonics of the Tzolkin central Mayan calendar.

For the Maya, the Ahau Can is the solar serpent as its geometric pattern, whether square or rhombus (when tilted as in picture below), is a representation of the sky. Its four angles point to the four corners or cardinal points. These sacred directions of East and West and North and South mark the sunrise and sunset as well as the Solstices and Equinocial angles. Further more the Canamayte also signals the 8 lunar phases.

It is therefore the basis for Maya science, art and religion. The 3 diagrams below illustrate the cananayte as a template for the building of Mayan pyramids.

mayan pyramid top view

mayan pyramid top view

mayan pyramid

mayan pyramid

mayan pyramid arch

mayan pyramid arch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These include the so-called ‘false’ arch which is in fact a very accurate copy of the angular form of the rattlesnake (see picture on far right).

This typical corbeled arch in Maya architecture is shown above at the site of Uxmal.

The building below – renamed the ‘Nunnery’ or ‘Quadrangle of the Nuns’! – also displays long facades of these carved serpent grid patterns and bodies in very intricate details, characteristic of the Maya ‘Puuc style’.

Corbeled arch, Uxmal

Corbeled arch, Uxmal

Serpent facade, Uxmal

Serpent facade, Uxmal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As one of the primordial forms in Creation, the Canamayte and its elemental Euclidian geometry rule the human body proportions which the Greek Pythagoras later drew in his famous ‘Ad quadratum’ diagram.

This pattern is also found in ‘xocbichuy’, the traditional Maya embroidery which expresses their cosmic art and connections. Indeed they have a ceremony in which they pass their hands over a rattlesnake to master the art of embroidering. In Guatemala, needlework must have thirteen points or else ‘it comes out wrong’.

Thus the Crotalus Durissus is a unique serpent which shows the natural wisdom of creation, used magnificently by the ancient Maya.

To consult the dates for our next Mayan Calendar Workshops, go to Events.

For our Mayan Calendar Publications, click Products.

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