In 1992, Arguelles announced The Thirteen Moon Calendar. This is much more egregious nonsense. Arguelles claims that only adoption his calendrical innovation can save the world from disaster as we approach what he calls the "harmonic convergence". In 1998 he declared that "Arguelles is dead", reborn (or at least renamed) "Valum Votan", some sort of successor to the great Maya ruler Pacal (Pacal Votun to Arguelles).
Tzolk'in and the Dreamspell: How Arguelles distorts Maya traditions
|"The Dreamspell calendar is based upon the ancient Mayan reckoning of time. Dr. Jose Arguelles reinterpreted the Mayan cycles in a modern context and named it the Dreamspell calendar. There are a total of 20 "Glyphs" and 13 "Tones" which change successively each day until moving through all possible combinations of each glyph (Solar Seal) paired with each tone. This total is 260, which is the number of days in the "Tzolk'in", the Mayan's galactic year. In addition to a glyph and a tone, each day has one of four colors: red, white, blue, or yellow. Starting with the first tone and the first glyph, the first day of the Tzolk'in is called Red Magnetic Dragon . . ." (Dreamspell Calendar Page)|
Dreamspell calendar is a rather free form interpretation of the Maya
round of 260 days, the tzolk'in. (See the Note
on the Maya Calendar on this web site for a description of the tzolk'in
as the Maya actually knew it at the time of the Spanish conquest). Each
day in the tzolk'in is assigned one of 20 day names and one of
day numbers. Arguelles uses the Maya glyphs for the day names. His
of the day names are rather fanciful, but seem to loosely follow older
but reputable sources. For example, the usual glyph for the day Imix,
"Dragon", illustrates a waterlily pad, and Imix is usually interpreted to
But since lily
pads decorate images
of the crocodilian monster at the foot of the Maya World
Tree, Imix been interpreted by some scholars as a
for "waterlily monster". Gates' out-dated Dictionary of Maya Glyphs
comes closest, translating Imix as "water dragon". (For
of other day names, see Heart
of the Sky's tzolk'in page).
||The rest of Arguelles' Dreamspell appears to be his own
Nothing in authentic Maya sources suggests that the day name glyphs are "solar seals", or that the day numbers are "tones". The four day names on which New Year may fall were associated with colours and directions, but colours do not alternate in the fashion suggested by Arguelles. Just where terms like "magnetic" [dragon] and "cosmic" [monkey] come from is not at all clear, but the source certainly isn't Mayan.
|The Maya tzolk'in was used to make auguries. We know
lot about tzolk'in augury. The Books
of Chilam Balam, written by Maya priests after the Spanish
lists of auguries. Much of the Dresden
Codex.and other pre-conquest glyph
books are composed of tzolk'in almanacs. The Quiche
of Guatemala still keep the tzolk'in (Quiche ch'olk'ij),
and Quiche "day keepers" still use it to make auguries.
The Dreamspell calendar assigns
each "tone" and "glyph", making it possible to read the meaning
of each day in the cycle. But Dreamspell readings do not follow Maya
In fact, they seem to have been indirectly derived from the Chinese I
Ching, another topic on which Arguelles has written.
|Auguries in the Books of Chilam Balam are usually simple indicators of the character of the day, identifying each as k'in utz (good) or k'in lob (bad). According to anthropologist Barbara Tedlock who studied with a Quiche day keeper, Quiche practice is more complex, and more personalized. Thus a day might be judged "good for you to travel," but "bad for you to get married on." See Maya Augury and Prophecy in the Books of Chilam Balam for more information about authentic Maya divination.|
|Finally, the tzolk'in count kept by Quiche "day
recorded in glyph books and inscriptions does not match the Dreamspell
count proposed by Arguelles. For example, 6 September 2002 is the day
cosmic monkey" or 13 Chuen in the Dreamspell calendar. A Quiche
shaman would tell us that this day is 2 Imox (Imix in
According to the Quiche, the nearest occurrence of 13 Chuen is
days later, on 26 October. Although this discrepancy has been pointed
to Arguelles, he has failed to provide a coherent explanation of the
he adopts between the tzolk'in and the European calendar.
By Quiche reckoning, the Dreamspell calendar is in error by 50 days.
scholars accept the GMT correlation between the dates recorded
Maya hieroglyphics and the Gregorian calendar. There is an
of three days in the GMT correlation, but the version favoured by many
Mayanists matches exactly with the count still kept by the Quiche Maya
of The Correlation
Question on this web site). Just where Arguelles' correlation
comes from is unclear. He has claimed that "Dreamspell . . . is a
precise expression of the prophetic tradition of the Chilam
Balam," but his correlation does not appear to match any
the dates from the Books of Chilam
Balam. In addition, the Maya calendar
made no allowance for leap year. Arguelles does. In
result, every time a leap year occurs in the Gregorian calendar, the
between the Dreamspell and Quiche/GMT count is reduced by one
See J. M. Jenkins criticism of Arguelles' correlation and distortion of
native calendrical traditions, The
Key to the Dreamspell Agenda, and Geoff Stray's discussion of
Arguelles' use of Maya sources, Investigating the The Origins of Dreamspell.
Perhaps in response to critics who have pointed out the obscurity of his correlation, Arguelles has changed his explanation of the origin of the Dreamspell count more than once. Initially, he seems to have presented Dreamspell as simply the "correct" version of the ancient Measoamerican calendar, presumably used throughout the Maya zone. Later, he suggested that the difference between the Quiche and Dreamspell counts reflects differences between Maya tradtions in highland Guatemala and the Yucatan. Elsewhere, he has claimed that his count was a post-Conquest revision of the Yucatecan tradition by the Chilam Balam. Most recently, he has taken credit for the revision himself. He now claims that Dreamspell "is indeed a modern application of ancient science, and is DISTINCT from the form of the 260-day count that the living Maya in Guatemala and surrounding areas utilize." (See Distinguishing Dreamspell from the Traditional Mayan Calendar at 13mon.com). Thus he claims he is not guilty of "cultural misrepresentation." Unfortunately, this disclaimer flatly contradicts what Arguelles has plainly asserted in The Mayan Factor and other works.
The Thirteen Moon Calendar: More European than Maya?
|"A 13-Moon Calendar is the logical and natural way to count the 365-day year cycle. Instead of 12 months which are 28, 29, 30, or 31 days long, the year is instead measured into 13 months, each one an even 28 days. 13 moons of 28 days each gives 364 days - plus 1 "day out of time," a day of celebration and forgiveness, to acknowledge the passing year and welcome in the new year" (13Moon.com FAQ page)|
13 Month Calendars.
Arguelles claims that 13 month calendars were once wide-spread.
because of the example of the wiccan calendar, he assets that the
most common calendar in pagan Europe counted 13 months. In
while a 13 month calendar was probably known to some pagan
it does not seem to have been in wide-spread use.
Robert Graves, basing himself on Welsh and Irish sources, argued that the Celts kept a calendar of 13 months, which he called the Ogham Tree Calendar. However, the only Celtic calendar that has survived intact, the Coligny Calendar (named for the French site where it was discovered) is a lunar calendar with alternating 29 and 30 day months. The "normal" year is 12 months, but is only 354 days long. About every 3 years, an additional month was added to the year to resynchronize with the solar year. Such calendars were used throughout Europe. The Greeks, and the Anglo-Saxons, for example, used similar systems.
Some Germanic-speaking pagans may have counted 28 day months, though months of other lengths are also reported in German and Viking sources. The 28 day month was likely adopted so that a whole number of months would approximate the solar year. A 13 month year (28 x 13 = 364 days) could have been kept, presumably with an additional day to make up 365, and perhaps with a periodic leap day to stay in synchronization with the true solar year.
month calendars may not have been widely used in ancient Europe,
but there is a modern precedent that seems to have influenced
Comte proposed a 13 month calendar in 1849. A calendar reform
movement based on this proposal persisted until the 1930's, and for a
had considerable support. Comte was the founder of modern
He believed that time- keeping has deep cultural significance. He
proposed his calendar as part of an agenda to replace religion and
with science and reason. Ironically, Arguelles' proposes an
calendar to counter the positivist world view Comte helped
There are many "natural" ways to keep time. The Gregorian Calendar used by most of us is a solar calendar, contrived to stay in step with the seasons. Since the solar year is nearly 365 1/4 days long, solar calendars must intercalate a leap day about once in every four years. The Islamic Calendar is a lunar calendar: Each month begins with a new moon, but the year does not stay in step with the seasons. Lunisolar and solilunar calendars are compromises that try to stay in step with both the moon and the sun, though they inevitably do a better job of one than the other. The Thirteen Moon calendar does a better job of keeping in sync with the sun than with the moon. Solilinar calendars that keep better track of lunar months (the Jewish Calendar and Celtic Coligny Calendar are examples) use quite complicated intercalation rules.
Months in the Thirteen Moon Calendar do not begin with new moon, but
it does preserve the average number of lunar months that occur (in
or part) in the solar year. With addition of an extra day at year end,
it counts 365 days. Arguelles' also adds a leap day, but
it a "void day", outside the normal count of days in the year.
has claimed that the Gregorian
Calendar is an "unnatural" system of time-keeping imposed by
the Catholic Church. In fact, it is a revision of the
Calendar adopted by Julius Caesar in 45 BC. Pope
sponsored the revision in 1582 to resynchronize the calendar with
the seasons. Recently, Arguelles' followers seem to have
criticism of the Church, and focused instead on Caesar:
only arbitrary feature of the Gregorian Calendar is its months of
length. The months are a lunar element carried over from an older
Roman calendar. This was, like the Greek and Celtic calendars, a lunar
calendar with alternating 29 and 30 day months to approximate the 29.5
day lunar month. Because 12 lunar months of
29.5 days amount to only 354 days, Caesar's astronomers made
months a bit longer than lunar months. Interestingly, the Julian
months originally alternated between 30 and 31 days (though February
was 30 days only on leap years). Thus each calendar month was one day
longer than the months in traditional lunar calendars. Augustus Caesar
upset this harmony by renaming a month for himself (August), and stole
a day from February to make it as long as Julius Caesar's month (July).
13 month calendars solve the problem of fitting lunar months into the solar year by adding a month and making the months shorter (rather than longer) than the true lunar month. While this is perhaps neater, it is as arbitrary as Caesar's solution. The Celts who devised the Coligny calendar did a better job of keeping track of new moons, but they did not use a 13 month calendar. Neither, for that matter, did most of the other peoples conquered by Rome.
|The Maya kept track of many
and astronomical cycles. The core of their calendar was the Calendar
which combined the 260 day tzolk'in
and the 365 day haab.
Although the Maya
kept track of the solar cycle, the haab made no
for leap days. It was set to exactly 365 days to make it more easily
with other calendar cycles. The Maya
also kept track of the moon, counting lunar months of alternatively
29 and 30 days to keep in step with new moons, as in Old World lunar
calendars. But the lunar months were distinct
from the haab, which was divided into 18 winals of
20 days (with a five day period, the Wayeb, at year end).
Maya astronomy and calendrics was motivated by an effort to make all the cycles of time tracked by the scribes commensurate. The Maya approach to this task was fundamentally different than the methods adopted by Western calendar reformers from Caesar to Arguelles. Rather than attempting to make other cycles fit into the year, the Maya sought to discover common multiples of cycles. They did not, for example, try to adjust either the year or the lunar month to fit a whole number of lunar months into the year. Instead, they observed the moon long enough to discover that 405 lunations = 46 tzolk'ins (260 x 46 = 11,960 days). If new moon occurs on (for example) the tzolk'in date 1 Imix, it will occur on the same date exactly 46 tzolk'in cycles later. There is nothing similar to this approach in Old World calendar theory, or in Arguelles' 13 Moon Calendar.
The Thirteen Moon Calendar bears only a very faint resemblance to
Since the 365 day Maya haab makes no provision for leap
its starting date in the Gregorian Calendar advances by one day every
years. The beginning of Arguelles' year is fixed to July
Thus his count of days departs from the haab as it was
to Maya scribes before the Spanish conquest. Arguelles
that the Thirteen Moon Calendar is synchronized with the calendar
Clearly, it is not.
Arguelles' misunderstanding of the Maya calendar is explicable. He found the July 26 date in the post-Conquest Books of Chilam Balam .(which record it as July 16 in the old Julian calendar). Though it was not part of their calendar, the Maya measured the solar year as the time between summer zenith passages of the sun. These occurred about July 16 in the 16th C. Yucatan. The Maya realized the European calendar is a true solar calendar, and thus a convenient tool for keeping track of zenith passages. For this reason, the Books of Chilam Balam record July 16 rather than January 1 as the beginning of the Christian year. The haab remained distinct as long as the traditional calendar was in use. But calendrical knowledge was proscribed by the Church, and gradually lost in the Yucatan. Thus it is not surprising that the last revisions of the Books of Chilam Balam (likely in the late 18th or early 19th Century) confused the haab and Christian year.
Ironically, Arguelles was misled by a Christianized and confused remnant of the Maya tradition. The Quiche of Guatemala still retain much of their calendrical knowledge. They still know the relationship between the haab and tzolk'in, and celebrate New Year at the beginning of the haab, which is still fixed in the calendar round, not in the Christian year. A Quiche shaman would not see the point of Arguelles' "void days", which simply distort the traditional count of days and the auguries made using it.
The Harmonic Convergence: The pseudoscience of the end time
Despite its clear departure from Maya calendrical ideas, Arguelles
that the Thirteen Moon Calendar is essential to prepare for the
of the cycles of time kept by the Maya. The end date of the Maya long
count will be reached in 2012 AD. According to Arguelles,
prophecy confirms the apocalyptic visions of the Koran and Book
of Revelations. This he calls the "harmonic
convergence". He claims that the "galactic Maya" returned in
We must now prepare for the end of the epoch by adopting the
Moon calendar. Arguelles initially warned that the new calendar must be
in place by 1995, but now seems to tacitly allow more time.
|"If the human race does not reject
twelve-month Gregorian Calendar and replace it by the new Thirteen Moon
28-Day Calendar by July 26, 1995, it will very soon bring about its own
Changing calendars . . . is a planetary ultimatum. The Thirteen Moon Calendar Change is the spearhead of a peace plan that calls for a universal cease-fire on July 25, 1995 . . . and a five-year follow-up program, Pax Cultural Pax Biospherica . . ." ( Manifesto of the Thirteen Moon Calendar Change Movement)
|The end of the long count. Classical Maya creation accounts suggest that the present world began after dissolution of a previous world that had lasted 13 baktuns (about 5125 years). The long count measures the time elapsed since creation. It was reset to zero at creation of the present world. It will reach 13 baktuns again in 2012 AD. Although no Maya text actually tells us explicitly what the Maya believed would transpire in 2012 AD, the end of the cycle was no doubt regarded as a highly significant time of transition between epochs. Arguelles nevertheless claims to know what 2012 AD will bring. He tells us it is "the closing out . . . [of] the evolutionary interim called Homo Sapiens. . . . At last, Earth will be ready for the emergence into inter-planetary civilization. [A] great voltage will race through this finally synchronized and integrated circuit called humanity. ” Whatever else can be said of this, it is not something Arguelles learned from the Maya.|
Why is changing the calendar the key to our salvation?
|"The clouded mental field of humanity operating at the artificial, accelerating machine frequency of 12:60 is actually at conflict with the innate 13:20 timing frequency of the planet and the galactic whole. The Earth's resonance is registered at 7.8 Hz. This number is a fractal of 78, which is a multiple of 13 (x6), and hence, a function of the 13:20 timing frequency. Unless humanity shifts its mental frequency it will bring about a greater and greater dissonance, resulting in the type of disaster that destroyed the planet Maldek, producing the asteroid belt. . . . The Thirteen Moon Calendar Change [is] . . . the first stage of Earth ascending to its sacred dimension". (Arguelles, "Earth Ascending and the Arrival of the Galactic Culture")|
Arguelles assigns a "7.8 Hz resonance frequency" to the Earth. The
value of a frequency depends on the units chosen to represent it.
The Hertz (Hz) is an arbitrary unit of measurement defined by modern
Even if the Maya knew something about vibrational frequencies, they
hardly have measured them in Hertz. Arguelles manages to link the
magic number 13 to the "innate timing frequency" of the Earth only
first specifying this frequency in modern units. But even if we allow
his mathematical manipulations to get from 7.8 to 13 are highly
||He first multiplies 7.8 by 10, because, he says, 7.8 is a
of 78. Actually, of course, it is a decimal fraction, not a fractal
(which is a very different thing. See the fractal pattern graphed at
left). This may seem innocuous enough, just "getting rid of the
but a number and its decimal fraction have a special relationship only
in our decimal (base 10) number system, an Old World invention unknown
to the Maya. The Maya used a base
20 number system in which 7.8 and 78 have no special relationship.
Finally, for reasons that aren't clear (except that it gives the
answer he wants), he divides 78 by 6 to produce 13.
I suppose Arguelles might have multiplied by 20 rather than 10, and then divided by 12 to get 13 --- but wait, I guess he couldn't do that --- 12 is a "bad" number!
resonance frequency. The
referred to by Arguelles appears to be the Schumann resonance
a component of the natural electromagnetic radiation (radio waves) in
Earth's atmosphere. This Background radiation is the source of much of
the static heard on radio receivers, though the Schumann component,
primarily by lightening strikes, is too low frequency to be picked up
ordinary receivers. See Schumann
Resonance at Space Physics.
SRF is much variable than Arguelles suggests. SRF is produced by waves resonating between the Earth's surface and the ionosphere, which reflects radio waves. A well defined cavity like an organ pipe produces a pure "tone" and "over tones", but because the height of the ionosphere varies with time and place, the resonance in the Earth's atmosphere produces a lot of "noise", a more or less continuous range of frequencies. There is usually a peak at about 7.8 Hz, but others occur at 14, 20, 26, 33, 39 and 45 Hz.
This "Schumann resonance frequency" is hardly the "innate timing frequency of the Earth", much less the galaxy. It is only one among many natural electromagnetic phenomena. Nor could the Earth be destroyed by "dissonant frequencies". Arguelles seems to have in mind the shattering of a wine glass by a strong vibration (such as a sound wave) that is resonant with the natural vibrational frequency of the glass. But SRF is not analogous. SR waves are radio waves, not vibrations in matter. In any event, the timing of our activities with the Gregorian calendar and clock does not produce radio waves either resonant or dissonant with SR radio waves. Time-keeping produces no radio waves at all.
The Real Maya Prophecies:
in the Inscriptions and Codices
||Calendar Correlation||Calendar Download|
|Maya Myth: Creation||Lunar Glyphs||Maya Glyph Books (Codices)||Chinkultic Disk||Maya Prophecy||Myths about the Maya|
Michael John Finley Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada May 2002 (Revised May/Dec 2003)