A Layman’s Guide to Surviving the End of the Mayan Calendar. ~ David Telfer McConaghay

Via elephant journal
on May 23, 2011
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This information is primarily derived from the work of Carl Johan Calleman and Ian Xel Lungold.

I’ve tried often to impart this information in person. My dear friend Ellen says she is starting to grasp the jist of it after hearing this same story clumsily recited 20 or so times. Thus, it is as much for my own clarification as hers and yours that I attempt this most basic of written explanations.

The Mayan calender that most folks focus on (2012! ahhhhhh!!!) is one of many different calenders used by both ancient and contemporary Mayan cultures. There’s the solar, a lunar, a ceremonial, one for agriculture, and so on. These calenders are like interlocking gears turning in the complex machinery of time. It is a beautifully organized system for understanding the nature of existence, and thus of course far beyond my minor comprehension.

Therefore, in the interest of sticking with what we know, the (in)famous calender with which we are here concerned is called the Tzolkin.

The Tzolkin calender describes a 13-part cycle consisting of 7 days and 6 nights. A complete cycle is referred to as an Underworld. It is understood that there are 9 Underworlds: Cellular, Mammalian, Anthropoid, Human, Regional, National, Planetary, Galactic, & Universal.

This evolutionary “week” repeats itself with ever increasing frequency, moving through its similar stages 20 times faster every go-round.

I imagine a set of stacked circles, moving from the largest circumference at the bottom and spiraling progressively up into a cone, or circular pyramid, with 9 layers. The much-debated, greatly-anticipated date of December 21, 2012, represents the tip of the cone, the top of the pyramid, where all cycles of creation twirl so fast as to reach a point of unification.

In the initial, Cellular cycle, each day and night lasted 1.26 billion years. In the current Universal cycle, each day and night is a mere 18 days.

It is important to note that we are still experiencing the 7th day of the Cellular cycle (we still have cells, correct?). We are still enmeshed in the 7th day of the Mammalian cycle (we remain mammals, yes?). Same with the Familial, Tribal, Regional, all the way up the pyramid.  In this way, each progressive cycle includes and transcends the previous one, which sounds like something Ken Wilber would say.

To exemplify the reflective nature of these spiraling cycles, I like to point out that the approximately 400 years encompassing the European renaissance — that explosion of human cultural expression marking the unequivocal end of the Dark Ages — is analogous to the 20 years between 1950 – 1970, in which time the Flower Child movement sought to expand experiential limits and toss off the restricting shroud that the World Wars of the previous era had thrown over the global consciousness. The two periods are in direct correspondence, except that the 20th century cycle whirled through the same changes at a vastly accelerated pace.

So it’s true: history repeats itself. Terence Mckenna expressed a similar concept — of holographically repeating historical cycles — by decoding the binary I-Ching (Book of Changes) sequence to produce his Time-Wave Zero theorem. His phrase for the process was the ever-increasing “ingression of novelty into space-time.” The unification point at the tip of our conceptual cone-of-time represents maximum novelty.


This accounts for fads and fashions. Hem-lines are rising and falling in a rhythm based on the rise and fall of empires millenia ago, and these things are as causally linked as the orbit of the earth is linked to the sun… The spiral is tightening.

In a practical sense, moving towards “maximum novelty” means karmic cycles are quickening. It means the distance between action and reaction is growing shorter by the day. The calender quite literally describes how time-space as we perceive it is accelerating.  Instant Karma is upon us!

By that I mean, the process of manifestation — whereby energy progressively condenses from thought into form — is shortening. This means that every moment of expression is being magnified. Every spark of rage, each instance of impatience and indulgence in fear is being thrown right back at us. What we put out is being ever-more instantly mirrored for us to take in.

This is a blessing! Simply by replacing old strategies (samskaras) with new more positive tactics, we can begin to sense a change immediately. Catch yourself defaulting to negativity, complaint or criticism — then change! Zoom out, find a more Universal perspective from which you can recognize the lila for what it is and cultivate an attitude of gratitude for what you find.

I know, this “secret” is old news for many, but its practical applications never cease to strike me as extremely exciting.

Has anyone noticed this happening? Have you felt the increase in novelty in your own experience? Have you been struck yet by a speeding karmic boomerang?

For me, the 24-hour news cycle is prime evidence of this acceleration. There is so much going on in the world, that to attempt to keep track of it all might make a person mad as hell.

Just this week:

News broke about Osama; the head of the IMF was arrested; Donald Trump dropped out of the presidential race; the Mississippi continues to flood; tornado victims are still surveying wreckage in the South; and the nuclear crisis in Japan is far from resolved.

The increasing frequency of major natural disasters and momentous geopolitical upheavals provide endless fodder for apocalyptic proselytizers who insist we are living in the end-times.

And indeed, I know I am not the only one who is feels like everything around me is spinning too fast, moving from future to present then passing on into an ever-intensifying whirlwind of emotional strife or financial abandon, from unexplained devastation to inexplicable bliss and in many instances back and forth and back again.

Quantum operations show clearly how these apparently internal processes are mirrored in our current worldly experience. The battles being fought in desert cities are the direct reflection of those being waged within. Self-loathing and emotional strife are causally linked to corruption and war. Everybody plays their role to perfection, whether we recognize it or not.

Okay, but so what?

As the spiral that is the essential structure of time-space twirls in on itself with the most immense Coriolis force imaginable, the safest place to establish one’s Self is in the center of the cyclone. Any venture into the zipping swirl is obviously fraught with seemingly-dangerous intensity.

The prescription, as ever, is meditation. Basic pranayama, perhaps.

It is only by consciously slowing the egoic mind to a still point that we can safely surf the tsunami. As the amplitude of the energetic waves always around us reaches never-before-seen extremes, it is best to abide in a node, floating in a neutral space as life-soup sloshes in the storm.

Ponder a moment with me, if you will: If time-space is accelerating, karma quickening, then all blockages, any place of resistance will be encountered as a dam; the back-up will create chaotic discomfort as pressure builds; and a flood of relief will eventually overwhelm, overflow and flush whatever form is refusing to move.

By this logic, dictatorial tyrants are comparable to an overdue bowel movement, and the supremely intelligent clockwork of the universe is assisting us with our spring cleanse. We must harmonize our metabolism before we require a full-on colonic.

May 20, 2011

marked the start of the 3rd day of the 9th wave, or Universal cycle. This,

…Third day(which we went through in 2003 and also previously) is another period of Light. The seed’s root system develops and the second set of leaves will be a permanent part of the plant. It is the establishment of the new consciousness as viable. In human history lies or failed systems are disclosed so that progress is not blocked.

What are you blocking? What is suppressed and ignored within you?

In my experience these questions can only have uncomfortable responses, but it is important to strive for courage in choosing to face the shadow-self now, because the already-approaching Third night,

([correspondent to] 2004) is another period of Dark. The seedling set of leaves are dropped from the plant as another set of leaves spring from the top. These are at 90 degrees from the last set. In human history failed systems have been jettisoned, usually by force, during this section.

Let me emphasize: failed systems have been [will be] jettisoned by force.

Yes, in the South now we see how it is wise to open the floodgates to quell an anticipated deluge; let the release be long and slow, as opposed to fast and dramatic.

But knowing humanity as a whole, we might be in for a wild ride as the end of this Underworld draws nigh. We are still only in the early stages of our ascent.  For some, the imminent divings, risings and curli-Q loop-di-loops provoke exclusively panic, visceral terror and confusion — wondering why anyone would ever sign up for such a ride.

Whereas, equally, there are those who can’t wait — those enthusiastic souls amongst us who throw their hands up with glad abandon screaming with smiles so wide that no one can hide, like a summer sun burning off a morning fog.

As I am still embodied in gross three-dimensional duality, I tend to vacillate between these two extremes. Don’t you?

In the meantime, I advise finding time to practice floating in the nodal point, let it all swirl through you with faith that you will be safe so long as you are willing to let go of any delusions of permanence. Easy said…

Bonus: Bill Hicks!



Born on planet Earth, David Telfer McConaghay has since wandered across its surface in search of something which, when found, kindly insists that he continue searching. His immediate family lives in Minneapolis, MN, though he also feels at home in Washington D.C.; Grass Valley, CA; Bogotá, Colombia; and now, almost Boulder, CO. He completed his B.A. in English & Creative Writing at The George Washington University in 2008. Experiences at the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm are the primary source of any yogic inspiration David aka Sri Nivasa may express. He plays on Facebook HERE and can be followed on Twitter HERE


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22 Responses to “A Layman’s Guide to Surviving the End of the Mayan Calendar. ~ David Telfer McConaghay”

  1. spiritnetwork2 says:

    Whoa! Awesome! Bookmarking this for the future. Been asking myself what I am blocking suppressing lately. This helped my comprehension of the current space-time existence- I feel the acceleration in my actions and their results everyday it blows my mind. An article to read many times over. Your understanding and ability to communicate it is impressive and I am grateful! Emily

  2. yogijulian says:

    oh my goodness what a complete load of nonsense! 🙂

  3. SriDTMc says:

    thanks Emily, glad you found some of the info here useful

  4. SriDTMc says:

    i am open to that perspective. what specifically struck you as nonsensical?

  5. yogijulian says:

    yea i am DEEPLY familiar with wilber – and perhaps you have seen his many vociferous critiques of the kind of new age pseudoscience?

  6. yogijulian says:

    oooh careful with the comparison to say galilleo in your "all new ideas are first mocked, then condemned, then embraced!" schema…

    all TRUE new ideas go through this process to some extent. BUT plenty of absolute nonsense is dismissed as such and remains as such, right?

    so the logical fallacy at play here is this:

    world-changing new ideas that have turned out to be true were at first resisted and even ridiculed.
    my idea is being resisted and ridiculed.
    therefore mine is is a world changing and true new idea!

    the number of times i have heard this fallacy as a response to calling pseudoscience by it's true name is staggering! 🙂

  7. yogijulian says:

    i like your open conversational style and vocabulary a lot btw!

    there is a wonderful coherence to your writing style.

    its just that some of what you say is really nonsensical! 🙂

    don't fall into the predictable solipsism of all of life being a self-created fantasy, this is lazy and ungrounded. better distinctions and nuances can be used to describe he relationships between our inner and outer worlds.

    when make-believe is paraded as having some relationship to facts, evidence and science this is dishonest and problematic.

    the relativist demeanor you project is no doubt pleasing and sincere – but i think it really does matter what is true and what is false – we are talking after all about life, the universe and what it is to be human.

    our human existence has literally nothing to do with the obsessive compulsive numerological preoccupations of ancient cultures who practiced ritual sacrifice – no matter how complex and trippy and cool their hallucinations may have been!

    again – i mean absolutely no personal offense, but using this elaborate head trip to try and give credence to magical thinking re: manifestation, the speeding up of time and the ultimate omega point of the universe is just a big steaming pile of gobbledygook!

    your obvious intelligence and eloquence would be better spent elsewhere…

    all the best.

  8. SriDTMc says:

    i've already exhausted the depths of my admittedly shallow familiarity w Wilber. is there a specific link or publication you would recommend for furthur inquiry?

  9. SriDTMc says:

    yeah i was afraid of succumbing to the convenience of that logic. all too enticing for the ego. o but how clever is the mind, to find no fault with those who praise us, then twist legitimate criticism into some strange validation using reverse-engineered logic. this was not my intention.

    and yet, the ideas laid out in the article work for me — perhaps because i'm young and naive and idealistic… characteristics which in combination might qualify me for insanity or stupidity — but what it all boils down to is the So What? in which case prayer, meditation and pranayam continue to serve me well enough… except for my lack of discipline in their practice…

    which leads me to…

  10. yogijulian says:

    great question: ABHOE is great – but i think you may find his book The Eye of Spirit really useful…

    also – check out the audio dialog he did with yours truly back in 2006 on "the secret" it's called "the tricky business of creating your own reality" and is on his http://www.integralnaked.org website

    this is from an interview of wilber in which habermas is being quoted – the first paragraph is habermas, the rest wilber:

    Habermas writes of the New Age movements: "These more serious thinking movements oscillate within a surreal garland of closed worldviews that are composed of badly-speculated pieces of scientific theory. New Age satisfies in an ironic way the longing for the lost One and Whole with the abstract authority of a system of science that becomes more and more impenetrable. But closed worldviews can stabilize themselves in the sea of a decentralized comprehension of the world only on subcultural islands." What is your position towards this statement?

    "Oh, I agree with virtually all of it. But I believe we can be more precise in the analysis than Habermas. First of all, it is true that much New-Age thinking satisfies the longing for the lost One and Whole, but not merely in an ironic fashion, but by actual regression to earlier stages of "oneness" and "wholeness," which are not actually whole in any developed sense, but merely stages of infantile fusion and indissociation, magically and mythically charged (e.g., the purple and red waves). Second, the more sophisticated New-Age approaches do indeed use a type of recourse to science, but the science is almost always distorted (especially the "new physics" and the "web of life")–but Habermas is right, this pseudo-science is indeed impenetrable (which means, it hides from evidence and thus is not really science–it is simply a new mythology, hence its often regressive nature). Those New-Age worldviews are indeed closed, both in terms of development and in terms of falsifiability (and thus, once again, they are not real science, since they are immune to the three strands of good science). And finally, Habermas is quite right that these movements can survive only in subcultural islands. In America one of these subcultural islands is found in San Francisco, which is why I call the most prevalent version of the sophisticated New-Age approach the "415 Paradigm" (415 is the area code phone number of San Francisco). Another island of such beliefs is Boulder, Colorado, the town in which I live. Yikes.

    This is why it is so important for integral psychology and all serious postmetaphysical movements to detach themselves wherever possible from such New-Age movements (which is why I myself no longer am a member of the transpersonal movement in America, which has all the earmarks of the New-Age movement as described by Habermas, alas).

    This is why it is also important to sharply differentiate a postmetaphysical spirituality from the perennial philosophy, which is why I have not identified myself with the perennial philosophy in over fifteen years. Some of its conclusions are of course important and demand the utmost respect–but only if they can be reconstructed using good, broad science and reconstructive science. [11] I have repeated the necessity for this postmetaphysical and critical approach in several recent books, including SES and Integral Psychology . For those who have not read some of this material, I have included several endnotes from Integral Psychology in Appendix 1 following this article.

    Finally, with reference to the Habermas quote, I would like to point out that a generalized type of New-Age belief is very appealing, not only to the prerational purple and red waves (magic and mythic), but also to the green meme (or the pluralistic stage of development), simply because this pluralistic stage is marked by its strongly subjectivistic stance. The green meme is around 25% of the adult population in America and Europe, so this part of the subcultural island is actually more like a huge continent, which both Habermas and I are doing our best to transcend."

  11. yogijulian says:

    listen you are clearly super bright, enthusiastic and unusually good natured – follow your bliss my friend, but i would encourage a little more curiosity about what is actually true in addition to being good and beautiful… 🙂

  12. yogijulian says:

    be careful – and as patronizing as this might sound: don't waste your obvious brilliance getting all confused about the relationships between subjective and objective (straight up wilber left and right sided quadrants) – and don't call things like numerology and astrology "science" – that is really, really outrageous! 🙂 these are pre-scientific, superstitious narcissistic and even somewhat obsessive compulsive ways of trying to impose linear meaning on the world through imaginary correspondences between planets, numbers, archetypes and human lives. it's all BS – plain and simple.

    your "understanding" of the new age pastiche of hindu cosmology and the grab bag of buddhist, shamanic, quantum physics, mind-body dualism, magical thinking is pretty dead on – that is the party line…. do ever wonder though if it isn't all just an elaborate story, a fairy tale – or better yet a defense mechanism against facing the real world?

    for whatever it may be worth – i suggest you pick up a copy of a path with heart by jack kornfield and start a regular meditation practice, get into some joseph campbell to get a more intellectually and psychologically grounded sense of myth and metaphor, and pick up a copy of v.s. ramachandran's new book the tell tale brain for a rollicking good journey through current neuroscience and the fascinating conundrums of consciousness!

  13. yogijulian says:

    more wilber pointing out the problems of the new age – probably my fave interview with him:

  14. yogijulian says:

    an excerpt from the above article:

    " What do you think of the New Age writers who see a link between mysticism and the weirdness of quantum physics? There have been popular books, like "The Tao of Physics" and "The Dancing Wu Li Masters," as well as the hit film "What the Bleep Do We Know." They point out that reality at the quantum level is inherently probabilistic. And they say that the act of observing a quantum phenomenon plays a critical role in actually creating that phenomenon. The lesson they draw is that consciousness itself can shape physical reality.

    WILBER: They are confused. Even people like Deepak Chopra say this. These are good people; I know them. But when they say consciousness can act to create matter, whose consciousness? Yours or mine? They never get to that. It's a very narcissistic view.

    But the real problem is what's called "the measurement problem." And 95 percent of scientists do not think the measurement problem involves consciousness. It simply involves the fact that you can't tell where an electron is until you measure it. It's very different from saying it doesn't exist until you measure it. That's entirely different from saying human consciousness causes matter to come into existence. We have abundant evidence that the entire material universe existed before human beings evolved. So the whole notion that human consciousness is required — it retroactively creates the universe — is a much harder myth to believe than myths about God being a white-haired gentleman pulling strings up in the sky.

  15. Padma Kadag says:

    To find a Mayan that can accurately explain the calendars is never going to happen. Parading out the "mayans" who have had some lime light is deceptive. The mayan calendars will remain as they are…alive in history but dead in their practicality. White boys that pretend to know something about them is just that…pretend.

  16. craig says:

    great interview thanks for posting this

  17. yogijulian says:

    hmmm i also have to ask the obvious question – if the mayans were so damn good at predicting the future how come they were wiped off the face of the earth?

  18. yogijulian says:

    sure thing – it is actually very telling, because when it originally came out i was so pleased to see him directly addressing/dismissing a lot of the new age BS that so many of his followers think his theory supports…. but reading it now i also see the powerful roots he has in a philosophical mind-body dualism and a denial of neuroscience, which i actually am in substantial disagreement with him about at this point…

  19. dan says:

    What absurd prattle- mayans are still around, why don’t you ask them?

  20. dan says:

    Go for the gold with “pretend” racism! You can do it!

  21. […] is free to express themselves as they see fit. I must reiterate, there is nothing religious or new-agey about activating our voices in the name of joy and healing; it is a time-tested technique for […]

  22. […] posted things of this nature in the past on elephant, and either no one notices, or I get lambasted as being unbearably naive to think that we are in the midst of an enormous transition thousands of years in the making. This […]

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