Many people with an interest in the Mayan calendar have at some point or another come in contact with the so-called Thirteen Moon/Dreamspell calendar, a calendar that was created in the early 1990’s by José and Lloydine Argüelles. It is common that people who have been taught this calendar at one point or another ask the question: “Why are there two different Mayan calendars?” and the purpose of this article is to provide a perspective on this, which most likely is different from what teachers of the Dreamspell will give themselves.
The proponents of Thirteen Moon/Dreamspell calendar claim that this is a female, natural and Mayan calendar and that it has such advantages that we should replace the Gregorian calendar with it. We will here examine these claims and explain how and why this calendar was created especially as related to the traditional Mayan calendar. The height of popularity of the Dreamspell calendar may now be gone. Yet, it remains important to create clarity about its origin and nature, especially if we now are to develop a calendar based on the Mayan that serves the evolution of humanity in a better way.
I will then here first briefly outline the structure of the Thirteen Moon/Dreamspell calendar: This calendar system is a combination of thirteen so-called “moon” periods of 28 days, every year taking their beginning on July 26. Thirteen moons of 28 days amounts to a total of 364 days to which one day, the “day-out-of-time” has been added on July 25. This compensates for the fact that the solar year of our planet is actually 365+ days. Combined with these thirteen moons is then the Dreamspell calendar, a so-called tzolkin count. This calendar is a modification of the traditional Mayan tzolkin count of 260 combinations of twenty day-signs (or glyphs) with thirteen numbers. Based on the Dreamspell tzolkin count, the adherents are assigned “galactic signatures” that purportedly define their identities, qualities and fates or at least aspects of those. Every four years, when there is a leap day in the Gregorian calendar on February 29, the Dreamspell count is interrupted and makes a jump in its flow as this day is given no tzolkin energy. In addition to this basic structure, the Thirteen Moon/Dreamspell calendar includes a number of cycles of lesser importance. These are however created against the background of the cycles outlined above and need not be detailed here. Here we will instead look more closely at the basic structure of this calendar and scrutinize the claims that it is: 1/ female, 2/natural and 3/ Mayan, since it is claimed that these are its strong points compared to other calendars.
Claim 1: The Thirteen Moon/Dreamspell calendar is a female calendar.
The claim that the Thirteen Moon calendar would be a female calendar is based on the fact that modern medicine often gives 28 days as a rule of thumb for the durations of the female cycles of ovulation and menstruation. It seems however that the proponents of the Thirteen Moon calendar have not really examined if this claim is true. To begin with, each woman in fertile age has an individual cycle with a duration that may vary between 22 and 31 days, which she often keeps a calendar of herself. Already for this reason it is somewhat questionable if an abstract ideal of a 28-day cycle codified in a general calendar serves a good purpose. Moreover, considering that few women would have periods starting at the same time as the thirteen moons it would seem that the number of women whose cycles actually follow this calendar would be very small, maybe less than one per cent.
More profoundly problematic is the fact that the 28-day rule of thumb of modern medicine is not the actual natural cycle of women. Studies performed in the 1950’s with hundreds of thousands of women showed that their cycles instead on average are 29.5 days long. The reason the female cycles have this duration is that they are connected to the full moon cycle of 29.52 days. To confirm these connections studies were performed in the 1960’s with Chinese women living without electrical lights that showed not only that their cycles on average are 29.5 days, but also that their excretion of hydroxymelatonin, originating from the melatonin of the light-sensitive pineal gland, occurred in response to the light of the full-moon. This connection between the female and the full moon is sometimes expressed in ancient myths, but may be too magical for modern medicine to accept and so it has created the idea of a 28-day cycle. Today many women may also in fact have shorter cycles than 29.5 days. This is because of the current prevalence of electric lights (and computers) in the night time (having the same effect as the full moon) as well as the spread of hormone disruptors (such as contraceptive pills) that have perturbed the connections of the female cycles with the full moon. Yet, these are hardly factors that can be qualified as female or natural. It can be concluded that the Thirteen Moon calendar is not a female calendar, despite the rhetoric of its adherents. If anything, this calendar tends to alienate women from their natural connection to the full moon cycle and replace it with a purely abstract mathematical cycle of 28 days. The ancient Maya did not follow a 28 day cycle, but one that alternated between 29 and 30 days to create an average of 29.5 consistent with the natural cycle of women.
Claim 2: The Thirteen Moon/Dreamspell calendar is a natural calendar.
The claim that the Thirteen Moon/Dreamspell calendar is a natural calendar is a little bit more difficult to examine since it is not really clear what would be meant by natural time. If natural time is sacred metaphysical time like the Mayan, then as we shall see under Claim 3, the Dreamspell does not reflect this. Here we will instead scrutinize the claim that the Thirteen Moon/Dreamspell calendar is a calendar that follows the seasons or astronomical cycles in a way that would make it natural. To argue that it is a natural calendar you can of course say that it has a set starting date in the solar year, July 26, based on which you can follow the passage of the seasons, but all calendars, including the Gregorian, that are based on the solar year allows for the same thing. In this regard July 26 does not seem to be preferable to or more natural than for instance January 1 or the spring equinox of March 21.
Why then has the July 26 date been chosen as a New Year’s Day for the Thirteen Moon/Dreamspell calendar? The origin of this date. It goes back to the cycle of following the solar year, the so-called Haab calendar of 365 days that was used in ancient times by the Maya. Since this cycle is shorter than the solar year of approximately 365.25 days, and the Maya did not use leap days, the beginning point of this Haab calendar would move one day in relation to the solar year every four years. Thus, prior to the arrival of the Europeans there was no set New Year’s Day for the Haab calendar.
It then so happened that as the Spanish conquered Yucatan in 1540 the beginning day of this Haab calendar had moved to the day that was July 16 in the Julian calendar (corresponding to July 26 in the Gregorian). Since from a European perspective, where the Julian leap day had been in use for a long time, a year with a moving starting point seemed irrational it seems that the decision was then made to fix this at July 26. Thus, in Relación de las cosas de Yucatán, written in 1566 by the infamous Bishop de Landa, the July 26 date is described as a New Year’s date of the Maya and also in the later Books of Chilam Balam (which José Argüelles quotes as his source). This means that ever since the conquest the starting day of the Haab no longer moved and in contrast to prior to the conquest it was frozen at July 26. De Landa, incidentally was the instigator of the burning of all Mayan books to prevent this people from continuing their traditions and not the least their calendrical culture. What then is “natural” about July 26 as a starting point for the Thirteen Moon year? What its adherents are really doing is celebrating the date when after the conquest, the Mayan Haab calendar came to an end. How can a calendar celebrating such an event be called Mayan?
There is nothing astronomically natural with the 28-day “moon” either. The 28-day period is different both from the full moon cycle of 29.5 days and from the orbital period of the Earth’s moon of 27.3 days. The 28-day cycle thus has no biological or astronomical meaning and is merely an artificial mathematical number without any relationship to the cycles of nature. Moreover, the New Year’s Day of the Thirteen Moon calendar was set as the date when the Mayan Haab calendar was frozen and adapted to the European calendars. In conclusion, there is nothing natural about the Thirteen Moon calendar except for in the rhetoric of its followers.
Claim 3: The Thirteen Moon/Dreamspell calendar is the Mayan Calendar.
Initially, in the early 1990’s, the Dreamspell calendar was often presented as if it were the Mayan calendar, but as it later became more widely known that the living Maya were following a sacred calendar tradition that went back thousands of years and was different from that of the Dreamspell, this statement was sometimes corrected. Yet, since the latter still had a pretense of being a Mayan calendar it came mostly to go by the name of the Mayan Dreamspell calendar. Presumably this was because it uses the day signs and numbers of the true Mayan calendar although it assigns those to different dates. The tzolkin count used by the Quiche-Maya and most Mayan peoples today is however the only one that goes back to ancient times and can be called the true count. Only the ancients were in a full resonance with the shifts points of creation that the tzolkin is a reflection of. Purportedly, the new tzolkin count that it presented came out of a “New dispensation” of divine knowledge. Yet, it has never been explained by its creators what advantage the Dreamspell calendar would have compared to the true Mayan, or why this old tradition was simply ignored. Clearly, the Dreamspell count has never been followed by any traditional group of Maya, either ancient or present, and we shall now see why.
The most important difference between the sacred 260-day calendar of the Maya and the corresponding Dreamspell count is that the latter makes a jump every four years at the leap day of the Gregorian calendar. Hence, in the Dreamspell count the day of February 29 is given no energy, as if it was not part of the divine flow of time. This disruption is a very significant difference especially if the tzolkin is looked upon as a matrix of spiritual, metaphysical energies describing the unbroken underpinnings of this creation.
What ignoring the leap day means for the Dreamspell calendar is that all of its “galactic signatures” are subordinated to and determined by the Gregorian calendar. I will give a simple example to illustrate this fundamental fact: In the true uninterrupted Mayan tzolkin calendar someone who is born on March 1, 2012 (which is a Gregorian leap year) will have the tzolkin energy of 8 Chicchan (serpent). If on the other hand the preceding leap day of February 29 would have been ignored and jumped over in the tzolkin flow (which is what the Dreamspell does) that energy would instead have been 7 Kan (lizard). The consequences of ignoring the energy of the leap day then extend to all of the “galactic signatures” calculated according to the Dreamspell count so that they are all determined by the date that in the Gregorian calendar is the leap day. The Gregorian leap day is just a convention and could just as well have been September 31, 2013, in which case all the “galactic signatures” would have been different. Since the Gregorian leap day is a randomly chosen date, the Dreamspell dates are not in any sense sacred or inherently meaningful. In contrast to the true tzolkin they have no connection to the uninterrupted flow of creation energies going back to ancient times. Paradoxically then, despite the extensive rhetoric of the Dreamspell against the Gregorian calendar, this calendar has in fact replaced the sacred energies of the Mayan tzolkin with energies that are defined by the Gregorian calendar.
For this reason, it is simply absurd to talk about the Dreamspell “galactic signature” as Mayan or “another Mayan calendar”. To explain the falseness of the Dreamspell claim to be a Mayan calendar in fact means helping to preserve the true Mayan tzolkin to future generations. This point is even more important as in several countries the Dreamspell calendar has so totally come to overshadow the true tzolkin that people there do not even know that a true Mayan calendar exists.
None of the claims of the Thirteen Moon/Dreamspell calendar thus hold up against scrutiny. Underneath all of its anti-Gregorian rhetoric it is not what it portends to be. Its 28-day cycle is purely a mathematical abstraction, which denies the female connection to the full moon cycle. Its beginning date of July 26 reflects the suppression of the Mayan Haab and lacks a natural basis as does its 28-day cycle. Most importantly, its galactic signatures are determined by the Gregorian calendar and deny people their connection to the ancient flow of time of the Mayan tzolkin.
The Passing of the Creators of the Thirteen Moon/Dreamspell Calendar and Possible Future Directions
The most controversial of the claims of the Thirteen Moon/Dreamspell calendar has always been that it is a Mayan calendar or even the Mayan calendar of our time. This is adamantly denied by Mayan elders and tradition keepers such as Don Alejandro Oxlaj (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1n_lpehsW4). The question must then be raised why the traditional Mayan tzolkin count was not used as the Dreamspell calendar was designed? Why was it altered in such a way that its day-signs and numbers as we now have seen became defined by the Gregorian calendar? Why was it deemed better to subordinate the Dreamspell tzolkin to the Gregorian calendar than to follow the true Mayan tzolkin? There seems to be a lead to answer this in the fact that the two creators in the system they developed had been given the energies 11 Chuen and 9 Ik, which correspond to the master numbers 11 and 22, totaling 33. It is known that José Argüelles regarded the number 33 as the key number of spiritual initiation and the two would sometimes sign their articles by “kin 11 and kin 22” to highlight this. This explanation to the Dreamspell count as being based on the birthdays of its creators exactly so as to give them the kin numbers 11 and 22 would explain why this count would not give an energy to the Gregorian leap day. Without making a jump at the leap day the two co-creators would not have been given these master numbers based on their birthdays.
Through my contacts with Lloydine Argüelles several years ago she made it clear that despite the fact that she was called a co-creator of this calendar, she did not actually know why the Mayan tzolkin was not followed in the Dreamspell. This means that José Argüelles was the only person who knew why the ancient Mayan tzolkin had been rejected and since he has passed away we will never know his motives for this with certainty. When he was confronted on the http://sacredroad.org/ web site with my suggestion that this happened in order to give its creators the master numbers 11 and 22, he neither denied it nor admitted it. He merely stated his view that there was no conflict between the two tzolkin counts.
If the above explanation to why the Dreamspell is different from the true Mayan calendar is the right one – and no other explanation has ever been given for this – we should not be surprised that outsiders may perceive this calendar as very ego-based. Hence, the “galactic signatures” serve as identities for its followers and also provide a sort of daily mantras like: “I empower in order to catalyze. Commanding energy, I seal the matrix of self-generation, With the overtone tone of radiance, I am guided by the power of accomplishment, I am a galactic activation portal enter me” This definition of tzolkin energies in terms of “I’s” is very different from how they are looked upon by the Maya as sacred energies of the divine. Given that the Ninth wave activated in 2011 is the one whose purpose it is to generate unity with the divine (which really is a pre-requisite for humans to generate unity with one another and nature), it may be expected that as this wave progresses, and to the extent people are able to connect with it, it will be increasingly difficult to uphold the Dreamspell calendar.
Before continuing we however need to look at the suggestion made by Josë Argüelles that there is no conflict between the two tzolkin counts. In my own view it is in practice impossible to follow two different tzolkin counts at the same time. To say for instance that a certain day is both Manik and Ix is like saying that a day in the common week is both Tuesday and Thursday. For someone who wants to keep his or her sanity such a statement is clearly not recommendable and in addition there is the ethical question of changing a several thousand years old Mayan tradition. It is better to be honest and recognize that there indeed is a conflict between the sacred Mayan tzolkin and the Dreamspell tzolkin whose energies are based on the Gregorian calendar. Given that the Dreamspell is based on the usurpation of the Mayan tzolkin by the Gregorian calendar, and honors the day that the Mayan Haab came to an end in 1540, the Dreamspell will in fact always be in conflict with the Mayan calendar, and is by its very nature divisive. It is entirely possible that the Dreamspell started out innocently as a game, but then its promoters should say so and not something else. What is dishonest, divisive and damaging to the spiritual heritage of our planet is when these teachers claim that the Dreamspell is a legitimate Mayan calendar. It is not. It also seems obvious that a calendar that is not fully transparent and explains how and why it was designed can never truly serve as a calendar of peace.
It then now seems natural to ask how the genius, who wrote The Mayan Factor and promoted the Harmonic Convergence came to develop such a calendar. One lead is something Argüelles himself shared about, namely the tragedy of the loss of his son Josh on October 28, 1987 was to him. People can lose their balance because of much smaller things and I want to speculate that he then lost faith in the divine and replaced this with a belief in himself as a prophet. Regardless of whether this explanation is true or not, it is just a fact that his work markedly changed direction at the time of the death of his son. Thus, while the Harmonic Convergence of August 16-17, 1987 was based on the true tzolkin (1 Imix and 2 Ik, the first two days in this count, respectively) the Dreamspell he developed later broke with this traditional calendar. Likewise, while The Mayan Factor emphasized the non-astronomical, metaphysical nature of the Mayan Calendar, the Thirteen Moon calendar instead had a physical basis. I was myself a great admirer of Argüelles work prior to 1988 and I think that he made an enormous contribution to the world by letting people know that the Mayan calendar existed. Yet, this does not justify that he presented a tzolkin he had invented himself as the Mayan calendar. Nor does it justify that he kept the origin of the tzolkin he had invented secret to everyone – including to his wife Lloydine, which does indicate that he did not want others to know of its origin.
The world need more and not less transparency and in the current situation I feel the best way of acknowledging his early contribution is to recognize that his later work with the Dreamspell is not consistent with his early work and certainly not with the only true Mayan tzolkin that has been used for 2500 years. Unfortunately, there were not many people who until the early nineties would be capable of seeing the discrepancy and support him in seeing this himself. Many people wanted a prophet to believe in rather than the true calendar itself.
Since we have seen that the Thirteen Moon/Dreamspell calendar is not female, natural or Mayan, and in many cases directly suppresses those very things, it may now instead be in its place to discuss what alternative there is to it in the future. This is all the more relevant, since after the activation of the Ninth Wave on March 9, 2011, a society that is more female, natural and Mayan and less leader-led will ultimately be generated. José Argüelles did admit towards the end of his life that there was a value in the Mayan calendar system of nine waves. Yet, he passed away in the very 1st day of the Ninth Wave on March 23, 2011 (1 Ahau in the true calendar, since it was morning in Australia). Also Lloydine Burris has now passed away (on May 16, 2014), on the 33rd day of the Ninth Wave. Possibly then there is a connection of these times of passing to the development of the Ninth Wave. Lloydine notably passed away on the day 8 Batz in the latter calendar. This is the day when the Mayan tzolkin calendar is celebrated by the Maya themselves in Guatemala and when the training of new day-keepers begins in a tradition that goes back thousands of years. It is open to interpretation, but maybe there is a message also in the energy of the day a person passes away and that she wanted to acknowledge the celebration of the true Mayan tzolkin on this very day.
Regardless, as the Ninth Wave has now been active since March 9, 2011 and we have gone through the very significant shift in the Mayan calendar on October 28, 2011 it seems that a calendar that reflects our inner shifts and helps us identify when we are experiencing unity consciousness would be of great value. For the reasons given above the Dreamspell calendar is not able to respond to what is needed from such a calendar today. The calendar of the future I believe instead must be based on the true Mayan calendar following the continuous stream of time energies emanating from the Source of creation, the divine. And yet, since we are now at a fundamentally new point in time, this ancient calendar system will have to be used in a new way, without falling back on the authorities of the past. It has to be used in such a way that it serves the spiritual transformation of each one of us into unity consciousness. To do so will however require that we have gained clarity and fully understand the meaning of the Mayan calendar. Part of this clarity, especially for coming generations, will have to come from understanding the kind of alternative calendars that were created before the shift. If this has been attained this article has served its purpose.
Santa Fe, NM, December 11, 2014 (9 Ahau)