The Mystery of the Plumed Serpent and its Implications for Big History

The Serpent is one of the most widespread mythological creatures of our planet. It has left marks ranging from a sculpture in present-day Botswana, which arguably is 70,000 years old and the oldest piece of art on our planet, to the pyramid in Cholula, which once was the largest one in the world and was dedicated to the Plumed Serpent. It is actually hard to find any culture that does not have a special place for the serpent in its mythology or religion. For the most part the serpent is even looked upon as a great creator god, although a notable exception to this is the serpent in the Book of Genesis, which together with Adam and Eve were cursed by Yahweh, the Biblical God. We may then rightly wonder why this symbol has become so widespread in both space and time and why it was considered so powerful. Among the Australian aborigines the Rainbow Serpent was for instance a prominent creator god, and in the Amazonas the Great Anaconda was believed to have created the human beings, concepts that most modern people would have a hard time wrapping their minds around. To these should be added the Plumed Serpent of Mesoamerica, and much of North America proper, which was there seen as the bringer of life, civilization and the calendar. Among the Maya it was, most notably in Post-Classical times (900-1224 CE), but in the Popol-Vuh as well, seen as the Supreme Deity.

Fig 1. The earliest known Mesoamerican representation of the Plumed Serpent is from the Olmec site of La Venta (circa 1400 BCE). Notice especially the handbag held by the deity inside the serpent presumably bringing the gifts of civilization (Wikimedia commons).

Granted, many modern people, including many scholars, will tend to dismiss the idea of giving the Serpent such a prominent role as a fantasy or illusion maintained by the ancients. Yet, the fact that the Serpent is ubiquitous in ancient cultures, and seems to have independently emerged as a sacred deity in many of them, indicates that it reflects a real phenomenon, even if it is not one that we can now experience with our senses or detect with our instruments. Having pondered this, in my view the most straightforward explanation to the existence of the serpent is then that it is a macrocosmic sine wave, which ancient peoples were consciously connected with. After all, if you do not have access to trigonometric tables or computers to plot graphs, the serpent is the most natural symbol to use for something that behaves like a sine wave. Assuming this is true and there is much to indicate this to be the case, we must raise the question what the nature of this wave is. On my own part, I am proposing that it is a macrocosmic quantum wave carrying different states of life and consciousness. This would allow it to have both constructive and destructive effects as consistent with ancient mythologies.

Since at least from our human perspective, there is both a macro- and a microcosmos, it also makes sense that quantum waves exist in both realms even if with the reductionist slant of modern science their macrocosmic presence has been ignored. If, as Max Planck and Erwin Schrödinger both argued, consciousness is fundamental, the existence of these macrocosmic waves should then also be primary to all physical phenomena and not be directly detectable with any physical instruments. Yet, as we will see, these waves are real and part of a quantum field that drives all of evolution. They are what is behind all of Big History and what has driven the history of the universe from before the Big Bang to our present time and beyond. The phenomenon of the Plumed Serpent (with other names in other cultures) could then potentially provide the chief unifying factor for understanding the entire evolution of the universe. As a consequence, applying macrocosmic waves to science would make Big History into one unified (and unifying!) discipline, which bases itself on empirical evidence produced by what is now a wide range of separate disciplines. To summarize the entire body of evidence for this unification, which has been compiled in eight books of mine, is however beyond the scope of this article. Its purpose is instead to provide a few examples to stimulate further thought. These may exemplify some aspects not only of the Plumed Serpent, but also of how our universe continues to evolve. In other words, the evidence for macrocosmic quantum theory that is presented here by no means aspires to be exhaustive.

So how can we find any evidence that there actually are such macrocosmic quantum waves that drive evolution? Anecdotally, it is often argued that “the pendulum swings in history” leading opposite phenomena to follow upon each other. While this may be so, it can hardly be qualified as hard evidence for the existence of macrocosmic waves. The key information that we instead need to use for exploring these are aspects of the Mayan calendar system. Hence, while many ancient peoples worshipped a Serpent in one form or another, the ancient Maya stand out as they are the only people that has given us some numbers to work with. Since the Plumed Serpent was seen as the bringer of the calendars, the numbers in these can potentially be used for demonstrating connections to actual events taking place in the course of the development of Big History. Once you have numbers good science in the modern sense of the word can also be produced and we can abide by the principle of rational empiricism. Big History describes the timing of events and these we can compare with shift points in the Mayan calendar system. 

To describe these, I will here limit the discussion to the nine waves of the tun-based system (The tun is a 360 day long period. The Maya chose this as a basis for their quantized calendars even if they had estimated the duration of the solar year more precisely to be 365,2420 days). The nine waves are listed in Fig 2 together with the names and durations of their Mayan time periods, frequencies and times of activation. Overall, these frequencies are extremely low and so can be applied to the long-term processes of Big History in a meaningful way.

WaveName and durationof half-WaveFull Wave period(Years)Frequency (Hz)Time of activation
9thUaxaclahunkin (18 d)0.10.32 10-6Mar 9, 2011
8thTun (360 d)2.016 10-9Jan 5, 1999
7thKatun (19.7 y)39.40.8 10-91755 CE
6thBaktun (394.3 y)788.640 10-123115 BCE
5thPictun (7900 y)15,7722 10-12103,000 YA
4thKalabtun (158,000 y)315,4400.1 10-122.05 MYA
3rdKinchiltun (3.15 My)6.3 M5 10-1541 MYA
2ndAlautun (63 My)126 M0.25 10-15820 MYA
1stHablatun (1.26 By)2.52 B12.5 10-1816.4 BYA
Fig 2. Mayan period names, frequencies and times of activation of the nine waves of creation. (d=day, y=year, M= million, B=billion) Data based on Freidel, Schele and Parker. Maya Cosmos.

What the table in Fig 2 shows is that these nine waves (or if you like calendars) are sequentially activated so that beginning with the 1st Wave, activated 16.4 billion years ago, every higher wave will have a twenty-fold higher frequency and is activated at a time twenty times closer to our own. Already this gives us some new insights as, because of the increased frequencies of the higher waves, there has been a speed-up of evolutionary processes as the universe has approached the present time. New and higher waves activated at later points of time have also over time created phenomena of increased “complexity”. 

The theory based on the frequencies in Fig 2 is to the best of my knowledge: A/ The only scientific theory that acknowledges Native American knowledge as crucial for understanding the universe. B/ The only theory of Big History which recognizes consciousness as primary to matter (again, as both Max Planck and Erwin Schrödinger also did). It follows that the milestones of Big History will not necessarily be the same as in the materialist perspective as it sees the driving force in the underlying quantum field rather than in the physical phenomena that this is producing. C/ Is able to explain why the evolution of the universe has been accelerating ever since the Big Bang. D/ Explains how both growth periods and extinctions as well as the rise and fall of different phenomena alternate and E/ Is based on a mathematical framework that goes back to a time before science in the narrow sense of the word appeared in Europe. Hence, it is based on a wider range of states of consciousness and is more inclusive than most other theories.

Returning to the originators of this mathematical framework, the most famous, and by the ancient Maya most widely used of these nine waves is the Sixth Wave (Fig 2), which among archaeologists and historians goes by the name of the Long Count. This 6th Wave calendar was activated June 17, 3115 BCE following which it has gone through a sequence of so-called baktuns, which are time periods of 144,000 days (or 394.3 years) each (see Fig 4). To the ancient Maya this 6th Wave calendar was looked upon as a sacred count believed to have been activated by the “First Father” in the heavenly abode at the centre of the Tree of Life, Wakah-Chan. All pyramids, altars, ball-courts, etc as well as the important times in the lives of their kings were dated in terms of this Long Count. A large number of stelas in the Mayan sites also mark celebrations of shift points in this Long Count that the kings organized life around. The bringer of this calendar is however the Plumed Serpent who creates a wave movement making some baktuns into peaks (or constructive periods) alternating with valleys (or dark ages). From the Aztecs (Fig 3) we know something about how each baktun got a specific role in an evolutionary process by association with some of their gods and goddesses. Overall, the process may however be seen as evolving over time from a sowing of a “seed” (metaphorically speaking) in the first baktun to a maturation of a “fruit” in the thirteenth baktun.

Fig 3. The gods and goddesses associated with the peaks and valleys of a thirteen-step process.

Now we come to the point when we must ask if there is any reality to the frequencies in Fig 2 and the model in Fig 3, or if this is just fictitious. The way to address this is to see how the model is manifested if it is applied to the Sixth Wave (Fig 4), which defines an evolutionary process going from the first to the thirteenth baktun of the Long Count and gives the shift points in time between the different baktuns. Affirmatively, we can then in Fig 4 for instance see that the first higher civilizations (with city life, centralized governance and writing) emerged on our planet in Egypt, Sumer, the Indus Valley and Caral in Peru close to the time of the beginning of the 6th Wave in 3115 BCE. 

We may also discern an overall process in that human civilization has gone from a few isolated versions in the first baktun to an essentially integrated global civilization in the thirteenth and this may very well be part of the purpose of this particular wave. More interestingly maybe, we can see how the dominating empires in the European/Mediterranean context actually rise and fall with the peaks and valleys respectively of this wave. In this wave movement it may be especially easy to see the Greek Dark Ages following the Bronze Age Collapse (after the 3rd day) and the European Dark Ages following the collapse of the West Roman Empire (after the 5th day). This wave movement then seems to be consistent with the respective nature of light and dark ages as evident from Fig 3.

 It should also be appreciated that large empires like these take time both to rise and fall, meaning that such processes are smoothed out by the sine nature of the wave. Hence, for instance even if 434 CE is a good date for the collapse of the West Roman Empire (this is the year Atilla became the ruler of the Huns and started his campaigns), the time for this may more adequately be described by the extended period 395-476 CE as consistent with the sine wave nature of the Wave. As the rise and fall of these individual dominating empires may seem to follow a course of their own, historians are however often unable to provide straight explanations to their collapses. Mostly they instead advocate a combination of factors (warfare, famine, epidemics, climate change, etc) somewhat like how some theorists now talk about our own time as being in a “metacrisis.” While I agree that there may be a combination of factors in play, this does not explain why these converge at particular points in time to bring a downfall of an empire about. Instead, I argue that the predominant causative factor lies in the underlying evolution of consciousness as the histories of all these empires are part of one and the same larger evolutionary process (even if their detailed histories may display all kinds of particularities). 

Fig 4. The rise and fall of the dominating empires throughout the Long Count.

When it comes to the 4th peak in Fig 4, it created the dominance of the Persian Empire, which encompassed a larger percentage (42%) of humanity than any other empire before or after. Regardless, it was crushed by Alexanders military campaign a short time into the following dark age. We may not wonder so much about the demise of the Persian empire, as on the surface it was simply a result of warfare, but I would suggest that Alexander would not have been so successful in bringing it down unless the 6th Wave would already have shifted into a night, which disfavoured large empires. His own empire was split up almost immediately after his death

This era, the 4th day of the 6th Wave has also attracted the interest of some philosophers, historians and psychologists such as Julian Jaynes in his Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind and Karl Jaspers Axial Age. Jaynes identifies this as a time when a great mental change took place and Jaspers recognized the synchronicity of a whole range of religions appearing on a global scale at this time. Neither one however recognized that this was the midpoint of the Mayan Sixth Wave and that this was what had caused this immense global shift in consciousness. While their respective works did recognize an important shift in history and made interesting elaborations around this, they did not recognize that this shift was part of a multitude of shifts described by the Mayan calendar system underlying evolution from the Big Bang and onwards to form what we can now call Big History. 

It may also be instructive to study (Fig 5) how certain specific phenomena (seeds) that originated at the beginning of the Wave some 5200 years ago, after having gone through the series of peaks, had more advanced manifestations (fruits) at the beginning of the thirteenth baktun in 1617 CE. This would further reflect that at the level of consciousness there is a direct evolutionary connection between the first and seventh peaks pointing to a unified process. 

Beginning of Long Count (3115 BCE)Completion of Long Count (1617 CE)
First nation (Egypt, c 3150 BCE)Modern nation (Westphalian peace treaty, 1648)
First writing (Egypt, Sumer and Indus Valley)First daily newspapers (Amsterdam 1618)
First pyramids (Egypt, Sumer, Greece, Peru)St Peters Basilica (1626)
First numerals (Sumer, Egypt c 3200)Scientific revolution in mathematics (Logarithms 1614, Infinitesimal Calculus Fermat (1636), Analytical Geometry, Descartes (1637), Probability theory, Pascal 1654)
First Money (Mesopotamia 3000 BCE)First paper money (Sweden 1660)
Fig 5. A few phenomena emerging at the beginning of the first and thirteenth baktuns of the Long Count.

What we find in Figs 4 and 5 are then not manifestations of cycles in the narrow sense of the word where events are identically repeated. Rather, what we can see is a wave-like evolution going from a seed (or several seeds) to a mature fruit and even if the events are not identical, it is possible to understand them if we recognize that they result from shifts in the human mind. I think the connection of the emergences of the first numerals and the later scientific revolution that in the centre of Europe led to such a burst of mathematical theories is fairly clear. Same thing seems valid about the first and the modern nation. But what about the connection between the first pyramids and St Peter’s Basilica? These buildings do not at all look similar and were built to serve very different religious and cosmological purposes. Are they then really the products of one and the same wave movement? No one can answer this question with certainty, but personally I think that there is a communality in the fact that the builders of both constructions aspired to be the biggest and most significant in the world (whatever the Egyptians knew of it) motivated by religious ideas. St Peter’s Square is incidentally also eight-partitioned with an Egyptian obelisk at its centre and the Great Pyramid at Giza is eight-sided. This means that at least on a symbolic level there may be a connection between them. In conclusion, when we try to interpret the various steps in these evolutionary processes it is not necessarily fruitful to look superficially at the nature of the objects they create. What works is instead to consider the aspects of the human mind (and its evolution!) that are reflected in the creation of the objects. This is simply a consequence of consciousness being primary to matter in this model. Since mathematics is essentially a purely mental discipline, it is thus also one that can comparatively easily be seen as going from seed to fruit in the Long Count. 

Notably, the new mind brought by the seventh day of the 6th Wave however evolved and spread its effects over time and did not create its manifestations all at once. Thus, Descartes published his Meditations in 1618, Kepler de Harmonice Mundi in 1619, Bacon de Novum Organum in 1620, Galilei The Assayer in 1623 and again Descartes Discourse De La Méthode in 1637. Together the works of these pioneers resulted in a new paradigm of rational empiricism to guide science. The scientific revolution, importantly meaning that mathematics for the first time was used to study physics, was thus spread out over a short period of time following 1617 and this then set the stage for a new era of thought, which after a period of reflection would result in Newton’s Principia (1687). Following the scientific revolution human thinking and science would still come to be modified, but never fully reversed as the wave creating this mental shift (at least until the present time) has still been with us. It is noteworthy however that the philosophers and scientists mentioned worked essentially independently. Because of the shift in consciousness at the beginning of the seventh day of the sixth wave, it was simply time for the scientific revolution and this is what made their theories converge. In this way the Plumed Serpent, with its oscillating movements, is in reality what is behind the synchronization of human activities including the generation of independent and simultaneous discoveries.

Fig 6. The end of the 6th Wave and all of the 7th Wave shown in the same scale.

The purpose of a short article like this is not to go over all the nine waves or even discuss what is the origin of the human mind. Yet, some words deserve to be said also about how the different Waves are connected. This is exemplified in Fig 6 by the Sixth Wave and the Seventh Wave (the latter was activated in 1755 CE, see Fig 2). It can then be argued that the scientific revolution – beginning close to the seventh day of the 6th Wave (1617 CE) – prepared the way for the industrial revolution brought by the 7th Wave. Hence, the scientific revolution activated by the shift in 1617 did mean the development of a whole range of new theories, but not so much their applications in the form of practical or technological inventions. These had to wait for the activation of the Seventh Wave, which generated a mind that resulted in the industrial revolution. Yet, the latter was really created by an interference pattern formed with the already activated Sixth Wave. This is illustrated in Fig 6, which shows how the seventh peak of the 6th Wave (which created the scientific revolution) interacts with the 7th Wave. (The faces in the diagram symbolize the two different states of consciousness that the waves carry.) Hence, the 7th Wave is only activated when this peak of the 6th Wave has developed quite some time after the shift in 1617 CE. This means that when the 7th Wave is activated, there had already been some time (138 years) for the previous paradigm to reach maturity and so prepare for the particular creativity of the 7th Wave. As the 7th Wave with its twenty times higher frequency was then activated in 1755, the two waves start to develop an interference pattern. Through this, the industrial creations of the 7th Wave were always informed by the 6thWave. If instead, (and this is only hypothetically!), the 7th Wave would have been activated in 2011, the industrial products would be standing on their own without the foundation of the peak of the 6th Wave (or in other words the thinking of science).

The different waves thus do not replace each other or follow one upon the other in one time-line. If this were the case, the continuous evolution of the universe (and of the human beings) would have been very precarious indeed and essentially depended on an element of luck. Random events would determine if the universe (including the human beings) could survive through different thresholds and the continuity to higher expressions of creativity brought by the higher waves would not have been guaranteed. The reason that the universe has been able to make it through its entire Big History where one form of evolution (chemical) has been able to continue into others – biological, historical and technological – is then that the different waves of creation overlap and create interference with each other so that one form of evolution organically leads into another. Transitions between different waves are supported and strengthened by the interference patterns they form with each other and so evolution rather than being accident-prone, and its continuation at risk at various thresholds, has proceeded without detrimental interruptions. 

There is a very profound consequence of this reasoning. This is that models implying that Big History should abide by only one single time-line are not adequate for bringing an understanding of its evolution. Biological evolution requires four time-lines (or if you like Plumed Serpents) (see Waves 1-4 in Fig 2) and human mental and spiritual evolution requires an additional five time-lines (Waves 5-9), out of which we have here only looked at two, the 6th and the 7th. Only models with several different timelines creating interference patterns between the different waves can explain that the evolution of life (including that of the human beings) has not already come to a halt or been unable to traverse a threshold. This may be a somewhat comforting thought as we move into the future.

From such insights, it also becomes understandable that the ancient cultures, who unlike most modern people were strongly aware of these wave movements, would also revere the Serpent and have been doing so for at least 70,000 years. Not only the emergence and evolution of life, but also its continuation has been secured by the precise timing through which the nine macrocosmic quantum waves have been activated. In conclusion, Big History follows a very precise time-plan, which has had and still has a direction and purpose. Yet, this does not negate the possibility that the human beings may also play a significant role in deciding what we do with this time-plan and how it will manifest.

5 thoughts on “The Mystery of the Plumed Serpent and its Implications for Big History

  1. Yes, the ‘Big Bang’ is a frequency wave…our planet has a frequency wave…so why wouldn’t every universal known & unknown exist through vibratory interaction & manifestation…many of our ‘Big Picture’ wisdom thinkers from ancestral to modern times have been leaving & showing us clues…be like Carl, take the leap…smile.

  2. This is astounding, Carl. You have so much knowledge, and are so intuitively driven to place “transparencies” of ideas, one on top of the other, uniting all in the Mayan calendar hard and software of the evolution of consciousness.
    This is thrilling, and in your Mayan horoscope, you must be plumed, of course, myself misusing terms, but I hope you are perceiving my deep respect and gratitude for your heart, mind and dedication.
    In the Hindu tradition,

  3. It was a great pleasure to listen to your presentation on Humanity Rising on this subject, and to have you join us in the AfterChat, which I help moderate. My blog, Jim’s Nuggets, provides Jim Garrison’s opening comments, links to the recordings and the chats, and a bit about the subject of the day. This is the Nugget for the day you spoke to us: I hope you don’t mind that I included some screenshots of your presentation. Please let me know if you’d like anything added, changed or deleted.

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