The Ritual Practice of Structuring Divine Linear Time and the Symbolic Temporal Status of the 260-day Calendar

Time of the Long Count calendar had both political and religious value but apparently not necessarily for all solid strata of classic Maya society. The aristocratic elite presumably exclusively employed the Long Count calendar. I argue that there must be a common rationale, not only political and sociological, of why time came to be such an essential religious-political constituent of classic Maya philosophy and why certain intervals of time in a linear calendar were emphasised ritually.

I propose two interrelated theories explicating classic Maya ritual practice of various time intervals of the Long Count calendar. Firstly, this constituted a chronovisionary methodology of structuring and thereby venerating interval deified linear time. Secondly, it was a ceremonial celebration honouring the extraordinary status and role of the sacred time station Ajaw of the fundamental 260-day calendar in combination with zero dates at various “period-endings” of time intervals integrated within the temporal system of the Long Count calendar. Let us first consider the hypothesis about creating order and structure of deified linear time.

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