Foreword to Second Edition, 2002
The original text of Tzolkin has been unaltered except for minor corrections and an occasional reference to a newer study or a brief commentalways in brackets [....]. A great deal of additional material related to the themes explored in Tzolkin can be found at the bottom of the Table of Contents under the heading Tzolkin 2. This material comprises a "part 2" to Tzolkin and in size amounts to another book. Within it, the complete text of my 1993 book 7 Wind can be found, as well as a chapter from my 1989 book Journey to the Mayan Underworld. Tzolkin was written between August 1991 and September 1992. About 60 spiral-bound copies were laboriously produced and sold in late 1992 and 1993, and these can assuredly be considered rare items. The original promotional flyers can be found in the Tzolkin 2 section. After securing the contract with Borderland Sciences Research Foundation in late-1992, only very minor text corrections were made to the original 1992 version. However, there was work to be donethe calendar pages were all reconfigured, the text master copies were re-designed and printed out, and I compiled an index for the book. These tasks took me through 1993 and I sent Borderlands the printer-ready pages and cover art in late 1993. The book went to press and was shipped in mid-1994. The press run was 1000 copies, and I received 115 free copies as payment. As late as 1998 I was able to order some copies held by the distributor in Oakland, California, and Gateways bookstore in Santa Cruz had a stack of Tzolkin books on hand in October 1998. Now, however, it is completely out of print and is hard to come by, although I've seen it occasionally at http://www.abebooks.com. BSRF apparently still possesses the plates and if they reprinted it, the discoveries and research in the original Tzolkin still stand on solid ground. And what exactly are those discoveries?
Since the book explores astrology, I began with a discussion of the metaphysical basis of astrology, comparing the antiquated misapprehensions of scientific causality with a new conceptual framework based on the hermetic principle of "as above so below" that emphasized a cosmic synchronicity or resonant correspondence. In the next section, I offered the mandatory Calendar Basics essential for understanding Mayan calendar philosophy, though all too often over-simplified in the literature, which often appropriates mystical elements in the tzolkin to redesign a modernized "Maya" calendar concept. A basic grasp of the various inter-related calendars of the Maya is essential to a deeper understanding. The Venus calendar of the Dresden Codex is really the main subject of the book, although a cornucopia of ideas are explored in the Visionary Perspectives section. I approached the Venus calendar from two angles. First, in trying to reconstruct and reinaugurate the Venus calendar of old, it was necessary to identify its placement in real time. For example, when did the 104-haab Venus Round begin? The answer is known, based on the work of Floyd Lounsbury, but if one desires to follow this same placement, projected into modern times, a complexity arises: because of a slight discrepancy in the Venus cycle, that ancient placement is no longer accurate. So, a new placement was sought my simply locating the next time that Venus would rise as morningstar on the tzolkin calendar day 1 Ahau. But to find 1 Ahau you need to know the correlation of the Mayan calendar with our own. This "correlation question" is another major aspect of the book. I examined many different proposals and found the answer is pretty straightforward although, strangely, is often misunderstood. Also, I realized that the answer to the correlation question highlights the surviving calendar in the highlands of Guatemala, and the New Age writer José Arguelles had devised his own daycount rather than follow that traditional count. Based upon the academic source material, my reconstruction of the Venus calendar of the Dresden concluded that April 3, 2001 (1 Ahau in the tzolkin calendar) was the best candidate for re-instating the Venus calendar for modern use. Other interesting discoveries were made during this research, which are shared. My second approach to the Venus calendar stemmed from realizing that the Venus Round and Calendar Round beginnings were not synchronized in the late-Classic period. But they may have been soon thereafter. In attempting to identify a remnant of the ancient Venus Round calendar, I looked at Calendar Round data from Munro Edmonson's book The Book of the Year (1988). My findings were quite interesting and compelling, though probably only to the specialist, or so I thought. Edmonson himself responded to my essay (published in Tzolkin as "Toward Reconstructing the Ixil/Quiché Venus Calendar"), and I include his comments and my response in Tzolkin 2.
Tzolkin 2 collects together for the first time subsequent articles, essays, and correspondence, some never before published. A look at the Tzolkin 2 section will show what is covered. I had originally intended to include, for the sake of completeness, correspondence and documents related to José Arguelles and his Dreamspell system. Some of the letters I received (unsolicited) were of a personal nature, and I decided to not include these. I'm not interested in the personal activities, but only in the effects of new pseudo-systems that threaten to replace traditional doctrines. However, correspondence dealing with the issues, including email exchanges of 1995 and 1996, can be found in the Tzolkin 2 section.
Other items to be found in Tzolkin 2 include book reviews, debates, links, articles, letters, essaysa veritable plethora of explorations into Mayan time philosophy.
John Major Jenkins
October 17, 2002