Mayan Architecture and our new Watches
16.12.2014 - 18.12.2014 81 °F
Well I did a pretty good search on the Internet and did not find references to a new theory,
about Time and the El Castillo/Kulkulkan structure, I'm about to put forth here.
Firstly, the importance of 'keeping time' cannot be overstated when traveling. I suppose WE had
been taking it for granted because there were a few days where we had no way to regularly tell
accurate time. This was because I do not wear a watch and Andrea wore one that worked sporadically
due to a dying battery. It occurred to me, quite alarmingly, that we were not efficiently recognizing
what was the actual time. And now we were traveling in such a way that time jumps either an hour ahead
or an hour behind sometimes in the same day.
We resolved to buy new watches while in the Caribbean and found two good solar watches (duty/tax free)
in St. Thomas at an area named 'Little Switzerland'. With a name like that, how can you not find
a good watch?
Of courses when you a buy a new watch you get a booklet with it the size of a King James' Bible.
Then you spend 30 mins figuring out how to set all its features. Also, our new watches are waterproof
so naturally we had to go swimming the Caribbean to see just how so.
We enjoyed our new solar timepieces and felt comfortable that we would not miss anything important.
However, I soon remembered why I didn't like wearing watches in the first place. They mostly
stress me out because I would constantly check the time and start to plan on 'what time' we
would be at someplace/anyplace, and if I didn't get there, based on the time I wanted to be there,
I would begin to feel a little stressed about it. Maybe there is something about 'Time' that
is deeply ingrained in me? I now recall that I had even written a blog post about the Pink
Floyd song 'Time'.
Flash forward several days to standing in front of El Castillo/Kukulkan in Chichen Itza. It's a bright,
warm comfortable afternoon and we are enjoying walking around the ruins at our leisure. There is
no place we need to be at any specific time so we could just walk and learn about the area.
Andrea decides to go look at postcards so I sit on a bench which has the quintessential view of
the famous pyramid. Mostly famous because of the snake-like shadow play that occurs every year
during the Fall and Spring Equinoxes (Youtube it). That is certainly a magical occurrence even
in this day and age so imagine the impact on the population a thousand years ago. No doubt the person, who
could say with absolute certainty, that the "snake will crawl from the sky to the ground on this
day", was perhaps the most powerful person in the Mayan world.
There are other theories about how this huge pyramid was used but they mostly relate to signifying
when it was time to plant seeds or sow vegatables. Theories on how the pyramid is aligned
to the stars and planets seemed mostly a way for the ancients to continue to maintain power over
the people then, and for the new age ministers to do the same to us today.
Anyway, as I sat and stared I began to see the pyramid more as an ancient timepiece. There are
exactly the same # of steps on it as there are days in a year. There are platforms that can
group those days into blocks we call 'months'. And there are stone pieces that jut out of the
staircases that remind me of a sundial. When Andrea returned, I hypothesized that perhaps
the pyramid worked as a daily timepiece too. I could imagine that the Mayan priest/timekeeper
would step out of the top of the pyramid and then gently place a large jade/silver or other
reflective object upon the step marking the correct day of the season. The Sun would rise, striking
the object and people from a far distance could then see which step the light came from and know the
exact date. Walk closer to the pyramid and you could then tell, by the shadow created by the stone
protrustion beside the step, roughly what time of the day it was. Hence, you had exact date
and time at your disposal 1400 years ago.
Ancient people depended on time for reasons not to different from today. And if you really
wanted to know what time it was 1400 years ago in the Yucatan, you just had to come to
Chichen Itza. Perhaps having 'the only time in the world' was what eventually led to its decline?
Hypothesizing is a kick, isn't it? lol