The Calendar Controversy
Representatives of the Maya, including Cirillo and Barrios, have spoken against this treatment and the adaptation of the Tzolkin calendar as a universal constant. The greatest point of contention is that the Dreamspell isn't on the same date as the traditional Mayan calendar. This is a very significant fact. When people who have been introduced to Dreamspell as the Mayan calendar discover this, they can become disenchanted with it and confused at the notion of two differing dates. In his defense, Argüellés does not represent his system as the Mayan calendar and never has done. Despite this, it has become a popular misunderstanding perpetuated by many people who have shared Dreamspell information, often innocently.
Correlation Dates and Calendar Experiments
It seems problematic that, by using a different date, Dreamspell is out of line with the remarkable coincidence that the ancient classic Mayan calendar dates and the traditional indigenous Mayan dates are on exactly the same day. This means that not even a single day in this count has been lost for more than 1,000 years. This is a remarkable achievement, and it's difficult for the Dreamspell to justify having a different date. This has led to many commentators suggesting that it was simply invented. In a relatively obscure set of essays called The Rinri Project Newsletters, Argüellés does address the issue of the start date and refers back to a date he uses as a correlation point. This was taken from a passage in the Book of The Chilam Balam of Mani, one of the important postconquest books of Mayan prophecy that were covered in Chapter 4. This date gives a specific Tzolkin date, a Haab date, and a Julian calendar date. This provides a correlation point to synchronize the calendars. It places the Dreamspell in the tradition of a continuation of or successor to the now-discontinued Yucatec Mayan tradition of keeping the Tzolkin calendar.
After the end of the classic period and the conquest of the Mexica/ Itzá, the Maya in the Yucatán went through a series of changes and innovations in their calendrical practices that led them to drop the Long Count in favor of just recording multiples of the twenty-year katun cycle (the Short Count). They also experimented with changes that included stopping the count of the Tzolkin for thirteen days at the end of a fifty-two year calendar round to account for accumulated leap days. The point of this was that the actual solar year and Tzolkin would then match up perfectly, much in the same way that the 365-day Haab and Tzolkin previously had. Stopping the Tzolkin cycle for even a day is the greatest calendrical heresy imaginable for the traditional Maya of today. The unbroken count of days is one of the most important parts of their core spiritual practice. Yet, this was precisely what happened in the Yucatán after
Explaining the Change
These changes were provoked by a deep-seated desire amongst the Maya to harmonize all possible time cycles, even those of the calendars of their first conquerors-the Itzá, and later, the Spanish. It was a form of syncretism that has led to the survival of Mayan culture through much oppression. Although they lamented the lack of calendrical prowess of the Itzá in their writings, they nonetheless worked at making compromises to accommodate them. The most important calendar to the Itzá was the fifty-two-year calendar round. This progressively gained dominance at the expense of the 360-day tun-based counts, and eventually the knowledge of the Long Count was lost.
Justifying the Change
To dismiss these changes as adulterations or impure forms of the Mayan Long Count is not necessarily a balanced analysis of the postclassic culture in the Yucatán. One of the purposes of the calendar was to create a harmonized society, and the Maya were just responding to the facts of their situation and taking them into account accordingly. Certainly, at the height of the classic period, the development of the Maya's calendar was at an unprecedented peak. The strength of the Mayan culture at that time meant it was able to resist outside influences sufficiently to achieve this level of coherence. However, caution should be taken in presuming it was simply a better calendar or culture. It may have been different from the classic Mayan culture, but Mayan culture of the Yucatán post
Dreamspell and Mayan Culture after
The blend of Mexican and Mayan influences can be seen in postclassic Mayan architecture and religious iconography. This society created a fusion that survived long after the Mayan centers elsewhere had been abandoned. Even after the fall of Chichén Itzá, the league of Mayapan rose and kept a form of Mayan civilization strong in the Yucatán until a hundred years or so before the European invasion. At the same time, the pyramids of Tikal and Palenque had been ruins for half a millennium.
There has always been debate and discussion about the calendar in Mayan culture. Inscriptions that deviate from the standard model of the Maya can be found at Palenque, and we have records of priestly gatherings that occurred to properly organize and debate upon the different calendar cycles. Dreamspell fits within that tradition of experimentation found within the postclassic Yucatán, although it is not to be taken as the Mayan calendar.
Making conversions from the Gregorian calendar to the indigenous Mayan count has always required a day keeper for interpretation, and there is even a debate about whether the Mayan day begins at sunrise or sunset. If you only know your birthday and want to find your day sign, this makes it more difficult to work out than in Dreamspell.
Dreamspell is specifically aimed at being a transitional calendar from the apparent disharmony of the Gregorian calendar to something better. It is proposing itself as a new, alternative calendar system, not the re-establishment of an ancient one. The most important thing is to know that this is what it is. Many of those who have used Dreamspell have reported positive results. These include a heightened awareness of synchronicity and learning about the Tzolkin calendar in the process of using Dreamspell.
Here are some facts about Dreamspell to keep in mind:
It is not the Mayan calendar.
It is on a different date than the traditional Mayan calendar.
It doesn't mark leap day.
It uses midnight as the start of the day; the Maya do not.
It uses the 260-day Tzolkin as the basis of a modern system.
Using it can be a good introduction to learning the Tzolkin.
Some Mayan elders consider it to borrow inappropriately from their heritage.