9. Electives

9.6. E260 Mesoamerican Astrology

Instructor: Bruce Scofield
Independent Study Course

In Mesoamerican astrology, multiple units of time become signs. Learn how to work with this fascinating and unique tradition!

There are four major, world-class astrological traditions: The Western astrological tradition that grew out of the Near East, Mediterranean and Arab cultures; Indian astrology (Jyotish) that was strongly influenced by Greek astrology around 300 B.C.; Chinese astrology, ancient indigenous astrology utilizing interlocking cycles of 12 and 10; and Mesoamerican astrology, whose origins go back to at least 500 B.C.

Required books can be found under the self-paced courses section of https://keplercollege.org/index.php/required-books-for-courses

No significant outside influences altered the development of Mesoamerican astrology until the arrival of the Spanish five hundred years ago. At that time the Maya were in a state of decline and the Aztecs were at the peak of their empire. The effects of the Spanish invasion on indigenous astrology was devastating. Friars were brought in to systematically eliminate as much of the traditional ways as possible, to be replaced by the Christian model. Disease decimated the populations eliminating nearly all who were knowledgeable of the astrological traditions. Worst of all, most of the books were burned. Only a few relics, books, inscriptions, and an oral tradition kept what is truly Native American astrology alive.

This course will allow students to become acquainted with the nature of Mesoamerican astrology and its foundations in the cosmology and mythology of the several cultures that flourished in ancient Mexico and northern Central America. In Mesoamerican astrology, time serves as a sign. The basic unit of one day, one rotation of the earth, is the foundation on which other units rest. The core of time-based Mesoamerican astrology is the 260-day astrological calendar. This time unit has links to many astronomical cycles and was used for character description and choosing times for activities such as business trips and political or religious rituals. This 260-day calendar operates on several levels, one being the Long Count which structures a 5,125-year era – best known as the Mayan Calendar which “ended” in 2012.

Topics include:

  • An overview of the region in which the Maya, Aztec, and other Mesoamerican cultures were born followed by a first look at the astronomical underpinnings of the Mesoamerican calendars that are the basis of the indigenous astrology. 
  • An overview of the Popol Vuh, the Maya creation myth, and a discussion of the mysterious god Quetzalcoatl and the Four Suns legend of the Aztecs. 
  • The day-signs are at the core of Mesoamerican astrology and students will learn their traditional meanings, god rulers, and modern interpretations. 
  • An analysis of the planet Venus, which so important in this tradition's astrology and how the ancient Mesoamericans regarded the Moon and planets. 
  • The Long Count, the longest time cycles of the Maya that maps out the ages. 
  • Future possibilities of Mesoamerican astrology will be considered by creating a horoscope based on the symbols studied in this course. 

This course can count as an elective for the Professional Diploma in Astrology.