Following Dreamspell

John Major Jenkins. Nov 22, 2002

1 Etznab


Dreamspell is a calendric system intended to transform its users, and the world, by entraining the consciousness into a non-linear cyclical time count based on the lunar rhythm. As a philosophical or metaphysical system it should be examined for its usefulness in facilitating what it claims. It appears to be the creation of one visionary thinker, José Argüelles, and thus anyone is justified in questioning its tenets, challenging its claims, and providing contextual information related to its development. On another level, in reading the Dreamspell literature one gets the impression that the system is not the creation of one human being, but the revelation of a higher dimensional entity associated with the Mayan king Pacal. In fact, several years ago Argüelles proclaimed himself dead and is now to be known as Valum Votan. If this is the case, and Dreamspell is a revelation much like the Bible or the Koran, then we should examine it closely and discern the intention of the information coming through. What effect does it have? What does it do? Otherwise we put ourselves in the position of being a follower and trusting in the spiritual attainments and integrity of a perceived guru / prophet figure, especially if clear disclosures of truth are not provided. This guru-worship has its downside, of course, and in my touring experience it is especially prevalent on the West Coast. The best way to explore the efficacy of the Dreamspell system is to determine if it does what it claims it can do. Secondarily, we can weigh testimonials of those who use it with good effect and those who have decided to not use it, and simply share the reasons why. 



I’ll keep this section brief. Many people following the Dreamspell day-count report that it works. The 260-day cycle is an oracle. Any oracle will respond if you pour energy into it. Nothing can sway a person’s commitment to a given ideology or system of thought, however flawed it may be shown to be. So there isn’t much more to be said on that account, considering that I wrote the Dreamspell-sponsored Time Bandit newsletter more than ten years ago to inform them of the existence of the surviving Mayan calendar; they didn’t know about it, and they didn’t care (or didn’t believe it). But partly due to my satirical writing tactics, this truth did eventually get acknowledged by some—even while they chose to continue following Dreamspell. For me this issue has always been about clarity, discernment, and choice. For those who abandoned following Dreamspell, the reasons given are as follows (distilled from hundreds of email and letters since 1992): 1. Realized that it was not aligned with the Mayan day-count. 2. Believed they had been misled by the general claim or implication  that the Dreamspell system was the same as the Mayan calendar (clear disclosure of the truth was absent). 3. Detected a cultic displeasure when questions were raised during group meetings. 4. Personal experiences with the Dreamspell creator and/or inner circle that were unpleasant. 5. Felt they had been hypnotized.             



Following the Mayan insight into the harmonic nature of the 260-day sacred cycle, Dreamspell also uses the 260-day cycle to highlight the occurrence of synchronicities that reveal a deeper interweaving of life’s events. Every 260 days the same day-glyph and number combination will recur, revealing a harmonic relation which is ultimately based on our first, collectively shared, cycle of unfoldment—the nine-month period of embryogenesis. Naturally, all significant events in life unfold in a 260-day rhythm or harmonics thereof. This is a fantastic Mayan insight into the nature of time. The 260-day cycle is also a generalized key that unites multiple dimensions of human experience: human biological unfolding, agricultural planting and harvesting cycles, and cycles in the sky such as eclipses.


One’s birthday in the 260-day cycle is important, for it defines future day-sign resonances. However, a non-Mayan practice of day-skipping was implemented in Dreamspell that violates the harmonic integrity of the 260-day resonance. Simply put, your birthday should recur every 260 days. Because the Dreamspell system does not count February 29th, the oracular integrity of the 260-day count is lost. Dreamspell proponents claim that February 29th is an artifact of the Gregorian calendar, and thus to skip it we actually entrain ourselves with the “real” field. This is a  fallacy derived from actually taking seriously the Western astronomical convention of fractioning the year count to 365.2422 days (thus every four years an additional day is needed). Mayan time philosophy does not heed fractions or other abstractions—which would remove ones perception from the immediacy of temporal experience. Rather, the Mayan day-keepers simply count every day. (It seems absurd that this is a principle that even needs to be emphasized.) The effect of simply counting every day allows the celebration of New Years Day to fall back through the year, one day every four years, completing one full round in 1,507 years. But that shifting is not perceived as a “problem” and is considered less important than preserving the internal integrity of the sacred, lunar-based, time rhythm. In other words, the precise solar year is less critical than the sacred cycle—which is true if you are concerned with following a sacred rhythm and dispensing with solar-year abstractions. This is precisely what Dreamspell proclaims to offer, to remove us from the “12:60” nightmare, but in fact by skipping February 29th  it reveals a prioritizing of the solar year over the lunar cycle.


Why Should the Moon Fit into the Sun?

This same fallacy of subjecting the lunar cycle to the solar cycle is found in the 13-moon calendar, which runs alongside the 260-day cycle and the solar year counting in Dreamspell. The 13-moon calendar consists of 13 moons of 28 days each, with one “day out of time” at the end to make 365 days. (Notice that the “day out of time”, July 25, is not the same as skipping February 29th).  Following this moon rhythm is supposed to be the key which allows us to disengage from the 12:60 (12 solar months, 60 minutes)—the abstract Western nightmare of materialism that obscures natural rhythms. However, no lunar rhythm consists of 28 days, and it should be noted that the Maya themselves did not use a 13-moon calendar. In Dreamspell rationale, 28 days is claimed to be an average of the 27.3-day sidereal month and the 29.53-day phase cycle. If scientific precision is being invoked here to validate the thesis, however, the average is not very accurate. In addition, this kind of rationalized operation is one iterative abstraction away from the experienced rhythm of the lunar cycle, and thus is guilty of the same lamentable abstractions of Western science. And why even abstract the lunar cycle? Why not just track it in the sky, do rituals, and entrain with it? The purpose of choosing a 28-day, 13-moon cycle of 364 days (plus 1 “day out of time”) is apparently to fit the lunar cycle evenly into the solar cycle. I’m picturing Victorian corsets here; or the bound feet of Japanese girls. In other words, like the example previously described, Dreamspell gives precedence to the solar year and the sacred lunar rhythm must be crammed into it to create the appearance of mathematical commensuration. This is an abstracting operation, a human fiddling with the sacred rhythms in which we are embedded, whereas the Mayan day-keepers themselves were and are concerned only with the “thing in itself”—the experiential reality of the complex interweaving cycles in which we live. This provides a richness of experience rather than a denatured framework that has rhythmic closure.


There is harmonic commensuration in the appropriate use of the of the 260-day sacred calendar in relation to other cycles observed by the Maya (eclipses, solar, Venus), and we find this in the rich traditions of the Long Count and Calendar Round. Any model or system has its deficiencies, but certain principles are elementary (such as not skipping days) and must be adhered to if the system is to work harmonically. (As an aside, the highest harmonic commensuration of time cycles is found in the 25,920-year precession of the equinoxes, which we are approaching the end of via the solstice-galaxy alignment of era-2012. In Vedic, Babylonian, Eddic, and other traditions, this master-key cycle is alluded to primarily with the numbers 12 and 60, calling into question the wisdom of judging these number as responsible for the decadence of modern civilization.) 


Day-Count Redundo

Finally, there remains the issue of the Dreamspell day-count placement being at odds with the traditional Mayan day-count (the 584283, Classic-period, or “true” count). It is currently (in 2002) 50 days out of synchronization with the traditional count. Furthermore, because Dreamspell skips February 29th, the discrepancy becomes 49 days in early 2004, 48 days in early 2008, and so on. This brings up the question of the validity and unbroken continuity of the “true” count that I defend. Ignoring all the ethnographic evidence I’ve assembled—much of it coming from excellent first-rate scholarship in the field of Mayan Studies—Dreamspell proponents retain a facile and out-dated argument that the Maya have dozens of calendars that all disagree. This statement is simply incorrect, and reveals a vagueness with terminology that, despite my clarifications, serves to denounce or disempower the surviving traditional count. What I tried to share clearly in my book Tzolkin (1992/1994) and other writings is the fact that the ancient Maya (in fact all of Mesoamerica) did have a universally shared day-count, and this “true” count has survived up to the present day among traditional Mayan groups in the western Highlands of Guatemala. This is the day-count that is at odds with the Dreamspell day-count. And to dispel another fallacy, we can thereby understand that this controversy is not a choice between the Argüelles count and the Jenkins count; I am merely an advocate for the traditional Mayan day-count that survives today despite the attempted conquest and other obfuscations. The idea that the Maya had “many calendars” (e.g., Mars, Venus, Long Count, haab) does not mean they had different day-count placements. This and other misunderstandings derive from not understanding the elementary basics of the Mayan calendar’s operation. (I understand these misconceptions because in the past I’ve made some of them myself, but they were dispelled as my calendar studies evolved. I always assumed that this kind of dispelling of previous misconceptions was what having a gnostic relationship with the sacred calendar was supposed to be about.) 


The Signs of the Times

Now, some claim that it is necessary to update old traditions into a modern terminology, to fit the mentality of modern people, and the Dreamspell system fills this need. This may work to some degree, but only if truth is preserved in the conversion. The main problem with this strategy of bringing ancient wisdom into modern consciousness is that modern consciousness is not a sufficient container for the higher dimensional perspectives we find in ancient traditions. Instead, modern consciousness needs to be transformed, elevated or enlarged dimensionally, to embrace ancient wisdom. If you go the other way around, it’s like trying to cram the sacred into the secular, the higher dimensional vision into a lower dimensional plane. This lamentable situation of adapting the higher to the lower, rather than subsuming the lower into the higher, is evident in Greek borrowings from Oriental wisdom and continues today, most recently in the strategies of “popularizing” undertaken by New Age publishers in the 1980s. This entire situation, that of new adaptations that eclipse traditional wisdom being celebrated in a modern consciousness that is addicted to newness, is aptly exposed in Rene Guenon’s books The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times and An Introduction to the Study of Hindu Doctrines. Speaking of the Greek appropriation and subsequent debasement of Oriental wisdom teachings, Guenon writes: 


It is nevertheless true that the Greeks did possess a certain measure of originality, though not of the kind usually supposed; it was largely confined to the form under which they presented and displayed borrowed ideas, which they altered more or less happily in the process of adapting them to suit their own mentality, so unlike the mentality of the Orientals, and in many respects directly opposed to it. (An Introduction to the Study of Hindu Doctrines, 33-34).


And as we have moved foreword through the current epoch, the human mentality has  increased its estrangement from transcendent truth such that now, at the terminal moment of the Age of Iron, human consciousness is largely fixated upon a completely fragmented materialism. Obviously, it is not advisable to adapt ancient truth to this kind of mentality. What results is a shadow of the truth, projected into a lower dimensional plane of perception. Because a grain of truth can be sensed at the root of the all-new, modernized, low-fat metaphysical systems, its proponents will vigorously defend it. However, the ultimate end result of such adaptation is a complete inversion in the representation of ancient wisdom, sort of a systemic paradox that is not what it is and is what it isn’t. Polarized paradoxes that manifest at the end of a historical cycle thus achieve a kind of transcendence through manifesting opposed poles that appear contradictory but are united in a higher dimensional space. If we do not take sides, or if we realize our role in the dyadic cyclone of generation that ensues, such paradoxes invite us to ascend to a higher perspective to resolve lower dimensional conflict. In this sense, Dreamspell can only be construed as a litmus test for conscious discernment, and so provides a great service. During the end times, nothing is as it appears, and truth is inverted (thus the post-historic absurdity of spiritual materialism). The development of discernment is an early stage on the journey to enlightenment. In politics, metaphysics, or relationships, discernment and clarity are keys to moving toward the truth, and the light.


In closing…

The Thirteen Moon Calendar booklet for 2002-2003 provides an interesting rationale for following the 13-moon calendar. Basically, since the Gregorian months are of different lengths, and don’t correspond with new and full moon periods, then our minds become  bent by following this crooked measure. Gandhi did not become bent by living under foreign imperialistic control. I don’t start cheering for the Broncos simply because all my neighbors do. People are not required to be controlled by their parent paradigm. In other words, deep spiritual connection with natural rhythms (or truth) does not necessarily become obscured by a superficial and artificial overlay of a value or a measuring system. It only does so if we are stuck in externals, which one can remain stuck in no matter which calendar one follows. If we are lost in the world of externals, we can withdraw into the realm of essence to get back in touch with our root-connection with all. Then we resonate internally, spiritually, with our own periodicity of unfolding that is rooted in the lunar cycle via our primordial gestation period. A replacement calendar that is just as inaccurate as the Gregorian calendar in its ability to measure true moon cycles, even though it is clever and cool, will not help us do this. To see what a really accurate lunar calendar would look like, check out Peter Meyer’s Goddess Calendar:


My book Tzolkin: Visionary Perspectives and Calendar Studies has recently been re-released on CD-Rom for IBM-PC (designed like a website). It contains an extensive additional resource called Tzolkin 2, consisting of relevant documents and correspondence relating to various issues, such as the correlation question, the Dreamspell day-count controversy, articles and interviews I did to promote Tzolkin, a review, and a reader response. For more information on this and my other books, including Maya Cosmogenesis 2012 (1998) and Galactic Alignment (2002), see my website: