Calling All Enthusiasts of Astro-Archaeology!

For my first Guest Blog, Asia Haleem has produced an article on why she thinks the Mayan Calendar ends in 2012, heralded by a transit of Venus.

She was also the subject of an Interview on this website [See Interviews]

I hope you will be as enthralled as I am by her thesis of the tie-in between these two astronomical events, and look forward to your feedback.

~ Lana


Asia started out as an Art Historian (London University) but when embarking on a doctorate to explore its roots in the ancient near east, got sidetracked into writing two books using the factual information she came across about festivals in the ancient world, and real-life priestesses of the time (Year of the Goddess and Journey of the Priestess, both published by HarperCollins and still available as used copies on Amazon)!

On continuing to look further into ancient art she obtained qualifications in Archaeology (London University) and Astrology (Company of Astrologers), realising there was a central core of imagery based on the ancient calendar waiting to be deciphered. This is the point at which she was again sidetracked looking in depth at Babylonian Astronomy so as to understand the core cycle of images she has named The Canon of Ancient Near Eastern Art [CANEA]. During that line of enquiry she found out about the astonishing gift of the Mesopotamians for Divination, Astrology and their theories of correspondences between zodiac, colours, substances, plants and human behaviour – on which the material in is based.

Thirty years on she is finally in a position to complete the original task she set out to do – to interpret the CANEA – definitely with no more diversions – and is starting to archive her results on

Babylonians, Mexicans and the Total Count

We live in turbulent times, when abnormal human behavior and alarming Earth disasters can be taken as signs of the Last Days prophesied in most religious traditions  . Many wonder whether the ending in 2012 of the Aztec/Mexican forward-looking Calendar is another such sign. Since 2012 is next year it is worth looking into the possible reasons behind their calculation – and why I come to the conclusion we should take heart that it need not mean the end of humanity on Earth but simply the end of an era – and the beginning of a new one! I am not an expert on Mayan astronomy, but having worked extensively on ancient Mesopotamian astronomy (some references are in the footnotes) I am going to follow a theoretical take on Venus and time counting with you.

The Feathered Rattle Snake Quetzalcoatl, primaeval as a pterodactyl (Diag. 1), to the Aztecs embodied Venus as Morning Star – while they saw his twin brother Xolotl as the evil Evening Star of Venus at night. Quetzalcoatl was said to be so ugly that he wears a wind mask made of serpents writhing round his face – like our Gorgon.


Diag. 1: Basalt sculpture of Quetzalcoatl, Feathered Serpent of Venus c.1519, Mexico (recently on loan to the BM)

During 2012 the world will see a Transit of Venus/Quetzalcoatl across the Sun on 6 June – a rare occurrence compared to the number of times we observe the Moon crossing the Sun in any decade. Viewable to us in the West, it will be an obvious sign in the sky six months before the ending of 2012 at the Winter Solstice when a further, more invisible, landmark will be reached (see the last paragraph of this article). I believe the impending Transit of Venus was consciously used as a signpost marker by the ancient Mexicans to end their calendar by. Since Venus is very much involved in the counting of time and since we have a lot of relevant evidence, as background I am going to ask you to look with me at some key factors involving Venus in Mesopotamian astronomy – which we can assume were also known by the Aztecs. Starting at a basic level the initial concept for us to take on board is that Mesopotamians dealt with Venus in a triad with Sun and Moon (Diag. 2).

Boundary Stone

Diag. 2: 10C BC Old Babylonian boundary stone showing the discs of Moon, Sun, Venus, Rising Node, The Sibitti and Scorpio. Note the Serpent above them, here usually interpreted as the Milky Way: further gods are shown beneath

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