Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and the Mayan Calendar

By  Howard Teich, Ph.D.

Rudolph first appeared in a 1939 booklet written by Robert L. May and published by Montgomery Ward.

Rudolph first appeared in a 1939 booklet written by Robert L. May and published by Montgomery Ward.

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer is a fictional reindeer with a glowing red nose. He is popularly known as “Santa’s 8th Reindeer and is the lead reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh on Christmas Eve, bringing gifts to children who have been good. The luminosity of his nose is so great that it illuminates the team’s path through inclement winter weather.

Rudolph’s glowing red nose made him a social outcast. The other reindeer harassed him mercilessly and excluded him from their fun because of this unusual trait. However, one Christmas Eve Santa Claus was having difficulty making his flight around the world because it was too foggy. When Santa went to Rudolph’s house to deliver his presents he noticed the glowing red nose in the darkened bedroom and decided it could serve as a makeshift lamp to guide his sleigh. He asked Rudolph if he would lead the sleigh for the rest of the night. Rudolph agreed, and was rewarded with recognition and acceptance amongst his fellow reindeer for his heroics that helped Santa Claus.

Christmas is about love and fertility. Whether one is religious or not, this special time is celebrated on a global scale. In fact, from the beginning of human time, this astronomical event, the winter solstice—the shortest day and longest night of the year—has inspired celebration of the subsidence of light into darkness.


The earth at winter solstice, the sun, and the galactic equator

The earth at winter solstice, the sun, and the galactic equator

This year’s solstice, December 21, 2012 is a profound time, when the Sun is exactly in alignment with the Galactic Center of the Milky Way Galaxy. In ancient cultures, there was a deep understanding that our lives are guided and mirrored by the movements of the stars and planets as well as by changes here on earth. The Mayan’s as well as other indigenous cultures like the Hopi have also have prophecy’s predicted by astrological events. This year’s auspicious time marks the end of the Long Count about, 25,765 year Mayan calendar. There are at least 20 Mayan calendars that are so complicated very few experts can understand the details of them. However, last cycle, starts on the Gregorian, or Western calendar date of August 13, 3114 BC and ends Dec 22, 2012. The name for the ending of the 5,125-year cycle is bactun. The ending and beginning of this about 25,765-year precessional cycle, called the Great Year, takes us completely around the Milky Way Galaxy.

In Western world’s rationalism, although Astrology is usually shunned collectively a Great Year parallel cycle in its history includes a precessional cycle through the zodiac divided into 12 cycles of 2160 years (approximately 26, 000 years). For about the last two thousand years, the past astrological era, it has been in the zodiac constellation of Pisces that is now coming to a close and marks the beginning of a new constellation of the Aquarian world.  It is awakening in many of us a new consciousness to face these times of transition and transformation.

Mayan CalendarThe Mayans had remarkably accurate lunar and solar calendars and fairly advanced mathematics, including the zero-point-concept discovered by quantum physicists. Despite the sensational predictions in the media, the world will probably not end this year. However, it is worth noting that the last hundred years or so have been the bloodiest, the most tragic in all of history, and that is saying a lot. Never before have we had weapons of mass destruction— nuclear, chemical, and biological—that can virtually wipe out humanity. These weapons are proliferating in the hands of terrorists and states that support them. The danger of recombinant DNA technology, which can potentially create even more deadly germ warfare, is ever present in the world now.

The year 2012 is acting like a badly behaved celebrity. Frightful rumors and gossip are spreading. Already more than a half-dozen books are appealing to fans of catastrophe. Film studios profit, too, from myths of modern life, hoping to make millions on disaster movies—with cracking continents, plunging asteroids, burning cities, and a tsunami throwing an aircraft carrier through the White House. One movie has an ominous slogan, “Find out the truth,” and two other major doomsday films are reported to be in the works, promoting and glamorizing global violence and destruction.

A New Era

Circle containing the zodiacal signs around border, sign of Pisces at center on which is imposed a disk showing the dark and bright crescent phases of the moon; upper left Venus, nude, standing, having wings at head and feet, holding arrow in right hand 6-petalled flower in left; upper right Mars dressed in armor, holding sword in left hand.

Pisces – Circle containing the zodiacal signs around border, sign of Pisces at center on which is imposed a disk showing the dark and bright crescent phases of the moon; upper left Venus, nude, standing, having wings at head and feet, holding arrow in right hand 6-petalled flower in left; upper right Mars dressed in armor, holding sword in left hand.

This year’s solstice also marks the astrological ending of the Age of Pisces and the much-heralded official beginning of the Age of Aquarius. Two fish swimming in opposite directions symbolize the Age of Pisces. The eastern one swims upward while the western fish aligns with the ecliptic, or apparent path of the sun. The Piscean Age has been one of awesome human and global individuation making the contemporary world what it is. The fish in ancient wisdom was associated with the womb, the source of life. In this era we have tended to see life in dualities such as good/bad, light/dark, male/female and self/other. With all the advances that it has provided for us his binary consciousness is based devaluating nature and viewed it as something to be controlled. The Piscean Age has been about learning about the opposites that have created the modern world and the fertility of contemporary life, and it has also had a huge destructive effect on the global environment and many people.

As we move into the Age of Aquarius, which is symbolized by the “Water-Bearer,” pouring the urn of living water toward the Earth, we enter the era of expanded human possibilities. The life-giving nature of these waters brings fertility back to the scorched Earth. While the Age of Pisces was an age of the creative expression of the individual, Aquarius is more about the creative expression of the community in collaboration and in a group or a cultural context.


Aquarius – The Constellation Aquarius; youth, wearing Phrygian cap, drapery over shoulders blowing in wind, holding inverted vessel from which water flows in form of stars; stars also outlining torso, and on raised right arm and legs.

The shadow side of Aquarius is intellectual detachment and a fear of change. However, given that we are all made of “star stuff,” we are “light and love.”  The Age of Aquarius is the age of LOVE. Everyone embodies it biochemically and physically. It is who we are. Love is our birthright and it is FREE. However, there are endless answers to the question of why is there so little love given and received. One of the significant reasons is that the lover in us is wounded. All of us are like Rudolph, before Santa chose him. Having been rejected for our unique self or some part of us that did not fit in and which made others anxious, we have become defensive.

Let’s all of us be Santa to the darkness of others as well as to ourselves, not only at this special solstice time but also as a life style. By reclaiming our unique creative parts and giving love to the “social outcast” in our self and others we perform an act of pouring fertility on the earth for our own healing and of the planet. The Tao Te Ching, a 2,500-year-old book of Chinese wisdom expresses deeply what happens when we bring the gift of consciousness to the abandoned aspects of our self and life, “Darkness within darkness. The gate to all mystery.”


The Mayan, like other ancient cultures, knew about oneness with the cosmos. They knew that “death” and “rebirth” are archetypes that go together. “These two spring from the same source, but differ in name,” also says the Tao. Santa in his red suit and “redness” coming at night is a symbol of the “midnight sun” or rebirth. The Rudolph in all of us can be reborn to light our paths forward. Santa and Rudolph are really twin parts of us. The gift that these twins can give to all is to find the rejected and abandoned part in the people we come in contact with and LOVE those parts of them thus healing ourselves.

Twin Heros in the Popol VuhTwin Heros in the Popol Vuh

Twin Heros in the Popol Vuh

The Mayan’s sacred story the Poplu Vu, their bible, ends with a deep truth about the “twin hero/heroine” archetype (twins appear at the core of most cultures creation stories). The twin heroes in this story have annoyed the Lords of the Underworld. They are called down to the underworld to face the Lords and inevitable death. However, they actually defeat death. Being humble, the twin heroes realize that humans cannot defeat death. They then jump in a fire. One is born as the Sun and one is born as the Moon. This twinning hero/heroine consciousness is an opportunity to be living in a both/and world of oneness in the quantum consciousness of love and light.

The Age of Aquarius offers us this moment in history to end the splitting and binary tension of opposites in the world and live in a consciousness where the spirit and nature, mind and body are not separate. This is the deeper gift of the Mayan and other indigenous cultures and what we can birth at this Solstice. This call of twin solar and lunar consciousness in the Age of Aquarius is a call to remember. As clinical psychotherapist and astrologer Heather Ensworth says, “. . . a call to remember our source, to honor the living waters of our connection with the creative intelligence of the universe and to remember the living waters of our Earth . . . How do we heed the message of this time?  . . . what is most important is our openness. The universe is in communication with us; we have to open our eyes and ears and hearts and listen.” From this source then we take the action of healing ourselves first, then the earth and others.

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