He looked up at the sky every night like generations before him had, observing, charting, measuring, but tonight was different. Tonight there was a star that appeared to be coming to earth. He had seen shooting stars before, but this time it was controlled, almost as if someone was piloting the star like a ship…
Some say the great knowledge of the Mayans came from time travelers or extra terrestrials. How else could could an ancient culture know so much? How could they pinpoint the length of a year within mere points of the atomic clock? How else could they know how old the universe is, or how to predict celestial movements or build great structures out of stone without modern-day knowledge and mechanics?
The Mayans – an ancient culture based in Central and South America – built amazing cities in the middle of jungles. They used cocoa beans as currency, had highly complex written language, performed ritualised blood letting, and carved images on their buildings that bear a striking resemblance to men in spacesuits.
Their teachings and logic used modern day mathematical models – there is still no understanding as to how they came to this knowledge or how they made incredible astronomical observations resulting in a complex calendar system. This calender system – and the cycles it works in – is the reason everyone is claiming the world will end.
The Mayan long-count calendar began on a date 3000 years before the culture existed, it spanned a 5,125 year cycle – and that 5,125 year cycle ends on Friday 21 December 2012. THE WORLD IS DUE TO END ON FRIDAY.
Or maybe not. Maybe the end of this cycle is simply the beginning of the next, a chance for all of us to start fresh.
Lets not forget that in the Northern Hemisphere, 21 December is the Winter Solstice. It is, every year, the end and the beginning of things. Days get longer, spring and summer, and the bounty of food that goes with those seasons are closer than they have been in the previous six months. Solstices and Equinoxes are seasonal markers determined by the distance of the sun and the earth. The Mayans celebrated and worshiped, lived and died by them – to a degree modern day farmers still do.
My theory about ancient cultures is that they developed extraordinary knowledge because they simply stopped and looked at what was happening around them. They had thousands of years to observe the stars and seasons so that is what they did. What would happen if we all just stepped back and watched for a change? Trusted our instincts, observed instead of rushing blindly ahead?
One of the most poignant things I experienced during our recent Inca Trail hike was the sky. I had been sick, hiking 14kms with nothing in my body, and while taking in some fresh air late that first evening I cast my eyes towards the heavens… and I gasped. I had never – not in the Outback or on a tiny island in Fiji and certainly never in a city – seen a sky so full of stars. There was no need to look for the Milky Way because it was just there, a sparkling, winking swath across a moonless jet black expanse. It was omnipresent, all encompassing, unyielding to those watching it go by. It is no wonder these ancient cultures studied it intently and built stories around it.
So will the world end tomorrow? Probably not. Will a dramatic shift in the universe occur? Maybe. If we are all head down in our keyboards will we even notice? Who knows. So I leave you with a challenge to take one day – or even one hour – and look at the world differently and see what you can find. Now please excuse me while I go eat another ten of these cookies, and turn my sights to the heavens to do some of my own star gazing, I’ll let you know if I see any spaceships.
Mayan Apocalypse Chocolate Spice Cookies
These cookies evoke the flavours of an ancient culture – chocolate, spice and a bit of heat. And if the world doesn’t end on 21 December 2012 you can make them again next week too, how very convenient.
- 1/2 c coconut oil, nearly melted
- 1/4 c coconut sugar*
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1/2 c molasses*
- 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 c cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp each cinnamon and cloves
- 1/2 to 1 tsp chipotle chilli powder*
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 3 c minus 2 Tbsp whole spelt flour*
- 3/4 tsp baking soda [bi-carb]
Combine oil & sugar, mix in egg through salt, stir through flour & baking soda. Refrigerate 1 hour.
Roll, cut, bake at 180C [350F] for 5-6 minutes. Cool on racks. Decorate as desired.
In a medium bowl, combine coconut oil and sugar. Mix in next eight ingredients – egg through salt. Sift in flour and baking soda and stir to form a stiff dough. If needed, add up to 2 Tbsp of extra flour*.
Divide dough in half, form into discs, wrap in baking [parchment] paper and refrigerate for 1 hour until firm*.
Preheat oven to 180C [350F]. If you don’t have non-stick cookie sheets, grease with coconut oil or line with baking paper.
Roll refrigerated dough out on parchment paper to 1/2 cm [1/4 inch] thick, dusting with a tiny bit of flour if necessary to keep it from sticking to the rolling pin. If it is hot outside you may need to pop the half rolled dough into the freezer for 5 mins to firm up again.
Cut into desired shapes and place on prepared baking trays leaving 2 cm [1 inch] between cookies.
Bake 5 minutes for soft cookies, 6 minutes for crisper ones – either way they will continue to firm up on cooling. Move immediately onto a rack to cool.
If desired, decorate with Eggnog Royal Icing. Makes approximately 4 dozen medium cookies.
- Chilli powder: smoky chipotle powder would be perfect here, I couldn’t get my hand on any so I used cayenne pepper instead – still delicious
- Molasses & sugar: for a milder cookie, replace molasses with rice syrup, for a sweeter cookie add up to another 1/4 c coconut sugar
- Flour measurement: you may need the full three cups of flour but start with the 2 Tbsp removed and add it back if necessary to create a firm dough
- Roll or slice: dough can be formed into a log instead of a disk and rolled in baking paper before refrigerating. Simply slice into 1/4 inch rounds with a sharp non-serrated knife using a sawing motion – no rolling needed
The spices in these are of course perfect for Christmas celebrations, but as they are not too sweet and have a touch of bitey chilli finish, they are perhaps a bit adult in flavour. Kids get all the fun stuff though so hey, lets keep some for ourselves, right? Make sure to wrap up a little stack for Santa to take with him, poor man has a long night ahead of him!
This post is part of the December Sweet Adventures Blog Hop – Sweets for Santa – hosted by Christina of The Hungry Australian.
Make sure to check out all the other Holiday inspired creations that have been linked-up below!