The Nine Underworlds of the Cosmos and
their corresponding levels of Consciousness
According to ancient Mayan beliefs the Cosmos was made up by Nine Underworlds. This fundamental idea was expressed very powerfully through their most important pyramids, the Pyramid of the Plumed Serpent in Chichen-Itza, the Pyramid of the Jaguar in Tikal and the Temple of the Inscriptions in Palenque, which were all built with Nine different stories.
Now where are these Nine Underworlds? the modern person may ask. Being currently unable to observe this aspect of reality people have in recent centuries for the most part tended to dismiss such ancient myths of different worlds as mere myths or fantasies. If we seek to dismiss the idea of the Nine Underworlds as a mere myth it however becomes difficult to dismiss such ancient myths of different worlds as mere myths or fantasies. If we seek to dismiss the idea of the Nine Underworlds as a mere myth it however becomes difficult to explain that the number Nine seems to have been regarded as a Holy number of fundamental importance in so many different cultures, cultures that certainly did not enjoy extensive contacts. Thus, in the Far East Nine-storied pagodas are commonly occurring, among the Jews there were Nine doors to the holiest part of the Temple and there are Nine arms of the Hanukkah candelabra. Among the Muslims the Holy month of Ramadan is the Ninth month of the year and in Viking mythology the Cosmos was described as being composed by Nine worlds. Thus people in different parts of the world all symbolically expressed the holiness of the number Nine. Maybe then there is some kind of universal truth underlying this number, some profound reason that it has independently in different cultures come to be considered as holy.
When the Christian missionaries heard about the Nine Underworlds of the Maya they interpreted these as Hells, but this seems to be way off the mark. If these were Hells, or some locations below the surface of the earth as some have inferred, why then would the Mayan kings have climbed to the top of these supposed Hells to perform sacred rituals on the pyramids. Rather than a hierarchical structure of Hells the Mayan pyramids were viewed as World Mountains - symbols of the Cosmos. And since we ourselves are living in the Cosmos it thus seems more reasonable that the Underworlds are located right here in the physical world "Below" - where we ourselves are living our lives.
Why then Nine Underworlds? Why not just one Underworld? To answer this we need to look at the longer cycles of time described by the Maya and see how these conform to the facts and datings for key steps in Cosmic evolution provided by modern science. We should then first note that similarly to the pyramids raised by the Maya their calendrical system is also hierarchical in nature, and in the Table above there are Nine different time cycles linked to the 360-day year, the tun.
A sequence of Thirteen such time periods would then make up a creation cycle of Thirteen Heavens with the specified durations. Thus, each of the Nine Underworlds was created through a sequence of Thirteen Heavens. To exemplify, the longest of the tun-based time cycles was the hablatun of 460 800 000 000 days = 1.26 billion years. Thirteen such hablatuns makes up a creation cycle of a total duration of 13 x 1.26 = 16.4 billion years that created the lowest, the first Underworld. This is a curious finding since this time period, 16.4 billion years, is very close to the age of the universe, 15 billion years, the time when matter first emerged from light (Big Bang)
The beginning of the creation of the First Underworld thus coincides well with the current best estimate of the beginning of Creation. This is a fact with very far-reaching consequences, since it means that all we today know to exist - all that has come into existence in the universe since the Big Bang - is included in the time span of the most basic of the creation cycles, the cycle of thirteen hablatuns, which creates the first of the Nine Underworlds. Mayan calendrics and the Mayan cosmology of Nine Underworlds and Thirteen Heavens is thus a tool for exploring all of creation!
Upon this the most basic of the Nine Underworlds, are then built eight other Underworlds each carrying and developing a special frame of consciousness for the life that it creates. In this way a hierarchical nine-leveled structure is created where lower levels of consciousness provide the foundation for new and higher levels. Each of these nine creation cycles thus gives rise to a specific Underworld and each of these Underworlds is characterised by a certain frame, or dimension, of consciousness. This frame of consciousness is then created in a series of thirteen steps, through the sequential influence of Thirteen Heavens. The beginnings of these sequences of Thirteen Heavens are marked by crucial events in cosmic evolution such as we know them from the datings of modern science, and such initiatory events are listed in the Table above
At the present time we are beginning to enter the eighth level of consciousness of the cosmic pyramid, based on the foundation provided by the seven lower levels. This eighth level may be referred to as the galactic frame of consciousness as it will step by step lead humanity to identify primarily with the galaxy. The highest level of consciousness, the Universal, will be attained through the workings of the Ninth Underworld in the year 2011 and will result in a timeless cosmic consciousness, and a citizenship in the universe, on the part of humanity.
At the extreme left are the exact durations that the respective Underworlds have been dominating and in the second column are stated the beginnings dates of these. In the middle column are listed the phenomena that initiate the evolution of these different Underworlds and to the right of these the types, or levels, of consciousness that they serve to develop. While the evolution of the Four lower levels of consciousness are all expressed as biological evolution the Five highest levels of consciousness carry the evolution of the cultural, technological and spiritual aspects of the human being. At the present time human beings are also beginning to develop a meta-consciousness, an awareness of the evolution of consciousness, that allows her to look upon creation from a higher perspective than the "frog perspective" of everyday human life. The Cosmic Consciousness of Universal Man as prophecised in many spiritual traditions is increasingly becoming a real possibility.Carl Johan Calleman