A Native American Easter:

How the Ancient American Calendar Testifies of Christ

by John P. Pratt

Reprinted from Meridian Magazine (March 28, 2001)
©2001 by John P. Pratt. All rights Reserved.

Index, Home

Contents
1. The Sacred Round
2. Twenty Day Names
3. Venus and Mercury Calendars
4. Savior's Birth: 1 Reed
4.1 Correlation Constant
4.2 Mercury/Venus Witness
5. Baptism: 13 Water
6. Resurrection: 13 Temple
7. Latter-day Witnesses
8. This Easter: 1 Reed
Notes
God commanded Moses to celebrate certain holy days on the Hebrew Calendar, and when Christ came, key events in his life occurred on those holy days. Similarly, Native American traditions claim that God created a calendar with symbolic days called the Sacred Round. The same dates in the Savior's life also coincided with appropriate days on that calendar, so the calendars of two nations witness to his divinity. Moreover, the planets Mercury and Venus add their witness to each of these dates. In a rare calendrical alignment, this coming Easter Sunday is not only the day Venus resurrects, it is also the Savior's birthday on the Sacred Round.

A Venus calendar was discussed in last month's article, which tracks the evening and morning star cycles of that planet. The reader is encouraged to read that article prior to this one to understand the symbolism involved.[1] Native American traditions were reviewed which suggest that the rising and setting of Venus as the evening star symbolize the birth and death of Jesus Christ, and that its rising as the morning star represents his resurrection. The Venus Calendar specifies precise days on which Venus is created, is born, dies, and resurrects. The day indicated by the New Testament for the resurrection of Christ, Easter Sunday, 3 April AD 33, was also the very day of the resurrection of Venus on that calendar. It was noted that this coming Easter Sunday, April 15, 2001, will be a rare coincidence of Easter again falling on the day of the resurrection of Venus as a morning star. It can be witnessed nearly due east about an hour before sunrise on Easter from nearly any location with a clear and low eastern horizon.

Last month's article has raised some questions. One concern is that all this planetary alignment talk might sound like astrology. It cannot be overemphasized that all I'm talking about is calendars which keep time, not stars controlling our destiny. The Lord told Moses that one purpose for the sun, moon, planets and stars is to be "for signs and for seasons" (Gen. 1:14). They keep time, and indeed nearly every calendar is based on their motion. Calendars also indicate appropriate activities for certain times, such as the feasts that Moses was commanded to hold on specific days. But I do not believe these calendars influence anyone to do anything any more than your wristwatch influences you to speed up if you know you are late for an appointment. It is, however, my contention that if the Lord created the sun, moon, and planets to keep time, then we should not be surprised if he uses them for that purpose. The dates of the Savior's birth and resurrection are two of the most important dates in all history. If the Lord has revealed calendars to his followers, should we be surprised to discover that those dates are red-letter days on his calendars?

Another question concerns the complicated method for determining just which Sunday is Easter. Should we attach any significance at all to the actual date of Easter? Easter is the Sunday following the full moon on or after the spring equinox (March 21), which means that it is nearly always the Sunday after the Hebrew Passover. That was chosen because Christ resurrected on the Sunday after the Passover at which he was crucified, and the Sunday symbolism is so important that the weekly sabbath had been changed from Saturday to Sunday to celebrate the Resurrection. It was also chosen to ensure that the Christian Easter never coincided with the Jewish Passover in order to totally disassociate the two religions. Ironically, the formula selected to calculate the date of Easter yields the very Hebrew day symbolizing the Resurrection, according to one interpretation of the law of Moses. Passover symbolized the Savior's birth and death, but the Resurrection was represented by the ceremony of the waving a sheaf of grain on the following Sunday, being the firstfruits of the ground (1 Cor 15:20).[2] Thus it does indeed appear that our annual Easter date has real significance on the Lord's calendar given to Moses.

Another such question leads us directly to the topic of this article: "Isn't the calendar in ancient times so muddled that we can't really know any dates for certain? Aren't you giving a false sense of certainty with such precise dates in a misguided attempt to make the resurrection seem more real?" Good question. How do we know on exactly what day the Judeans would have considered the moon to be full, in order to celebrate passover? What about the confusion introduced when the old Julian calendar was upgraded to our current Gregorian calendar? And how can we know the exact day of the "resurrection" of Venus, when it appears at a different time on each cycle?

Most calendars track the motion of some celestial body. Our calendar tracks the sun, keeping the spring equinox (when the sun rises most nearly due east in spring) on March 20-21. The Hebrew calendar tracks both the sun and the moon, with each new month beginning at a new moon. So how are ambiguities handled? That is, if a new moon is right on the edge between two days, how does one know which is the correct new moon day? The best calendars employ two methods to resolve such issues. First, they include a continuous count of days which never has any extra days inserted into it. Second, they include a fixed pattern which resolves ambiguities.[3]

The classic example of the fixed day count is our 7-day week. It is a continuous cycle of 7 days which has not been interrupted for as long as we have records. When the Julian calendar was revised, the week was not touched.[4] It is the constancy of the week which allows us to know the exact day of the Resurrection, because all four gospels testify that the empty tomb was discovered on the first day of the week, which we now call Sunday. When that fact is combined with the day having been after Passover and in a known Roman year (Luke 3:1), then an unambiguous date can be determined: Sunday, 3 April AD 33 (Gregorian). This indicated date is disputed, but only because of conflicting extraneous arguments, such as the date of Herod's death.

The Hebrew Calendar is tightly integrated with the 7-day week. The first day of the Hebrew year is not allowed to fall on just any day of the week, but only on 4 of the 7 possible days. This simple rule goes a long way toward choosing which is the correct new moon day because one of the two choices is generally disallowed. The other calendrical feature used for resolution is a pattern. For example, our calendar has a leap year every four years, to realign it with the sun. To know what year is a leap year, we don't have to go out and observe the sun. If the year is exactly divisible by four then it is nearly always a leap year.[5] The simplicity of that pattern takes precedence over whether the sun is on the border line or not. With the Lord's calendars, the trick is to discover the pattern he uses (D&C 52:14). One pattern that he has given is that of the Hebrew calendar as it was revealed to Moses. We don't have all the details of that pattern, but a reconstruction has been proposed from the different variations which have persisted.[6]

1. The Sacred Round

Another serious candidate for a calendrical pattern provided by the Lord is the so-called "Sacred Round." It is a fundamental part of the calendar used by many Native American tribes throughout the Americas. It is generally associated with the Aztec or the Mayan calendar, but its use was much more widespread.[7] In last month's article, we briefly reviewed how the great first century teacher of the Native Americans, the Feathered Serpent, was most likely the resurrected Jesus Christ. He not only taught love and service, agriculture, metallurgy, astronomy, medicine and government, but "it was held as true that he made the calendar."[8] In fact, it was held that the calendar was so important that the calendar was created first, and the sun, moon and planets were created afterwards.[9] Upon reflection, that claim is not as outrageous as it might first appear. We know that there was a great plan devised during the creation which included the Savior coming in the meridian of time to redeem a fallen world. It would make sense to have that plan include the precise time when he would come, and then to arrange the solar system as a big clock in the sky to keep time. In fact, the Book of Genesis supports this idea of the calendar predating the creation because it is clear that the pattern of the 7-day week existed before the seven days of creation.

While there is some evidence that the early Native Americans kept track of the seven-day week, the Sacred Round was by far more important to them. During the last two decades, I've made an extensive study of the Sacred Round and believe I've discovered that key religious dates throughout history have occurred on meaningful dates both on the (corrected) Hebrew calendar and also on the Sacred Round. Those results have not yet been published, but the calendrical coincidence on this coming Easter Sunday seems important enough to share at least this introduction to the results so that the significance of that date might be appreciated by those who do not demand complete proof. The results which will now be presented are not intended to be a scientifically convincing argument. That must await the publication of a statistical analysis of a large number of dates. Rather, it is presented as my first published introduction of the importance of the Sacred Round.

The Sacred Round consists of two uninterrupted day-count cycles: one of 13 days called the trecena and one of 20 days called the veintena.[10] The trecena consists of days numbered from 1 to 13 in an unending cycle. The first day of each trecena was sacred to Native Americans and was a day of fasting. My reseach indicates that the last day should also be considered sacred, as the culmination of the cycle. It is very similar to the week, where both the first day (Sunday) and the last (Saturday) have been considered sacred.

The veintena consists of twenty glyphs, pictures, or names which also repeat in an unending cycle. The two cycles run concurrently so that each day advances on both cycles. For example, the first three days of the veintena are Light, Wind, and Temple. The day 1 Light is followed by 2 Wind, then 3 Temple. It takes 260 days for the two cycles to again begin on the day 1 Light, the first day of both cycles. This 260-day complete cycle is called the Sacred Round. It is composed of 20 trecenas, that is, 20 sets of the 13-day cycles, as shown in Table 1.[11] Each trecena is named for its first day, which is shown in bold. The trecena of 1 Light is followed by that of 1 Jaguar (the first day in the second row). Thus, the Sacred Round is a perpetual day-count which repeats without interruption, making it suited for the basis of a calendar to track sun, moon and planets. The day on the Sacred Round begins at dawn or 6 a.m.


12345678910111213
LightWindTempleDragonSerpentSkullDeerRabbitWaterDogMonkeyGrassReed
JaguarEagleCondorQuakeFlintStormFlowerLightWindTempleDragonSerpentSkull
DeerRabbitWaterDogMonkeyGrassReedJaguarEagleCondorQuakeFlintStorm
FlowerLightWindTempleDragonSerpentSkullDeerRabbitWaterDogMonkeyGrass
ReedJaguarEagleCondorQuakeFlintStormFlowerLightWindTempleDragonSerpent
SkullDeerRabbitWaterDogMonkeyGrassReedJaguarEagleCondorQuakeFlint
StormFlowerLightWindTempleDragonSerpentSkullDeerRabbitWaterDogMonkey
GrassReedJaguarEagleCondorQuakeFlintStormFlowerLightWindTempleDragon
SerpentSkullDeerRabbitWaterDogMonkeyGrassReedJaguarEagleCondorQuake
FlintStormFlowerLightWindTempleDragonSerpentSkullDeerRabbitWaterDog
MonkeyGrassReedJaguarEagleCondorQuakeFlintStormFlowerLightWindTemple
DragonSerpentSkullDeerRabbitWaterDogMonkeyGrassReedJaguarEagleCondor
QuakeFlintStormFlowerLightWindTempleDragonSerpentSkullDeerRabbitWater
DogMonkeyGrassReedJaguarEagleCondorQuakeFlintStormFlowerLightWind
TempleDragonSerpentSkullDeerRabbitWaterDogMonkeyGrassReedJaguarEagle
CondorQuakeFlintStormFlowerLightWindTempleDragonSerpentSkullDeerRabbit
WaterDogMonkeyGrassReedJaguarEagleCondorQuakeFlintStormFlowerLight
WindTempleDragonSerpentSkullDeerRabbitWaterDogMonkeyGrassReedJaguar
EagleCondorQuakeFlintStormFlowerLightWindTempleDragonSerpentSkullDeer
RabbitWaterDogMonkeyGrassReedJaguarEagleCondorQuakeFlintStormFlower
Table 1. The Sacred Round. This 260-day perpetual calendar numbers days in sequence across rows of trecenas of 13-days each. Each day is named first for the day number at the column head followed by the day name in the row. For example, the first day is 1 Light, followed by 2 Wind.

2. The Twenty Day Names

The cycle of twenty day names should really be thought of as a unending circle, or one eternal round. That is how it is depicted on the famous Aztec Calendar stone, the center of which is shown here. The twenty glyphs are shown in the outer circle, beginning at the top and proceeding counterclockwise. One reason that the circular form is important is that it is often important which figures are opposite each other because the often form opposing pairs. For example, the serpent is opposite from the eagle.

Different Native American tribes used different names for the 20 days of the veintena, but generally most tribes agreed on much of the symbolism. Studies have been made comparing the names from over 50 tribes.[12] Those listed in the table were chosen from among those used, guided by the following principle.

Mayan priests have explained that the twenty names are not just random emblems, but rather that they represent 20 steps taken in the journey of life. Each day represents one day in life on which an important milestone event occurs. That again is consistent with the Sacred Round being a divine calendar because life is the work and glory of God. Some of the symbols have very clear meanings as given by the priests but others are cloaked in mystery and probably refer to sacred ordinances. Only a few are necessary to understand for our purposes here.

Light
The first day, Light, represents creation, the beginning of man's journey. It most likely means conception and is also represented by an alligator, turtle or water lily, all of which float in water, symbolic of the womb. "Light" is the symbol used by one of the earliest (Olmec) tribes.[13] Its symbolism might hearken back to an even earlier creation, such as in the spirit world. When the unifying principle is understood, it becomes easier to see why different tribes could use the symbol of the sun, an alligator, and a lily all to represent the same idea. Mixtec glyphs are shown with their orginal coloring in this and the following paragraphs.[14]

Wind
The second day, Wind, was the same for every tribe of which I'm aware. It represented the day of quickening, on which the spirit enters the fetus. The third day, Temple, represents the day of birth, when the spirit receives the temple in which it will dwell. It is often called simply House, but the glyph on the calendar stone is of a temple. The fourth day Dragon represents the day on which a child is first allowed to be tempted by evil. Again this glyph is often called Lizard or Iguana, and those animals also typify the concept. The fifth day Serpent represents mortality, and specifically the day on which ones entire life passes in review often just before death. The sixth day Skull represents death. The seventh day, Deer, represents entry into the spirit world. Note that there are 20 day names and that only four of them cover the entire period from birth to death.

Temple
The meaning of the remaining names is much less clear, perhaps because our own understanding is sketchy of that period of our life's journey. One symbol seems like a natural to represent resurrection. It is Grass, which shows grass growing out of a skull. That seems like an excellent way to represent life coming from death. The next symbol, Reed, was said by the Mayan priests to represent a continuation of that process, and was sometimes represented by an arrow (the Mixtec gylph shown below is the feathered end of an arrow). Arrows were made from strong reeds, so the symbolism might be that the grass eventually becomes a polished shaft. Reed is the thirteenth name and may be the last of the series of the steps of life, representing the perfection attained after resurrection. The seven subsequent names may all refer to ordinances, but that is currently speculation on my part and more research is required to ascertain their meaning. The Mayans said that the last symbol, Flower (called "Lord" by them), represents becoming one with God. More information concerning these names is found on my web site.

Dragon
Another symbolism which they point out is that the bottom two glyphs represent the anguish of the soul in the spirit world while it is being purged from sin, and the following glyphs are steps upward spiritually until one reaches unity with God at the top of the circle. This is another reason to think of the twenty days as a circle, because man's journey often goes through the depths of suffering (at the bottom) in order to reach true joy (at the top).

3. Venus and Mercury Calendars

The Sacred round provides an ideal framework on which to build Venus and Mercury calendars. The cycle of Venus requires about 584 days to complete, and Mercury requires 116 days. Both of those values are one day short of being a multiple of 13: 585 = 45 x 13 and 117 = 9 x 13. Thus, the 13-day trecena is an excellent unit of time to track both of these planets. In fact, the period of Venus is about five times that of Mercury and 585 equals exactly five time 117. Moreover, the 263-day period that Venus spends as morning and evening stars nearly equals one Sacred Round of 260 days. Because of these coincidences, the Venus and Mercury calendars I have designed are aligned with the Sacred Round. That is, the day of creation, birth, prime, death, and resurrection of both Venus and Mercury always occur on a day "1" of the 13-day trecena. On the proposed Venus calendar, there are always exactly 260 days, or one Sacred Round, between the days of birth and death, which agrees with Native American traditions.[15] The calendar is corrected to match the true orbit by having the planet occasionally "translated", that is, it sometimes skips the 13-day period between death and resurrection. A similar pattern works for Mercury.[16]

4. The Savior's Birth: 1 Reed

Serpent
In former articles I have discussed how keys dates in the life of Christ occurred on Hebrew Holy days as well as the "holy days" on the Mercury and Venus calendars.[17] The purpose of this article is to point out that at least three of the key dates in the life of the Savior also occurred on significant days on the Sacred Round.[18] This provides further evidence that the Feathered Serpent whose calendar included the Sacred Round was identical to Jesus Christ, whose life was symbolized on the Hebrew Calendar. It is incredibly unlikely that the same exact dates for the Savior's birth, baptism and resurrection would fall by pure chance on sacred days on four different calendars: Hebrew, Venus, Mercury and the Sacred Round. Rather it is evidence that these three events were carefully planned before the beginning of time to coincide with the red-letter days on all of these sacred calendars.

In order to know what day any given date is on the Sacred Round, it is only necessary to correlate one Sacred Round date to our Gregorian calendar. All other dates in history can then be determined by simply counting around the fixed pattern of the Sacred Round.

Skull
Many Native American tribes preserve the tradition that people are named for the day of the Sacred Round on which they were born. These names are considered very sacred and are often kept secret. The Feathered Serpent was called "One Reed" because that was believed to have been his birthday on the Sacred Round. Sahagun, a Spanish priest who recorded Aztec traditions in the sixteenth century wrote that the day One Reed was a sacred feast day on which the statue of the Feathered Serpent was adorned with beautiful ornaments, with offerings of perfume and food to it. He specifically recorded, "They said that the sign Ce Acatl [One Reed] was Quetzalcoatl's [the Feathered Serpent's] sign [birthday]."[19]

Deer
Thus, we have the birthday of the Feathered Serpent preserved in Aztec tradition, and it was a day on which a big feast was held. This article and that of last month agree with the proposal that the Feathered Serpent was none other than the resurrected Jesus Christ who visited his "other sheep" in the Americas (John 10:16). I have presented evidence elsewhere that the Savior really was born on the evening preceding April 6, 1 BC, the date accepted by several prophets of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, based on a literal reading of D&C 20:1.[20]

4.1 The Correlation Constant

Rabbit
What day of the Sacred Round was April 6, 1 BC? The almost universally accepted correlation of the Mayan Calendar, which includes the Sacred Round, affirms that April 6, 1 BC, was indeed 1 Reed. That fact has been pointed out by others, who have also accepted it as evidence that the Feathered Serpent was Jesus Christ.[21] But before we celebrate that coincidence, we must look carefully at how certain it is. That usual correlation is called the GMT correlation for three scholars (Goodman, Martinez, and Thompson ) who each proposed a correlation which all fell within a six-day interval. The GMT represents a compromise between the three, and is not equal to any of the three separate proposals. It is generally thought to be close enough for most purposes and it does agree with that still used by some tribes. However, for the chronology of sacred events, accuracy of a few days is not sufficient. Even if it is correct for the Aztecs, what if they had lost track of a day or so during the 1500 years since Christ? As will be seen in this paper, many religious events are determined to within a quarter-day, so accuracy is imperative.

Water
In the case of the Savior's birth, the evidence is that he was born during the night preceding April 6, 1 BC, but according to the GMT correlation 1 Reed began at dawn that day.[22] Not only does the Savior's birthday appear to be off by one day, but in a collection of about two hundred dates, many of the correlations to the Sacred Round become significant if the GMT correlation is adjusted by exactly one day. Thus, I propose that the dawn beginning April 5, 1 BC began the day 1 Reed on the Sacred Round and that the Savior was born during the following night. All dates in this paper refer to that correlation. It falls within the 6 day GMT range, but does not equal any of the other four correlations.[23] Using this correlation date, any Sacred Round date can then be easily calculated by simply counting days around the Sacred Round's fixed 260-day cycle, or by using the calendar conversion program on my web site.[24]

4.2 Witness of Venus and Mercury

Dog
The Lord has assured us that he will establish his truths with two or three witnesses and this principle appears to hold true in the case of important religious calendar dates. For the key anchor dates of world history, research indicates that the event often occurs on red-letter days not just on one or two calendars, but also some planetary calendars as well. So far I only have models for a Venus and Mercury calendar based on the trecena, but fortunately those are the second-witness calendars used in the life of the Savior. This would explain his connection with the evening and morning stars. The incredibly accurate alignment of these two planets at the birth, baptism and resurrection of Jesus attest that the proposed dates are correct and that the alignments with the Sacred Round are not by chance. In analyzing other key religious dates, however, it must be remembered that there are five visible planets, each with a calendar, and the witnesses will not always be Venus and Mercury. Moreover, the day-count alignment is sometimes the week and sometimes the trecena.

5. The Savior's Baptism: 13 Water

Monkey
There is enough evidence in the Bible to indicate a precise date for the baptism of Jesus Christ. The year in which John the Baptist began his ministry recorded by Luke is the only exact year mentioned in the entire New Testament. It is stated in terms of the emperor of Rome, whose regnal dates are undisputed. It corresponds to the year we would now call AD 29 (Luke 3:1). Luke also records that John the Baptist gave a great sermon after which many were baptized, including the Savior. After the sign of the dove was given, a voice from heaven was heard to say, "This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased" (Mat. 3:17). It was clearly not only an important day for the Savior, but it was also most likely an important day on the Judean calendar for such a crowd to have been gathered. The holiest day of the year according to the law of Moses was the day of atonement, which was a day for reconciliation and covenant making with God. It is the indicated day people would have been repenting of their sins and would have sought out John to be baptized. In AD 29, that day occurred on Sat 6 Oct 29. While this argument is an indication of the Savior's baptismal date, by itself it is not compelling. But there are three other witnesses that the date is correct.

On the Sacred Round, the day was 13 Water. The number 1 signifies beginning, and would be especially appropriate for birth. The number 13 is the last day of the trecena and would signify completion or fulfillment. Native American tradition affirms that the number 13 was associated both with Venus and with the Feathered Serpent. The day "Water" clearly seems appropriate for baptism also, so the baptism date appears to have been chosen to be symbolic on the Sacred Round.

Grass
It is, however, the witness of Mercury which greatly strengthens the case for the importance of the day of Atonement in the year AD 29. The day of the Savior's birth coincided with the beginning of the Mercury cycle (1 Creation) and the proposed day for this baptism coincided with the ending day of the Mercury cycle (0 Creation). As stated above, both the first and last day of the cycle are defined to be sacred days.

Venus was also at what I consider to be a key point in the its orbit, being the day 0 Prime, representing the prime of life, corresponding to the time Jesus was baptized. This testimony is currently weaker than Mercury's because that orbital point is not as clearly established, but hopefully will be in my future publications.

6. The Savior's Resurrection: 13 Temple

Reed
The date of the Savior's Resurrection is much better known that the dates of his birth or baptism. As mentioned above, the New Testament indicates the precise date of Sun 3 Apr AD 33. That date is not generally accepted because of other historical conflicts, but nevertheless, it is the indicated date. The witnesses of the Sacred Round, Venus and Mercury calendars all add their testimonies that the Biblical date is indeed correct.

The New Testament indicates that the resurrection of the Savior occurred before dawn (Mat. 28:1, Mark 16:2, John 20:1). That time of day of Sun 3 Apr 33 was the day 13 Temple on the Sacred Round. Again 13 is the day of completion. Temple is the day representing birth, so perhaps there is a symbolism of a "rebirth" implied. Resurrection certainly is the day on which one reclaims the temple of the body. There may also be a switched symbolism here because the day for completed resurrection might be Reed. If so, then the Savior's life might have reversed the first with the last. That is, he was born on 1 Reed, the day for resurrection and his resurrection occurred on 13 Temple, the day for birth. The two days Temple and Reed are opposite of each other in the 20-day veintena circle.

Jaguar
The date of the resurrection of Christ is arguably the most important date in history, and the witness of both the planets Venus and Mercury are there to testify unequivocally to its accuracy. The planet Mercury was at the beginning of its cycle (1 Creation) at the birth of Christ, at the end of its cycle at his baptism, at the end again when he taught the spirits on the Passover after his death on Sat 2 Apr 33, and then at the beginning again at the Resurrection on Easter Sunday, 3 Apr 33. All four of these dates coincided with holy days on the Hebrew calendar and symbolic days on the Sacred Round. That would be extremely unlikely if these were just chance alignments.

Eagle
Now consider the witness of the morning star Venus which should remove any lingering doubt that these coincidences might all be due to random chance. The planet Venus was at the identical place in its orbit which matched the Savior. If the Resurrection occurred after midnight, then Venus was right on the day of its resurrection (1 Resurrection) on that Easter Sunday of AD 33. As mentioned earlier, Venus was at the beginning of its cycle (1 Creation) at the Savior's birth and at its prime (0 Prime) at his baptism. If the Savior can be considered to have been at his prime of life at his baptism, then two of these three Venus alignments match the Savior perfectly: Venus was at both its Prime and at Resurrection when the Savior was also. At the third event, the Savior's birth, Venus was not at its day of birth, but rather at its day of creation. Mercury was at its first or last day of creation on all three events. The chance of all these alignments being due to mere chance is negligible.[25]

Condor
Note also that these alignments sometimes only last for a quarter of a day because the calendrical days begin at different times. The Hebrew day begins at 6 p.m. or sunset, the Venus and Mercury days begin at midnight, and the Sacred Round day begins at 6 a.m. or dawn. To get all of the alignments the Savior had to be born after sunset on 5 Apr 1 BC (in order to have been on Passover), but before midnight (in order to have been on 1 Creation on the Venus and Mercury calendars). Similarly, the Resurrection must have occurred after midnight (to have been on 1 Resurrection on the Venus and Mercury calendars) and before dawn (to have been on 13 Temple). The calendrical alignment at the Savior's baptism occurred during the daylight hours. The timing of these events is indeed according to a very high-precision clock.

7. Latter-day Witnesses

There were at least three "resurrection" events during the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: the resurrection of the Book of Mormon after which it could speak like the voice of one from the dust, the resurrection of the body of the church, and the resurrection of the temple, which is also symbolic of the body (John 2:19).

Quake
Each of these "resurrections" occurred on a calendrical alignment with the resurrection of the Savior, so they each also serve as testimonies to the correctness of the proposed dates. Let us briefly review each of these dates.

The Book of Mormon publication date fell somewhere during the week after Fri 19 March 1830 when it was announced in the Wayne Sentinel that it would be ready for sale during the coming week. On Fri 26 Mar 1830 that weekly paper announced that it was already on sale.[26] It turns out that one day during that week, namely Thu 25 Mar 1830 was the spring New Year's Day on the Hebrew calendar and also identical to the Savior's resurrection date on both the Mercury and Venus Calendars. Those three witnesses testify not only of the importance of that date, but also that it was a resurrection-like event. That is a very rare occurrence: Venus and Mercury both align that way on one of the ten principal Hebrew holy days about once every 500 years. The fact that it occurred during the week that the Book of Mormon went on sale is strong evidence that Thu 25 Mar 1830 should be considered the official publication date for the Book of Mormon. It may come as no surprise that it was a red-letter day on God's calendars because it had been prophesied by Isaiah (Isa. 29:11-14). Of all the events that the Lord might have planned for this very rare day on the Native American calendars, it is interesting that he chose the Resurrection of the Book of Mormon, which is an entirely Native American book. That may have been intended as another witness that the book is especially intended for them.

Flint
The other two latter-day resurrection events both occurred on the same day, namely, Easter Sunday, 3 Apr 1836. The Savior, Moses, Elias and Elijah all appeared at the Kirtland Temple. Priesthood keys were bestowed which completed the restoration (or "resurrection" as in Alma 40:23, 41:2) of the body of the church as well as the power to officiate in all of the temple ordinances. This was the "Return of Elijah" which had been prophesied by Malachi (Mal. 4:5-6), so it also clearly qualifies to have been another important calendrical alignment on God's calendars. That Easter Sunday was nearly identical to that of the Savior's resurrection on the Hebrew calendar. Moreover, the planet Mercury was at exactly the same place in its orbit, aligning with the Hebrew calendar better than on any other day since the Resurrection.[27] It did not align on the Native American calendars. The resurrection symbolism is very important for both of these dates.

Storm
The Lord stated, "And behold, all things have their likeness, and all things are created and made to bear record of me, . . . things which are in the heavens above, . . . all things bear record of me." (Moses 6:63). Thus we see that these words can be taken literally. The planets not only bear record of the times of key events in the Savior's life, they sometimes even bear record of what the event was. For example, the planet Venus was "resurrecting" on the day when the Savior did also. Truly the celestial spheres are "for signs and for seasons" (Gen. 1:14) as the Lord instructed Moses.

8. This Easter is 1 Reed

Flower
The reason for publishing this article now is that this Easter Sunday, April 15, 2001, will be 1 Reed, the Savior's birthday on the Sacred Round. Last month we discussed how Easter will be the day 1 Resurrection on the Venus Calendar, which is an extremely rare event in itself, only happening about once every 584 years. But there are twenty possible veintena days for 1 Resurrection, such as 1 Light, 1 Jaguar, etc. It happens that this Easter Sunday, the day on which Venus resurrects coincides with 1 Reed. That alignment is so rare that it probably only occurs once during all of history. I will be giving a special Easter Sunrise and Venus Rise Service in Utah Valley discussing the importance of these calendrical alignments.

In summary, this Easter Sunday will commemorate the Savior's resurrection on our calendar (Easter), and on the Venus Calendar (1 Resurrection), and will also commemorate his birth on the Native American Sacred Round (1 Reed). Table 2 summarizes the alignments mentioned in this article. This Easter Sunday will be an extremely rare calendrical alignment, and hopefully will be a day for us all to celebrate not only the Savior's resurrection, but also his birth.

EventGregorianHebrewSacred RoundVenusMercury Merc. Day
BirthWed 5 Apr 1 BC pm*Passover1 Reed1 Cre1 Cre34.8
BaptismSat 6 Oct 29Atonement13 Water0 Pri0 Cre34.2
Spirit WorldSat 2 Apr 33Passover13 Temple0 Res0 Cre33.5
ResurrectionSun 3 Apr 33 am*Sheaf13 Temple1 Res1 Cre34.5
Resurrection of Book of MormonThu 25 Mar 1830New Year1 Eagle1 Res1 Cre35.1
Resurrection of Church & TempleSun 3 Apr 1836Sheaf--5 Cre34.5
This EasterSun 15 Apr 2001Sheaf1 Reed1 Res--
Table 2. Calendrical Witness of Christ. The first four dates listed from the life of Christ occurred on significant days on the Hebrew, Sacred Round, Venus and Mercury calendars, so four calendrical witnesses attest to their correctness. The last two modern day events of the Resurrection of the Church and of the Book of Mormon both occurred on days on which the values in three of the columns align with the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The * after a.m. or p.m. means night time (when the *'s are shining). The Mercury Day is to show the absolute accuracy of the mean synodic age.[28]

Notes

  1. Pratt, John P. "Venus Resurrects This Easter Sunday," Meridian Magazine (27 Feb 2001).
  2. The ritual was to be performed on the "morrow after the sabbath" of Passover (Lev. 23:11). The Sadducees believed that this meant to offer it on the day following the special sabbath day of Passover, whereas the Pharisees argued that it meant to offer it on the Sunday morning following the next Saturday sabbath day. On the morning of the Savior's resurrection, both sects made the offering at the same time, because in that year Passover fell on Saturday, 2 Apr 33. The modern Hebrew calendar follows the tradition of the Sadducees, so the day is always the second day of Passover, which does not always fall on Sunday. Until now, I have had no particular reason to favor either interpretation. After I discovered this coming Easter coincidence, I have reexamined the issue and currently believe that the Pharisees were probably correct. If the Pharisees are vindicated in their interpretation, it would also mean that the feast of Firstfruits, exactly seven weeks after the waving of the sheaf, would also always fall on a Sunday (Lev. 23:15-16). More research is still required to verify that conclusion.
  3. Pratt, John P., "Mapping Time", American Mathematical Monthly 107 (Jan 2000), 92-99. This paper proposes five requirements for any top-notch calendar: predictability, long-term accuracy, a simple short-term pattern, an uninterrupted day-count, and nested cycles.
  4. When ten days were inserted into the calendar, the week was left unaltered. Thu Oct 4, 1582 (Julian, or "Old Style" calendar) was followed by Fri 15 Oct 1582 (Gregorian, or "New Style").
  5. The exception is that years divisible by 100 are not leap years unless they are also exactly divisible by 400. Thus 1900 was not a leap year but 2000 was. This illustrates a simple short term pattern (a leap year every four years) corrected by occasional exceptions to achieve long-term accuracy. The resultant average Gregorian year length of 365.2425 days is excellent to use throughout history, and is used for all dates in this article.
  6. My latest proposal for a perpetual Hebrew calendar (PHC) can be found on my web site at http://www.johnpratt.com/items/calendar/calcalc/calcalc.html. Select PHC from the list of available calendars.
  7. Recently the Cherokee version has been published by Raven Hail, The Cherokee Sacred Calendar, Rochester, Vermont, Destiny Books, 2000.
  8. Juan de Torquemada, Monarquia Indiana (Madrid, 1723), vol. 2, pp. 40-50, quoted in Hunter, op. cit. , p. 31. Torquemada was a Catholic priest in the sixteenth century who preserved many Native American traditions. The Olmecs, who are likely candidates to be the Jaredites of the Book of Mormon, also used the Sacred Round, so it appears to have been in use in the Americas for at least many centuries before Christ.
  9. Roys, Ralph, The Book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel, Norman, U. of Oklahoma Press, 1933, p. 116.
  10. These cycles had different names in different languages. I'm following the usage of Munro Edmonson, The Book of the Year, Salt Lake City, U. of Utah Press, 1988, p. 5.
  11. In nearly every modern text on this subject, the Sacred Round is presented as 13 veintenas rather than 20 trecenas, but that contradicts all of the Native American usage of which I'm aware. Veintenas were counted in the Mayan long count in groups of 360 days.
  12. The Book of the Year cited in footnote 10 is a detailed comparison of the various versions of the calendar.
  13. "Light" was used by the Tequistl, and "Sun" by the Lenca, which are both Olmec tribes. See Edmonson, op. cit., p. 176. The meanings given by Mayan Priests are taken from Irene Nicholson, Mexican and Central American Mythology, London, Paul Hamlyn, 1967, pp. 49-52.
  14. Glyphs take from Nuttall, Zelia, The Codex Nuttall, New York, Dover, 1975. This books consists of a Mexican Codex restored to as close to the original as possible. The painting of the Aztec Calendar was done by Roberto Sieck Flandes (1939).
  15. Friar Toribio Motolinia recorded, "the duration of time from the day when it first appears to when after rising on high it loses itself and disappears amounts to 260 days, which are figured and recorded in said calendar or table." Quoted in Nuttall, Z., "The Periodical Adjustments of the Ancient Mexican Calendar," American Anthropologist n.s. 6, 497-8, quoted by Anthony Aveni, Skywatchers of Ancient Mexico, Austin Texas, U. of Texas Press, 1980, p. 150.
  16. Eleven cycles of 585 days followed by one of 572 totals 7,007 days. That gives an average of 583.917 days which is so close to the actual value of 583.92166 days that many such cycles may be repeated before requiring another correction. Actual value taken from William D. Stahlman and Owen Gingerich, Solar and Planetary Longitudes for Years -2500 to +2000 by 10-Day Intervals, Madison Wisconsin, U. of Wisconsin Press, 1963, p. xv.
  17. See article referenced in footnote 1 above, including references.
  18. A fourth date, the beginning date of Christ's ministry, Sat 6 Apr AD 30, also fell on the day 1 Monkey of the Sacred Round, but a discussion of that date is beyond the scope of this article.
  19. Sahagun, Bernardino de, A History of Ancient Mexico, Rio Grande Press, New Mexico, 1976, pp. 67-68. Sahagun was a Spanish padre who spent 30 years writing this accumulation of Aztec traditions (1547-1577).
  20. See Pratt, John P., "Passover: Was it Symbolic of His Coming," The Ensign 24, 1 (Jan 1994), pp. 38-45 and "Yet Another Eclipse for Herod, " The Planetarian 19, No. 4, (Dec 1990), pp. 8-14.
  21. The first of whom I'm aware to discover it was Dennis Clawson, private communication.
  22. Most texts ignore the Native American tradition that the day of the Sacred Round begins at dawn, but it is very important for this work.
  23. The so-called correlation constant is the Julian Day number of the beginning of the Mayan long count. Goodman proposed Julian Day 584,280; Martinez 584,281; Thompson proposed 584,285. The GMT value is 584,283. I propose 584,282.
  24. From my calendar conversion web site (see footnote 6) choose "Mayan" calendar and the select the "Pratt" correlation. The default correlation is the GMT.
  25. Consider just the chance of both the Venus and Mercury Calendars aligning. The chance of any day chosen for other reasons (such as the day of atonement in AD 29) being at the beginning or end of the Venus cycle or at day 0 or 1 of the corresponding event (such as prime) is only 4 in 584. To likewise coincide with the Mercury calendar decreases the chance by a factor of 2/9. That is because on such days the Mercury calendar will always be at one of nine orbital points, two of which would be considered winners. Multiplying 4/584 x 2/9 yields 1 chance in 657. The precise dates of the birth, baptism and resurrection of Christ were all indicated by other evidence. The chance that all three of these dates would fall on those key places on the Mercury and Venus calendars is only 1/657 x 1/657 x 1/657 = 1/283,000,000. This number is somewhat overstated because I chose the success criteria after having seen the data (a real no-no in statistics), but the point is that there is almost no chance that three such important dates in the Savior's life would all be so meaningful on these other calendars. And this calculation ignores the coincidences of the baptism date falling on "Water" and of the 6 Apr 1 BC date also falling both on Passover on the Hebrew calendar and 1 Reed, the traditional birthday of the Feathered Serpent on the Sacred Round, using the GMT correlation.
  26. Francis W. Kirkham, A New Witness for Christ in America, Vol.1, p. 267.
  27. Pratt, John P., "The Restoration of Priesthood Keys on Easter 1836, Part 2: Symbolism of Passover and of Elijah's Return," The Ensign 15, No. 7 (July 1985), pp. 55-64. Footnote 21 mentions the Mercury realignment.
  28. This is the mean number of days from inferior conjunction, given by x = Julian day +8.85; y=115.877538; Merc day = x - y*INT(x/y), based on Stahlman and Gingerich, op. cit.