by John Major Jenkins
This outline is for journalists, reporters, press people, interviewers, media people, screenplay writers, documentary producers, novel writers, and researchers — anyone writing about 2012
1. Here are the general facts of the matter. These facts are not my own opinion or my own theory. These are basic facts and should be the first principles of any honest approach to 2012.
• 2012 is a true artifact of the Maya calendar.
• December 21, 2012 is the accurate cycle-ending date.
• The doomsday assumption is not found in Maya tradition.
• The evidence indicates that the Maya concept for cycle endings (such as 2012) is transformation & renewal.
• Evidence specific to 2012, from the site of Tortuguero, is that 2012 represents the birth of a new cosmos, or Age.
• A profound worldview of the Maya is being recovered, integrating astronomy (science) and spiritual teachings.
• More than six million pure blood Maya still live in the highlands of Guatemala and Chiapas, still speaking Maya languages and many still following the 260-day sacred calendar.
• In Guatemala and other regions inhabited by the Maya, a Maya renaissance is underway today, suggestive of transformation and renewal.
• 95% of what you find on 2012 in the marketplace, on YouTube, and on Google, is extremely misleading as to the basic facts about what we know about 2012.
2. Regarding my own pioneering reconstruction of why the Maya chose 2012 to end a cycle of time, and how they thought about it: this involves what can be defined as “the solstice-dark-rift alignment theory” or, less specifically, “the galactic-alignment theory.”
This theory is a subset of a larger paradigm that I have termed “the galactic cosmology”, which involves precessional movements in relation to three different cosmic centers in Maya cosmology— the polar center, galactic center, and the zenith-Pleiades center (in the New Fire tradition). This paradigm was documented in my books The Center of Mayan Time (1995), Izapa Cosmos (1996) and Maya Cosmogenesis 2012 (1998). A chapter-by-chapter summary of the latter book can be found online. You will find highly inaccurate paraphrases and summaries of my work online and elsewhere. Here are the main factual points of my solstice-dark-rift alignment theory.
• The solstice-dark rift alignment (otherwise known as the “galactic alignment” or solstice-galaxy alignment”) is a fact of astronomy. It is caused by the precession of the equinoxes.
• Using the diameter of the sun and the astronomical “galactic equator” as reference points for a good scientific definition of this alignment, we can say that it is in effect for some 36 years, from 1980 to 2016 AD.
• The astronomical features that would have been of interest to ancient naked eye astronomers such as the Maya, are the dark rift in the Milky Way and the solstice sun, whose position on the ecliptic shifts slowly with precession at the rate of about 1 degree every 72 years.
• The dark rift in the Milky Way is an important player in the astro-theological scenarios recorded in the Maya Creation Myth, the Popol Vuh.
• The dark rift in the Milky Way is represented in Classic Period (200 AD – 900 AD) Maya hieroglyphic inscriptions as a gaping maw, a “Black Hole”, the mouth of a celestial caiman, and a sky cave.
• The pre-Classic site of Izapa was involved in the formulation of the Long Count calendar — the system which gives us the end-date of the 13-Baktun cycle on December 21, 2012.
• The dark rift in the Milky Way is represented at the pre-Classic site of Izapa in a variety of ways including the mouth of a frog or caiman.
• A primary archaeoastronomical reference point at Izapa is found in the alignment of the ballcourt to the December solstice sunrise.
• Twelve surviving carved monuments in the ballcourt can be interpreted meaningfully as encoding an awareness of the future galactic alignment in era-2012.
• At Izapa, the ballgame is symbolic of the future galactic alignment in era-2012.
• The iconographic statements in the Izapan ballcourt suggest that the future galactic alignment in era-2012 was conceived as the rebirth of the sun. The “sun” in the context of the Maya World Age doctrine is synonymous with “Age” or “Era”. Related teachings about transformation, renewal, and sacrifice can be read in the monuments.
• The Maya thought about cycle endings as times of transformation and renewal. We can read their Creation Myth for insights into their spiritual teachings for cycle endings, including 2012.
3. Related comments on the modern treatment of 2012:
• The modern media tends to fall into clichéd portrayals of 2012 rather than the facts presented above. This is understandable due to the convoluted nature of the topic, but the real story doesn’t benefit from being marginalized and upstaged by hype.
• Many Maya scholars have carelessly dismissed the above reconstruction and reject the idea that 2012 had any meaning to the ancient Maya, or even that it is an intentional artifact of the calendar tradition. (Despite the December 21 solstice date strongly suggesting intention.)
• Popular writers and New Age pundits appropriate, confuse, and attack the work being done to reconstruct the authentic origins of the 2012 paradigm, often aggressively promoting their own idiosyncratic models and imaginative systems that have little to do with the authentic Maya calendar tradition.
• Trendy and popular treatments of 2012 have disconnected it from its Maya roots, creating a sub-paradigm referred to as the “2012 meme” or the “2012 phenomenon. This arena, as well as the alarmist doomsday rhetoric and the stockpiling activities of survivalists, is what the media likes to focus on.
• The media frequently frames the 2012 topic as a false dichotomy between clueless New Age silly people (doomsday people or Age of Aquarius ascensionists) and supposedly knowledgeable Maya scholars, who simply say “2012 didn’t have any meaning to the ancient Maya.” This framework, unfortunately, largely neglects or misreports the pioneering discoveries that are being made by independent investigators; this is where the real, untold, 2012 story is to be found.
• Doomsday is not how the ancient Maya thought about 2012. Doomsday is being projected onto 2012 by our media and our culture’s adolescent preoccupation with apocalypse dramas, violence, terror, and death. The doomsday banner is a gross misrepresentation of how the Maya conceived of 2012, and many modern Maya leaders are justifiably offended. It is as offensive as saying to Christians that Jesus taught that one should “kill thy neighbor.”
• The pop marketplace is filled with misleading assertions about 2012, compounded by exploitative, underinformed newcomers to the topic and the obfuscations of the Googlesphere. Talking about 2012 with clarity can be done, but is mitigated by the noise in the marketplace.
The 2012 Story
My new book (my ninth on Maya-related topics since 1989), The 2012 Story: The Myths, Fallacies, and Truth Behind the Most Intriguing Date in History (Tarcher/Penguin, October 2009) is a comprehensive survey of the 2012 topic, covering a number of important areas:
• The ancient origins of the 2012 calendar among the early Maya
• The recovery and reconstruction of the lost calendar and other Maya traditions
• From 1970, the popular appropriation of the Mesoamerican calendar by New Age writers and cultic leaders
• Breakthroughs in understanding the authentic role played by 2012 in Maya traditions; academic resistance to these breakthroughs
• The media’s obsession with a spurious association between 2012 and apocalypse/doomsday, thus distorting the authentic Maya tradition
Part II of The 2012 Story explores the spiritual teachings within Maya time philosophy, which are identified as belonging to the perennial wisdom (Primordial Tradition). Topics covered here include the identification of the Maya’s “cycle-ending prophecy” in the Creation Myth (The Popol Vuh), and its manifestation and fulfillment in current world events. This interpretation involves not specific prognostications but the rise of self-serving egoism, which is indicated in the archetypal message of the Maya Creation Mythology. The Maya renaissance, a global renaissance of partnership values, awakening to the Big Picture, and addressing the tendency of pop culture to plan for “Party time 2012” are discussed.
My book was written because a clear and comprehensive survey and truth-telling from a veteran 2012 insider was needed. Many misconceptions clog the 2012 marketplace of ideas. Irrational and under-informed opinions come from New Age writers, doomsday alarmists, as well as professional Maya scholars. The so-called “2012 debunkers” need to be debunked themselves.
Inside all of this, authentic and ancient Maya ideas connected with the Long Count and 2012 are practically drowned out. These relate to both scientific understandings (astronomy) and spiritual teachings of the ancient Maya that signify a breakthrough in Maya studies — one triggered by independent investigators that many professional Maya scholars denounce and resist. That’s another prevalent situation in the 2012 discussion that the media have failed to report, as if it was invisible.
The Maya teachings connected with 2012 are exceedingly relevant to the crisis that the world is experiencing today. This is because Maya teachings belong to the Perennial Philosophy — universal ideas and insights into the nature of time, consciousness, and reality.
John Major Jenkins has spent twenty five years investigating Maya traditions. He lived and worked with Maya groups in the late 1980s and 90s, and traveled to many sites throughout Central American and Mexico between 1986 – 94. In the late 1980s he wrote journalistic pieces on atrocities in the highlands, then started studying the calendar and ancient traditions. He wrote his first book on the Maya, Journey to the Mayan Underworld, in 1989. Wrote Tzolkin: Visionary Perspectives and Calendar Studies in 1992 and several others in the early 90s. Made breakthrough on reconstructing the ancient 2012 cosmology in 1993-94, and published Maya Cosmogenesis 2012 in 1998; Galactic Alignment in 2002; Pyramid of Fire in 2004; other projects and field investigations continued. The 2012 Story was published in October 2009. Visited and did field work at Izapa in 2001, 2003, 2006-9; led to National Fellow membership in the Explorer’s Club in 2008.
© September 2009 Alignment2012.com • The 2012 Story • The Center for 2012 Studies