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/ A W A R E N E S S M A G A Z I N E
J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 1 1
J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 1 1
A W A R E N E S S M A G A Z I N E /
/ A W A R E N E S S M A G A Z I N E
J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 1 1
25
In December 2010, I had the
opportunity to travel to Mexico's
Yucatan peninsula and, among
other things, learn about the
significance of the December
21, 2012 date to the Maya. For
example, were there any actu-
al predictions about 2012? Did
the Maya predict that the world
would end? Did they predict
doom and gloom? Did they pre-
dict anything at all?
I went to the Mayan sites
under the guidance of Miguel
Angel Vergara Calleros, PhD.
Vergara is the author of numer-
ous books on the Maya. He was
the director of cultural services
at Chichen Itza for several years
and is one of the foremost au-
thorities on the archaelogical site
of Chichen Itza. Additionally, he
studied with a Mayan shaman
for 17 years, and now continues
to share in classes and seminars
about Mayan spirituality.
But I wasn't going to learn
about 2012 in a vacuum. I was
going to spend nearly two weeks
immersed in Maya culture, learn-
ing significant aspects of their
beliefs, spirituality, and monu-
mental architecture. I would
learn about 2012 in the proper
context.
I arrived in Merida by air-
plane in early December, ready
for a week of travel to pyramids,
caves and cenotes.
We began by visiting Maya-
pan, the last place where Ku-
kulkan was known to reside.
Kukulkan, aka Quetzalcoatl, was
referred to as the Mayan Christ,
a visitor who came from afar,
who uplifted the people, and
created Mystery Schools whose
ancient universal teachings are
still preserved in stone.
We visited Izamal, where the
top of a major pyramid had been
leveled to create a large cathe-
dral in the colonial days. There,
on the large sprawling plaza of
the cathedral, Pope John Paul
II came in 1993 to ask forgive-
ness of the native people for
the atrocities committed by the
Spanish and the Church. Ten
thousand native people showed
up to see the Pope and hear his
plea for forgiveness.
Later in the day, we had lunch
at Mani, where in 1562 the zeal-
ous Bishop Diego de Landa
ordered the burning and de-
struction of Mayan codices and
artifacts. Even though de Landa
didn't understand what the arti-
facts meant, he was convinced
that they were contrary to the
teaching of the church.
"This destruction was akin to
the burning of the library of Al-
exandria in the ancient world,"
said Vergara. Interestingly, as an
afterthought, de Landa thought
there might be something of
value in the Mayan writings. He
saved 4 codices from destruc-
tion, and began to write down
everything he could recalled in
his famous document, "Relacion
de Cosas de Yucatan" ("History
of the Things of Yucatan"). It is
because of de Landa's writings
that much of the Maya writings
have been translated and under-
stood.
One night, Vergara and author
Richard Jelusich talked about the
Mayan calendar. Like our own
modern calendar, the Maya had
different divisions of time which
they kept track of.
HOW THE MAYA
FIGURED TIME
First, the Maya did not number
each year as is our modern cus-
tom. Rather, they counted time
by the number of days that have
elapsed since a day that corre-
sponds to our August 11, 3114
B.C. The historical significance
of that date is unclear, but is gen-
erally thought to correspond to a
mythical date of creation.
The majority of scholars agree
on how to correlate our calendar
with the Mayan calendar, so the
end of the current Long Count is
generally agreed to be Decem-
ber 21, 2012, though there are
other proposed dates as well.
The divisions of time that
they kept track of were the fol-
lowing:
One day, which is referred to
as a "kin";
20 days, called a "uinal"
roughly a month;
18 uinals or 360 days, called a
"tun" roughly a year;
20 tuns or 7,200 days, called a
"katun"--19.7 years;
20 katuns or 144,000 days,
called a "baktun" 394.26
years.
Thus, a calendar glyph would
be represented by 5 symbols,
and a number to indicate how
many days in each of the peri-
ods have elapsed since August
11, 3114 B.C.
The "Long Count" of the Maya
calendar is the time it takes
for 13 baktuns, counting from
August 11, 3114 B.C. This Long
Count is a period of 5,125.36
years, and that cycle ends on
December 21, 2012. However,
the following day does not begin
the 14th baktun, but rather, the
count from 1 to 13 begins again.
One Long Count ends, another
begins.
PREDICTIONS?
There are no "predictions" --
except one -- that specifically
refers to December 21, 2012.
And there is nothing in the re-
corded records predicting doom
and gloom. In fact, there is hard-
ly any mention about 2012 at all.
Only one stele mentions it.
Vergara points out that "(The
2012 date) is found recorded in
stone in Stele No.6, discovered
in Tortuguero, Tabasco and in a
fragment found in the Olmec-
Maya city of Comocalco, Tabas-
co. What is the stele telling us?
What is going to happen on
this date? The stele tells us that
we are going to conclude a pe-
riod of time, an era, a sun, a final
cycle, and then initiate a new
one. Once the 13 Baktuns end
on the 23 of December 2012,
Bolon-Yokte-Ku [also spelled
"Bolon-Yookte' K'uh"], the god
of the 9 pillars, will descend
from the heavens."
OK, the god of the 9 pillars
will descend from the heavens.
What does that mean? Is this an
actual "prophecy"?
The Tortuguero monument 6
is the only known specific date
reference to 2012. In his "The
2012 Story" book, author John
Jenkins refers to the work of
epigrapher David Stuart who
offered his translation of this
reference to the end of the 13th
Baktun. The inscription actually
reads that "something [the some-
thing is effaced and untranslat-
able] will occur.... It will be the
descent (?) of the Nine Support
God(s) to the (?)."
Stuart continues: "This is it.
On the Road
to 2012
Article and photo by Christopher Nyerges
L-R: Miguel Angel discussing crystal skulls at the ball court in Chichen
Itza, helen Wong and Thyson banighen.
(Continued on page 27)