2012 And The Mayan Calendar

According to many, the year 2012 will see the fulfillment of a concatenation of events, some of them good while others are undoubtedly bad. The worst of these is the prediction that the world as we know it will end on the date of the mid-winter solstice, on December 21, 2012. However, despite these dire predictions, the reality is that the coming year is likely to be little changed from 2011, and the warnings of these so-called “prophets” are equally likely to be false.

This is not to say that 2012 will be free from troubles. There will certainly be continuing strife, particularly among Islamic nations, as more and more people resist their autocratic masters. And just as in the present year the world will experience yet more natural disasters. There will be more tornados and hurricanes. There will be more earthquakes, firestorms, floods, droughts and the like. But the end is not yet. For as Jesus explained to his disciples:

And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all of these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.”(Matthew 24:6-8)

So how then did the year 2012 come to be such a climactic date in prophecy? Most people today are aware that this date has something to do with the Maya, although very few have taken the trouble to investigate whether there is any truth to it all. For many people it is far easier to simply swallow the wild predictions that now abound. And all of this will no doubt grow as the new year approaches.

The Mayan civilization had its origin some 2,000 years before the birth of Christ. Over the years the Maya developed an advanced culture that spread over much of Meso-America, incorporating the modern countries of Guatamala, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador, as well as the Yucatan peninsula and the highlands of Mexico. Modern scholars consider that the Mayan cities reached their highest state of development during the “classic” period, from the years 250 to 900 AD.

What distinguished the Maya from other pre-Columbian societies was that they had a sophisticated system of writing, as well as a unique system for measuring time. Just like the modern calendar we use today in the West, they had a system which recorded the length of the year, as well as a linear system which measured longer periods of time. For this reason the linear system has come to be called the “Long Count” calendar.  

The Long Count calendar of the Maya was open-ended. That meant that, while they measured time by means of an ever increasing system of chronological units, there was no “end date” to the calendar itself. So just as we can set a date for a time far in advance of our own time (eg 2610 AD), so too could the Maya. But what was significant about their Long Count calendar was that it began on a specific date. That date was August 11, 3114 BC.

Although much of Mayan writing was destroyed by the Spanish conquistadors, what little remains can be found in libraries in such places as Dresden, Paris and Madrid. From these writings modern scholars have learned that the Maya had a strong tradition of “world ages”. They were not alone in this as similar references to successive world ages can be found in the ancient literature of China and India.

According to the Popul-Vuh, a Mayan classic that included their creation myths, four “worlds” had already been created by their Gods. These previous worlds had long since passed into history, and had been replaced by the fifth world, the age in which we are now living. The Long Count calendar began on the date when the fourth world ended (3114 BC). And this is where the association with the year 2012 begins.

The Maya believed that the fourth age, or world, lasted for exactly thirteen B’ak’tuns. This represented a period of about 5,125 years. Although there is nothing in the written Mayan record to support this, some Western writers (such as Graham Hancock and Michael Coe of Yale University) have suggested that this fifth world would endure for the exact span of time as the fourth world. This would mean that our current world age would endexactly thirteen B’ak’tuns after it began.

According to the Long Count calendar, this date would be December 21, 2012. And all of this would have made perfect sense except that it made no sense at all to the Maya who are alive today. The reason for this is that the present-day Maya do not use the Long Count calendar. In fact many have never even heard of it, because it was used exclusively during the “classic” period up to the year 900 AD, and is not in current usage today.   

Mayan scholars have also rejected Coe’s ideas, as well as others who have picked up on his theories. Susan Milbrath, curator of Latin American Art and Archeology at the Florida Museum of Natural History, has pointed out that we have no record or knowledge that the Maya predicted that the world would come to an end in 2012. Her words have been echoed by the Maya themselves.

Both the Mayan elder Apolinario Chile Pixtun and Mexican archaeologist Guillermo Bernal have indicated that the word “apocalypse” is a Western concept based on Biblical teaching. As such it has little or nothing to do with Mayan beliefs. Bernal also believes that such ideas as “the end of the world” have been foisted on the Maya by Westerners who have their own agendas.

And Mayan archaeologist Jose Huchm has stated: “If I went to some Mayan-speaking communities and asked people what is going to happen in 2012, they wouldn’t have any idea. That the world is going to end? They wouldn’t believe you. We have real concerns these days, like rain”.

The “Long Count” calendar of the Maya was constructed according to an escalating number of chronological units. So, for example, a single day was referred to as one K’in, and 20 days as one Winal. Carrying on from there, 360 days made up one Tun, 7,200 days one K’atun, and 144,000 days one B’aktun. But the Long Count calendar was not designed to end at that point. It made provision for yet higher multiples of time, such as the PiktunKalabtun, K’inchiltun and the Alautun. 

As we have seen, the Maya believed that their Gods had created four previous ages, or worlds, and that we are currently living in the fifth world. According to Mayan creation tradition, their fourth age ended after a period of exactly thirteen B’aktuns (about 5,125 years). The new (fifth) age began, according to the Long Count calendar, on August 11, 3114 BC. 

Now it just so happens that the anniversary of the end of the fourth Maya age falls on December 21, 2012. This represents a span of time exactly thirteen B’aktuns after the beginning of the fifth age. And this is where the sad saga of 2012 begins, for various Western writers have seized upon this date as conveniently fitting in with their various “end of the world” scenarios. Yet they have forgotten one thing.

They have forgotten that there is no record that the Maya believed that their fifth world would end after precisely thirteen B’aktuns. As was pointed out in the previous instalment, the Maya of today attach no special meaning to the end of the thirteenth B’aktun, especially since the Long Count calendar has ceased to be in common usage for some eleven hundred years. So December 21, 2012 would be followed by December 22, 2012, with no special fanfare or significance.

The classic Maya (of around 900 AD) expected that the end of the thirteenth B’aktun would be followed by the beginning of the fourteenth B’aktun, and that the new B’aktun would follow in sequence just as the previous B’aktun had followed the one before. We know this because Mayan stelae (stone carvings) such as those found on the west panel at the Temple of Inscriptions in Palenque have been found with calendar dates far in excess of the 2012 ending of the thirteenth B’aktun.  

But although the Maya themselves attached no special prophetic meaning to the year 2012, that has not stopped a host of other proselytes from linking it with a rash of predictions of their own.

In 1975 the American author Frank Waters published a book entitled Mexico Mystique: The Coming Sixth Age of Consciousness. In this book Waters suggested that “the end of the Mayan Long Count cycle” would coincide with a shift in the global consciousness of humanity. This was an idea that found an echo in the works of such writers as Jose Arguellas (The Transformative Vision) and Terence McKenna (The Invisible Landscape). All of these authors are now deceased.

Another American author, by the name of John Major Jenkins, has attracted a vast following as a result of a series of books he has published linking the year 2012 to a unique astronomical alignment. In these books Jenkins has advanced the view that the Maya intended to end their Long Count calendar on December 21, 2012, because this would be the day that the earth would be at a point in space which Jenkins called the “Galactic Alignment”. 

According to Jenkins, this would be the date when the Sun and the planets would be precisely aligned with the galactic equator. He also went on to claim that as a result of their shamanistic insights gained as a result of the ingestion of hallucinogenic plants, the Maya anticipated this conjunction and predicted that it would lead to a profound spiritual awakening of mankind. 

Critics of Jenkins have argued that the galactic equator is an entirely arbitrary line that can never be precisely drawn because it is impossible to determine the exact boundaries of the Milky Way. In any event, using the calculations for the line of the galactic equator which Jenkins himself had employed, scientists found that the most precise convergence with the center of the Sun had already occurred in 1998.

Furthermore, Maya scholars contend that there is little evidence, archaeological or historical, that the Maya placed any importance on the Milky Way, especially since there is no glyph in their writing system to represent it, and no astronomical or chronological table that is linked to it. So the precise reference by Jenkins to the winter solstice in 2012 seems to them to be arbitrarily contrived.

The year 2012 has also been linked with numerous other astronomical events, including threats of solar flares and CMEs (Coronal Mass Ejections) from the Sun. This idea has also been burned into public awareness through the release of such movies as the 2009 science fiction film “Knowing” starring Nicolas Cage, as well as the Box-office hit “2012” which included references to Mayanism and the Long Count calendar.

Scientists have long known that the Sun has a cycle of sunspots that last about eleven years. During this period solar sunspots vary, as do the number and size of flares and coronal emissions associated with this activity. But because the Sun is believed to be due to reach a maximum (solar max) in its 11 year cycle around the years 2011 or 2012, certain sensationalist writers have suggested that the earth will be exposed to life-threatening solar flares at the time of the winter solstice in 2012.

While our Sun is unpredictable and can certainly eject a massive burst of radiation towards the earth at any time, regardless of the sunspot cycle, it is worth remembering that that periods of intense solar radiation have occurred on numerous occasions in the past, without this being a threat to the existence of humanity. The annual threat from solar activity to people on earth is very small, and the worst that can generally happen is a disruption in power or communications.

Although the various predictions associated with the year 2012 may make gripping reading, and conjure up sensational scenarios of spiritual enlightenment or impending doom, they are invariably based on flimsy logic and slipshod research. One can safely conclude that none of these sombre pronouncements are likely to be realized in the coming year. Certainly, none of them can be attributed to the Maya or their calendar.

That is because the fundamental unit of the Long Count calendar was the Tun. But as explained above, one Tun was equal to 360 days. It does not seem to have crossed the minds of modern Mayan commentators and scholars to ask the question why a culture that has come to be recognized as the most accurate astronomical observers of the night sky, should have picked a cycle of days that bears no relevance to our present scientific knowledge. 

The basic unit of the “Long Count” calendar of the Maya was the Tun, whichconsisted of a cycle of 360 days. Following on from this were increasing multiples of Tuns such as the K’atun (7,200 days), then the B’aktun (144,000 days), the Piktun, the Kalabtun and so on. However, modern scientists calculate time by the solar year, which is the time it takes for the earth to move around the Sun. Our solar year is approximately 365 and a quarter days.

So the question posed was why, if the Maya were such renowned astronomers in the ancient world, did they choose 360 days as the basic unit of the Long Count calendar, instead of the 365 and a quarter days that we use today. Surely it would have been natural for them to use the solar year as their basic unit of time. The answer to this riddle is very simple. They did!

According to the Long Count calendar, the fifth world age in which we are now living began on August 11, 3114 BC. The astonishing truth that has escaped Mayan scholars up until now, is that in 3114 BC the solar year actually was 360 days! The earth had a different orbit around the sun. The corollary must be equally apparent and that is, sometime between 3114 BC and the present, the earth has changed its orbit around the sun!

Now this is an assertion that might seem ludicrous in the extreme, and one that the astronomers of today would simply reject outright. But what these scientists do not realize is that the recorded works of societies that lived on earth at that time still exist, and they tell a very different story from what we believe today. It is also the reason why the Long Count calendar has lost its predictive value and is no longer used by the Maya today.

The confusion between the modern length of the solar year and that recorded by ancient cultures has been neatly summarised by the Russian-born American scholar Immanuel Velikovsky. “All over the world we find that there was at some time the same calendar of 360 days, and at some later date, about the seventh century before the present era, five days were added at the end of the year, as ‘days over the year’ or ‘days of nothing’.”

“Scholars who investigated the calendars of the Incas of Peru and the Mayas of Yucatan wondered at the calendar of 360 days; so did the scholars who studied the calendars of the Egyptian, Persians, Hindus, Chaldeans, Assyrians, Hebrews, Chinese, Greeks, or Romans. Most of them, while debating the problem in their own field did not suspect that the same problem turned up in the calendar of every nation of antiquity.” (Worlds In Collision)

As Velikovsky has pointed out, it was not only the ancient Maya who referred to a solar year of 360 days divided into months of 30 days, so too did the Incas of Peru. The ancient Peruvian year was divided into twelve Quilla (or moons), each comprising 30 days. At a later time five extra days were added to their calendar, and were referred to as Allcacanquis.

As author W. Hales noted in his book New Analysis of Chronology published in 1809, the calendar of the ancient Chinese also consisted of 360 days divided into twelve months of 30 days. They too later added five days to their solar year, referring to these extra days as Khe-ying. Similar results have been found by researchers into the Hindu Vedas.

The German scholar Thibaut, writing in 1899 noted: “All Veda texts speak uniformly and exclusively of a year of 360 days. Passages in which this length of the year is directly stated are found in all of the Brahamanas. It is striking that the Vedas nowhere mention an intercalary period, and while repeatedly stating that the year consists of 360 days, nowhere refer to the five or six days that actually are part of the solar year.”

In the Bundahis, the sacred book of the Persians, it was recorded that the year was composed of 360 days divided into twelve months of thirty days each. In the seventh century before Christ, five Gatha days were added to their calendar. These Gatha days were supplementary days added to the original 360 days in order to conform to the length of the new solar year. 

Long before their cuneiform script was deciphered, it was known that the Babylonian year had only 360 days. Writing in 1888, the scholar J. Gilmore recorded that the Greek historian Ctesias of Cnidus, who lived in the 5th century BC, wrote: “The walls of Babylon were 360 furlongs in compass, as many as there had been days in the year.” Likewise, the Assyrian year consisted of 360 days, with a decade (called a Saurus) amounting to 3,600 days.

The story is the same in ancient Egypt. The Ebers Papyrus states that during the 18th Dynasty the calendar had a year of 360 days divided up into 12 months of 30 days. The Book of Sothis attributed to the Egyptian priest Manetho, indicated that this 360-day year was later changed, and that in the eighth or seventh century BC five additional days were added, that were referred to as the epagomena, or “inauspicious” days.

Cleobulus, who was considered to be one of the seven sages of ancient Greece, noted in a famous allegory regarding their calendar: “The father is one, the sons are twelve, and each one of them has thirty daughters.” The ancient Romans also counted 360 days to a year. The Greek historian Plutarch, who later became a Roman citizen, wrote in his Life of Numa, that in the time of Romulus in the eighth century, the Romans had a year of 360 days only.

The Bible also confirms that prior to the eighth century BC, each month had thirty days and there were twelve months to the year. As proof of this Hebrew scholars quote from the story of the great flood of Noah as found in the Book of Genesis.

The great flood is quoted as beginning on the 17th day of the 2nd month (Genesis 7:11) and ended exactly five months later on the 17th day of the 7th month (Genesis 8:3-4), a period which is given as 150 days. Five months amounting to 150 days are equivalent to a year of 360 days. 

So the question posed earlier needs to be changed. We do not need to ask why the ancient Maya had a year (Tun) amounting to 360 days. We need to ask what exactly it was that occurred to cause them to change the length of their year from 360 days to the present solar year of 365 and a quarter days.

To answer this question, we need to investigate the riddle of the 52 year cycle that was known as the “Calendar Round”.

The basic unit of the Mayan Long Count calendar was the Tun. The Tun consisted of a cycle of 360 days. As we have seen, at the time that the Maya set up their Long Count calendar, this actually was the exact number of days it took for the earth to travel around the Sun.

However, the Maya were not the only culture to use a calendar based on a solar year of 360 days. Ancient texts and sacred scripts show that the same length of year was also used at that time by the Egyptians, Persians, Hindus, Chaldeans, Assyrians, Hebrews, Chinese, Greeks and Romans. 

If these ancient texts are to be believed, and there was a time in earth’s history when the length of the solar year was exactly 360 days, then the obvious question that arises is when did it change to its present length of 365 days, 5 hours and 49 minutes, and what was the cause of this change. The answer, according to these same ancient texts, is that some three and a half thousand years ago the earth had a close encounter with an enormous comet.

The effects of this cometary encounter devastated the entire planet, generating mountainous tides that swept away entire cities, exploding volcanoes that incinerated forests, earthquakes that fractured the land, hurricane-force winds and tornados that annihilated man and beast alike, and a darkness that enveloped the world for five days.

The devastation caused by this event was recorded by those few Maya who survived, as we can see from the following excerpts from their sacred books.

“It was ruin and destruction …. the sea was piled up …. it was a great inundation …. people were drowned in a sticky substance raining from the sky …. the face of the earth grew dark and the gloomy rain endured days and nights …. and then there was a great din of fire above their heads.” (Popul-Vuh)

There descended from the sky a rain of bitumen and of a sticky substance …. the earth was obscured and it rained day and night. And men ran hither and thither and were as if seized by madness; they tried to climb to the roofs, and the houses crashed down; they tried to climb the trees, and the trees cast them far away; and when they tried to escape in caves and caverns, these were suddenly closed.” (Manuscript Quiche)

Similar accounts of destruction raining from the skies were preserved in the Manuscript Troano of the Maya, as well as the ancient Mexican text of the Annals of Cuautitlan. They describe in vivid detail how the land was swamped by mega-tsunamis, and a terrible wind swept the earth. They called the agent of this destruction “Hurakan”, from which our modern word “hurricane” is derived. The Aztecs called the age that ended in a rain of fire from the sky Quiauh-tonatiuh, meaning “the sun of the fire-rain.”

But the Mayan tales of devastation that had swamped their lands and created havoc among their people did not end there. They went on to describe how this terrifying demon of death had returned again after an absence of 52 years, to once again lay waste to their lands and wipe out their cities. Just 52 years after their last “age” had ended in a world-wide cataclysm, another world age now lay in ruins as a result of the second close encounter with this gigantic comet.

And so was born the unique Mayan “52 year calendar cycle” that was to last right up until the Spanish conquest in the 16th century. The “Long Count” method of measuring time ceased to be an important feature of Maya daily life from that point onward. Instead, Mayan astronomers created a new cycle which would repeat itself after exactly 52 years. This 52 year cycle has come to be known as the “Calendar Round”.

Those astronomers and priests of the Maya who had survived the destruction of the previous 52 year cycle, waited in fearful expectation for the fiery comet to return and once again destroy their world. But fortunately for the Maya and for the rest of the world, the comet that had passed disastrously close to the earth on two previous occasions, 52 years apart, no longer returned to threaten the earth.

However, the traumatic memories of those terrible days in their recent past made an indelible impression on those Maya priests who had survived their earlier encounters. As the 52nd anniversary of their last encounter with the comet drew near, so the entire nation became gripped with the fear of imminent death. Religious ceremonies were held, imploring their Gods to rescue them in their hour of peril.

One can imagine the wave of jubilation that engulfed the entire Maya nation when it became apparent that there would be no third appearance of the comet, and that they had been spared to enjoy a new period of peace in the heavens. Yet, as the next 52 year cycle drew to an end, a new sense of impending doom arose. For there was no guarantee that the fiery Gods of the skies might not return once again to destroy them all. 

We do not know at what point some city ruler or priest came up with the idea of offering human sacrifices to ward off the return of the comet. But whenever that time was, once it had been found to be successful, it was incorporated as a vital and necessary ingredient of every 52 year cycle from that point onward.

And what the Maya began, the Aztecs perfected, so that when the Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortez arrived on the shores of Mexico in 1519, he found thousands of unfortunate souls sacrificed in a single ceremony by having their beating hearts torn out of their living bodies.

The outcome of these disasters was that the length of the year had changed. The earth had moved into a new orbit around the Sun taking five more days to complete its annual journey. And so, like all the other cultures mentioned earlier, the Maya amended their calendar by adding five extra days. Their new solar year was called the “Haab”, and the five extra days were referred to as Wayeb or “nameless days”.

When the comet returned after a lapse of fifty-two years to once again destroy the Mayan cities, the Long Count calendar of the Maya ceased to have any relevance in day-to-day society. That is because, as a result of these two close encounters with the giant comet, the earth had changed its axis and had moved into a new orbit around the Sun. The old solar year of 360 days (Tun) on which the Long Count calendar had been based, was now replaced by a new solar year called the Haab.

As explained previously, the Maya adopted a unique 52 year cycle of time that has become known as the “Calendar Round”. When this new system was first adopted, the Maya fully expected that their cities would be wiped out by the return of this comet every 52 years. Even when they found out that the comet was no longer a threat, they still continued to adhere to their 52 year cycle, and it remained in use right up to the arrival of the Spanish conquerors in 1519 AD.

So those Western writers and other prognotiscators who have attached a special significance to the year 2012, believing it to be a date that has prophetic meaning to the Maya, have fallen into the same trap that has ensnared the whole of modern science. The scientists of today have disregarded the written testimony of ancient societies, preferring to believe instead that the solar system has remained unchanged since its formation many billions of years ago.

But because the length of our year has changed, the Long Count calendar of the Maya now has an inherent discrepancy of five-and-a quarter days in every solar year. And any calendar that has a built-in error of over 52 days in every decade has clearly lost its ability to predict anything of significance in the future. And unfortunately, those authors who have incorporated the year 2012 into their apocalyptic predictions, have merely compounded the errors of others and added to the confusion of everyone. 

These writers might have spared themselves, and their readers, this confusion had they conducted more rigorous research, and investigated what ancient cultures actually had to say on the subject. And what these ancient societies recorded was that the earth had undergone numerous cataclysms in the past, and had changed its orbit, as well as its axis, many times. These stories can be found among the writings of all ancient peoples.

As Plato recorded in his essay Timaeus, the renowned Athenian statesman Solon (638-558 BC) visited Egypt. While he was there he was confronted by an elderly priest who said to him: “Oh Solon, Solon, you Greeks are all children, and there is no such thing as an old Greek. You are all young in mind. You have no belief rooted in old tradition and no knowledge hoary with age. And the reason is this.”

“There have been and will be many different calamities to destroy mankind, the greatest of them by fire and water, lesser ones by countless other means. Your own story of how Phaeton, child of the sun, harnessed his father’s chariot, but was unable to guide it along his father’s course and so burnt up things on earth and was himself destroyed by a thunderbolt, is a mythical version of the truth that there is at long intervals a variation in the course of the heavenly bodies and a consequent widespread destruction by fire of things on the earth.”

Another famous Greek, this time Herodotus (484-425 BC), who has been called the “Father of History” because he was the first Greek historian to collect his materials systematically, test their accuracy, and then reduce them to a written narrative, also had an opportunity to visit Egypt. In his Second Book of History, Herodotus referred to his own meeting with various Egyptian priests, and recorded his conversation with them. As he wrote:

“The priests asserted that within historical ages and since Egypt became a kingdom, four times in this period (so they told me) the sun rose contrary to his wont; twice he rose where he now sets, and twice he set where he now rises.” Obviously, such an event would cause catastrophic effects throughout the earth. Commenting on this Plato wrote in his book Politicus: “There is at that time great destruction of animals in general, and only a small part of the human race survives”.

Early scholars of Mexican hieroglyphics noted that the Sun (Tonatiuh) was considered to have four motions. “The sun that moves towards the east, contrary to the present sun, is called by the Indians Teotl Lexco. The people of Mexico  symbolized the changing directon of the sun’s movement as a heavenly ball game, accompanied by upheavals and earthquakes on the earth.” (Seler: Gesammelte Abhandlungen)

Different nations had differing traditions about past world ages. Each of these ages was associated with a particular “sun”, since the sun charted a different course across the heavens in each succeeding age. And as has happened in the past, so these nations believe that similar events will occur in the future.

And we shall see how the prophecies of the Maya pose a modern warning to the world.  

The idea that the earth has undergone a succession of catastrophic upheavals associated with cosmic encounters did not originate with the Maya. Legends, myths and stories of these devastating events can also be found throughout the ancient world. They tell of times when dwellings were destroyed and the earth was convulsed by natural disasters which had their source in space.

While these stories vary in the number of ages that have come and gone, they agree that there have been, at periodic intervals, various disasters that have assailed the earth causing widespread destruction. The agents of this destruction have been earthquake, fire, wind and flood. But these stories go further. They claim that as a result of these encounters, our world has repeatedly changed its axis, as well as its orbit around the sun.

The Chinese called these vanished ages Kis, and recorded that ten ages had passed from the beginning of the world up to the time of Confucius.The ancient Chinese encyclopedia Sing-li-ta-tsiuen-chou described these past eras in the following words: “In a general convulsion of nature, the sea is carried out of its bed, mountains spring out of the ground, rivers change their course, human beings and everything are ruined, and the ancient traces effaced.”

The sacred Hindu book Bhagavata Purana called these past ages Kalpas or Yugas, and referred to four previous ages that had terminated through different catastrophes. The Buddhist scripture Visuddhi-Magga, written about 430 BC, contains a chapter on “World Cycles” declaring that: “There are three destructions: the destruction by water, the destruction by fire, the destruction by wind”. Each of these ages is separated from its previous one by a world catastrophe. 

Similar references can be found in the Zend-Avesta, the sacred book of the Persians. The Pahlavi Texts quote the prophet Zarathustra referring to “the signs, wonders, and perplexty which are manifested in the world at the end of each millennium.” One of the books of the Avesta, the Bahman Yast, numbers seven world ages or millennia that have preceded the present age.

The Greek philosophers Anaximenes and Anaximander both referred to past world ages in their writings, as did Diogenes of Apollonia in the fifth century BC. Heraclitus (540-475 BC) taught that the world was destroyed by fire at regular intervals, while Aristarchus of Samos claimed that in every period of 2,484 years, the earth underwent various destructions, some by flood and some by fire. 

In his work Theogony, the Greek poet Hesiod described the end of one of these ages. “The life-giving earth crashed around in burning . . . all the land seethed, and the Ocean’s streams . . . it seemed even as if earth and wide Heaven above came together; for such a mighty crash would have arisen if Earth were being hurled to ruin, and Heaven from on high were hurling her down.”

Among the peoples of Meso-America, persistent traditions of cosmic catastrophes can be found among the Incas, the Aztecs and the Maya. The Maya referred to these past ages by the names of their “suns”, such as Water Sun, Earthquake Sun, Hurricane Sun and Fire Sun. They substituted the word “sun” for “world age” in order to define a time characterised by a specific orbit of the earth around the Sun.

As H. B. Alexander wrote in his epic Latin American Mythology published in 1920: “The Water Sun (or Sun of Waters) was the first age, terminated by a deluge in which almost all creatures perished; the Earthquake Sun or age perished in a terrific earthquake when the earth broke in many places and mountains fell. The world age of the Hurricane Sun came to its destruction in a cosmic hurricane. The Fire Sun was the world age that went down in a rain of fire.”   

The Maya did not record the date of the last cosmic disturbance that led to a change in the orbit of the earth. They did however alter their calendar to match this change, by putting aside the former Long Count calendar, and instituting in its place the 52 year cycle known as the Calendar Round. However another nation, also known for its meticulous record of historical events, has left us with a written record of this event. 

When the Assyrians descended on the Jews like “the wolf on the fold”, the Old Testament prophet Isaiah predicted that Jerusalem would not fall into the hands of the enemy, and that their leader Sennacherib who had blasphemed against the Lord would be killed by a “blast” sent by the Lord. (Isaiah 37:7) Isaiah went on to tell king Hezekiah that the Lord would send a sign of this deliverance. As we read:

“And I will defend thee and this city out of the hand of Assyria; and I will defend this city. And this shall be a sign unto thee from the Lord, that the Lord will do this thing that he hath spoken; Behold, I will bring again the shadow of the degrees, which is gone down in the sun dial of Ahaz, ten degrees backward. So the sun returned ten degrees, by which degrees it was gone down.” (Isaiah 38:6-8)

“And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred four-score and five thousand; and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.” (II Kings 19:35) In his book Worlds in Collision, Immanuel Velikovsky writes: “The rabbinical sources state in a definite manner that the disturbance in the movement of the sun happened on the evening of the destruction of Sennacherib’s army by a devouring blast.”

Velikovsky also quotes from the work of French scholar Edouard Biot: “The year 687 BC, in the summer, in the fourth moon, in the day sin mao (23rd of March) during the night, the fixed stars did not appear, though the night was clear (cloudless). In the middle of the night stars fell like a rain.”     

Although the Maya of today emphatically deny that our world will end on December 21, 2012, they do believe that the existing world age will shortly come to an end.

And just like the other world ages that have come and gone in the past, they believe that our current age will also end in a series of cosmic disasters. These disasters will devastate the planet, and lead to the destruction of our existing way of life. However, according to the Mayan prophetic tradition, the new world age that is coming will see a return of peace and harmony.

The chief spokeman for this ancient tradition is Don Alejandro Cirilo Oxlaj. Oxlaj, or “Wandering Wolf” as he prefers to be called, is President of the National Mayan Council of Elders. This is a body of 440 elders of wisdom who represent various Mayan ethnic groups of Guatemala. He is also an international lecturer on Mayan culture, and he travels the world sharing the message and the prophecies of the Mayan people.

In September 1999, speaking in Santa Fe, New Mexico, “Wandering Wolf” described the prophetic purpose of his world-wide mission.

“We are all here because it is our destiny, our mission. Spirit has called each of you here. You are special. I am no more special than you are. You are more than me. I am a poor Mayan. We do not have schools and universities like you do. We live in the poor countryside. What I have is given to me by my father. The Cosmos is the source of our knowledge. We study the Cosmos.”

“Our books are the Mayan Codices. For us, this is our writing. The hand is a book. We have 5000 codices. We study these. We communicate with the invisible ones, the star people, who gave me my name,”Wandering Wolf.” I come in fulfillment of the prophesies of the Mayan and Hopi, which says: “Those of the center will unite the eagle of the north and the condor of the south, because we are one, like the fingers of the hand.”

“This means that the elders of Central America will unite with those of North and South America. This is a fulfillment of our prophesies, that is why I am here. Our elder astronomers are watching over time and when it will be fulfilled. It shall be fulfilled in Twelve Baktun and it began on August 17, 1987, the Harmonic Convergence. It was then that I began my walk all over the world.”

“The Harmonic Convergence began the Twelve Baktun, Thirteen Bahaou and will end in 2012 or 2013 by your calendar. This will end the fifth period of the sun by our calendar. There will be huge problems. Catastrophes and cataclysms will befall us.”

When Alvaro Colom was inaugurated as President of Guatemala on January 14, 2008, “Wandering Wolf” was invited to address the gathered throng of dignitaries. In his address he expanded on the theme he had announced some twenty-one years before. 

“According to the Maya Long Count calendar, we are finalizing the 13 Baktun and 13 Ahau, thus approaching the Year Zero. We are at the doorsteps of the ending of another period of the Sun, a period that lasts 5,200 years and ends with several hours of darkness. After this period of darkness there comes a new period of the Sun; it will be the sixth one. In each period of the Sun there is an adjustment for the planet and it brings changes in the weather conditions and in social and political life as well.”

“The world is transformed and we enter a period of understanding and harmonious coexistence where there is social justice and equality for all. It is a new way of life. With a new social order there comes a time of freedom where we can move like the clouds, without limitations, without borders. We will travel like the birds, without the need for passports. We will travel like the rivers, all heading towards the same point . . .  the same objective.”

“The Mayan prophecies are announcing a time of change. The Pop Wuj (Popul-Vuh), the book of the Counsel, tells us, ‘It is time for dawn; let the dawn come, for the task to be finished.”  In subsequent talks, “Wandering Wolf” has clarified his teachings on the events leading up to the end of the current world age, and of the sixth world age that lies ahead.

“You and I may meet again in another dimension after the Year Zero. The Year Zero is the word of the Maya. On March 31, 2013, the sun will be hidden for a period of 60-70 hours and this is when we shall enter the period of the Sixth Sun. Then you will realize that what the Mayans speak are facts and not false preachings. We are not saying the world will end in 2012. There are false ones who say these things to frighten and threaten the world without awakening.”

“But the Mayan priests and astronomers know what is happening and see what shall happen in the future. This is my only message. I do not come to intimidate you. I come to say that we should love one another. We are all children and we pray that our Father be with us. Thank you.”

Source by Allan Colston

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