With the sudden uptick in threads related to 2012 I thought now would be a good time to continue my series of posts designed to educate ATS about
Mayan culture. Unlike previous threads like this I have made I will not be including citations. All of the sources used have been cited in previous
posts of mine. So if you are interested in finding where this information came from feel free to check the links in my signature.
For this thread I have sought to find the origins for these 2012 claims. While I briefly covered this topic in another post I have some new views on
it. I will be focusing exclusively on the Maya as, regardless of what an author may claim, all 2012 claims stem from the Long Count “ending.”
There's a reason there were no claims regarding 2012 before 1984 when the GMT correlation was first published. My ultimate goal in this post is to
show that these 2012 claims have no basis in Mayan culture and to hopefully correct some people's views on the Long Count.
The Long Count
Before we can start looking at the origins of 2012 we must first understand the Long Count. Now picture for a moment the Long Count in your head. You
probably thought of something that looks like this:
The truth is that is not the Long Count. That is the Aztec Sun Stone. Unfortunately, thanks to many New Age authors that is what many people perceive
the Long Count to look like. This is what an actual Long Count looks like:
Now this is clearly not a cyclical calendar. In fact what's depicted is not a calendar at all, but a single date. That seems to be one of the major
misconceptions regarding the Long Count. The Maya didn't use the Long Count as one would use a regular calendar. Instead of counting down days before
a specific event it was used more as a reference tool.
As I have mentioned in the past the calendars primarily used by the Maya were the haab, a 365-day calendar that marked the Earth's passage around the
Sun, and the tzolkin, a 260-day calendar the marked ceremonial events. Together these formed the Calendar Round which was a 52-year cycle. However,
just using this system the Maya had no way to refer to dates that fell outside this 52-year cycle. Thus, the Long Count was created. It's primary,
and in fact only, purpose was to allow for reference to distant future and past dates. As a result there is no actual Long Count calendar that shows
all the dates. Instead what we have are Long Count dates found on monuments and manuscripts. So since there is no Long Count calendar it is impossible
for it to end or repeat. Not to mention that if it repeated it would defeat the entire purpose behind its conception.
This means that if we could find examples of Long Count dates that occur after 126.96.36.199.0 then it would be safe to say that the Long Count does not
end or repeat at this point. It just so happens that we have many examples of Long Count dates that extend past 188.8.131.52.0. For example in Palenque
there is an inscription that is dated using piktuns. A piktun is equivalent to 20 baktuns.
So, now that we know that the Long Count does not end or repeat on 184.108.40.206.0 we can now begin looking at the origin of these claims regarding
The first time someone associated the Long Count with a catastrophic event it was done using the Dresden Codex
. The Dresden Codex
primarily focused on astronomical data, although it also made mention of religious ceremonies. Then on the last page the reader is presented with this
What this clearly depicts is water falling from the sky. Many have taken this image to represent a prophecy that a flood will occur at the end of the
Long Count. However, this cannot be the case. For one there is no Long Count date associated with this image so it is impossible to know if it refers
to the future or the past. In fact it would be exceedingly strange if a Long Count date were incorporated with this page of the codex. The Dresden
has its origin with the Yucatec Maya. The Yucatec Maya had no tradition of using the Long Count. This means that is absolutely impossible
for this final image from the Dresden Codex
to be associated with the Long Count in any way.
Another popular claim is that the Popol Vuh
is proof that the Maya believed something would occur on 220.127.116.11.0. The Popol Vuh
post-Columbian collection of myths told by the K'iche Maya of Guatemala. Among its contents is the legend that the world has been remade multiple
times before now and that it will be remade again. The claim is that the world gets remade every 13 baktun.
Now, unlike the Yucatec Maya, the K'iche Maya actually did have a tradition of using the Long Count. However, once again there are no Long Count
dates were used in the Popol Vuh
. This is because the Long Count had fallen out of use by the time the Spaniards arrived on American shores. So
it is once again impossible for these myths to be in any way associated with the Long Count
This claim that worlds are cyclical also ignores the central thrust of the Popol Vuh
. The Popol Vuh
primarily describes the creation of
Man. The gods wish to create a race of people that worship and venerate them. Each time Man is disobedient and as a result the gods must get rid of
their creation and start over. With the fourth creation (us) the gods were finally satisfied with their creation. However, they did warn that if Man
got out of line they would have no problem starting over again. The multiple creations had nothing to do with a time limit and instead had to do with
the actions of the gods' creations. The message of this myth is obvious. Obey and venerate the gods.