David Stuart Concurs

John Major Jenkins. December 3, 2012

In an interesting synchronicity, this morning I learned that my interview on KGNU's Electronic Air program two days ago was indeed recorded and archived. There were great tunes being played for two hours and celebratory conversation about 17 years on air with the DJs. My section with Brian goes exactly nine minutes and ranged over some funny anecdotes while getting the essential ideas across. Thanks to Brian, Stevyn, George, Dave and everyone else involved. It is archived here, for streaming or mp3 download: http://www.kgnu.org/electronicair/12/1/2012. Listen to the whole thing --- great music. My nine minutes begins at the 01:02:30 mark.

So, the synchronicity thing here is that as I was putting this annoucement together for Facebook I received an email from David Stuart's Maya Decipherment blog page, which announces his appearance on WAMC Radio's "The Academic Minute." This was a pre-recorded, written piece that was read by Stuart, the brief text of which is reproduced on the page (linked above). It is dated December 3rd.

It's curious that Stuart's comments, although still claiming that there is "no prophecy," are beginning to echo my own perspectives, published for years, regarding how the ancient Maya thought about 2012. For example, he states that "the approaching date is important and meaningful." He also states that the calendar doesn't end in 2012, and that "It [2012] was thought to be the turn of an important cycle, or as they put it, the end of 13 bak’tuns." And there's no evidence for doomsday (which I've been saying for decades). Instead, 2012 is associated with Maya kings relating themselves to big time cycles and larger events, to boost their standing. Stuart writes/says: "New research is also telling us about how the ancient Maya thought of time [2012] in terms of their world and local politics." Yes, I agree. But the "new" research actually began with the study of the astronomical content of Tortuguero Monument 6, presented by me at the 75th meeting of The Society for American Archaeology, on April 15, 2010. It continued with my debate with scholars in late 2010, followed by my presentation on Tortuguero astronomy at The Institute of Maya Studies in January 2011. This was followed by my interview with C. S. Soong on KPFC's "Against the Grain" program on Radio Berkeley, my direct study of Monument 6 in Mexico (March 2011, documented in the film 2012: The Beginning), and my posting of close-up photos and the evidence for Lord Jaguar's birthday in an essay on The Center for 2012 Studies website (June 2011). Then, a more detailed treatment and rendering of all of Lord Jaguar's monuments was published in my book Lord Jaguar's 2012 Inscriptions (September 2011).

Speaking about the recently discovered 2012 inscription from La Corona, Stuart writes/says: "The hieroglyphs emphasized 7th century history and politics, linking the reign of an ancient king to the turn of the 13th bak’tun many centuries later. The point was to associate the divine king’s time on the throne to time on a cosmic scale." I published three essays on the La Corona 2012 text in June and July of 2012, and this is also the way I have interpreted the strategies of both Yuknoom Yich'aak (at La Corona) and Lord Jaguar (of Tortuguero). However, I point out and show evidence for how the mechanism of connection (between the king and 2012) was astronomical in nature, utilizing defining circumstances of their birthday astronomy to make the association with 2012. Such a strategy, which was generalized and not directly addressed by Stuart, indicts the galactic alignment astronomy that is the centerpiece of my 2012 reconstruction and interpretation --- that is, my "2012 alignment theory." In my book Reconstructing Ancient Maya Astronomy (published October 11, 2012), I wrote:

Yuknoom’s strategy was the same as Lord Jaguar’s but he employed different elements in an innovative way. As expected from the “literary device” precedent set by Lord Jaguar on Tortuguero Monument 6, Yuknoom employed the elements that were unique to his birthday and the special dates of his rule that were relevant and close at hand. It might be said that he selected these elements out of multiple possibilities, but given the dates he employed and the birthday statement on Panel 6, the strategic narrative is internally consistent. In brief, it was innovative and somewhat complicated, but it makes very good sense. Such congruence of meaning is beyond chance and strongly suggests an intentionally constructed narrative. As such, we have here a confirmation of a general strategy used by Maya kings in referencing 2012 (Jenkins 2010, 2011d, 2012e). In both examples, one from Tortuguero (669 AD) and one from La Corona (696 AD), the king seeks to bolster his status by demonstrating a connection between defining elements of the galactic alignment astronomy occurring at the period ending in 2012 and personally meaningful astronomical elements from their birthday astronomy.  (Jenkins 2012: 49-50)

This interpretation was presented previously in one of my La Corona essays (July 8, 2012). My comments to this effect were also sent to David Stuart's blog when he posted his piece on the La Corona "2012" text in late June of 2012. While a few of my posts were "approved" for posting, and Stuart responded to one of them, the one comment I sent wherein this interpretation was explicitly stated, was censored by Stuart from being posted. In it, I had offered my reading, as follows verbatim, that was echoed by Stuart five months later in his Academic Minute statement:

In any case it’s not necessary to show that some future event was expected in 2012; the point is that we can understand more deeply how the 2012 PE was being used and thought about by the ancient Maya. And as you suggest it was an ideological focal point, a “literary device,” to reinforce or legitimize a king’s rulership by demonstrating a connection to larger cosmological frameworks. Based on scrutiny of all thirteen dates in the TRT Mon 6 text, I believe that Lord Jaguar at Tortuguero used the same kind of device, and not surprisingly he used the full arsenal in his kit-bag, including astronomy (see my SAA essay at http://thecenterfor2012studies.com/). It seems to me that astronomy is also a legitimate subtext of the La Corona inscription: http://thecenterfor2012studies.com/LaCorona-2012.pdf

What I did here (second sentence) was to reflect back to him a thought process that echoed my own interpretations, sort of handing to him the credit for it. In this way, progress can happen in academia, but it's a back door assuaging approach. The curious thing is that Stuart prevented the posting of this comment, which meant he read it and there was something in it that he did not like or did not want to be known. Considering that his own later comments reiterated my own comments, one has to wonder why my post was not allowed. (My full post, which still "awaits moderator approval" was copied into my essay that I posted on July 5: http://www.thecenterfor2012studies.com/LaCorona2012-StepbyStepguide.pdf).

Stuart's final comment echoes something I've been saying for over a decade: "So I see the notion of a 2012 apocalypse really comes from our own culture --- not from anything the ancient Maya ever said or believed." Which, ironically, I state during my Electronic Air interview of December 1. As a meme, I've said this probably two hundred times for radio, TV, and print interviews. So, considering that it's a true and insightful observation, a "corrective" to a major misconception about the 2012 date, it's good to see that the meme is getting around and David Stuart concurs. I guess it's just a coincidence that a Maya scholar who has consistently dismissed 2012 as meaning anything, and didn't take it seriously until two days ago, would just accidentally reiterate perspectives that I've been writing about and publishing about for many years.

So this is news to celebrate, as the 20-day countdown to begins. A major Maya scholar has come around, by hook or by crook, to partially reiterate and therefore validate my own previously published interpretations of what 2012 meant to the ancient Maya, and why they referenced it. Hooray! Now let's take a seriously look at Izapa.