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Chapter 13: After the Party (excerpt from The 2012 Story, 2009)

This has been a guide through the many varied aspects of the 2012 discussion, and I hope that facts mixed with food-for-thought have seasoned a soul-stew that satisfies. Despite what the pundits of propriety assert, 2012 has meaning on virtually every level at which it appears. Critics who assert that “it’s all nonsense” are missing the point. Such a statement is meaningless, first of all because 2012 is a true artifact of the Maya calendar tradition. It is explicitly recorded on Tortuguero Monument 6, with related inscriptions connecting it to a whole host of meanings and beliefs. If we see 2012 manifesting on the level of spirituality, it can there have meaning too without violating Maya traditional beliefs about cycle endings. If we take a long hard look at its use on the level of mass media doomsday rhetoric, that has meaning as well because it reveals the shadow projection of our own culture’s secret worship of death, destruction and violence. These unhealthy prejudices, linked to a linear time philosophy of questionable philosophical merit and an atavistic lust for destroying nature, need to be projected and exposed before healing and wholeness can occur. Our sick civilization apparently needs to use 2012 as a cathartic purge before the higher aspects of the spiritual teachings it points to can be benefited from. And that may simply be the way that it needs to be.

The 2012 date may also be a rallying cry for the indigenous mind and soul to reassert itself on the world stage, among all human beings of all ethnic groups because we are all indigenous to earth. The Maya renaissance, already under way, may just be the spark of a wildfire that may spread around the world, igniting the dormant primordial mind that has been layered over with materialism and abstractions. This renaissance can be phrased in many ways. It is essentially about throwing illusion into the fire of sacrifice, returning ego to its proper place as a satellite of the Divine Self (not the other way around!), and awakening a higher consciousness through which the world’s intractable dilemmas can be solved.  If, as Terence McKenna said, consciousness does not loom large in the future of the human race, what kind of future is it going to be? And if the awakening of consciousness, a turnabout in the deepest seat of the collective soul, does not occur then no amount of legislation, electing new leaders, or applying bandages are going to help.

Scholars and New Agers need to evolve their thoughts beyond the prerational and rational stages of psychological development. They have become locked in a staring contest, failing to see a higher level of consciousness where their dualistic standoff can be reconciled and a direct experience of transformation and renewal can occur. According to the perennial wisdom at the root of the recovered 2012 teachings, the key to facilitating that renewal is, as it is for any cycle ending, sacrifice. This isn’t rocket science, it just requires taking a step in the right direction, and doing what needs to be done.

As for my own work to recover the lost cosmology connected with the origins of the 2012 calendar, there is more evidence for it now than there was sixteen years ago when I first put it on the table. Recent breakthroughs by scholars themselves are supporting a simple idea: the 13-baktn cycle ending in 2012 was intended to target the rare precession-based alignment of the solstice sun with the dark rift in the Milky Way. That’s the “end-date alignment theory” stripped down to its basics. New evidence for the thesis was shared in Chapter 7. I suspect that this work will continue to matter, and to be added to, long after 2012 has passed. I never intended or expect it to be conflated with misconceived apocalyptic madness, or enlisted into serving a dozen different doomsday devices. But I did suspect that it was generally on target and would one day be subsumed into Maya studies, with or without credit to its originator. 

It’s likely that many of the curious people entering the 2012 topic are not going to care much for those details. They hear-tell that 2012 is about transcendence, tripping, a new generation’s re-imaging of Woodstock-meets-Burning Man. If people are merely wanting to know where the party is going to be, they should think twice about the impact their celebration is going to have on the sacred sites they’d like to visit, and double check if their intentions are congruent with what 2012 is really about—transformation and renewal…

Individual renewal and world renewal must happen in concert. Both share the same representative image: the mandala—the image of center, source, wholeness, oneness. To the extent that the world image is a projected dream of the inner psyche, the burden of successful world renewal lies with the individual. We decide, and we make it or break it. We may prefer to sit around waiting for “2012 to happen” and avoid the responsibility for being the change that needs to happen, but that completely misses the point. If we don’t do it before the 2012 party, it will be waiting for us afterward. 

---John Major Jenkins (The 2012 Story, 2009)

What they say:

"In the history of science, major breakthroughs and the most imaginative solutions of problems have often come from individuals passionately pursuing their interests outside of the official academic circles. The research of John Major Jenkins, a self-taught scholar who has explored for quarter of a century the mysteries of the Mesoamerican cultures, belongs to this category. His most recent book, The 2012 Story, is a fascinating journey through the history of the ancient Maya, their advanced mathematics and astronomy, ritual life, art, and mythology, with special emphasis on "the most intriguing date in history"—the winter solstice of 2012 that marks the end of the Mayan Long Count calendar. Combining impeccable scholarship with incisive critical intellect, the author dispels the misconceptions and sensational speculations associated with this date. His "galactic alignment theory," supported by recent research findings, offers a positive alternative to various doomsday scenarios by linking 2012 to the possibility of spiritual awakening and inner transformation of humanity—a shift from the old World Age to the next World Age."

—Stanislav Grof, M.D., author of Psychology of the FutureThe Cosmic Game, and When the Impossible Happens

"As much as Jenkins has made a place for himself in the 2012 discussion through his independent research on the Maya and precession, he has made an even greater impact by applying academic rigor to the theories of his contemporaries and exposing . . . their inconsistencies with established Mayanist scholarship."

—Benjamin Anastas, The New York Times Magazine

"One of the most popular authors in the 2012 category," John Major Jenkins "helped usher in this craze."

—Lisa Miller, Newsweek

"John Major Jenkins is the most global and erudite voice of a swelling chorus of Galactic Center theorists. By framing the subject in the context of the Primordial Tradition, he raises it to a new level of seriousness, and of reassurance."

—Joscelyn Godwin, author of The Golden Thread