What follows are the email exchanges between myself
 and the CNN interviewer Agnes Paw
lowski, who wrote the piece
 that appeared in the Techno
logy section of the CNN website, at:



John Major Jenkins
January 27, 2009
back to: http://alignment2012.com


(Note that one of the quotes from me that the interviewer used in her piece actually came from my email comments, highlight in red below)


-----Original Message-----
Pawlowski, Agnes
Monday, January 19, 2009 7:41 AM
To: John@a
Subject: Interview for CNN.com




I am a writer for CNN.com and I am working on a story about interest in the date December 21, 2012. Are you available for a phone interview in the next few days?



Agnes Pawlowski




Sure. I spoke at length with Dana Garrett at CNN in early December; a film crew was being arranged for an interview with me before the project was put on hold. Please arrange a time. Tomorrow before 12 noon Denver time will work. Wednesday and Thursday anytime, morning preferred. The 2012 topic is complex and often distorted with hype and misinformation, so feel free to call ahead of time to correctly frame my contribution to the topic: home line: (xxx) xxx xxxx. Cell phone: xxx xxx xxxx.


Best wishes,


John Major Jenkins


author of: Journey to the Mayan Underworld (1989)

Tzolkin (1992/1994)

Mayan Sacred Science (1994/2000)

The Center of Mayan Time (1995)

Izapa Cosmos (1996)

Maya Cosmogenesis 2012 (1998)

Galactic Alignment (2002)

Pyramid of Fire (2004)

Unlocking the Secrets of 2012 (2007, a 3-CD audio program) 



From: Pawlowski, Agnes 
Sent: Monday, January 19, 2009 10:42 AM
John Major Jenkins
Subject: RE: Interview for CNN.com


How about tomorrow at 10 a.m. your time (noon ET)? I am trying to present the various view points people have about 2012 and I believe your take is that the date will mark a period of change or transformation. Agnes




That time will work; I’ll await your call – please call xxx xxx xxxx.

There’s a bit more to it than simply the bottom line debate of doomsday vs renewal. But yes, my view is that 2012 should be seen as a time of transformation and renewal. The primary reason for advocating this is that the Maya material itself expresses this notion. The Maya Creation Myth discusses time cycles and cycle endings. Within a cyclic time philosophy, the end of a cycle is always about transformation and renewal. Not a cataclysm. Interestingly, the idea of apocalypse is derived from our own Western Judeo-Christian assumptions – a necessary consequence of a linear time philosophy. You will often see the 2012 topic framed as follows: “The Maya predicted the end of the world (or a cataclysm) in 2012”. This is absolutely incorrect. I’ve been offering this framework of understanding for many years. Feel free to be sure to include it in your write up. It is the one perspective which, in a nutshell, can help people understand a core problem in the entire 2012 meme.


What we have in the exploding cultural phenomenon of 2012 is 1) box-office-savvy movie makers; 2) doomsday authors who are hammering the juiciest way to market 2012; 3) well-intentioned popular authors who hijack 2012 as a generic icon for their trendy books. Unfortunately, they all completely distort the authentic Maya information in doing so. Now, this isn’t to say that the 2012 topic is therefore meaningless or uninteresting. What is happening in Maya studies is a revolution in understanding what the ancient Maya accomplished. At the core of this revolution is my own pioneering work, which identifies the reason why the ancient Maya picked December 21, 2012 to end a great cycle in their calendar. It involves a rare astronomical alignment to the center of our Milky Way galaxy, a “galactic alignment” (see description on my website: http://www.alignment2012.com/whatisGA.htm). On one level this introduces a profound scientific achievement of the ancient Maya that surpasses anything accomplished by ancient Egyptian, Greek, or Hindu astronomers.  On another level it invites modern scientific investigation of the nature of this galactic alignment, which may indeed be an underlying cause of the great transformations that the world is currently undergoing. New ideas of this nature always meet with scorn and doubt, and this lasting contribution to the 2012 meme is very often drowned out by the trendy doomsday people, who should be treated for what they are: under-informed opportunists and alarmists who will move onto other things in 2013. These comments can hopefully guide and frame our discussion tomorrow. Best wishes,


John Major Jenkins


The interview took place by phone and went about 45 minutes. My post interview follow-up email to Agnes:


Hi Agnes,


Thank for your time and good questions – It always seems that reporters assigned to write a piece on 2012 have their work cut out for them. So, as a brief note on resources that might be helpful:


The link below to the galactic alignment astronomy. http://www.alignment2012.com/whatisGA.htm


The idea reported in the Cornell piece that the alignment has “no significance” is misleading and so all-encompassing as to imply a god-like omniscience. It is misleading because it implies that the alignment had no significance to the ancient Maya. Is the statement based on a point-by-point refutation of my reconstruction as elaborated in five books on the subject? No, it isn’t, even though the astronomical features involved in the alignment are front-and-center in the Maya Creation Myth. The Cornell comment implies a god-like omniscience because there has been very little scientific investigation of these alignments. There might be some link between change on the planet and our changing angular relationship to the larger galactic framework. Scientists simply do not know for sure, as they have barely even enunciated an investigation of it. The fact that the 20th century has seen unprecedented change while the alignment culminates is likewise compelling. The discussion is hampered because an open minded investigation (led by independent “outsiders” such as myself – see my 2002 book called Galactic Alignment) must deal with closed-minded assertions emanating from the universities.    


Definition of the galactic alignment: “The alignment of the December solstice sun with the galactic equator in Sagittarius.”  It is helpful to refer to the alignment as happening in “era-2012” to alleviate the misconception of it happening only on, and precisely on, December 21, 2012.


It’s very important that the “galactic alignment” is not confused with the orbital period of our solar system around the galactic center, which is a widely used misconception of the critics. What is at stake is the reconstruction of an ancient Maya paradigm that utilized alignments with the galaxy as the armature of their spiritual beliefs about cycles and change on earth.


The ancient Maya believed that cycle endings were about transformation and renewal, not a cataclysmic doomsday.


Another resource is the bibliography for my book Maya Cosmogenesis 2012: http://Alignment2012.com/bibbb.htm. These sources are the ones that I studied as I explored the 2012 material in the 1980s and 90s. If you have any additional questions don’t hesitate to email or call. Best wishes,


John Major Jenkins

Ph: Xxx xxx xxxx



The CNN piece:

(CNN) Agnes Pawlowski
Just as "Y2K" and its batch of predictions about the year 2000 have become a distant memory, here comes "Twenty-twelve."

Fueled by a crop of books, Web sites with countdown clocks, and claims about ancient timekeepers, interest is growing in what some see as the dawn of a new era, and others as an expiration date for Earth: December 21, 2012.

The date marks the end of a 5,126-year cycle on the Long Count calendar developed by the Maya, the ancient civilization known for its advanced understanding of astronomy and for the great cities it left behind in Mexico and Central America.

(Some scholars believe the cycle ends a bit later -- on December 23, 2012.)

Speculation in some circles about whether the Maya chose this particular time because they thought something ominous would happen has sparked a number of doomsday theories.

The hype also has mainstream Maya scholars shaking their heads.

"There's going to be a whole generation of people who, when they think of the Maya, think of 2012, and to me that's just criminal," said David Stuart, director of the Mesoamerica Center at the University of Texas at Austin.

"There is no serious scholar who puts any stock in the idea that the Maya said anything meaningful about 2012." Find out more about the history and culture of the Maya »

But take the fact that December 21, 2012, coincides with the winter solstice, add claims the Maya picked the time period because it also marks an alignment of the sun with the center of the Milky Way galaxy, and you have the makings of an online sensation.

Type "2012" into an Internet search engine and you'll find survival guides, survival schools, predictions and "official stuff" to wear, including T-shirts with slogans such as "2012 The End" and "Doomsday 2012."

Theories about what might happen range from solar storms triggering volcano eruptions to a polar reversal that will make the Earth spin in the opposite direction.

If you think all of this would make a great sci-fi disaster movie, Hollywood is already one step ahead.

"2012," a special-effects flick starring John Cusack and directed by Roland Emmerich, of "The Day After Tomorrow" fame, is scheduled to be released this fall. The trailer shows a monk running to a bell tower on a mountaintop to sound the alarm as a huge wall of water washes over what appear to be the peaks of the Himalayas.

'Promoting a hoax'

One barometer of the interest in 2012 may be the "Ask an Astrobiologist" section of NASA's Web site, where senior scientist David Morrison answers questions from the public. On a recent visit, more than half of the inquiries on the most popular list were related to 2012.

"The purveyors of doom are promoting a hoax," Morrison wrote earlier this month in response to a question from a person who expressed fear about the date.

A scholar who has studied the Maya for 35 years said there is nothing ominous about 2012, despite the hype surrounding claims to the contrary.

"I think that the popular books... about what the Maya say is going to happen are really fabricated on the basis of very little evidence," said Anthony Aveni, a professor of astronomy, anthropology and Native American studies at Colgate University.

Aveni and Stuart are both writing their own books explaining the Mayan calendar and 2012, but Stuart said he's pessimistic that people will be interested in the real story when so many other books are making sensational claims.

Dozens of titles about 2012 have been published and more are scheduled to go on sale in the coming months. Current offerings include "Apocalypse 2012," in which author Lawrence Joseph outlines "terrible possibilities," such as the potential for natural disaster.

But Joseph admits he doesn't think the world is going to end.

"I do, however, believe that 2012 will prove to be... a very dramatic and probably transformative year," Joseph said.

The author acknowledged he's worried his book's title might scare people, but said he wanted to alert the public about possible dangers ahead.

He added that his publisher controls the book's title, though he had no issue with the final choice.

"If it had been called 'Serious Threats 2012' or 'Profound Considerations for 2012,' it would have never gotten published," Joseph said.

Growing interest

Another author said the doom and gloom approach is a great misunderstanding of 2012.

"The trendy doomsday people... should be treated for what they are: under-informed opportunists and alarmists who will move onto other things in 2013," said John Major Jenkins, whose books include "Galactic Alignment" and who describes himself as a self-taught independent Maya scholar.

Jenkins said that cycle endings were all about transformation and renewal -- not catastrophe -- for the Maya. He also makes the case that the period they chose coincides with an alignment of the December solstice sun with the center of the Milky Way, as viewed from Earth.

"Two thousand years ago the Maya believed that the world would be going through a great transformation when this alignment happened," Jenkins said.

But Aveni said there is no evidence that the Maya cared about this concept of the Milky Way, adding that the galactic center was not defined until the 1950s.

"What you have here is a modern age influence [and] modern concepts trying to garb the ancient Maya in modern clothing, and it just doesn't wash for me," Aveni said.

Meanwhile, he and other scholars are bracing for growing interest as the date approaches.

"The whole year leading up to it is going to be just crazy, I'm sorry to say," Stuart said.

"I just think it's sad, it really just frustrates me. People are really misunderstanding this really cool culture by focusing on this 2012 thing. It means more about us than it does about the Maya."

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Long Count 101


• The Long Count calendar was one of several created by the ancient Maya.

• It consists of the following units of time:

kin = one day
uinal = 20 days
tun = 360 days (18 uinal)
katun = 7,200 days (20 tun)
baktun = 144,000 days (20 katun)

• The calendar shows the number of days elapsed since the beginning date: August 13, 3114 B.C. (some scholars think the date is actually August 11, 3114 B.C.)

• The dates are written as numbers separated by periods in the following order:


July 20, 1969 -- the date of the first moon landing -- would be written as:

December 21, 2012, would be written as and the day after that as

Source: Howstuffworks.com

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