Review-Essay Critique of Carl Johan Calleman’s Solving the Greatest Mystery of Our Time: The Mayan Calendar


John Major Jenkins


Carl Calleman’s new book proposes to solve the mystery of the Mayan Calendar. This debate was presented to me as an opportunity to critique Calleman’s ideas and his reading of the “meaning” of the Maya calendar.  I don’t want to overburden this critique with references, but I would suggest that the reader refer to pertinent documents on my website, collected for the purpose of this debate at:  


For context, I have posted the entire Introduction to my book Maya Cosmogenesis 2012 at


I will first critique Calleman’s ideas and then respond to his critique of my work, found primarily in Appendices IV and V of his book.


First off, meaning is subjective and therefore we must distinguish whether Calleman is presenting the meaning the Maya themselves ascribe to their calendar, or a meaning that Calleman has discovered in his own work with the calendar. Calleman makes this distinction at several points in his book , even going so far as to write, “a distinction has been introduced here between the Great Cycle of seven DAYS and six NIGHTS and the Long Count, the chronology that is actually used by the Maya” (72).  The idea of conceiving the 13 baktuns of the Long count Great Cycle in terms of seven days and six nights is Calleman’s own, and it serves Calleman as a template for modeling history. But, as his disclaimer states, it should not be confused with the Long Count calendar used by the Maya. However, the book does propose to “solve the mystery of the Mayan calendar,” so it becomes unclear what the objective of the author is. Is the intention to “correct” something faulty about the Maya calendar? Is it an attempt to reconstruct the original Mayan understanding of their calendar? Or is it an adaptation of certain elements in the Maya calendar to fit his theory of “seven days and six nights.”


It is clear that the book is not an attempt to reconstruct the Maya tradition around the Long Count calendar, although Calleman uses various arguments based on Mayan ideas to support his adaptation. And as long as one makes this disclaimer, then readers will not be misled into thinking that what is presented is truly Mayan. However, the book vacillates between giving both impressions and so has an identity crisis of sorts. In a similar way, the book promises to be based on “the established factual basis of modern science” (back cover). However, many of his key positions are just presented as a pre-established fact without really offering any “scientific basis.”  For example, on page 37 a correspondence between the “Global Brain” and the “Human Brain” is given, correlating Germany with the hypothalamus, Central Africa with the Cerebellum, the Hawaiian Islands with the eyes, and so on — but where does this come from? There is no end note or foot note documentation that would reveal the scientific support or basis for his key ideas, apart from occasional mentioning of books in the text, and so we are left to guess what are Calleman’s ideas from what may or may not be adapted or paraphrased from someone else’s work.


In the foreword, Calleman writes that we live in a modern civilization that has lost touch with the living cosmos and the divine reality; in essence, we have lost touch with the transcendent dimension. And this is clear to many historians, philosophers, and social commentators: it is true, we live in an age of extreme materialism where progress is measured by scientific advancement and our increased ability to manipulate the physical domain, and our spirituality has become compromised. This idea is best expressed in the Vedic doctrine of the World Ages, which stands in stark contrast to the “progressism” of Western thinking, the doctrine being that  humanity moves through periods of spiritual decrease followed by increase, the metaphor is taken from the day and night, is extended to the year, and upward even to the level of the 26,000-year precession of the equinoxes. The current historical phase has been a process of increasing materialism and a simultaneous decrease in spirituality. The modern paradigm is spiritually, perceptually, and linguistically impoverished, although it is at the same time materially “progressing.” So, if this is something that Calleman sees as a truism of the modern world, then why does he state that “the meaning of the Maya calendar needs to be translated so that it can be understood by other traditions.” This is like putting the cart before the horse. What will result when you translate a multidimensional, advanced, wholistic paradigm into a linear, materialistic, fragmented framework of understanding? A reduction of what was translated will result.


The approach to Mayan time philosophy should be to understand the world from the Mayan viewpoint, to enhance our perceptions so that we may reawaken the connection to the transcendent dimension that is our birthright. By downloading or translating Mayan sacred science into “our tradition,” we lose the fullness of what it was. The framework and biases of Western thinking do not offer a container that can hold the Mayan cosmo-conception. Calleman wishes to search for “a new world view which is unified and where no division between science and spirituality exists” (9). An honorable goal, but  we don’t need a new world view, we just need to reawaken the traditional worldview common to all humanity, the primordial tradition that survived up to a relatively recent historical horizon in Mayan sacred science, but which was long ago eclipsed in the West. In fact, Western civilization has not only lost contact with the perennial tradition, it is now completely inverted and actively seeks to destroy life. Western civilization  is now anti-traditional, that is, against the connection to the divine, transcendent realm. Western science is a profane science because it is concerned only with the material things of three-dimensional reality and denies the supra-sensory spiritual realms. The handmaiden of profane science is the profane intellect, which can analyze data and make Aristotelian arguments for anything, even the most absurd things, such as proving the existence of God.  Calleman offers to prove the existence of God in one of his previous books, mentioned in the foreword, with  the unbelievable title: The Theory of Everything—The Evolution of Consciousness and the Existence of God Proved by the Time Science of the Maya. The idea that science, or intellectual argument, can prove the existence of God is an anti-traditional stance, and is absurd because for a lower domain of  human cognition (the profane intellect) to prove or explain a higher domain is like a blind man describing an elephant after licking the elephant’s toes. The activity of the profane intellect (thinking, ratiocination, analyses, etc) eclipses the functioning of the higher intellect, which properly understood is equivalent to the Sanskrit concept of the buddhi mind—meaning that faculty of consciousness which apprehends directly our connection with the transcendent domain. Intellect, in modern usage, has come to mean “smart” or “learned”  and is limited to the mechanical aspect of reason—sifting data and categorizing items.  However, the original meaning, which refers to a largely dormant faculty of human consciousness, is a higher discernment of supra-sensory dimensions beyond the data provided by the five senses.


Calleman states that he has a deep appreciation for the scientific method and his book will be rooted in facts and datings accepted by today’s science (12). This would be most welcome. However, he rejects established facts in the academic reconstruction of the Maya calendar, and neglects a full accounting of, for example, the Year Bearers of the 260-day calendar— important when we assess his idea that the end-date is not December 21, 2012, but October 28, 2011. He avoids a clear exposition of the facts by, for example, loosely stating that 2012  “has thus in the recent decade been mentioned in a number of New Age books as a time of fundamental shift.” This is certainly true, but he neglects to state clearly that 2012 is not a fanciful creation of New Age writers, but is based on a century of academic trial and tribulation, reconstructing the correlation of the Maya calendar with our own Gregorian calendar. This work involved correlating the base date of the 13-baktun cycle of the Long Count calendar with a Julian Day number corresponding to a Gregorian date. The work was accomplished through  many decades of interdisciplinary effort, comparing evidence from astronomy, surviving Maya codices, ethnography, hieroglyphic statements on Creation Monuments, and iconography. A reader unfamiliar with this fact would assume, by Calleman’s account, that the end-date correlation with 2012 was an ambiguous, rather presumptuous pipe dream of silly New Agers.  Calleman then writes that “the only way to find out if there is any basis in reality for suggestions [notice that he uses the term “suggestions”] that the year 2012 is a year of special importance is obviously to study the reality underlying the Long Count” (28). Fair enough, and this direction of inquiry is stimulated by the scientific method—a good road to take. Thus, the scientifically-minded seeker would probably first want to inquire about the time and place of the Long Count’s invention.[1]  However, instead of looking at the place, time, and context in which the Long Count was created, Calleman seeks “evidence” for the placement of 2012 in historical processes, mainly in Europe. The idea here is that the shift-points of each of the thirteen baktuns should be attended by historical events that are noteworthy. Calleman’s adjusted end-date is in 2011, so he presents a table on page 29 that lists the baktun shifts between 3115 BC and 2011. (All of these shift-points are, of course, one year different from what results if you place the end date in 2012.) The historical comparisons that are examined in a later chapter are then presented as evidence that this adjusted 2011 table is correct. However, it is patently absurd that  a 420-day adjustment in the end-date can be supported by historical events which often range many years on either side of a baktun shift. 


The other argument that Calleman brings to bear to support his adjusted end date—really his main argument—has to do with the idea that the “first” day of the 260-day tzolkin cycle should be 1 Imix. There is no basis for this in the operation of the Maya calendar, though a kind of ad-hoc argument can be made, which I’ll get to in a moment.  He also draws from texts at the Classic site of Palenque which state that First Father was born in 3122 BC, roughly eight years before the beginning of the Long Count. But, according to a glyph reported by Calleman, this First Father was only seven years old at the beginning of the Long Count, and thus we should be justified in adjusting the beginning of the Long Count back a year. (Calleman doesn’t provide documentation on these ideas, and I’m paraphrasing his reading of them.) This adjusted beginning date in the tzolkin calendar happens to fall on 13 Ahau, but it isn’t clear if he used the Julian calendar or the Gregorian calendar to calculate it; again, not a very rigorous reporting of the “evidence.” At any rate, he arrives at a purportedly significant 13 Ahau date, an alternative candidate for the Long Count beginning date. This reasoning is extremely shaky, as it places premiere importance on the seventh-century texts of Palenque which are mainly concerned with casting political leaders into mythic contexts to increase their power in the eyes of their subjects. In addition, the texts of Palenque cannot be considered authoritative statements on the original intention of the Long Count calendar because they were written 800 years after the first Long Count dates appear in the archaeological record. This is like trying to understand the origins of Christianity by studying the medieval writings of one ninth-century monk.


Based upon this tidbit of manufactured evidence, Calleman emphasizes that 13 Ahau is the “last” day of the tzolkin cycle, and the very next day, 1 Imix, is thus the first day. This belief is based upon a misconception of the tzolkin calendar. In typical lists of the twenty day-signs, it has become a convention to begin with Imix. This does not mean that Imix is the “first” day in the calendar, which is always reserved for the senior year-bearer, a topic that Calleman completely neglects to explain. Now, in terms of the geomantic meaning of the day-sign, Imix might be thought of as the first stage of the unfolding process through twenty stages, like the 64 hexagrams of the I Ching. Imix occurs after the day-sign  Ahau, which means blowgunner, shooting forth or, generally, “birth.” Imix means Earth; so, from Earth to Birth the day-signs unfold. In addition, it is true that all of the uinals, tuns, katuns, and baktuns of the Long Count calendar end on Ahau, which is consistent with the Maya notion that birth happens at the end of a time cycle or process.  However, the evidence of Creation Monuments reveals that the end date is 4 Ahau, so there’s no need for adjustment or correction. And if evidence of such a need could be rallied, it would not be enough to controvert the well-known and established operation of the Maya Calendar as we find it in Mayan codices, in hieroglyphic texts, and among the Maya daykeepers today. To readjust the end-date to 13 Ahau based on Calleman’s reasoning is a fanciful exercise that has no basis in the facts of the Maya calendar, but is supported through a few pieces of irrelevant trivia. Calleman is free to be creative with his adaptations, but his work cannot be viewed as a correction, a reconstruction, or an improvement on the Maya calendar end-date. His correction is neither needed nor well-argued for; it might define Calleman as the inventor of the Calleman correlation, but in the end it really only injects more confusion into an arena that is already overloaded with misapprehensions. Most of this confusion comes from attempts to update, rename, adjust, or correct the Maya calendar philosophy rather than simply reconstructing and elucidating its true nature. The simple fact that the accepted 4 Ahau end-date of December 21, 2012 falls on a solstice, and is thus a perfectly appropriate marker for the end of a cycle of time, is apparently not meaningful to Calleman. The ancient Maya’s intentions are of little concern; the modern intellect, perceiving itself as the crown of civilized development, is free to spin things any which way, and can support all arguments with “evidence.” And it can usually get away with it because modern humanity has been so dumbed-down that even the most obvious of goof-ups can slip right by. For example:


On page 32 we are presented with a table that compares the events of the First Heaven (or baktun) and the Thirteenth Heaven (or baktun). The idea here is that the first and thirteenth  baktuns have a time resonance with each other through which events parallel each other. Thus, the first writing of the Sumerians parallels the first daily newspaper in Amsterdam, 1618. Thirteen is the key interval in the Mayan science of time resonance, and—let me say this again—Calleman creates a table that compares the First Heaven (starting in 3115 BC) and the Thirteenth Heaven (starting in 1617 AD). The problem is that the interval between these periods is twelve baktuns rather than thirteen. People make this kind of error quite often. Let’s say it is 12 noon on Monday. You have an appointment at 12 noon on Thursday. To figure how many days until your appointment, a person says to themselves, “today is Monday,” and counts one, and then counts Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday—ah, “Four days until my appointment!” However, this is a counting error, as there are actually three days between Monday 12 noon and Thursday 12 noon. Likewise, there are only twelve baktuns between 3115 and 1617. This is either an incredible oversight by Calleman or we are supposed to unquestioningly accept a 12-baktun interval as the key to Mayan time resonance, for reasons unknown and unexplained. Somehow, the number 12 sneaked into the model. Likewise, Calleman believes that the 360-day tun is the key to Mayan sacred time, even though it factors into 12 x 30. Apparently a 12-unit base-frequency structures Mayan sacred time better than the 13-unit factor of the 260-day tzolkin cycle (13 x 20 = 260). The difference between the two “time factors” of 13 and 12 represents the difference between a lunar-based, cyclic time concept (13) and a solar-based, linear time concept (12). The former involves sacred time while the latter involves secular, mundane time. While Calleman desires to elucidate the workings of Mayan sacred time, or holy time, the key factor he uses to do so is, in fact, rooted in the solar, linear, secular time concept.


Other observations: The dating of Harmonic Convergence should be correctly attributed to Tony Shearer, in his books  Beneath the Moon and the Under the Sun and Quetzalcoatl, Lord of the Dawn. It should also be noted that when Quetzalcoatl first appears in the evolution of Mesoamerican cosmology at Teotihuacan, his original association was with the Pleiades rather than Venus. Frank Waters got his December 24, 2011 end-date from an early edition of Michael Coe’s Mexico (1962) that was in error, and subsequently corrected. The idea that Izapan astronomy is purely local due to the local zenith-passage ignores the iconography and the alignments to the solstice sunrise; the Izapans tracked three cosmic centers, one at the north celestial pole, one in the zenith, and one in the Galactic Center. But above all they oriented their cosmological framework, and the Creation Mythology on their monuments,  to the Galactic Center, which can hardly be said to be local. See the Izapa Cosmos piece on my website. Calleman’s idea of the True Cross is astronomically interesting, but hardly represents the Mayan concept that is evidence at Palenque and among the Quiché and Chorti Maya as well as in the Popol Vuh Creation Myth—the Mayan Crossroads or Sacred Tree is the cross formed by the Milky Way and the ecliptic. The model of historical cycles of time, with alternating positive and negative (or light and dark) aspects is interesting, and is somewhat reminiscent of the Arguelles model in Mayan Factor. Also, historical events and comparisons between different eras seems to be the primary “scientific evidence” that Calleman brings to bear on his claim to adjust the Mayan end date. If the Maya calendar somehow structures or defines such eras of resonance, then why should the Maya calendar be adjusted to fit the data?  Again, the cart goes before the horse.


Now, as we segue into my response to Calleman’s objections to my work, a brief note on his Appendix III: “How to Calculate Your Spiritual Birthday and Tzolkin day.” The Year Number table in this appendix is exactly the same as the Year table in my book, Tzolkin: Visionary Perspectives and Calendar Studies (1992 / 1994), which Calleman has read. (Note: Calleman’s bibliography citation for my book is incorrect; it was published with Borderland Sciences Research Foundation). While the year number chart is identical, Calleman seems to have adapted the Month Number table so that the calculation method is slightly different than the one I presented. I can’t be sure where Calleman got his tables from, but if it came from my book I would have appreciated an acknowledgment. To acquire these numbers was not an easy task, and in fact the number of calculation methods that one might devise is large enough that for his Year table to be identical to mine leaves me wondering . . . I can remember, back in 1991, tediously searching through an astronomical ephemeris at the local university’s math lab for the Julian Day numbers that began each century from 3200 BC to 4800 AD, as well as the individual year numbers for the twentieth century. Arranging them into tables and figuring out the calculation method was part of my calendar studies back in 1991-1992, and many such tables were published in my book Tzolkin.  This complaint of mine speaks to a general issue which I have often noticed over the past eight years, where my work—sometimes almost verbatim appropriations—have appeared in newsletters, magazines, books, and websites without any reference to my work. In this regard, it should be noted that Calleman has had the benefit of our lengthy email exchange in the summer of 1999, and I notice that some of my critiques and suggestions have been incorporated into his book.[2]  However, many of my carefully expressed responses to his appendix on Precession, (which he sent me in 1999) have gone unheeded. He might have taken the opportunity before the publication of his book, to incorporate our previous exchange into his book, which would obviate the need for me to devote yet more time to re-responding to the same issues that I did two years ago. Our original exchange of mid-1999 is posted on my website, at:


Below is a brief response to some of the criticisms of my work that Calleman published in his book. Many of his views and statements are misleading as to my intentions, which were available and clearly explicated in my book. The ideal situation would be for the reader to acquire a copy of both of our books and judge for themselves the totality of our respective presentations.  Obviously it is not really practical for me recapitulate all the material in Maya Cosmogenesis 2012, which was an exhaustive study of 450 pages including six appendices, with extensive documentary end-notes and bibliography. The reader can, however, view the original bibliography for this book at:, the Table of Contents at:, and a CD-Rom version of my book Tzolkin will be available soon; extensive excerpts from it have been available at my website since 1995:


Addressed to Carl: When you introduce my book Maya Cosmogenesis 2012 in your Appendix V, you do it in the context of implying that both Arguelles and myself “seek to adapt the spiritual cycles to the astronomical rather than the other way around.” This is news to me; when did you determine that about my work? I should have been informed (I’m being sarcastic).  As I stated two years ago, and I am forced to repeat now, I do not seek to “adapt” the spiritual cycles to the astronomical cycles. There are deeper levels within Maya time philosophy that we could call metaphysical or esoteric, and I have explore these aspects in previous books, as you now. The question for Maya Cosmogenesis 2012 was “why did the Maya chose 2012?” As with many other facets of the Maya calendar, we are not surprised to find that it involves astronomy. You have no comment on the revolution in understanding the deep relationship between ancient mythology and astronomy, stimulated by the 1969 book Hamlet’s Mill, and taken up by Mayanist Linda Schele, whose work you draw from.


One answer to the question posed above is: the Maya chose December solstice 2012 because the solstice sun aligns with the galaxy in that era.  I took this as a working hypothesis when I began my research back in 1994, and I uncovered a large amount of evidence from many Mayan traditions, all documented carefully in my book. As a careful and discerning researcher, concerned with reconstructing the lost knowledge of the ancient Mayan skywatchers and not with weaving newly derived models, I stand by this work as the best possible reconstruction of an aspect of Mayan calendar cosmology that was, after all, blown to smithereens by the Conquest. Another answer, your answer, is: the Maya picked 2012, but they were mistaken and we need to correct their calendar to 2011 because it fits European history better and 1 Imix should be the first day.  


Are you saying that the Maya end-date cannot be related to astronomy? By what argument? December 21 is, in fact, a solstice date. So, without any help from me, the end date already is grounded in astronomy. A thorough reading of Munro Edmonson’s Book of the Year would be helpful here. I have sought to identify the reason why the Maya chose 2012 to end a vast cycle of time in their World Age doctrine. You neglect to mention or discuss any of the evidence I bring to bear on this question, which shows how the end-date alignment was incorporated into the symbolism of the sacred ballgame, in the Creation Myth at Izapa and the later Quiché Maya Popol Vuh, and in king accession rites. You also refer to my interpretations of myth as if they were my own and ambiguous, as if just invented on my part. Do you mean ambiguous like the multiple subjective meanings possible in fairy tales? Mayan mythology is not like fairy tales, which is a belief of those who perceive myths as fictions. Mayan mythology encodes astronomy, and the astronomical alignments at Izapa as well as the symbolism of the Izapan monuments describe events in the Mayan Creation Myth; we can say tangible and factual things about the astronomical level within Maya mythology. My work at Izapa deserves a closer appraisal, as no one seeking to understand 2012 has, previous to my work, endeavored to seek the answer at the site that invented the Long Count calendar that gives us 2012.


As mentioned, you state that the evidence I present to support my thesis comes from my own interpretation of the myths and monuments. This is not true; my evidence is interdisciplinary and not limited to mythology. Furthermore, the iconographic elements found on the pictographic carvings at Izapa are symbols that have specific metaphorical or mythological  meanings according to academic epigraphers and iconographers. For example, David Kelley in his monumental study of Mayan hieroglyphs (Deciphering the Maya Script, 1976) identifies the “upturned frog mouth” symbol as meaning “to be born.” This symbol occurs on Izapa Stela 11, which adorns the cover of my book. If you combine this with the fact that Stela 11 faces the December solstice and the deity emerging from the frog’s mouth is First Father (because he is performing the arms-outstretched measuring act that occurs at  Creation) then you have an interpretation derived solely from available academic data: solar lord in the cosmic birth-place on the solstice horizon at the dawn of the age. This is how my conclusions are formulated and how my synthesis emerged—not, as you imply, by my own ambiguous interpretations but by assembling the evidence from many disciplines, putting it all together, and saying what it is. An excerpt from Maya Cosmogenesis 2012 will be worthwhile:


Stela 11 is one of the most symbolically striking monuments in Group B. In my book The Center of Mayan Time, I emphasized this stela as the best Izapan monument representative of the World Age astronomy of the 13-baktun cycle end-date. It faces the December solstice sunrise, where the dark-rift rose shortly before the solstice sun during Izapa's heyday. I still feel that Stela 11 tells a simple and straightforward story about the sky towards which it faces: the rebirth of the world.


Diagram 147. Stela 11: ** Click here for image ** December solstice sun in the dark-rift. A Visual portrayal of the astronomical alignment of the 13-baktun cycle end-date


   Is this stela only telling us about the sun's rebirth at dawn? Is it only portraying the sun's annual rebirth on the December solstice? No, for it is short-sighted to limit the metaphor to the daily and annual levels. It does not take a great leap of insight to understand Stela 11 for all it is worth. If we accept that the toad-jaguar's mouth symbolizes the dark-rift, Stela 11 says "the sun is reborn when it is in the dark-rift-the place of transformation, the portal to the Otherworld, the birth canal of the Milky Way Great Mother."


   In Stela 11 we can clearly see the true meaning of the dark-rift "mouth" of the Milky Way as a birth place. Gareth Lowe, one of the archaeologists who excavated Izapa in the 1960s, associates Stela 11 with the day-sign Ix (Jaguar).12 The toad-jaguar's mouth has symbolized the portal to the Otherworld since Olmec times, and  the modern Quiché Maya call the dark-rift the xibalba be, the road to the Otherworld. Commonly, Underworld portals were visualized as caves. In the Tzotzil Maya language of highland Chiapas, the word for "cave" is ch'en, which also means "vagina."13 Lowe also associates Stela 11 with the Yucatec Maya haab month Chen.14 Here we have meaningful connections implicit in the work of Maya scholars that associate Stela 11 with jaguar mouths,  caves, portals to the Otherworld, and birthplaces.


   And what of the solar deity emerging from the toad-jaguar's mouth? The outstretched hands on Stela 11 represent completion or measurement-a typical period-ending concept. In the Popol Vuh, First Father measured the cosmos at the beginning of time. On Stela 11 we see a frog or toad (the Milky Way) birthing the solar First Father deity. In the calendar, the frog or toad glyph stands for the 20-day uinal period of the Long Count. As such, it represents time-period completion (and commencement). In Maya hieroglyphs, when the frog's mouth is upright and open, the meaning is "to be born" and "date initiation."15 This identification is basic and very important, and confirms that Stela 11 represents the alignment of the December solstice sun with the dark-rift in the Milky Way which occurs on the 13-baktun cycle end-date in A.D. 2012. Furthermore, given the "to be born" meaning of the uptunred frog's mouth, the way the future alignment was thought of in Izapan/Maya Creation myth involved the solar First Father hero being reborn, or emerging from, the dark-rift portal to the Otherworld, which was symbolized by the mouth of a snake, caiman or frog (the Milky Way itself being the snake or frog or caiman).


   My emphasis on the fact that the upturned frog-glyph means both "date initiation" (as in a new Creation) and "to be born" (as in the sun in the dark-rift) challenges Maya scholars Nikolai Grube's and Linda Schele's identification of the celestial Creation Place of the Maya. They focused exclusively on the "Ak" turtle glyph as a reference to the three hearth stones of Creation (three stars in the Orion constellation). On certain Classic-period ceramics, the First Father Maize Deity is reborn from the back of a turtle. Thus, they argue the celestial location of his rebirth is in Orion. However, the Classic-period representations of the cosmic turtle's back (Orion) as a birth place may not reflect the original Izapan Creation myth. Ultimately, the frog-mouth birthing-glyph is just as compelling as Schele's interpretation of Maya Creation, which focused only on the Milky Way/ecliptic Creation crossroads near Gemini.16 In terms of astronomical exactness, the scenario near Sagittarius is much more precise than the one proposed for Gemini-Orion. (The three hearthstones in Orion are quite far from both the Milky Way and the ecliptic.) An important and central aspect of Maya Creation astronomy definitely appears to have gone unrecognized by scholars. If the turtle or "Ak" glyph was hailed as the key to Grube's and Schele's interpretation of Maya Creation happening near Gemini-Orion, then the "to be born" frog glyph is the epigraphic and iconographic key to my reading of Creation at the Milky Way dark-rift near Sagittarius (pgs 284-285).[3]


-end excerpt-


The same “upturned mouth” symbol occurs on Copan Stela C, where 18-Rabbit wears pants portraying a crocodile mouth—in effect he is emerging from the mouth of the crocodile, which is symbolically equivalent to the frog. Now, if you balk at drawing a symbolic equivalence between the crocodile and the frog and instead, like many scientifically-minded types, get interested in identifying the actual species/sub-species of this Copan crocodile, you should never try to think in metaphors and you are best suited for work in a German automobile plant. My point is that Copan Stela C is dated December 5, 711 AD and it faces the eastern horizon. On this date, the sun was in the dark-rift in the Milky Way, the birth-cleft of the Milky Way, the “to be born” place in the sky. The solar king in the crocodile mouth; December 5, 711 AD;  the sun in the dark-rift. The significance of Copan Stela C lies in the fact that it demonstrates an interest in the dates on which the sun aligns with the dark-rift—which is precisely what occurs on the end-date, on the December solstice. An exposition of this and other new discoveries will be published in my next book, Galactic Alignment: The Lost Wisdom of the Ancients (Inner Traditions International), a preview of which is available at: (click on book title).


You accuse me of neglecting the Classic Period Maya Creation texts at Palenque. These seventh-century AD texts are less important than the Creation Monuments at Izapa, the early Maya civilization that, according to Michael Coe, played a significant role in the invention or “adoption” of the Long Count. However, if we do look at the Classic Period Creation Monuments, e.g., at Coba, we find that the 13-baktun cycle should end on the tzolkin day 4 Ahau. By the True Count, which you agree with, this is December 21, 2012 AD. Your casual dismissal of this fact leaves readers wanting, and prevents them from having access to the full parameters of the questions you address. Furthermore, the monuments at Izapa are closely related to key episodes from the Quiché Maya Popol Vuh—the Creation Myth of the Maya which translator Dennis Tedlock shows encodes astronomy; specifically, astronomical features such as the Milky Way / ecliptic cross and the dark-rift in the Milky Way near the Galactic Center. So, I did, in fact, look at the Mayan Creation Myth—right where it originated along with the Long Count calendar, at Izapa. Most of my interpretations of the astronomy within this mythology—such as Seven Macaw being the Big Dipper—come from academic sources; your implications of ambiguity on my part are completely unjustified, and to be fair you really need to summarize my work more thoroughly for your readers, unless you simply want to indulge in polemics. I really don’t have time for that. I direct the reader to for links to other essays and material.




1. This was my approach in Maya Cosmogenesis 2012; see


2. Especially in his Appendix V.


3. For the end note references, see 22-notes.html




Final note: I devoted time to writing this review-essay at a time when a family emergency is occurring a thousand miles away and I am preparing to drive cross country (in a matter of hours as I write). I felt it was important to complete this as agreed, and I trust that all parties involved will be patient and understand that I will be unable to engage in a continuous, perpetual debate. Comments can be directed to, but for several months I will be unable to respond to most email.


John Major Jenkins

September 4, 2001

12  Ix