The Mayan Calendar and the Transformation of Consciousness:
Only Spirit and Matter Joined Together Can Engender New Consciousness

(Clarifying the errors of Carl Calleman)

John Major Jenkins. Copyright. January 2005.

The 260-day calendar is a key to understanding different domains of our experience. It is a magical number because it relates to the nine-month period of human gestation, to the growth of corn in the Guatemalan highlands, and to eclipses and planetary cycles. These three domains involve human unfolding (both physical and spiritual), agricultural earth cycles (growth of corn) and astronomy. As one can see, the 260-day sacred cycle of the Maya (the tzolkin) relates to all these domains of the universe. Said simply, the 260-day calendar unites processes in the inner spiritual world and the outer physical world. The Mayan calendar's claim to fame rests precisely in this amazing property.

The Long Count calendar is a large cycle of time. Although the Long Count can theoretically stretch over millions of years, in the archaeological monuments we find that it basically consists of 13 Baktuns, or 5,125 years. This period is one World Age and relates to the Maya creation mythology, known as the Hero Twin myth or the Quiché Maya Popol Vuh. Scholars have figured out how the Long Count calendar relates to our own, and thus we know that the end of the 13-baktun period is slated to occur on December 21, 2012. This is the so-called "end date" of the Mayan calendar. According to the Mayan creation mythology, such cyclic end-points do not spell a catastrophic end to the world. That is a popular distortion of the true doctrine, mainly intended to pander to sensationalized marketing plans for books that almost always distort authentic Mayan traditions. One of these traditions is the belief that time is cyclic, and the end of a cycle means transformation, renewal and rebirth (into the new cycle). And part of this tradition is that the next cyclic end date is December 21, 2012, timed with the tzolkin date 4 Ahau. The ideas put forth by both Jose Arguelles and Carl Calleman are in disagreement with this fundamentally true statement.

My pioneering work began in the mid-1980s with studying and understanding the basic tenets of Mayan thought (such as the above statement) and then I sought to answer the question: Why does the 13-baktun cycle end on December 21, 2012? To answer this question, I researched the early Mayan site called Izapa, because it is that cultural milieu that was involved in the invention of the Long Count calendar, roughly 2,100 years ago. My archaeological findings and information from several other disciplines were synthesized and by 1995 the answer to my question was overwhelmingly clear: On December solstices in the years around 2012, the sun will be aligning with the great white band of the Milky Way, within the confines of the Nuclear Bulge / Galactic Center. This "galactic alignment" occurs only once every 26,000 years. It is the end of a large astronomical cycle, that of the precession of the equinoxes. The Maya saw this alignment as a great time of renewal for human beings on earth. They also encoded the "end-date alignment" scenario into the monuments of Izapa, in their Creation mythology, in their sacred ballgame, and in their king crowning ceremonies. My research laid out in Maya Cosmogenesis 2012 (Bear & Company, 1998) is unprecedented, pioneering, well documented, and broke the case on solving the question of why the 13-baktun cycle ends on December 21, 2012.

This is not to say that the Maya thought of the end date as only relating to an astronomical alignment, although it is very important that we now have a definitive, empirically measurable, phenomenon in the physical world that can be, and has been, calculated by professional astronomers (Jean Meeus, Mathematical Astronomy Morsels, 1997). Otherwise we would have only vague free-floating prophecies. Cycle endings such as the galactic alignment in 2012 can be understood spiritually as an opportunity for human beings to reunite with their higher divine source. This notion is found in the perennial philosophy of traditional metaphysics, and is also found echoed in the carved monuments of the Izapan ballcourt --- ground zero of the "2012 prophecy." So we are at once dealing with the core message of the 2012 information, at its source so to speak, as well as the most exalted spiritual teachings of all ages. At the moment a cycle reaches its end or culmination point, the still point manifests, time ceases and incarnated beings who are usually fated to always live within the field of duality and causality can catch a glimpse of eternity. And there is no difference between a moment of eternity and a century of eternity.[1]

The spiritual ascent available at the end of time is theoretically available at any point within the cycles of time, but is more readily experienced at the end of the cycle. This is because time cycles, from the higher dimensional viewpoint, are more like a breathing in and breathing out. The circular motion happens via outflow from the source-center (resulting in an extreme point of maximum out breath), followed by inflow toward the source-center. In Vipassana meditation, the breath ceases and eternity is glimpsed at the maximum outflow still point. It may be possible to stop breathing anywhere during the breath-circuit, but it will be easier and more natural for that to coordinate with the outflow still point. In the vast 26,000-year cycle of the precession of the equinoxes, we move into and out of intimacy with our cosmic source and center, into and out of contact with the eternal source---the source of renewal and all knowledge. And the contact point of maximum opportunity is galactic alignment 2012.[2]

The 2012 alignment in the outer world offers a still point through which the revealing of eternity into history can occur. Human beings are the channels of this process. But we must sacrifice our attachment to illusion in order to be free to let go and open so that the eternal infinite wisdom can flow through. Practice peace and stillness. Meditate. Let go of attachment to illusion.


Postscript. This clarification draws from my earliest writings on Mayan time philosophy, reformulated in various ways in all of my books (later ones being Mayan Sacred Science, Maya Cosmogenesis 2012, Galactic Alignment), most notably in chapter 6 of my recent book Pyramid of Fire, The Lost Aztec Codex: Spiritual Ascent at the End of Time (Inner Traditions, Nov. 2004).

[1] Carl Calleman claims the Maya calendar has nothing to do with astronomy, and he enlists the poor research and clever intellectual gamesmanship of "profesional" astronomers like Dr. Louis Strous for support. I've looked into these claims (see links below) and find them to be stuck in the most naive errors---whether they be intentionally misleading or innocent mistakes, I'm not sure. Those interested in accurate interpretations (be they scholarly, metaphysical, and/or spiritually-oriented in nature) of Mayan calendar tradition should be aware that Calleman amputates the repugnantly "physical" side of the equation and thereby trashes the single most important property of the Mayan calendar --- that it unites the inner and outer (subjective and objective) domains of human experience. For further clarifications on recent distortions of the Mayan calendar, see Response to Strous, Dialogue with Strous, Following Dreamspell, Tempe "Road to 2012" Conference Summary, 2001 Jenkins-Calleman Debate.

[2] The astronomical parameters actually define a range, roughly 1980 to 2016. See the Timing Parameters chapter in my book Galactic Alignment (Inner Traditions, 2002).