The Center for Millennial Studies
Boston University
Invited paper submission. May 11, 1999
John Major Jenkins

The World Age cosmology of the Maya calendar end-date in A.D. 2012 and its basis in a rare astronomical alignment of the solstice sun with the Milky Way Galaxy

The calendar cosmology of the ancient Maya of Central America states that the world is due for renewal in the years around A.D. 2012. Recent breakthroughs in understanding the astronomical underpinnings of this "millennial" temporal turning point show that the Maya believed a rare alignment of the solstice sun with the Milky Way (or Galactic Plane) would be responsible for an era of great transformation on earth. We can refer to this event as a Galactic Alignment. It is an astronomical fact that the solstice meridian will be precessing (by way of the precession of the equinoxes) through the Galactic equator in roughly the year 2000. Although the sociological implications of the concept of Galactic Alignment is unfamiliar to mainstream scientific discourse today, there is ample evidence in the scientific work of several researchers that suggests our changing relationship to the Galactic Plane is important. There is further evidence in the traditions of the major ancient civilizations (namely, Egypt, Mayan, and Vedic) that this alignment was thought of as being a significant transformative event for human beings on earth. The Galactic Alignment of era-2012 served the Maya, as well as many other ancient civilizations, as a type of temporal marker around which gravitate sociological effects typical of what we call "millennial fever." My paper identifies the underlying empirical reason that Maya cosmology holds responsible for millennial visions, calendars and traditions.

I. Maya cosmology, calendrics and astronomy
a. The 13-baktun cycle of the Maya Long Count calendar and its ending in A.D. 2012
b. Maya astronomy and mythology
c. The precession of the equinoxes and World Age concepts as the bases for millennial phenomenon
d. How the ancient Maya cosmologists understood the precessional alignment of era-2012

II. The solstice-galaxy alignment defined
a. The fact of the solstice-galaxy alignment and its precise timing: 1998
b. The recognition of the solstice-galaxy alignment as an era of transformation within ancient Vedic and Egyptian cosmology

III. A Maya belief: Our changing relationship to the Galactic Plane effects phenomenon on earth
a. Expansion of the human time-concept: solar year and Platonic Year analogy
b. Scientific evidence: Wilhelm Reich’s work with aurora borealis positions and hurricane trajectories. Teodor Landschrift’s work in Germany in the 1970s
c. Philosophical deductions: Oliver Reiser, Rene Guenon, and R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz

IV. Implications. The current (upcoming) millennium coincides very closely with a rare alignment in the cycle of precession that is recognized in the calendar-systems of at least three ancient civilizations as a transformative event for earth. How is it that the Judaeo-Christian Year 2000 "coincides" with this rare alignment of solstice and galaxy? Here are three possiblities: 1. Total coincidence; 2. Ancient knowledge of the future alignment was intentionally encoded into the early Christian calendar; 3. An unconscious intentionality within the collective movement of history. Whether or not the extremely close coincidence of Year 2000 with the solstice-galaxy alignment is intentional, we should acknowledge the fact, understand how the ancient civilizations who believed in its significance came to their conclusions, and incorporate it into our analysis of current millennial phenomenon.

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