Friday, December 14, 2012


By Maurice Lacunza

                                                                      THE END OF THE WORLD?
The Mayan Prophecy: Doomsday or Precession?
Mayan Calendar: Some say the calendar ends on
December 22, 2012. Most seem to agree though
that the calendar ends on Dec. 21, 2012
The ancient Mayans’ were a well-developed methodical civilization.  The Maya were experts in the field of astronomy from which they devised a system of astrology, which formed the basis for many of their cultural and ritualistic ceremonies.  They were very much in cadence with astrology and lived their day-to-day lives in subjection to astrological events.  Their use of astrology led them to believe that the world would end in 2012 AD. The topic of ancient Mayan prophecy of “doomsday” is still a hot topic of discussion today in 2008.  Research may identify why the Maya believe the world will end on December 21, 2012.  Mayan astrology may have a larger impact on our society than we previously thought.

The Maya had a complex and detailed dedication of rituals to their gods and underlying belief systems.  The kings and nobles would suffer painful rituals and sacrifice their own comforts to please their gods.  Two of the gods sacrificed their own lives by jumping in to a pyramid of fire and were re-born as the more powerful sun and moon gods.  The moon god was pleased when a heart was cut out and the blood and heart was sacrificed in representation of his own selfless acts of sacrifice to be a more powerful god for his people.  This belief was passed on to many generations- even to other civilizations such as the Aztecs.  As leaders of the Mayan empire, the nobility mimicked the gods by offering human sacrifices and hurting their own bodies with wreaths of thorns and other self-inflicted acts of pain.  Thousands of people were sacrificed to the gods during their reign.  By performing these rituals, the Maya believed the gods would assure the people prosperity and avoid famine and hardships. 
The Four Cycles of Creation
The rituals and interests in astronomy and astrology led them to search for knowledge and understanding of celestial bodies and celestial events.  They believed that the sun, moon, and stars were gods and the Maya were able to watch and follow their present and past movements precisely.  The rituals and interest in astrology led the Mayan to interpret human activities coinciding with the stars and the earths’ cycles.  Temples were very important to the Mayan.  The placement and orientation of the temples are what made them important.  Cotterell stated, “Doors and rooftops were placed where they could mark the rising and culmination setting” (page 34.)  This method also enabled the great astrologers to predict eclipses; eventually the Mayan developed a concept of time beginning at what they believed was the birth of Venus on August 13, 3114 B.C.E.  This compares to modern day concepts of time when history was divided between B.C., and A.D, or now more commonly known as B.C.E. and C.E. Cotterell also said that “they were especially interested in the movements of Pleiades star cluster; as well as those of wandering planets Mercury, Venus, Mars and Jupiter” (page 38.)  For example, the Maya believed the gods Osiris and Isis controlled the annual flood because the first appearance of the Isis star is when the flooding occurred.  Maya were concerned with the average cycles over long periods of time, rather than day-to-day movements.  In our present time, we use algebra to determine our predictions- there is not any evidence that the Maya used these methods.  The Maya surrounded their lives with astronomy and astrology, which developed their religions and beliefs.  

Crop Circle from AlienResearchCorp.Com
The Maya used reference tables and observational combinations to make predictions of the future.  The Maya had a fantastic sense of time.  Solar magnetic cycles were the root of the Mayan numbering system.  The Mayan time cycle began at the birth of Venus.  It may explain why many Spanish scholars thought, “Indians were primitive and could not develop complex ideas or have any form of writing” (page 152.)  In fact, the Maya were highly developed with complex numbering systems and accurate observations of earthly movements that were unheard of during most of recorded history.

Solar Calendar

The Maya believed that the sunspots affected their lives and their destiny.  Many cultures of past and today, view the sun as the father of our solar system.  Our planets are dependent on our sun’s activities.  The Maya concern of the sun rooted from how the sun affected human fertility.  It is proven that the solar winds and sun spots directly affects female rhythms and menstrual cycles.  Female hormones are dependent on solar radiation- if a woman is severely deprived of solar radiation for a long period, she will develop changes in her endocrinal system.  When changes occur in the endocrine system, it will affect the production of “timing hormone melatonin” and the fertility hormones progesterone and estrogen.  This not only affects humans, but other life forms and their life sustaining procreation as well.  The Mayan possibly saw this as a threat to their survival.  Maya believed that variation in the sun’s magnetism was directly responsible for astrological differences in the people.  They believed that being born under the rotation of a certain planet, moon, or star would predict personality traits, career, and surname.  Cotterell found that, “the sun’s polar and equatorial magnetic fields interacted; he discovered they came close together every 260 days.  The Mayan numbering system was connected with solar magnetic cycles.  The Tzolkin cycle was also 260 days” (page 38).  The Mayan used two calendars: the Tzolkin cycle, which was considered the sacred year and the Haab calendar, which was called the vague year- 360 days.  The cycle is not like our calendar system we use today, the 365-day Gregorian calendar, which numbers 12 months with 30 or 31 days in each month.  The Tzolkin calendar was represented on a round stone divided into 13 cycles that ended on the last day of the 13th cycle and began anew on the first day of the first cycle.  It featured special names and a numbering system that did not incorporate the assignment of arbitrary weeks and months such as that of the Gregorian calendar.  The Mayan used both calendars at the same time: one for the sacred religious system and the other for the day-to-day use by everyone.  The Tzolkin cycle is a highly accurate system that measures time in precise cycles.  The Mayan learned to predict when some of these cycles would occur and therefore began to assign religious meaning to them.  The accuracy of the measurements is mind boggling considering that the doomsday cycle is a repeating pattern every 25,627 years.  Using today’s scientific tools, the Maya calendar is accurate to within 24 hours every 4500 years.

The Maya calendar also coincides with the occurrence of sunspot cycles, which are within two 260-day Tzolkin cycles.  Cotterell calculated the sunspots at 1,366,040 days.  This may explain the relationship of Mayan fertility rituals with the increase of radiation during sunspot activity.  However, the relationship of sunspot activity to the Mayan calendar is far more interesting.  The Mayan calendar has several complicated formulas that feature five major time-periods.  Each period is noted by cycles, days, and years.  In one application, the Mayan use a formula to denote 20 cycles of 187 years that equals out to 1,366,040 days.  Scientists today are still trying to understand the full meaning of sunspots, and yet, the Mayan were using a precision calendar as accurate as any of today’s comparisons. 

Precession from NASA website

The Maya also measured another planetary event now known as the precession of the earth’s axis.  The earth’s precession is a slight wobble of the axis as it orbits around the sun over a period of approximately 26,000 years.  The polarity of the magnetic field may change and the axis will change.  This is likely to be a gradual process, but it could also be cataclysmic as earth’s history reveals sudden changes from time to time.  The polarity and shift has happened many times over thousands of years and not exclusively to the precession.  The most noticeable effect of the precession is the change of the zodiac that rises in the spring equinox every 2160 years.  We derive the signs of the astrology zodiac from the precession observations.  For example, the stars are formed around the sign of Pisces during the spring, but astrologists say the first day of spring is within the sign of Aries.  Using precession as a guide, the ancients should have called the first day of spring in the sign of Pisces.  They did not.  Because of this, astrology is called a pseudo-science.  Judging from anecdotal evidence, many people seem to “fit” their sign, e.g., persons born under the sign of Aries are more extroverted and have other shared and predictable characteristics.  Cotterell thinks that perhaps the zodiac is more scientific if one looks at it from a solar-based point of view instead of the positioning of the stars.  Cotterell said it might be that “the root of astrology lay in solar influence and the variations of the solar year” (page 43.)  It may be that astrology is more accurate and has more influence than we realized.

Symbol at the end of the Long Count Cycle
The Maya called the precession the Great Cycle and it is measured over several millennium, in fact, 25,627 years.  There is some debate on the actual length of the precession, but most agree that it is between 23,000 and 26,000 years long.  The Mayan believe, or have calculated, that it is in fact exactly 25,627 years long.  That cycle, which marks the end of one era and the beginning of another, ends on December 21, 2012, and begins anew on December 22, 2012.  The Great Cycle may be a coincidental occurrence with the earth’s precession, or it may be just that: an accurate observation of the earth’s precession.  The sacred belief was that the earth would enter into a period of renewal after a period of destruction.  They believed that this cycle of destruction and re-birth was global and occurred cyclically as stated.  It could be argued that the belief is spiritual and has no relevance to physical concerns.  Yet the mystery deepens when the comparison is made to the earth’s precession.  The written history of humankind is at the most, only 6,000 years old.  No one really knows what the precession will bring. 

Did the Mayan get it right?  The Mayan based all of their sacred rituals and beliefs on cycles.  The Mayan believed that when one cycle ends, another would begin.  They saw an end to one period, and the beginning of another.  They attached meaning to these cycles and built religious beliefs, rituals, and predictions- to match their observations.  

The Mayan calendar raises as many questions as it does answers.  Will the end of this cycle mean the end of the earth, as we know it?  On the other hand, will the beginning of a new cycle bring re-birth and renewal to the earth?  The best answer will be found the day after December 21.  The answer will be available to everyone…on December 22, 2012.
Original Article co-authored with My-le Tang 2008 @
Brian Stross. "Maya Calendar Origins: Monuments, Mythistory, and the Materialization of Time.         " Rev. of: "Maya Calendar Origins: Monuments, Mythistory, and the Materialization of Time."Ethnohistory 55.4 (2008): 693. Platinum Full Text Periodicals. ProQuest. Tacoma Community CollegeTacomaWA19 Nov. 2008, <>
Cotterell, Maurice.  The Mayan Prophecies.  33.2 RockportMA.  (1995) Element Book, Inc. British Library Cataloging.  TacomaWA.  Nov.28, 2008
Denise Young.  "Islamic Design: A Genius for Geometry/The Mayan and Other Ancient Calendars. “  Rev. of: "Islamic Design: A Genius for Geometry/The Mayan and Other Ancient Calendars."  The Mathematics Teacher 102.2 (2008): 160.  Platinum Full Text Periodicals.  ProQuest.  Tacoma Community CollegeTacomaWA.  19 Nov. 200819 Nov. 2008, <>
G Jeffrey MacDonald.  "Does Maya calendar predict apocalypse very soon? ; Books tout 2012 as doomsday, but experts say 'not so fast' :[FINAL Edition]. “  USA TODAY [McLeanVa.28 Mar. 2007, D.11.  National Newspaper Abstracts (3). ProQuest.  Tacoma Community CollegeTacomaWA.  19 Nov. 2008, <>

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