Keith M. Hunter
In light of the above point, that the Long Count association to the 2012 Galactic Alignment is not revealed knowledge from ancient Mayan traditions, but a modern day theory, one is bound to wonder at just how strong the linkage is. Now indeed, and as noted above, the most prominent researcher to forward the deliberate connection between the Long Count and the Galactic Alignment is John Major Jenkins. Upon his website, Alignment 2012, Jenkins himself states:
Now indeed, the particular book as noted here, Maya Cosmogenesis 2012, is in fact owned by this present researcher. But for those who do not own a copy, there is a great deal of information upon his website in support of his theories regarding the Long Count and other aspects of Mayan culture and civilisation. If one indeed examines Jenkins' site and his books, especially with regard to the Long Count, one can glean a general picture as to what supporting facts appear to lend weight to his central theory that the Long Count was established to target the specific future conjunction of the Earth at winter solstice, the Sun, and the equator of the Milky Way.
If this present author may briefly summarise the facts; in laying the foundation for his work, Jenkins does readily point out that his own original insights are based strongly upon the work of other scholars who have examined the Mayan culture over a great many decades. Firstly, Jenkins would seem to have studied greatly the 'Correlation Question' of just how the Long Count is mapped onto the Western Gregorian Calendar. And in this he satisfies himself that the GMT Correlation as places the 'end date' upon the 21 December 2012 AD winter solstice is correct. Indeed, in the introduction to his book Maya Cosmogenesis 2012, the Forward, as written by one Terence McKenna, contains the following remarks:
From this one can gather then that Jenkins did come across the work of certain other researchers who appeared to have identified a celestial event as would - within this present era - coincide with the completion of the 13 Baktuns of the Long Count (under the GMT correlation). Now, in suspecting that such a celestial pattern was deliberately targeted by the ancient Maya, Jenkins then went on to study the Mayan and Aztec civilisations from the Central American region to see if there was any evidence to support this essential idea.
Once more, it is important to note that Jenkins builds upon the work of a great many other scholars, extending it further and going off in new directions. One may cite such as Linda Schele and Dennis Tedlock, or Michael Coe for example. In focusing specifically upon the Long Count itself Jenkins states that the city of Izapa was involved in its formulation , a city whose heyday was about 300 BC to 50AD . Now, Izapa indeed would appear to be quite central to the arguments as developed by Jenkins to support the notion that the Long Count was deliberately created to target the 2012 winter solstice. To cite a few lines, here are some of Jenkins' own words on the matter, directly quoted from a brief summary he wrote, "A Guide to 2012" .
1) A primary archaeoastronomical reference point at Izapa is found in the alignment of the ballcourt to the December solstice sunrise.
2) Twelve surviving carved monuments in the ballcourt can be interpreted meaningfully as encoding an awareness of the future galactic alignment in era-2012.
3) At Izapa, the ballgame is symbolic of the future galactic alignment in era-2012.
4) The iconographic statements in the Izapan ballcourt suggest that the future galactic alignment in era-2012 was conceived as the rebirth of the sun.
In a careful examination of these points - quoted exactly - it would be well to focus upon the following words: "can be interpreted", "is symbolic of", "the iconographic statements." What one should understand in view of these points is that there is certainly no explicit statement or statements by the Maya that the Long Count calendar system was established to directly target the 2012 winter solstice. The idea that this is so, is based upon the way in which various monuments and stele (i.e. stone carvings) and artwork, have each been interpreted, combined with various surviving mythological stories passed down from the Maya to the present day, such as indeed are contained in the Popol Vuh for example.
It would be well then to at least give the reader here an example of a particular stele from the Mayan city of Izapa; one that is quite central to the 2012 Galactic Alignment - Long Count association hypothesis: Stele 11 (left). Now indeed, just what exactly does Stele 11 depict?
For a comprehensive explanation by John Major Jenkins himself as to what he believes it depicts, one may consult his book Maya Cosmogenesis 2012. But to briefly summarise, Jenkins notes that the carving has many levels to it.
To begin, the central figure as given holding his arms out is that of First Father, "performing the primal measuring act." Moreover, that the small circular symbol on the nose of the First Father is that of a star (p123). Further to this, Jenkins says that the figure of the First Father is emerging out of the mouth of what is the Jaguar Toad Deity (p.123) that Jenkins states is representative of the Milky Way, with the upturned mouth of the figure being the 'dark rift' pattern of the Milky Way (p.281) - an area that is approximate to the equator of the Milky Way galaxy itself.
Now, according to Jenkins, in Stele 11 the dark rift 'mouth' of the Milky Way signifies a birthplace (p283). Moreover, to the Maya, the dark rift area, called the xibalba be in their own language, is a Road to the Underworld; an underworld portal. Jenkins notes that such portals are often visualised as caves (p284), and, that to the Tzotzil Maya the word for cave means also vagina. Hence, the 'birthplace' connection. Now, according to Jenkins, in Stele 11 the dark rift 'mouth' of the Milky Way signifies a birthplace (p283).
Moreover, to the Maya, the dark rift area, called the xibalba be in their own language, is a Road to the Underworld; an underworld portal. Jenkins notes that such portals are often visualised as caves (p284), and, that to the Tzotzil Maya the word for cave means also vagina. Hence, the 'birthplace' connection.
In addition to the actual interpretation of the stone carving itself, Jenkins also looks at the orientation of the stone. And here he notes that it is one of a group of stele at Izapa that faces the December solstice sunrise (p281).
Taking all of the above points together, Jenkins interprets stele 11 at Izapa such that the First Father with his arms outstretched denotes the end or completion of a cycle, that the star symbol is the sun, and that it is rising in the dark rift of the Milky Way, symbolising a rebirth of the world. And that this is directly to be associated with the end of the Long Count calendar, which under the GMT correlation ends on a December solstice.
Now of course, this is only a brief summary of just one stele at the site of Izapa, and the interpretation that Jenkins gives. For a more in-depth analysis with more stele considered one should of course consult his book Maya Cosmogenesis 2012. But as a general point, the evaluation as given by Jenkins is typical of the rest. And that critically, the interpretation of such stele in the manner described is what constitutes the sole evidence of a link between the Long Count calendar system and the Galactic Alignment pattern as is present in the current era; an 'explicit statement' of the Mayan intention behind the establishment of the Long Count. And this indeed is as explicit as it gets.
1) The ancient Maya knew of precession and had a fairly accurate value of its rate. (For their knowledge of precession one may indeed cite the work of the Mayan scholars Gordon Brotherston and Eva Hunt).
2) The GMT Correlation is correct, as fixes the end of the current round of 13 Baktuns upon 21 December 2012 on the winter solstice.
3) The modern Maya cannot 'internally' account for why their
ancestors established the Long Count, due to a broken tradition. And
thus they are not a 'threat' to the theory in that they are able to
offer a counter explanation for the reason for the creation of the Long
Accepting the evidence as compiled by many researchers over the decades that the above statements are true, the theory by Jenkins that the Long Count was established to deliberately target the noted Galactic Alignment pattern, was thus born out of the study of various ancient (now archaeological) sites of Mayan settlements; most notably Izapa. Including mythological stories such as contained within the Popol Vuh.
The Long Count Calendar System may well have absolutely NOTHING to do with the celestial pattern of an Earth - Solstice Sun - Milky Way Equator conjunction, as found to be manifest in this current age circa 2012 AD.
If one were able to demonstrate that the cycles of the Long Count were tied in to the very real cycles of the celestial bodies of this solar system, and in such a decisive and accurate manner, then this would destroy Jenkins' theory at a stroke.
Proceed to Part 7:
References*John Major Jenkins' Website Article: