Many people will be introduced to the existence of the Maya and their calendar through the attention generated by the 2012 date. You may be one of them. In fact, I hope you are, because this article is written for you. How can we even begin to understand the Mayan calendar and its 2012 date? What is it? What was it intended to represent? What did the ancient Maya believe would happen as 2012 draws close?
The loudest barkers in Carnival 2012, are likely to be the first ones heard. There’s the Pleiadian faction, there’s the crop circle theorists, there’s the alien invasion crowd, there’s the doomsday tribe, there’s the ascension light workers. People like many choices on the menu, right? Sure, but what about the real ding an sich, the thing-in-itself?
A person chooses from two ways, because free will is honoured. One can go the way of Seven Macaw, the vain ego-driven ruler who appears at the end of the cycle, or one can go the way of One Hunahpu, who sacrifices his false self and is reborn whole.
The galactic alignment is the key to understanding why the ancient Maya believed 2012 (or, to be more accurate, ‘the years around 2012’) would be so transformational.
Recognising that the sun itself is one-half of a degree wide, we arrive at a reasonable ‘alignment zone’ that stretches from 1980 to 2016. This is the ‘alignment zone’ of the galactic alignment.
The galactic alignment is often described as an alignment to the galactic centre, which it is, generally speaking. The Milky Way was the Great Mother, the galactic centre was her womb, and the dark rift was her birth canal. The December solstice sun was also very important, energetically, because that day signals the turnabout in the year, when increasing night shifts to increasing light. After the December solstice, the light begins to return as days grow longer. When THAT sun, the December solstice sun, shifts into alignment with the dark rift ‘birth canal’ of the Milky Way, the Maya believed the world would be reborn. It constituted a good location to place the end of a World Age, 220.127.116.11.0 in their calendar, and the beginning of the next Age. The cycle ending is ultimately about renewal.
The galactic alignment, so defined, happens only once every 26,000 years. This is the big news, why we should be astounded at what the ancient Maya achieved.
Progress in understanding the brilliance of the ancient Maya’s achievement is hindered by stereotypes and clichés propagated by an exploitative media, as recent Hollywood movies illustrate. They play into fear and deep-set biases, and newcomers should be on alert for attitudes and books that disrespect the authentic Mayan calendar tradition, the one that makes December 21, 2012 equal to 4 Ahau, 18.104.22.168.0.
Perhaps we should pay more attention to what the ancient Maya teachings actually say, rather than injecting modern assumptions and distortions into the 2012 discussion. There is no better place for accessing this Mayan wisdom than the Creation Mythology, otherwise known as the Popol Vuh or Hero Twin myth.
And here it is in a nutshell: