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What the Ancient Maya Actually Tell Us About the End of the World
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What the Ancient Maya Actually Tell Us About the End of the World

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  • 1. The Aztec Stone of Axayacatl, a. k. a. Sun Stone, or “Calendar Stone.”
  • 2. The Aztec Stone of Axayacatl, a. k. a. Sun Stone, or “Calendar Stone.” Original colors. Dated (at top) 13-Reed (“13 Acatl”) = 1479 AD.
  • 3. Translation: “Do not use after 21 DEC 2O12. Please dispose of properly.”
  • 4. Rain and Cenotes are the only sources of water in Yucatan
  • 5. What Could Happen on Dec. 21, 2012? Main fears: • “End of the Maya Calendar” …If not the END, at least a Major Change… • ”Return of Quetzalcoatl” • “Polar Reversal” • ”Galactic Alignment”——> • Famine, war, pollution, etc.
  • 6. What Could Happen on Dec. 21, 2012? Astronomical Events: • Transit of Venus: 6 June 2012 • Solar Maximum: Late 2011 or 2012 > • Winter Solstice • “Galactic Alignment” …Earth-Sun-Galactic Equator Photo: NOAA
  • 7. What Could Happen on Dec. 21, 2012? Astronomical Events: • Transit of Venus: 6 June 2012 • Solar Maximum: Late 2011 or 2012 > • Winter Solstice • “Galactic Alignment” …Earth-Sun-Galactic Equator Photo: NOAA
  • 8. What Could Happen on Dec. 21, 2012? Actual Maya Texts: • Long Count date is 13.0.0.0.0. At beginning of our Creation, (5125 yrs, 133 days earlier) the date was the same. • TRT Mon. 6: Bolon Yokte’ gets dressed. • Chilam Balam: The “Quetzal”, Ah Kantenal, K’uk’ulkan (Quetzalcoatl), and “Blood-Vomit” come every 256 years.
  • 9. Tortuguero Mon. 6 Late 7th century AD < 4 Ajaw 3 K’ank’in (21st Dec., 2012)
  • 10. What Could Happen on Dec. 21, 2012? Actual Maya Texts: • Long Count date is 13.0.0.0.0. At beginning of our Creation, (5125 yrs, 133 days earlier) the date was the same. • TRT Mon. 6: Bolon Yokte’ gets dressed. • Chilam Balam: The “Quetzal”, Ah Kantenal, K’uk’ulkan (Quetzalcoatl), and “Blood-Vomit” come every 256 years.
  • 11. “End of 13 Bak’tuns” (13.0.0.0.0) On 4-Ajaw, in 3114 BC Creation (left) Chilam Balam of Chumayel prophecy & in 2012 (right) For K’atun 4 Ajaw (score of years) “End” = red/purple, 13 = blue, Ending in 1500, 1756, and 2012. “Bak’tun” = green
  • 12. 5 Reasons Why We Should Doubt the “Maya Prophecies”: Not much data Contradictory Manipulated (no scriptures) Scholars disagree Maya never corrected errors
  • 13. 4 More Reasons Why We Should Doubt the “Maya Prophecies”: No mention of destruction Life & calendar continue to 4772 AD Solstices not significant Only 1% penetration
  • 14. Palenque Temple of Inscriptions: West Panel (final third of text)
  • 15. Mesoamerican Linguistic & Cultural Diversity - 1
  • 16. Mesoamerican Linguistic & Cultural Diversity - 2
  • 17. Mesoamerican Linguistic & Cultural Diversity - 3
  • 18. Mesoamerican Linguistic & Cultural Diversity - 4
  • 19. Mesoamerican Linguistic & Cultural Diversity - 5
  • 20. Mesoamerican Linguistic & Cultural Diversity - 6
  • 21. The Precolumbian World Tree: Metaphor with a Thousand Faces Ajaw/King = Ceiba Tree = Maize = a Celt = a Stela = Milky Way Galaxy Snake = Sky = Ecliptic Mesoamerican World trees communicate to heaven, give birth, or support the corners of the cosmos.
  • 22. Young, “pregnamt” ceiba Mature ceiba (Mayan yax che = “green tree” …note branches aimed at caradinal points)
  • 23. The Precolumbian World Tree: Metaphor with a Thousand Faces Ajaw/King = Ceiba Tree << = Maize . = a Celt = a Stela = Milky Way Galaxy Snake = Sky = Ecliptic Mesoamerican World trees communicate to heaven, give birth, or support the corners of the cosmos.
  • 24. The Precolumbian World Tree: Metaphor with a Thousand Faces Ajaw/King = Ceiba Tree = Maize = a Celt >> = a Stela = Milky Way Galaxy Snake = Sky = Ecliptic Mesoamerican World trees communicate to heaven, give birth, or support the corners of the cosmos.
  • 25. The Precolumbian World Tree: Metaphor with a Thousand Faces Ajaw/King = Ceiba Tree = Maize = a Celt = a Stela >> = Milky Way Galaxy Snake = Sky = Ecliptic Mesoamerican World trees communicate to heaven, give birth, or support the corners of the cosmos.
  • 26. Tikál: two views of Stela 39, above Stela 31, left.
  • 27. Codex-Style Vase: Itzam-Ye, the Celestial Bird
  • 28. Typical Mesoamerican “Pregnant” Ceiba trees [Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena] Incensarios
  • 29. Right, above: Izapa St. 25. Left: San Bartolo Murals, West wall. Both ca. 100 - 50 BCE. Drawings: (R) Linda Schele, (L) Heather Hurst
  • 30. A World Tree connects the Underworld with Heaven and the Earth. A Maya ruler’s most important function was connecting his people to the gods. Innumerable Maya monuments portray a ruler performing this ceremony.
  • 31. The serpent can be “living,”or fleshless. Usually, the vision was God K, or K’awiil (blue). Typical Maya Vision-Serpent-bars: Copan St. H , Bonampak Lintel 6 Typical interpretation: Maya king is Milky Way/World Tree; Vision-Serpent-bar is ecliptic. Drawings by Linda
  • 32. Copan Stelae A and B, 8th Century AD. The king in ceremonial pose as a World Tree, holding a Serpent-bar across his chest.
  • 33. Copan Stela A, Sun god vision, ca. 731 All photographs of Copan Stelae by Linda Schele; hand-tinting by MV
  • 34. Copan Stela N, two diff- erent vision gods Next slide: Copan Stela P, Padd- ler Gods
  • 35. Left: Copan Stela H, Vision: K’awiil Right: San Fran- cisco Stela, Vision: K’awiil
  • 36. Night Sky: Milky Way & Ecliptic photo from www.artideas.com/Why2012
  • 37. The “Dark Rift” in the Milky Way, taken from False Kiva, Arizona Photograoh by Wally Pacholka
  • 38. Naranjo Stela 12, photo & drawing, at right, & Coba Stela 1 drawing, coming…
  • 39. Naranjo Stela 12, photo & drawing, at right
  • 40. Maya Mythic Symbols are very different from ours. Some meanings associated with the Tree: Mother, Nourisher, Sky-Supporter, Divine Homeland Indicator & National symbol. We must be very, very careful not to project our own values onto Maya myth, propaganda, and art.
  • 41. The Maya Had No Inerrant Scripture. Imagine Adam being the one who first bit the Apple, while Eve refused complicity in his Sin. Or that Jesus fathered children. Or Abraham’s Sacrifice
  • 42. L. Vienna Codex p. 37. ^ R: Dresden Codex p. 69a. > Both Late Postclassic, ca. 1500 CE/AD
  • 43. ‘Dragon-roots’ in Izapa Stela 25 & Dresden Codex p. 69a.
  • 44. Tepantitla Murals, Teotihuacán, Great Goddess Tree, with acolytes. Early Classic, ca. 500 CE. Butterflies are the souls of dead soldiers; Spiders are spinners. This is a Male-Female or Duality Tree.
  • 45. L. Tepantitla Murals, Teotihuacán, Great Goddess Tree, Early Classic, ca. 500 CE. Male-Female tree, like Vienna p. 37. R. San Bartolo, West Wall, Tree of the Center(?), Late Preclassic, ca. 50 BCE. Twinned, twined fruit trees, Bird atop Drawings: (L) Linda Schele, (R) Heather Hurst
  • 46. Photos: National Geographic, Mauricio Alcaraz Carbia. 4 Voladores spin 13 times round the pole. Voladores, Tajin (Veracruz), & Cuetzala (Puebla)
  • 47. West East Borgia Codex p. 52 - South Tree page. R: details of West (top), East, & South Trees.
  • 48. Borgia Codex late Postclassic, ca. 1500 CE, p. 53 - Center Tree page, with Quetzal perched on a Maize stalk, flanked by two gods performing penis-sacrifice. Next slide: Palenque, lid of Sarcophagus of Pakal, ca. 683 AD/CE
  • 49. Tablet of the Cross, Palenque, ca. 702. Bloodletter marked red. The serpent draped through the Cross consists here of a string of large beads.
  • 50. Tablet of the Foliated Cross, Palenque, ca. 702. Bloodletter marked red Celestial Bird green
  • 51. Borgia Codex, Page 50, the (dual) Tree of the North. Ca. 1500 AD/CE
  • 52. Flag of Mexico
  • 53. Teocalli de la Guerra Sagrada, an Aztec temple effigy- throne, 1502-1520. Eagle with Atl-tlachinolli “water & burning fields” = “water & fire,” instead of snake
  • 54. L: Codex Mendoza Above: Date 1-Death, from side of Teocalli de la Guerra Sagrada
  • 55. Ancient Maya painting of a Royal Court scene Rollout photo by Justin Kerr <mavavase.com>
  • 56. Ancient Maya painting of a Royal Court scene Rollout photo by Justin Kerr <mavavase.com>
  • 57. Incensario & Royal mirror-holder(?), Early classic, Waxaktun or Kaminajuyú
  • 58. Ancient Maya painting of a Royal Court scene Rollout photo by Justin Kerr <mavavase.com>
  • 59. Quirigua Stelae E & D, & Stela C, the “Creation Stela”
  • 60. What happened at the last 13.0.0.0.0 Creation gives us a clue as to what was expected at the next one. “The Count of the Years (is) 13 Pik, 0 Winikhaab, 0 Haab, 0 Winik, 0 K’in. (On) 4 Ajaw, on the 8th day of Kumk’u, (the hearth) was manifested, …” —Quirigua Stela C east, dedicated 29 December 775 CE Drawings of Quirigua Monuments by Prof. Matt Looper, Photos on previous slide by Linda Schele
  • 61. I’m gonna show you a little how decipherment works, so you know where we epigraphers are coming from. We use distributed analysis, a technique of comparing parallel texts which has been very productive in understanding Maya hieroglyphic inscriptions. We’ll use the Quirigua Stela C Creation story as an example, because it mirrors the 2012 event: they (apparently) share the same Long Count date 13.0.0.0.0.
  • 62. What happened at the last 13.0.0.0.0 Creation... (1) “They plant a stone, the Jaguar Paddler and the Stingray Paddler, at Nah-Ho-Chan (“Great-5-Sky”); (it is) the Jaguar-Throne-Stone.
  • 63. What happened at the last 13.0.0.0.0 Creation... (1) “They plant a stone, the Jaguar Paddler and the Stingray Paddler, at Nah-Ho-Chan (“Great-5-Sky”); (it is) the Jaguar-Throne-Stone. (2) “He plants a stone, Ek-Nah-Chak-??, at the Big?/Banner?-??- ma; (it is) the Serpent-Throne-Stone.
  • 64. What happened at the last 13.0.0.0.0 Creation... (1) “They plant a stone, the Jaguar Paddler and the Stingray Paddler, at Nah-Ho-Chan (“Great-5-Sky”); (it is) the Jaguar-Throne-Stone. (2) “He plants a stone, Ek-Nah-Chak-??, at the Big?/Banner?-??- ma; (it is) the Serpent-Throne-Stone.
  • 65. What happened at the last 13.0.0.0.0 Creation... (1) “They plant a stone, the Jaguar Paddler and the Stingray Paddler, at Nah-Ho-Chan (“Great-5-Sky”); (it is) the Jaguar-Throne-Stone. (2) “He plants a stone, Ek-Nah-Chak-??, at the Big?/Banner?-??-ma; (it is) the Serpent-Throne-Stone. (3) “And then he tied a stone, Itzamnaaj (God D), (it is) the Water- Throne-Stone.
  • 66. What happened at the last 13.0.0.0.0 Creation... (1) “They plant a stone, the Jaguar Paddler and the Stingray Paddler, at Nah-Ho-Chan (“Great-5-Sky”); (it is) the Jaguar-Throne-Stone. (2) “He plants a stone, Ek-Nah-Chak-??, at the Big?/Banner?-??-ma; (it is) the Serpent-Throne-Stone. (3) “And then he tied a stone, Itzamnaaj (God D), (it is) the Water- Throne-Stone. (4) “It happened at the Edge-of-the-Sky First-3-Stones-Place; Six-Sky-Lord oversaw the ending of the 13 Pik (“bundles” of years).”

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