MAYA PERSPECTIVES ON 2012

    The winter solstice of the year 2012 in the northern hemispher
e will mark the culmination of the 13th pik* cycle in the Maya calendar known as the Long Count. Maya used the Long Count calendar during what scholars call the Classic Period of their culture, which lasted from roughly 250-900 CE. The December 21, 2012 date marks the last day of the current pik cycle, a period of 144,000 days (approximately 394 years) as well as the close of a cycle of 13 piks (1,872,000 days or approximately 5,125 years) that began on August 11, 3114 BCE.
    In spite of a general lack of familiarity with Maya culture outside the Maya homeland; several hundred Internet websites in dozens of  languages and a growing corpus of books already focus on the 2012 subject. Until recently, Maya themselves have contributed relatively little to the 2012 phenomenon since only a small number have had prior exposure to the topic. The Long Count calendar that establishes the 2012 date fell into disuse well before the invasion of the Maya world by Spanish conquistadors and knowledge of its rediscovery by Western investigators has reached few of today’s Maya. The purpose of this website is to serve as resource for those seeking information related to this subject that comes exclusively from within the Maya cultural context.
       *Better known as bak'tun. "Pik" is probably the ancient term (pronounced "peek").

The glyphs on the main page of this site come from Monument 6 found at the site of Tortuguero, Tabasco and represent one of only two known references to the 2012 date in the ancient texts. Parts of the text are effaced or unclear and the passage as a whole is unclear. According to David Stuart, the glyphs read:

"Tzuhtz-(a)h-oom u(y)-uxlahuun pik (ta) Chan Ahaw, ux(-te') Uniiw. Uht-oom ? Y-em(al) (?) Bolon Yookte' K'uh ta (?). "

"The thirteenth pik will be finished (on) Four Ahaw, the third of K'ank'in.  ? will occur.  (?) the Nine Foot Tree God(s) to (?)."

"Kan Ajau u bulukts'it k'atun ku xokol. Chich’en Itsa u jets’ k'atun. U lom u kajal Aj Itsao'obi. Julom k'uk', u lom xax um. U lom Aj K'antenal. U lom xe-k'ik'. Ju lom K'uk'ulkan...."  Modern Yukatek orthography adapted from Ralph L. Roys, The Book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel (Norman, U of Oklahoma P, 1967), 58.
"4 Ahaw k'atun is the eleventh k'atun according to the count. Chichen Itza is the seating of the k'atun. The settlement of the Itzas comes. The quetzal comes, the green bird comes. He of the yellow tree comes. Blood-vomit comes. K'uk'ulkan shall come...." Book of  Chilam Balam of Chumayel.

The passage explicitly references the 4 Ahaw k'atun (7,200 day period) in the mid-1700s but most likely refers to the arrival of the historical K'uk'ulkan in 987. However, according to maya cyclical time, the 4 Ahaw k'atun ending on the 2012 winter solstice would likely share similar qualities.

"Rix b’ix kan chiqe ojer kumal qatit, qamam. Jewa: 'Kiwil china ri’ k’isb’al k’ux k’isb’al wasaq. Ri k’isb’al u’wa k’ux. Kiwil china ri kaqa saqil. Ka k’ex taj k’u ri u’ ra ri u wach ulew'.  

Pa jun ch'ab'al k'o pa ri loq'laj wujil Pop Wuj. Pa ri ch'ab'al k'o jun q'et tzij jewa kub'ij. 'Me qayexik rumal ri qatb'al tzij'. Rechi je ka tzijon wa xax ki si qo ojer chi ka k'uji jun qatab'al tzij maj chi taj ri ku b'an k'ax chi kech ri mayib winaq wa qas tzij. Wakamik q'ij konojel taq ri q'atb'al tzij ri k'o pataq. Qa amaq' "América" ma ajchi taj mak'otu rech e loq'laj qa no'jib'al kojonik maya. Wawataq q'atab'al tzij tajin kub'an k'ax che ri qas qa k'aslemal mayib' ri kelawi pa ri qa chomanik wane are konojel taq ri chomanik aj ch'aqapja su kasach u'wach sux powik kanoq. Pataq ri junab' ri jetel uloq ri 2012. 'We ka b'in na ri q'ij we k'ona ri saqir u'wach ulew osu maka sachta ri qa k'aslemal ´jew ri ku b'ij ri ch'ab'al'  rech ri loq'laj wuj Pop Wuj". 
Rigoberto Itzep Chanchavac. ajq'ij k'iche' (2006)

"That which our grandfathers and grandmothers left us from before: You will still see many warnings. You will still see and hear strange things. You will still see great ruin. There will be many changes on Earth.
   In a passage from the sacred book Pop Wuj, in one of the lines it says, 'nor are they condemned by justice.' When it speaks and says this, they are making a prophecy that there was going to be a Western judgment against the Maya; this is a reality. Today the laws of the Americas are foreign to the maya cosmovision. These laws are violating the legitimate rights of the Maya. Another interpretation enters in that the ideological power of the West in its entirety might expire forever in 2012. 'As long as the sun walks, as long as there as light, our existence will never be lost.' Thus says the passage in the sacred Pop Wuj."
Rigoberto Itzep Chanchabac, K'iche' spiritual guide from Momostenango (2006)


"From the perspective of contemporary Maya, 2012 constitutes a very important point in the history of humanity since time is a variable that greatly influences the life of the planet and everything that exists on it. Human beings do not exist by coincidence or by a work of chance. They are part of a plan to carry out a mission in this part of the universe. The world is still not totally finished in its creation and perfection; this human creature has a role to play en the world and its preservation. One could say that the life of the planet depends on human beings and what they do in their existence.” Gaspar Pedro González (2006)

2012 is the central theme in the novel EL TRECE B’AK’TUN that is currently available from Yax Te' Press. The novelist, Gaspar Pedro González publishes from within the maya context and his life experiences that begin in Xibalba alongside the Ajtxum who preserve authentic maya identity. An English translation 13 Baktun: Mayan Visions of 2012 and Beyond will be published soon by North Atlantic Books.

"We have several prophecies concerning the time we are living in, and it is in fulfillment of the Prophecies that we are here today.  I will mention some of them:  
   At the time of the 13 Baktun and 13 Ahau is the time of the return of our Ancestors and the return of the men of wisdom.” That time is now.
    Another one says:  “Arise, everyone, stand up! Not one, nor two groups be left behind the rest”.  This prophecy is in reference to all:  rich or poor, black or white, men or women, indigenous or non indigenous, we all are equal, we all have dignity, we all deserve respect, we all deserve happiness; we all are useful and necessary to the growth of the country and to make a nation where we can live with respect among the different cultures.   
    The Prophecy says:  “Those of the Center, with their mystical bird Quetzal, make unite the Eagle of the North with the Condor of the South; we will meet because we are one, like the fingers of the hand.”  This prophecy means that the Indigenous People of the North and the Indigenous People of the South, through those of the Center, will come together to strengthen the recovery of the ancestral science; recovery of our identity, art, spirituality and Cosmo-vision on life and death that the different Cultures have....
    According to the Maya Long Count Calendar, we are finalizing the 13 Baktun and 13 Ahau, thus approaching the YEAR CERO.  We are at the doorsteps of the ending of another period of the Sun, a period that lasts 5,200 years and ends with several hours of darkness.  After this period of darkness there comes a new period of the Sun; it will be the 6th one.  In each period of the Sun there is an adjustment for the planet and it brings changes in the weather conditions and in social and political life as well.
    The world is transformed and we enter a period of understanding and harmonious coexistence where there is social justice and equality for all.  It is a new way of life.  With a new social order there comes a time of freedom where we can move like the clouds, without limitations, without borders. We will travel like the birds, without the need for passports. We will travel like the rivers, all heading towards the same point…the same objective.  The Mayan prophecies are announcing a time of change.  The Pop Wuj, the book of the Counsel, tells us, “It is time for dawn; let the dawn come, for the task to be finished.” Don Alejandro Cirilo Perez Oxlaj, head of the National Mayan Council of Elders of Guatemala in his address at the inaugural of Guatemalan President Colom on January, 2008.

"Prophetic expressions of the indigenous peoples insist on the protagonist role that new generations must play at the close of this Oxlanh B'aktun (thirteen B'aktun) and the beginning of the new Maya millennium. The ancestors have always said that 'one day our children will speak to the world.' ... This millennial or b'aktunian movement responds to the close of a great prophetic cycle ... the great prophetic cycle of 400 years in the Maya calendar. For the Maya, this is not the close of the second millennium or 2000 years after Christ, but rather the close of the fifth millennium according to the ancient Maya calendar initiated in the mythical year that corresponds to 3114 B.C. (correction of typo in original) ... The b'aktun includes the global concept of time and the regeneration of life with new ideas and actions. In other words, the theoretical b'aktunian approach leads us to understand the effect of human ideas and actions on all that exists on the earth and their effects on the environment and cosmos." Victor Montejo (2005) in Maya Intellectual Renaissance: Identity, Representation and Leadership (Austin: U of Texas P, 2005), 120-122.


"The end of the world is going to arrive in the year 2000 and bit more, but no one know how much a bit is. It might be 30 years or a century, nobody knows when it will be.... The legend used to say that in Chan Santa Cruz there would arrive a time in which four white ropes would cross; these ropes are the highways to Merida, Vallodolid, Cancun and Vigia Chico. These ropes are a sign that time is going to change; or perhaps that time already changed. When times change, a new war is also near.... The war to come will begin far away and will end here, but before it begins there will be several signs." Son of an elder prayermaker in Xcacal Guardia (1994) in Jesús J. Lizama Quijano, "Las señales del fin del mundo: Una aproximación a la tradición profética de los cruzo'ob"  http://www.uady.mx/sitios/mayas/articulos/tradicion.html

“Our Lord Hachakyum will make everything die because of the cold. The grass wishes to die. The seed, the animals all wish to die. And the True People [the Lacandon Maya] also – we all die. In thirty years Hachakyum will destroy the world. Chan K'in Viejo of Naja (1978) in Victor Perera and Robert D. Bruce, The Last Lords of Palenque: The Lacandon Mayas of the Mexican Rain Forest (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1982), 49.

"I guess I'll tell you the story of beautiful holy Lord for you to hear, because I have read the testament of beautiful holy Lord, where he says (that in) 2000 and a few more years it will end on earth. But if they have been very good Christians on earth, he will not end it.... He begins to diminish, beautiful holy Lord, His merciful grace (corn), the end of the road.... It is left, they are just looking one another in the face, no one is going to win the fight, hunger is going to win, truly. It ends, then, the fight like that. Hunger is going to finish it. Amidst that, whoever remembers there is a beautiful holy Lord, he makes a prayer in the cornfield, a harvest ceremony. Thus he makes it for beautiful holy Lord, He throws out blessings, beautiful holy Lord, there is corn in the fields."  Lorenzo Kinil of Chemax (1930) in Paul Sullivan, Contemporary Yucatec Maya Apocalyptic Prophecy: the Ethnographic and Historical Context, diss., John Hopkins U., 1984, 291-95.


“It is an event that has already begun, there are already signs. If humans don’t correct our course in the face of these events we will be off-balance in the moment the event appears, a very strong event in comparison with what we have experienced. Humans more than ever should pay close attention to all the events that disturb balance. They are teachings that we living beings should extract from the stages through which we pass. It’s not that we are arriving at a zero hour in 2012, it’s already beginning. That is, just as in a day we begin at dawn, and as we approach noon the sun beats down harder; just as in the afternoon the forces of the sun start to calm down until experiencing night. In the passing of a day we experience degrees and effects of heat and at the same time we experience the energies that influence our lives. This date is the same way and I dare say that 12 years previous to 2012 we have been experiencing different stages of a sacred effect that can turn harmful if we lose human wisdom and there will be 12 years after in which the effects also will arrive. 2012 is just the high point of the story.” José María Tol Chan, K'iche' daykeeper from Chichicastenango (2006)


"The time of the year Thirteen B'aqtun on our solar calendar of 365 days, a time of great social, political, economic and spiritual changes in our region, America and the entire world ... From the day One Aj, of the yearbearer Eleven Kame ... the 29th of April of 1991 enters the influence of Thirteen B'aqtun of which we are in the first cycle of thirteen, within two cycles when they mark the year 2020 plus 2 all the prophecies of Thirteen B'aqtun will be fulfilled on the yearbearer Eleven Kame. For conscious beings, the children of honey, the sixth sun, they will be marvelous changes of light, but for the heartless unconscious who treated the Heart of Sky and Heart of Earth Nature poorly, it will be a life of justice and cruelty. Right now we are awaiting the time of One B'atz and One Chowen, day of inspiration of the Dawning." Chuchqajaw Kaqchikel Achi Ijatz, Apolinario Chile Pixtún (2005)  Coordinador Titular of the Gran Confederación de Consejos Principales Ajq'ijab' Mayab' de Guatemala.


"One day the English will give us arms and the people will go to war to throw out the Yucatecans. The sign will be when the money disappears from the hands, Mexican money; that will be the end of the year and a little, the end of the world. Who knows if it will be this year or in a thousand years? It will be just past the end of the year." Raimundo Canul (1959) in Nelson A. Reed, The Caste War of Yucatan (Stanford, Stanford UP, 2001), 343-44.

"The monumental cycle called Saqarik* (dawn) or thirteen b'ak'tun, began on this date: 4 Ahaw 8 Kumk'u and it will end on the day 4 Ahaw, the winter solstice of December 21, 2012 (day on which the new Saqarik or new oxlajuj b'ak'tun will begin.)" José Mucía Batz (1996), “Nik”: Filosofía de los números mayas (Chimaltenango, Guatemala: Editorial Rutzijol, 1996), 12.
*Special usage of the traditional K'iche' morning greeting created by Mucía Batz.

"12/21/2012, if we analyze the counting up of the numerals of this date, gives us a Cabalistic number that is 11. Within metaphysics, this number represents the world of the ascended masters. If we look at the Popul Wuh, we can realize that three eras existed: the era of the gods, the era of the heroes and the era of humans where the decline began. But what's going on? What is happening is that within maya prophecies, it makes visible the return to power. The curious thing is that within the awaited time, one also sees the awakending of the maya world in its complexity. One can see that we face the appearance of ascended Maya spirits who will come to raise up the people. The famous passage "May no one be left behind" and also the phrase "We always return from where we came." It means that we face great changes, great powers that never have been seen on the face of the earth." Kaqchikel daykeeper Baldomero Kawoq Cuma (2005)

“Te me’el mamaletik ku’untik ta Chyapae ay lom bayel ya’yejik, ya snopik sok ya sules ta sjolik te binti ya spas te balamilale jich ya smel yo’tanik yu’un te lumlumtike sok te ba nakalik te jme’tik tatike. Bayel ta chajp a’teletik te ma’yuk tsakalik sok muk’ul jtunele ay stsobo sbaik, xchapel sk’opik, ta spukbel sk’oplal te bit’il ayix wokolajel yu’un te ja’ ta Chyapae. Ay staoik ta ilel ta ya’wilal 2025, cheb oxajt’ te balamilal ya xlijk lajuk te ya’alike. Lom bayelix te mach’atik ya staikix ta nopel te ja’nix xch’unejik te binti la yalik te jmam jme’chuntike, te ja’nix lom tulan sk’oplal bit’il lek ya xkuxinotik sok te jme’tik jkaxeltike. Te jk’ulejetik te ja’ lom chopol te bitik ya spasike sok te ja’ ya skuy ta yu’unik sok te ja’ ya spastaik jay tuluk ta k’ulejal yu’un te bitik ay ta balamilale, ja’ smulik te binti lom chopol ya xtal ta balamilale. Ja’into te bitik ya kalbetik sk’oplale tsakaltal ta sk’op ya’yejik te jmam jme’chuntike, te ja’nix aytal ta stojol maba ja’nax te mejikoe ta sp’ejel te balamilale. Jich te sk’op ya’yejik te jmam jme’tike, yakalotikix yilel, yantoxan a te binti ya xk’ot ta pasel ta ya’wilal 2012. ¿Binti ya spas te balamilal teme mala kich’tik ta muk’e? Ya kil yilel te ayuk binti ya stak’ pasel te yu’un jich ya xjel snopojibal sok te yakuk xjul ch’ulelik te jme’tik tatik te ba nakalotike, ta sp’ejel mejiko soknix ta sp’ejel balamilal, ayuk bit’il lek ya xkuxinotik, kich’tik lek ta muk’ te jme’tik jkaxeltike soknix te jkuxineltike”.   La sts’ibu Tsiak Tsa’pat Ts’it (2006)

"Our elders in Chiapas have set-up many discussions analyzing and reflecting upon what is happening in the world and it is worrisome for the people and communities. Different NGOs have had meetings, forums, and information campaigns about the water problems in Chiapas. They have determined that by the 2025, two-thirds of the world population will face problems with water. Many of these analysts base themselves on maya philosophical concepts, mainly that of living harmoniously with the powers of nature. Savage capitalism attacks this concept, privledging power and the wealth of natural resources for the egotistical benefit of a few plunderers and bringing devastating consecuences for the rest of humanity. These considerations are found contained in the ancient maya profecies and are not directed just to Mexico but to the whole world. Thus, we are already living these prophecies, apart from what will occur in 2012. What will happen to humanity if we do not become more aware? From what one sees, something must be done to transfor the mind and consciousness of local, national and worldwide society with the goal of attaining a more just and harmonious way of preserving our planet and our life."  Tzeltal writer Diego Mendez Guzman (2006)

“As the elders said, everything is going to change. The world will be changed by that memorable date. Our children will have a different world view. The time will have passed and other beings will inhabit the universe.” Mam teacher Benito Ramirez Mendoza (2006)


To make corrections, comments or suggestions, please contact Robert Sitler at rsitler@stetson.edu or visit: www.stetson.edu/~rsitler/