Summary: Sean Hannity show interview on Fox News, exchange with reporter from French magazine, letter from concerned mother and her 10-year old son
1. Fox News, the Sean Hannity interview
I was surprised when the producer for the Sean Hannity program on Fox news contacted me for an interview for a segment on 2012 they were planning. I immediately agreed. A car picked me up and I went to the Fox studios in Denver. It seemed to go well, and the show aired the second week in August:
As you can see, they utilized several key ideas that I always insist upon, including the evidence that the Maya thought about cycle endings as times of transformation and renewal, and my observation that professional scholars have largely failed to address this evidence rationally. Their other "expert", Robert Gleason, is a fiction writer who co-wrote and edited a novel called Apocalypse 2012, based on the ideas and scketches of the late Gary Jennings. This book, as with most fictional treatments of 2012, conflates the Aztecs and Toltecs with the Maya, who alone developed and used the Long Count calendar. Interestingly, the Dark Rift in the Milky Way is a key theme in the book, which must have been derived from my work, since the key to my original reconstruction is the utilization of the dark rift as the reference point for the solstice sun's alignment in era-2012. The solar alignment with the dark rift was not, however, treated in the novel. Gleason's selection as a 2012 expert is curious. Here again, as with Whitley Strieber and Steve Alten, I'm surprised that fiction writers are called upon as 2012 experts. But then again I'm also surprised that certain professional Maya scholars are called upon, who end up just commenting on the sociological phenomenon of 2012 rather than addressing the evidence within Maya traditions. This is because most scholars are late-comers to the topic, and are unfamiliar with the various disciplines required to understand 2012, which include astronomy, epigraphy, iconography, and Maya mythology. So, although my critics may also question my own status as a 2012 expert because I don't have letters behind my name, I claim that status because of the depth and scope of my self-directed study in Mesoamerican traditions going back, continuously, to the mid-1980s. In contrast, people who work hard for several years to get degrees often then give up the ghost and shun reading for the rest of their lives.
Ironically, although Fox is known for being slanted toward a right-wing conservative agenda, they have now conveyed the 2012 information pretty accurately twice. In March of 2008 I was interviewed in Hollywood in front of the Montalban Theatre during a 2012 conference; the piece appeared that evening: http://youtube.com/watch?v=0AK-eXlygv4. They at least had the "renewal" idea on the docket.
The Sean Hannity segment will air again in November when the 2012 movie comes out.
2. An exchange with a French magazine reporter:
From: David LAROUSSERIE
Sent: Aug 28, 2009 2:17 AM
Subject: Information request
Dear John Major Jenkins,
I am a french journalist working in a scientific magazine called Sciences et Avenir (about 250 000 ex. monthly). I am writing an article on the so called topic "2012". Of course I have found rapidly your name and website. I would have a lot of questions but we have many parts in the article (which goal is to answer questions like the "earth magnetic field", "solar activity", "asteroïd"...) and just one is on the maya calendar (and an another one on "alignment"). Then I have tried to select a few precise questions to understand your position in this area. I hope that this is not to long.
Just to be clear on your position : Did you ever make bad forecast for 2012 ? (I mean "bad" for humanity or earth) As far I know you prefer to speak about "renewal perpective". Is it right ? What could it be ? You seems to disagree with position which describe "2012" as Apocalypse and "end of time". Is it right ? According to you, why such prediction take place ?
And about the famous "alignment". What is the duration of the maya long cycle (according to their calendar) ?
Is it right to say that you find that this duration is linked to an astronomical event ?
So the "hard" question is : what is this alignment ?!? Of course I have seen your web page on this. But I have question : - If we speak about galactic equator and ecliptic plane, the time period of the phenomenon is around 26000 years. But this is far from the 5000 years of the maya calendar. Then I do not the link between both. - A lot of peope says taht the galactic equator could not be known by the Maya. How do you answer to this point ? - The maya do not also on the precession, which is the basis of the alignment. Do you agree ? - the duration of the phenomenon is 18 years. It's very long for a precise forecast ; even for a precise event. Is it a problem ?
I am also trying to find the "sources" of this 2012 date. You are often quote but also José Argüelles. According to you, who is important to quote in this story ?
Finally, the other point is the origin of the maya cycle. Why is there no agreement on this point ? How many origin do you know ?
I hope that you will find time to answer.
Thank you for your interest. I'll do my best to answer your questions. First, I don't make forecasts or predictions for 2012. I am not a prognosticator. I have sought to reconstruct the original teachings of the Maya. In terms of the authentic "prophecy", I have identified within the Maya Creation Myth (the Popol Vuh) that at the end of a cycle (for example, 2012), the arch-deity Seven Macaw appears to rule and ruin the world. He is a vain, deceptive, and self-serving ruler who seeks to keep humanity stuck in limitation. He is the archetype of self-serving Egoism. From this vantage point, it does seem that the Maya "prophecy" for 2012 has come to pass, for our modern world - its rulers and its corporations - are motivated by selfish gain and self interest.
Second, I dismiss the apocalypse people because there is zero evidence that the Maya thought about 2012 as an apocalypse. Interestingly, and feel free to emphasize this, our own culture projects its obsession with apocalypse and doomsday onto 2012 - EVEN THOUGH THERE IS NO SUCH CONCEPT in Maya thought. There's a story for you. I advocate that 2012 is about transformation and renewal because that is how the ancient Maya and the modern Maya think about cycle endings. 2012 is the end of a 13-baktun cycle (5,125 years) in the Long Count calendar.
Third, I have identified the astronomy of era-2012, called the "galactic alignment", and have shown how this alignment is a key feature of the Maya ballgame and is encoded into the Maya Creation Mythology. The galactic alignment is caused by the 26,000-year cycle called the precession of the equinoxes. The alignment is defined as: the alignment of the December solstice sun with the dark rift in the Milky Way. The dark rift in the Milky Way is visible to the naked eye, is caused by interstellar dust, and lies along the galaxy's midplane. It runs from the galactic center's nuclear bulge in Sagittarius-Scorpio northward along the Milky Way to Cygnus. For the Maya, it was called The Black Road or the "Xibalba be" (the road to the underworld). The position of the December solstice sun, shifting with precession, aligns with the dark rift in the years around 2012. In terms of scientific measurement, I have adopted European astronomer Jean Meeus's calculation and therefore advocate an "alignment zone" from 1980 to 2016 AD. Based on my research, published in the 1990s in my various books and articles (e.g., Maya Cosmogenesis 2012, Inner Traditions, 1998), it is clear that the Maya intended their December 21, 2012 cycle-ending date to reference this rare astronomical alignment.
The galactic equator is a scientific term, and is useful in a scientific definition of the galactic aignment. Critics such as Anthony Aveni confuse this scientific term with the corresponding feature that the Maya were looking at --- the dark rift. The dark rift and the galactic equator both run along the midplane of the galaxy. One (the galactic equator) is abstract and intangible and the other (the dark rift) is visible to the naked eye and has great meaning in Maya traditions. I have responded to the fallacious critique that the ancient Maya could not have been aware of the galactic equator in online forums and in my forthcoming book The 2012 Story: The Myths, Fallacies, and Truth Behind the Most Intriguing Date in History (Tarcher Books, October, 2009).
It's not a problem that the galactic alignment should be spoken of as occurring within a range or "zone". The Maya utilized the solstice date (December 21) in their calculation, and they needed to choose a year. They were, essentially, making a forward precessional calculation some 2,100 years ago. It is unrealistic to expect them to have gotten their calculation precisely acurate. And yes, for the Maya, this wasn't simply about astronomy and science. They attached a religious and spiritual implication to the alignment, and to 2012 --- in their Creation Mythology it was about transformation and renewal, the demise of Seven Macaw (ego, selfish consciousness) and the rebirth of One Hunahpu (whole consciousness).
The origin of the 2012 date comes form the academic reconstruction of the correlation of the Maya calendar with our Gregorian calendar. The breakthrough was made by Joseph T. Goodman in his 1905 paper called "Maya Dates." His work was fine-tuned by Juan Martinez and J. Eric S. Thompson in the 1920s. The 13-baktun cycle ending was not noted by scholars until Michael Coe's 1966 book, The Maya. The date is not a New Age construct, although inventive writers like Jose Arguelles, Carl Calleman, and Gregg Braden have invented misleading new systems they have done little real research into the tradition. Not surprisingly, a large amount of the New Age, popular, and doomsday writings on 2012 are very misleading and underinformed.
In addition, professional Maya scholars are resisting the new breakthroughs in understanding evidence suggesting that the ancient Maya thought about 2012 in a specific way. New decipherments of the important 2012 date from Monument 6 at the Classic Period site of Tortuguero (7th-century AD) are revealing important insights. These new breakthroughs are discussed in my book, The 2012 Story. Much of that real work is drowned out by all the popular and New Age misconceptions. It has fallen to independent researchers such as myself (John Major Jenkins) and Geoff Stray (his book is Beyond 2012) to reconstruct the lost 2012 cosmology. Recently, a Maya scholar named Michael Grofe has offered breakthroughs on how the Maya calculated precession. So, there is a lot of interesting information to report --- you just need to refrain from giving attention to the New Age nonsense.
The origin of the Maya cycle. There is no agreement among the underinformed popular writers who need to do more homework. Among those who study the calendar traditions, the origin of the Long Count occurred within the Izapan/Isthmian civilization in the pre-Classic Period. Maya scholar Michael Coe said that Izapa was clearly involved in the formulation and adoption of the Long Count. (The Long Count is the calendar system that gives us the 2012 date.) Izapa is the site that I have studied for answers on the origins and meaning of the 2012 cosmology - see links at http://Alignment2012.com.
David, please inform me when your piece is published and please send me a copy (digital email is okay). Best wishes,
John Major Jenkins
3. An exchange with a 10-year old:
From: Kimberly N***
Sent: Aug 6, 2009 9:46 AM
Subject: 10 year old son worried about 2012
I have a very bright 10 year old son who used to like to watch Discover Channel and similar channels. He has seen documentaries of the 2012 end-of-the-world prophecies and is becoming increasingly worried and upset. He is now having trouble sleeping and staying up late at nights crying about how he doesn't want to live until 2012.
What can I tell my son, or what information can I give him, that would be re-assuring for a child this age? He is very bright, but still only 10 years old. This is starting to really negatively impact his daily life and his ability to get to sleep at night. Can you help me?
It's been unfortunate and frustrating that the message I have been delivering about 2012, which is simply what the Maya believed about it, has been distorted in the mainstream media, including programs like Discovery Channel and History Channel. The fact is that the Maya did NOT predict doomsday or catastrophe or apocalypse in 2012. Their tradition, on the contrary, has a belief that cycle endings are about transformation and renewal. The media, however, loves to sell fear and images of destruction --- mainly because our own culture is so obsessed with violence, fear, and war. This is really the difference between a beautiful vision of renewal versus perverse and inaccurate Hollywood marketing. So, maybe you can explain to your son that movies and even documentaries have twisted the original Maya message, and they do that to entertain --- much like a horror movie. You can also explain that the Maya's 2012 tradition is not about catastrophe. I hope this helps. Best wishes,
From: Kimberly N***
Sent: Aug 6, 2009 9:57 PM
To: John Major Jenkins
Subject: Re: 10 year old son worried about 2012
Hi John this is Richie I have a question: why is the day of renual on the day of darkness?
Richie the ten year old son
Cycles are part of nature, and there's nothing to fear about them. The return of light always begins at the darkest point. Did you know that the December solstice is the day of the longest night? But then the light begins to increase. The year gets renewed. That's always how cycles work - increase and decrease. That's what the Maya believed about 2012. It's just like the light returning, a renewal. Hollywood didn't do their homework! They prefer to make entertaining scary films, but now we know better. Best wishes,
John Major Jenkins