2012 and the Ancient Mayans

Compiled by Marilyn O'Day

Dresden Codex

For the last several years there has been a lot of interest in the date December 21, 2012.  This date is claimed to mark the end of a period of time found in the Mayan Calendar, called the Great Cycle.  This Mayan era is believed by some to have started in August 11 (or 12), 3112 BC, and to last about 5125 years, meaning that its end occurs on December 21, 2012.  Some New Age writers in the 80's  noticed that the end date of the Mayan cycle was coming soon and speculated that it would be the time of a "harmonic convergence," ushering in a new age of enhanced spiritual development.  Other writers predicted that this date would bring about the end of the world. Still others say the interest in this date is a lot of hoopla put forward by popular researchers to sell their books.

Regardless of the conclusions one draws about this question, there is no doubt that the interest in this date draws attention to many other fascinating topics, including the spiritual beliefs of the Mayans and other Amerindians, the commonality of beliefs held by the Mayans and peoples such as the Hindus, living in vastly different times and locations, and the effect of cycles, large and small, on the life of earth's inhabitants.

The following articles explore these and other subjects.


These two articles discuss:

What started the interest in the 2012 date and its correlation to the Mayan calendar?

Did this date really have meaning for the ancient Mayans?  For that matter, does the date have meaning for the modern Mayans?

What do some archeologists say about the end of the Mayan Great Cycle? Is this cycle really 5125 years long or is that up for interpretation?

The Maya Great Cycle and 2012  by Marilyn O'Day
What's Behind 2012? by Sally Dougherty


This series of articles by Blair Moffett describes the history and beliefs of the Mayans, where they came from, and why the cycles of the sun and planets had a spiritual significance for them. It also discusses how the Mayans obtained such advanced astronomical knowledge.

Theosophy of Ancient America (parts 1 and 2)
One Foot in the Fifth World (part 3)
To Make Men Divine (part 4)
Ciphers and Civilizations


Popol Vuh

These articles provide background information on the Popol Vuh, or the "Council Book" of the Quiche Mayas, in which is described the creation myths and history of the ancient Mayans.

The Mayan Popol Vuh by Eloise Hart
Esotericism of the Popol Vuh by Raphael Girard (full text online)
Ancient American Theosophy: A Review of "The Esotericism of the Popol Vuh" by Blair Moffett



Articles on cycles and the effects they have on man and evolution

Cyclic Impression and Return by William Q. Judge
Cycles: An Introduction by Lydia Ross
Inherent Rhythms of Life by Scott Osterhage
Racial Cycles and Yugas by G. de Purucker

Other Amerindian Cultures

The American Indian cultures in North and South America share many common beliefs about man's spiritual nature, death, and evolution. They believe that religion is not something separate from life, but a way of living in itself. They believe in the divine nature of man and that we should strive to find our divine center.
Aztec Calendar Stone by Louis R. Arana
Death and the Tree of Life by Blair A. Moffett
I, the Great Mystery by Blair A. Moffett
Wisdom Teachings of the Hopi by Eloise Hart

Esoteric Astrology

The cosmos is a living organism composed throughout of beings in all various stages of spiritual growth and development. Thus the bright pinpoints of light in the night sky are the visible aspects of conscious celestial entities which we might call gods. For billions of years these star-gods give of their energies to support us lesser beings, and in death offer their very substance to build future generations of evolving entities, including humans, making us all quite literally "children of the stars." (A. Rooke, in Kaboom! Gifts from the Stars)
Forces, Energies, and Consciousness by G. de Purucker
KABOOM! Gifts from the Stars by Andrew Rooke

General Books on Mayan Studies

Coe, Michael D. Breaking the Maya Code. London: Thames and Hudson Ltd, 1999. 

-------, and Mark Van Stone. Reading the Maya Glyphs. London: Thames and Hudson Ltd, 2001.

Morley, Sylvanus Griswold. An Introduction to the Study of the Maya Hieroglyphs. New York: Dover Publications, 1975.

Popol Vuh, The Sacred Book of the Ancient Quiche Maya. Translated into English by Delia Goetz and Sylvanus G. Morley, from the translation by Andian Recinos. Norman Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1950.

Schele, Linda, and David Freidel. A Forest of Kings: The Untold Story of the Ancient Mayas. New York: Morrow, 1990.

-------, and Peter Matthews. The Code of Kings: The Language of Seven Sacred Maya Temples and Tombs. New York, Simon and Schuster, 1998.

Stephens, John L. with illustrations by Frederick Catherwood. Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan, Vol. I & II. New York: Dover Publications, Inc, 1969.

Thompson, J. Eric S. The Rise and Fall of Maya Civilization. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1954.


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