One of the main figures in the 2012 circus is John Major Jenkins. He is the one who launched the idea that the Long Count basically is a countdown to December 21, 2012 when the winter solstice sun (the First Father) will rise in the galactic center (the First Mother) and initiate the beginning of a new Long Count cycle and plenty of other changes as well. This was encoded in stone at the highland site of Izapa more than two thousand years according to Jenkins. I will not go into details about his galactic alignment theory but I will mainly focus on a couple of passages in his article in the edited volume The Mystery of 2012: Predictions, Prophecies, and Possibilities.
In his article, “The origins of the 2012 revelation”, Jenkins shows that he still is a child of the late 1980s and early 1990s. This is the time when the works of Linda Schele, David Freidel, Barbara and Dennis Tedlock and others began to view Maya cosmology as largely based on celestial phenomena and entities. Not only the sun, moon, and Venus were important now but also various constellations, the celestial pole, zenith, but above all – the Milky Way. In the mid 1990s Maya cosmology was largely believed to be that of the heavens and this is the time when Jenkins launched his ideas about three different cosmological centers (polar, zenith, and galactic).
Since then epigraphers have become aware that much of the supposedly astronomical data associated with various calendar inscriptions were more of wishful thinking. Apart from the Lunar Series and the fact that the sun always is present in the calendar since it also is the name of the shortest time unit (k’in-day), there are few astronomical data that correlates with recorded dates (if we follow the GMT correlation that is). Venus plays little to no role in Classic period inscriptions. There is, in fact, no single hieroglyph for the Milky Way and Jenkins idea of five Long Counts equaling the precession cycle of roughly 26,000 years is basically a mixture of Postclassic Aztec cosmology with the Late Formative Izapan cosmology. Jenkins believes that the Izapans formulated the true astronomical based cosmology that the Classic period Maya corrupted when they became decadent (p 39). Apparently, he has no problem in projecting even later non-Maya sources (the Postclassic Aztec Five Sun mythology) on those earlier Izapans. Even worse is that he on p 41 also includes the five elements from Greek/”Indo-European” cosmology in his own version of Maya cosmology.
Did the Maya have a “profound astronomy-based cosmology” (p 40) as Jenkins claims? In epigraphic and iconographic studies during the past decades it has become increasingly apparent that caves played a crucial role. This is further evidenced by archaeological data. Caves are frequently found within settlements, sometimes included and covered by architectural features. Caves were the centers of Maya cosmology, not various astronomical constellations. In the Maya geocentric world the heaven also played a role but it was secondary to the Earth and the cave. A substantial and important portion of the creation in Popol Vuh takes place in the Underworld. Ballcourts were these places, sometimes sunken into the plazas where they are located. For Jenkins ballcourts represent celestial cavities, the dark rift of the Milky Way, etc. There is little substance to these ideas nowadays. The Maya focused their ritual and ceremonial attention downward not upward.
In short: Jenkins galactic alignment theory, popular in the 2012 movement, is simply an artifact of research that had its best-before date more than a decade ago. If I compare his book Maya Cosmogenesis 2012 (1998) with the article above the main change is that he has begun to include much more non-Maya stuff and more esoteric mysticism in his text in order to make his old discoveries more relevant for contemporary New Agers. Jenkins often expresses a disappointment with academia that has not accepted his ideas. This article will not help him getting accepted.