There are several distortions and fabrications of Classic Maya cosmology. One of them is proposed by Carl Johan Calleman. In this Youtube clip he argues that the cataclysmic interpretations of the 2012 date are wrong and that we should go back to the ancient Maya sources. However, he is not practicing what he is preaching. He has created his own personal cosmology with little connection to the ancient Maya.
The only Classic period monument that mentions 188.8.131.52.0 4 Ajaw 3 K’ank’in (December 21, 2012) is Monument 6 at Tortuguero. However, this is not the primary date on the monument. It is a calendar round date that equals 184.108.40.206.18 in the Long Count (AD 669) and relates to the dedication (EL?-le-NAAH-ji-ja) of the building that probably contained the panel. Anyway, the final part of the inscription says that:
Tzuhtz-(a)j-oom u(y)-uxlajuun pik, (ta) Chan Ajaw ux(-te’) Uniiw.
Uht-oom ?, Y-em(al)?? Bolon Yookte’ K’uh ta ?.
This translates as:
The Thirteenth “Bak’tun” will be finished, (on) Four Ajaw, the Third of Uniiw (K’ank’in), ? will occur, (It will be) the descent(??) of the Nine Support? God(s) to the ?.”
It is Bolon Yookte’ K’uh (Nine Support? God(s) ) that has been the target for various interpretations. These are some of the more recent ones by the Mayanists David Stuart and Christian Prager. In 2006 David Stuart wrote that “the enigmatic deity Bolon Yookte’ K’uh has been known for some time from many sources, and I suspect that he (or they) has some tangential relationship to the Principal Bird Deity, as well as war associations. Interestingly, he is a protagonist in the deep time mythology of Palenque, as recorded on Palenaue’s [sic] Temple XIV tablet.”
In response Christian Prager writes that “the deity Bolon Yokte K’u is shown here to have had a consistent association with underworld, conflict, and war from the beginning of the Classic period into Colonial times. Bolon Yokte K’u provides not only an insight into the Maya conceptions of conflict but is also helpful to see how the conceptions were implemented by the elite. The […] deity is a recurrent theme in Classic period inscriptions, Postclassic codices and the Books of Chilam Balam from the Colonial period…. Several monuments can be shown to depict elite persons dressed up as Bolon Yokte K’u. The identification of Bolon Yokte K’u on the “Vase of the Seven Gods” (K2796) underscores its importance as one of the gods that were present during the creation of the present world.”
Later on Stuart wonders “if Bolon Yookte’ K’uh can be seen as a […] gouping [sic] of nine deities, even if these get to be collapsed as a more individual entity (a very mesoamerican concept of divinity, we know). certainly the impersonation of Bolon Yookte’ K’uh by rulers, as on that Bonampak-area panel or stela, implies a more concrete individual.”
So, what does Calleman say about this? He says that nine gods will descend but these gods are in fact time periods as well. Indeed, some deities are associated with time periods. To my knowledge, however, these god(s) are not associated with time periods (I could be wrong but that is not a major issue here). Calleman argues that they are nine evolutionary wave movements that come to an end in 2012 (see my earlier post on these time periods and how they fail to correspond to the phases Calleman claims they correspond to). These gods/time periods he sees as nine underworlds. There are also corresponding thirteen heavens ruled by thirteen gods (oxlahun-ti-ku). However, as Nielsen and Reunert recently have shown, these are not multilayered heavens and underworlds as once thought. This is a creation by postcontact writers. Thus, Calleman’s whole hierarchical schema is based on Colonial period writers, not on Classic period beliefs.
Calleman has a desire to predict future events from the Maya calendar. In the Youtube clip he says that there is a greater plan that suggests a complete makeover of the world. This new world will be completely different with peace, equality, and a sense of belonging to the spiritual universe. Abstract values such as money will disappear. Wishful thinking… It does not really fit Prager’s interpretation of Bolon Yokte K’u which is believed to” have had a consistent association with underworld, conflict, and war”. I do not see any indication of peace and equality. The whole idea of equality is a modern concept and I doubt the Classic period rulers and scribes had any democratization in mind. This is one of the reasons why the cataclysmic people think these gods (or god) will cause havoc and death.
Number nine is usually associated with the underworld in Maya cosmology. Calleman focuses on some pyramids with nine levels (few pyramids actually had nine levels). He chooses Temple I at Tikal as an example of his distorted personal cosmology. He claims that these pyramid levels also are nine levels of evolution! First of all, the Maya had no knowledge of the idea of evolution. Second of all, Calleman’s use of evolution is completely teleological and essentialist. Everything is predefined according to a cosmic plan that comes to a fulfillment in 2012. That is not exactly evolution since evolution is change and becoming. I have no idea how he equated the nine pyramid levels with nine levels of evolution but it for sure has nothing to do with what the Maya believed. In any case, these underworld levels are: cellular, mammalian, familial, tribal, regional, national, planetary, galactic, and universal. Indeed, the Maya had no knowledge about what a “mammal” was, that is an entirely biological term based in Linnaean categorization. Tribal? Galactic? Well, they knew about the Milky Way but they for sure did not have an idea of galaxies.
As a logic of his own made up metaphysical system he claims that each underworld level was subdivided into 13 heavens. These are all associated with Aztec/Nahua names of gods. This is yet another example of the common mixing of various cosmologies into one great stew of nonsense. For some reason Calleman claims that the thirteen heavens of the Maya are the seven days and six nights of the Biblical creation story (7+6=13)! This is a typical new age strategy of combining various beliefs from completely different sources and suggesting that they have the same origin. The seven day cycle we call a week has nothing to do with the ancient Maya.
Following Calleman’s predetermined schema we learn that each of his made up time period have a purpose of bringing a particular change around. Time periods that are “nights” brings depression and those that are “days” brings prosperity. This is used by Calleman to make three predictions about the economy in the “Galactic Underworld” (the phase we all live in now). As expected they are not that accurate and they are not very surprising if you have some knowledge of historical processes. Calleman claims that the recent global financial collapse began in November 19, 2007 (this was the beginning of the rule of Tezcatlipoca, “the [Aztec…] lord of darkness”). This occurred when the fifth night began. However, Calleman makes the mistake of mentioning that the economists say the collapse began in December 2007. If you claim a collapse begin on a specific day, and you miss it with at least two weeks you have failed to make a prediction. He further predicts that the Western world dominance will end with this crisis. It is not a major surprise that China and India will become or already are major powers in the world’s politics and economy. However, the “world system” with the US and the EU in the center will be quite important beyond 2012. There is no actual date when the “Western” dominance end.
Calleman further predicts that the look for abstract values (“money”) will end and apparently this will occur in Night 6 which begins in November 7, 2009. Calleman says that paper money will lose its value. Just to be on the safe side he says that this is at least a possibility…). By adding “possibility” he can always explain the failed prediction with something else. He says that our control of the events happening in the world is not as great as we once thought. Who has ever thought so except for religions who have attempted to find ways to control a world in constant flux with a predefined model? Calleman is no exception. New age spirituality seeks to unfold a complex divine order through distortions of ancient beliefs and modern science. It can only muddle people’s minds.