Posted by: Johan Normark | June 12, 2012

2012: It began with Columbus

2012 expert John Hoopes talks about the origins of the 2012-phenomenon and Mayanism in general. Misconceptions regarding the Maya and other Amerindian people goes back to none other than Columbus himself. Hoopes has written an article about this as well and I will cover it during the fall.



  1. By the way, just read that some people believe that the mayans sacrificed dinosaurs at bonampak:

    “Maya paintings at Mexico’s Bonampak shows the Indians carrying a dinosaur head that they are getting ready to sacrifice along with some human heads to their gods.”

    Smaskens 🙂

  2. Yes, I saw that on Arkeologiforum as well. Stuff like this is unintenionally hilarious and that is always the fun to read. I had many laughs when I read it.

  3. It’s unfortunate that Hoopes didn’t state the simple basic fact that period-endings (like 2012) were understood by the ancient Maya to require deity sacrifice for the successful facilitation of transformation & renewal. And that Sven Gronemeyer said, at the Palenque Round Table conference in November 2011, that the Monument 6 text from Tortuguero indicates a “transition to a new era” on the period-ending date in 2012. And that Maya scholars echoed my own interpretations of “transformation” and “renewal” in 2012 (as a valid way that Maya conceived of period-endings) in the Cambridge IAU volume published in July 2011.

    • The topic of what Hoopes is talking about is the history of what he terms Mayanism so Tortuguero plays a significant little part in that story.

      I did not hear Gronemeyer but since he does not believe the Long Count restarts at 13 Baktun (you seem to have selectively missed that part of his and Barb’s article) I doubt that he means the same thing you do. Transformation, transition and renewal did occur at all baktun endings (and katun endings). That actually happens quite often in daily ritual practice even today. Noncorporeal persons are being tethered to objects for communication. Ritual is used to produce an effect no matter if it is a contemporary milpero or an ancient ajaw. In that light the Tortuguero monument is nothing extraordinary. It only is from a contemporary New Age discourse.

  4. Johan, your comments about Tortuguero are not informed by the statements in Gronemeyer and MacLeod’s Wayeb no. 34. piece (2010). And, as I stated above, Gronemeyer’s statement that in 2012 AD is a “transition to a new era” came NOT from the Wayeb piece (August 2010) but from the Palenque Round Table conference in November 2011). The point you are evading is that Maya scholars have lately come to echo my own many-years repeated interpretation that the ancient Maya thought of 2012 as a renewal, a “cosmogenesis” — that is, World Age transition that requires deity sacrifice for its fulfillment.

    Regarding “Mayanism” and Hoopes, his definition of that term is of his own construct, is self-referentially defined only on Wikipedia, and it contradicts previous usages of the term by scholars like Dr. Victor Montejo and others. Also, Hoopes’s essentially negative use of “Mayanism” is contrary to similar terms such as “Hinduism” or “Jainism” which are used to define — proactively — the underlying universal core of a tradition. In my 2009 book The 2012 Story, I critiqued and exposed Hoopes’s strategy of creating a conceptual “concentration camp” for ideas that he finds distasteful — even when those ideas are congruent with Maya belief!!! In the clip, I did not see Hoopes address the huge conceptual problems that exist in his idiosyncratic “Mayanism” category. His abuse of Wikipedia is not unlike Jim Smith’s abuse of Wikipedia, which resulted in the Wiki moderators deleting them because they violated Wikipedia standards of use.

  5. My comments are informed by that very article…

    And I did notice that you took the “transition” statement from the conference. I said that you may have emphasize different things than he did/does. Have you asked him if you have understood him correctly?

    Indeed, Mayanism is a new word used to define a large corpus of pseudoscientific ideas regarding the Maya. That is usually how new concepts emerge. You are just annoyed that you fall under that category.

  6. Did you see the TV show “Wife Swap” in Swedish TV recently? In one episod the show included a survivalist family who prepared for the 2012 doomsday. In one scene the woman who were swapped into the survalist family called in a Maya schoolar to try to get the family to realise that their ideas about a doomsday had nothing to do with the real maya:

    • No, I do not watch that. Who is the scholar?


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