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Interview With John Major Jenkins on 2012

by Edie Weinstein

John Major Jenkins provides a raft of reason in cacophonous sea of miscon-ceptions and terror tactics about a date that awaits three years in the future. His scholarly approach helps to quell the hype that has had people abuzz over the past decade or so and offers clear and concise explanations for what 2012 is truly about, based on fact and not fear.

Wisdom: What is the significance of the year 2012?

John: 2012 is end of a cycle in the Maya Long Count calendar. When I speak about things like "meaning" or "significance" I am sharing, based on my years of study and research of Maya traditions, what the ancient Maya had in mind. So, for the ancient Maya the cycle ending can be understood on two interrelated levels. First, it is the culmination of an astronomical alignment. Second, it is a time of maximized opportunity for human beings to either reject positive transformation and renewal, or embrace and facilitate transformation and renewal. What "will happen" was not a predetermined thing for the Maya. It depends on free will choice.

Wisdom: Please talk about the Maya tradition in connection with those 4 numbers that either bring terror or a sense of possibility.

John: Those four numbers, 2012, have come to mean doomsday and catastrophe to the modern mind, because it has been the bludgeon in an endless barrage of apocalyptic imagery. But 2012, for the Maya, is about transformation. To the person (and culture) fixated to the limited ego-self, transformation appears to be a catastrophic end to the sovereignty of ego. To the person or culture that is willing to change, to grow, to awaken to a greater consciousness and to take responsibility for creating and nurturing that change, transformation is welcomed.

Wisdom: Is this based on theory or fact?

John: Is it possible to reconstruct what the ancient Maya believed? My work has focused on studying the early site of Izapa, and there we find the origins of the Long Count-2012 calendar as well as the Maya Creation Mythology. Readers will have to judge for themselves whether my work means anything to them, but judgment should not be passed until understanding is achieved. There are many miscon-ceptions about 2012 in the marketplace. Although there are now hundreds of books purporting to be about 2012, very very few of them are concerned with understanding what the creators of the 2012 calendar believed. We can, upon study, uncover facts and truths. In the process we also expose misconceptions. My books are intended to guide readers through the same process of uncovering the truth that I myself went through over 25 years of study. The process was not limited to book learning, but involved a deepening understanding of spiritual truths that are found not only in Maya religion, but in all religions. This area is referred to as the Perennial Philosophy.

Wisdom: Most people use the phrase that indicates that this is the ‘end of the Mayan calendar’...is that accurate?

John: No. The Maya calendar does not "end" in 2012. The Maya did not predict "the end of the world" in 2012. These are marketplace misconceptions that sound good as advertising sound bites for those who are peddling doomsday.

Wisdom: How did the Maya measure time?

John: Maya calendars were expressions of natural rhythms and cycle that Maya observed in nature.

Wisdom: What do you intend for your book to do in terms of offering insight into the auspicious date?

John: My work has always been about clarity and discernment. My books, twelve on the topic since 1989, are intended to explicate the profound insights of the ancient Maya. My recent book, The 2012 Story, provides a guided tour of the entire career of the 2012 calendar, from its inception to its demise and its reconstruction by intrepid explorers and scholars working with the barest surviving fragments. And I also survey the various theories and books on the topic that have grown wildly since the 1970s. I discuss what professional Maya scholars think about 2012, what modern Maya leaders think, what the media has done with the topic, and what popular writers and New Age proponents have done. I show how the ancient Maya vision of what would be occurring as 2012 approaches is actually coming true on the world stage. It’s about as thorough as any book can be on such a labyrinthine topic. And, in addition, the book begins with poetry and ends with poetry. Website: http://the2012story.com.

Wisdom: Why all the negative buzz about it and along with it, doomsday scenarios?

John: I can only surmise that the negativity arises from collective laziness and fear of opening to the mystery of unknown, latent, untapped greater potential. Many people will be happy to undertake this profound awakening, but it seems the media thinks it must serve as a cautionary valve, to keep people safely and securely limited to familiar terrain. It’s the same thing that the news media often does, following the old journalistic motto: if it bleeds, it leads.

Wisdom: The movie that (at the time of this interview) is coming out about 2012 is filled with apocalyptic imagery. Is it harmless Hollywood hype or do you see it doing damage? The 21st century version of War of the Worlds?

John: I have now spoken at two press junkets for the film, one happened on the red carpet at the Hollywood premier on November 3rd. I have seen the movie twice. On one level, the movie simply uses 2012 as a backdrop for a monstrously ambitious doomsday flick. There are other elements in the story that emphasize human cooperation and working together in times of crisis. But it’s unfortunately true that the movie reinforces the false idea that the Maya predicted the end of the world in 2012. Undiscern-ing or vulnerable people, for example children, can be adversely affected by the imagery and become distraught. I have received dozens of emails from parents who are concerned and I try to explain the truth. It’s kind of sad that one has to explain that Hollywood is not exactly a good source for accurate, factual information.

Wisdom: What can those who are conscious of the implications do in order to co-create positive world change, a ‘cosmic do-over’?

John: This is the profound work of spiritual awakening. In my book, The 2012 Story, I devote Part 2 to explaining how the Maya Creation Myth itself provides the insights and the methods. It has to do with placing ego back into right relationship with the divine self (unity consciousness) by sacrificing attachments to the illusions of limited ego consciousness. That’s about as concise and clear I can be on answering this question without launching into the material I cover in my books and CDs.

Wisdom: How did you become interested in the concept?

John: In 1986 I first traveled to Central America. I was 22 years old, had saved up money working a night shift job for a year, and was able to explore Maya sites and Maya towns for over three months. I returned home to Chicago with nothing but my shirt on my back and 12 cents in my pocket after spending a week in jail — but that’s another story. That first trip opened my eyes to a vast world, and within a year I was back. By 1989 I was writing about my travels and the Maya calendar, and by the early 1990s I was researching unresolved question relating to 2012. My 1998 book, Maya Cosmo-genesis 2012, offered a full reconstruction of why the Maya picked December 21, 2012 to end a great cycle in their calendar. It involves both astronomical science and spiritual teachings, what some call astrotheology. Understanding these profound teachings is an ever-deepening process.

Wisdom: What prepared you for it?

John: My meditation practice as a young man allowed me, I believe, to focus on getting to the bottom of the questions I was asking about the Maya calendar. Intent, will, and a humble attitude of openness to perceiving the thing-in-itself were all keys to not getting stuck in this or that by-way along the path.

Wisdom: Please speak about the Galactic alignment.

John: The galactic alignment is the alignment of the December solstice sun with the dark rift in the Milky Way. It is a fact of astronomy, and happens in an alignment "zone" in the years around 2012. It occurs only once every 26,000 years, and is caused by an earth wobble called the precession of the equinoxes. In my work I have shown how this galactic alignment was embedded in Maya traditions, including king-making rites, the Creation Myth, and the sacred ballgame. It is especially evident at the early Maya site of Izapa. (see pages at http://Alignment2012.com)

Wisdom: What are some of the spiritual components of Maya culture?

John: Interrelationship between different domains of nature, including the invisible supernatural realms. The Maya believe in the principle of "as above, so below." Celestial and terrestrial cycles are interrelated, and human cycles are also intricately interwoven with these. It is a holistic view of reality. Also, the Maya believe that ego must be in correct relationship to the divine eternal center, or Self. I am describing these things in the terms of the Perennial Philosophy, to emphasize how Maya spirituality shares, in its essence, the same wisdom found in other spiritual traditions around the globe. But the ego-Self dynamic is clearly expressed in the Maya Popol Vuh Mythology, in the relationship between the deities named Seven Macaw (self-serving egoism) and One Hunahpu (unity consciousness, divine consciousness of whole Self).

Wisdom: There is a conference coming up in January in Cancun called The Prophet’s Experience 2012 Tipping Point. What will occur there?

John: This is a conference with many writers on Maya related themes. I will be presenting new discoveries in Maya inscriptions, from the sites of Tortuguero and Copan. A journey among the temple sites occurs after the conference. I’m not sure why it is called the tipping point; I think several writers apply notions of modern chaos dynamics and fractal math to history and have utilized 2012 as some kind of 100th Monkey point. These things, to me, are a bit distractive regarding the authentic Maya information on 2012, and are often not very congruent with what the ancient Maya believed. But it just may be my biased assumption that 2012 should be understood through the lens of Maya teachings.

Wisdom: What was the film you were in that spoke of 2012? It had a positive spin on 2012 and others were interviewed in it as well.

John: This was called 2012: Science or Superstition? It is the best documentary currently available by a long shot. Most of the prime time documentaries completely flail the doomsday thing. Aren’t people sick of this by now? I’d think so, but the bean counters at the History Channel apparently don’t get it. There is still plenty of room for good documentaries on 2012, which explore Maya teachings and information. I have been trying for 12 years to have Izapa featured in one of these documentaries. NBC’s forthcoming 2012: Startling New Secrets is supposed to feature my findings at Izapa and a previously undocumented carved boulder in the mountains north of the site. It premiered on November 8.

Wisdom: How does the concept of the Age of Aquarius fit in with this paradigm?

John: It would be misleading to say that the concepts for 2012 and the dawning of the Age of Aquarius are comparable. The Maya tradition has enough to say about 2012 from the vantage of its own profound teachings that to confuse it with Western astrological ideas would be counterproductive to celebrating Maya insights on their own terms.

Wisdom: You speak of natural cycles in life and in time, can you please elaborate?

John: All cycles in nature have two phases — increase and decrease. In the realm of humanity’s journey over many thousands of years, this cyclic rhythm manifests in alternating periods of remembering and forgetting. There are still points at the two transition points between maximized remembering (being fully awake) and maximized forgotten (being asleep to ones divine eternal nature). As I’ve mapped out the 26,000-year cycle of the precession of the equinoxes, 2012 represents a still-point at which human beings can access an eternal wisdom. It is the transition point between maximized darkness and increasing light. But we choose to open our eyes, our hearts, and our minds. The sun will surely rise, but we must choose to wake up.

Wisdom: Is there anything else you would like to share?

John: My research stretches over some 25 years. I have been devoted to reconstructing and giving voice to lost and forgotten aspects of ancient Maya cosmology. This was done out of my love for the Maya people, and all that I have received from my experiences living and working among the Maya.

Wisdom: Please tell us about your other books and your websites.

John: My 3-CD audio program, Unlocking the Secrets of 2012, explores the spiritual dimension of awakening as described in the still-point analogy given above. My recent book, The 2012 Story: The Myths, Fallacies and Truth Behind the Most Intriguing Date in History, is now available and tells the entire story of 2012. My other books are available at bookstores or at my website: http://Alignment2012.com.

Edie Weinstein is a Renaissance Woman; free-lance journalist, author, speaker, interfaith minister and social worker. Her website is www.liveinjoy.org   

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