Sunday, January 1, 2012
The Ghosts of Chichen Itza and The 2012 Apocalypse
Chichen Itza is one of the most monumental of a series of Mayan ruins in the Yucatan area. My fascination with the Mayan culture began with my trip to Chichen Itza. We were lead through the sprawling ruins of the fallen city by an amazingly knowledgeable Mayan guide that explained to us that Mayan history came in phases and that the ruins were in layers depending on their period of origin. There were the Olmec, Toltec, and Classical Mayan phases, none of which were surviving when the first Europeans set foot on the shores of the New World.
One of the most fascinating things our guide explained to us about the Mayans had to do with the 2012 prophecy. At the time we travelled, the 2012 prophecy was far less well known. Our guide told us that the Mayan calender was cyclical and that the Mayan's believed that the world was born and died many times. He talked about the last apocalypse. He said that it was an apocalypse of water and that the earth was covered in a great flood. He said that when that age, the age of water, was brought to an end by the flood a new age was born, an age of fire. We are now in the age of fire. In 2012 our age of fire will end in fire and an age of ether will be born. The end of the world will also be the beginning of a new world. This is interesting to me because so much is said of the end of the world in 2012 and so few people discuss the possibility of a rebirth. The Mayans viewed death as a rebirth and ends as a new beginning. So, if their calender ends and something does happen in December it seems probable it may be something wonderful. The end to the bad things and the world of fire that has come before and the birth of a new age could be something very positive.
The history of Chichen Itza itself is bathed in blood. The Mayan's were deeply religious and believed that it was a great honor to die for the gods. In the Popul Vuh, the Mayan Bible, the Mayan's lay out their faith in sometimes tedious details. Their faith was deep and long and they were willing to die for it. In fact, some of the best athletes that competed in the famous ball courts were sacrificed. The Mayan's didn't fear death and see sacrifice with dread and horror. They saw death as a passage to the next world. Chichen Itza was the site of mass sacra fices. Chichen Itza may have also died in violence. Some archaeological evidence shows that in 1221 a great civil war may have contributed to the disappearance of Mayan Culture in the great cities at the time. By the time the Europeans saw Chichen Itza, it was already a ghost city.