Home' Nova National : March 2011 Contents ventured deep into the jungle, a living,
breathing ocean of green. Intoxicated by
the fragrant chandeliers of white, wax-like
flowers hanging from the ceiling of trees, I
was occasionally startled by the scurrying
As 2012 draws nearer, many are feeling uneasy. But respected Mayan leaders are saying
doomsday prophecies are wrong and our future is ours to create. Jo Buchanan offers her insights.
Vines, gnarled and ropey, gripped
a giant yucca like the abandoned
stranglehold of an ancient god.
Every plant dripped moisture.
Careful to sidestep sleeping iguanas, I
of invisible creatures in the undergrowth
or the cacophony of sound from rainbow
coloured birds overhead.
On reaching a cenote covered with
water lilies, I eased my sweating body into
the cool depths, squealing aloud as a shoal
of tiny fish proceeded to nibble my legs.
A couple of teenage monkeys swung
between vines, chattering and laughing.
Look Mum, no hands! This was the heart
The Maya created one of the most
remarkable of ancient cultures, in which
social strata were clearly defined. The
elite devoted themselves to government,
war, religion and trade. Architects
planned temples, pyramids, palaces and
public buildings. The builders of these
structures were considered lower class,
as were artisans and farmers, who grew
10 © NOVA MARCH 2011
mainly corn, beans, squash and yucca.
Painters and sculptors perpetuated
religious and mythological themes as well
as the deeds of the governors. The main
task of the astronomers was to study
the eternally shifting universe and its
The priests were probably the
most important strata of Mayan society,
wielding great influence and directing the
people's participation in the supernatural,
which was governed by a large number of
deities, all of whom demanded continuous
homage and frequent penance.
Hunbatz Men, Mayan elder, ceremonial
leader and respected authority on the
Mayan Calendar, states in his book Secrets
of Mayan Science/Religion, "We live in
an environment surrounded by echoes
and images of the past, which can be
materialised by our mental force. To recall
the past is to awaken".
As I absorbed the raw jungle beauty,
dragonflies buzzing round my head, my
mind travelled back to what Hunbatz
Men had been sharing with our group
earlier in the day about 2012.
"Humanity is waking up," he said. "We
are riding the crest of a very big wave. We
are living on the edge. How we live, what
choices we make, sensitivities we develop
and our love and honour for all life will
see us through."
The previous day, Hunbatz Men and
another Mayan shaman had facilitated an
ancient Mayan planetary healing ritual
deep in the jungle. Afterwards, we were
urged to take back to the Western world,
the message that the world will not come
to an end in 2012. It will not be destroyed.
The Mayans want the message broadcast
that their ancient prophecies have been
misinterpreted and wrongfully portrayed
as doomsday predictions. They want
people to know that most of the 2012
misinformation being spread throughout
the world is not sourced from the Maya
or their calendar. In fact, there is only
one ancient stone monument with
Mayan inscriptions that depicts the end
of the current 13 baktan era in 2012, the
Tortuguero monument erected in 670
AD in Tabasco, Mexico. One third of the
monument is missing, the centre part
is defaced and the section where the
prophecy is recorded has a big crack
through it, making full and accurate
'The Mayans want the message broadcast that their ancient
prophecies have been misinterpreted and wrongfully portrayed as
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