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2012: Why the Galactic Alignment Is Not It

An Essay by Thomas Razzeto
© Copyright 2011 by Thomas Razzeto

To print this essay, click on this link and then click File, Print. (Adobe Acrobat PDF)



As I explored the puzzle of 2012, I quickly found the work of John Major Jenkins. John's a great guy and I really like some of his work but his idea that the Maya created their Long Count calendar to point to the galactic alignment left me a bit unsatisfied since that event already peaked in 1998. Consider this: From over 2,000 years ago, the Maya hit the exact day of the winter solstice of 2012. How could they hit the exact day they wanted and yet miss the year they wanted? That just did not make any sense to me and this is what motivated me to look closer at the astronomy. But before we get to John's galactic alignment, let's quickly look at the astronomy that will be in the sky over the Maya at high noon on the winter solstice of 2012. At that time, this is what you will “see” when you look up at the sun while standing in Izapa, Mexico, the region that is considered the birthplace of the Long Count calendar:

Izapa at 12:08 PM Dec 21, 2012
The sun will be in the middle of the dark rift, the Maya birth canal, on the winter solstice. The
sacred tree will be above the Maya with the sun virtually exactly between Mars and Venus.


There will be a large cross in the sky, with the sun right on the crossing point! The Maya called this section of the sky “the sacred tree” and the special configuration of the sacred tree that you see here is why the Maya picked this exact day! (You can learn more here: Why the Maya Picked 2012: essay or video. Don't worry about the astronomy being too hard to understand; my clear presentation is easy to follow and the astronomy is very simple.)

On the precise day of the winter solstice of 2012, the sun will be in the middle of the dark rift of the Milky Way. As you can see in the image above, this section of the sky contains a large ball of faint stars near the center of our galaxy. The Maya metaphorically considered this ball to be the pregnant belly of the mother of creation. The dark rift intrudes into this ball and was considered to be the galactic birth canal. From the point of view of earth, the sun goes through this section of the sky once a year and on the one day of the year when the sun is in the middle of the galactic birth canal, it can be said that the sun is being reborn. In the years around 2012, this happens on the same day as the winter solstice. Since the winter solstice is the time when the length of the day starts to grow longer, it was also considered to be a type of solar rebirth. And of course, every day contains a sunrise, which is yet another type of solar rebirth. In this way, December 21, 2012 contains a triple rebirth of the sun. So we see that on the day that the calendar itself will be reborn, the sun will be reborn three times.

The following diagram shows how the orbit of the earth causes the sun to be in the middle of the dark rift once a year:

The earth's orbit causes the galactic rebirth of the sun

The following diagram shows how the motion of the earth causes the apparent motion of the sun across the dark rift:

The earth's orbit causes the sun's apparent motion

In my opinion, one of the most important things about the calendar is that it is paying attention to things that can be seen without a telescope and measured and tracked without computers or advanced scientific instruments. Yes, I think the ancient Maya created this calendar without high technology and they did it because they were telling stories about what everyone could see in the sky with their naked eye. (For more information, you can read my essay, 2012: Did ETs Create the Maya Calendar?)

And yet at high noon, the brightness of the sun will obscure the stars, the Milky Way and the planets; you will only be able to see the sun, not the sacred tree. While this is true, please consider the following. Some parts of the sacred tree will be seen before dawn and other parts will be seen after sunset. In fact, this is like a parade with Venus leading the sun across the sky over the Maya throughout this special day. The sun is the guest of honor and the other planets are paying tribute and witnessing this sacred triple rebirth. This is a spectacular astronomical event that would have most certainly captured the attention of the Maya! Let's take a look at the parade as it unfolds throughout this day.

Before dawn, at a quarter to five in the morning, our parade will begin when Venus rises above the horizon. With a magnitude of approximately negative four - which is extremely bright - it will just blaze in the pitch-black sky! To the Maya, Venus is announcing, “Here comes the sun! Here comes the sun on the day of its triple rebirth!” A little later, Mercury will be visible as it rises above the horizon, following Venus and immediately leading the sun. It is not often that we get to see Mercury because it is always so close to the sun but on this day, unless it is cloudy, we will be able to see Mercury as a part of the sacred tree. Next, at about 6:30 in the morning, the sun will be reborn into our world, bringing us the light and heat we all need to stay alive. This will bring color to our sky and washout the visibility of Mercury and Venus, but even so, the Maya will know that these planets will move across the sky with the sun. Throughout the rest of the day, we will only be able to see the sun yet after the sun sets at a quarter to six, the sky will grow darker and we will be able to easily see Mars, which will bring an end to our glorious parade when it sets at 7:38 PM.

The position of the sun in the middle of the dark rift is something that cannot be directly observed and yet the Maya knew that it would be like this. After centuries of stargazing, they created extremely accurate star maps. They observed the last constellation to be seen before each sunrise and the first constellation to be seen after each sunset. They knew that the sun was in between these two constellations and in this way, the Maya always knew what background stars were behind the sun on any given day. This understanding was made more precise by observing the stars that were made visible during total solar eclipses. Lunar eclipses also helped them understand the position of the sun against the background stars. (More here.)

The astronomy of the triple rebirth of the sun and the general idea of transformation and rebirth are symbolically depicted in the stone carvings and statues in the sacred ceremonial site of Izapa, Mexico. In this way, the ancient Maya proclaimed them to be supremely important. This is why I bring them to your attention.

Now that we have a fairly good idea of the visible objects and events that I think are at the core of the calendar, let's take a look at the galactic alignment, as described by John Major Jenkins.


The Galactic Alignment of John Major Jenkins

It is very important for me to point out that John Major Jenkins was the first person to link the restart date of the Maya calendar to an astronomical event driven by precession - the very slow wobble of the earth - and he refers to this event as the “galactic alignment.” John presented his ideas in 1995 in his book The Center of Mayan Time. John is well aware of the Maya's metaphor of the dark rift as the birth canal and he clearly sees the sun's presence in the dark rift as a rebirth. But there is something astronomers call the galactic equator that is very near the middle of the dark rift and this is what John focused on, perhaps because its exact location is precisely defined by astronomers.

(Strictly speaking, the dark rift is not even an astronomical object and because of this, astronomers pay little attention to it. It is the result of dust blocking the light traveling to us from the center of the galaxy. This dust is not in our atmosphere; it is scattered throughout deep space between us and the center of the galaxy. This creates the irregularly shaped dark section of the sky and as such, it does not have a precisely defined midline.)

Anyway, here is John's galactic alignment:

The Galactic Alignment of John Major Jenkins

Here is the way I like to explain it. At the moment of the winter solstice of each year, imagine that you take one picture of the sun and mark the position of the galactic equator. If you play all these pictures like a movie, you will “see” the sun move across the galactic equator over this 36-year period. But notice that this collection of pictures is not something that you would actually see unfold in the sky above you. It is an unnatural way of “seeing” since you are only “watching” one moment per year. And what you are missing is the sun sweeping to the left for almost a complete circle throughout the year. So this is an artificially created scenario that has a solid foundation of truth but it can be easily misunderstood as the sun slowly crossing the galactic equator by moving to the right.

At the same time that John was solidifying his galactic alignment thesis, independent professional astronomers verified that the center of the disk of the sun would be almost exactly on the galactic equator at the precise moment of the winter solstice in the year 1998. John noticed that this alignment would occur repeatedly in the years around 1998 with only slight variation from one year to the next. Because of this, John decided to pick a range of 36 years that he centered around 1998 as the intended target of the Long Count calendar and he refers to these years as the “alignment zone” or “era-2012.” During these years, the disk of the sun, as seen from earth, will be touching the galactic equator at the moment of the winter solstice.

I respect John as a person, as a researcher and as a scholar. While his work linking the astronomy to the calendar was groundbreaking, I do not find this zone approach to be very satisfying. With so much precision being demonstrated by the creators of the calendar, I seriously doubted that they missed their intended target by 14 years, even though that is still a very small error. I felt there must be something special about the exact day of the winter solstice of 2012 as seen from the specific location of the Maya. This is why I went further with my own original research and thinking and I came to the conclusion that both the triple rebirth of the sun and the unique configuration of the sacred tree flying through the sky over the Maya on that special day was the target of the calendar.

My view focuses on the center of the dark rift, not the galactic equator, although again, these two things are very close to each other. But more importantly, my view focuses on what will happen on that one day, not what will happen over a long period of time.

Please consider the fact that naked-eye skywatchers cannot detect the exact moment of the winter solstice and no one can ever look up into the sky and see the galactic equator for it is as invisible as the equator of the earth. Both equators are precisely located by scientists yet both are just imaginary reference lines. It is important to note that the Maya could look up into the sky at certain times and actually see the dark rift with their naked eye and this makes the astronomy useful for their metaphorical folklore. I think this is an essential point in understanding 2012.

The idea that the Maya restart their calendar because of the combination of the triple rebirth of the sun and the unique configuration of the sacred tree is to the best of my knowledge, original with me. While other people are aware of the solar rebirths and the sacred tree in general, to my knowledge no one has connected them to 2012 like I have. I want to be very clear. John was the first person to show that the calendar is related to the astronomy via precession and all his astronomy is factually correct. He is not wrong in any way; he is just emphasizing a different aspect of the astronomy than I am. My focus is much tighter in time and visual rather than abstract. His approach leads to the years around 1998; my approach leads to the exact day of the winter solstice of 2012.

While this concludes the material for this particular subject, I would like to leave you with a few thoughts about what I believe is at the core of the Maya's timeless metaphor of transformation and rebirth.


You Are Eternal Like the Sun

I think that the Maya personified the sun because you are like the sun. From our perspective on earth, the sun is born when it rises and it dies when it sets. But from a perspective out in space, we see that the sun is never born and it never dies; it is essentially eternal. Similarly, from the perspective of our ordinary reality, it appears as if we are born and then later, we die. Is there a different perspective, a larger framework, that reveals that our true self, our fundamental unconstructed self, is indeed also without birth or death? Are we also eternal? At birth, you get an apparent identity. When you re-identify with your true self - your pure, unchanging, eternal awareness - you are reborn in the most profound way.

I think that the Maya used a timeless metaphor on purpose to help you understand that you, too, exist beyond the boundaries of time itself. You exist as pure awareness, and time, space, energy and matter are all created within you. This re-identification as pure awareness is the deepest and most fundamental rebirth that the Maya are talking about.

While many people have heard that the world is an illusion, few people have heard someone say that they themselves are also an illusion. As I say in my book, Mystical 2012:

Yes, it seems like you are a separate, mortal, sentient being but you are not a being of any kind; you are sentience itself! This is the formless divine essence! This is what the gnostics focus on when they say, “Know yourself and you shall know God!

Many of us have heard it said, “You are not a human being having a spiritual experience, you are a spiritual being having a human experience.” Of course it is wise not to put the cart before the horse but perhaps you now see why I say that you are neither the cart nor the horse! You are the awareness that holds both the human being and the spiritual being! Your eternal nature is looking out of your eyes right now, shining forever, just like the sun!

Well, that concludes essay. I hope that you found it thought provoking! If you find my comments intriguing, perhaps you will enjoy my book, Mystical 2012: Did the Maya Shamans Discover a Mystical View of Reality? You can buy it at Amazon.com or read more of my free essays. If you like my material, please spread the word! I would rather have many people enjoy my work for free than just a few who decide to purchase it.

Well, thanks for reading my essay! Have a great day!

The End
Written: May 1, 2011

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If you find these comments intriguing, perhaps you will enjoy my book, Mystical 2012: Did the Maya Shamans Discover a Mystical View of Reality? You can buy the paperback or ebook at Amazon.com. If you like my material, please spread the word! I would rather have many people enjoy my work for free than just a few who decide to purchase it.

You can also read my other 2012 essays at:

Well, thanks for reading my essay! Have a great day!

Thomas Razzeto







If you enjoyed this essay, then you might like some of my other work:

  • Infinitely Mystical, my main website, is here: infinitelymystical.com

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