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The Great Mayan Civilization Mystery

By James Donahue

One of the great mysteries of modern times is the Dresden Codex, one of the few surviving books from the ancient Mayan civilization that existed in Central and South America.

This book, decoded by a German scholar in 1880, opened a door to discovery of the brilliant minds of the Mayans. The Codex is filled with numeric equations based upon the movement of the planets, the sun and the stars. The book and other encoded inscriptions on buildings and surviving stone monuments found mostly in the ruins of the Yucatan Peninsula, include a calendar that is so accurate it puts our present system of measuring years to shame.

Unfortunately, the Spanish Conquistadors, led by Hernan Cortes, conquered the Aztec Empire in 1521. Under the name of the Roman Catholic Church, Cortes set about destroying what he considered a pagan civilization. They did not know that the Aztecs were occupying a land that was once the home of a defunct Mayan culture. The Conquistadors raided the buildings and burned books, biographies, musical compositions, histories, genealogies and other Mayan works, thus destroying nearly all trace of this great civilization.

It was significant that the Aztecs were conquered by Cortes. They mistook him to be the god figure Quetzalcoatl. This ancient god was a person described as having fair skin and golden hair. Quetzalcoatl was said to have once taught the people of Central and South America, establishing a culture that flourished for hundreds of years. When he left, Quetzalcoatl promised to someday return.

A few of the most precious books of the Mayans survived the pillage. They were probably skillfully hidden by the natives. Even though the Aztecs were not of the Mayan culture, they knew about the calendar and the movements of the planets.

The surviving documents, however, have presented mysteries and a possible end-times prophecy that perplex and even worry us today.

The Mayans were master mathematicians who tinkered with calendars that depicted cycles of the planets. They took a special interest in the movements of the planets Mars and Venus, and knew the cycles of the Sun. They believed that the Earth would reach some kind of synchronization with the universe by Dec. 22, 2012. Some believe that the Mayan prophecy found within the calendar suggests that the current Age of Materialism will end on this date.

Since the Winter Solstice occurs at this time each year, when the Earth is tipped to its extreme axis, some people wonder if the Mayans did not foresee a polar shift that would cause a major apocalyptic event, destroying civilization as we know it.

Of further interest is the mysterious Mayan magic number 1,366,560. Authors Adrian Gilbert and Maurice Cotterell in their book The Mayan Prophecies, note that this magic number can be factored to harmonize the cycles of both Venus and Mars in two "yearly" cycles also used by the Maya. They called them the sacred tzolkin, which consisted of 260 days, and the Haab, which measured 365 days.

Gilbert and Cotterell note that the Mayans also used another complex system of counting days related to a starting date they called the Birth of Venus. That date was set at Aug. 13, 3114 BC. This calendar was divided into uinals of 20 days, tuns of 360 days and longer periods of 7,200 days known as the katun, and 144,000 days called the baktun.

Scholars are disturbed by the fact that the Mayan calendar stops at the conclusion of the thirteenth baktun, measuring from the Birth of Venus. And, of course, that dates points to December 22, 2012.

Are we rushing headlong toward the end of the world, human extinction, or the end of civilization as we know it? Or is this date simply the end of the last baktun calculated for the Mayan calendar carved on that controversial stone?

With our world in growing turmoil, many believe the last days may, indeed, be upon us. What is scary is that Christian fundamentalists, who look for a return of Jesus in what they call the “end times,” actually wish for this to be true.

If we are gods, and creators of our own universe, we humans have the ability to collectively make the future whatever we wish it to be. It is through voluntary submission to strange religious belief systems that we have allowed ourselves to become marching like trained foot-solders toward an unnecessary destruction.

There is a strange parallel with the Christian myth in that the Mayans and Aztecs recognized a white god figure called Quetzalcoatl and were looking for his return. Also of peculiar significance is that the Mayans developed a complex mathematical calendar that dated to a Birth of Venus.

We know that the Planet Venus is much older than 3114 BC. So what is the significance of that date? And is there a link to Quetzalcoatl?

The name Lucifer is an ancient name for the morning star, or Venus.

All of this raises more questions than it provides answers to the riddle of these ancient people? Where did they come from and how did they acquire such intricate wisdom about the stars, mathematics and time? Was Quetzalcoatl an alien who came among the primitive humanoids, manipulating their genetic structure and giving them this information?

We can speculate on all of these things. Sadly, without the vast library of knowledge that was destroyed by Cortes in the name of the church, we may never know the answers to these questions.