According to some, the world is about to end. Since I like to be prepared, I’m getting ready for this apocalypse. I’ve even put up my end of the world clock because I don’t want to miss the apocalypse when it happens. That’s right, according to my end of the world clock, there are only 33 more shopping days until the world ends. Better take advantage of those black Friday sales to load up on gas masks and bulk food, because you won’t survive if you don’t. If you think it is going to be a zombie apocalypse, you should probably load up on ammo too. In order to get ready for the end, I’ve exhumed an old blog post I did about Mayan prophecies and ghosts. I hope you enjoy it.
Many books, blogs, and papers have been written about the Mayan prophecies regarding 2012 and the end of the world. Many believe that, according to the Mayan prophecies, the world will end on December 21, 2012. This is special fun for me since this is the day before my birthday. It is also the solstice. I love Mayan history and have been lucky enough to travel to some old Mayan ruins and talk to some Mayan people about their history and mythology. Since today marks the beginning of the end, I thought it would be an excellent time to revisit my trip to Chichen Itza. During this trip, our amazing guide spoke to us about the 2012 prophecies and about the ghosts that haunt these awe inspiring ruins.
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.
What is most interesting about the ghosts that are said to wander these old ruins is that it is not the great pyramids that are haunted. The places where the sacrifices went on and where the stone was stained with blood remain quiet. It is the old observatory that is said to be haunted by the specters of old priests and Mayan men. Many tourists and guides have described seeing specters wandering this site. The Mayans were brilliant astronomers and were able to compute the circumference of the earth long before Europeans. They mapped the stars and predicted astrological events so perfectly that we can still count on their astrological predictions to come true. The observatory was in many ways the most important place to them as their religion was deeply connected to the movement of the stars. It therefore seems appropriate that it is this place that the ghosts cling too. The ghosts of the sacrificed have gone to the embrace of the gods, but those that searched for knowledge in the light of the stars are still lingering, searching for answers in the night sky.