Posts Tagged ‘Bolon Yokte’

No New News

December 7, 2012

In the past few months I have seen several news flashes about exciting new discoveries from Mexico about the Mayan Calendar.

Since this is something I have had a keen interest in, I quite naturally read the articles. Unfortunately, there was nothing really new about it. I mean, sure, they had uncovered something new but their interpretations were completely un-new.

One article mentioned new interpretations of an older legend, trying again to defuse the 2012 furor. Another was from a meeting of the Mayan Council who announced the end-date was nothing more than a spiritual awakening. Yes, more of the usual stuff in the press.

But one mentioned the finding of a second source of the 2012 prophecy.

Yes, a second source about the ending of the Mayan calendar was found and it created a stir but it merely seemed to corroborate the standard historical model.

The really shocking thing about this announcement to most people was: what? only a second reference? You mean all this fuss about the world coming to an end rests solely on the shoulders of the interpretation of one single historical source?

(Yes, and there are still many historians who think that interpretation is in error. So, all the fuss really does seem much ado about nothing, huh?)

Anyway, this last announcement was made about this time last year. Until then there had only been one inscription about the end of the calendar. (Yes, only ONE. The Tortuguero tablet was found years ago and mentioned something going to happen on that day.)

This new inscription was called “the Comalcalco brick” for the site where it was found. Several scholars said the inscription uses the past tense and it an historical reference, not a prophecy.

The new find was also apparently covered with stucco and, supposedly, never meant to be seen. Of course, that makes it seem like it was not meant to be seen… until now, but that sounds too much like conspiracy theory, doesn’t it?

In case you are unfamiliar with the only Classic Mayan reference to the end date, the Tortuguero tablet describes some action on December 21st, 2012, involving Bolon Yokte, a Mayan god associated with both war and creation.

Damage to the stone tablet, decay, and a crack seem to obscure the end of the message, though some interpret the ending as: “He will descend from the sky.”

Of course, the historians say it is all a tempest in a teapot and the Mayans say there is nothing to worry about.

So we should probably just relax, huh?

Except if the God of War and Creation (implying destruction first) was coming, I would definitely want to take from precautions, wouldn’t you?

My last entry on the Chilam Balam also had something interesting to note about Bolon Yokte.

the Prophecies of the Chilam Balam

December 4, 2012

There has been a lot of interest in this ancient “book of prophecy” on many websites and especially in the books of Carl Calleman.

They were written as reference guides for the local priests to keep the future straightened out for their people. Glimpse what is coming and let everyone sort of know what to expect for the coming year.

Except rather than years, it seems to have been broken down into katuns… periods of almost twenty years. If the idea of twenty year chunks of time are a little difficult to grasp, think of it more along the lines of our own history with these place markers:

President William Henry Harrison • President Zachary Taylor • President Abraham Lincoln • President James Garfield • President William McKinley • President Warren G. Harding • President F. D. Roosevelt • President John Kennedy

You know, all the American Presidents who died in office. Their terms were all twenty years apart and show you the short of time span we are talking about.

Sir J. Eric Thompson summarizes the effects of each of the katuns from the Books of Chilam Balam of Chumayel and Tizimin:

in order, arranged by end date (all periods ended on the day called Ahau)

11 Ahau: Barren is the katun; scanty are its rains . . . misery.
9 Ahau: Drought, famine.
7 Ahau: Carnal sin. Roguish rulers.
5 Ahau: Harsh his face, harsh his tidings.
3 Ahau: Rains of little profit, locusts, fighting.
1 Ahau: The evil katun.
12 Ahau: The katun is good.
10 Ahau: Drought is the charge of the katun.
8 Ahau: There is an end of greed; there is an end to causing vexation . . . much fighting
6 Ahau: Shameless is his speech.
4 Ahau: The Quetzal shall come . . . Kukulcan shall come.
2 Ahau: For half the katun there will be bread; for half the katun there will be water.
13 Ahau: There is no lucky day for us.

So, for the thirteen katuns in sequence, it would seem that they all foretell doom and destruction with the exception of 12 Ahau, at the dead center of the group.

Wow! With such negativity, you really would have expected them to predict the end of the world… and that would be something to look forward to, as a way of ending all their gloom.

As an example of the full text of a katun prophecy, consider the first prophecy for katun 11 Ahau in the Book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel (from Thompson):

Katun 11 Ahau is established at Ichcaanzihoo*. Yax-haal Chac is its face. The heavenly fan, the heavenly bouquet shall descend. The drum and rattle of Ah Bolon-yocte*** shall resound. At that time there shall be the green turkey; at that time there shall be Zulim Chan; at that time there shall be Chakanputun****. They shall find their food among the trees; they shall find their food among the rocks, those who have lost their crops in katun 11 Ahau.

* – at Merida
** – this refers to the Green Rain God, the Lord of this Katun
*** – the regent or priest of the Katun
**** – apparently all these are symbols of times when the people were driven from their homes into the forest (hm, I guess that sort of thing happened a lot to the Mayans… and maybe why they later seemed to desert all their cities)

It is assumed these various chilam balams were still being used when they were written down in the 17th and 18th centuries and that they reflected what the Mayans had been using at an earlier period. What I cannot understand is why their prophetic outlook was so drab, so negative. Didn’t they see anything good coming in the future?

Perhaps we have been misled by historians and the Maya really did predict the end of the world. As a means of escaping this drudgery if nothing else.

But I don’t think so. Even if this paints a rather negative and dreary picture of their world view.

Interestingly enough, most scholars do not think the Chilam Balam books painted a true picture of the Mayan world before the Spanish conquest. They see too many points where the prophecies predict the coming of a new religion in order to give some veracity to the Church’s influence in the area.

Perhaps the reason they reflect such gloom and doom is only to show that Christianity was a better way to go.

So, rather than books of prediction, they were nothing more than religious tracts for the Church but written in language and symbology that the indigenous population could understand.

Therefore, their use in this whole 2012 movement becomes suspect… and a little useless.

End-Time Rebirth

February 19, 2012

Bolon Yokte K’u, is a Mayan god associated with war, conflict, and the Underworld. Despite his shady background, this fellow is also known as a Lord of Creation.

Pictured on a ceramic called Vessel of the Seven Lords, he is detailed among those actively creating the new Sun in the year we call 3114 BC, the beginning of our present 13-Baktun cycle.

I mentioned earlier the recently uncovered text from Tortuguero, a Classic Maya site north of Palenque, which mentions the End-Date of the current Long Count and pictures this fellow, Bolon Yokte acting in his role as Creation Lord.

One can only wonder why this reaper of souls would be hanging around at the time of new creation. Admittedly, the end of one age probably means some sort of upheaval and resulting destruction (especially when the Sun is called the Earthquake Sun) before the New Age is birthed, Phoenix-like from the ashes of the old.

Still, the great Bolon Yokte’s presence usually denotes a time of war, conflict and dominance of the Lords of the Underworld.

Hm, I think many people would say that pretty much sums up the world as we enter into 2012: war, conflict, and dominance by the robber barons… er, I mean the Lords of the Underworld.