Friday, 7 December 2012

The notorious "deluge" scene on the Mayan "Dresden Codex"


There is so much mumbo-jumbo these days over the December 21st, 2012 “doomsday”. Almost everyone has a different doomsday scenario, a different story to tell about what exactly will happen on that “fateful” date - as if s/he was projecting his/her own most intimate fears and phobias upon it (this is exactly the case, as we explained in page 12. There is a psychological urge lurking behind such a behavior). With all this fuss though we have somehow neglected to listen to the voice of the very experts, of the ones that lie at the root of this hype: the Maya! What was THEIR idea on the last day of their prodigious “Long Count” Calendar?

It turns out there are two original Mayan sources somehow "portending" the December 21st, 2012 day! An inscription on the so called “Tortuguero monument” and a Maya book! The “Tortuguero” inscription is largely unreadable. It mentions the 2012 “Completion Date” and it ends with a phrase that the scholars interpret as: “This will be not the end of the world”!

The second source is a booklet that is known as the “Dresden Codex”. This codex is actually one of the few authentic Mayan “books” that have survived. It contains an almanac (for practical and agricultural purposes), an astronomical section with the Venus cycles, Eclipse tables etc. and an astrological (or rather “hemerological”) section with many kinds of prophecies. In the very last page (74) of this booklet there is a full page illustration that apparently portends the events that will occur on the End Date of their current “Long Count” calendar (on December 21st, 2012) (you can see this illustration above).

As exotic as it might appear this scene to you, try to go beyond its folkloristic aspect and treat it as an artifact of a human being thinking the way you do. There is a human being behind this image trying to send you an important message through the symbols s/he has depicted. The artist is actually trying to tell you what will happen on the very last date of the current “Long Count” (5125 years) calendar - a date that actually was utterly remote to him/her but it happens to be excruciating close to us!

Our attention is immediately caught up by the two apparently old (and rather gloomy) human figures and by the appalling huge reptile on the upper part of the illustration. Our immediate response most probably would be: “hey, something bad is portrayed here! No good outcome could come out of such a gloomy image”. Well, this would be our modern perception of this image. Remember that if we want to find the deeper meaning of this illustration we should start seeing things the way the Maya did. And to do so we need to properly decipher the symbols comprised in the illustration.

Let’s start by saying something about the two gloomy elder figures. They actually are the Mayan Moon goddess Ix - Chel (which is usually represented as an elder) and below her a black elder man (with a bird on his head). This elder figure has been identified as the “god L” of the Mayan underworld. You would think now: “Wow! An underworld god present in the image that depicts the very “doomsday”? That’s not a good omen at all!” We will see about that…Let’s do first a remark concerning the two elder figures.

Do you remember that the December 21st, 2012 is the last day of the Mayan “Long Count” calendar? And indeed this calendar is a “long count” if you consider the fact that theoretically it has been around for 5115 years - since 3114 BCE! What kind of representations would you expect to see in a scene symbolically representing the ending of a very long time period? Babies perhaps? Kids? Of course not! Like our modern cartoons which on the New Years Eve depict the departing year as an old man, we should expect to see elder figures in this “End Date”, elder figures denoting the maturation and completion of a cycle!

On the upper part of this illustration there is a strange reptile. It looks like a giant snake or like a crocodile. But even if it were a crocodile it doesn’t seem to have the typical crocodile’s short claws. It rather seems to have hooves, like the deer’s hooves. In fact this is the so called “Starry Deer Crocodile” which to the Maya represents the sky, the celestial energies!

As ominous as it looks this “starry deer crocodile” (or rather caiman) it has a “soft” side. Deers were usually sacrificed during major “transition” periods, like at the end of a Mayan “century” (the 52 years “Calendar Round” period), at the end of a Mayan “millennium” (the “Baktun”, almost 400 years), at the ascension on the throne of a new dynasty etc. So the deer hooves of this starry caiman denote that this is actually a sacrificial victim, a gift to the gods so that they propitiate the relative “transition ceremony”! In major ritual instances the Maya were performing the decapitation of a caiman - which was considered the “totemic counterpart” of the cosmic caiman that was sustaining the earth and the starry sky. Through the decapitation of the caiman they were somehow “breaking the skies” and consequently they were prompting the creation of a new cosmological order!

Thomas Gazis
Copyright: Thomas D. Gazis

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PLEASE NOTE: This is an excerpt from the Thomas Gazis booklet "A plain and essential guide to the December 21st phenomena". You may purchase the full pdf booklet here 

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