Author of the Month

Understanding the Maya's Triple Rebirth Metaphor of 2012 (cont.)
By Thomas Razzeto

Not Doom and Gloom, Not World Peace But a Timeless Metaphor of Rebirth

Stela 6 in Izapa - A shaman in a canoe journeys into the underworld with the help of the 5-MeO-DMT from the Bufo toad. Photo: Garth Norman, Brigham Young University.

My views about 2012 are both simple and very deep. My thesis holds that the Maya did not create the calendar as an alarm for danger or as a time marker for a sudden upward shift in human consciousness. They created it to point to the stunning astronomy of the winter solstice of 2012, which they used as the foundation for their supremely important metaphor of transformation and rebirth. Yet this is a timeless metaphor that was as important to them two thousand years ago as it can be for anyone at anytime. I think that message of 2012 is about the fundamental nature of reality rather than the outer conditions of our world in the time of 2012. It is about a deep truth that is valid at all times, not specific outer conditions that will eventually change.

Before we get off on the wrong foot, I'd like to mention that just because I don't think that the ancient Maya themselves created the calendar to predict world peace at this time does not mean that we can't create a beautiful world right now. Truly we all can do our part in that work. I like to explain it like this.

If I write a poem about enlightenment and spiritual awakening and use the sunrise as a metaphor since that is the event that fills our dark world with light and we are all awakened from our physical slumber, the poem should be taken as a reminder that spiritual awakening is possible in a general sense. It certainly should not be understood to say that we are all going to become enlightened during the next sunrise, although that may happen. If people focus on the event of the sunrise because they think enlightenment will happen because of that event, they will have missed the point of the poem. The same thing is true for the sacred triple rebirth of the sun in 2012. It is a reminder that we can all awaken to a new spiritual level at any moment. Focus on the concept of spiritual rebirth, not the time of the event that was used as the basis of the rebirth metaphor.

By the way, it is helpful to remember that almost all calendars are based on astronomy and that many ancient people passed along their deepest spiritual beliefs by way of metaphors. But what is the core meaning of the Maya's metaphor of transformation and rebirth? What is the real message of 2012?

In order to understand the message of 2012, I think that we need to look at the clues that the Maya left us in Izapa, Mexico, the birthplace of the Long Count calendar. It is in this general region that the oldest stone carvings of Long Count dates were found. In the sacred ceremonial site of Izapa, we find several references to the astronomy of the triple rebirth of the sun and we also find the key to understanding the message of 2012: we find the Bufo toad. This toad provided the chemicals that allowed the ancient shamans to have profound psychedelic experiences. Stone statues of this toad were used as altars in this sacred site, which emphasized that it was supremely important. It could not have been given a higher place of honor! If someone talks about 2012 and they don't talk about the Bufo toad, they are missing the most important clue of all!

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