Author of the Month

Geoff Stray, Author of the Month for March 2010

The Tortuguero Prophecy Unravelled
By Geoff Stray

geoff stray

We are both pleased and honoured to welcome Geoff Stray as March 2010 Author of the Month at We hope his insights into the meaning and reality of 2012 spur discussion and understanding for those who explore his evidence and theories.

Geoff Stray has been studying the meaning of the year 2012 for over 25 years. In 2000 he summarised his findings on his website, "Diagnosis 2012", attracting international input and it still remains the largest data-base on 2012. Geoff is the author of Beyond 2012: Catastrophe or Ecstasy, published in the UK in 2005, in the United States in 2009 as Beyond 2012: Catastrophe or Awakening. The book is an overview of visions, calendars, prophecies and theories about 2012, and has been called "The Encyclopedia of 2012". He is also the author of The Mayan and Other Ancient Calendars, (2007) and 2012 In Your Pocket (2009) and has written articles for various magazines including HERA, Salvia Divinorum magazine, Caduceus, and New Dawn, and has contributed an essay to the best-selling book, The Mystery of 2012. Geoff has given talks in the UK, Europe, North and South America and Scandinavia and has appeared in documentaries such as 2012:The Odyssey; Timewave 2013; 2012 An Awakening; 2012-Mayan Prophesy and The Shift of the Ages. He lives in Glastonbury, UK, where he also makes handmade footwear.



Before 2006, many anthropologists, archaeologists and other Maya scholars stated that there was nothing in the Maya inscriptions about the end of the current 5,125-year era of the Long Count calendar. They often did this as part of a dismissal of the increasing discussion about 2012. But in April 2006, epigrapher Dave Stuart answered an enquiry on a specialist discussion group announcing that there is one known inscription from the Classic era that mentions the end of the thirteenth baktun. [1] It is on Monument 6 from a little-known site called Tortuguero, in the state of Tabasco in Mexico. Many maps don't even show the site, or vary in their positioning of it.

Tortuguero was discovered in the 1915, but in 1978 and 1980, Prof. Dr Berthold Riese published studies on the inscriptions found there. The papers are in German. Since then, very little emerged until Sven Gronemeyer's master thesis of 2004 - also in German. [2], [3] An updated version was published in English in 2006. [4] A cement factory was built on top of the site in 1981, but a few ruins remain.


Tortuguero's most famous artefact is the Tortuguero Box - a well-preserved carved wooden box inscribed with glyphs that describe, amongst other things, the burial of the Tortuguero ruler, Bahlam Ajaw (Lord Jaguar). Monument 6 is broken into seven parts, four of which are in the Villahermosa museum, not far from the Tortuguero site. Another part is in the Metropolitan Museum of New York, and two other fragments are thought to be in the hands of a private collector. The monument was originally a T-shaped stela, and one of the wings - the left one that starts the narrative - is missing. It is the other wing - the final part of the narrative - that refers to the end of the thirteenth baktun.

The right wing of Monument 6 from Tortuguero, which refers to the end of the 13th baktun. Drawing by Sven Gronemeyer.

Gronemeyer has split the translation of the monument into six sections. The first section concerns the birth and enthronement of Bahlam Ajaw; the second section concerns "star wars" (wars that were timed by the first appearance of Venus as evening or morning star), and decapitation of prisoners; the third section describes the war against a neighbouring town - Comalcalco and the consequent "harvest of white-flower souls". The fourth section describes unknown events, since some of the glyphs are damaged. The fifth section describes the ritual burning of a house, the setting up of images of Bahlam Ajaw, and a ruler-binding ritual.

This is the context of the final section that commences three glyphs before the right hand side wing and continues through the wing. I have rendered Gronemeyer's translation of this section into English:

7 days 7 Uinals 0 Tuns and 8 Katuns, previously it happened. On 8 Chuen 9 Mak, it was completed for re-birthing*, the pibnaah of Ahkal K'uk. It was 2 days, 9 Uinals, 3 Tuns, 8 Katuns and 3 Baktuns before the 13th Baktun is completed on 4 Ahau 3 Kankin. Then it will happen - darkness, and Bolon-Yokte will descend to the (???)

*nascent becoming

The monument was set up in 669 AD to commemorate a building known as a pibnaah that was built around 160 years earlier in 510 AD. A pibnaah is often translated as a steam bath or sweathouse and this is how Gronemeyer has translated it. The construction of the pibnaah is directly forward-referenced to the end of the 13-baktun era in 2012 with its predicted event - darkness accompanied by the descent of the god Bolon-Yokte, but the prophecy cannot be completed due to damage to the glyphs.

The first question this prompts is, "Who is Bolon-Yokte?" [5] Bolon Yokte is the God of Nine Strides, (or the God of Numerous Strides, since Bolon, which means "nine" is often used as "many"). Sometimes referred to as B'olon Yookte' K'u, or B'olon Okte' K'uh, where K'uh means deity, he has also been called Ah Bolon Yocte of Nine Paths in the post-conquest books of Chilam Balam. The god has an association with the underworld, conflict and war, [6] dangerous transition times, social unrest, eclipses and natural disasters like Earthquakes. He appears at the end of baktuns, assisted at the Creation of the current world and will be present at the next Creation in 2012. Other translations of the name are God of Nine Steps; the Nine-Footed God; and Jaguar-Foot-Tree, because the word bolon or balan (nine) was used by the Maya as a pun for balam (jaguar). The god was seen alternatively as nine individuals or as a collective god.


There are at least 2 examples of a steamhouse-pibnaah at Chichen Itza. Steamhouses are still used by the Maya today and are called "tuj", or sometimes "chitin", or "kun" (oven). The Aztecs also used a steambath called a temazcal - in Mexican package holidays, a spell in a temazcal is often included. They were used for ritual purification ceremonies, healing, revitalization, cleansing, and general meetings. It is known today that they are very beneficial to the health. They flush toxic metals from the system a hundred times faster than the kidneys; they open clogged pores, removing excess salts; they eliminate uric and lactic acid; they increase blood flow, unclog the respiratory tract, and increase negative ions.

Although today's temazcals are above ground, they, and the pibnaahs at Chichen Itza were usually dug five feet into the ground and used a direct fire rather than hot rocks, similar to the method used by Native Americans in California. The design and alignment was similar to that of a Hopi kiva, or underground ceremonial room. Though today's kivas are often above ground and square, the ancient Anasazi, (ancestors of the Hopi) examples are round and mostly below ground. According to Frank Waters's Book of the Hopi, many Hopi regard Aztecs and Maya as "renegade Hopi clans" that did not finish their migrations, so we may have here an insight into the pibnaah.

Native American sweat lodges, as well as kivas are seen as symbolic wombs of the Earth Mother, and not only do the Hopi conduct Creation myth re-enactment ceremonies in kivas, but some tribes design sweat lodges to reflect Creation myths. Not only are Temazcals used for pregnancy and birth, but those who have used them ritually, describe feeling their spirit bodies, acknowledging the four elements, and experiencing the "rebirth and death of parts of the ego that no longer serve growth."

Amazingly, there is an association between kivas and the number nine - perhaps a remnant of the Bolon Yokte connection, upon which we are seeking to throw light. Every year there are nine major ceremonies traditionally performed in the kiva. They correspond to the nine universes of the Hopi Creation myth. There is one universe for the Creator, Taiowa, one for his nephew, Sótuknang, and seven for created life. The Hopi say there are a total of seven Worlds, or eras, and that each one is governed by a psychic centre - the same as the top five chakras of the Hindu system. We are in the Fourth World, known as "World Complete". Our consciousness descended from the crown chakra in the first era down as far as the solar plexus in the current era - each era becoming more materialistic than the last - but at the next World era transition, it will start to reverse direction. Each transition is called an Emergence, and symbolised by a labyrinth symbol - identical the Cretan labyrinth symbol. It is also known as the Mother Earth symbol, or Mother and Child, and the process is seen as a kind of birth process.

There are also said to be nine prophecies that will be fulfilled before the Day of Purification that precedes the Emergence. These are the coming of the white man; covered wagons; longhorn cattle; railroad tracks; power lines & telephone lines; concrete roads; oil spills; the coming of the hippies; the Blue Star kachina. Only the last of these nine remains to be fulfilled. When a blue star is seen in the sky, and the Blue Star kachina dancer removes his mask in the plaza, then the Hopi ceremonies will cease. Though some have said this was Comet Holmes, the fact is that the Hopi ceremonies were still continuing after Comet Holmes came and went (according to eye-witness report of a personal friend).

This Mother and Child symbol is identical to the Cretan labyrinth symbol and symbolises a spiritual rebirth from one world to the next. There is also a square version.
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  1. Dave Stuart's quick translation of Monument 6: [back to text]
  2. Sven Gronemeyer's Tortuguero thesis part 1: [back to text]
  3. Sven Gronemeyer's Tortuguero thesis part 2: [back to text]
  4. Sven Gronemeyer: "The Maya Site of Tortuguero, Tabasco, Mexico: Its History and Inscriptions"; in Acta Mesoamericana Vol. 17, Verlag Anto Saurwein; Markt Schwabe, Germany, 2006.. [back to text]
  5. John Major Jenkins' Bolon Yokte page: [back to text]
  6. Eberl, Markus; and Christian Prager (2005). "B'olon Yokte' K'uh. Maya conceptions of war, conflict, and the underworld.". in Peter Eeckhout and Geneviève Le Fort (eds.). Wars and conflicts in prehispanic Mesoamerica and the Andes: selected proceedings of the conference organized by the Société des Américanistes de Belgique with the collaboration of Wayeb (European Association of Mayanists), Brussels, 16-17 November 2002. British Archaeological ReportsInternational Series, no. 1385. Oxford, UK: John and Erika Hedges Ltd. pp. 28-36. [back to text]

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