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Mayan Prophecy

The present-day Maya, as a whole, do not attach much significance to 2012. Although the calendar round is still used by some Maya tribes in the Guatemalan highlands, the Long Count was employed exclusively by the classic Maya, and was only recently rediscovered by archaeologists. Mayan elder Apolinario Chile Pixtun and Mexican archaeologist Guillermo Bernal both note that "apocalypse" is a Western concept that has little or nothing to do with Mayan beliefs. Bernal believes that such ideas have been foisted on the Maya by Westerners because their own myths are "exhausted". Mayan archaeologist Jose Huchm has stated that "If I went to some Mayan-speaking communities and asked people what is going to happen in 2012, they wouldn't have any idea. That the world is going to end? They wouldn't believe you. We have real concerns these days, like rain".

What significance the classic Maya gave the 2012 date is uncertain. Most classic Maya inscriptions are strictly historical and do not make any prophetic declarations. Two items in the Maya historical corpus, however, mention the end of the 13th b'ak'tun: Tortuguero Monument 6 and, possibly, the Chilam Balam.

The Tortuguero site, which lies in southernmost Tabasco, Mexico, dates from the 7th century AD and consists of a series of inscriptions in honor of the contemporary ruler. One inscription, known as Tortuguero Monument 6, is generally agreed among Mayanists to refer to the 2012 date. It has been partially defaced; Mayanist scholar Mark Van Stone has given the most complete translation:

    Tzuhtz-(a)j-oom u(y)-uxlajuun pik

        The Thirteenth [b'ak'tun] will end

    (ta) Chan Ajaw ux(-te') Uniiw.

        (on) 4 Ajaw, the 3rd of Uniiw [3 K'ank'in].

    Uht-oom Ek'-...

        Black ... will occur.

    Y-em(al) ... Bolon Yookte' K'uh ta-chak-ma...

        (It will be) the descent(?) of Bolon Yookte' K'uh to the great (or red?)...

Very little is known about the god (or gods) Bolon Yookte' K'uh. Possible translations of his or their name include "nine support [gods]", "Many‐Strides God", "Nine‐Dog Tree", or "Many‐Root Tree". He appears in other inscriptions as a god of war, conflict, and the underworld, though Markus Eberl and Christian Prager believe that the Tortuguero inscription parallels the typical Maya ruler's pronouncement of a future dedicatory celebration. No illustrations of Bolon Yookte' exist, though dozens of other gods' images are known